Two Scientists Claim They Have Pinpointed the Date of the First Vision

first vision Joseph Smith

There are some events in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that hold supreme importance.

The First Vision is one such event.

While much is known about what took place on that occasion, there is one detail that Joseph Smith never left behind. He never disclosed the actual date when he ventured into the woods to meet God.

The traditional date that some have adopted in the church, including Bruce R. McConkie, is April 6th, 1820.

Two scientists, however, have come to a different conclusion based on their research in different fields. The following documentary talks about their findings and what date they believe the First Vision occurred on.

It is incredibly well done and leaves very intriguing evidence for their hypothesis.

Working independently, John C. Lefgren and John P. Pratt give evidence for determining the date of the First Vision. Their evidence comes from these sources:

  1. The personal account of Joseph Smith where he tells that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to him in the early spring of 1820 in a grove of trees near his father’s farm.
  2. The ancient prophecy from the Book of Enoch concerning the whole history of man.
  3. The repeating cycles of time that are witnessed in the heavens by the orbits of the earth, the moon, and the sun.
  4. The familiar 7-day week cycle and its function in the Calendar of Enoch.
  5. The weather-dependent cycles for the production of 1,000 pounds of maple sugar that the Smith Family made in the early spring of 1820.
  6. The world’s first systematic national weather reports that the Surgeon General of the United States Army organized for 1820.

In 1820 the Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Lovell, commanded medical officers stationed at 14 army posts in the United States to record weather conditions three times a day: 7:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. Many of these original reports are found in the National Archives.

In June 1820 the Surgeon General took these records and prepared the first weather report in the history of the world. His report was printed on July 27, 1820, in the National Intelligencer, the dominant newspaper of Washington, D.C. In that issue, the date for the First Vision is identified as the warmest and most beautiful day for March 1820 at Sackets Harbor, New York. This movie shows that Sunday, March 26, 1820, satisfies the criteria for the setting of the First Vision.

You can watch the documentary in its entirety on YouTube. Click on the YouTube video below to watch.

For additional information, take a look at this website https://march26th1820.com/

The following is a description of the First Vision which appears on the Gospel Topics section of the church’s website.  

In the spring of 1820, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith as he prayed in a grove of trees near his home in western New York. This event is known as the First Vision. (To read about the vision in Joseph’s own words, click here.)

In the early 1800s in the United States there was great excitement about religion. Joseph’s family members had joined different churches, but Joseph was unsure which one he should join.

When Joseph was 14 years old, he was inspired by James 1:5, which promises, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Joseph determined to pray to know which church he should join and to ask for forgiveness of his sins.

When Joseph knelt to offer up the desires of his heart, a dark power overcame him. It bound his tongue as thick darkness gathered around him. Joseph exerted all his power to call upon God.

He described what happened next:

“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

“… When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17).

At the moment the light appeared, Joseph felt delivered from the enemy that had held him bound. Joseph felt great joy and love for several days after.

During the vision, Joseph asked which church was correct, and Jesus Christ answered, telling Joseph not to join any of them. The Lord explained that the churches of the day believed “in incorrect doctrines and that none of them was acknowledged of God as His Church and kingdom” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 438Times and Seasons, Mar. 1, 1842, p. 707; see also Joseph Smith—History 1:19).

The First Vision marked the beginning of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this last dispensation. Joseph Smith was chosen to be the Lord’s prophet in the latter days. Over time, the Lord restored His authority and Church through Joseph Smith. God’s children were again blessed with revelation through prophets called of God, just as they were in biblical times. Revelation continues to this day through each of God’s chosen prophets who have succeeded Joseph Smith.

Please see the new web page, “The First Vision,” created for the bicentennial of the Restoration. Also, listen to the Joseph Smith Papers Project on the First Vision.

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