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Something that's been spread around in recent years are different versions of Joseph Smith's vision. One of the interesting aspects I've noted is that it seems there has been a blending of his FIRST Vision and his SECOND Vision, or...that of his vision when he was visited by the Father and the Son and that when he was visited by an Angel, namely, the Angel Moroni. In one he was asking for knowledge of the true church (and possibly, but not definitively, for forgiveness). In the second, he was asking for forgiveness for light mindedness and sins of a more non-serious nature. One of the big things that people try to claim is that the idea of two personages, that of the Father and the Son, being separate beings, was not originally one of the things Joseph Smith said or even talked about. They claim that it was not until later after the church was organized, the Book of Mormon Published, and he was giving an account of the First Vision formally for writing after this, which is where the Church History account comes from. Researching some of this I stumbled upon an interesting item...that the claim that the Father and the Son were two separate individuals has at least one reference from BEFORE the Church was ever established. It came BEFORE the Book of Mormon was published. It is verifiable to exist and is right before our very eyes. 1 Nephi 1:8-10 It's right there at the beginning. It's blatant, it's obvious. The idea of the Father and the Son being separate, at least to me, is obviously presented right here in these verses. You see the Father sitting upon his throne and you also see one at the same time descending out the midst of heaven. This idea of the two being separate was NOT a new idea that Joseph suddenly came up with and that he tried to rewrite his First vision account to comply with this new idea, it was there from the very beginning of the Church. I would posit he was being absolutely honest in his relation of the First vision (the one that we use) and this was what happened, but if we want to see a second witness that this idea was not a new thing later on when he wrote it, but instead had existed from early on, we have no further to look than the first few verses of the Book of Mormon today.
I'm a recent convert and have understood that Joseph Smith's vision of the Father and Jesus Christ was a spiritual experience. Alot like the brother of Jared's vision of the Finger of the Lord and then His image. Ether 3:6 says, "And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord;" I have been very surprised by the number of long-time church members that truly believe that the First Vision was a literal, "with human eyes", human-to-God experience. Every testimony meeting members state, "I believe Joseph Smith saw Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father." I hear Stake Presidents, Bishops, Seventies, Apostles, and even the church Presidency use those words. When I shared my beliefs about the First Vision later, a sister in my ward was very aggressive that my belief was incorrect and that all LDS believed it was a literal "seeing". Later, I talked to a long-time seminary teacher and was told that my understanding was corrrect. That it was a "vision" seen through spiritual eyes. So if it was a spiritual "unveiling" to allow JS to see them, why do church members and leaders routinely say that he "SAW THEM" instead of "SAW THEM IN A VISION?" Obviously, everyone's understanding of the event is not the same. Has the abbreviated testimony "SAW" instead of "SAW IN VISION" confused alot of people? Joseph Smith himself NEVER claimed to have a literal sighting but a VISION, at least, in all I've read in my short time as a church member. Would love to hear some of you more seasoned members comment on this.