Joseph Smith–History 1:11–20:The First Vision

The Pearl of Great Price: Teacher Manual, (2000), 56–58


Some Important Principles, Doctrines, and Events

Suggestions for Teaching

Joseph Smith—History 1:10–16. Joseph Smith’s First Vocal Prayer

Invite students to mark Joseph Smith’s questions in Joseph Smith—History 1:10. Ask: What did Joseph do in verses 11–16 to get answers to his questions? Ask students how they could apply in their own lives what Joseph Smith did.

Joseph Smith vision

Joseph Smith—History 1:11–17. An “Actual Being from the Unseen World”

Have students make two lists from Joseph Smith—History 1:11–17: (1) ways the Lord helped Joseph receive answers to his questions, and (2) things Satan did to try to hinder Joseph. Ask students to explain how the power of Satan was overcome. Share this quotation from President Wilford Woodruff: “There are two powers on the earth and in the midst of the inhabitants of the earth—the power of God and the power of the devil. … Whenever the Lord set His hand to perform any work, those powers [of the devil] labored to overthrow it” (in Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses Delivered by President Wilford Woodruff, His Two Counselors, the Twelve Apostles, and Others,5 vols. [1987–92], 5:198). Ask: Why is the combination of our righteous choices and the power of God always greater than the power of Satan? (see D&C 3:1; 10:43; 29:36–38; Moses 1:12–22). Testify of the truth of the appearance of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph.

Joseph Smith—History 1:14–20. The Significance of the First Vision

Ask students to list the truths we learn from Joseph Smith—History 1:14–20(see also James E. Faust, in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, 92–93; or Ensign,May 1984, 68; see also Carlos E. Asay, in Conference Report, Apr. 1990, 80–81; or Ensign,May 1990, 63–64). (Answers might include that Satan is a real being who seeks to stop the work of God; God appears to man; man is made in the literal image of God; Jesus is a personage, separate and distinct from Heavenly Father; there was an apostasy of the Church that Jesus Christ established during His mortal ministry; the true Church was not on the earth in 1820; the Lord keeps the promise found in James 1:5; direct revelation from the heavens has not ceased.) Read or sing “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” (Hymns,no. 26). Discuss the meaning of the following statement by Elder Robert L. Simpson, who was then an Assistant to the Twelve Apostles: “[The First Vision is] the most significant singular event in the world since the resurrection of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The First Vision is the very foundation of this Church, and it is my conviction that each member of this Church performs his duty in direct ratio to his personal testimony and faith in the First Vision” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, 102; or Ensign,Jan. 1974, 87). Invite students who would like to share what they thought and felt when they first heard about the First Vision to do so. Invite students who have had the opportunity to teach investigators about the First Vision to share their experiences.

Joseph Smith vision of Father and Son

Joseph Smith—History 1:18–20. Joseph Listened to the Lord

Read or sing “The Morning Breaks” (Hymns,no. 1), and then invite students to ponder how their lives have been influenced by this singular event.

Joseph Smith—History 1:20. “I Was Destined”

Write God, Satan,and Joseph Smithon the board. Read to students the last part of Joseph Smith—History 1:20, which begins “It seems as though …” and ask who of these three people knew who Joseph Smith really was and why he was here on earth. How did Joseph Smith know that Satan knew his destiny? Replace Joseph Smithwith Youon the board, and discuss the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “There is great protection when you know who you are, why you are here, and where you are going. Let your unique identity shape each decision you make on the path toward your eternal destiny” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 97; or Ensign,Nov. 1990, 75).