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Why is the First Vision important?

In the spring of 1820, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith. This vision, which marked the beginning of the Restoration of the gospel, is the most important event since the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith’s humble prayer led to the restoration of gospel truths, priesthood authority, and saving ordinances. “That one revelation answers all the [questions] regarding God and his divine personality. ... His interest in humanity through authority delegated to man is apparent. The future of the work is assured. These and other glorious truths are clarified by that glorious first vision” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay [2003], 93).

Prepare yourself spiritually

As you prepare, prayerfully study these scriptures and resources and others that you choose. What do you feel will be most meaningful to the young women you teach?

Joseph Smith—History 1:11–19, 24–25

First Vision Accounts,” Gospel Topics

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Fruits of the First Vision,Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, 36–38

Video: “The Restoration,” “Ask of God: Joseph Smith’s First Vision,” “Face to Face with President Eyring and Elder Holland: What do we learn about the nature of God from the First Vision?”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Show a picture of the First Vision. Ask someone in the class to briefly describe what is happening in the picture. Invite the young women to ponder for a few moments the significance of this event. Ask them to look for insights during the lesson that will help them understand the importance of the First Vision.
  • As a class, sing the hymn “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” (Hymns, no. 26). Invite the young women to share their feelings about Joseph Smith and his experience seeing and speaking to God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the young women learn about Joseph Smith’s First Vision. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best in your class:

  • Invite the young women to write down some of the blessings they have received because of the First Vision. Ask them to look for other blessings of the First Vision as they read the last 10 paragraphs of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “The Fruits of the First Vision.” Invite them to share what they find and their feelings about the importance of the First Vision.
  • As a class, read about Joseph Smith’s First Vision in Joseph Smith—History 1:7–20. Invite the young women to look for truths we can learn from Joseph’s experience (for example, the Father and the Son are real, separate beings; Satan and his power are real, but God’s power is greater; God hears and answers prayers; revelation has not ceased). Invite a young woman to write the truths on the board. How are these truths different from what other religions believe? How would our lives be different if we did not know these things?
  • Invite the young women to silently read and ponder Joseph Smith’s First Vision and his testimony in Joseph Smith—History 1:11–19, 24–25 (or watch the video “The Restoration”). Ask them to think about why the First Vision is significant in the history of the world. Why is it important to us as individuals? Share your testimony about the importance of the First Vision, and invite the young women to share their thoughts and testimonies.
  • Invite the young women to review scriptural accounts of God the Father and Jesus Christ manifesting Themselves to people on earth (such as Matthew 3:13–17; Acts 7:54–60; 3 Nephi 11:3–10). You could also show pictures of these events (see Gospel Art Book, 35, 63, and 82). Ask them to summarize each account. Then invite them to read Joseph Smith History 1:17 (see Gospel Art Book, 90). How was Joseph Smith’s First Vision similar to these other manifestations? How was it unique? Invite the young women to share why the First Vision is important to them.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand Joseph Smith’s First Vision better? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Write their testimonies of First Vision Joseph Smith in their journals.
  • Share their testimonies of the First Vision with their families.