|"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 1:17)|
1. The Church has released this article on the First Vision that includes helpful links to the Joseph Smith Papers, so that you can read for yourself Joseph's various accounts of his 1820 theophany. Lest anyone think that this very recent article is just further evidence that the Church has been hiding this information until the Internet forced them release it, I would also recommend these articles from 1984 (see the section "Joseph Smith’s First History"), 1985, 1986 and 1996.
|An excerpt of Joseph Smith's 1832 history, written in his own hand, |
describing his vision.
3. The Interpreter Foundation has published some helpful articles (see here, here, here and here) on the First Vision, including one by my good friend Neal Rappleye.
4. These two books (here and here) are excellent. You may be able to read the first one online sometime later this year, but the second one you'll have to order. Steven C. Harper had a hand in both of the books (as both an editor and an author). You can read more of his thoughts on the First Vision here in the Religious Educator. You can also listen to a podcast interview of Professor Harper here.
5. Yours truly has blogged on the First Vision here and here.
6. An interesting harmony of Joseph's different accounts can be read here.
7. Finally, some videos on the First Vision are on YouTube. Check them out below.
First Vision (with BYU professor Alex Baugh): Part 1
Joseph Smith's First Vision: Seeking the Accounts (Part 1)
It should be apparent that there are very cogent responses to criticisms of the First Vision by professional, competent historians. I would go so far as to say that there are actually no real compelling arguments against it. One can choose to believe or disbelieve in the First Vision on personal, religious, or areligious grounds as one wishes, but the historical and theological arguments against the First Vision are seriously debatable at best or highly erroneous at worst.