God appeared to Joseph Smith
Truth was restored.
In 1820 Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. This is now called the First Vision, and it began the restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This restoration is still going on today through President Russell M. Nelson.
This vision changed the world, and it changed Joseph Smith.
Heavenly Father and Christ appeared to Joseph for the sake of the whole world past, present, and future. Without the truths and priesthood authority that followed, Christ’s work could not continue on earth.
I’ve wondered if they would have appeared to Joseph if he weren’t destined for a pivotal role in restoring truth? And I think They would have. They appeared to Joseph for the sake of Joseph.
They came to show Joseph They loved him.
Before Joseph’s vision, he was “seriously impressed with regard to the all-important concerns for the welfare of my immortal soul” (Summer 1832 Account).
My mind became seriously impressed with regard to the all-important concerns for the welfare of my immortal soul.
He couldn’t find sufficient answers through scripture and local religion, so he sought a personal witness through prayer.
Heavenly Father and Christ appeared :) Before sharing any direction on behalf of the whole world, Christ answered on behalf of Joseph, saying: “Joseph, my son, thy sins are forgiven thee” (Summer 1832 Account).
His personal concerns were apparently their first priority.
They answered at his pace.
Although he was destined to restore truth, they didn’t mention anything about truth on earth it until “I [got] possession of myself, so as to be able to speak [and] I asked, which of all the sects was right…and which I should join.” (Joseph Smith — History 1:18).
They waited until he asked, because Their purpose was to show Joseph They loved him.
Chicken or the egg?
Was it necessary for Joseph to have the First Vision to later restore Christ’s gospel? Yes.
Did he need a prophetic destiny in order to have the vision? … I don’t think so.
Joseph knew that God answers prayers.
Joseph described his immediate conclusions from this vision as:
I had found the testimony of James to be true—that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided.
“I had now got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned—that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but to continue as I was until further directed. I had found the testimony of James to be true—that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided.” (Joseph Smith — History 1:26)
My recent HWN has been in learning from Joseph Smith that anyone can receive personal answers from God when they ask.
p.s. I enjoyed my last few days in California and the drive through Las Vegas before coming back to snowy Utah!
p.p.s. I got to visit Matt and Chandler in Vegas for Evelynn’s baby blessing :)