Other Contemporary Accounts

In addition to these accounts of the First Vision by Joseph Smith himself, five of his contemporaries who heard him speak about the vision also wrote accounts. Read these accounts here.

Orson Pratt, An Interesting Account (1840)

About Orson Pratt's account

Over the years, many people heard Joseph Smith speak about his visionary experiences. Some made brief references in their letters or recollections. A few recorded more detailed descriptions during Joseph’s lifetime.

Orson Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles authored the earliest published account of Joseph’s First Vision of Deity in this pamphlet in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1840. Pratt had been called to the Quorum in 1835 at age 23. He participated with Joseph in meetings of Church leadership, spent time in the company of the Prophet, and attended the public speeches Joseph delivered in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in December 1839.

Orson Hyde 1842 Pamphlet

About Orson Hyde's Pamphlet

Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles published this account of Joseph Smith’s early visions in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1842. He stopped in Germany on his way back to the United States after preaching to Jews throughout Europe and dedicating the Holy Land for the gathering of the remnants of the scattered tribe of Judah. Hyde composed the text in English, relying heavily on Pratt’s Interesting Account, and translated it into German for publication under the title Ein Ruf aus der Wüste, meaning “a cry out of the wilderness.”

Levi Richards Journal (1843)

About Levi Richard's Journal

Following an 11 June 1843 public church meeting at which Joseph Smith spoke of his earliest vision, Levi Richards included an account of it in his diary.

David Nye White Interview (1843)

About David Nye White's Interview

In August 1843, David Nye White, editor of the Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, interviewed Joseph Smith in his home as part of a two-day stop in Nauvoo, Illinois. His news article included an account of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

Alexander Neibaur Journal (1844)

About Alexander Neibaur's Journal

On 24 May 1844, German immigrant and church member Alexander Neibaur visited Joseph Smith in his home and heard him relate the circumstances of his earliest visionary experience.