Saturday, July 18, 2009

Family Home Evening Lesson #33: THE FIRST VISION

1. Opening Prayer

2. Sing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" Hymns pg. 26

3. Read Joseph Smith History 1:14-17 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
4. Read and discuss the "The First Vision" from The Gospel Art Picture Kit:

On a beautiful spring morning in 1820, Joseph Smith went into the woods near his home to pray. He did not know which church to join and decided to ask Heavenly Father. Joseph looked around to make sure he was alone, then knelt and began to pray. He was immediately overcome by some evil power. Thick darkness surrounded him, and he could not speak. Joseph thought he was going to be destroyed, but using all the energy he had, he asked God to deliver him from this unseen enemy. Just as Joseph was about to give up, he saw a pillar of light over his head, and he was released from the evil force that had held him. The light came down and rested on him, and Joseph saw two personages whose brightness and glory were beyond description. They were standing in the air above Joseph. One called Joseph by name, pointed to the other, and said, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” These personages were Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Joseph asked Heavenly Father and Jesus which church was right and which he should join. Jesus told Joseph that he should not join any of the churches, because they were all wrong. He said, “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."
Jesus again told Joseph not to join any of the churches. He also told him many other things during the vision. After the vision Joseph was lying on his back looking up into heaven. As the bright light left, he found he was too weak to walk. Joseph’s strength gradually returned and he went home.
5. Closing Prayer

Additional Resoureces: Joseph Smith's First Vision (Friend, April 1995)
The Truth Is on the Earth Once More (New Era, Jan. 2009)
The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith (Liahona, Nov. 2002)

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