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'Joseph Smith's First Vision' thoughtfully explores 5 different accounts of the event

Published: Thursday, Jan. 3 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Editor’s note: Mormon Times is highlighting several new books on the Doctrine and Covenants, which is the focus of the Sunday School curriculum for 2013.

JOSEPH SMITH’S FIRST VISION: A Guide to the Historical Account,” by Steven C. Harper, Deseret Book, $19.99, 128 pages (nf)

There are five different accounts of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s First Vision that either he penned or he asked others to write in what author Steven C. Harper calls “the best documented theophany — vision of God — in history.”

The First Vision is Joseph’s experience as a teenager when he took to heart the promise in James 1:5, went to a nearby grove of trees and asked which church he should join. The answer came from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, who appeared to him.

Harper includes images of the handwritten accounts of the First Vision, transcriptions, the context in which each was written, any known copies (which just about always include revisions) and notable critiques.

“This book was written to provide a context and community for readers who desire to trust Joseph,” writes Harper, who is a professor of LDS Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University and is a volume editor on the Joseph Smith Papers project.

Harper also looks at Joseph himself, including how he communicated, in putting the different accounts into context.

This is a very thorough and thoughtful study of the First Vision that can give additional insights to this significant event in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

More recently released books about the Doctrine and Covenants

"How We Got the Book of Mormon" by Richard E. Turley Jr. and William M. Slaughter

"The Essential Doctrine and Covenants Companion"by Mary Jane Woodger

"Doctrine and Covenants Reference Companion" by Dennis Largey, general editor, and Larry E. Dahl, senior editor

"400 Questions about the Doctrine and Covenants" by Susan Easton Black

"Dews of Heaven: Answers to Life's Questions from the Doctrine and Covenants" by Breck England

"Exploring the First Vision," edited by Samuel Alonzo Doges and Steven C. Harper

"The Savior in Kirtland" by Karl Ricks Anderson

"Little-Know Stories about the Doctrine and Covenants" by Dan Baker

"You Shall Have My Word: Exploring the Text of the Doctrine & Covenants: the 41st Annual Brigham Young University Sidney Symposium"

"Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia: Revised Edition," by Hoyt W. Brewster Jr.

Books about President Lorenzo Snow

"Latter Leaves in the Life of Lorenzo Snow," by Dennis B. Horne

"The Ready Resource of Relief Society: Teachings of President of the Church Lorenzo Snow" by Trina Boice

Email: rappleye@desnews.com

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