Reason #21 — Multiple Versions of the First Vision of Joseph Smith
At the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center in Nauvoo, Illinois, a nine-square quilt hangs that depicts each of nine different versions of that first vision. Edmond C. Gruss and Lane A. Thuet have identified eleven versions. Richard Abanes, in his comprehensive book, One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church, has provided two clear and helpful charts comparing the details of various versions of the visions.
Even if this first vision””in whatever form it had””had really taken place, I think Joseph Smith as a prophet on whom doctrine depended should have been impressed enough with such an earth-shattering experience to remember the main details. Could he have made the whole thing up? LDS leaders deny it when they say he was only a teen-ager and incapable of fabricating such a thing. I”‘m sorry, but these LDS leaders need only look into the many juvenile detention centers throughout our country to discover just how fertile a teenager”‘s imagination can be in inventing excuses for erratic or anti-social behavior.
For more information, see The Mormon Mirage 3rd Edition: A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today (Zondervan, 2009). Also available as an audiobook and as an expanded-text E-book for Nook, Kindle and other reading devices.