The First Vision and Art

Mormon Monday

Yesterday in our Sunday School class we discussed the story of Joseph Smith and what is called The First Vision, where God, the Father, and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph as a 14 year old boy in answer to his prayer. I greatly appreciate the story of the First Vision not only because it describes the origin of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sets the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but also because it provides to us a pattern and a guide that we must follow to find truth.

Each of us can and must, as Joseph Smith, consider the matter of religion and concern ourselves with the deep questions of the soul. We must, as he did, turn to the scriptures as the word of God and study them and ponder long on their teachings. We must then determine that we seek an answer, that we want to know the truth and we must approach our Father in humble prayer. And just as He did with young Joseph Smith, God will answer our prayers, even if He does not do so in as spectacular a manner.

During the lesson yesterday, our teacher asked us an intriguing question. After describing and displaying several pieces of art depicting the First Vision she asked us to consider how we would approach creating a piece of art about this magnificent moment. She asked us what part of that grand revelation we would focus on in our artwork.

I admitted that I am not an artistic person, I have no skill in painting or visual arts. But my talent is with words and language and as a young missionary, who had so often recited the words Joseph Smith wrote in describing his vision, I had written a poem drawing on the imagery of the First Vision but personalizing it and bringing it into a modern context. I shared the following yesterday and I would like to share it now here. I wrote this about eleven or twelve years ago, but it has been an inspiration to me ever since and I often reflect on these words and I sincerely believe that these words were given to me as I remember writing it out almost exactly as it reads here. There was surprisingly little revision or editing, as is usually the case with other things I have written.

At the moment when I needed him most,

When I almost sank in despair,

When thick darkness gathered about me,

Suddenly, He was there.

He didn’t appear above me,

Standing in a pillar of light,

I didn’t hear his voice aloud,

Echoing through the night,

He didn’t send his angels

With their trumps loud to declare,

But when I needed my Savior most,

Suddenly, He was there.

He’s there when I need him

He’s there when I don’t

He’s there when I ask for him

He’s there when I won’t

He’s there to protect me

To guide from above

He’s there to give comfort

He’s there to give Love.

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