BYU Studies Quarterly

BYU Studies Quarterly

Article Title

Visualizing the Vision


Anthony Sweat


BYU Studies, First Vision, art


When a teenage Joseph Smith entered the woods on his family farm to pray over his soul and inquire which church he should join, the vision that burst forth from heaven changed his life and laid a pathway for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The First Vision is among the scenes of the Restoration most often depicted by artists. Portrayals of the First Vision were published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Ensign magazine 167 times between 1971 and 2019, nearly double the representations of any Restoration theme other than depictions of pioneers.2 Today in Church curriculum, if we talk about the First Vision, we nearly always have a painting to accompany it.