BYU Studies, conference proceedings, first vision, Ellen White
In the antebellum United States, a young American Christian was confused by the conflicting religious messages that swirled through the surrounding culture. The teenaged seeker sought the Lord in prayer, pleading for a message of light and love to break through the darkness. This plea was answered with a mighty vision, a revelation that brought both immediate peace and the promise of further guidance. The experience not only marked the visionary awakening of an earnest adolescent supplicant; it also eventually helped anchor the messaging of a global religious movement that would come to boast millions of members around the world. The adherents to that movement eventually began calling this epiphany the “first vision.” Various narrations of the vision were recorded by the prophet at different moments in time, critics arguing that the variations conveniently reflected doctrinal evolutions within the emerging church. Such criticisms notwithstanding, a familiar form of the experience has settled into the culture of the faith, serving as an orienting narrative in explaining the rise of a new church, a church ordained to usher in the millennial day.
Holland, David F.
"Of Contrasts, Apologies, and Authenticity,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 59
, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol59/iss2/7