BYU Stuides, conference proceedings, Joseph Smith, modernism
One of the questions we ask about Joseph Smith’s First Vision is, What did visions mean in those days? How did Smith understand his encounter with God? The most established interpretation is that questions about the churches prompted Smith to pray. He was confused by the melee of voices coming from ministers of various denominations and wanted guidance. When the heavenly personages appeared, he asked them which church to join, and they replied none of them. His prayer was answered.
Bushman, Richard Lyman
"Joseph Smith and Modernism,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 59
, Article 9.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol59/iss2/9