Joseph Smith claimed that God and Jesus appeared to him in 1820 to tell him all churches were wrong, which led him to found the Mormon faith. Late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley once said the Church’s “whole strength rests on the validity of that vision.” Smith told multiple versions over the years though, and critics say discrepancies are proof he made it all up. Monday, we’re talking about the “First Vision,” the role it’s played in Church history and what it reveals about Mormonism today.
- John Turner is a historian of American religion who teaches at George Mason University in Virginia. He's the author of Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet [Indiebound|Amazon|Audible] and a new book The Mormon Jesus: A Biography [Indiebound|Amazon]
- Patrick Mason is the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California.
- Turner and Mason are co-authors of a forthcoming book called Out of Obscurity: Mormonism Since 1945