Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day 13: The First Vision: The Prophet Joseph Smith's Own Account (Conflict)

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Welcome to DAY 13. Today's lesson is on CONFLICT.

Title: The First Vision: The Prophet Joseph Smith's Own Account
Illustrators: Cary Austin and Greg Newbold
Publisher: Bookcraft
Year: 2001
Word Count: 1000+ est.
Top 10 Element: Conflict

This is the story of Joseph Smith, from Sharon, Vermont, born December 23, 1805 and how he prayed to God and received an answer to his prayer.
This book is a nonfiction picture book published in the religious market for 5 years olds to 105 year-olds. is very dear to my heart. It is told from Joseph Smith's own account. Joseph faced a life of conflict. When he was young, he moved a lot, especially according to times back then. Not uncommon, but still a conflict for a young child.

When he lived in Manchester, New York, the whole town "lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It became general in all the sects in that region of country."

Indeed, the different religious sects in the area began to stir up conflict upon themselves.
Great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people.
The respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted. Yet it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words.
This is Joseph's account some time after the events he later experienced. At the time, he was 14 years old. During this time, he distanced himself from all these parties. He was confused.
It was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong. I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?
One day he read James 1:5...
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
He reflected on that passage again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, he did. After a long time, he finally decided that he must either remain in darkness and confusion, or do as James directed and ask of God. So he went to the woods to do so. He suffers great internal conflict up to this point.

As soon as he kneels to pray, another force of conflict ensues. The dark spirit tries to overcome him and doom him to destruction and make it where he could no longer speak aloud.
At the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound.

Two Personages appeared to young Joseph.
One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other -- This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
To summarize the ending, he was answered that he should join none of the churches, for they were all wrong. His own family belonged to multiple sects, at least two, maybe more. Joseph surely worried what they might think. They knew he didn't want to make a quick decision, not knowing for sure, which one he should join. Thus the reason for his prayer, to determine which to join.

Later in his life, he was persecuted, laughed at, questioned, tarred and feathered, beat and spit upon, cursed at, chased away, imprisoned, and more. He died a martyr in a jail house when a mob attacked. But he always held fast to what he knew to be true as an answer to his prayer that day. A testimony that what he read in the book of James was indeed true. If you ask God, in prayer, with sincerity, he will answer you.
I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it.

Now there's some conflict for you! That was my "older" book for the PB 14:14 event. Tomorrow's book will be on a much lighter note. If you would like to read the full version of the account for which this book is based, you can read Joseph Smith -- History here.

Here's the link to add your own DAY 13 blog posts...


  1. Very interesting story and account. And definitely a good example for conflict!

  2. Religious conflicts are always so personal and powerful. Reading about these conflicts in picture books can help a child feel connected to the greater whole.

    1. Yes, that is the idea, I think. To help kids (and adults) feel more connected to the greater whole.

  3. In the name of religion, people have and continue to create conflict. Let there be peace.

  4. Great example of personal conflict in a story. This story shows the character traits needed for holding onto conviction in the face of obstacles. Thanks for sharing this story, though I am familiar with it as I have LDS family and friends.

    1. Yes, the personal conflict is "character vs. self." It helps give us the conviction to stand firm and be true in the face of our own personal obstacles. Familiarity is a good thing, I suppose. And now you have one more LDS friend to add to your list!

  5. I had read about Joseph Smith, but I never realized he was besieged with such conflict...what a wonderful picture book! It looks like they did an admirable job gearing this difficult subject matter to young kids. :)
    Only one more day, Christie...I can't believe it!

    1. I know! Me either! I can't believe I ACTUALLY blogged EVERY day for 2 weeks straight. Last year, I stockpiled and scheduled ahead so I wouldn't have to. Going to be exciting to see who wins all the wonderful prizes.

  6. Thank you, Christie! I was invited to your blog by Damon Dean and have enjoyed my time here. I especially appreciate the way you present "The First Vision" nonfiction picture book. It is a well-written account of an incredible conflict whose resolution is still changing my life.


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