How many of us heed the Lord’s profound admonition, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8)
Ask, Seek, Knock
At age 14 Joseph did ask, seek and knock, and what happened changed the world! His soul hungered to know the truth and which church was right. He also wanted to know if his sins were forgiven. In his asking, seeking, and knocking, James 1:5 touched his heart to the core as he read, “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.”
Where he went to inquire of the Lord, we now call it the “Sacred Grove. He shares, “It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty.” (JS-H 14)
The First Vision
That spring day, unfolded the most important event since the infinite atonement of our Lord and Savior, as Joseph was visited by Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. There he came to know the true nature of God; to know the Father and the Son is eternal life. (John 17:3)
Heavenly Father called Joseph by name, and said, “This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JS-H 17) He was told they had a work for him to do. This was the beginning of opening the of Dispensation of the Fullness of Times prophesied by the Apostle Paul. (Eph. 1:10) Because of all the false traditions that had crept into Christianity over the centuries there was a need for a restoration of the fullness of the gospel, “restitution of all things,” before the Second Coming of our Lord, as prophesied by the Apostle Peter. (Acts 3:19-2)
A Second Witness of Jesus Christ
I believe the date of this transcendent event was withheld by the Lord ’til now, because He wants us to focus on the truths and not the date of the bringing forth truth and light from the Lord by Joseph as he proceeded with the restoration of “all things.” One of the most important events was the miraculous coming forth of the Book of Mormon as a second witness, along with the Bible, that Jesus is the Christ. See: 1. King James Bible – 2. Book of Mormon Miracles – 3. Book of Mormon Printing Miracle.
Men Think They Are Wise
The Book of Mormon teaches us that, “…the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord…” (Mosiah 3:19) Jacob, in the Book of Mormon further counsels us, “O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not to the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken to the counsels of God.” (2 Nephi 9:28-29)
A recent survey showed that 93% of the leading scientists in America believed the Bible to be a myth. I am one of the few scientists that believe differently. For me, I am delighted that the Book of Mormon has come forth both as a second witness of Jesus Christ, but also to help fulfill prophecies of both Nephi (1 Nephi 13: ) and Joseph in Egypt as quoted by Lehi (2 Nephi 3:11) that the Book of Mormon would validate the Bible, as it came forth to the world. Chapter 3 of my book and the following article help to bring about scientific validation of the Bible. LDS Living asked me to write an article for the as well with this validation of the Bible information.
“Nothing Shall be Withheld”
The Lord has said, “…in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matt. 18:16) As the Bible and the Book of Mormon join as witnesses that Jesus is the Christ, I find it interesting that in the days before the Second Coming of our Lord, “…nothing shall be withheld…” (D&C 121:28)
We have now three witnesses for the date of the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith, which has been hidden ‘til now.
1. My friend, Dr. John Pratt, who is the best ancient calendar expert I know of in the Church, has found a prophecy in the Book of Enoch pointing to 26 March 1820 for the First Vision, as the opening of the dispensation of the fullness of times. He has shown that the Enoch calendar aligns with the Hebrew calendar and is more accurate than our Gregorian calendar.
2. The National Weather Bureau had its beginnings in 1820 the same year as the First Vision with 10,000 readings that year. Dr. John Lefgren has studied this data and arrived at the same conclusion as Dr. John Pratt, that 26 March 1820 is the date of the First Vision. The weather conditions fit perfectly, “It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring…” (JS-H 14) Interestingly, the 6th of April 1820 was a cold, cloudy, wintry day, but the 6th of April 1830 — the day the Church was organized — was a beautiful day.
3. For an income source in the spring, the Smith family were very busy in the maple sugar business. The 26th of March in 1820 was the Sabbath, a day of rest, and they likely had just finished a very busy couple of days of a big maple syrup run.
All three of these witnesses line up with Joseph’s testimony that when he went to the woods to pray, it was “…the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring…”
An Important Date In History
Perhaps 26 March 1820 is the most important date in history since the infinite atonement of our Savior. Hidden ‘til now, this spring we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of this most important event launching the “restitution of all things.”
“All Things Bear Record of Me…”
It is my hope and prayer that we focus on the TRUTHS shared by Joseph as we participate in the enormous blessings that came forth from that date 200 years ago. God is in the details of our lives. “…all things are created and made to bear record of me…” (Moses 6:63) including the weather, calendars, and the specifics of our lives, as He lovingly guides us home.
David W. Allan