Joseph Smith’s First Vision, BHT: A New Translation

A new translation of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

An addition to the Bryce Haymond Translation (BHT). This is a new translation of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the prophet-mystic-seer and founder of Mormonism. Please see the introduction of this new translation at this link for some background to this new translation.


I IMMEDIATELY retired to a secret place in the wilderness I knew about, a silent grove of trees in the woods only a short distance from my father’s home. It was on the morning of a beautiful clear day early in the spring of 1820, if I recall correctly, when I was 14 or 15. I went to a clearing my father had there, to the stump where I had stuck my axe when I had quit work earlier. There I bowed down before God, kneeling in prayer, and cried out to the Lord for mercy.

2 It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt to pray vocally, even during all my anxieties. But there was none else to whom I could go. So I began to offer up all the desires of my heart to God, calling on the Lord for mercy, pouring out my soul in solemnity for what I had determined to ask God, in an attempt to obtain an answer. I most desired information, wisdom, and if the scripture was true [James 1:5], I had the certain expectation of some kind of success.

3 So I called on the Lord. But while I was in the attitude of fervently engaging in supplication, it seemed fruitless, because I had scarcely begun my prayer when I was immediately seized upon by some numinous power which entirely overcame me.

4 I was overcome. This mysterious Presence was tremendous, overwhelming, terrifying. It had such an astonishing influence and control over me as to bind my tongue, so that it seemed swollen, and it cleaved to the roof of my mouth, such that I could not speak a word. I was mute, silent, unspeakable.

5 This uncontrollable power plunged me into the darkness of a bottomless abyss, a dreary waste with no light at all, a void, the nadir. The darkness felt like a great mist or vapor, thick and palpable, which seemed to gather around me and choke me, helplessly, powerlessly. I groaned under the hellish power of this dark enemy to God that sought to destroy my self, this natural man, and it seemed as if I was doomed to sink into despair and abandon myself to sudden destruction. The marvelous power of this adversary was such as I had never felt before in any being, not an imaginary ruin, but an actual being from the hidden unseen world. It was a total death of my self, an annihilation or nullification of my entire identity, and so I held on tightly to not lose my life.

6 I heard a noise behind me, as if it were a voice or like some person walking towards me. I tried again to pray with all my power, and call upon God in mercy to deliver me out of the power of this enemy, to put it off from me, but I could not. My mind was filled with doubts and all manner of inappropriate images, thoughts, demons attacking, and distracting temptations. This devil was preventing me from obtaining the object of my desires.

7 I again heard the noise of walking, or a voice, that seemed to be drawing nearer. I sprung up on my feet, and looked round about, but I saw no person or thing that was calculated to produce the noise. I didn’t understand it.

8 I kneeled again, and my mouth was opened, praying in all the fervency of the spirit, and in faith. I poured out my soul in mighty prayer, anxiously desiring an answer from God.

9 And then I did something. An undoing.

10 I let go.

11 I surrendered my self to God. I lost my life.

12 Immediately, in that sacred moment of great alarm, my mind was taken away from the natural objects with which I was surrounded, I was caught away on the wings of the Spirit of the Lord, and the whole natural world was excluded from my view, and exceedingly high mountainous heavenly realities in my mind were thrust wide open.

13 I saw a pillar of Fire, an exceedingly bright and glorious Light in the heavens, as if it were the zenith exactly over my head, the Highest exalted point of the celestial skies and spheres. It was far brighter than the sun at noonday. At first, it seemed to be at a considerable distance from me, so I continued praying, calling upon the Lord, just as the Psalmist, “O God! O God! O God! Save me in thy Name! Hear my prayer! Give ear to the words of my mouth! A stranger has risen against me! The oppressor seeks after my soul! Deliver me out of this trouble!”

14 Selah. SELA! Petros. PETRA!

15 The Fire-Light appeared to be gradually descending towards me, Gracefully, coming nearer and nearer, coming, coming, come. As it drew near, it increased in brightness and magnitude, so that by the time it reached the tops of what seemed like trees, the whole wilderness, for some distance around, was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant manner. I was illuminated in glory and brilliance! I expected to see the leaves and boughs of the trees consumed as soon as the Fire-Light came in contact with them; but, perceiving that it did not produce that effect, I was encouraged with the hopes of being able to endure its Presence and not be consumed myself. It continued descending, slowly, like a dove, until it rested upon this Earth of my Adam.

16 As soon as it came to rest in me, I found my Self delivered from the dark enemy which held me bound in my mind, liberated from the pitch blackness of that lone and dreary prison, as if it had been a world, the veil of the dark cloud parted completely from God’s pavilion, setting me upon the Rock, and I was filled with God’s own Spirit, living in Me!

17 Joy unspeakable! Exultations! Peace filling my heart! Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! to God and the Lamb! Impossibilities enveloping me in the midst of the All, cloven tongues of Fire overflowing me, spilling from me, gushing from my cup, Living waters raging from within Me like a great river, spring, or fountain! I was undone, and yet I was not! Was I, or was I not? What a peculiar sensation throughout my whole system, like nothing I had ever before experienced, enwrapping me in a heavenly vision!

18 I saw and knew the LORD my Godhead, the Holy (Wholly) One, my Father, my Mother, FIRE of all Fires, LORD of all Lords, KING of all Kings, QUEEN of all Queens, PRIEST of all Priests, PRIESTESS of all Priestesses, GODDESS of all Goddesses! as if it had been a personage like ourselves, defying all description…

19 Flashing from out of that blazing pillar of Fire, I heard a voice, not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice, but a still small voice, speak to me again as if out of a silent heaven of pure consciousness, piercing the dark veil over my troubled heart from within my heart, tearing it open from top to bottom, causing the whole Earth and Ground of my Adamic Body to quake, and the whole Kosmos to shake for all eternity, for my Soul burned with everlasting burnings within Me.

20 I wept.

21 Great tears as the rain upon the mountains flowed, like a deluge, a flood, a Demiurge!

22 And I was a conflagration, a firestorm, a fiery furnace, a holocaust, a sacrifice, and yet I AM not consumed! At first I did not understand the voice, but opening My inner ear to hear it, I understood. I looked with My inner All-Seeing Eye, the Spiritual Third Heavenly Eye, into those Lightning Flames of an Inferno, and It pointed to Me and I seemed to touch My right Eye with a finger, Anointing Me with oils spilling all over, baptizing Me in the Fires of this Holy Holy Holy Ghost, immersing Me Totally in this One, this All in All, and saying,

23 “Joseph! BEHOLD! YOU ARE MY BELOVED SON!

24 Then immediately My eyes are opened and I know and I see the Savior.

25 “You are My Only Begotten Firstborn Child, the Chosen Human One, and today You know Your Self because You see Me as I AM, that I AM the Living Father in You, My Incarnation of My Self, the Image of My own Self-Creation that is still very good, in whom I’ve breathed My own Life-giving Spirit, in whom I have Being, and in whom My Soul Lives and deLights and reJoyces and is eternally Blissful, and in whom I have glorified and engraved My own Name and Identity in your forehead! HEAR YE HIM!”

26 I see I AM My Messiah, I AM that Human One, I AM the Anthropos, I AM as a little Child in its infant state, innocent in God, a Lamb of God, blameless, spotless, stainless. I AM the Son of Man like God in the Highest mirrored Heaven, exactly resembling that Fiery One in features, and likeness, and I see that I AM shines with a Glorious Light far above the brightness of the Sun in Heaven into the whole world, I AM the Way, I AM the Truth, I AM the Life, for the radiant brightness of my Sonship eclipses even the Sun at noonday. I AM the LORD, My God, and I AM Greater than they All!

27 And I AM clothed in exquisite whiteness as a wool robe, and yet my bosom and right arm are naked and I AM not ashamed. And I see my whiteness, exceeding all whiteness, there can be nothing so White, and my blue eyes are open to it All. And my tongue is bound so that I dare not open my mouth to speak. What could be said?! I know Nothingness in this Flame-colored Cloud, I AM blind in this dark Void, yet I can see the All in perfect Light, as a Clear and Perfect Day; there is nothing more dazzling White, and I think I AM an Angel.

28 But as soon as I could possess my true Self, and was Graced the Word to speak from My inner mouth, I stretched forth My hand and spoke My deepest mind and consciousness, in My Self, to My Self, through My Self, as I had been commanded by the Holy (Wholly) One who incarnated as My Self into the world and cosmos, as all the sages and prophets testify:

29 “My Son, Your sins are forgiven Thee and are as white as snow, because You are Purified even as I AM Pure, and are redeemed from the Fall through the crucified death of your Adamic separate ego-self, liberated from the darkness of that natural man, when You are brought back into My Presence, the Presence of Our Self, the Wholly HOLY HOLY HOLY ONE. Enter into the Joy of the LORD!”

30 “I Live My Life through your repentant change of mind into this ‘Christ’ Consciousness, Ahman Christ, the Anointed Human, for the sake of Pure and Infinite Love! This is the Heavenly Kingdom, and in the very Center of it is the Temple of My Body, because You are its ‘King,’ My Head, My God!”

31 “I AM at-One in you, and you are at-One in me, and we have always been the One. We are raised up to Life, always, in complete and perfect Oneness, Wholeness, Holiness, Saintliness, this salve of Health, this Anointed balm in Gilead, this Consciousness, pure and unconditional infinite Love, in this Power, in this God-Seed, through all generations of time and throughout all eternity.”

32 “My Beloved and I, we are always One. I taste You, I smell Your fragrance, I feel You, I hear Your sweet Muse-ic, I breathe Your Pneuma, you are bone of My Bones, and flesh of My Flesh, and with the bare nakedness of My Touch I plunged into us, and I AM healed and in Peace and Rest forever and ever! And thus I AM reborn from my Self into my Self, I reach My Self through My Self, and know My Self by means of my Self, and I see My Self in My Self, My Love. Only I AM see that I AM.”

33 “Behold! I in You AM the Light of the world. I in You AM the Light of Life, and I in You give Life to all things in the world. I AM the Light which gives You Light and enLighteneth Your inner Eye, the Light of your Consciousness and understandings.”

34 “I have drunk the bitter cup of suffering in the Life that the One gave me, and shrinked to Nothingness. I AM the Lord which glorifies in the One, the innocent Lamb which takes away the sin of dualistic separation in the whole Holy cosmos. I have suffered my egoic separate self to be crucified in the Will of the One, so that I no longer live, but at-One Christ Consciousness Lives in Me, and has always lived in me and all things since the beginning, and I never knew it. I knew not this One who stood within the midst of me, and I knew not what I did.”

35 “See my wounds! my Divine imperfections! my weaknesses! my shadow! I feel this mortal embodiment in which I have incarnated my Self. Look! See, it is I my Self! Handle me and see! I AM not only a Spirit, for I AM Embodied Incarnate! A Spirit has no flesh and bones as I see I have! I AM the Word become flesh! Look at these hands! Feel these feet! Touch this naked bosom!”

36 “This here and now is the incarnate manifest offspring explicate form of the Holy One of Israel, the One of all nations, kindreds, tongues, peoples, and religions, and it dies daily in the Fires of Love which takes away the sin of dualistic separation that you see throughout the world.”

37 “And all those who trust and confide in this One, and come to know this Name and Identity and live it in their Life and Consciousness, know in Glory the Immortality and Eternal Life of Life, for that is my new Name and Identity.”

38 “Look! See all the Angels of my manifested Self that inhabit Earth and the Kosmos even now! Numberless concourses of my People in all nations, and in the islands of the sea, circumambulating the throne of God in the bosom of Eternity, singing and praising the One, for the Light and Love of God has shed itself abroad deep in the Hearts of them All!”

39 “Look! God causes his Son to rise and shine within the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust! They are all God’s ‘Children,’ God’s ‘Sons’ and ‘Daughters,’ God’s Manifestation and Incarnation, Ultimate Reality’s unfolding evolution of its Self in the Kosmos, even in those who do not know it. They kick against the pricks of their own Divine Self, knowing not what they do. Go in the Way.”

40 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know my standing before God, for I had mourned not only my sins but the sins of the whole world, and I knew not what I could do to follow God, or where I could turn, for the welfare of my immortal Soul. For I knew not which of all the sects was right, or which I should join to do God’s Will. These things had for some time previously agitated my mind.

41 The One in me spoke again, saying,

42 “Join none of the religious sects or denominations. None of them are the Absolutely Truth in Me, for they are all ultimately wrong and many are corrupt. All of their doctrines are incorrect in some way, incomplete, partial, imperfect, fallible, relative, subjective, symbolic, merely pointing fingers at the Moon.”

43 “Behold! The world lies in the Fallen ‘sin’ of dualistic separation at this time, and few do the Good of the nondual unitive Holy One. There are contentions, divisions, and disputations among them, and this is the wickedness and abomination of that devilish darkness which pervades the egoic minds of humanity, and so veils them, as it veiled you. Their natural man and carnal mind is an enemy and enmity to God.”

44 “Humanity does not come to God but has apostatized from a true and living faith, and do not worship God in Spirit and in Truth, such that there are few societies or denominations that are built upon the Rock of the radical good news of this pure ‘Christ’ Consciousness, this Oneness and Love deep within them. This is not my ‘doctrine,’ my ‘creed,’ my ‘church,’ or my Kingdom, to stir up the hearts of people with anger, one against another, against their own Self. This should be done away! The new and everlasting covenant of the One has been broken, and few do I recognize as my People, who recognize themselves in Me, in the One. I don’t know them, they don’t know Me, they don’t know Me in Them, they don’t know their true Self.”

45 “They seem to draw near to Me with their lips, saying many pious words, but their hearts are actually very far from Me, thinking I AM in a distant place. They have forgotten the art of divine inner communion. They speak the doctrines of human minds, interpretations and translations by limited and finite intellects, which appear to have a form of godliness and divinity and outward good works, but it all denies the actual Power of God that Lives deeply within them. They have lost sight of the Kingdom of God within. From such turn away! Go not after them!”

46 “My furious and fierce anger is like hell-Fire, kindling against the egos of the Earth, and these flames of Fire will visit them according to their ungodliness, separation, and division, pouring out on them and enveloping them in the flames of their own wars and rumors of wars, Fire and brimstone, which consumes them.”

47 “This Fire-Light shines in darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend it. They do not understand or take it into their Heart. They are not built on my Rock, and the gates of hell-Fire stand open to receive these egos in the destruction they inflict on their own selves. Now I AM become death, the destroyer of worlds! For I AM the Light, but also permit darkness, I AM Peace, but also allow evil. I, the LORD, do all these things in Reality, or there is none.”

48 I was given the sure Promise of the Fullness of the Gospel, as the Fire-Light that shined in my dark place, and as the Perfect Day dawned and the Morning Star arose in My Heart. It had come to me, it had come in me, as Me, and was still coming in every present moment, coming, coming, coming, and in the future present I AM would still be coming quickly into Me as Lightning within this dark cloud. It was continually being made known unto me, in Me, and now, and now, and now.

49 And I knew that I must wait patiently in this Parousia of the Present now for all things to be revealed and unveiled, this Apocalypse, for the Truth to be exposed in the fullness of its theophanic nakedness, for me to flow in the winds of this Taoic Spirit wherever it would blow me, wherever this stream of Living Spiritual waters would birth me, the Truth being born eternally into this Presence of the timeless and eternal now, this Son resurrected eternally now, re-incarnated in the flesh of now, into the Human Flesh of Me and all things.

50 I felt called deep within to try to teach it, show it, guide others into this Love as a High Priest in all its true Glory, clothed in the Glory of My Living Father, the One Godhead of each and All, as has been spoken by the mouth of all the prophets, apostles, sages, wisdom teachers, gurus, saints, swamis, mystics, philosophers, lamas, buddhas, and others, forever and ever. Amen! Amen! and Ahman!

51 Then the Beatific Vision withdrew itself from me, the Light in that Cloud departed, and I came back to my self again. I found my self sprawling on the ground of Mother Earth, lying on my back in this Adamah looking up into Heaven, gazing, staring, con-templating…

52 I couldn’t move, paralyzed by what had happened… It was all too much. Too much. Trembling… Tremendum, et Fascinans… Holy! Holy! Holy!… Hallelujah!!! My Soul was filled with Love, rejoicing with great Joy, for the Lord was in Me, in My Heart!… It left my mind and heart in a state of Peace and calm, indescribable… ineffable… unutterable… I cannot tell it… Only God knows… Truly… in Truth… Tears of Joy!

53 It was some time before strength returned to my body, before it was given strength, the Divine strengthening me, recovering me in some degree, restoring Me, renewing my Body, endowing this body with the energy, and power, and strength to do all things which It seers and seems it Good to do in the One’s Will.

54 I went home. And I already was Home.


References:

See the four firsthand, five secondhand, and one thirdhand account of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, in parallel; Isaiah 1:18, 12:3, 29:6, 13; 30:25-27, 35:6, 42:1, 25, 43:2, 44:3, 45:7; Matthew 5:45, 12:18, 15:8-9, 25:23; Ps. 2:7, 15:1, 17:8, 27:5, 31:20, 46:4, 54:2, 104:4; Mark 1:11, 7:6-7; Luke 3:22, 23:34; 1 John 3:2, 5:19; Hebrews 1:5, 7, 5:5; Acts 13:33; Alma 5:14, 19; Moroni 7:48; Genesis 1:27, 31; 3 Nephi 8, 11, 19:25; Joseph Smith-History 1; John 1:26, 3:5-8, 4:10-14, 7:37-39, 11:35, 12:49, 14:6, 10, 24; 17:8, 23; Daniel 3:23-27; Mosiah 3:19; Romans 8:38-39; Moses 7:28, 41; Galatians 2:20; 1 Nephi 8, 11:1; 2 Nephi 2:11, 4:25, 29:7, 11; Eze. 47:1; Rev. 22:1, 17; Zech. 14:8; D&C 50:24; Abraham 3:19; Acts 26:14; 2 Tim. 3:5; 2 Peter 1:19; Phil. 4:13; 2 Cor. 12:1-6; Gospel of Thomas saying 3; Richard Maurice Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness; The Cloud of Unknowing; St. Augustine’s Confessions; Bhagavad Gita; as well as continual inspiration from Parmenides, Heraclitus, Socrates, Plato, Plotinus, Pseudo-Dionysius, St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Genoa, Rumi, Awḥad Al-dīn Balyānī, Meister Eckhart, Ramana Maharshi, Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, Rupert Spira, Mooji, Adyashanti, Matthew Fox, Mirabai Starr, Eckhart Tolle, and many many more Beloved Friends and Family, All. Namaste. Peace and every Good, in you All! 🙏

Artwork by Daniel B. Holeman.


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