Annie Dillard (b. 1945) is an American author of fiction and non-fiction. She won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction in 1975 for her work Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. This nonfiction book was written in the first-person detailing Dillard's exploration around her home in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and her close observation of nature and life.
There is an experience which grows in the soul out of the soul itself, without contact and without restraint, in naked oneness. It comes into being and completes itself beyond the commotion, free of the other, inaccessible to the other. It needs no nourishment, and no poison can touch it. The soul which stands in it stands in itself, has itself, experiences itself - boundlessly.
A divine light is directed on me, penetrating this glow in which I am contained...
But it is only when all outward appearances are gone that there is left that one principle of life which exists independently of all external phenomena. It is the fire that burns in the eternal light, when the fuel is expended and the flame is extinguished; for that fire is neither in the flame nor in the fuel, nor yet inside either of the two, but above, beneath, and everywhere.
All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flames are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one.
This is an account written by Norris Stearns of Greenfield, Massachusetts, published in 1815, five years before Joseph Smith's First Vision experience, in a pamphlet titled The Religious Experience Of Norris Stearns Written by Divine Command. The 35 page pamphlet can be read in its entirety online at this link. Here is an excerpt of part of his vision.
"As I wander through the dark, encountering difficulties, I am aware of encouraging voices that murmur from the spirit realm. I sense a holy passion pouring down from the springs of Infinity... Bound to suns and planets by invisible cords, I feel the flame of eternity in my soul. Here, in the midst of the every-day air, I sense the rush of ethereal rains. I am conscious of the splendor that binds all things of earth to all things of heaven—immured by silence and darkness, I possess the light which shall give me vision a thousand-fold when death sets me free."