case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision.
... Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach,
nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial
declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God
the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he
spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the
gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life."
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign Mag., Nov. 1998,
and I are faced with the stark question of accepting the
truth of the First Vision and that which followed it.
On the question of its reality lies the very validity of
this Church. If it is the truth, and I testify
that it is, then the work in which we are engaged is the
most important work on the earth."
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Fall Conference Address,
I see it, there are four great foundation stones on which
this Church stands, irremovable. The first, the great First
Vision, the visit of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph
Smith, the opening of the heavens in this the dispensation
of the fulness of times, the great bringing together of
all of the work of God in all the past dispensations throughout
the history of the world. The curtain was parted with that
First Vision, and it stands as an absolute fundamental
in the Church and its history and its well-being.
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Aug. 1998, 72
me to name a few of many doctrines and practices which distinguish
us from all other churches, and all of which have
come of revelation to the youthful Prophet. They are familiar
to you, but they are worth repeating and reflecting on.
first of these, of course, is the manifestation
of God Himself and His Beloved Son, the risen Lord Jesus
Christ. This grand theophany is, in my judgment, the greatest
such event since the birth, life, death, and Resurrection
of our Lord in the meridian of time. We have no
record of any other event to equal it."
upon the reality and truth of this vision rests the validity
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Great Things
Which God Has Revealed" Spring Conference 2005
"We declare without equivocation that God the Father and
His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared in person to the
boy Joseph Smith. When I was interviewed by Mike Wallace
on the 60 Minutes program, he asked me if I actually believed
that. I replied, "Yes, sir. That's the miracle of it." That
is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests
on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it
did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud.
If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work
under the heavens."
"Good men and women, not a few—really great and wonderful
people—tried to correct, strengthen, and improve their systems
of worship and their body of doctrine. To them I pay honor
and respect. How much better the world is because of their
bold action. While I believe their work was inspired, it
was not favored with the opening of the heavens, with the
appearance of Deity."
"Then in 1820 came that glorious manifestation in
answer to the prayer of a boy who had read in his family
Bible the words of James: "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" (James 1:5)."
"Upon that unique and wonderful experience stands the
validity of this Church."
In all of recorded religious history there is nothing
to compare with it. The New Testament recounts the baptism
of Jesus when the voice of God was heard and the Holy Ghost
descended in the form of a dove. At the Mount of Transfiguration,
Peter, James, and John saw the Lord transfigured before
them. They heard the voice of the Father, but they did not
"Why did both the Father and the Son come to a boy, a
mere lad? For one thing, they came to usher in the greatest
gospel dispensation of all time, when all of previous dispensations
should be gathered and brought together in one."
It is easy to see why people do not accept this account.
It is almost beyond comprehension. And yet it is so reasonable...
Can they legitimately deny the need for an appearance
of the God of heaven and His resurrected Son in this
very complex period of the world's history?"
"That They came, both of Them, that Joseph saw Them in Their
resplendent glory, that They spoke to him and that he heard
and recorded Their words—of these remarkable things we testify.
I knew a so-called intellectual who said the Church was
trapped by its history. My response was that without that
history we have nothing. The truth of that unique, singular,
and remarkable event is the pivotal substance of our faith."
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Marvelous Foundation
of Our Faith," October 2002 General Conference
it's either true or false. If it's false, we're engaged
in a great fraud. If it's true, it's the most important
thing in the world. Now, that's the whole picture. It is
either right or wrong, true or false, fraudulent or true.
And that's exactly where we stand, with a conviction
in our hearts that it is true: that Joseph went into the
Grove; that he saw the Father and the Son; that he talked
with them; that Moroni came; that the Book of Mormon was
translated from the plates; that the priesthood
was restored by those who held it anciently. That's our
claim. That's where we stand, and that's where we fall,
if we fall. But we don't. We just stand secure in that faith."
Gordon B. Hinckley, Interview "The Mormons"; PBS Documentary,
said all this, here's what one believing Mormon asked about
the First Vision: