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The First Vision: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast Released

The Church Historian’s Press today announced the release of The First Vision: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast. This six-part miniseries from the Joseph Smith Papers Project explores the history and legacy of Joseph Smith’s first vision. Series host Spencer W. McBride, PhD, interviews historians and other scholars in a documentary-style podcast about this pivotal event in the history of the Restoration. Released in the bicentennial year of Joseph Smith’s first vision, the podcast recreates for listeners the world in which Joseph Smith was seeking answers to the pressing questions of his soul and helps them understand the vision from the perspective of historians.

“Listeners will hear a story that is simultaneously familiar and new,” McBride said of the podcast. “I think listeners will hear details of the story of Joseph Smith’s first vision that are new to them, details that will illuminate the event and its relevance to their lives.”

In early spring 1820, Joseph Smith had a vision in the woods near his family’s home in western New York in which God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. That vision was a formative moment for Smith and a pivotal event in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Smith recounted the vision several different times during his lifetime. Several of those instances were recorded by Smith and his fellow church members. This new podcast explores all of the original records of the First Vision and demonstrates how the different accounts, when examined together, reveal a more complete portrait of the event than any single account by itself. The podcast also examines how the story of the 1820 vision continues to resonate with men, women, and children around the world.

Scholars featured in the podcast include Matthew Godfrey, Steven Harper, Rachel Cope, Christopher Jones, Robin Jensen, Jenny Lund, Brent Rogers, and Mark Staker. Also featured is Elder Legrand R. Curtis Jr., a General Authority Seventy and the Church Historian and Recorder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The First Vision: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast will be available beginning January 7, 2020. All six episodes will be released at once and available on the Latter-day Saint Channel ( and on other podcast platforms such as iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify.