Well researched, but growing up in the area that sap run for maple sugar feels like “late winter” not “early spring”. I can’t imaging young Joseph kneeling in 2 feet of snow to pray. Regardless of what the calendar says, early spring is when the snow is gone and the leaves are coming out. I think the true date would be late April or even early May. That would be worth exploring.
Having visited that area in the spring the last two years, I have become aware that depictions of the First Vision, though beautiful, show a green grove and light filtering through leaves on trees. This is how most of us experience the Sacred Grove, as we typically go there in the summer. However, deciduous trees in that area do not have leaves until May. I look forward to depictions that more accurately reflect the grove Joseph entered on an early spring morning. The illustrations in this article for the sugaring process are guides we can all use to create a more accurate setting in our own minds.
I am an ordinance worker in the Logan Temple. A few had been asked to officiate in 3 live endowments on March 26th. As the temple was closing for the evening on Wednesday March 25th, the temple president sent out the directive from President Nelson that all temples worldwide are closed effective immediately. I had been looking forward to privately celebrating the First Vision the following day. When I read this message it was a shock to my entire soul. Two hundred years to the day after Joseph's vision, and now the temples are closed. I think President Nelson, and Joseph, and heavenly hosts must have wept as I. Satan must be jumping with delight. But little does he know we are in no way down and out. The faithful will return with a vengence ... this is only a timeout. We will soon be back in the game to win it, and the score will be amazing.
Amazing how the Lord uses dates. March 26, 1830 was the date the Book of Mormon was released for sale.That adds another reason to give credence to this date for the First Vision.
We should be grateful we don't know the exact day, at least from the Prophet Joseph Smith's accounts. President Hinckley said he did not know the exact location in the Sacred Grove where the First Vision occurred, but that if he did he "wouldn't tell anybody." He said people would want to make a shrine at that location. There used to be a number at the base of the older trees that I once noticed when visiting the Sacred Grove and on a subsequent visit the tags were gone. I inquired why they were removed and was told that people could look up the information about the age of the tree according to the tag number and that became unfortunately a distraction and a focus for visitors. So they removed them. I've observed how when someone thinks something looks like or reminds them of an event they immediately start to tell everyone, seeking for ratification, and then it spawns into a shrine and many persons suddenly have to see it too. Thank heavens we don't know the exact day---can you imagine the clutter that would encumber such a day as we move down the road to now 200 years of restored history? I have no need to know the exact day or the exact location within the many trees where the event occurred---what I need is the Spirit testifying that the even indeed took place. Speculation is fine; not condemning research and a well-written article, but don't want it to become a distraction to worship. It does however reinforce the event, though. Thanks for that.
We can sing, Oh How Lovely was the Morning, with greater understanding. Thanks for this timely testimony
If it really was 26 March, then those paintings of a green, leafy grove are incorrect. I was in the Sacred Grove on 2 April 2014, and there was not a leaf to be seen anywhere. We drove from Rochester, NY, to Palmyra, to Ithaca, NY (and then home to Colorado), and spring was not in evidence anywhere in the Northeast. I was thinking of Joseph's experience as we traveled, and that there would have been very little privacy in that grove in late March. It was all bare branches and you could see all the way through the undergrowth. Maybe these men need a field trip to the grove next March.
I loved your article… Found it most interesting… You have left “no stone unturned”! My first question when you started talking about “sugaring” was: “what does maple syrup/sugar have to do with the day/date of the first vision? Nearly everything! I grew up on a fairly large farm at the time in Magna, I know what hard work is required when harvest time is on… I am retired from the Navy civil service where I had the privilege as an aerospace engineer in the production of the trident missile. Had no idea about the production of maple sugar! I believe your date is correct!! Thank you for the effort/work that you have done. I am very pleased to have read your article on this very significant anniversary day in our church history!
When I first read this article or its predecessor on 2002 I was intrigued as to why that Sunday, why the 26 March 1820. The above article discusses in depth as to how it possibly happened to be that day but not why. May I suggest why. Christ returned and began instructing Joseph Smith how to prepare the world for the day He arrives back on earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His Father acknowledged the significance of that First Vision by introducing His Son to Joseph Smith possibly on the very day He is acknowledged in all Christendom as their Savior and King. What a perfect day and how significant it would be if the day of the Passover, Palm Sunday, which in 1820 was on 26 March, was the date of the First Vision of the Latter Days the very day 2000 odd years ago that he rode into Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords as they laid palm leaves before him as he entered Jerusalem.
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