Testimony is a very personal and sacred thing.  The more profound the feeling, the more difficult it often is to share.  Because of the upcoming special conference, I strongly feel that I need to share my unusual personal witness of the first vision.  I’m willing to bare my soul to share the most powerful yet tender experience of my life, so that maybe it will give you pause to reflect on your own testimony. 

Thirty Year Journey of Faith

Joseph Smith was 14 when he was recipient of his world-altering vision where he experienced the glory of Gods and Angels.  WhenI was about that same age, I began to examine his experience.  I asked my father lots of questions about the Church.  I was especially interested in the first vision and began to pray to know for myself if this event really occurred, but I received nothing.  When I got to be 19 or 20, I stepped up my prayers, but still had no confirmation.

As I got in my mid-20’s I began fasting about it.  It became a tremendous focus in my life.  I just HAD to know!  Because of this diligent attention to spiritual things, my testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Christ became unshaken, as I received the inner peace and knowledge that they were truth.  I could therefore rationalize that since they were true, Joseph must have had the first vision, (and I BELIEVED with all my heart that he did), but why couldn’t I KNOW it?  Why wouldn’t the Lord give me personal witness as He had to so many thousands of others?

Spiritual Anguish

It became an obsession! I would read every Conference talk that spoke about the first vision, over and over. I felt the truth in them, and my soul was “moved,” but not satisfied.  I needed my own knowledge!

 I prayed with great intent, I fasted, I wept, I cried,

 “Heavenly Father, why can’t you let me KNOW this thing?” 

I felt rejected, dejected and excluded from the spiritual food that I craved.

“What’s wrong with me?  I know that many others know that it’s true, because I can feel that they know, so why don’t you tell ME?” 

Lest you think I was in a spiritual darkness, I wasn’t.  My life was wonderful for the most part.  I had spiritual experiences often and learned many profound lessons during this time.  I felt that my channel was wide open to receive the fruits of the spirit and the joy of the gospel, but just not this thing, which is why it was so frustrating.  It was always on my mind, and I had faith that if I just studied, prayed, fasted enough (and was patient), the answer would eventually come.  I was right!

ONE DAY, after 25 years of pleading, I was out jogging, praying and weeping about this spiritual trial.  My heart felt raw as I once again petitioned for this knowledge.  I had fasted hundreds of times; written songs about it; painted paintings about it; read hundreds of testimonies of people who did know, as well as scripture.  What more could I do?  I was spent!  I remember begging for the hundred- thousandth time,

            “Will you please give it to me?”

And this time, I heard the piercing words in my soul,

            “I will through the veil.” 

I knew that voice! I knew that something wonderful was coming.  I just didn’t know when.. 

The Revelation

I continued praying, fasting, pondering, reading and beseeching. Finally, about five years later, it came,- the breathless transcendent part of my experience…

Suddenly… I felt a hushed reverence as the veil parted, and I became privy to one of the most sacred manifestations in mortal history. I was there – in the sacred grove.

I wasn’t able to see anything because I wasn’t allowed to see, and I didn’t hear anything, because I wasn’t allowed to hear, – but somehow, beyond time and space, I could FEEL the expansive light that broke all spiritual barriers!  I was immersed in THE GLORY of the Father and the Son as they spoke to Joseph! There was a glowing spiritual substance and sustenance that filled me.  It was indescribable, and magnificent! 

I don’t know how long I was there, but I could feel this experience was indelibly imprinted and sealed to my heart and mind. At last, after over 30 years, I KNEW! And I knew they knew! The first vision had become an absolute reality to me.  I had felt the Glory of God!

From that experience on, I had NO more desire to ask about it, which had been my default for over 30 years.  My seeking mind was totally satisfied, and my soul did rest.

The Profound Realization

Shortly after my marvelous experience, I had the profound realization pour over me, that the feeling of Glory that I experienced in the grove was just a heightened, magnified expansion of what I had felt all along, when I had the spirit with me. 

Turns out, I had the answer all along, but my mind and heart hadn’t been recognizing it.

New Dispensation of Glory!

Light, truth and glory are essentially synonymous.[1]  Think back to times where you have felt a delicious outpouring of the spirit; perhaps in a meeting, in the quiet stillness of your own personal study, or in a moment of inspiration. What you are feeling is the GLORY of God!  

These penetrating feelings come as we gain and increase our testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  President Russell M. Nelson asks us to seek this Glory.  He said:

            “…immerse yourself in the glorious light of the Restoration.” [2]

I hope that what I wrote will be felt in the spirit in which I wrote it.  I add my witness to the countless others who have also borne testimony of the first vision and Gospel of light.   Do you feel the glory?  I bet you do.

You Can CONTACT Anne at an********@ho*****.com

[1]Doctrine and Covenants 84:45

[2]Russel M. Nelson, churchofjesuschrist.org/blog/my-2020-invitation-to-you-share-the-message-of-the-restoration-of-the-saviors-gospel?lang=eng, Italics added.