"...that giveth to all men liberally..."
After his discovery from reading, Joseph felt the desire in his heart to know for himself which church was true. He chose a quiet place in the woods where he could receive revelation and knelt down. Following the direction from the scriptures, Joseph offered up the desires of his heart in prayer to God. As he began to pray, a dark power came over him, binding his tongue, yet Joseph found the strength within himself to call to God. Then, as bright as the noonday sun, Joseph saw a pillar of light above his head.
Why is it important to seek God's counsel for our questions?
"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.“… When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
-Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17
"Joseph Smith’s First Vision is the key to unlocking many truths that had been hidden for centuries. Let us not forget or take for granted the many precious truths we have learned from the First Vision."
- Richard J. Mayne
Joseph asked God which of the churches he should join, but to his surprise, he was instructed to not join any of them. God revealed that his true church and doctrines were not on the earth and needed to be restored by His authority and through Joseph Smith.
"When he found out that none were right, he began to inquire of the Lord what was right, and he learned for himself. Was he aware of what was going to be done? By no means. He did not know what the Lord was going to do with him."
What sources do you trust and seek for personal truth regarding your testimony?
"I have never read anywhere, that I know of, of the same power manifested in any dispensation to the children of men, which was manifested to the Prophet of God in the organization of this Church, when the Father and the Son both appeared to the Prophet Joseph in answer to his prayer. … This was an important revelation, which has never been manifested in the same manner in any dispensation of the world, that God has given concerning His work. So in its organization, the Prophet of God was administered to by the angels of heaven. They were his teachers, they were his instructors, and all that he did, and all that he performed from the commencement, from that day to the day of his martyrdom, was by the revelation of Jesus Christ"
-Wilford Woodruff, Millennial Star, April 28, 1890, 258