The personal appearance of Jesus Christ and God the Father to Joseph Smith in the early spring of 1820 marks the most glorious event since the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. 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
I desired to paint “The First Vision of the Restoration” in such a way that others might know Joseph’s experience in every detail, as if they had been there. I shot the background to be used for this painting in Manchester, New York on April 30, 2007, in the grove of trees located on Joseph Smith Sr.’s farm. When Joseph went into the woods that early spring to find out what sect of faith he should join, he not only received an answer to this question, but for me a revelation of even greater import was revealed. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ were separate, distinct, tangible beings with whom Joseph communicated in a personal way, face to face. Joseph Smith Jr.’s experience in 1820 revealed that God, as in times past, desires to guide His children today as they humbly seek Him for answers. – Michael Bedard