Latter-day Saint Life

Joseph Smith’s Father Saw the Tree of Life 19 Years Before the Book of Mormon Was Published


Lehi and Nephi are not the only ones to have a vision of the Tree of Life. Joseph Smith’s father saw the Tree of Life vision at least 9 years before the First Vision and 19 years before the Book of Mormon was published!

Consider the vision of Joseph Smith, Sr. in 1811 as recorded in Lucy Mack Smith’s history compared back and forth with Lehi’s vision:

“I thought,” said [Joseph Smith, Sr.], “I was traveling in an open, desolate field which appeared to be very barren. As I was thus traveling, the thought suddenly came into my mind that I had better stop and reflect upon what I was doing before I went any farther. So I asked myself, ‘What motive can I have in traveling here, and what place can this be?’”

Notice in Lehi’s vision he says: “methought I saw in my dream, a dark and dreary wilderness.”

Joseph Smith, Sr. continues:

“My guide, who was by my side as before, said, ‘This is the desolate world, but travel on.’ The road was so broad and barren that I wondered why I should travel in it, for, said I to myself, ‘Broad is the road, and wide is the gate that leads to death, and many there be that walk therein; but narrow is the way, and strait is the gate that leads to everlasting life, and few there be that go in thereat.’”

Lehi recorded: “And it came to pass that as I followed him [his guide] I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.”

Joseph Smith, Sr. continued:

“Traveling a short distance further, I came to a narrow path. This path I entered, and, when I had traveled a little way in it, I beheld a beautiful stream of water which ran from the east to the west. Of this stream I could see neither the source nor yet the mouth, but as far as my eyes could extend I could see a rope, running along the bank of it about as high as a man could reach, and beyond me was a low but very pleasant valley in which stood a tree such as I had never seen before.

Lead image from Meridian Magazine. 
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