Changing First Vision Accounts - 1830 First Vision Account related to Peter Bauder
1830 — Interview of Joseph Smith by Peter Bauder, recounted by Bauder in his book The Kingdom and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, printed in 1834, pp. 36-38 (See Early Mormon Documents, vol.1, compiled by Dan Vogel, Signature Books, 1996, pp. 16-17).
Principle elements of account:
- Joseph Smith could give Bauder no “christian experience”, ie. no conversion experience or manifestation of saving grace in his life
- Smith claimed an angel told him where to find a secret treasure
- Smith returned once a year for several years before getting the plates
- Angel took the plates back after the translation
“I will name some of the particular discoveries which through Divine Providence I was favored with in an interview with Joseph Smith, Jr. at the house of Peter Whitmer, in the town of Fayette, Seneca County, state of New York, in October, 1830. I called at P[eter] Whitmer’s house for the purpose of seeing Smith, and searching into the mystery of his system of religion, and had the privilege of conversing with him alone, several hours, and of investigating his writings, church records, &c. I improved near four and twenty hours in close application with Smith and his followers; he could give me no christian experience, but told me that an angel told him he must go to a certain place in the town of Manchester, Ontario County, where was a secret treasure concealed, which he must reveal to the human family. He went, and after the third or fourth time, which was repeated once a year, he obtained a parcel of plate resembling gold, on which were engraved what he did not understand, only by the aid of a glass, which he also obtained with the plate, by which means he was enabled to translate the characters on the plate into English.”
It is noteworthy that after this interview with Bauder, Joseph adds to his accounts elements which would be considered a "Christian experience" ie. Bible reading, need for forgiveness, the divine pronouncement that his sins are forgiven.