News Story

Sydney Latter-day Saints Hold Virtual Commemoration of Joseph Smith’s First Vision

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sydney commemorated the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision with a remote devotional featuring a special speaker and original artwork prepared to mark the occasion. 

Leo Gomez, President of the Liverpool Australia Stake (diocese), presented a message on ‘Lessons from the First Vision.’  In sharing about his own trip to the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York, President Gomez explained that the grove was really just Joseph Smith’s backyard. Joseph’s house, he taught, was so small that there was no space for him to find the privacy to pray vocally, so he went outside to a familiar place where he could be alone. He encouraged the participants that they, too, can go to their own private place to converse with God and He will answer.

President Gomez shared the important lessons he learnt from the First Vision: That repentance precedes revelation, answers to prayers are not instantaneous, God comes to us if we will come unto Him, and we can all share the message of the Restored Gospel.

Prior to President Gomez’ address, special acknowledgements were made to three works of art depicting the First Vision. The first of these was President Gomez’ painting of “Reuben in the Sacred Grove.” The painting was inspired by his son, Reuben, who was the same age as Joseph Smith when he knelt to ask God which church he should join. 12-year-old Kyotani Katieli sketched her impression of “The First Vision.” Finally, Danielle Dollery submitted a short story entitled, "The First Vision Defence." 

The Church’s pioneers suffered and endured many hardships, but they used music, song, poetry and stories to comfort, minister and to ‘be still’ to wait upon the word of God.

The devotional honoured the legacy of Joseph Smith’s prayer to ask which church to join and his heavenly visitation. Art and stories were a creative response to President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to worldwide members to prepare for a unique General Conference in April that will commemorate the 200 years since the First Vision. 

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