Do First Vision Accounts Contradict as to How Many Personages? No.

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Response:  Joseph Smith explains, in all but one uncompleted version, that two personages were present.

In the 1832 account, which appears to never have been completed, two personages were not explicitly mentioned.  But Joseph did not say that he saw only one personage.

[1832 Account, pg 3, line 18]

Rather, Joseph simply explained that he saw “the Lord,.” with reference to Jesus Christ.  As discussed above, the primary point of this account was to communicate that Joseph had  obtained a forgiveness of his sins.  Such forgiveness would have occurred in a discussion between Joseph and “the Lord.”  In fact, it appears that the entire  communication that took place in the vision, other than the eight-word introduction by the Father, was between Joseph and Jesus Christ.  Of course, the presence of the Savior would not necessarily preclude the presence of the Father.  Joseph’s failure to explicitly mention the Father in the earliest version has caused some believers to ponder whether he felt that this portion of the experience was too sacred to share at that time, whether his understanding of the Godhead was still developing, whether he was constrained from mentioning the Father until later revelations came, or whether  he simply did not think that the Father’s presence was appropriate for the audience and/or his primary point.  One other point about the 1832 version: A careful reading implies that Joseph may have actually experienced the vision in two, distinct parts, and he may have only been describing one part of the vision.

When we sincerely and truthfully retell the story of any experience we have, it is very natural to emphasize different elements of that story and leave out other elements depending on the setting of the telling. We often draw upon a personal experience to express a certain lesson learned or to prove a particular argument. It would be strange to relate all that occurred in that experience when only certain parts pertained to the idea we wanted to express.

It is obvious that this is exactly what is happening with the different accounts of the first vision. It is important to notice that in all of the different accounts of Joseph telling this story there is nothing in any of the accounts that contradicts anything in the others.

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