First and Second Vision Stories: Development, History, and Magic

1st paper: This paper will present the historical background to the earliest and most complete written accounts of the first vision of Joseph Smith. The three most important descriptions were provided in 1832, 1835 and 1839, and all have different backgrounds and emphasis. Early developments came in 1835 when theological changes were being made in the Church. The most detailed telling was made during a period of persecution.
2nd paper: Smith family magic practices are well attested. But the relationship between obtaining plates of gold from a messenger, and Joseph Smith’s practice of magic remains unclear. Did Joseph Smith’s use of an 1801 book on ceremonial magic assist him in his quest for gold plates? I look at Francis Barrett’s The Magus and parallels to Lucy’s account of her son’s attempts to obtain the plates, including his encounters with good and evil beings, magic circles, the deity Abrac, and more. What can be learned from Lucy Mack Smith’s reminiscences and the instructions on ceremonial magic from The Magus?