Alfred Douglas Young, an early convert to the Church, was conversing with his brother on the morning of September 17, 1841, about the principles of the gospel, when he was constrained by the Spirit to go to some secret place to meditate. This is his story.
“On the following morning September 17th about nine o’clock my brother and myself were sitting on the trunk of a tree in front of his house talking on the principles of the gospel. While conversing a spirit came over me which created a sensation as if a quantity of blood warm water was poured over me coming onto my head first. I was filled with light, peace and joy. I was impressed to retire into some secret place. As I arose to my feet I asked my brother if he would go with me.
“As we walked he continued to speak on the principles of the gospel and the gifts that had been made manifest, but I had little to say as I was in deep meditation. When we had retired about 200 paces from the house into a piece of heavy timber I saw a light burst through the tops of the trees a little southeast of me. I was wrapped in a light which far exceeded the light of the sun. A personage appeared clothed in a white robe exceeding in brightness the light of the sun. Around his head this light gathered into a halo of brightness exceeding in intensity everything else around. He was dressed in white robes and his feet were bare. My nature could not bear the presence of this glorious person and I sank to the ground.
“My brother, walking by my side, as he afterwards stated, saw my countenance change and that I was sinking to the ground. He took hold of my clothes at the breast and let me gently down. This much I do know that my spirit went out of my body and stood just over it, and gazed at it and my brother standing by it. Whether or not my spirit was commanded to come out of my body by the personage in whose presence I was, I know not.
“The personage or angel said to me, ‘Follow thou me.’ He ascended upwards in the direction from whence he came and I followed him. He took me into the presence of God the Father and of His Son Jesus Christ, with the exception there was a rail between us; but I saw Them seated on a throne. I had in my hands many sheaves of wheat of the purest white. There was an altar on my left hand and also one directly in front of me. The one on my left appeared to be about three feet in height; the one in front about eighteen inches. I laid the sheaves of wheat that were in my hands on the altar to my left as an offering to the Lord. I bowed myself on my knees on the altar in front of me which was also in front of the throne. I prayed God the Father in the name of His Son Jesus Christ to accept of the offering I had laid upon the altar.
“While I prayed, the rail was removed and I stood upon my feet. Jesus arose and stepped from the side of his Father and came near where I stood. I was in their presence and I gazed upon their glory.
“Jesus then said to me, ‘Your offering is accepted and wouldst thou know the interpretation thereof?’ I replied, ‘Yes, Lord.’ The angel, my conductor, said, ‘Look,’ and I saw as it were, an innumerable company that had come up from all nations, kindreds and peoples around the thrown[sic] of God and they fell down and worshipped him and gave glory to Him. Jesus then said, ‘These are they; thou shalt be the means of bringing into my Father’s kingdom and this is the interpretation of the offering thou hast laid upon the altar.’
“Jesus continued to speak and shewed me many things pertaining to His Father’s kingdom. One thing I am at liberty to tell; the others I am not. He told me to look. I looked and saw that there were neither sun nor moon to give light but the Father and His Son were the light that lighted all the kingdoms of the world. This is all of the vision of the celestial world that I am permitted to write.
“The angel said again to me, ‘Look.’ I looked and beheld a lesser kingdom, typified by the moon. It received its light from the celestial kingdom and the inhabitants thereof seemed to exceed those of the celestial world, but the glory was not equal to that of the celestial. I saw many angels descending and ascending between the celestial and terrestrial worlds. I saw the angels descending and ascending between the terrestrial and telestial worlds and administering to the inhabitants of the latter. The glory of the telestial seemed great but not of that of the terrestrial.
“The angel said again to me, ‘Look.’ As I looked I beheld another world in which the inhabitants appeared to be less in number than in any of the other. It was neither one of light or of glory; but one of suffering. It was shaded with darkness. It appeared to be a pit; and a thick darkness of smoke ascended upwards as far as I could see. The inhabitants appeared to be suffering beyond anything I can describe. This passed from my vision. For a short time the angel withdrew from me and I was left alone.”(Alfred Douglas Young, “Autobiographical Journal,” 1808-1842, pp. 3-13.)