|His humble prayer was answered!|
I know. It's only been one day since the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research's (FAIR) annual conference, but since I wasn't able to attend (it was held in Utah) or stream it live, I've been anxiously waiting for some of the conference presentations to be posted online.
My patience is rewarded. The first on the scene is Don Bradley's talk (here) on the original context of Joseph Smith's First Vision narrative, answering the question of whether Joseph's narrative points to origins in the 1830s, as some critics claim, or in the 1820s, as Mormons maintain. Bradley examines the evidence and concludes that if Joseph had been making up his story in the 1830s, the story would be couched in that context. Rather, Joseph's narrative firmly rests in the context of when he claimed it happened, in Joseph's own words, "on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty."
With Bradley, I give it as my own conviction that "Joseph Smith entered the Sacred Grove a boy and left it a prophet and seer."
(Image credit goes to Walter Rane, one of my favorite Mormon artists.)