Moroni saw me daily
We were having Family Home Evening, FHE, with my mother-in-law visiting, taking turns describing paintings depicting Bible Stories.
I was in a foul mood, but went through my story about The Good Samaritan and a brief discussion about the impropriety of a castaway such as a Samaritan helping a Jew, and how it compared to today's society. Who would be the Jew and who would be the Good Samaritan?
A few others took turns describing various stories and showing paintings. My oldest son's Bible story was about the Prodigal Son. He gave a summary of the story but it had a profound impact on the meeting, on me!
The Prodigal Son following:
"...A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living."
"And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine."
"And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants."
"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
"Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
"And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
"But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found."
Fatted Calf Party!!!
After much reason, we came to a consensus that the steady son, the good son was upset that he did not get a party. The father explained to him that he, the good son, has all that there is from the father, but the other son has returned from the world and should be celebrated.
Any time a person returns from being lost it should be a celebration. The good son was never lost. He did not get a party because he was never lost. He never lost sight of his inheritance.
We decided that we were all prodigal sons returning to God. All except my mother-in-law seemed happy about the discussion.
She said, "Look. I understand that the prodigal son was a sinner and he returned to God; but I been wondering since I was a little girl why didn't the older son get a party! I can identify with the older son being that I am the oldest in my family. I think he should have a party too. I don't care that he owns everything. He didn't get a party!"
We all started laughing, but we seriously thought about what she said. I thought the Good son should have gotten a party too; I just never voiced it.
Mom was brave for sharing her feelings about a set of verses that she had not really come to terms with for years. She voiced it and found that it is fine to have a question about what you believe.
It does not mean that you are falling away from God to question verses in the Bible that you don't understand.
We were all laughing when I promised Mom that we would have a party for the Good Son the next week since she was flying back to home.
THE BIGGER POINT
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the presiding council of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2008 to 2018) made a profound statement when he perpetuated the teaching of Fred Francis Bosworth from his 1924 book entitled Christ The Healer.
President Uchtdorf instructs:
"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."
Speaking in earnest to Christians who may have lost their way because of an unkind word or a misunderstood or hurtful teaching President Uchtdorf continues:
"We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."
The point is: When doubts arise, question them! Your faith has been there much longer than one doubt.
If your doubts are found to be warranted, pray about it and allow God to direct your paths, while still practicing your faith in Jesus Christ.
Lessons of the Past
Moroni did not seek celebrity. As the commander of the military of his nation, his chief concern was to keep it FREE of those who sought celebrity. Moroni, Captain Moroni's story is located in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. During his service to his people, an ethnicity referred to as Nephites, named after the most influential leader of their past, Nephi, Moroni experienced many battles with dissenters from his nation and another ethnic group of Lamanites, also named after the most notable leader of its past, Laman.
Between 73 and 72 B.C., a shift in religious culture took place. Alma, the son of Alma passed the commission to lead the Church of God to his son, Helaman. This cultural shift created ripples for the Nephites, though the civil authorities remained consistent since the election of Nephihah to the Chief Judgeship in about 86 B.C. The cultural shift occurred because of the ebb and flow nature of spiritual decline in the nation and a moral value change among the more privileged classes of Nephites.
Some of the people wanted to shift away from the democracy established by the last King, Mosiah, toward another monarchial government. The person spearheading this new cultural and political movement was Amalickiah, the person who wanted to become the new king of the Nephites. "He was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake." (Alma 46:10)
Moroni was horrified that some people wanted to change the political system from a democracy to a subjugating monarchy after experiencing a victory months previous against the invading Lamanites armies. "It came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah," the brewer of contention in the nation and man seeking celebrity to become King. (Alma 46:11)
Moroni remembered the lesson learned from the wicked King Noah who caused the people to reject the Christian religion and kill the prophet, Abinadi, who confronted him, found in The Book of Mosiah, chapters 11-19.
Out of Abinadi's tragic death grew the Church of Christ (Church of God) formed under the direction of Alma, Helaman's grandfather (and former high priest of King Noah) constituting a separation of church and state for the first time among the Nephites. Under the leadership of its third High Priest, Helaman, the Church of Jesus Christ thrived. Perhaps, as a student of history, Moroni thought that a king could destroy the Church’s autonomy, possibly, definitely.
Moroni understood that his people could not afford to descend into internal turmoil with the constant threat of invasion due to the frequent dissent of disillusioned citizens. Captain Moroni's nation constructed the vehicle of its own destruction. Greed--the promise of power--and pride threatened a noble nation destruction. Captain Moroni would not let it happen on his watch, and it did not!
Moroni envisioned, two thousand years ago, a land of liberty. His contemporaries wanted to snatch that dream and liberty away. Unless all Nephite citizens desired liberty, freedom was tenuous. Moroni struggled to keep freedom against government sanctioned classism called a monarchy.
Kingdom or Freedom
Amalickiah, rivaled for the liberty of the people, wanting to gather up the freedoms of the people and dispense them to those whom he desired. He wanted to be king, but not just over his birth nation, he wanted to rule all the nations associated with his society, including their enemies referred to as Lamanites in Scripture! That's getting ahead, however.
Amalickiah asserted, power would always rest in possession of a few families in his society due to inheritance. Not unlike politics in many modern nations, a certain class of people ruled society; though, the possibility that others could step into leadership did. Such an occurrence was slim then and now. It existed, though.
Amalickiah only wanted to change who possessed the power and what type of power leaders held so that he could have it all. No possibility of any others to lead would exist in his power structure. To stop this, the Title of Liberty Moroni started rooted out Amalickiah’s design in the Nephite nations. Unfortunately, it also led to one of the most bitter battles of Nephite history.
Moroni supplicated to God with the understanding that He would not allow the Christians cause, freedom, to cease unless the believers themselves brought that end due to disobedience. He petitioned the Lord to keep the Nephites free, and dedicated himself further to freedom's cause. Satisfied he enlisted heaven's aid, Moroni went throughout the nation campaigning for freedom opposite Amalickiah’s campaign for a monarchy.
Captain Moroni petitioned the people, saying, “Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them,” (Alma 46:20) The Title of Liberty.
The people responded overwhelmingly in favor of freedom and liberty, to the consternation of Amalickiah, who fled the land in response--joining his nation's enemies. Nephite citizens took a promise before God to maintain the rights of free people to act and worship with only God as their King. Those Amalickiah left behind and could not flee either accepted this Title of Liberty entering a covenant to maintain liberty or suffered capital punishment. It became a capital offense to desire any type of government other than one offering freedom of religion and democracy. Each citizen took an oath to maintain freedom.
Nephites did not have the right to speak against the government outside of choosing the next chief judge or judges. Moroni effectively and lawfully made it illegal to try to change the structure of Nephite Government with the Title of Liberty, which became a recognized label throughout Nephite culture following--keeping the government democratic until its defeat nearly 500 years later.
Any time God has representation on the earth where He institutes His laws in a nation, that nation will be a free nation to religion, if nothing else! Freedom to choose is a right God desires for all people in every land. Until all people are free to worship and exercise dominion over their individual lives, as Moroni believed, freedom is tenuous.
Growing up in a traditionally Black Church in the South, Pentecostal, Holiness, and Baptist, I miss cultural aspects of my religious heritage that I've not found other places: dancing, shouting, and praising!
My children, born in the covenant and raised in the truths of inspired prophets through membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do not share the cultural connection to African American heritage that type of worship brings.
Even when I introduce them to the love-inspired dance and praise worship I cherished as a church-going kid, they wonder what it's all about when the Spirit comes to us without a need for all of the dancing and the shouting.
About A Feeling
It wasn't about the Spirit, if I'm honest, and I am. For me, it was about the cultural experience of group worship. It was about being in a sea of people that looked like me is what I miss.
It's about saying, "Good Morning," to the congregation and feeling the roar of the responding "Good Morning!"
That feels like home, to me.
I feel the Spirit at home. It is not the dancing or the shouting that brings the Spirit, but the welcome.
I know when I go to a predominantly African American Church, a Holiness Church more times than not, I am welcome. I am home, I am accepted, I am a part of, I am included, and I am family.
I've felt that way in the Atlanta Ward of the Atlanta Stake in Georgia, United States.
I've felt that while serving as a missionary for The Church in South Africa--simply because everyone tended to look similar to me, a seas of shades of brown skin and black hair.
I felt understood at Church there immediately without having to explain myself because we all had a common appearance and struggle, a shared struggle or wrestle with Western culture!
Now, I feel awkward purposefully gathering together trying to feel that acceptance. I did not have to "try" in Atlanta Ward or on my mission, or when I go to African American churches. It just happens. In most of my missionary service and at most of the Wards, congregations, members gathered to Church. Most, if not all of us were Black.
Purposefully gathering does create some of that feeling of belonging, but it can also feel forced--too much so at times. Satan is about force. God is about feeling.
Notice all of the feelings and felts mentioned above.
One method of bringing the influence of the Spirit is through sharing personal experiences, and another, through showing love and concern--feelings.
I relate all of this to share the following video.
Please, Saints, don't listen to what Sister Shirley Caesar says about the dead church and claim it as ours, which is the living Church in TRUTH!
The dead church is the one that doesn't allow its members to feel like they belong.
Nearly a millennia of history attested of the brilliance of the Nephite nation erased from time by ethnic cleansing. Three hundred and eighty-four years following the birth of Jesus Christ, the nation of Nephites marshaled an army of approximately 230,000 strong to battle against as a group known among them only as Lamanites, not numbered due to their numbers. The dead of the Nephites, at least, numbered above a quarter-million to a half-million souls including women and children following the debacle. Mormon, a man who believed in Jesus Christ, historian, and commander of a powerful military produced a record, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, detailing the winding-up scenes of his nation’s existence. People deserted to flee the slaughter. Many of these escaped. Some even blended into the new order of things. For Mormon, his life was spent, in this early to mid-seventies at the time. He fell wounded in the last great battle surviving with 24 other people--his son Moroni among them.
Mormon buried the historical records in Cumorah to hide from the invading Lamanites and left out his abridgment for Moroni, recording last words in that abridgment before relinquishing it to him and being killed by Lamanites.
Mormon bore testimony of Jesus Christ to the seed of Lehi (and the world) in a distant time, etching of the peaceable things of the kingdom of God.
Teachings of Mormon permeates the entire record declaring Jesus slain and resurrected to bring redemption to mankind. Testifying Jesus will usher His disciples into the heavens for eternal glory and happiness; inviting all to repent and come unto Christ through baptism and the Holy Ghost; he testified the Bible, should be followed as well as his abridgment. Specifically speaking to the literal descendants of the children of Lehi, he promised that his abridgment would help them know that they are of the House of Israel, closing, “and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen.” Mormon 7:10
The prophetic and poetic words of Mormon show no more as Moroni takes trust with the survival of the Nephite history. Though Mormon completed the majority of the abridgment, multiples prophets, kings, and others kept the records safe for Mormon to do his work. Mormon's words have helped change the lives of millions of people in the latter days before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each person introduced to Jesus Christ because of Mormon's witness through the Book of Mormon owes him a debt of gratitude.
Mormon fought a fight that could not be won and stayed true to Christ to the very end. He was killed because he believed in Jesus Christ. The great general laid down his life at the hands of his enemies and left a legacy of faith in The Book of Mormon, which is another testimony of Jesus Christ.
The Nephites seem to have had different relationships with other peoples who lived on the American continents. Where the Lamanites blended with other cultures, it seemed the Nephites stood apart and unique from other cultures in the winding down scenes of their history--conjecture since none of it is in the record as presently constituted.
Lehi's seed is a mixture of the sons and daughters of Lehi and Ishmael and the former servant of Laban, Zoram quite possibly with other ethnicities who lived on the American continents. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not take a position on where the party that formed the Nephite and Lamanite nations landed, constituting the reason this article uses the term “American Continents” instead of a singular term. Researchers from Latter-day Saint heritage and others have different ideas of where the civilizations in The Book of Mormon could have occurred. Prevalent folklore in Latter-day Saint culture centers around the Natives of the Americas and the island as descendants of Lehi whether by Lamanite or Nephite blood according.
During Mormon's era, the Nephite and Lamanite division was not a matter of family history so much as politically created ethnicities. Much of the history in Mormon’s record suggests that Laman and Lemuel, the eldest sons of Lehi fathered the Lamanite nation and all people of Lamanite descent come from them. A careful read of the record indicates that Lamanite heritage changed after about 500 years to mean people associating with those against the Nephites. In fact, there are examples in Mormon’s record where Nephites who betrayed the nation boldly affirmed new Lamanite heritage.
When the Lamanites rebelled in 320 A. D., they did not do genetic tests to determine if they were descendants of Laman or Lemuel. This group of people, a mixture of all the seeds, made a conscious decision to separate from the government to form a new nation with separate customs and beliefs. These rebels purposely took the name of Lamanite, which probably meant something semantically different than what it meant 300 years earlier.
This group opposed the Gospel of Jesus Christ so much that they rebelled against it and withheld it from their children! In the final battles, the Lamanites fighting the wars were not former Christians, but the children of former Christians with no cultural ties to Christ.
The Nephites were a mixture of the seeds of Lehi who did not reject the cultural ties to the Church of Jesus Christ but did reject the Church and its teachings in full apostasy. Patriotism was the call for most Nephites. In this new patriotism, religious guarantees existed, because Mormon and Moroni identified as Christians. From the things Moroni and Mormon included in their record, other Christians existed, but only as long as the Nephite government existed to protect them.
The new grievances of the new Lamanites were not the same as from the beginning--that the Nephites robbed their fathers of the rightful governance of the people. Now, their excuse was pure hatred. So bitter came the hatred of these new Lamanites toward the Church of Christ that Moroni wrote, “because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ. And I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ; wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life.” [Moroni 1:23] Two groups of the mixture of the seeds of Lehi warred with each other--cousins fighting.
Genealogical records existed, kept so families could trace their ancestry back to Lehi as Mormon recorded, “I am Mormon, and a pure descendant of Lehi. I have reason to bless my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, that he brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, and that he hath given me and my people so much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls.” 3 Nephi 5:20 Possibly this means Mormon traced his paternal heritage back to Lehi--not necessitating his maternal heritage consist of Lehi, especially since all the sons of Lehi Married the daughters of Ishmael. Mormon’s heritage most logically consisted of a mixture of the seeds of all the peoples of the Nephites and Lamanites with a direct paternal line to Lehi. Since other ancestral groups existed due to the Lord leading other groups to that portion of the Americas, Mormon felt it prudent to point out his genealogy.
Laman, a villain in the record akin to Satan himself, could be his ancestor making him still a descendant of Lehi. Because he is righteous, and how closely associated righteousness is with Nephite heritage, generally, people would assume that Mormon was of Nephi’s family line. Mormon does not indicate that his lineage to Lehi is through Nephi, Sam, Lemuel, Laman (the original four brothers), Jacob, or Joseph in the records available currently. Assumptions come from folklore.
"I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle. And it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites did grant unto me the thing which I desired." [Mormon 6:2-3]
The king of the Lamanites at this time felt confident that his armies could defeat Mormon. How could he not? Mormon’s disadvantage, besides the Nephites rejecting all things holy, came from the constant defectors to the Lamanite armies who gave up every tactical strategy once they deserted, possibly. The record does not go into detail about those who left or the multiple reasons the Nephites lost. Mormon contributed every defeat to the spiritual decadence of his people: yet, he strove with them. He boldly called them to arms as he spent almost a year preparing his armies in the south for the campaigns that followed.
contract with God
Fifth-century life proved difficult for Mormon, a man who believed in Jesus Christ who also commanded a powerful military until his life ended at the hands of his enemies. His record became The Book of Mormon.
Why did the Nephite nation start to decline when it appeared it tactically had the advantage in the land of Desolation? The answer rests in the words Mormon records. Mormon 4:4 in The Book of Mormon, states that "it was because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites that they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them."
At odds with Mormon, the downfall of the Nephite nation came because it committed an act of aggression for the first time in almost a thousand years of existence!
Nullifying their contract with God, which hung by a thread, this final thread, the Nephites took it upon themselves to attack the Lamanites out of vengeance. Not only did this nation forswear itself and commit unholy acts, but also it dared to enforce its sins by attacking an enemy that was no more wicked than was it! Until that point, the Nephites were still innocent of aggression. The Nephites, by doing this thing without sanction from the Lord, cast the last tie to God off saying, "We don't need God. We will avenge our dead and revile God’s prophets!"
Formula For A Winning Military
Mormon gives the formula for a winning military in the 43rd chapter of the book of Alma. During that time in 74 B.C., Captain Moroni headed the armies of Nephi against a different group of Lamanites who fought for Monarchy and power. Nephites fought for their families, liberty, and religion--they were also not the aggressors. Alma 43:46 states, “they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies.”
God decreed the Nephites should not suffer themselves to be slain if they are not guilty of the first and second offenses committed against them. Mormon recorded it as a witness! God DID NOT instruct the Nephites to attack the Lamanites after two offenses but to DEFEND their lands. Unlike the Canaanites in the old country whom God told the Israelites to destroy, the Lamanites were not to be destroyed because of the blessing that was placed upon them by God that they should remain.
When the Nephites decided to attack the Lamanites, it weakened their position not only physically, by decimating their armies, but putting them at odds with the decree of God He gave through Father Lehi in 2nd Nephi 4 that his seed shall not utterly be destroyed. Not that the Nephites would have destroyed the seed of Lehi if they had stood triumphant against the Lamanites since the Nephites also were of the seed of Lehi.
Fifth-century life proved difficult for Mormon, a Christian, a man who believed in Jesus Christ who also commanded a powerful military until his life ended at the hands of his enemies. His record became a book with his name, The Book of Mormon. The period covered describes events in his life before the battle at Cumorah, the last stand of the Nephite government, and the finale of Mormon’s mortal life.
Several reasons give importance to the land of Cumorah to both the people of Nephi and modern Saints. Firstly, Mormon took all of the records that he used for The Book of Mormon and hid them in the land of Cumorah in a hill of the same name. At no time did Mormon indicate that he placed The Book of Mormon in the hill. He gave that record to Moroni. Mormon had a thousand years of records from his civilization to comb through to make his record besides the Brass Plates, which contained a record since the days of Adam and Eve.
It appears that Mormon hid those records because he understood that the Lamanites wanted to obtain them to destroy them, “having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni.” [Mormon 6:6].
The Lamanites took a charge to purge the land of everything associated with the Nephites. History shows, successfully. Ethnic cleansing is not something unique to modern times. Mormon hid the source records he used to make the Gold Plates he gave to Moroni. He abridged information from documents hundreds of rulers, kings, scribes, and prophets recorded for a millennium to produce what the modern world calls The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Cumorah provided some type of strategic vantage for Mormon to accomplish something if only to hand off the Gold Plates to Moroni and establish a path to help him do what he eventually did, run! General Mormon left the command of the Nephite military because of its wickedness at one time. To give Moroni an advantage in preserving the record, his prophetic work, Mormon needed to lead the rowdy, unruly, and distinctively ferocious men to battle, using all that muscle and ferocity to service God in some way, to preserve the record.
Calculating the battle plans and the disparity that existed between his armies and the armies of his foes, Mormon witnessed how the Nephite military suffered at the hands of the Lamanites with such intensity as the wars raged on into final battles. The lands of Desolation. once peopled by the ancient Jaredites--possibly the Olmecs--then the descendants of the People of Ammon who converted to the version of Judaism practice among the Nephites fell to the Lamanites who spread through the Northern Lands like debilitating cancer, killing Christians. Mormon returned to his post and would fight.
No one knows where Cumorah or the hill exists where those records rest. Moroni never divulged that he would bury the Gold Plates, The Book of Mormon, in the same place his father hid the library of the Nephite nation. In fact, why would Moroni return to that tragic place to inter the record?
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have differing views on the location of the hill in Cumorah and the land of Cumorah; though tradition and folklore place the hill in Palmyra, New York, where a resurrected Moroni led Joseph Smith II to the plates buried by mortal Moroni sometime after the final battle of the Nephites as a nation. Many refer to the hill in Palmyra as the Hill Cumorah regardless of the correct location of the last battle or the fact that no other records surfaced from that hill.
Read The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
The Pearl of Great Price details portions of the history of a prophet extolled by the faithful for his righteous works and bemoaned by detractors for his foibles, Joseph Smith. It details some of the things Moroni instructed on multiple recorded visits.One of the impending prophecies Moroni informed Joseph rests in Isaiah 11, the entire chapter!
Moroni quoted Isiah’s writings regarding the Millennial reign of Christ and the condition of life at that time, instructing Joseph Smith that the reign of Christ will soon come upon the world, which could happen within the next 100 to 300 years--comparing the modern timeline to the pattern established in the record of The Book of Mormon. The meeting occurred almost 200 years ago between Joseph Smith and Moroni, September 21, 1823.
Joseph Smith reported Moroni quoted scripture that prophesied the coming of Jesus Christ in mortality by Moses confirming what the apostles taught in the Bible. Word for word did Moroni quoted to the 17-year-old boy Joseph, Joel 2:28-32 revealing that it was about to be fulfilled in 1823.
The last 200 years are evidence those verses in Joel have and are fulfilled daily! A long list of the different promises the Lord made through Moroni to Joseph currently happening is a testament to the truths establish and reaffirmed in the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, the advent of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—for I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven…” [Doctrine and Covenants 1:30-32]
Joel wrote, Moroni quoted, and I adapted the following 16 thing modern society has to look forward to and benefits from:
The bulleted promises, blessings, scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, aeronautic splendors, communication marvels, etc… are in the process of fulfillment if not completed!
Just like Moroni's father Mormon, Joseph was a humble lad and easy to entreat. Moroni capitalized on Joseph's malleability to appear to him at the right moment to give him instructions about eternal things. He repeated himself five times--three times at home, one time in the field before instructing Joseph to include his father, Joseph Smith Senior, and again at the site of the gold plates--to make sure Joseph did not forget at such a tender age to record later, which he did.
Sidney B. Sperry (1895-1977) explores the entire message Moroni could have given to Joseph Smith according to his article, Moroni Expounds Old Testament Scriptures [link]. Sperry provides an excellent appraisal of what Joseph Smith and Moroni possibly exchanged in those visitations.
Moroni could see things unfolding in the boy's face speaking directly for the Savior, revealing in great earnest his message--knowing that he would visit Joseph four more times to complete the very same message.
Two more times in a crowded bedroom of his siblings and parents, once in the field as he headed to his home to rest after the fatigue from the three in the night, and another time after his father told him to follow the instructions of Moroni to go to the location of the gold plates.
Besides the written words in the many documents about his visits to Joseph Smith by historians and researchers, Moroni used four years to instruct Joseph. Joseph did not write all of his visions and visitation in records. Sacred experiences meant for the Church and the world he published. Others, he cherishes privately even in post-mortal memory.
Satan had four years to tempt Joseph in between the visits.
Fortunately, and in the words of the official record of Joseph Smith regarding the record Moroni loaned to Joseph, "by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day," Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith History 1:60.
All truths God revealed since the creation of the world, and more, began to fall upon the earth preparing for authority to act in God’s name following the visit of the Father and the Son to Joseph Smith, and Moroni’s visits to introduce The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
The message of restoration held such importance that Moroni repeatedly visited the 17-year-old Joseph prior to showing him the location of the gold plates! Above that, once a year, for four years, did he further instruct Joseph before permitting access to the plates, totaling nine reported meetings--including the meeting at the location of the plates!
Restoring the gospel in the last days to what it was during the Meridian times constitutes a small portion of what God plans for the final scenes of the mortal earth.
Social changes, scientific breakthroughs, medical discoveries, and political firsts changed the world in preparation for the greatest time in human history of knowledge since the days of the City of Enoch or the times of Adam and Eve! The Last Days are greater than these!
Moroni demonstrated to Joseph Smith the sacred nature and importance of passing his charge, the record his father created, into mortal hands again. On the sacrosanct night of September 21, 1823, three years following the visit of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father to the 14-year-old Joseph Smith, Moroni made his way from the eternal realm to deliver his cherished message of the Gospel.
The everlasting gospel is that Jesus suffered for the sins of mankind so that they could return to heaven if they accept Jesus's atonement. This message is what Moroni delivered revealing that he is the angel mentioned in Revelations having the everlasting gospel to preach for the last time before Christ gathers His people and destroys the wicked by fire.
For centuries, Moroni knew the day would come that he would deliver the message he had been holding sacredly at the command of Jesus Christ--knowing the importance of the message he bore as it was professed by numerous witnesses and prophets.
Remembering with pristine detail the lonely years of his mortal life and losing his father Mormon, who protected the plates of gold, his perfected mind connected to the mortality of his new charge and the glory of overcoming the world and receiving a glorious new physical body incapable of death. What were his feelings then as a perfected being--made so through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Centuries of preparation the Holy Spirit brought to his remembrance easily as a spirit. As a resurrected being, an eternity stands constantly before him preparing for the Second Advent of Jesus! With revelatory power, the mission of Joseph Smith Junior unfolds before him, on that day came he, brightening the room of the lad with eternal glory. Knowledge that Joseph saw the Father and the Son acutely present, Moroni instructed Joseph Smith Junior that night preparing him for what lay ahead. Calling him by name, Moroni told Joseph that God had a great work for him to do and that all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples would bless and curse his name.
Moroni provided the first written Apostolic testimony of Jesus Christ for this dispensation! The words he inscribed on the Gold Plates enlist him as a determining force proclaiming, in prophetic function, the last dispensation before the coming of Christ. The precious truths that he scribed in the record preserved the proper ordinances and functions of the priesthood as he details the prayers of baptism and the Lord's supper. Moroni included information about the regularity of church meetings and how the members supported each other before he deposited the record.
Moroni claimed, “I... remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people…” [Mormon 8:3] No one, as far as he knew with the limited resources and friends he may have had, remained alive who would listen to his testimony of the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ except for the future readers of his record! Alone, mourning the death of his country and family, etching on limited gold plates he possessed as the final recourse, he recorded.
“After the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah,” Moroni lamented in his etchings, “...the Nephites who escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites until they were all destroyed. My father also was killed by them... they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not… I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not.” [Mormon 8:2-4]
It seems almost a shame for Moroni to endure two depraved cultures, his day and the modern times. “I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing,” etched he in his precious metal. Limited resources did not shy him away from his estimation of modern society.
Among other etchings, Moroni exclaimed of modernity these questions:
Fortunately, he saw the good of the present-day--people helping and honoring the ancient ways and creating and sustaining humanitarian organizations such as United Way and the Red Cross, and the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ provided hope that the love of Christ still abounds in the earth in the hearts of many people.
From his mortal ministry and depositing of the records to his post-mortal ministry to Joseph Smith, Moroni occupies a key role progressing towards the reign of Messiah. Moroni received a calling faithfully executing his tasks in mortality as the first authorized being of the last days to herald the final time the Lord would proclaim the good news of the atonement before the millennial reign! Joseph Smith, a benefactor of Moroni’s work, stands firmly as the prophet God instructed to restore the Church of Jesus Christ for that Second Coming, even of the Messiah, Jesus.
As modern people of the last days having the Bible, The Book of Mormon, living prophets, and the Internet, people of faith could do more now than at any other time recorded! Moroni gives a hauntingly solemn beware, “the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that [God] avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for He will not suffer their cries any longer.” [Mormon 8:41]
Isolation from believers brought to mind the letters and teachings of his father Mormon about the blasphemous baptism of little children and faithless cessation of miracles among the masses. Through faith, knowing God has provided a way through Jesus Christ, he mourned his own societies’ temporary loss, and losing souls along the way to the adversary, even if temporarily, during modern times in the name of religious purity or arrogance!
Moroni saw the depravity of modern society so that he could know what information he needed to include in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ before depositing it in the depths of the earth. Moroni finished the record by instructing modern audiences of many other things of benefit to people of faith, especially followers of Christ I plan to include in other articles providing a witness and perspective that aids others who read and think similarly.