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To All the World  >  Moroni, Visitations of
CHAPTERS
  1. Preface
  2. Key to Abbreviations
  3. Key to Scriptures
  4. Abinadi
  5. Allegory of Zenos
  6. Alma1
  7. Alma2
  8. Amulek
  9. Anthon Transcript
  10. Antichrists
  11. Archaeology
  12. Authorship of the Book of Mormon
  13. Baptism
  14. Baptismal Covenant
  15. Baptismal Prayer
  16. Beatitudes
  17. Benjamin
  18. Bible
  19. Biblical Prophecies about the Book of Mormon
  20. Book of Mormon
  21. Book of Mormon in a Biblical Culture
  22. Book of Mormon Personalities
  23. Born of God
  24. Brother of Jared
  25. Charity
  26. Children
  27. Chronology
  28. Columbus, Christopher
  29. Commentatries on the Book of Mormon
  30. Condescension of God
  31. Conversion
  32. Cowdery, Oliver
  33. Cumorah
  34. Cursings
  35. Economy and Technology
  36. Editions (1830–1981)
  37. Ezias
  38. Faith in Jesus Christ
  39. Fall of Adam
  40. Geography
  41. Gold Plates
  42. Gospel of Jesus Christ: The Gospel in LDS Teaching
  43. Government and Legal History in the Book of Mormon
  44. Grace
  45. Great and Abominable Church
  46. Harris, Martin
  47. Helaman1
  48. Helaman2
  49. Helaman3
  50. Infant Baptism
  51. Isaiah
  52. Ishmael
  53. Jacob, Son of Lehi
  54. Jaredites
  55. Jesus Christ
  56. Jesus Christ, Fatherhood and Sonship of
  57. Jesus Christ, Forty-Day Ministry and Other Post-Resurrection Appearances of
  58. Jesus Christ, Prophecies about
  59. Jesus Christ, Taking the Name of, upon Oneself
  60. Jesus Christ in the Scriptures
  61. Joseph of Egypt
  62. Judgment
  63. Justice and Mercy
  64. Laman
  65. Lamanites
  66. Language
  67. Law of Moses
  68. Lehi
  69. Liahona
  70. Literature, Book of Mormon as
  71. Manuscript, Lost 116 Pages
  72. Manuscripts of the Book of Mormon
  73. Melchizedek
  74. Mormon
  75. Moroni, Angel
  76. Moroni, Visitations of
  77. Moroni1
  78. Moroni2
  79. Mosiah1
  80. Mosiah2
  81. Mulek
  82. Names in the Book of Mormon
  83. Native Americans
  84. Near Eastern Background of the Book of Mormon
  85. Nephi1
  86. Nephi2
  87. Nephi3
  88. Nephi4
  89. Nephites
  90. Neum
  91. Opposition
  92. Palmyra/Manchester, New York
  93. Peoples of the Book of Mormon
  94. Plan of Salvation, Plan of Redemption
  95. Plates and Records in the Book of Mormon
  96. Plates, Metal
  97. Pride
  98. Promised Land, Concept of a
  99. Prophecy in the Book of Mormon
  100. Record Keeping
  101. Religious Teachings and Practices in the Book of Mormon
  102. Remission of Sins
  103. Repentance
  104. Resurrection
  105. Rigdon, Sidney
  106. Righteousness
  107. Sacrament Prayers
  108. Samuel the Lamanite
  109. Scripture, Interpretation within Scripture
  110. Secret Combination
  111. Seer Stones
  112. Sermon on the Mount
  113. Smith, Joseph
  114. Spaulding Manuscript
  115. Studies of the Book of Mormon
  116. Sword of Laban
  117. Three Nephites
  118. Translation of the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith
  119. Translations of the Book of Mormon
  120. Tree of Life
  121. Urim and Thummim
  122. View of the Hebrews
  123. Visions of Joseph Smith
  124. Voices from the Dust
  125. Warfare in the Book of Mormon
  126. Wealth, Attitudes toward
  127. Whitmer, David
  128. Witnesses of the Book of Mormon
  129. Witnesses, Law of
  130. Women in the Book of Mormon
  131. Zenock
  132. Zenos
  133. Zoram

Moroni, Visitations of

From 1823 to 1829, the angel Moroni2 appeared at least twenty times to Joseph Smith and others. Those appearances opened the way for the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon and laid the foundation of many of the Church's most characteristic teachings. As a resurrected messenger of God, Moroni told Joseph Smith about the Nephite record on gold plates and taught him concerning the gathering of Israel, the forthcoming visit of Elijah, the imminence of the second coming of Jesus Christ, and the judgments to be poured out on the world prior to that event.

Of Moroni's first appearance on the night of September 21, 1823, Joseph Smith recorded:

After I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him . . . . While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air . . . . He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen . . . . His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare . . . . His whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. (JS—H 1:29—32)

The angel introduced himself as Moroni, and as he told about the Nephite record, its contents, and the interpreters buried with it, Joseph saw in vision their location in the hill cumorah. Moroni warned Joseph not to show the plates or the interpreters to anyone except those whom the Lord designated. Moroni also quoted certain prophecies from the Bible, including Malachi 3—4, Isaiah 11, and Acts 3:22—23.

After the angel left, Joseph lay contemplating this experience, and Moroni returned a second time and repeated verbatim everything he had said in his first visit, adding more detail about the coming judgments, and then returned a third time to repeat his instructions and to warn Joseph that he must put all thoughts of worldly wealth aside and concentrate solely on the translation of the record and the establishment of the kingdom of God.

As Moroni left the third time, Joseph said he heard the cock crow, the visitations having occupied the entire night. He arose and went into the fields with his father and his older brother Alvin, but felt tired and feeble. His father, noticing his son's condition, told him to return to the house. As Joseph was climbing over a fence, he fell to the ground unconscious.

The next thing he remembered seeing was Moroni standing over him, repeating his instructions of the night before, adding that Joseph should now tell his father about the visitations. Joseph did so, and his father, assured that the vision came from God, told Joseph to follow the angel's instructions (JS—H 1:46—50).

Joseph Smith then went to the hill and found the place shown him the night before in vision. He uncovered the plates and was about to remove them when Moroni appeared again, counseling Joseph that the time was not yet right. Instead, he instructed Joseph to return to this spot at the same time the following year and that he should continue to do so until the time had come for obtaining the plates (JS—H 1:51—54).

It is reported that during those years Joseph Smith also received visits from Mormon, Nephi, and other "angels of God unfolding the majesty and glory of the events that should transpire in the last days" (HC 4:537; cf. JD 17:374; Petersen, p. 131). Joseph shared with his family some of his experiences. His mother, Lucy Mack Smith, recalled, "From this time forth, Joseph continued to receive instructions from the Lord, and we continued to get the children together every evening for the purpose of listening while he gave us a relation of the same . . . . He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them" (pp. 82—83).

Moroni temporarily reclaimed the plates and the interpreters after Martin Harris had lost the first 116 manuscript pages of the translation. Later, when Joseph Smith moved from Harmony, Pennsylvania, to Fayette, New York, in June 1829, Moroni returned them to him there (Smith, pp. 149—50). Still later, Moroni showed the plates to the Three Witnesses (HC 1:54—55), took them after the translation had been completed (JS—H 1:60), and once more returned them briefly to Joseph to show to the Eight Witnesses (see Witnesses of the Book of Mormon).

In addition to Joseph and the Three Witnesses, Mary Whitmer also saw the angel and talked with him. Mary Whitmer said she was shown the gold plates when she conversed with Moroni (Peterson, pp. 114, 116). Other sources indicate that Moroni appeared also to W. W. Phelps, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, and Oliver Granger (Peterson, pp. 151—52).

Bibliography

Backman, Milton V., Jr. Eyewitness Accounts of the Restoration, rev. ed. Salt Lake City, 1986.
Cheesman, Paul R. The Keystone of Mormonism, rev. ed. Provo, Utah, 1988.
Peterson, H. Donl. Moroni: Ancient Prophet, Modern Messenger. Bountiful, Utah, 1983.
Smith, Lucy Mack. History of Joseph Smith. Preston Nibley, ed. Salt Lake City, 1958.

Eldin Ricks