The Angel Moroni
Elder Glen L. Rudd
Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional
March 11, 2003
“…Now let me tell you a little something, an interesting story, that some of you may not have heard. In the early days of the Church, Orson Hyde was called to be one of the original Twelve Apostles by the Prophet Joseph. He served under three presidents of the Church–the Prophet Joseph, Brigham Young, and John Taylor. He was one of the great Apostles of this dispensation of time. He gave a talk in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on July 4, 1854. That’s only seven years after they came into the valley. (Now, it’s not the Tabernacle we know now, but the one they originally built.) That talk was a patriotic talk about America. He called Moroni the “guardian angel of America.” He said, “That same angel of God that appeared to Joseph Smith presides over the destiny of the United States of America.” Elder Hyde said that he [Moroni] was in the camp with George Washington. He [Moroni] helped George Washington when he had trouble. He said that same angel was with Christopher Columbus and gave him deep impressions and dreams and visions respecting the new world. He said that same angel was with Columbus on the stormy deep. He guided his frail vessel to the desired haven, and he calmed the troubled elements.
Most people never think much about him; but Moroni is still active and busy and doing all those necessary things to help bring about the full restoration of the gospel. We honor Moroni. There are 14 Latter-day Saint hymns that we sing like, “The Morning Breaks,” that’s about Moroni; and “What Was Witnessed in the Heavens?”; “An Angel from on High”; “I Saw a Mighty Angel Fly”; and ten others. These beautiful hymns that we sing in the Church are all because of the angel Moroni.
Moroni had the great privilege, as he walked across this American Continent, of finding a place and designating the place where the St. George temple was to be built. He also designated where the Manti Temple was to be. And it’s been written that he designated Kirtland and Nauvoo and probably others. Moroni appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith 22 different times during the life of the Prophet Joseph that we know of.
Now, I want to tell you the names of some of the people that saw Moroni. We all know he talked to Joseph Smith who saw him. We know that Oliver Cowdery saw him as did David Whitmer and Martin Harris.
Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated from the Church and was out of the Church for ten years, and then he was rebaptized and brought back into the Church and had a strong testimony of the great vision, the great experience that he had with the angel Moroni where he had seen those plates. Oliver Cowdery incidentally died in the Church. He was hoping to come across the country out to the valley, but he got sick and died. He was only 43 years of age and one of the greatest men in the history of our Church.
David Whitmer, one of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, was also excommunicated. He lived until he was past 80 years of age. He never came back into the Church, but he never denied that he had seen the angel Moroni and had seen the plates.
Martin Harris was excommunicated, and was out of harmony with the Church but finally came out West. He was invited to speak in the Tabernacle. He was re-baptized into the Church and lived out his life in the northern part of the state of Utah.
Now, those four men saw him. But so did Emma Smith, the wife of the Prophet Joseph, and Mary Whitmer. Mary Whitmer was the mother of David Whitmer and the four other Whitmers who were all witnesses of the Book of Mormon. It was in her home that the Brethren organized the Church; and while they were there holding the meetings of organization, she was doing the cooking and all the hard work for the men. She went out into the barn to milk a cow; and while she was out in that barn, Moroni appeared to her and showed her the plates and gave to her a testimony that she never forgot.
Moroni appeared to a man by the name of Luke Johnson. I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a warm feeling toward Luke. I guess I like the name Johnson. I guess I like the name Luke. Anyway, he saw the angel Moroni. He handled the plates. He was one of the original Apostles, but he was excommunicated from the Church. However, he saw the error of his ways and came back and was rebaptized into the Church. Luke came out West with Brigham Young and the others and went down into the west part of Utah out south of Tooele, Utah. There he was ordained a bishop and served as a bishop in the Church. He had been one of the original Apostles and was a humble wonderful man and one who had seen Moroni.
Lucy Harris, the wife of Martin Harris, was a problem. If my wife wasn’t here, I’d say she was a pain in the rear end as far as the Brethren all went because she was constantly causing trouble to Joseph Smith. She wanted to see those plates so bad. She went out digging out in the field. And one day she was digging out there trying to find where the plates had been hidden and a big snake came up and scared her half to death, and she quit digging. For some reason I don’t know, she had some kind of a dream where Moroni bore his testimony to her.
The ninth man to see Moroni was a man named Zera Pulsipher. He was a minister of another church. He had a vision in his barn. While he was out in the barn one day, a light descended upon him in the middle of this barn, and he looked up and saw Moroni. And Moroni blessed his life and showed him the plates. He became a Seventy in the Church. He became a high priest and became a patriarch. He’s the man who converted and baptized Wilford Woodruff into the Church in 1833.
I tell you W. W. Phelps saw Moroni. He was cut off from the Church twice; but he kept coming back. He died in full fellowship. He wrote “Praise to the Man” and some of the other wonderful hymns that we sing.
John P. Green saw Moroni. He was a brother-in-law of Brigham Young, and he gave the book to Brigham Young. Rhoda Young, his wife, who was the sister of Brigham Young, also had the privilege of seeing Moroni.
John Taylor, who became one of the Apostles and later the President of the Church, as a young man had a vision. Long before he joined the church, he had a vision and he saw an angel of heaven holding a trumpet in his mouth sending a message out to the nations of the world. He didn’t understand what it was until he joined the Church, and then he understood the great mission of this man Moroni.
Oliver Granger was met by Moroni. Moroni actually knelt down and prayed with him and put his arm on the back of this man so the man could feel him as he talked with him.
Just before Heber C. Kimball died (Heber C. Kimball was one of the original Apostles who became a counselor to Brigham Young for many, many years), 21 years after they entered into the Salt Lake Valley, Heber C. Kimball had a visit from Moroni. Moroni explained to him that his work on earth was concluded and that he would soon die. I think if I remember right, it was just the night before he passed away.
Now, I have given you the names of sixteen people who had the privilege of seeing the angel Moroni. There’s one other; I can’t find the truth on this one, but I am positive in my own mind that Hyrum Smith, the Prophet’s brother, also had a chance to see Moroni….”
* Most of the material used in preparing this talk has come from a book by H. Donl Peterson, Moroni – Ancient Prophet Modern Messenger. Some material is from the talks and writings of Elder Stirling W. Sill.
© 2003 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.