Why Does Moroni Ask: “If These Things Are Not True”?

Moroni’s Promise – Ensign Apr. 1994 gene-r-cook-10

Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy explains:

The Book of Mormon offers a remarkable promise to those seeking knowledge of the truth. Over the years, I have heard members and missionaries offer a variety of explanations about its meaning. A close examination of the three key verses—Moroni 10:3–5 [Moro. 10:3–5]—will show us that their meaning is far more profound than many of us might have thought.

Verse 4 [Moro. 10:4] identifies yet another important principle: if we want an answer from God, we will move ourselves out of a neutral position and let our desire to believe that God can help us begin to work in us.

One way to understand verse 4 [Moro. 10:4] is to note that the scripture does not say we are to ask whether these things are true or not, but that we are to ask “if these things are not true.” What is the difference?

The Lord does not ask us to prove that the teachings we have read are true, or that they are not true. That is the kind of objective approach one might take in the academic, scientific world. However, that is not the best way we learn truth from the Lord.

The Lord offers us the opportunity to let him confirm truth already in our hearts. But in order to confirm religious truth, one must at least have the idea, or the thought, or the belief (however small) that he has found something true, and then pray to receive the Lord’s confirmation.

Verse 4 [Moro. 10:4], then, is the Lord’s invitation, through Moroni, to thus confirm truth. To ask “if these things are not true” implies a degree of acceptance that comes as a result of our pondering the teachings of the Book of Mormon that we have received. Notice again the importance of that very first step—remembering the mercy of God to us since the Creation—and then the next step, which is to similarly ponder and receive the teachings of the Book of Mormon.  Surely such pondering of these teachings will bring to mind their truth, their power, their goodness. Thus, it is now tantamount to praying, “Father, I believe that I have received truth. Please tell me if this is not so.” This kind of humble petition is motivated by our faith in Christ, by our faith that he will let us know whether our feelings are correct concerning the Book of Mormon or whether we have been deceived. Thus, our prayer, in essence, is a request for a confirmation of our own conclusions from our pondering. The Lord may not respond exactly how and when we expect, but still our obedience to these conditions qualifies us to receive an answer; this is the scope of the process described in these verses.

Moroni’s Promise

Advertisements

Moroni’s Influence on the Church and on America, including Columbus and George Washington

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.

 

Joseph Smith Visited by Book of Mormon and Bible Prophets

Book of Mormon Personalities Known by Joseph Smith

BY ROBERT J. WOODFORD

Moroni revealed the initial information to the Prophet Joseph, but many angels revealed additional things to him before he received the plates. (See Journal of Discourses, 14:140.) Orson Pratt recalled in later years that these angels were Book of Mormon personalities to whom Joseph spoke face to face. (See Journal of Discourses, 13:66.) Elder Pratt also said they came to instruct Joseph concerning the work he was to perform, and that Moroni gave him “much instruction.” 4

Others among Joseph Smith’s close associates add intriguing details. Wilford Woodruff said that Joseph was taught by “angels from heaven, by the voice of God, and by the inspiration and power of the Holy Ghost.” (Journal of Discourses, 16:35.) Orson Spencer wrote how “at his touch the ancient prophets spring into life.” 5

Early chroniclers record other visits of the Savior. For example, Zebedee Coltrin, speaking to the School of the Prophets of the Salt Lake Stake—which included President John Taylor and other general authorities—said that the Savior had appeared during a meeting two or three weeks after the organization of the original School of the Prophets in Kirtland. He passed through the room without speaking, and Joseph Smith identified the holy visitor: “That is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother.” 9

Elder John Taylor also identified “Mormon, Moroni, Nephi, and others of the ancient Prophets who formerly lived on this Continent” as visitors. (Journal of Discourses, 17:374.) Speaking at Ephraim, Utah, in 1879, Elder Taylor said the Nephite twelve disciples also came to Joseph.

“The principles which he had, placed him in communication with the Lord, and not only with the Lord, but with the ancient apostles and prophets; such men, for instance, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Adam, Seth, Enoch, and Jesus and the Father, and the apostles that lived on this continent as well as those who lived on the Asiatic continent. He seemed to be as familiar with these people as we are one with another.” (Journal of Discourses, 21:94.)

In a later talk at the Fourteenth Ward in Salt Lake City, Elder Taylor added:

“The Angel Moroni came to him and revealed to him the Book of Mormon. … And then came Nephi, one of the ancient prophets, that had lived upon this continent, who had an interest in the welfare of the people that he had lived amongst in those days. …

“Again who more likely than Mormon and Nephi, and some of those prophets who had ministered to the people upon this continent, under the influence of the same Gospel, to operate again as its representatives?” (Journal of Discourses, 21:161, 163.)

Elder Orson Pratt, in a personal letter to John Christensen of Brigham City, testified:

“The prophet often received visits from Nephi, Moroni, Peter, James, John (the beloved), John (the Baptist), Elijah, Moses, the three Nephites, etc. etc.” 10

Ensign, August 197

4.

Journal of Discourses, 15:185; “Early Church History,” The Historical Record 5 (January 1886): 2.

  1.   5.

    Orson Spencer, Letters Exhibiting the Most Prominent Doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sixth ed. (Salt Lake City, George Q. Cannon & Sons, 1891), p. 27.

  2. 9. Minutes of the School of the Prophets, Salt Lake Stake, 3 Oct. 1883, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, p. 59.

    1.   10.

      Orson Pratt to John Christensen, 11 Mar. 1876, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

Joseph Smith Visited by Book of Mormon and Bible Prophets

Book of Mormon Personalities Known by Joseph Smith

BY ROBERT J. WOODFORD

Moroni revealed the initial information to the Prophet Joseph, but many angels revealed additional things to him before he received the plates. (See Journal of Discourses, 14:140.) Orson Pratt recalled in later years that these angels were Book of Mormon personalities to whom Joseph spoke face to face. (See Journal of Discourses, 13:66.) Elder Pratt also said they came to instruct Joseph concerning the work he was to perform, and that Moroni gave him “much instruction.” 4

Others among Joseph Smith’s close associates add intriguing details. Wilford Woodruff said that Joseph was taught by “angels from heaven, by the voice of God, and by the inspiration and power of the Holy Ghost.” (Journal of Discourses, 16:35.) Orson Spencer wrote how “at his touch the ancient prophets spring into life.” 5

Early chroniclers record other visits of the Savior. For example, Zebedee Coltrin, speaking to the School of the Prophets of the Salt Lake Stake—which included President John Taylor and other general authorities—said that the Savior had appeared during a meeting two or three weeks after the organization of the original School of the Prophets in Kirtland. He passed through the room without speaking, and Joseph Smith identified the holy visitor: “That is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother.” 9

Elder John Taylor also identified “Mormon, Moroni, Nephi, and others of the ancient Prophets who formerly lived on this Continent” as visitors. (Journal of Discourses, 17:374.) Speaking at Ephraim, Utah, in 1879, Elder Taylor said the Nephite twelve disciples also came to Joseph.

“The principles which he had, placed him in communication with the Lord, and not only with the Lord, but with the ancient apostles and prophets; such men, for instance, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Adam, Seth, Enoch, and Jesus and the Father, and the apostles that lived on this continent as well as those who lived on the Asiatic continent. He seemed to be as familiar with these people as we are one with another.” (Journal of Discourses, 21:94.)

In a later talk at the Fourteenth Ward in Salt Lake City, Elder Taylor added:

“The Angel Moroni came to him and revealed to him the Book of Mormon. … And then came Nephi, one of the ancient prophets, that had lived upon this continent, who had an interest in the welfare of the people that he had lived amongst in those days. …

“Again who more likely than Mormon and Nephi, and some of those prophets who had ministered to the people upon this continent, under the influence of the same Gospel, to operate again as its representatives?” (Journal of Discourses, 21:161, 163.)

 

Elder Orson Pratt, in a personal letter to John Christensen of Brigham City, testified:

“The prophet often received visits from Nephi, Moroni, Peter, James, John (the beloved), John (the Baptist), Elijah, Moses, the three Nephites, etc. etc.” 10

Ensign, August 1978

4.Journal of Discourses, 15:185; “Early Church History,” The Historical Record 5 (January 1886): 2.

 

  1.   5.Orson Spencer, Letters Exhibiting the Most Prominent Doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sixth ed. (Salt Lake City, George Q. Cannon & Sons, 1891), p. 27.
  2. 9. Minutes of the School of the Prophets, Salt Lake Stake, 3 Oct. 1883, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, p. 59.
    1.   10.Orson Pratt to John Christensen, 11 Mar. 1876, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

Mary Whitmer, the Twelfth Witness of the Book of Mormon

While the translation progressed, the gospel was being taught in Seneca County, and Hyrum Smith, David Whitmer, and Peter Whitmer, Jr., were baptized in June for the remission of sins. Peter Whitmer’s three sons, David, John, and Peter, Jr., became devoted assistants in the work. Eager to learn of the Whitmers’ duties, Joseph sought the Lord, and a revelation was granted to each of them. Each was told to help in building the kingdom of God by declaring repentance (see D&C 14–16 ). All these activities were not easy on Peter and Mary Whitmer, who were hosting the Smiths and Oliver Cowdery in their home. Their son, David, said that this added burden greatly increased the anxiety of his mother. She did not complain, but she felt overwhelmed. David later related what happened one day as his mother went to the barn to milk the cows: “She was met out near the yard by the same old man [seen earlier by David] (judging by her description of him) who said to her: ‘You have been very faithful and diligent in your labors, but you are tired because of the increase of your toil; it is proper therefore that you should receive a witness that your faith may be strengthened.’ Thereupon he showed her the plates.” 15. “Report of Elders Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith,” pp. 772–73;

Moroni Helps Safeguard the Plates

…the first meeting between Joseph Smith and David Whitmer. As had happened with Oliver Cowdery, David and Joseph quickly became friends. Soon they were on their way to Fayette, some one hundred miles away. On this occasion Moroni took the plates to avoid danger while transporting them. Another unusual event occurred en route. It happened while they were riding along in the wagon. David Whitmer described the event:

“A very pleasant, nice-looking old man suddenly appeared by the side of our wagon and saluted us with, ‘good morning, it is very warm,’ at the same time wiping his face or forehead with his hand. We returned the salutation, and, by a sign from Joseph, I invited him to ride if he was going our way. But he said very pleasantly, ‘No, I am going to Cumorah.’ This name was something new to me, I did not know what Cumorah meant. We all gazed at him and at each other, and as I looked around enquiringly of Joseph, the old man instantly disappeared. . . .

“. . . It was the messenger who had the plates, who had taken them from Joseph just prior to our starting from Harmony.” 14[Report of Elders Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, 772]

The Divine Tutoring of The Prophet Joseph Smith

During the four years that the Prophet Joseph returned to the Hill Cumorah to meet with Moroni, each time he was taught in gospel principles as well as the history of the inhabitants of the Americas……

But did you know as well that during those three years, Joseph was also visited and taught by Nephi, Alma, the Twelve Nephite Disciples, and Mormon?

Joseph’s Preparation Continues

The monumental work of bringing forth the Book of Mormon was foretold by ancient prophets (see Isaiah 29, Ezekiel 37:15–20, Moses 7:62). A work of such magnitude requires careful preparation. In this instance, it required four years of tutoring. During that time Joseph met annually with Moroni at the Hill Cumorah to receive instructions in preparation for receiving the plates. Other Nephite prophets who had a vital interest in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon also played a significant role in Joseph’s preparation. Nephi, Alma, the twelve Apostles chosen by the Savior in America, and Mormon all instructed Joseph.9 His education was intense during this period.

His mother, Lucy, describes their evening conversations: “Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing [interesting] recitals that could be imagined. 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.”10