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.

 

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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.

The First Written Account of the First Vision by Orson Pratt

170304_145559_bp05_Va_094_Ed43_1840

He, accordingly, commenced perusing the sacred pages of the Bible, with sincerity, believing the things that he read. His mind soon caught hold of the following passage:–“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”–James i.5. From this promise he learned, that it was the privilege of all men to ask God for wisdom, with the sure and certain expectation of receiving, liberally; without being upbraided for so doing. This was cheering information to him: tidings that gave him great joy. It was like a light shining forth in a dark place, to guide him to the path in which he should walk. He, now, saw that if he inquired of God, there was, not only, a possibility, but a probability; yea, more, a certainty, that he should obtain a knowledge, which, of all the doctrines, was the doctrine of Christ; and, which, of all the churches, was the church of Christ. He, therefore, retired to a secret place, in a grove, but a short distance from his father’s house, and knelt down, and began to call upon the Lord. At first, he was severely tempted by the powers of darkness, which endeavoured to overcome him; but he continued to seek for deliverance, until darkness gave way from his mind; and he was enabled to pray, in fervency of the spirit, and in faith. And, while thus pouring out his soul, anxiously desiring an answer from God, he, at length, saw a very bright and glorious light in the heavens above; which, at first, seemed to be at a considerable distance. He continued praying, while the light appeared to be gradually descending towards him; and, as it drew nearer, it increased in brightness, and magnitude, so that, by the time that it reached the tops of the trees, the whole wilderness, for some distance around, was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant manner. He expected to have seen the leaves and boughs of the trees consumed, as soon as the light came in contact with them; but, perceiving that it did not produce that effect, he was encouraged with the hopes of being able to endure its presence. It continued descending, slowly, until it rested upon the earth, and he was enveloped in the midst of it. When it first came upon him, it produced a peculiar sensation throughout his whole system; and, immediately his mind was caught away, from the natural objects with which he was surrounded; and he was enwrapped in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in their features or likeness. He was informed, that his sins were forgiven. He was also informed upon the subjects, which had for some time previously agitated his mind, viz.– that all the religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines; and, consequently, that none of them was acknowledged of God, as his church and kingdom. And he was expressly commanded, to go not after them; and he received a promise that the true doctrine–the fulness of the gospel, should, at some future time, be made known to him; after which, the vision withdrew, leaving his mind in a state of calmness and peace, indescribable.

INTERESTING  ACCOUNT

OF

SEVERAL  REMARKABLE  VISIONS,

AND  OF

THE  LATE  DISCOVERY

OF

ANCIENT  AMERICAN  RECORDS

GIVING AN ACCOUNT OF THE COMMENCEMENT OF
THE WORK OF THE LORD IN THIS GENERATION

BY  O.  PRATT,
MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL.

“For there is nothing covered,
that shall not be revealed;
and hid, that shall not be known.” —MATT. x. 26.

EDINBURGH:

PRINTED  BY  BALLANTYNE  AND  HUGHES,
MDCCCXL.

Wilford Woodruff’s Wife Has a Near-Death Experience

In October 1838, Wilford Woodruff began to lead 53 new Saints from his missionary labors in Maine to Nauvoo, Illinois.  It took them three months traveling in wagons.  Wilford took his wife and only child on this journey.  Early in his travels, he became sick as did his wife, their child, and several others.  In the afternoon of December 1st, it seemed as though his wife, Phoebe, would breathe her last breath.

Wilford cried to the Lord, and prayed that she might not be taken.  After settling her into a house on Sunday 2 December, it looked as though she had just a short time to live.  On the evening of 4 December, her spirit apparently left her body and according to Wilford she was dead.  Wilford recalls that “faith filled my soul” and he administered to her with oil.  He writes:

“I laid my hands upon her, and in the name of Jesus Christ I rebuked the power of death and the destroyer, and commanded the same to depart from her, and the spirit of life to enter her body.  Her spirit returned to her body, and from that hour she was made whole.

“While this operation was going on with me [as my wife related afterwards] her spirit left her body, and she saw it lying on the bed.  She looked at me and upon her babe, and , while gazing upon the scene, two personages came into the room carrying a coffin and told her they had come for her body.  One of these messengers informed her that she could have her choice: she might go to rest in the spirit world, or, on one condition she could have the privilege of returning to her tabernacle and continuing her labors upon the earth.  The condition was, if she felt she could stand by her husband, and with him pass through all the cares, trials, tribulations, and affliction of life which he would be called to pass through for the gospel’s sake unto the end.  When she looked at the situation of her husband and child she said: ‘Yes, I will do it!’

“At the moment that decision was made the power of faith rested upon me, and when I administered unto her, her spirit entered her tabernacle, and she saw the messengers carry the coffin out at the door.”

Phoebe W. Carter Woodruff went with Wilford to the Salt Lake Valley in 1850 and died there in 1885.

Wilford Woodruff, Leaves From My Journal, p. 66-67

Wilford Woodruff Sees a Sign in the Winter Skies

The following is an account recorded by Wilford Woodruff while on his missionary journeys in Bangor, Maine in 1838 with James Townsend.

“On the evening of the 21st of February, as we came out of the schoolhouse [where he had preached that day], a light appeared in the northeastern horizon, and spread to the west and soon rolled over our heads.  It had the appearance of fire, blood, and smoke, and at times resembled contending armies.  The heavens were illuminated for the space of half an hour.  It seemed at times as though the veil was about to rend in twain and the elements were contending with each other.

“We looked upon it as one of the signs in the heavens predicted by the prophets of old, as to appear in the last days.  We were wading through deep snowdrifts most of the time while witnessing this remarkable scene.”

Wilford Woodruff, Leaves from my Journal, p. 50

Is it possible that many signs of the times have already taken place, that we mistakenly still await?

A Remarkable Sign in the Heavens Seen by Wilford Woodruff

This event took place on the North Fox Island off the coast of Maine on 21 February 1838:

“On the evening of the 21st of February, as we came out of the schoolhouse, a light appeared in the northeastern horizon, and spread to the west and soon rolled over our heads.  It had the appearance of fire, blood, and smoke, and at times resembled contending armies.  The heavens were illuminated for the space of half an hour.  It seemed at times as thought the veil was about to rend in twin and the elements were contending with each other.

We looked upon it as one of the signs in the heavens predicted by the prophets of old, as to appear in the last days.  We were wading through deep snowdrifts most of the time while witnessing this remarkable scen.”

Wilford Woodruff,  Leaves From My Journal,  p.50