Chapter 20 – Moroni

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Moroni is one of the greatest figures of the Restoration. He was a prophet, a warrior, a historian, and is the symbol of the fullness of the restored gospel. Both the writers of the Old and New Testaments bore witness to his mission. He was a stalwart prophet who would not deny the Christ, for the which he wandered in the wilderness alone, protecting the record that now bears his father’s name. He was a witness to the fulfillment of the Lord’s covenants with the children of Israel, having born witness of the destruction of his people as a result of their not keeping those covenants. He bore testimony to the prophet Joseph Smith in the latter days that the Lord was shortly to fulfill those covenants.

It is evident by the writings of Moroni that he knew much regarding the gathering of Israel, and events that would occur among the Gentiles in the latter-days.

Behold, 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.[i]

Not only did Moroni see our day, he was intimately familiar with the greatest prophecies ever to be written by the hand of man. His testimony confirms that, like Nephi, he was shown the same grand vision seen by John the Revelator. He bore record of it and its tremendous importance to the Gentiles. Consider the following:

Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief. Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.

Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel.

And then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John be unfolded in the eyes of all the people. Remember, when ye see these things, ye shall know that the time is at hand that they shall be made manifest in very deed.

Therefore, when ye shall receive this record ye may know that the work of the Father has commenced upon all the face of the land. Therefore, repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and believe in my gospel, and be baptized in my name; for he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned; and signs shall follow them that believe in my name.[ii]

What an extremely powerful admonition. Moroni knew, just as well as any other prophet that ever lived, regarding the prophecies of the last day. His words were powerful, and so is his message. Apart from being familiar with the revelations of John, he was familiar with the revelations of the Brother of Jared.

Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared. Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord. For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.[iii]

I am fascinated by a brief account that Moroni provided us in the book of Ether regarding the latter-days. While it is brief, it validates much of what is written in this book. Consider the following account:

And [Ether] spake also concerning the House of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come—after it should be destroyed it should be built up again, a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore, it could not be a new Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old; but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the House of Israel—

And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph [note the usage of the definitive article “the” here signifying both Ephraim and Manasseh], for which things there has been a type. For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph [note the usage of the non-definitive article “a” here, signifying this remnant constituted only a subgroup] out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not.

Wherefore, the remnant of the House of Joseph [both Ephraim and Manasseh] shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city [the New Jerusalem] unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away…and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the House of Israel.

And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof [the Jews], blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the North countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father, Abraham…. And I was about to write more, but I am forbidden;[iv]

In this brief but wonderful account Moroni sees the whole House of Israel. He saw Manasseh come to America from the Jerusalem of old. He saw Ephraim in America at the time of the building of the New Jerusalem upon this land. He saw the Jews in Jerusalem. He saw those remnants of all tribes that were scattered to the four quarters of the earth, and lastly he saw the remnant of Jacob, that came from the North countries in a body. It is interesting that he, like Nephi, was constrained by the spirit to not elaborate more.

Given what both Nephi and Moroni saw regarding the day of the Gentiles, it should not be too surprising that they closed their record in a similar fashion. Lets consider both.  Nephi closed his record thus:

I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation…. And if [these] are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness. And now, my beloved brethren, all those who are of the House of Israel, and all ye ends of the earth, I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come.

And you that will not partake of the goodness of God, and respect the words of the Jews, and also my words, and the words which shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God, behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell, for these words shall condemn you at the last day. For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen.[v]

Now consider the manner in which Moroni closed his writing in Ether, which he thought would be his final words:

And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

And now I, Moroni, bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood. And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things; And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing.

And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.[vi]

After having witnessed the great and terrible events of the latter-days, both of these great men express significant concern that the Gentiles become charitable. This is a critical observation, and should be considered very carefully by the reader. Both witness to having known the Savior, and witness that their message was given to them by the very God of Israel. Both warn us that we will meet them at the judgment bar of God, where their testimony will either have helped us or condemned us. Both are sobering farewells, and are a witness to the severity of the events that await us in these latter-days.

Moroni’s account differs from the other accounts in that he provides a significant portion of it as a resurrected being. Moroni’s message to Joseph Smith is both miraculous and sobering. Of its importance to us we can have no doubt, as Moroni recounted it verbatim no less than four times. Of all Moroni’s visitations to the prophet, it is the only one about which we have much detail. Moroni touches on all the themes we have hitherto covered, and adds invaluable insights into the themes discussed by Nephi, Isaiah, and Jesus Christ. The latter-day restoration, the great and terrible day of the Lord, and the Remnant of Jacob are the common themes that weave these accounts together. I hope that you will thoughtfully consider the message Moroni was commanded to share with the boy prophet Joseph Smith, for he was talking to the world every bit as much as he was talking to Joseph.

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[i] Mormon 8:35

[ii] Ether 4: 13-18

[iii] Ether 4:4-6

[iv] Ether 13:4-13

[v] 2 Nephi 33:9-15

[vi] Ether 12:36-41