Moroni and the Restoration: A Closer Look

By H. Donl Peterson

H. Donl Peterson, “Moroni and the Restoration: A Closer Look,” in Scriptures for the Modern World, ed. Paul R. Cheesman and C. Wilfred Griggs (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1984), 13–28.

Chapter 2: Moroni and the Restoration: A Closer Look

H. Donl Peterson

As I have taught from the Book of Mormon, I have seen Moroni as a loyal son, a great military officer, a writer, an abridger, a man of God, and finally as the lonely archivist of his people’s sacred records, charged to bury them for a much later generation. As I have taught from the Pearl of Great Price, I have seen Moroni as a resurrected being who is described as “glorious beyond description, and [with] his countenance truly like lightning” (JS-H 1:32). Studying Moroni’s activities in both settings impresses me that these scriptural sources give us a rare opportunity to view a remarkable man as a mortal being and then as an immortal being. Aside from the Savior himself, I do not know of any other person whom we have seen on both sides of the veil as clearly as we can view Moroni. Many resurrected beings, such as Peter, James, Moses, Elijah, and John the Baptist, have appeared in this dispensation, but Moroni is by far the most frequent heavenly visitor and the one whose activities are best preserved in the literature.

Moroni is quickly identified as a symbol of the restoration of the gospel by members and nonmembers alike. On temple spires, on Book of Mormon covers, in pageants, in plays, in movies, on jewelry, and more, the angel Moroni is often depicted. Why is Moroni so frequently portrayed? The following resume may partially answer the question. With a touch of imagination, picture the following: The year is A.D. 1823. The setting is the central office of the Department of Archives at Church headquarters in heaven. A “Priesthood Resume” folder stamped “New Calling” has been placed on the director’s desk. It is to be refiled. It reads as follows:

 

Number: 9–21–22–23

Refile: X

Reason: New Calling

Priesthood Resume

Planet: Earth

Earth Year A.D. 1823

 

Name: Moroni ben Mormon

 

Date of Mortal Birth: A.D. 4th century

 

Date of Mortal Death: A.D. 5th century

 

Nationality: Nephite

 

Hemisphere: Promised Land

 

Tribal Identity: House of Joseph

 

Education Experience and Degrees:

 

1. Elementary education in various Nephite schools

2. Advanced training in scripture, history, language, and engraving

3. Language proficiency:

a. Hebrew (native tongue)

b. Reformed Egyptian (language of plates)

c. Jaredite (studied the writings of Ether)

d. Spanish and Portuguese (worked with Columbus and his crews) [1]

e. English (worked with U.S. Revolutionary Army officers) [2]

f. Adamic (language of heaven) 4. Degrees attained:

4. Degrees attained:

a. Elementary grades—army schools and elementary schools

b. Advanced degree—school of technology

c. Highest degree attained to date: Celestial degree with highest honors

 

Military Experience:

 

1. Raised in a military setting—son of Mormon, Nephite commander-in-chief

2. Active duty (Nephite regular army)

3. Considerable combat experience

4. Highest rank attained: major-general

5. Led 10,000 troops at Cumorah; responsible simultaneously for a large civilian population

6. Special advisor to American Revolutionary forces, A.D. 18th century

 

Church Callings and Responsibilities:

 

1. Called to ministry

2. Assistant to the Church President

3. General Authority—prophet, seer, and revelator

4. Scripture writer—engraved Mormon 8–9 and Moroni 1–10 on the plates of Mormon (contain several visions of the latter days); wrote the sealed portion of the plates of Mormon (several hundred pages) which contains the spiritual experiences of Mahonri Moriancumer; given a superior rating

5. Abridger—Jaredite record (book of Ether)

6. Archivist—responsible for golden plates; length of service: fourteen hundred years and continuing to serve

7. Dedicated several temple sites

8. Present keys: keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim

9. Present calling: guardian angel of America

 

 Travel:

 

Mortality—Traveled extensively throughout the promised land, including New York via Utah overland; also traveled throughout Zarahemla, Bountiful, and Desolation

Postmortal—Considerable Atlantic and Caribbean Sea travel (assisted Columbus in discovering America; guided Columbus’s vessels to designated haven); traveled with the Revolutionary Army troops while assisting them in establishing the United States of America

Air Travel—Many round trips between heaven and earth fulfilling his various responsibilities

 

Philosophy of Education:

 

Moroni emphasizes the scriptures, assured of their divinity. His pupils must read them prayerfully and seek answers through authorized channels. Moroni utilizes a variety of approaches, but favors face-to-face contact, narration, field trips, and hilltop instructions. Moroni reasons well with his pupils. If it is deemed wise, he uses extraordinary methodology to arouse attention and to maintain it.

 

New Assignment:

 

Teach Joseph Smith (prophet designate of the last dispensation) the gospel. Specifically, teach him what the Lord is going to do, and how and in what manner His kingdom is to be conducted in the last days.

 

Future Assignments:

 

1. Archivist—sealed plates (continuing)

2. To deliver the sealed portion to the Prophet for translation

3. The fifth angel of the Apocalypse

4. A prominent angel at Adam-ondi-Ahman

5. Guardian angel of America (continuing)

6. Angelic aide to the Nephites and Lamanites

7. Services at the judgment bar

 

In the spring of 1820, we know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Between 1820 and 1823, when he made public that theophany, he was ridiculed. On the night of September 21, 1823, three months prior to his eighteenth birthday, Joseph prayed to the Lord for two purposes: he desired forgiveness of his sins and follies, and he also desired a manifestation that he might know his state and standing before God. Seeing his unwavering faith, we can readily understand why certain people are called to be prophets. Joseph said, “I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one” (JS-H 1:29). In essence, he seems to be saying, “I have confidence that someone will appear to me, and I can deal with this celestial being face to face. I know that this can happen because I have previously had such an experience.”

As Joseph was calling upon God, he reports a light came into his room that continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday. A marvelous being appeared in the room shortly after the light was seen, in a robe described as whiter than anything earthly Joseph had ever seen. The heavenly messenger’s “whole person was glorious beyond description and his countenance truly like lightning” (JS-H 1:32), causing an initial fear which soon, however, left him. It is interesting to see how Moroni dealt patiently and carefully with the boy prophet. Says Joseph: “He called me by name and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; and that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people” (JS-H 1:33).

I have often wondered if there is a single prophecy in the standard works that could better test whether Joseph Smith was a prophet of God than this verse where Moroni, in essence, explained to Joseph Smith that in spite of his meager education and poverty, his name would be known for good and evil throughout the entire world. That was very improbable for a boy with eight brothers and sisters, from a poor family in western New York in 1823, and yet we see how that prophecy is being fulfilled. One wonders how much more familiar the name Joseph Smith will become throughout the world between now and the inception of the millennial reign.

What was Moroni’s message? Initially, he talked about the Book of Mormon, the breastplate, and the Urim and Thummim—those sacred instruments designed to aid in translation. He then discussed some important doctrines to which we will return in the last moments of our discussion. It is interesting to note that, according to Oliver Cowdery, Moroni employed an open vision. He did not merely deliver his message as a lecturer would, but instructed the young prophet by letting him see and hear eternal things. Various angelic beings have commonly used this method as they have been sent to instruct the prophets. For example, there are many similarities between Joseph’s experience and the manner in which Nephi received angelic instruction, as recorded in 1 Nephi 11–15. The instructing angel frequently asked Nephi, “What beholdest thou?” Nephi responded, “I see this and I see that.” After the scene changed, the angel again asked, “Look, what do you see?” or “Knowest thou this or that?” “Now, look and what do you see?” I picture this, to some extent, as a celestial being narrating a celestial motion picture or a slide presentation.

At the conclusion of Joseph’s vision in 1823, the light gathered immediately around the person of Moroni, and he ascended through the ceiling and disappeared from sight. As Joseph lay musing on the scene and its great message, Moroni reappeared by his bedside. Moroni again related his previous message “without the least variation,” concluding with the warning that “great judgments” would come upon that generation (JS-H 1:45), then ascended a second time and left Joseph alone with his thoughts. Moroni appeared a third time and Joseph reported, “I . . . heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before”; then shortly, “the cock crowed” and Joseph realized that the visitations had occupied the whole of the night (JS-H 1:46–47).

Recall that Joseph Smith was nearly eighteen years of age, a husky young man about six feet tall. But he found that he was exhausted. Why was he so fatigued? He had been awake all night, true, but he had been in the presence of a celestial being. At the age of eighty, when Moses had a similar experience, he stated that if he hadn’t had the “glory of God” upon him, he could not have endured God’s presence (see Moses 1:2). As Joseph went out to labor with his father and brothers on the farm, his father, seeing that he was not well, sent him back to the house. But as Joseph tried to climb over the fence to leave the field, he lost consciousness; his last bit of energy was gone. He was awakened by the voice of Moroni, calling his name. Joseph related that even in broad daylight Moroni was “surrounded by light as before.” Moroni repeated all that he had related the previous night and commanded Joseph to tell his father of “the vision and commandments which I had received” (JS-H 1:49). Joseph obeyed.

According to his mother’s account, Joseph was a little uncertain, feeling that his father might not believe him. [3] But he didn’t need to worry. His father “replied . . . that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger” (JS-H 1:50).

Joseph Smith, Sr., was a remarkable man and always supportive of the divine call that had come to his son. For example, he once went to his son and essentially inquired of him, “Son, I am very interested in helping build the kingdom of God. As my prophet and leader, tell me what the Lord would have me do.” In response to that request, Joseph received the revelation recorded as Doctrine and Covenants section 4, which we know as one of the most powerful missionary scriptures in the standard works. Joseph, Sr., later became the first Church patriarch.

With his father’s support, Joseph, Jr., obviously felt more confident in taking the next step. From the visions the night before, he knew exactly where the Hill Cumorah was situated, only two or three miles from his home. Upon arriving at the hill Joseph pried up the rounded stone lid, looked down, and saw the golden plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate for the first time. According to the account of Oliver Cowdery, he reached in but sustained a “shock” as he touched the plates. This happened on his second attempt as well. When his third attempt was also thwarted, he asked aloud, “Why can I not obtain this book?” Then Moroni appeared once again, the fifth time, and answered, “Because you have not kept the commandments of the Lord.”

On that long walk to Cumorah, Joseph had begun to think of the advantages of obtaining a treasure, “one in all human probability sufficient to raise him above a level with the common earthly fortunes of his fellow men, and relieve his family from want, in which, by misfortune and sickness they were placed.” As Moroni spoke in rebuke, all the instructions of the night before concerning Israel and the last days were brought to Joseph’s mind. And then, on the Hill Cumorah, the heavens were opened and the glory of the Lord shone round about and rested upon him. Once again Joseph received the reassurance that the Lord loved him and would bless him if he were obedient. The scene changed quickly and Joseph beheld the prince of darkness surrounded by his innumerable train of associates. [4] After that warning, Joseph was told to go home but to return to the hill a year later on the same date to receive additional instructions.

His mother reported that when he came home, he was “greatly troubled,” thinking that the family would not believe him since he had told his father that he would bring the plates from the Hill Cumorah. When he explained his experience, his family rallied behind him and redoubled their “diligence in prayer and supplication to God.” [5]

Joseph Smith went annually to the Hill Cumorah for “interviews,” as he called them, during the next four years. Was Moroni talking solely about the Book of Mormon? No, his assignment included additional responsibilities besides introducing the Book of Mormon. Joseph said he “received instruction and intelligence from [Moroni] at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days” (JS-H 1:54). Often in the Church we stop when we have reached this point in the Moroni story, but an important question remains unanswered: What was Moroni’s message that was so significant that Moroni repeated it four times without variation? In all the scriptures, precedent is lacking for a message being repeated four times. Even Peter, the president of the Church, when he was commanded to introduce the gospel to the Gentiles, received that revelation only three times (see Acts 10:11–16). Why was the repetition necessary? Wasn’t Joseph Smith very alert? Or very intelligent? What was so important about the vision that it had to be repeated? It apparently was not short. Oliver Cowdery reports that Joseph thought it may have been after midnight when Moroni first appeared to him. [6] If we assume that Moroni first appeared about midnight and that the cock crowed about five or five-thirty, then the interviews could have averaged between one and one-half to two hours per visit with “but a short time” between the interviews, as Lucy Mack Smith reported. [7]

Joseph may have been untrained, but he certainly was not dull. What was so important about the message that it needed to be repeated? Part of it certainly pertained to the Book of Mormon, but Moroni gave Joseph much more. He cited four specific passages of scriptures and “quoted many other passages of scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here” (JS-H 1:41). From Oliver Cowdery’s account, we learn of some of the other scriptures that Moroni quoted.

The four passages that Joseph Smith listed in his history, now contained in the Pearl of Great Price, give us some important insights into the nature of the message Moroni gave to young Joseph, even though we do not have the full account, nor the wisdom, nor the time, nor the celestial visual aids Moroni used.

Moroni, first of all, quoted part of Malachi 3, but unfortunately Joseph Smith didn’t tell us which verses. He then quoted all of Malachi 4, with some variation from the King James Version, which was the Bible most Protestants used in that day. Let me paraphrase two or three things that Moroni might have related. Remember that the year was 1823. There would be no priesthood upon the earth until 1829. The Church would not be organized until 1830. Elijah, Moses, and Elias would not appear until 1836. Malachi prophesied that the Lord would “suddenly come to his temple” (Malachi 3:1). Consider the word temple. If this were an interview and I were Joseph Smith, I would probably ask, “A temple? Christians don’t have temples, do they? What is a temple?” Moroni explained, continuing his quotation from Malachi, that the Savior will purify his priesthood and that these priesthood bearers, in their sanctified state, will offer an offering in righteousness (see Malachi 3:3). Temples? Priesthood bearers? Offerings in righteousness? Moroni then quoted a further passage in which Malachi talked about tithes and offerings (see Malachi 8–10). I am confident that the churches with which Joseph was familiar, the Protestant churches of his day, did not require tithes of their people. Then Moroni quoted: “A book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” (Malachi 3:16–17.)

Malachi next stated that the wicked would be cut off, that they would have “neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1). Interestingly, Moroni paraphrased Malachi 4:1 instead of quoting it verbatim to Joseph Smith: “For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch” (JS-H 1:37). In other words, it seems that the disobedient who have not kept their temple covenants, who have no desire to become the Lord’s jewels, and who have not kept a book of remembrance will be cut off from both their ancestry and their posterity.

Moroni continued his clarification of Malachi by paraphrasing verse 5 as follows: “I will reveal unto you the Priesthood [the sealing power], by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Moroni then went on to quote Malachi as saying that God “shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” (JS-H 1:38–39.)

In short, then, Moroni was essentially saying, “Joseph, do you want to know your state and standing before God? Do you want to know what the future holds? You will be a temple builder. The holy priesthood will be revealed to you from on high. Many men will be ordained to the priesthood under your authority. These priesthood bearers must be purified of all unrighteousness, they must be mindful of their kindred dead, then they will offer acceptable offerings unto the Lord.”

 Are we talking about a restoration of the Levitical priesthood and its ordinances? The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that animal sacrifice would be reinstituted in this dispensation and administered “by the sons of Levi.” [8] Since these are “the times of the restitution of all things,” he also said that the priesthood bearers of the last days would be temple workers like the ancient sons of Levi (see Acts 3:21). What are their duties? In the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph explained part of the assignment that they will have when the Lord comes again: “He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering of righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.” (D&C 128:24.)

Moroni surely explained to Joseph that the sons of Levi would yet offer an offering in righteousness as they did anciently because this is the day of “the restitution of all things.” But that acceptable offering in the last days would be a book containing their genealogy to be presented to the Lord in the temple. (See D&C 128:24.)

Moroni next quoted Isaiah 11 exactly as it appears in the King James Version, describing Jesus as “the stem of Jesse,” the servants who would serve him, and the Lord’s millennial reign. Moroni was telling Joseph that he would be responsible for establishing the foundation of a kingdom fit to receive the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The house of Israel is chosen to prepare for the millennial reign; in the last days Ephraim and Judah will befriend each other; Judah will be established in his ancient homeland with great power; and the ten tribes will return. Could Joseph Smith, at the age of seventeen, have dreamed that just eighteen years hence, in 1841, he would send an Apostle of the Lord to the ancient land of Palestine to dedicate it for the return of the Jews? More than three million Jews now live where only a few thousand dwelled in 1841.

Moroni also quoted Acts 3:22–23 “precisely as [those verses] stand in our New Testament.” Moroni explained that the prophet mentioned therein was Christ; that the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come (JS-H 1:40).

Moroni next quoted several verses from Joel 2, announcing that these prophecies were about to be fulfilled:

 

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

 

And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

 

And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

 

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.

 

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:28–32.)

 

Moroni, you will recall, announced in 1823 “that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be” (JS-H 1:41). I am intrigued by that statement. Could the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh pertain to the inventions and discoveries of our day, as many of the Brethren have suggested in recent years?

But the next passage puzzles me: “I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke” (Joel 2:30). We have had bloodshed, of course, ever since Cain murdered Abel. History is a chronicle of arson, pillage, burning, and corruption. Yet Moroni assured Joseph Smith that “wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke” would identify his dispensation. I looked up the Hebrew word which was translated into English as “pillars of smoke.” It is timeroth, or “palm tree-like columns” (spreading at the top). Now, that makes no sense. Or does it? Perhaps if the reporter at the White Sands proving grounds at Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1943, had been from an area where palm trees were more prevalent than mushrooms, he may have described the appearance of the huge atomic cloud as being like a palm tree. This is only my interpretation; but about 400 B.C. a contemporary of Joel’s, Zechariah, also looked into the last days in vision and described a terrible “plague.” “Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth” (Zechariah 14:12). Radiation? Perhaps. If not, what might he be referring to? I wonder how Joseph Smith interpreted that passage, or whether the vision Moroni showed him left no doubt.

I also wonder how it would be to have an angelic tutor appear and say, “Please open your scriptures to Isaiah 29:12, Joseph. See here, in verse 12, where it speaks of one who is ‘not learned’? Joseph, Isaiah is speaking of you. Isaiah was a prophet, a great scholar, a brilliant intellect, a counselor to kings. And what did he see? He saw you in the last days, a young man, unlearned, who would bring forth more scripture than any other single prophet on the face of the earth.” What must Joseph Smith have thought then? Did he foresee that he would bring forth the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and about thirty-six hundred pages of Church history?

Joseph at the age of seventeen was not dull; he was only untrained. But by the end of his life, he had had a training granted to few!

Moroni also taught Joseph on the hillside that the fulness of the Gentiles would soon come in, that the Nephites and the Lamanites were literal descendants of Abraham, that the words of the book must be delivered to the learned before they could be translated, and that a new covenant would be made with Israel in the last days, as the Lord would send “many fishers . . . and many hunters” in the last days to seek out his people (see Jeremiah 16:16).

Remember once again that Oliver Cowdery has told us that while Moroni was dealing with Joseph, “the vision was also opened, so that our brother was permitted to see and understand much more full and perfect than I am able to communicate in writing. I know much may be conveyed to the understanding in writing, and many marvellous truths set forth with the pen, but after all, it is but a shadow, compared to an open vision of seeing, hearing, and realizing eternal things.” [9]

Moroni gave Joseph Smith the plates on September 22, 1827.

 He instructed him frequently for the next two years and, when Joseph was not completely in tune with the Spirit—not striving to become the sensitive person he must become in order to receive, understand, and work with the Urim and Thummim—Moroni would also reprimand him. On occasion Moroni took away the plates or the Urim and Thummim or both, let Joseph reflect upon his calling for a few days, and returned the sacred things to him with appropriate counsel and warnings.

According to records kept by Joseph Smith, Lucy Mack Smith, and Oliver Cowdery, Moroni made twenty-two visits to the Prophet between 1823 and 1829. His main purpose was to be Joseph Smith’s tutor; to teach him the gospel of Jesus Christ and to instruct him in how to establish God’s kingdom in the latter days.

Moroni still has important assignments in these days. He is custodian of the sealed plates, he will deliver the sealed portion to a designated prophet in the future, he will be the fifth angel of the Apocalypse (see D&C 88:103), he is the guardian angel of America, aiding the Nephites and Lamanites, and he will testify at the judgment bar.

We have been discussing an unusual person, the extraordinary prophet-angel Moroni, one of very few who has left a record both as a mortal and as an immortal. We honor him for his great task of teaching Joseph Smith the gospel of Jesus Christ to help prepare him for his prophetic calling.

In closing, let me read you the words of Elder Orson Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve:

 

Now it does not seem likely to me, that a young man whose beard had scarcely grown—a youth untutored, untaught in the sectarian notions of the day, brought up to labor hard on his father’s farm, should be able to make these great distinctions, to come out in opposition to all modern systems of religion, and establish the very fundamental principles that are necessary to the very existence of Christianity in the last days. But God was with that young man. He was not his own teacher; he was not left to his own judgment in regard to what Christianity should be and what it should not be. The angel that came from heaven and revealed himself to the youth understood his mission. He understood what the Gospel was and should be; he understood the revelations of St. John; he understood that these revelations never could be fulfilled unless an angel were sent from heaven in the last days, with the message of the Gospel to be proclaimed unto the inhabitants of the earth, not to a sectional portion of it, not to some corner of it, or to some obscure people, but to commit the everlasting Gospel unto the inhabitants of the earth, to be proclaimed to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. He understood the difference between modern Christianity and ancient Christianity. And when the Urim and Thummim was lighted up by the power of God, and magnified before the eyes of this youth, those ancient characters upon the plates of the Book of Mormon, the distinction was clearly made, between the purity of the Gospel as it was taught in ancient days, and the doctrines and innovations of man as have been taught during many long centuries of apostasy. [10]

 

Moroni is a remarkable man—a mighty prophet and a great heavenly messenger. He was the first of at least fifty-seven immortal personages who appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, or who were seen by him in vision. Moroni alone appeared at least twenty-two times to that “unlearned” man. Being taught like that—from on high—is the ultimate education. Joseph Smith, one of the greatest prophets the world has ever known, was taught by another of the greatest prophets the world has ever known. And all of us, as a consequence, are blessed.

Notes

[1] Orson Hyde, in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1855–86), 6:368. Hereafter cited as JD.

[2] Ibid.

[3] See Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet and His Progenitors for Many Generations (1912; reprint ed., Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1969), 88–89.

[4] Oliver Cowdery to W. W. Phelps, “Letter VIII,” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, 2 (October 1835): 197–98; “Letter VII,” 1 (July 1835): 155.

[5] Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches, 94.

[6] See Oliver Cowdery to W. W. Phelps, “Letter IV,” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, 1 (February 1835): 79.

[7] Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches, 87.

[8] Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938), 172–73.

[9] Oliver Cowdery to W. W. Phelps, “Letter VI,” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, 1 (April 1835): 112.

[10] Orson Pratt, JD 21:172–73.