After Joseph Smith received his First Vision, he told several people about it. Instead of believing him, most people made fun of him. Still, Joseph knew that he had been called of God. He was a fun-loving boy, however, and sometimes not very serious, so he felt he needed forgiveness. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:2728.)
On the night of 21 September 1823, 17-year-old Joseph went to his bedroom and began to pray for forgiveness (see Joseph Smith—History 1:29). As he prayed, a light appeared in his room, and “a personage appeared at [Joseph’s] bedside, standing in the air” (Joseph Smith—History 1:30). This personage had on a very white, loose robe (see Joseph Smith—History 1:31).
The messenger introduced himself as Moroni. He said God had sent him to tell Joseph of the work God had for him to do. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:33.)
Moroni told Joseph about a book written on gold plates. This book was about people who had lived on the American continent many years before. Jesus visited these people after He was resurrected and taught them the gospel. Moroni also told Joseph about something called a Urim and Thummim. The Urim and Thummim was with the gold plates, and Joseph was to use it to translate the plates. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:3435.)
Moroni quoted Old Testament prophecies about events that would happen. He also quoted from the New Testament. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:3641.)
Moroni told Joseph that when he got the plates, he should show them only to those God chose to see them. While Moroni was speaking, Joseph saw in a vision the place where the gold plates were buried. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:42.) When Moroni finished speaking, he rose toward heaven until he disappeared (see Joseph Smith—History 1:43).
As Joseph thought about the things he had just seen and heard, Moroni returned and told Joseph the same things he had told him before. Then Moroni told Joseph of many problems that would come to the earth in the future. When Moroni finished, he went up into heaven again. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:4445.)
Joseph was so overwhelmed he could not sleep. Then, to his surprise, Moroni came a third time. Again Moroni repeated what he had told Joseph. He also warned Joseph that Satan would tempt him to use the gold plates to become rich, but that they should only be used to build God’s kingdom. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:46.)
Again Moroni left. As Joseph pondered his unusual experience, he heard a rooster crow. Moroni’s visits had taken the entire night. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:47.)
On the night of 21 September 1823, 17-year-old Joseph Smith was praying. An angel named Moroni appeared. Moroni told Joseph that God had a work for him and described a book written on gold plates. This book was a record of ancient people who had lived on the American continent, and it contained the fulness of the gospel. Joseph was to translate this record. Moroni quoted some verses from the Bible and gave Joseph instructions. Moroni appeared to Joseph two more times that night, repeating the same message.
Artist, Tom Lovell
© 2002 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Used by permission.