Angel Moroni

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The Angel Moroni (pronounced /mɒˈroʊnaɪ/) is an angel that Joseph Smith, Jr. said visited him on numerous occasions, beginning on September 21, 1823. The angel was the guardian of the golden plates, which Smith said were buried in a hill near his home in western New York, and which he said were the source material for the Book of Mormon. Moroni is an important figure in the theology of the Latter Day Saint movement, and is featured prominently in Mormon architecture and art. Three Witnesses besides Joseph Smith said they saw Moroni in 1829 visions, as did several other witnesses who each said they had their own vision.

Moroni is said to be the same person as a Book of Mormon prophet-warrior named Moroni, who was the last to write in the golden plates. The book says that Moroni buried them before he died after a great battle between two pre-Columbian civilizations. After he died, he was resurrected, became an angel, and was tasked with guarding the golden plates, and with eventually directing Joseph Smith to their location in the 1820s. According to Latter Day Saint movement theology, Moroni still has the plates and several other Book of Mormon artifacts in his possession.

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Angel's name and identity

There have been two conflicting accounts as to whether the angel who appeared to Smith in 1823 and directed him to the golden plates was named Moroni or Nephi. Initially, Smith merely referred to "an angel" without identifying its name. Thus, in an 1831 letter from Lucy Mack Smith to her brother, she discusses Moroni as the person who buried the plates, but does not identify him as the unnamed "holy angel" that gave Smith the means to translate the golden plates (Morgan 1986, p. 349). In Smith's 1832 history, he said he was visited by "an angel of the Lord", who mentioned the Book of Mormon prophet "Maroni" as the last engraver of the golden plates; however, Smith's account did not say whether or not the angel was referring to himself as Moroni (Smith 1832, p. 4).

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