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Thursday, May 6, 2010
Destined to Meet
Today we covered a small chapter in the book of Ether. Chapter 5 left an impression on me. Moroni speaks directly to Joseph Smith and gives him a bit of instruction. He also eases his heart. The instruction was that Joseph Smith was not to touch the sealed part of the golden plates once he had them in his possession. But he would be able to show the plates to people who would testify of what they saw. "And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work; And unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true." (Ether 5:2-3) Up until this point in his translation of the plates, he had not been allowed to show them to anyone, thus carrying a tremendous burden by himself. Reading, and translating, these words must have eased this burden for him.
The eight witnesses, whose testimonies are in the front of each Book of Mormon, testified that they had seen, felt, and held the plates, therefore being physical witnesses.
The three witnesses (this picture shows Joseph Smith with Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer with the angel......Martin Harris separated from them at this time), testified: "And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true." These three men received a spiritual manifestation of them and were spiritual witnesses.
Moroni also tells Joseph Smith that the Book of Mormon will stand as a true testimony against the world at the last day. The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record of the truthfulness of it, and Moroni also bears record of the same. Powerful stuff. Joseph must have felt a great priviledge, responsibility, weight on his shoulders, and importance of the work of translating these plates, all at the same time. But what a relief he must have felt having the support and guidance of these "beings" in his calling as prophet.
This chapter made me sit and wonder what it must have been like for both of these men, who were destined to meet. This message was from one prophet/editor/compiler to one prophet/translator who were separated by centuries of time, yet working on the same "project". They would meet, and one (as a resurrected being) would be a mentor to the other. Moroni possessed the keys of the record of the Stick of Ephraim (D&C 27:5) He was assigned to oversee the work. He would groom Joseph Smith over years of teaching to understand the importance of his role in the restoration of the gospel and the translation of the tool which would be used to gather Israel in the last days.
I serve as an early morning seminary teacher in the Murrieta, California Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I'm happily married to Joe; we have 4 lovely daughters and an amazing son-in-law.