Moroni 10


MDC Contents



 Moroni 10:1

1  Now I, Moroni, write somewhat as seemeth me good; and I write unto my brethren, the Lamanites; and I would that they should know that more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ.


Moroni’s concluding chapter is directed to the future, and specifically to “my brethren, the Lamanites.” When Moroni closed his father’s record, he did so with a firm eye on the future history of the record. Now he closes his own record and prepares to place it in the earth. At this final point, he again focuses on the future. Just as his father’s last words were to the future Lamanites, so too are Moroni’s last words directed to the future Lamanites.


Chronology: Four hundred and twenty years from the time of Christ correlates to 411 A.D. in the correlation used in this commentary.


Moroni 10:2

2  And I seal up these records, after I have spoken a few words by way of exhortation unto you.


Moroni is preparing to “seal up these records.” He is not referring to any physical process that will bind plates together, but rather to a spiritual binding and sealing as they are placed in the earth. They are to be sealed up to their purpose. It is in this context that we understand the expression on the title page when Moroni says: “Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed.” They are sealed so that “they might not be destroyed.” Thus this is a protective sealing, not a preventative sealing such as was placed on the vision of the brother of Jared.


Moroni 10:3

3  Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.


Moroni speaks directly to his future reader. While he wrote to future Lamanites, he certainly understood that the Book of Mormon would come to the gentiles as well, so we may suppose that they are included in this direct address.


[if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them]: Moroni is sealing up the plates. Not all of the people of the future will be able to read the text, only those after the time when God sees fit to reveal the text to mankind. It is this variable of timing that will determine whether it is in the “wisdom of God” that we should receive it. After the publication of the text, it depends upon our access to the Book of Mormon. At this point, the will of God is that all have the opportunity, and it is now in our hands to make that happen.


[that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men]: God has been merciful before, and Moroni is indicating that the privilege of reading the Book of Mormon is yet another indication of the mercies of God toward man.


Moroni 10:4

4  And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Moroni 10:5

5  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.


[And when ye shall receive these things]: There is a period of time when the Book of Mormon will not be available, as noted in verse 3. Therefore, if and when we have the opportunity to receive the Book of Mormon, Moroni charges us with our responsibility toward the text.


[I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true]: “These things” comprise the whole of the text of the Book of Mormon. In what sense is the Book of Mormon true? One of the definitions of true is that it is the opposite of false. The Book of Mormon would therefore be true as long as it is not false. That definition is not satisfying, for it would allow us to concentrate on the wrong aspects of true.


The meaning of true in this verse cannot be separated from what might be true. That is, what part of the Book of Mormon does Moroni consider true? We know that Moroni does not consider true to mean an absence of errors. In the Title Page, Moroni tells us: “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men”.


It is also doubtful that Moroni considered true to mean historically accurate. There is no doubt that he would have assumed that his record was historically accurate, but that would not be the thrust of the account. Should we find historical errors, and we do find some discernible historical errors of interpretation in Mormon’s writings, that still does not constitute making the text false in the way that Moroni is indicating.


]and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.]: This is the evidence for type of trueness That Moroni declares for the Book of Mormon. It is true in that it correctly portrays the purposes of God. It is true in the same sense that the gospel is true, that the principle of faith is true. The trueness is one that is discernible by the spirit and confirmable by the Spirit. For Moroni, the whole of the Book of Mormon could be determined to accurately reflect Mesoamerican archaeology, and that would not constitute being true. The only way that one may know if it is true is to have the confirmation of the Holy Ghost.


[And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.]: The function of the Holy Ghost is to be a testator, and to confirm truth. It is a powerful witness in that it can provide the witness of faith where there is no available proof. If faith is the: “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1), then it is the Holy Ghost that provides that substance and evidence. The Book of Mormon can be confirmed to be true even if there is never a single historical correlation between the text and dirt archaeology.


Does this mean that this more academic type of evidence and substance does not exist? No. Does it mean that we do not need to seek for it? Not exactly. There are many for whom such evidence is wholly unnecessary. There are those for whom all of the available correlations are insufficient to induce faith. The role of placing the Book of Mormon in a historical context is not for proof, but for depth. We do not believe it is true because it fits into the Mesoamerican milieu, but we can understand better the motivations and actions described in the text if we see it in that cultural milieu. We gain the benefit of that depth of understanding without the requirement of academic proof, for that function is fulfilled by the Holy Ghost.


Moroni 10:6

6  And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.


This verse is a direct echo of Mormon’s discourse that Moroni included as Moroni 7:


Moroni 7:12-16

12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.


Moroni’s restatement gives us the essence of the more complete argument in Mormon, but the basic premise is the same. Moroni is telling us that we may judge whether the Book of Mormon is true based upon the confirmation of the Spirit. In Moroni 7:16 Mormon had indicated that the “Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil.” Moroni adapts that understanding to the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the confirmation of truth in the Book of Mormon. The Holy Ghost will confirm the truth of the Book of Mormon, and we may know Godly truth because “whatsever thing is good is just and true,” and good things come from God. Moroni is restating the essence of his father’s discourse in the context of his final admonition.


Moroni 10:7

7  And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.


Not only may we know that good things are just and true, and that good things come from God, we may actually know that God exists (“that he is”) through the testifying power of the Holy Ghost.


Moroni 10:8

8  And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God.  And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.


Moroni has indicated that the Book of Mormon comes as one of the mercies of God, and that it may be understood as true through the power of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a gift from God. After the positive exhortation to accept the Book of Mormon, Moroni warns us against denying the gifts of God. The Book of Mormon comes to us as a witness of God, and we may receive it as intended, as a gift. However, there will be those who deny this gift, and Moroni attempts to warn such people that they should not deny the Book of Mormon simply because it is not the same type of gift as others they might accept. For instance, many might accept the Bible as a gift of God, but not accept the Book of Mormon as being that same kind of gift.


Moroni 10:9

9  For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom;


[that he may teach the word of wisdom]: It is a gift of the Spirit to be able to teach “the word of wisdom.” This “word of wisdom” is not the section of the Doctrine and Covenants that is commonly referred to by that title. It is, rather, the teaching of wisdom. Of course, in the definition of the Lord, wisdom always refers to teaching the correct principles of the gospel.


Exodus 35:31

31 And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;


The spirit of God comes to us and may fill us with wisdom and understanding. While that does not preclude the wisdom of the world, it is the Godly wisdom that is most important. It is therefore a gift that one may be able to teach such wisdom. There are many who are called to teach, and when we find that certain individual blessed with the gift of God to teach us wisdom, we understand both the difference that such a gift makes in what we what we hear from that teacher, but even more importantly, the difference it makes in our lives. One who can truly teach the wisdom of God does not give us information, but inspires our transformation into a better person.


Reference: Verses 9-16 are clearly influenced by Paul’s catalogue of the gifts of the Spirit from 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. This verse cites a gift of teaching “the word of wisdom,” which gift is found in the same phrasing in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.


The referenced passages are:


1 Corinthians 12:8-11

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.


Moroni 10:10

10  And to another, that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;


[teach the word of knowledge]: We have a separation between wisdom and knowledge. Where wisdom emphasizes the things of God, knowledge emphasize learning. Just as one may have a gift to teach the things of God, one may have the gift of teaching the understanding that comes from the sciences of man. Information may come from either source, and both may be true. The gift here is in the teaching, not in the possession of either type of understanding. We may all understand both, but the gift of teaching is given to fewer.


Reference: This phrase comes from 1 Corinthians 12:8 where it follows the gift of teaching the word of wisdom, just as it does here. The similarity of language and precise paralleling of terms confirms the source model for the current text.


Moroni 10:11

11  And to another, exceedingly great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;


[to another, exceedingly great faith]: All faith comes as a gift from God, but we are all capable of faith. The particular gift here is not any kind of faith, but rather “exceedingly great” faith. There are those whose faith is powerful, even to the power to move mountains. Such faith is not common, even though we may all achieve some level of faith.


[gifts of healing]: A particular subset of the gift of faith is the gift of healing. It is a particular gift from God given to some. All worthy holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood may participate in the blessing of the sick, and the power of the priesthood is sufficient for all occasions, depending upon faith. Nevertheless, there are those whose gift includes healing.


Reference: 1 Corinthians 12:9 provides the model for this verse:


1 Corinthians 12:9

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;


Moroni 10:12

12  And again, to another, that he may work mighty miracles;


[that he may work mighty miracles]: Healing is a miracle, and faith can lead to miracles, but the distinction is made in the categories to emphasize the varieties of the gifts.


Reference: This verse replicates the subject of miracles from 1 Corinthians 12:10, but alters the phrasing of the passage. The model is still evident, but the model is not being copied, but rather reworked into the text of Moroni’s declaration.

Moroni 10:13

13  And again, to another, that he may prophesy concerning all things;


[that he may prophesy]: The context of this gift is in the more ancient conception of a prophet rather than the modern one. In modern usage, we assume that there is only one prophet at a time. In the ancient world, there might be more than one, such as when Lehi was called to prophesy in a Jerusalem that already say Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesying. Even in the world of the New Testament, the evidence of the Didache tells us that there were many who were considered prophets who were separate from the official hierarchy of the nascent church. The Didache is a church manual from just after 100 AD. At that time, the particular community that produced the Didache was receiving messengers of Christianity as the passed through the community. Some who came through were truly messengers of God, others were simply charlatans. The Didache gave the community some rules to discern true prophets from false prophets. In the following passage, it should also be remembered that in Greek the word apostle simply means one who is sent, and does not carry the connotation of being one of the twelve that we assume in our modern context. The following rules were used to discern among the various prophets who might come through the community:


“But concerning the apostles and prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there's a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet who speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he holds the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet. And every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him.” (Didache, chapter 11 p. 176).


Reference: The content of this verse is contained in 1 Corinthians 12:10.


Moroni 10:14

14  And again, to another, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits;


Reference: The model in 1 Corinthians 12:10 uses the phrase “discerning of spirits.” This phrase becomes “beholding of angels and ministering of spirits.” In the Pauline statement, the discernment could be the spirit in the individual, but in the Book of Mormon context it is transformed into an ability to behold angels. Certainly in Moroni’s experience, this greater specificity would be warranted, for he has already spoken of ministering of angels (Moroni 7:22).


Moroni 10:15

15  And again, to another, all kinds of tongues;

Moroni 10:16

16  And again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues.


Reference: The give to tongues and the interpretation of tongues follows 1 Corinthians 12:11. In the Book of Mormon redaction of those phrases, the interpretation of tongues has become the interpretation of languages. This is an interesting shift for it moves the gift away from the Pauline reference of glossolalia (speaking in tongues) to a reference to specific languages. This is certainly the modern interpretation of the gift of tongues, but it was not the original reference in 1 Corinthians. This particular perspective is consistent with earlier uses of the same imagery in the Book of Mormon. In Omni we find:


Omni 1:25

25 And it came to pass that I began to be old; and, having no seed, and knowing king Benjamin to be a just man before the Lord, wherefore, I shall deliver up these plates unto him, exhorting all men to come unto God, the Holy One of Israel, and believe in prophesying, and in revelations, and in the ministering of angels, and in the gift of speaking with tongues, and in the gift of interpreting languages, and in all things which are good; for there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord; and that which is evil cometh from the devil.


Translation: This set of gifts in Corinthians has had a continuous impact on the way the Nephite record was translated. The combination of elements in the Pauline set of gifts is found in several locations in the rest of the Book of Mormon. The examination of these instances can clarify our understanding of the nature of the translation process. We return to our Omni example as the earliest presence of the Pauline catalog of gifts of the Spirit:


Omni 1:25

25 And it came to pass that I began to be old; and, having no seed, and knowing king Benjamin to be a just man before the Lord, wherefore, I shall deliver up these plates unto him, exhorting all men to come unto God, the Holy One of Israel, and believe in prophesying, and in revelations, and in the ministering of angels, and in the gift of speaking with tongues, and in the gift of interpreting languages, and in all things which are good; for there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord; and that which is evil cometh from the devil.


Omni gives us a set of gifts that come from God. At lease the gift of tongues is specifically mentioned as a gift, but the set matches with the items in the Pauline catalog. Prophecy is a direct match, with revelation are rather obvious parallel to prophesy, even though it is not part of the Pauline catalog. From that same set we have the ministering of angels, tongues, and interpretation. Of course the specific interpretation is that of languages rather than tongues. This shift in context occurs both here and in Moroni 10:16. In the Omni catalog, only the gift of revelation appears as an intrusion on the Pauline set, and it is a near replication of prophecy.


Alma 9:21

21 Having been visited by the Spirit of God; having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation;


Alma’s catalog references Paul more extensively, but with less of an obvious parallel. The conversing with angels parallels the way in which Moroni has reinterpreted Paul’s discerning of spirits. Both the Alma usage and the Moroni usage shift the Pauline catalog in precisely the same direction. Additionally, the Alma catalog contains a direct parallel to the gift of tongues, and a rephrasing of the gift of teaching which shifts to the gift of preaching. In the Alma catalog of gifts, the gift of the Holy Ghost is made explicit, but that is also explicit in 1 Corinthians 12:7. The addition is the gift of translation.


3 Nephi 29:6

6 Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost!


The Pauline catalog is worked into a very different context in 3 Nephi. Here the list is used to create a catalog of traits that are can be denied by unbelievers. They are therefore pulled from the context of gifts and become a type of litmus paper of belief. The 3 Nephi catalog replicates prophecy, tongues, and healings. As in the Omni example, prophecy is reduplicated into revelation.


Mormon 9:7

7 And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;


The catalog in Mormon is similar in usage to that of 3 Nephi. It becomes a set of expectations of the gospel that a non-believer might deny. Nevertheless, the set is clearly modeled on the Pauline catalog of gifts of the Spirit. Specific replications are prophecies, healings, speaking in tongues, and in this case, the interpretation of tongues rather than the interpretation of languages. The only addition is the now familiar reduplication of the prophecy into revelation.


It is obvious that the Pauline catalog of gifts of the spirit has influenced the translated text in each of these cases. That is the evidence. What is the meaning of the evidence? As in other cases, we have confirmation that Joseph’s understanding of the New Testament guided his selection of phrases used in the translation. This tells us important information about the relationship of the underlying plate text and the resulting English translation.


With the obvious parallels among the cited verses and the Pauline catalog from 1 Corinthians 12, we have a set of gifts that have two explanations. The first is that this particular set of gifts is finite and therefore known to the various prophets as a virtual set. This is possible, but less likely that the second alternative, which is that when the plate text reference anything similar to the set of the gifts of the spirit, the influence of the Pauline catalog guided the production of the English text. The plate text must therefore have a parallel but imprecise relationship to the English text. The assumption of a tight control over the production of the English text would presume that this particular Pauline catalog had some type of conceptual reality that dictated its use by Mormon as he wrote his text. If it were located only in Mormon it might still be possible that it was an understanding that Mormon had, but the presence of the catalog in Omni, which is part of the small plates and not the product of Mormon’s hands suggests that the similarities are due to the only common hand between the two sets of plates; Joseph Smith the translator.


Moroni 10:17

17  And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.


Reference: This verse mirrors Paul’s introduction to the gifts of the Spirit, even though it comes here at the end of the catalog. The intent is to show that these gifts are given to men. It emphasizes the universality of the gifts without the Pauline indication that there is a uniqueness in the giving of the gift:


1 Corinthians 12:4-7

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.


Moroni 10:18

18  And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.


Translation: When Moroni began this section on the gifts of the spirit, the trigger was the idea that whatever is good comes from God (verse 6). As he ends this section, he repeats the statement that “every good gift cometh of Christ.” The intent of this inserted section on the gifts of the spirit it so emphasize that the Book of Mormon fits into this context of gifts. It is a gift in itself, as Moroni indicated when he introduced it as one of the mercies of God (verse 3). He has indicated that the way one ought to receive this gift is to confirm its goodness through the Spirit, a process that in itself is necessarily a gift of the Spirit. The function of the repetition of the catalog of the gifts of the spirit is to emphasize the Book of Mormon, and the ability to know that it is true is one of the gifts of the spirit. That intent is very clearly natural to Moroni, and it suggests to us that the underlying plate text carried this meaning, perhaps without the specific references to the Pauline catalog. The translation process therefore translated content, not vocabulary.


Moroni 10:19

19  And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.


Moroni has used the argument of the unchanging nature of God as part of his conclusion to his father’s text:


Mormon 9:9

9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?


This is apparently an argument that flows from Moroni’s understanding, and he repeats the general argument here. We are unaware of the time separation of Mormon 9 and Moroni 10, but we it is likely that it is multiple years, perhaps even twenty. This suggests that this is an argument that is fundamental to Moroni’s understanding, and not simply a passing preference that is used for a time.


Moroni 10:20

20  Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.


As Moroni wraps up his contribution to the Book of Mormon, he pulls themes from earlier sections of what he or his father had written. In this case, we find the reintroduction of the faith, hope, charity theme that was prominent in the discourse from Mormon that Moroni includes as Moroni 7. In this context, he visits the theme of faith hope and charity as an outgrowth of his discussion of the need for one to confirm the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon through the Spirit. That process is inherently based upon faith, and it is therefore appropriate to revisit that formulation. The repetition also serves to reinforce the presence of the theme in the earlier chapter.


Moroni 10:21

21  And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope.


Moroni’s statement of the essential nature of charity is stronger than the one his father used:


Moroni 7:47

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.


For Mormon, it is a good thing. For Moroni it is an essential characteristic. Where Mormon tells us that “it shall be well” with one who has charity, Moroni tells us that “except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God.” This fits with the contextual shift Moroni has for faith and hope as well, for Moroni places both of those in a similarly essential category, where Mormon’s use of the terms was preparatory.


Moroni 10:22

22  And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity.


There is no obvious relationship between Moroni’s text and Paul’s statement on hope from 1 Corinthians 15, but there is a similar attempt to explain the relationship of hope to our spiritual lives. In Paul we find:


1 Corinthians 15:19

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.


The message in Paul contrasts mortality and post-mortality. What he is saying is that for the Christian, hope relates to the expectations of post-mortal reality. Hope is miserable if it is limited to this life only, for it is painfully obvious that the Christian ideal is no guarantee for a peaceful, gracious life in this world. It is for this reason that Paul says that “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” We are miserable because it would be evident that our hope would be in vain; if that hope were limited to mortality. Hope is inherently a principle that looks to a post-moral fulfillment of glorious promises, but understands that mortality might never see them.


This is Moroni’s contrast between hope and despair. If one has hope and looks to the post-mortal blessings of the gospel, then there is courage, and perhaps even some joy in understanding the purpose of our earthly trials. However, stripped of that hope, we find ourselves in despair because we are faced with the reality of this life, and have no vision of any improvement. Moroni further links this type of despair to iniquity. That particular iniquity is the rejection of the gospel, not simply sin. The idea that Moroni is expressing is that if we reject the Savior, then of necessity our hope in the post-mortal life is shorn from us, and we are left with only that earth-bound, fickle, and typically unfulfilled hope that so readily turns to despair.


Moroni 10:23

23  And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me.


This is the essential message. Faith makes all things possible. How may we obtain faith? For Moroni, the Book of Mormon is an powerful instrument in building such faith. It requires faith to believe in the Book of Mormon, for it will not be understood by the scholars. It is a thing of the spirit, and will be witnessed by the spirit, through our faith.


Moroni 10:24

24  And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief.


As he did at the end of his father’s record, Moroni admonishes the future world. We do not have the very specific references as we did in Mormon 8 and 9, suggesting that the revelation of the future that he obviously received was then fresh, but is distant from the time of the writing of this final benediction on the plates.


Moroni 10:25

25  And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one.  For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.

Moroni 10:26

26  And wo unto them who shall do these things away and die, for they die in their sins, and they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God; and I speak it according to the words of Christ; and I lie not.


Part of the prophetic sealing is not only the pronouncement of blessings, but the pronouncement of the cursings. The wo-statements come as a formulaic part of the conclusion to his writing. He must seal the plates, and the wo statements are an important part of that seal. The plates become a blessing or a curse, depending upon how we approach them, and the witness that we receive through faith.


[wo unto them who shall do these things away and die, for they die in their sins]: Those who deny the gifts of God are those who not only do not have faith, but they are those who have not accepted Christ. Therefore, the atonement from spiritual death will not apply. They may be resurrected, but if they die in their sins, the implication is that they have not accepted the sin-offering of the Atoning Messiah. They therefore remain as though there had been no atonement.


Moroni 10:27

27  And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?


Moroni began is concluding chapter with the exhortation. He then moved to a discussion of the gifts of the spirit, among which was implied the gift of the Book of Mormon and the gift of understanding that it is true based on faith. As part of his prophetic sealing on the plates, he pronounces the wo-statements. He now moves to the final aspect of the seal, which is the testimony. Moroni seals this entire work with his personal testimony that it is true. He notes that he stands as witness of the truthfulness not of the translation, not of the plates, but of the content of the plates. He testifies that the meaning is true, and that he will be the sure witness of that truthfulness when we stand before the judgment bar of God when all of God’s truths will be evident.


[like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?]: Nephi used a similar benediction at the end of his writing:


2 Nephi 33:13

13 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.


For both Nephi and Moroni, they are witnesses from the dust because their words survive them. They speak to us in the modern day even though their day is long past. While this is the specific usage we see in both Nephi and Moroni, we should understand that the phraseology comes from Isaiah:


Isaiah 29:4

4 And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.


Nephi’s obvious mastery of Isaiah tells us that his reference to Isaiah was intentional, and probably seen as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. We are less certain of Moroni’s understanding of the ultimate source of this text. However, the presence of the next verse will suggest that Moroni’s immediate reference is Nephi, not Isaiah.


Moroni 10:28

28  I declare these things unto the fulfilling of the prophecies.  And behold, they shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the everlasting God; and his word shall hiss forth from generation to generation.


The phrase “hiss forth” only occurs twice in all of the modern scriptural canon; here and in 2 Nephi 29:2. In both cases, the context is the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Moroni gives a specific introduction here that adds the confirmation that Moroni sees the Book of Mormon as a fulfillment of prophecy of a voice coming from the dust, even through the probable reference is Nephi rather than Isaiah.


Moroni 10:29

29  And God shall show unto you, that that which I have written is true.


In addition to Moroni’s personal witness, and the confirmation of the Spirit, when we stand before God, he too will witness the truthfulness of the record. Moroni specifically notes that God will witness “that which I have written.” In this case, the witness from God is to Moroni’s testimony, not to the other things he wrote on the plates.


Moroni 10:30

30  And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.


When Moroni urges his future readers to “lay hold upon every good gift,” he is referencing his father’s discourse (see Moroni 7:19-21and following verses).


[touch … the unclean thing]: This language imitates the language of 2 Corinthians 16:17 where the phrase is “touch not the unclean thing.”


Moroni 10:31

31  And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.


Moroni references Isaiah 52:1-2, although again we cannot be certain that the immediate reference is Isaiah, for these verses also appear as 2 Nephi 8:24-25. Moroni may be reading Nephi as inspiration for his final message, and would find in Nephi all of the allusions that we see to Isaiah.


Variant: In the Printer’s manuscript the first phrase reads:


“And awake, and arise from the dust, O Daughter of Zion….”


The correction was made in the Printer’s manuscript, and the current reading reflects the 1830 edition. (Book of Mormon Critical Text. FARMS, 1987). This verse references language from Isaiah 52:


Isaiah 52:1-2

1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.


The phrase “daughter of Zion” is part of the model verse, but it comes later. The reference to Jerusalem needs to come first in order to set up the meaning of “daughter of Zion.” However, either in the dictation or in the hearing of the phrase, the latter phrase was transposed into the earlier position.


Another variant occurs in this verse as well, and is similarly a difference between the Printer’s Manuscript and the corrections made to the Printer’s manuscript prior to going to the typesetter. (Book of Mormon Critical Text. FARMS 1987)  In the uncorrected copy, the text reads:


… that the covenants of the Eternal God which he hath made…


Moroni 10:32

32  Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.


The final message is one of exhortation and hope. Moroni pleads with us to come unto Christ. This is the reason for which the entire text of the Book of Mormon was written, and Moroni is pleading with its readers to accept that purpose, and fulfill it. He reminds us that “his grace is sufficient” for us to accomplish these tasks. The sufficiency of the Lord’s grace is a topic that Moroni explained in Ether 12:26-27.


Moroni 10:33

33  And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.


Here is the definition of our hope. Hope looks to the post-mortal, and specifically to our perfection in Christ. That does not happen in this mortality, but rather in our experiences after this world. To accomplish this perfection and to receive the blessings that will come through it, we must accept Jesus Christ. Moroni ends with this defining purpose of the whole of the text that his father wrote, and the whole of his interest in preserving and delivering that text. The Book of Mormon is truly another witness for Christ, not to his reality, but to his divinity.


Moroni 10:34

34  And now I bid unto all, farewell.  I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead.  Amen.


[until my spirit and body shall again reunite]: Moroni’s understanding of the gospel is centered on the mission of the Atoning Messiah. Therefore, in his farewell he refers to his earthly death in terms that emphasize the redemption from that death through Christ. In his last statement, Moroni testifies not to the Book of Mormon, but to Christ the Atoning Messiah.


[brought forth triumphant through the air]: This is simply an image of the resurrection. After death, the soul must “rise” to heaven which is conceived as above the earth. It is this conception of heaven as “up” that requires that he be “brought forth…through the air.”


[the Eternal Judge]: There are two aspects to the atonement, and in Moroni’s final testimony, he declares both of them. He rises through the resurrection, or the atonement for physical death. In the end he stands before the Judge, who judges because the acceptance of the atonement for spiritual death is not automatic. Moroni’s final statement underlines not only his faith in the person of Christ, but in the mission of Christ.








by Brant Gardner. Copyright 2002