Today’s post is a look at what leaders of the LDS Church have chosen to do with their time. It also serves as a reminder of this church’s foundation.
In all sincerity may we keep Colossians 3:17 in the forefront of our minds –
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
We all know the story of Joe Smith receiving gold plates from the angel of light, Moroni. What you may not be aware of is the collection of stories from early Mormons retelling Joe’s experience of when he went to Cumorah to give the plates back to Moroni.
From an article, ‘Cumorah’s Cave’, by Cameron J Packer (Maxwell Institute), you can find a synopsis of ten people’s side of the story. As with all things Mormon, having ‘eyes of faith’ is involved. If you’re unfamiliar with that phrase in Mormon lore, it means you have to believe in another vision of Joseph Smith.
“According to some of those leaders, Joseph Smith and others returned the plates to a cave in the Hill Cumorah after he finished translating them. At least 10 different accounts,¹ all secondhand, refer to this cave and what was found there. With these reports of a cave in the Hill Cumorah comes the question, Was this a real cave that Joseph and others actually walked into, or was it a visionary, or “virtual,” experience? The wording of the accounts leaves the issue open. While this question cannot be answered unless we find firsthand information regarding the cave, what can be learned from these accounts captures our interest. A closer look at them shows that at times they have been used to teach certain gospel principles in a memorable way.”
For today we’ve listed one of the stories told by none other than Brigham Young. Another purpose in bringing this whole saga to light is to ask the following questions –
How did this glorify our Lord?
What purpose do these hard-to-believe tales serve?
What will people like my mother get from them?
Will they grow her faith in Jesus?
Do they speak to the truth of the Bible?
Do they point solely to God?
Will it bring unbelievers to the real Jesus of the Bible?
Journal of Discourses, 19:38-39; “I believe I will take the liberty to tell you of another circumstance that will be as marvelous as anything can be. This is an incident in the life of Oliver Cowdery, but he did not take the liberty of telling such things in meeting as I take. I tell these things to you, and I have a motive for doing so. I want to carry them to the ears of my brethren and sisters, and to the children also, that they may grow to an understanding of some things that seem to be entirely hidden from the human family. Oliver Cowdery went with the Prophet Joseph when he deposited these plates. Joseph did not translate all of the plates; there was a portion of them sealed, which you can learn from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words: “This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ.” I tell you this as coming not only from Oliver Cowdery, but others who were familiar with it, and who understood it just as well as we understand coming to this meeting, enjoying the day, and by and by we separate and go away, forgetting most of what is said, but remembering some things. So is it with other circumstances in life. I relate this to you, and I want you to understand it. I take this liberty of referring to those things so that they will not be forgotten and lost. Carlos Smith was a young man of as much veracity as any young man we had, and he was a witness to these things. Samuel Smith saw some things, Hyrum saw a good many things, but Joseph was the leader.” – Brigham Young, Farmington, UT, June 17, 1877
To read other accounts of this event see Cameron J. Packer, ‘Cumorah’s Cave,’ Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 13/1–2 (2004): 50–57, 170–71.