South Park Part 2 (Moroni)

 

Mormons on South Park – Part 2: Moroni

Joseph Smith Praying

The South Park depiction of the Book of Mormon character Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith in September 1823 reveals some holes in Joseph Smith’s story.

First and foremost, it shows Joseph Smith sleeping alone in a cabin, which was not the case. In fact, at the time of the appearance of Moroni in 1823, the Smith family was living in a two-room cabin and Joseph shared one bedroom with his four brothers.

Angel Moroni

There are no contemprary accounts of the appearance of Moroni to Joseph Smith. In fact all of the earliest accounts, which started in 1829 after publication of the Book of Mormon, describe Moroni as a spirit coming in a dream, not an angelic physical visitation. Special Book of Mormon witness Martin Harris was among the many who described Moroni as a spirit coming in a dream. On September 5, 1829, the Rochester Gem reported on the origins of Mormonism and quoted Book of Mormon Special Witness Martin Harris: “he states that after a third visit from the same spirit in a dream he (Smith) proceeded to the spot.”
“A GOLDEN BIBLE” Gem, (Rochester, NY), 5 Sept. 1829. Source of reference: A New Witness for Christ in America, (Zion’s printing and Publishing, 1951)

Perhaps this explains why none of Joseph Smith’s four brothers who were sleeping in the same room with him that night ever left any accounts of such an event occurring in their bedroom. Indeed, Martin Harris never changed his testimony of the night Joseph Smith first met Moroni. In 1842 Martin Harris again testified what happened the night of September 21st, 1823:

“Consequently long before the idea of a Golden Bible entered their minds, in their excursions for money-digging, which I believe usually occurred in the night, that they might conceal from others the knowledge of the place, where they struck their treasures, Jo used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig.”

“It was after one of these night excursions, that Jo, while he lay upon his bed, had a remarkable dream. An angel of God seemed to approach him, clad in celestial splendor.
Martin Harris Interview, “Testimonies of Book of Mormon Witnesses” John Clark, Gleanings (1842), p.226

For more historical accounts that describe Moroni as coming in a dream, see: ADDLINK

Moroni Talking

In what the church now considers the official history of Joseph Smith, written by James Mulholland and first published in 1842, Moroni is indeed an angelic visitor. Described as South Park represents, Moroni identified himself as a Native-American yet appeared as a naked white man wearing nothing but a “loose, open robe.” According to this 1842 official account, the Angel Moroni told Joseph Smith that:

“there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this [American] continent, and the source from whence they sprang. [The angel] also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants [of the Americas].”
– Joseph Smith History, Verse 34

However, unlike the South Park depiction, Moroni does not say that Native Americans were cursed with red skin because they killed all the white-skinned Native Americans. This in fact, comes from the Book of Mormon itself, for example:

Book of Mormon, Alma Chapter 3 Verse 6
“And the skins of the Lamanites (Native Americans) were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.”

The Book of Mormon also tells the story of how Native-American “Indians” are really Jews that came from Jerusalem and crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a boat. The Book of Mormon says it

“…gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”
The Book of Mormon, Introduction Page

But the Book of Mormon does not say that the Garden of Eden was in America. This in fact came from Joseph Smith many years later when he and the church settled in Jackson County, Missouri. Smith taught that Adam and Eve lived there in the Garden of Eden and this doctrine has been supported by many other church leaders. According to the official Church History, Joseph Smith even identified a mount of rocks in Missouri as Adam’s altar. (For more details and photos, see ADD LINK

Although South Park shows Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith only one time that night in 1823, the 1842 official version says Moroni repeated his appearance three times:

“After this third visit, he again ascended into heaven as before, and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced; when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me for the third time, the cock crowed, and I found that day was approaching, so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night.”
Joseph Smith History, Verse 47

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