|Mormons on South Park – Part 2: Moroni|
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.
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.”
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:
For more historical accounts that describe Moroni as coming in a dream, see: ADDLINK
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:
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:
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
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:
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