On Friday, September 22 at the Nauvoo Stake Center, a chapel full of people came to learn about the history of the life of Joseph Smith. That particular Thursday and Friday marked the bicentennial of an important event in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
On those dates in 1823, Joseph Smith saw the Angel Moroni appear to him for the first time. Moroni told him about the ancient record of the Book of Mormon. Ultimately, this and other events led to the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
At this devotional called “The Book of Mormon: A Wondrous Work,” speakers talked about the history and significance of the bicentennial. Kimberly Jo Smith, second great-granddaughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith, described the boy’s life between the ages of 14-18. She described the contentious religious fervor of the 1800s in New England and Joseph’s First Vision and subsequent decision to not yet join any religion.
She said that Joseph admitted that he was not a perfect young person. He, like anyone at that age, made mistakes.
“After all, he was human,” Smith said. But he didn’t give up, she said. He pushed forward and kept moving.
“There’s always a way if you’re being led by the Lord,” Smith said.
Another speaker was Paul McQuay of the Nauvoo 3rd Ward Bishopric. He detailed the events of the bicentennial and explained that Moroni was Joseph Smith’s teacher. He said Moroni visited Joseph Smith 22 known times.
“Moroni was a very busy teacher,” McQuay said.
Why Moroni? When there’s no prophet on the earth, God sends angels, he said.
“Angels are resurrected prophets,” McQuay said. He said that Moroni taught principles and shared scriptures. “Scriptures deliver the word of God with great power.”
I conducted the devotional. In my remarks I said, “The Book of Mormon is a wondrous work and a gift because it is another testament of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ.”
At the devotional, I invited anyone with questions about the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, or the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to read the account of Jesus Christ appearing to the Nephites found in 3 Nephi.
“Anything that helps us learn about and brings us closer to the Savior of the World is a good thing. It is of God,” I said.