The role of angels in Nephite preaching


Mormon, speaking at the end of the Nephite civilization, summarized the role of angels among the Nephite church:

…[M]y beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him. And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men. (Moroni 7: 29-32)

Angels performed three tasks among the Nephites: 1) they called men to repentance, 2) they fulfilled and did the work of the covenants of the Father, and 3) they prepared the way among the children of men.

Angels accomplished all three tasks by declaring the word of Christ to chosen vessels of the Lord, which were men and women of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.

After listening to an angel, a chosen vessel was instructed to bear testimony of Christ. This was done by going on missions and preaching the gospel to all who would hear, bearing testimony of what the angel had said.

Those who listened to a preacher’s message, which was the word of God communicated by an angel, could then plant that word in their own hearts and have the power of the Holy Ghost generate faith in them.

The investigator of the gospel, after repenting and exercising strong faith in Christ, with a firm mind in every form of godliness, would pray to the Father in the name of Christ, and ask to see, hear and know the things taught by the preacher, after the same manner or in the same way that the preacher learned it, and God would then send down another angel to the new convert, confirming his faith and giving him a witness.

Finally, the new convert would start preaching what the angel had told him and the process would repeat over and over again. In this way, the Father brought to pass His covenants among the Nephites (and Lamanites).

Angels were the trial of faith, as well as the witness

When Moroni wrote

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: 4)

this wasn’t a unique promise that only applied to what he was writing. This was a standard practice among the Nephites. The Nephite preachers would teach those listening to their words to ask God, in the name of Christ, for a witness by the power of the Holy Ghost that the words they were saying, communicated by an angel, were true. They taught the people to obtain the very same testimony that the preachers had received. They taught them to ask God to confirm the word they had received by sending an angel to them and declaring the word of Christ to them, just as was done to the preacher. In this way, both preacher and hearer would see eye to eye.

As Alma said, “For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.” (Alma 36: 26)

The trial of their faith, then, was to receive the angelic message (communicated by the preacher) and to repent and exercise faith to the point that they, also, prayed down an angel. Once the angel came down and gave them the same message, their trial of faith was over and they had the witness that they were taught to seek by the missionary.

Again, when Moroni wrote that “he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost,” he was speaking as a Nephite, with the understanding and learning of a Nephite. The Nephite understanding was the following:

Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost? Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32: 2-3)

So, when Moroni wrote “he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost,” he had in mind that God would manifest the truth by sending an angel to declare the word of Christ, because all Nephite preachers understood that angels spoke by the power of the Holy Ghost and that this was how the Father fulfilled His covenants (by sending angels).

(Keep in mind that the words of Moroni found in Moroni 10: 4 were written to the Lamanites and not to the Gentiles. The Lamanites are the Lord’s ancient covenant people and He will fulfill His covenants to them as He did anciently: through the ministration of angels.)

From Lehi onward

The role of angels in Nephite preaching began with Lehi. Lehi began his ministry in Jerusalem with a vision of “God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God” (1 Nephi 1: 8.)

Lehi taught all six of his sons the gospel he had received from God and then taught them that they could go to God in prayer and ask to receive the very same manifestations he had received. This is why we find his fourth son, Nephi, writing the following:

And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of hold as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men. (1 Nephi 10: 17)

Nephi had these desires to see, hear and know what his father had seen, heard and known, in the very same manner as his father had experienced it, because Lehi had taught his entire family this doctrine of seeing eye to eye, and had encouraged them to learn these things for themselves, by going directly to God. This is why we find Nephi so upset with his brothers Laman and Lemuel:

And it came to pass that I beheld my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things which my father had spoken unto them. For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought…

And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.

And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?

And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.

Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?

Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you. (1 Nephi 15: 2-3, 7-11)

“Surely these things shall be made known unto you.” Nephi said this at the beginning of the Nephite civilization. This is the same “manifestation of the truth by the power of the Holy Ghost” that Moroni wrote about to the Lamanites at the end of the Nephite civilization. It refers to the ministration of angels, in which angels declare the word of Christ, as one did to Nephi when he desired to see, hear and know.

The confirmatory role of angels was firmly established in Nephite church culture from the beginning, with Lehi and his six sons. Of the seven men, Lehi, Laman, Lemuel, Sam, Nephi and Jacob all are explicitly stated in the record as having seen angels. And the last-born son, Joseph, was said to have been a just and holy man (Alma 3: 6), the implication being that he, also, saw angels.

All recorded Nephite preachers (as well as Samuel the Lamanite) found in the Book of Mormon saw angels before they went out to preach. For example, the sons of Mosiah and Alma the Younger saw an angel and then went forth telling people what they saw and what the angel said. None of the preachers kept angelic visitations to themselves, but freely bore testimony of the declaration of the word of Christ received by the angels. These experiences weren’t “too personal” or “too sacred” to share with others. On the contrary, they were only too eager to get the word out, for they wanted the residue to have faith in Christ through the word of Christ communicated (to the preachers) by the angel. When asked how they knew the things that they preached, they were quick to say it was by angelic ministration:

Now Zeezrom said unto him again: How knowest thou these things?

And he said: An angel hath made them known unto me. (Alma 11: 30-31 – Amulek)

And behold, thus hath the angel spoken unto me; for he said unto me that there should be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours. (Helaman 14: 26 – Samuel the Lamanite)

Therefore, as Aaron entered into one of their synagogues to preach unto the people, and as he was speaking unto them, behold there arose an Amalekite and began to contend with him, saying: What is that thou hast testified? Hast thou seen an angel? Why do not angels appear unto us? Behold are not this people as good as thy people? (Alma 21: 5 – Aaron, son of Mosiah)

And the things which I shall tell you are made known unto me by an angel from God. And he said unto me: Awake; and I awoke, and behold he stood before me. (Mosiah 3: 2 – King Benjamin)

Widespread angelic ministration was a hallmark of the Nephite church because Lehi’s sons Nephi, Sam, Jacob and Joseph had continued the teaching of their father Lehi, that all converts ought to get confirmation from an angel after receiving the word from a preacher. They passed this teaching onto their children, who passed it onto their children, and on and on throughout their generations to the very end of the Nephite church.

When Alma spoke the following words to the people of Ammonihah around 82 B.C.:

For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.

And now we only wait to hear the joyful news declared unto us by the mouth of angels, of his coming; for the time cometh, we know not how soon. Would to God that it might be in my day; but let it be sooner or later, in it I will rejoice.

And it shall be made known unto just and holy men, by the mouth of angels, at the time of his coming, that the words of our fathers may be fulfilled, according to that which they have spoken concerning him, which was according to the spirit of prophecy which was in them. (Alma 13: 24-26)

the “unto many” that he referred to were the members of the church of his day. This wasn’t a select few leaders, one or two here or there, a quorum of three or twelve or fifteen, it was the general membership of the church. These ancients had all received angelic ministrations because this is what they were taught to do. This was how they tried their faith and received a witness of its veracity.

The same gospel, given to the Gentiles

The gospel given to the Nephites, including the eye to eye doctrine of confirmatory, angelic ministrations, was prayed (in faith) by the ancient inhabitants of this land to go to the Lamanites of a future day, hence the appearance of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is a record of angelic sermons, or words of Christ received through angelic means. It is designed to be this way so that when the Lamanites receive it, they will, like their ancestors, seek to obtain a manifestation of its truth through angelic ministration, once again repeating and initiating the ancient gospel given to the Nephites. In order to see eye to eye on angelic ministration, you must have a preacher preaching a message received through the means of angels. That is what the Book of Mormon is. So, the Lamanites then, when they read of Nephi’s visions, or Lehi’s visions, or Jacob’s or Alma’s or any one of the angelic visitations and declarations found in the record, will be able to put that word in their hearts and exercise faith and pray down the angels to manifest the same things to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.

This was the intent and faith and prayers of the ancients for this record, to jump start the Lamanites and to give them the same gospel which the ancient inhabitants lived.

On the other hand, the Gentiles who obtained the book could also have the same gospel, if they wanted it. The angelic word is there, if they wanted to apply it as the Lamanites of a future day would. But history has shown the Gentiles to be a hard-hearted, faithless bunch. Joseph Smith tried to get the people to see what he saw, to behold the same visions, to see the same angels, to receive the same message—in other words, to accept the gospel given to the Nephites—but the Gentile church is more or less content with having one man in charge who receives from the Lord, and then having that man (or a small group of men) tell them what to do. Joseph was only able to get a few individuals to behold the marvelous power of God that he beheld, such as Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Sidney Ridgon. Everyone else pretty much rejected the eye to eye doctrine found in the Book of Mormon. Hence the condemnation found upon the church today.

No angels = no faith = no salvation

The doctrine the Nephites preached was not the doctrine the modern Gentile church preaches and practices. Yet, it is the very doctrine that God wants everyone to live, which is why He brought it forth.

Mormon stated that if the ministration of angels ever ceased, it would be “because of unbelief, and all is vain.” The cessation of the appearance of angels among the Gentile church is proof positive that the church is condemned, or to be plainer in writing, damned, because “if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.” (See Moroni 7: 37-38.)

Let me re-phrase that to be clearer in writing. If angels ever cease appearing to the Gentile church of God, then faith will have ceased also among the church of God, and awful is the state of the church of God, for the church of God will be as though there had been no redemption. Notice, in particular, Mormon’s words: “for they are as though there had been no redemption made.” Abinadi and Alma also used such a phrase:

But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God. (Mosiah 16: 5)

And now behold, I say unto you then cometh a death, even a second death, which is a spiritual death; then is a time that whosoever dieth in his sins, as to a temporal death, shall also die a spiritual death; yea, he shall die as to things pertaining unto righteousness. Then is the time when their torments shall be as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever; and then is the time that they shall be chained down to an everlasting destruction, according to the power and captivity of Satan, he having subjected them according to his will. Then, I say unto you, they shall be as though there had been no redemption made; for they cannot be redeemed according to God’s justice; and they cannot die, seeing there is no more corruption. (Alma 12: 16-18)

So, according to the above scriptures, if the Gentile church of God no longer has angels appearing to them, it is because they don’t have faith, and therefore they are under the power and captivity of Satan, he having subjected them according to his will, and they (the church of God!) are enemies to God. They, then, are not in a redeemed or saved condition, but are damned. All because they do not exercise faith to behold angels, as did the ancient Nephite church.

Remember, the Lord stated in D&C 84: 55-57 that the entire church was brought under condemnation because they did not do what was written in the Book of Mormon. This condemnation has never been lifted.  Even now, we give a lot of lip service to it, but do not live its teachings.

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35 Comments

  1. I could have sworn that I wrote a little about this topic somewhere on the Internet, perhaps on someone else’s blog or via email communication, but I couldn’t find my writings anywhere, so I thought I’d just post these thoughts here. If they do show up somewhere, please excuse the redundancy.

  2. I could have sworn that I wrote a little about this topic somewhere on the Internet, perhaps on someone else’s blog

    I think it was this comment at Weeping for Zion.

  3. Lol. Yep, that’s it.

  4. This article makes you ponder just how familiar our day must have been to Mormon and Moroni.

  5. That was awesome! I used to pray for an angel to minister to me. But then I thought, why do I need an angel when the Holy Spirit will confirm it to me? It seems I have been praying amiss. I’m going to start praying again for an angel.

    On thing I noticed looking back at my experiences in the church is that we are always quick to deny the ministering of angels. We are afraid that angels wont actually minister to people so we tell them that it is very rare and that a warm fuzzy feeling will suffice. Now that I know what to look for I can see a HUGE lack of faith. We’ve never seen angels so we’re scared to tell people to look for angels. We think that if we tell someone that then they will never see an angel and they will loose their testimony.

    So it’s true we don’t have faith pertaining to the ministering of angels, in the church anymore.

  6. All of the above, along with many other things, is why things need to be “set in order” by one mighty and strong.

  7. Faith sufficient to behold angels was not unique to the Nephite church.

    There was a certain man in Cæsarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,

    A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

    As a Roman — Cornelius would have likely been pagan. The note that he was a devout man, and one that feared God indicates that at some point he chose to start attending synagogue — but was never circumcised. This was the group of people Paul would go to the synagogue to convert [having committed the gospel of the circumcision to Peter].

    He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.

    And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

    And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

    And the story goes on with Peter receiving an angelic vision as well and the gospel going on to expand to include non-Jewish converts, etc.

    Thus a pagan, Gentile believer from Judea likewise had sufficient faith to receive a message from an angel.

  8. but the Gentile church is more or less content with having one man in charge who receives from the Lord, and then having that man (or a small group of men) tell them what to do.

    This sounds a lot like Jesus’ observation in Mark 10:42,

    But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.

    When I taught my elder’s quorum lesson on “Service” — I discussed these verses in terms of what it means to be a priesthood holder, e.g. that the priesthood is not like Gentile organizational power pyramids, but that to be “greater” elders must get down in the dirt and get to work serving people.

    They seemed to understand what I was saying.

    Then, the next week’s lesson was on Elder Oaks’ priesthood/personal line-of-communication talk from Gen. Conf. When the teacher was going over what Oaks said was so important about having a “priesthood line” and having “organized religion” — my quorum went on-and-on with comments about how it’s right and proper that we have hierarchy and order, that we have one man in charge, etc.

    My lesson may have resonated at the time — but I don’t think that it stuck.

  9. justin, interesting post. you make some excellent points about angels.

    in 1932 (or so), otto fetting (formerly rlds, then formerly church of christ-temple lot) claimed an angel-john the baptist-appeared to him and instructed him to build the temple in independence. after his death, his follower, w.a. draves received further angelic ministrations. the church of jesus christ with the elijah message has since schismed into about 5 branches, and others claim angelic visitations, as recently as 2001.

    the lafferty brothers claimed an angel told them to murder a sister and infant (just like nephi.) other polygamist groups claim angelic ministrations. do you think some/all/none of these angelic visitations are legitimate?

  10. To give due credit — LDSA wrote this post.

    According to the research I put into the post that I did write [the Tribal Church]:

    (A) The keys of the church govern the church by their activation/validation of the priesthood keys that the members have. Currently, these keys are with the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS. I attend that church b/c I submit myself to the keys of the church — as the Lord does as well.

    (B) I find many things improper [ignoring scriptural definitions, judging by outward apperences, prophet worship, etc.] in the current LDS church. This bothered me for some time b/c I saw no way out of it. The Lord had told me to join the LDS church and I received no justification that I should become inactive.

    (C) The Tribal worship services post essentially calmed my mind on the matter. With the sacrament as an example — I was troubled that the only source of the sacrmental meal that my family had access to was not administered according to the scriptures. I didn’t want to rebel against the church. Instead, I administer the sacrament as a tribal ordinance to “make-up” for the lacking church meeting — but not to replace it.

    However, the tribe encompasses only those to whom I share kinship bonds. When it extends to non-related believers in Christ — then the church has jurisdiction. This is why they can dictate what happens and what is discussed in church meetings — but not in family meetings.

    Thus, any claim of angelic manifestation that delievers a message that is contrary to the keys of the church [which the Lord has given to validate priesthood keys] — I would reject.

    However, when [in the future] the current LDS is no longer unified — that will be a different story.

    Also, MH — my claims on the matter are largely shaped by a variety of posts written by LDSA or the research I put into the posts I’ve written. If you are interested, then I’d recommend you read:

    The priesthood

    Alternate view of the keys

    Tribal worship services

    Tribal rituals

    The tribal church

    Priesthood offices in a tribal setting

    The healing gifts

    [I can link to more than 2 posts here].

  11. and now
    i come to that faith
    of which i said
    i would speak
    and i will tell you the way
    whereby ye may lay hold on every good thing
    for behold
    god
    knowing all things
    being from everlasting to everlasting
    behold
    he sent angels
    to minister unto the children of men
    to make manifest
    concerning the coming of christ
    and in christ
    there should come every good thing
    and god also declared unto prophets
    by his own mouth
    that christ should come
    and behold
    there were divers ways
    that he did manifest things
    unto the children of men
    which were good
    and all things
    which are good
    cometh of christ
    otherwise men were fallen
    and there could no good thing come unto them
    wherefore
    by the ministering of angels
    and by every word
    which proceeded forth out of the mouth of god
    men began to exercise faith in christ

    Notice, in particular, that there were only two ways that men began to exercise their faith:

    wherefore
    by the ministering of angels
    and by every word
    which proceeded forth out of the mouth of god
    men began to exercise faith in christ

    When I was but a lad, reading the Book of Mormon for the first time, I interpreted these scriptures as meaning that at the start, meaning the times of Adam, men began to exercise faith by the ministration of angels and by hearing the word of God speaking out of the heavens, but that later, when there were witnesses among men (prophets), who witnessed or testified of Christ, then the residue exercised faith by believing on their words, etc., and not through the ministration of angels and the word of God speaking from the heavens. I interpreted it this way because I knew of no one that had the ministration of angels nor who heard the voice of God speaking from heaven, yet they all professed to have faith in Christ.

    Later, I figured that men exercised faith through the word of God, found in the scriptures, which originally proceeded forth from the mouth of God, thereby fulfilling this scripture. Also, I used the “divers ways” part to justify the lack of angelic ministrations and lack of anyone hearing the voice of God speaking from the heavens. I figured that all the other types of manifestations of the Spirit qualified as the individual having already begun to exercise faith in Christ.

    I now realize that my previous interpretation was incorrect, due to my upbringing in the church. The Nephite way, which was/is the gospel way, of “beginning to exercise faith in Christ” was to behold angels and/or to hear the voice of God speaking from the heavens. This is how a person was/is supposed to start to exercise faith in Christ. This is the witness that comes after the trial of faith which shows you that you actually have, and have exercised, faith in Christ. Later, the other “divers ways” would come, as more faith was obtained and exercised.

    It is now my opinion, that unless a person claims to have had an angel minister to him or her, or to have heard the voice of God speaking from the heavens, or both, yet claims to have or to exercise faith in Christ, he or she is mistaken.

    There is a fruit to faith. There is an inward manifestation and an outward manifestation. If you claim to have been spiritually begotten of God, which would be an inner manifestation, but have not received His image in your countenances, which would be an outer manifestation, then you haven’t spiritually been born of God.

    How can a person receive the image of God in their countenances without having beheld the glory of God? Lehi said, “The Lord hath redeemed by soul from hell. I have beheld his glory.” Of Jacob, Lehi said, “Thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory.” Alma taught the Nehors in Ammonihah:

    behold
    then he saw
    that it was expedient
    that man should know
    concerning the things
    whereof he had appointed unto them
    therefore
    he sent angels
    to converse with them
    who caused men
    to behold of his glory

    Speaking with the tongue of angels is a part of the gospel given by the Lord to the Nephites, according to Nephi. How in the world can anyone profess to speak with the tongues of angels without first having seen an angel? If speaking with the Basque tongue were a part of the gospel, how can anyone do it without first becoming familiar with that tongue by hearing someone actually use it? This is why the ministration of angels is the beginning of the exerise of faith. We are to become familiar with angels and the voice of the Lord, speaking from the heavens, so as to be able to speak with the tongue of angels, or by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    Joseph Smith set the example. He was taught by angels and by the voice of God. It was never intended that his example be the exception, but the actual rule by which we were to live by.

    For these, and many other reasons, I would recommend to anyone who reads this comment, that you consider that you “are as though there had been no redemption made”, if you have not yet been ministered to by an angel, or heard the voice of the Lord speaking to you from the heavens, and that you allow yourself to be harrowed up in the thought of your unredeemed state, which is a sinful state, for it is a faithless state, for it is impossible to please God except through faith, and that you review your life and repent of all your sins in the depth of humility and cry, and look to, the Lord continually that He would grant you repentance and forgiveness of sin, believing that you will receive, nothing doubting, until you receive the witness that comes through the ministration of an angel.

    This is the path the Spirit is leading me into. I hope others are also being guided into it. Perhaps the fruitful field prophecy, found in 2 Nephi 27:28-35, will soon begin to be fulfilled, by this. At least, the Spirit has my mind fixated on that prophecy, at this time.

  12. We believe
    that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are:
    first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ;
    second, Repentance;
    third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins;
    fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    (Article of Faith #4)

    Keeping that in mind, take a look at the words of the angel to Joseph and Oliver when he conferred the Aaronic priesthood on them:

    upon you
    my fellow servants
    in the name of messiah
    i confer the priesthood of aaron
    which holds the keys of the ministering of angels [faith]
    and of the gospel of repentance [repentance]
    and of baptism by immersion [baptism]
    for the remission of sins
    and this shall never be taken again from the earth
    until the sons of Levi do offer again
    an offering unto the Lord in righteousness

    The pattern, then, is that you begin to exercise your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through the ministration of an angel, repenting of all your sins, and then you get baptized. These first three principles or ordinances of the gospel–for all three are ordinances, as well as principles–for who is to say that the ministration of an angel is not a holy ordinance?; and who is to say that repentance, which requires the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, is not an ordinance?–therefore, the first three principles and ordinances of the gospel are administered by the Aaronic priesthood, through them preaching faith and repentance and by them baptizing the people. The Aaronic priest himself seeing an angel and then witnessing to the people, so that the principle of seeing eye to eye may go forth, etc.

  13. In D&C 20, it says that God gave Joseph Smith power

    to translate the book of mormon
    which contains a record of a fallen people
    and the fulness of the gospel of jesus christ
    to the gentiles
    and to the jews also
    which was given by inspiration
    and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels
    and is declared unto the world by them
    proving to the world
    that the holy scriptures are true
    and that god does inspire men
    and call them to his holy work
    in this age and generation
    as well as in generations of old
    thereby showing
    that he is the same god
    yesterday
    today
    and forever
    amen

    This shows that the Book of Mormon is designed or meant to be confirmed by angels, for God is the same, “yesterday, today and forever,” therefore, the testimony the Three Witnesses received, through angelic confirmation and the voice of God speaking out of the heavens, was not meant to be a one-time thing, but was designed to inspire men to obtain their own angelic witnesses, which men did not do. Nevertheless, the scripture must and shall be fulfilled, and the time shall come when the Book of Mormon shall again be “confirmed to others by the ministering of angels” and shall be “declared unto the world by them.” For there shall be many angelic witnesses in the land, not just three. The Three Witnesses was just the beginning.

  14. Continuing on with the same line of thought as my February 14, 2012 comment above…

    In Alma chapter 34, Amulek used the expression “faith unto repentance.” In Alma 32, Alma spoke of exercising faith, or a particle of faith, to know that the word-seed was true, or good.

    It is my current understanding that the former faith (faith unto repentance) is referring solely to the ministration of an angel and repentance of one’s sins, while the latter faith (the experiment to determine whether the word is good) does not involve either repentance nor the ministration of an angel.

    It is also my current understanding that anywhere in the Book of Mormon where it states that a person or group of people were “brought unto repentance,” it signifies that they were ministered to by an angel and repented of all their sins.

    Many have the idea that it is entirely possible to exercise “faith unto repentance” by repenting of all their sins through their belief in Jesus Christ alone, without having had an angel minister to them. In my more recent studies of the Book of Mormon, I have found no scriptural support, whatsoever, for such a doctrine. It appears to be a perversion of the real doctrine and a deception of the devil designed to keep us in our sins, meaning in an unrepentant state. (This would be the Mormon equivalent of the Christian perversion of being saved in one’s sins instead of being saved from one’s sins.)

    The scriptures also speak of “works meet for repentance” and “fruit meet for repentance.” And Moroni writes of “fruit meet that they were worthy of [baptism].” Then there is D&C 101:100, which mentions “fruit and works meet for my kingdom.” My current understanding is that these expressions are all referring to the same thing: the ministration of angels and the repentance of all of a person’s sins.

    Finally, a pre-condition to the real “faith unto repentance” doctrine appears to be how one views, and feels about, oneself. Viewing oneself as “even less than the dust of the earth” (as nothingness) and genuinely feeling unworthy appears to be a requirement. The slightest bit of pride will sabotage the process.

    I realize this comment may be repetitive, repeating concepts I’ve written or hinted about in previous comments, but I just wanted to spell this principle out really clearly in a single comment, as this blog serves as a repository of my thoughts.

  15. I came across the following blog recently, which was started back in September 2011:

    Where are the angels?

  16. Cool Blog. Here’s from a post “Director of Present Policy.”

    The LDS Bible Dictionary provides the following definition of a prophet:

    Prophet. The work of a Hebrew prophet was to act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will. The message was usually prefaced with the words “Thus saith Jehovah.” He taught men about God’s character, showing the full meaning of his dealings with Israel in the past…It was also the prophet’s duty to denounce sin and foretell its punishment, and to redress, so far as he could, both public and private wrongs. He was to be, above all, a preacher of righteousness. When the people had fallen away from a true faith in Jehovah, the prophets had to try to restore that faith and remove false views about the character of God and the nature of the Divine requirement. In certain cases prophets predicted future events, e.g., there are the very important prophecies announcing the coming of Messiah’s kingdom; but as a rule a prophet was a forthteller rather than a foreteller…

    I couldn’t recall having seen the term “forthteller” before, so I looked it up. I couldn’t find it in my Webster’s dictionary. It appears to have its origins, in this context, in a General Conference talk given by President Anthony Ivins, first counselor in the First Presidency, back in 1925. He indicated that a prophet’s “direct, and most important calling is to be a forth-teller, or director of present policy, rather than a foreteller of what is to come.”

  17. From here:

    This led me to a search of the Hebrew meaning of the word [translated as “prophet], which is really the most important part of this discussion (if you ask me).

    For help, I emailed a couple of questions off to The Chronicle Project (those re-translating the Bible based on the assumption that Hebrew is a self-defining alphabet which is terribly hard to mis-translate, yet we’ve managed to do that – Strong’s Concordance, for example, has proven erroneous in between 40-50% of the references they’ve studied). Fantastic project, if you ask me. (I’d like it, but then it’d cue it up for moderation, so I’ll avoid that – but it’s www (d0t) thechronicleproject (dot) org – go there for more reading).

    Anyway, the owner of that site was gracious enough to reply to my question on just what the word “prophet” really means (I gave him Amos 3:7 as the reference). This is his reply, which gave me some joy:

    “Okay, on your word. NB means…to prophesy (you can find this on our two glyph set on the link above).

    The Y (this is by sounds) means…to manifest or to have occur
    The A means…to activate, or to begin.

    So the word you have is (remember western English states backwards to Eastern sentence structure): “to begin to manifest to prophesy or a prophecy which comes true. To fulfill a prophecy.”

    It is translated as “prophet”, but [it is really] a description of an action, not a noun. So you can be known as one who prophesies, but not a prophet.

    This word should not be translated as prophet even though it is over 300 times. We checked a couple of the placements and none should have had the word prophet.

    This is the EXACT description from the Hebrew you sent. There is no other translation that can be pulled from it. Unfortunately it is not man’s power of observation that is his great weakness, but his ineptness at conclusion.”

  18. Well this witnesses very well to the point that the spirit has whispered to me recently that to prophesy is really speaking things into being. Are the conditions described predestined or preordained? Of course. But this does not necessarily mean that they must or will automatically come about for you or for me in this realm or this life at this moment….at least not without a pronouncing of words in the physical realm to make it so….to let it through. It is often only a case then, of seeing or detecting the PREexisting conditions and stimulating them, even stirring them up or speeding up the natural processes. Helping in many ways the universal elements to solidify and take form in the realm of physical reality.

    When we prophesy we are not forcing anything but we are creating. We identify conditions in some alternate plane of reality and we invite them to come in and play a part in this time and space. A prophet/prophetess is not merely being dictated to by some other force, what will come about. And even though he/she may well be corroborating a long list of other prophets through the ages, he/she is also adding to it something personal.

    This is why Paul says the gift of prophecy is the best of the gifts. Were actively helping to create reality. Some prophesies may take longer than others to materialize or be fulfilled. Sometimes this is due to a matter of timing things perfectly and sometimes it is due to a simple lack of faith on part of the prophet/mouth piece and other participants who also play their part by investing power/belief in the spoken/written words.

    This means that there are not only True and False Prophets as in accurate or inaccurate prophets or rather successful or unsuccessful prophets…there are prophets of the Lord, prophets of the Devil. True prophets are in essence truth speakers, speaking truth into existence and activating its manifestation on this plane. False prophets are not necessarily failures when it comes to speaking something before its happening, nor are they called false out of lack of fruit. They are false prophets who with their words, invite falsehood to prevail on this plane.

  19. I can tell when we’ve been tapping-into the same morphic field Elder Chantdown — the concept that the future is a sphere of all possibility that gets pulled-into the sphere of actuality [rather than us just following time like it’s railroad tracks] is something that I’ve been writing about in my notes, but haven’t discussed anywhere yet.

    And here you’ve essentially wrote the very thing I’ve been thinking.

    I once heard that “Worry is the misapplication of imagination“. It’s essentially taking only the bad things out of the sphere of All That Could Possibly Happen and bringing them into the Right-Now — rather than mentally going to that same realm [All That Could Possibly Happen] and pulling the good things out and bringing them to life, making the Word become flesh here-and-now.

  20. If it is of any value, experience has led me to the same thoughts. I haven’t used those same words exactly, but the taste of both ideas seems very familiar to what I understand. I like it when things match up.

  21. I was looking at the ldsendowment.org web site yesterday and found it interesting how prominent a role angels had in it.

    In essence, the endowment is all about receiving messages from heaven through messengers from heaven (angels) and receiving keys whereby true and false angels can be detected. It is through the ministration of angels that the final goal of entering back into the presence of the Lord is obtained. We typically go through the endowment thinking all this stuff applies only to the afterlife, but I wonder…

  22. I noticed that it was not enough for the angel to appear to Amulek once and indicate that Alma was a holy man. The angel appeared to him again to confirm the teachings of Alma. Amulek said:

    And again, I know that the things whereof he hath testified are true; for behold I say unto you, that as the Lord liveth, even so has he sent his angel to make these things manifest unto me; and this he has done while this Alma hath dwelt at my house.
    (Alma 10:10)

    Moreover it seems like the angelic confirmation is the blessing that Amulek had in mind. This is the blessing that was given to all of Amulek’s relatives as the result of Alma’s blessing.

    11 For behold, he hath blessed mine house, he hath blessed me, and my women, and my children, and my father and my kinsfolk; yea, even all my kindred hath he blessed, and the blessing of the Lord hath rested upon us according to the words which he spake.
    (Alma 10:11)

  23. LDSA, do you have any insights about what “to speak with the tongue of angels” is?

    Only two definition of “tongue” fit here.
    1. A language.

    Do angels employ their own language? Even if so, the recepient never hears that language but hears his own native language as evidenced by Laman and Lemuel hearing a rebuke of an angel in their own language.

    2. Speech, discourse.

    Being able to speak in a manner/using the words which angels use. But what is the benefit of that, I wonder? Is the idea here that if the angel gives me a meesage to deliver to others, I will be reciting the message verbatim and thus will use the exact words that the angel used? This seems like a far-fetched explanation to me.

  24. LDSA, do you have any insights about what “to speak with the tongue of angels” is?

    This is what I wrote in a comment above about that:

    Speaking with the tongue of angels is a part of the gospel given by the Lord to the Nephites, according to Nephi. How in the world can anyone profess to speak with the tongues of angels without first having seen an angel? If speaking with the Basque tongue were a part of the gospel, how can anyone do it without first becoming familiar with that tongue by hearing someone actually use it? This is why the ministration of angels is the beginning of the exerise of faith. We are to become familiar with angels and the voice of the Lord, speaking from the heavens, so as to be able to speak with the tongue of angels, or by the power of the Holy Ghost.

  25. Yes, I did read this comment of yours earlier but it did not make sense to me for initially you compare the tongue of angels to a new language (Basque) but then you conclude with the idea which is prevalent among LDS, ie speak by the power of the Holy Ghost == speak with the tongue of angels.
    This latter idea waters down the need for angelic ministration because a person can speak by the power of the Holy Ghost without having conversed with the angels.

  26. …a person can speak by the power of the Holy Ghost without having conversed with the angels.

    Not according to Nephite theology. Only the Gentile Mormons believe it is possible to speak by the power of the Holy Ghost without having conversed with angels. This is why I stated in that comment:

    Speaking with the tongue of angels is a part of the gospel given by the Lord to the Nephites

    Latter-day saints believe that they have the Holy Ghost with them because they have been confirmed and have got the gift of the Holy Ghost, so when they “feel the Spirit,” and speak, they may believe, perhaps, that they are speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost. Also, there is this:

    And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. (D&C 68:4)

    A Gentile Mormon reading that would think that “speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost” is synonymous with “speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost” and that no angel ever needs to be seen for that to happen. But a Nephite reading that would think that such cannot happen unless the person first saw and heard it done by an angel.

    The revelations given to the Gentiles do not mention the need to see an angel before speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost, neither do they say that no angel is needed before you can speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, but the Gentile Mormons assume the latter anyway.

    Speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost is not just speaking truths or under inspiration of God. What you say is bona fide scripture when you speak by that power and you can, at any time, do stuff like Alma did when speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost to the Nephite church:

    Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith:

    Repent, and I will receive you.

    Yea, he saith:

    Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely; yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire—for behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit, or whosoever doeth not the works of righteousness, the same have cause to wail and mourn.

    O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!

    In other words, at any time, mid-sentence, a person speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost can put forth a revelation or a prophecy, speaking in the words of the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost, or an angel. So, it is not just speaking under inspiration, or quoting a revelation or prophecy that you may have received by the Holy Ghost or an angel, or from the voice of the Lord. It is literally the Holy Ghost speaking through you, as if you are possessed by the Holy Ghost, so that your words, spoken from your perspective, become God’s words, because, well, the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead, just happens to be possessing your body and using your mouth to utter words. Thus, whatever you say, and all of what you say, is the word of God, and not your word.

    To a Nephite, such an ability to speak by this power of the Holy Ghost, meaning you speak as if you were possessed of the Holy Ghost, as if you were the physical receptacle or vessel of the spirit body of the Holy Ghost for that moment, requires a level of faith and confidence that can only come after one has exercised faith to have an angel speak to them. You need to see and hear how it is done by a professional before you can do it yourself. Merely hearing a mortal speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost does not confer this power, because no faith is exercised on your part to hear a prophet doing this. But with an angel it is different, because that requires faith, and once that faith is exercised, and you see the angel and hear him speaking by this power, then, and only then, can you do the same. Again, this was the Nephite understanding, according to my understanding.

  27. LDSA, according to the premise of this post, the fact that a person has never seen an angel is an indication of the unredeemed state of that person. And yet you were baptized with fire at the age of 9 which means you were redeemed then. Also somewhere on this blog you mentioned that you consider yourself sanctified and in possession of all the gifts of the Spirit. So, how can it be that you, who have never seen an angel, are redeemed? Do you still stand by the premise of this post and how can you reconcile it with what you said about yourself?

  28. jackdale76,

    So, how can it be that you, who have never seen an angel, are redeemed? Do you still stand by the premise of this post and how can you reconcile it with what you said about yourself?

    I never said that I’d never seen an angel. What I said is that I’ve never been ministered to by an angel and also that during my baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, I didn’t see any angel. But I’ve seen angels in vision before. Heck, I’ve even seen God in vision before, as well as the Spirit World and evil spirits. But my calling and election still hasn’t been made sure. As the post said, the ministration of angels is the trial of faith, so I’m still working on my trial of faith (“working out my own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord”), and if and when an angel comes down and ministers to me, then I will have finally exercised faith like the Nephites did.

  29. that’s why,for insights i learned some from LDSA’s write-ups, i began to understand about a month ago, that the first vision of the prophet Joseph was not “simply a vision”, it was a personal visitation or so i surmised, which is comparable to the Moses and ancient others. i was left to wonder if that could be the same vision as he had with the other elders at the time,i still doubt.

  30. LDSA, you said that it is impossible to repent without having an angel minister:

    Many have the idea that it is entirely possible to exercise “faith unto repentance” by repenting of all their sins through their belief in Jesus Christ alone, without having had an angel minister to them. In my more recent studies of the Book of Mormon, I have found no scriptural support, whatsoever, for such a doctrine.

    But, we know that Joseph Smith had his remission of sins at the time of the first vision

    5 After it was truly manifested unto this first elder that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world;
    (Doctrine and Covenants 20:5)

    Does that mean that Joseph must have had a ministering angel prior to his first vision (even though he never left a written account of that)?

  31. jackdale76, there were angels present during the First Vision. In one of the First Vision accounts, Joseph said that he saw “many angels.”

  32. Yes, they were present DURING the vision, because the remission of sins has already happened (when the pillar of fire has descended on Joseph).

    But I was quoting your words where you were sugesting that the repentance which leads to the remission of sins itself must be instigated by the ministry of an angel. This would require that Joseph saw an angel PRIOR to the pillar of fire descending upon him.

  33. jackdale76,

    But I was quoting your words where you were sugesting that the repentance which leads to the remission of sins itself must be instigated by the ministry of an angel. This would require that Joseph saw an angel PRIOR to the pillar of fire descending upon him.

    I’m not finding it. Is it in this post, the comments or somewhere else? Please give the exact quote and I will explain it.

  34. The idea of angels first and repentance after that was here:

    It is also my current understanding that anywhere in the Book of Mormon where it states that a person or group of people were “brought unto repentance,” it signifies that they were ministered to by an angel and repented of all their sins.

    Many have the idea that it is entirely possible to exercise “faith unto repentance” by repenting of all their sins through their belief in Jesus Christ alone, without having had an angel minister to them. In my more recent studies of the Book of Mormon, I have found no scriptural support, whatsoever, for such a doctrine.

  35. jackdale76,

    Lol. Okay, that wasn’t meant to mean that first you see an angel and then you can repent, but that the exercise of faith to the point that you repent brings an angel to you, to minister to you (according to the Nephite gospel.) So, as I stated in the post,

    The trial of their faith, then, was to receive the angelic message (communicated by the preacher) and to repent and exercise faith to the point that they, also, prayed down an angel. Once the angel came down and gave them the same message, their trial of faith was over and they had the witness that they were taught to seek by the missionary.

    Repentance and faith, then, precedes the angel coming down and ministering. Joseph Smith repented of his sins and then sought God in prayer for a remission of sins, in faith, and then got his First Vision, which had God, Jesus and “many angels” visiting him. I hope this clears up the confusion.


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