How did Moroni visit Joseph Smith so many times without waking up his whole household?
It's unclear how "physical" or "visionary" Moroni's[BIO] visitations to Joseph Smith[BIO] were. Joseph's home was small, and he likely slept in a small bed with his siblings. It's possible someone could have woken up, but there is no record of anyone waking during these visitations.
Does this mean that this visitation was some kind of spiritual event rather than physical?
Possibly. Some sources describe the event as a “dream.” These sources, however, generally do not appear very reliable. But if true, they would suggest some kind of spiritual or non-physical component to the event.
Could these “visits” have just been a very vivid, recurring dream that Joseph had?
Possibly, but probably not. The sources that describe Moroni's visitation as a dream are primarily from unsourced, secondhand, or thirdhand accounts, so while it's not an unreasonable theory, it isn't well supported.
Did Joseph Smith give more than one account of the First Vision?
Read more in Multiple Accounts of the First Vision
How long were the visits?
There were multiple visits each night, and according to Joseph’s 1838 history, the visits lasted "the whole of that night."
Assuming Joseph and his family went to bed shortly after dark, then the visits lasted, at most, about nine hours. But there are no records about these details, and it's just guesswork.
Did the angel say anything besides what is in the Joseph Smith—History in the Pearl of Great Price?
Probably. Oliver Cowdery[BIO] reported in the mid-1830s that the angel recited many biblical passages and prophecies besides those mentioned in the Pearl of Great Price account.
Why don’t the typical paintings show Joseph’s siblings in the room when Moroni appeared to Joseph?
Probably because it's more dramatic or interesting to just depict Moroni and Joseph alone. Or it could be that artists were unaware that Joseph slept in the same bed with his siblings. There is some more recent artwork (twenty-first century) included in Church publications that depicts Joseph and his siblings in the same bed.
When did Joseph Smith first identify the angel as Moroni?
The earliest record of Joseph referring to the angel as "Moroni" is from 1835, while he had the vision in 1823.
Why did Joseph wait so long to identify the angel?
It's unclear. Joseph never explained why he waited so long to name the angel. It may have been that he waited until he had a more pressing need to correct the public record.
Did Joseph ever describe the visitation of the angel before the 1830s?
Yes. The earliest records that mention Joseph being visited by an angel are from 1829. Joseph's uncle, Jesse Smith,[BIO] wrote a letter with concerns about an angel visiting Joseph and revealing a "gold book." The first official account of the visit was composed in 1830.
Is it true that Joseph originally identified the angel as Nephi,[BIO] not as Moroni?
No. Joseph and other Latter-day Saints were identifying the angel as Moroni in the mid-1830s and continued to identify him this way into the mid-nineteenth century.
The reason this comes up is that in an early draft of Joseph's 1838-39 history, a scribe named James Mulholland[BIO] mistakenly wrote Nephi in place of Moroni. This mistake was reprinted for a number of years in various Church publications. Eventually, this mistake was recognized and corrected.
Did Joseph Smith originally imagine Moroni was a magical treasure guardian?
No, probably not. Critics have portrayed the account of Moroni and the gold plates as a type of folk magic superstition relating to buried treasure, but Joseph consistently described Moroni as a divine messenger sent from heaven protecting an ancient record.
Didn’t Joseph originally claim the angel was a toad or salamander who transformed into an angel?
No, probably not, but there are two accounts that claim the messenger Joseph saw was a toad that transformed into human form. There is also an account that said the messenger was a salamander, but the document of the account was later proven to be a forgery.
What did Joseph's family think about his story of having seen an angel?
Members of Joseph's direct family believed him; however, his uncle and grandfather did not.
Why do some accounts conflate the First Vision with Moroni's visitation?
Probably because of the normal reasons people mix up events—they misremember or confuse two similar events. Neither Joseph nor his close associates ever mixed up the two, but his mother and younger brother seemed to when recalling them decades later.
- "Jody" GM H.
“I am certain that an actual angel (a resurrected human man) Moroni, appeared to Joseph Smith Jr. who was sleeping in the same bed as his siblings. Because I have had a powerful witness of the Holy Ghost confirm to me, after diligently praying to know these things!”