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. There may have been 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?
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?
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?
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. Two members of the Chase family said that they had heard that Joseph saw 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?
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.
- Jared O.
“On my mission I had someone tell me that Moroni was a hologram recording sent by God.”
- Paula M.
“HOW it happened is irrelevant when the Holy Ghost testifies to you that WHAT happened was true.”
- "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!”