|Joseph Smith is visited by Moroni.|
Moroni Is Introduced.
The Book of Mormon contains a summary of the records kept by a group of people that lived in the Western Hemisphere beginning in 600B.C. This group of people eventually split into two groups - Nephites and Lamanites. The record kept on the gold plates were written by the Nephites. These Nephite civilization, when they rejected the teachings of the prophets, began to dwindle to extinction around 400A.D. The last living prophet of the Nephites was named Moroni. He is the one that finished the summary of all the Nephite records, and he buried them before he died so that the Lamanites would not find them to destroy them. It is this same Moroni that visited Joseph Smith in the 1800's, this time as an angelic being.
Joseph Smith was first informed about the gold plates, containing the record we now call the Book of Mormon, the same night that he was visited by Moroni. Indeed, it was during Moroni's first visit during a night in 1823 that Joseph was told of these things. He, Joseph, writes the following concerning this night:
"He [Moroni] said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;" (Joseph Smith History 1:34).
Receiving the Plates.
Also in the vision in the night Joseph was shown the place where these plates were buried, which was on a hill named Cumorah near the Smith family farm. Joseph went to the place where these plates were buried and there he met the angel Moroni again. The angel showed the 17-year old boy the plates, as well as the other things buried with them, but he was told that he could not take them home at that time.
On that very day, for four years, these two met at this spot. The angel taught the boy the things he would need to learn before he was allowed to obtain the plates. It was during the year of 1827, when Joseph was 21, that the angel Moroni finally gave the plates to him.
And now the long and tedious task of translating these plates was to begin.
More about Joseph Smith:
Joseph Smith Papers
The Life of Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith History
Joseph Smith and Moroni the Nephite