What happened in September 1823? Why? Given COVID-19, will anything at all happen THIS September?

What happened in September 1823? Why? Given COVID-19, will anything at all happen THIS September? August 23, 2020


Moroni in the Smith cabin
Moroni appears to Joseph Smith
(LDS.org; artist Tom Lovell)


Just a reminder:  The coronavirus pandemic has obviously been a nuisance (when it hasn’t been much worse).  There’s absolutely no question about that.  However, the Interpreter Foundation continues to press forward:


“Tracing Ancient Threads in the Book of Moses: 2020 Interpreter Foundation Conference”




I’m beginning to work my way slowly through John W. Welch, Neal Rappleye, Jasmin G. Rappleye, Jonathon Riley, and Taylor Halverson, eds., Knowing Why: 127 MORE Evidences That the Book of Mormon is True (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2019).  The large and lavishly illustrated volume is a compilation of relatively recent “KnoWhys” that have previously been posted on the Book of Mormon Central webpage.  These may or may not have been modified for print publication; in each case, I will supply the link to the online version:


The initial visitation of Moroni to Joseph Smith, which launched the recovery of the Book of Mormon, occurred during the night of 21-22 September 1823.  Joseph first saw the actual plates on the morning of 22 September.  And, for the next four years, Moroni’s visits occurred very deliberately on 21-22 September.

Was the choice of these dates the result of simple random chance?  Not likely.

“The initial visit on September 21 in 1823 coincided with that year’s celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. In 1824, September 22 was the eve of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and the beginning of the fall festivals. In 1825, September 22 was precisely Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). In 1827, when Moroni finally delivered the plates to Joseph (Joseph Smith—History 1:59), his timing on September 22 coincided exactly with Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Feast of Trumpets.”

Appropriately, these holidays are connected with notions of final harvest, remembering God’s covenants with Israel, the announcement of revelation or truth, and preparation for the Messianic Age, and they typically involve solemn admonitions and warnings, covenant making, remembrance of God’s might acts in history, sacrifice, prophecy, and new beginnings — all of them ideas that are clearly connected with the content and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

[Was the teenage Joseph Smith aware of the significance of those dates on the Jewish calendar?  Possibly.  But it strikes me as very unlikely.]


For further reading, see:

Christopher Kirkland, “The Relationship Between Rosh Hashanah and Mormon Temples,” Mormon Writers, September 21, 2015, online https://medium.com/mormon-writers.

Lenet Hadley Read, “The Golden Plates and the Feast of Trumpets,” Ensign, January 2000, online at lds.org.

Terrence L. Szink and John W. Welch, “King Benjamin’s Speech in the Context of Ancient Israelite Festivals,” in King Benjamin’s Speech: “That Ye May Learn Wisdom”, ed. John W. Welch and Stephen D. Ricks (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998), 160–74.

Lenet Hadley Read, “Joseph Smith’s Receipt of the Plates and the Israelite Feast of Trumpets,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 2 (1993): 110–120.



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