13. Did Moroni Bury the Plates More Than Once?


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13. Did Moroni Bury the Plates More Than Once?

Copyright © 2015 by Jerry L. Ainsworth

When Moroni reached the hill near Manchester, New York, where he buried the plates, he actually buried them twice:

Now I, Moroni, after having made an end of abridging the account of the people of Jared, I had supposed not to have written more, but I have not as yet perished; and I make not myself known to the Lamanites lest they should destroy me. (Moroni 1:1)

I infer from this verse that once Moroni had completed the account of the people of Jared (the Book of Ether), he assumed he was finished with the record. He probably expected to be discovered and killed. Given that reality, it seems to me that he would immediately bury the plates to keep them safe. When he was not killed, I think he recovered the plates from the stone box where he had secreted them and wrote the following:

Wherefore, I write a few more things, contrary to that which I had supposed, for I had supposed not to have written any more. (Moroni 1:4)

If Moroni had not planned to write any more, then he would have had no need to keep the plates with him. Indeed, to do so would subject them to continuing risk of capture.

Therefore, I assume that after he buried the plates but then was not discovered by the Lamanites, he retrieved the plates from the stone box he had prepared and wrote his book, the last book in the Book of Mormon. After doing so, he then buried the plates for the second and final time as a mortal.

Further evidence of this thinking is a statement by Joseph Smith indicating that the title page of the Book of Mormon was written by Moroni and was on the inside of the very last gold plate (History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 71). To me, this analysis suggests that Moroni thought he had completed the abridgment and therefore wrote what is now known as the title page.

This left the backside of that last gold plate with no writing on it. I assume, therefore, that after burying the plates, Moroni retrieved them, wrote his book (the book of Moroni) on the back of the last gold plate, returned the plates to the place he had prepared, and then buried them for the second time.

Contact me with a question or comment: eljefejla@aol.com


Ainsworth, Jerry L.