Quotations of the Sealed Portions of the Book of Mormon
What we have of Jesus’s ministry to the Nephites is an abridged version because the Lord wished to “try the faith of [his] people” (3 Nephi 26:6–13). Dutiful to his charge, Mormon did not provide a full account of Jesus’s teachings, but his son Moroni provided three quotations of portions that his father did not.
The first of the quotations fulfills a promise that Mormon made but did not fulfill himself. That promise is italicized in the following passage:
And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of these sayings, he touched with his hand the disciples whom he had chosen, one by one, even until he had touched them all, and spake unto them as he touched them. And the multitude heard not the words which he spake, therefore they did not bear record; but the disciples bare record that he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost. And I will show unto you hereafter that this record is true. (3 Nephi 18:36–37)
The fulfillment of the promise comes in the writings of Moroni:
The words of Christ, which he spake unto his disciples, the twelve whom he had chosen, as he laid his hands upon them—and he called them by name, saying: Ye shall call on the Father in my name, in mighty prayer; and after ye have done this ye shall have power that to him upon whom ye shall lay your hands, ye shall give the Holy Ghost; and in my name shall ye give it, for thus do mine apostles. Now Christ spake these words unto them at the time of his first appearing ; and the multitude heard it not, but the disciples heard it; and on as many as they laid their hands, fell the Holy Ghost. (Moroni 2:1–3)
Moroni quotes this passage as part of his general overview of the operation of the Nephite Church of Christ (Moroni 2–7).
The second quotation is repeated twice in Moroni’s record:
And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. (Moroni 7:33). And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient in me. (Moroni 10:23)
In the first instance, Mormon (whom Moroni quotes) uses this passage to show that faith allows one to “lay hold upon every good thing” (Moroni 7:21–39). In the second passage, Moroni uses the same quotation (either here in an alternate translation or a paraphrase) to show that God “worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow and forever” (Moroni 10:3–33).
The third quotation is the most lengthy of the quotations:
For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; and he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned; and these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover; and whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth. (Mormon 9:22–25)
Moroni uses this third quotation in his long discourse about God being a God of miracles (Mormon 9:7–29) to show “that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted to him; and this promise is unto all, even to the ends of the earth” (Mormon 9:21).
These three quotations Moroni explicitly attributes to Jesus during his ministry, and all were written after the death of Mormon, and thus after Mormon “hid up . . . all the records which had been entrusted to [him] by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni” (Mormon 6:6). Moroni’s quotations might come from a remarkable memory (the parallel quotations from Moroni 7:33 and 10:23 might indicate that), but they may also have come from the sealed portion of the plates that he had. None of the quotations are included in what Mormon terms the “lesser part of the things which [Jesus] taught the people” (3 Nephi 26:8) and therefore may safely be included among “greater things” that were to “be made manifest” unto the Gentiles “if it shall so be that they shall believe these [lesser] things” (3 Nephi 26:8–10).
Associate research professor, ISPART