One-Minute Answers by Stephen R. Gibson

Contents of One-Minute Answers

Was Moroni a False Spirit?

Question: How can Latter-day Saints believe in the Angel Moroni story when Paul warns about an angel from heaven who can tranform himself into an angel of light and can deceive even the elect?

It is true that Paul does warn us about false or evil messengers or angels that could deceive us (Gal. 1:6-9, 2 Cor. 11:14), but let us not let two such warnings negate the validity and value of hundreds of true angelic visitors who were sent from God to bless mankind. There are 275 references to angels in the Bible, and only seven of those references have to do with false angels. The fact that Satan may appear as an angel of light obviously does not mean that all angels that appear to man are of Satan.

Let us review a handful of the powerful experiences where the visitation of angels was a great blessing to mankind:

If the appearance of angels continued after the death and resurrection of Christ, at what point in time would our critics say their appearance became unacceptable? Angels still exist today, and the Lord may use them as he wishes. Indeed, many prophesied events in the Last Days will involve angelic messengers from God.

Angels are "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation," according to the author of Hebrews (Heb. 1:14). Angels also watch over the churches (Rev. 1:20). Angels will be very much involved when Christ returns. The Son of man shall "send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend" (Matt. 13:3941). Angels will be with the Lord when he rewards every man according to his works (Matt. 16:27). Angels will help gather the elect of the earth (Matt. 24:30-31).

These last three examples are of future visitations of Godly angels which will, of course, occur long after Paul wrote his warning. Those who categorize every angel as a messenger from Satan would miss being caught up with Jesus when he comes, rejecting the angels assigned to this task.

The wholesale discounting of appearances of angels based on one or two scriptures in Paul's epistles indicates narrowness of interpretation and may well affect one's openness to receive messengers from Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, a person almost has to adopt that stand if he believes that the heavens are sealed and that there is no further need for revelation from God. Yet the Bible in no way precludes the kind of experiences that Joseph Smith had. In fact, it promises such events in the latter days:

In the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams (Acts 2:17).
John the Revelator prophesied of the last days, saying, "I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" (Rev. 14:6). Who was this angel of the last days if it was not Moroni?

As shown by the numerous passages listed above, angels and visions are very much a part of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. To deny that and teach otherwise is to preach "another gospel," which Paul also warned about in his epistles (Gal. 1:6-9).