For The Cause of Zion
Testimony of the Gold Plates and Other Experiences in Brazil
(Whole Transcript Below)
I was invited by Bob Moore and Joseph Smith to go to Brazil with them, along with Brad Gault, Gary Metzger, Tyler Crowell, David Gilmore, and Sam Gould. We arrived in Brazil on March 3, 2018, and were met by five of the saints, including Joni Batista and Wagner Zeppenfeld, two of the three Brazilian witnesses. They took us to lunch and as we conversed, I found them to be welcoming and excited for us to be there. We were then taken to Mauricio Berger’s home where we all stayed for the weekend. He was not at home when we arrived, but we met his wife who was also very welcoming and excited to have us, as well as two of his daughters who were a bit more shy. We also met Valdeci Machado, the other Brazilian witness, as well as Nelson Victoria, who helped interpret with Gary Metzger.
I was speaking with David on the balcony of the apartment when I saw that Mauricio had arrived. He was excited to see us, and came around to each one, greeting us by name and giving us a hug. He immediately invited us to sit, and shared his testimony. After finishing, he opened it up to questions. We asked him many questions, and talked into the evening. He answered all of our questions without hesitation and often used the scriptures in his response. When asked about the interpreters, he pulled them out of a case and passed them around.
I saw the stone that had been previously broken, which was fused back together by Moroni. I also saw the other stone which was new. They both had characters etched into them, and were close in size and shape, but not exact copies. The new one was clear and had little streaks of copper embedded within. They both had a ridge to be fastened to a frame. From what I understood, the older stone works in Mauricio’s mind, while the new one literally reflects and refracts the light of the word. He showed us with a flashlight in a dark room. The stone refracts the light at six different points, three on each side. The characters on the plates translate into English and Portuguese for Mauricio. He reads the Portuguese while Joni writes it down, then copies down what he sees in English.
While we were talking that evening, Mauricio mentioned that he knew Tyler and I would be coming as witnesses because he saw us in separate dreams. He did not tell us the dreams at that time because we were told that we were going to meet the rest of the congregation for introductions and supper. We were taken to a separate building and met in a classroom where they have church. We sat in a large circle and each person there introduced themselves. Gary and Nelson traded out as interpreters. When I stood to speak, I shared with them that I am a sinner and I felt inadequate to be invited on this trip. I could think of several other men that I considered more righteous than myself that would be better qualified for this work. However, I was happy to be there and thankful for the warm welcome that we had received. After we returned to Mauricio’s home, I learned that my feelings of inadequacy had already been revealed to Maurico in his dream of me.
While the other men prepared for bed, I grabbed Gary and we met with Mauricio in the living room where he told me his dream. He mentioned that he had this dream after the first visit from Joseph and Bob, but before he knew anything about me. The following is Mauricio’s dream concerning me:
Mauricio is driving down a long road. He is unaware of where it goes. As he is driving, he sees me hitchhiking on the side of the road. Mauricio pulls over and asks where I am going. I tell him that I don’t know. He invites me into the car anyway, and asks what my name is. I tell him that my name is Kelvin Henson. He is listening to Christian music, and I ask him to change it to rock and roll. We continue down the road, without knowing where we are going. I eventually realize that wherever we are going is for people who are righteous. I speak up and tell him that I cannot go there because I am not righteous and I have a lot of things holding me back. I tell him to pull over and I’ll get out here. Mauricio pulls over, then invites me to come and see. I decide to stay in the car and we go off down the road.
When Mauricio woke up he typed in my name on Facebook, having remembered what it was from the dream. He saw that I was a real person and knew that I was supposed to come down as a witness. He began to pray for me, and told the congregation to pray for me by name to come down as one of the witnesses. Later I asked Wagner and Joni separately if they had prayed about me. They both confirmed that they had prayed for me because of Mauricio’s dream. Mauricio also mentioned that I looked different in his dream- I had longer hair and no beard. I found this interesting, because when I was younger I wore my hair long and didn’t have facial hair. That was also the period of my life when I was heavy into rock music. I won’t write out the dream with Tyler, as I cannot remember all of the details, but I do remember that he looked different in Mauricio’s dream as well, possibly of him when he was younger. Sam Gould had the idea that the Lord has been preparing the both of us over the years for this specific calling.
Sunday began with a nice breakfast and conversation about the events of the previous day. We were taken to church in separate cars but arrived at the building together. As we climbed out of the vehicles, we were met with "The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning" which was being played on a piano inside. Valdeci was in charge and told us that the Holy Spirit was at Mauricio's house when he picked us up and it encouraged him to let this meeting be open to the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Wagner and Joni were invited up to share with us their testimonies. This was followed by Mauricio who came up and gave a short, but very good message. Joseph Smith stood up and spoke under the influence of the spirit, declaring that Wagner would be ordained to an elder that day to assist in the work with Mauricio. Sam Gould then stood and confirmed that the message was from the Holy Spirit. The congregation voted and the Lord's message given through Joseph came to pass. Cassiane, who is new to the group, also had an experience of feeling the Holy Spirit “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning.” Bob Moore testified that he saw the Holy Spirit move upon her.
After the service we went back to Mauricio’s apartment. The eight witnesses went with Wagner, Valdeci, and Mauricio to his home while the rest of the congregation went to eat lunch downstairs. After we gathered into the living room, they told us that Joni was bringing the plates, and that it would be about half an hour. I made the request that we have a time of worship in preparation, so we each said a prayer and began to sing various campfire songs. One song we sang was "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord.” Mauricio was moved by that song, and asked us to sing it three more times that day so others could hear.
Joni arrived with a small suitcase, and we sang “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” again for him to hear. As we sang, Joni lifted his hands and began to pray. Mauricio also began to pray. After we sang, Joseph said a final prayer. Joni came into the middle of the circle, lifted the plates out of the suitcase, and set them down on a small table.
There was a moment of stillness before Gary stepped forward to lift them. He set them back down and slowly, six of the eight witnesses moved forward to examine them. Joseph and I stayed seated. I had decided before that the only way I would know if these were the true plates of the Book of Mormon was if the Holy Spirit was present. So I stayed put for several minutes in order that I might be still and listen for the spirit of God. It was not long before I felt a burning in my bosom, the same feeling that came to me after Joseph Smith's sermon on October 29. I saw out of the corner of my eye that Joseph was watching me, so I turned to look back at him. He was smiling. He reached
out his hand, and I shook it.
I finally took my turn in holding the plates after everyone else. The plates were thin and had the appearance of gold. I picked up the plates and was surprised at how heavy they were, about fifty pounds. I examined the three rings that have a silver color and are also magnetic. I turned the plates and felt the engravings that were marked across the front and back of each plate.
Mauricio announced that he was going to open the sealed portion for the first time. He had told us the day before that they were just recently loosed by the power of God about a week earlier while he had them out, but he waited for us to be there to open it. Using pliers, he pulled off the head of the pins holding down the sealed portion, and turned the first page. I watched as an expression of excitement and awe came to his face.
The plates of the sealed portion were a little different from the other plates. The plates of the first section were flat with shallow engravings on them. The plates of the sealed portion had the same engravings, but they had deeper indentations in them where the writings were. These plates also appeared more lustrous. Mauricio began to turn the plates of the sealed portion to see how many he would be translating before the section that is reserved for Christ. He turned about 40 pages when I saw Joni, who was helping him, become excited. I looked and saw a corner of a plate coming up that looked different than the rest. I could see that it had some sort of picture etched into it, rather than lines of characters.
Mauricio turned over the next plate, revealing this special one. The Holy Spirit immediately filled the room and I heard several gasps from the other witnesses. We marveled at the beautiful workmanship of the picture before us. It did not take long to see that it depicted the holy city of Zion descending upon the earth. The picture was horizontal, so the plates have to be turned to view it correctly. We could tell that it had been engraved from the other side because it was raised on the front. At the top was a figure in the middle with outstretched wings. Within the wings was a city. At the bottom was a man with little rays of light around him, standing in a dome. There were longer lines beginning at the top central figure expanding downwards. Halfway down on the right was another man with dots behind and below him. On the left side opposite were three characters in a horizontal line. Next to the dome on the bottom right were three little men, a fire pit, and a sort of dwelling, like a tent, all alongside each other. Above the dwelling were three lines coming down at an angle from the right.. On the edge of the plate was a small circle. Next to the dome on the bottom left is a little city. Above it on the left edge is a larger circle with little rays around it.
The magnificence of this picture was astounding. We continued to marvel at the picture on this plate, which was the top plate of the second part of the sealed portion. There were little blockers at this point that prevented the plates from being turned further. Mauricio told us that Moroni said there were two parts to the sealed portion, but we were all there to actually see for the first time that this was true.
We gathered around the plates and knelt down in prayer. Mauricio offered a prayer, opening in the name of Jesus and closing with the name of Jesus. Others prayed afterward, and I began to form a prayer of Thanksgiving in my mind. As I began to pray, it rested upon my heart that I needed to commit my life to the Lord and His work. I did just that and was overcome with the Holy Spirit again. After our time of prayer, we began discussing the experience while Mauricio put the plates in the back room. There was a unity among us in that we all knew this was real. I met Mauricio when he came back out and he spoke to me in Portuguese. Having an intermediate knowledge of Spanish, which is similar, I was able to make out what he said. He told me that he understood every word of my prayer, which was given in English. I was happy
that the Lord had allowed him to understand my prayer of dedication. After about two hours with the plates, we left the apartment and met with the rest of the congregation for lunch. While standing in line, I turned around and saw Mauricio. He smiled and said to me, "Now you are driving the car."
After lunch we were discussing the picture in the gold plates and began to speculate about what it all meant. Mauricio quietly stood and got the interpreters out of his bag. He went into the back room where the plates were and locked the door. We realized that he was going to translate the plate, so we gathered together and David offered a prayer. As he prayed we heard the rustling of the plates being turned in the other room. After a short time, Mauricio invited us into the room where the gold plates were open to the picture. He explained to us what each part represents. Bob immediately typed up everything that was given to us, which is as follows:
“The image across the entire top with buildings across the bottom, which is curved downward in an arc, represents the celestial Zion. The descending rays represent the seven spirits of the seven churches (mentioned in John’s Revelation). The image under the center (4th) ray is a shepherd holding a staff. It represents Jesus Christ. There are eight light rays emanating from him. Eight is the number of Christ. Underneath Jesus’ feet is a line extending across the bottom of the page. Near the end of the line on the left is a small image for a city. It is under the rays of the sun, which is above and to the left of the small city. The left city represents Jerusalem in the last day. Above it are symbols for three times and two prophets. Mauricio also said there are two religions, although he does not know what they are.
The small image near the end and above the line to the right is an image for another city. It represents the land surrounding Zion. To the right and above there is an image of the moon. There are three figures to the left of the city, which represent 3 prophets for that day. Lines to the left of the city represents destruction that comes on this part of the world. Above the city on the left of it, but right of center is a larger figure. It represents Moroni, who is facing the center where the rays are coming down. An image of the plates appear to his left but near him about the height of his mouth. There are three dots to the right of Moroni and with an equal distance to make them reach his height. Underneath his feet are seven dots. They represent the seven dispensations.
Between the two cities is a semicircle centered on the feet of Jesus and with the line as its base. It symbolizes a dome of protection over Zion, showing that the destruction that is represented as bringing war to the city on the right does not penetrate the protective dome over Zion.
The entire engraving shows the heavenly Zion coming down to Jesus who is standing in Zion underneath the spirits of the seven churches. Jesus is directing the fulfillment of John’s Revelation, perhaps as it unfolds on the world at the same time that Jesus is reading the second part of the seal portion, which sealed book is bound under this engraving.”
There are a few points that I remember Mauricio sharing that are not included in Bob’s write-up. The line across the entire bottom of the plate represents the body of water that separates the two cities. He also mentioned that everyone inside of the dome will be protected from the destruction, while all those outside who are righteous will be protected by the three prophets. Finally, the three dots behind Moroni represent three time periods of the Book of Mormon.
There were more blessings from the Lord concerning our trip to Brazil, including other dreams and interpretation of tongues, but these are the ones that directly involve me. I testify to all the people of the Earth that the gold plates, which I saw in Mauricio Berger's home on March 4, 2018, are the same plates of the Book of Mormon given to Joseph Smith Jr. I know this is true as it was confirmed to me by the Spirit of the Lord. I also testify that the sealed portion was opened for the first time by Mauricio Berger, assisted by Joni Batista, in the presence of all the witnesses. I look forward to the day when we get to read what is written on those plates, as it will help us in our endeavor to live righteously. I implore all those who read this account to inquire of the Lord, that you will know it is true. May God's blessings be upon Mauricio as he translates these precious plates. May God's blessings be upon His own people, that they will be lifted up in His holy Kingdom. Amen.
Kelvin Henson's Testimony
(of his work as scribe for the translation)
At 3:00 pm Brazilian time [on May 25, 2018], Mauricio Berger took Joni Batista and myself into the back room of his apartment where he does the work of translating the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. In a corner of the room, there is a small table with a desk on the end closest to the corner. He set up the area for him to translate and for me to write the words that he speaks. Mauricio sat at the desk, his back in the corner of the room. Joni and I sat at the table across from him. Mauricio had driven nails high up in the walls, one to his left and one to his right. He took a sheet with two strings attached to it and strung it around these nails. The end result created a little triangular space, between the two walls and the sheet, where Mauricio sat at the desk. Joni and I were on the outside of the sheet at the other end of the table. Right before we began, I looked in his little triangle and there was nothing there except for the plates, the interpreters, which he has fastened into a frame, and a chair. I sat at a computer and Joni sat next to me. For this small portion, Mauricio just had me type. But later he said I will need to write it out because there needs to be a physical copy of the translation. This first time for me was just a short passage, and we only did it in English, as the Portuguese part of the portion had already been completed. The three of us knelt on the floor and Mauricio offered a prayer. We then took our seats and the translation commenced. Mauricio sounded out the words as best he could. Some of them I was able to understand, while many needed to be spelled out. Joni sat next to me and watched, asking Mauricio questions of clarification when I couldn’t make something out, or thought a word didn’t sound right. There were some times when Mauricio made a mistake and he would reread the word until we could figure it out. The mistakes that were made were minor, such as accidentally replacing a letter “a” with a letter “o.” Often times in these moments of question, he would ask me to turn off the light, as I was sitting next to the switch on the wall. He told me later that sometimes the artificial light reflecting off of the plates would interfere with what he was seeing through the stones. The translation that I typed came out to fifteen lines of text, and one hundred and ninety seven words. I asked Mauricio how much it was on the plates, and he put his fingers at the point where he started and where he ended. It was a little more than half of one line of characters. He later counted eleven characters that had been translated in that session. He also later explained some about how the interpreters work. He sees a list of articles and other filler words for the English translation that he chooses from to put into the spot provided. I do not fully understand this, and I don’t know if I ever will. But Mauricio said that when he read the English with me today, there were less options for him to choose from. He believes that since I was helping this time, he didn’t need as much assistance from the interpreters as he does when he is alone. It was a marvelous experience to help with the translation. The Holy Spirit was present and gave me clarity of mind which was needed to understand Mauricio’s attempts at sounding out the English words, some of which were far from correct, and to suggest the necessary minor changes. I do testify that the translation was accomplished only by the divine power of God who has brought forth this work in His own time and His own way. It is my understanding that I am supposed to be the English scribe for the complete length of the sealed portion, but I do not know if that is the Lord’s plan, neither do I know when it will be completed.