Allies With God
For The Cause of Zion
From reading the two preceding parts of this section you know that two men, over many years in the past, have been spiritually groomed for God's purposes now. Allies with God. But we must remember that we glorify God and not these two men. No man is perfect. All make mistakes. Even prophets. From the beginning of time, mankind, even prophets, have proven vulnerable to influences that cause error. In the stories of Joseph and Mauricio you read about some of their errors. It is not their responsibility for them to always be correct. It is our responsibility to get our own lives in order, have a personal relationship with our Lord, and to support the prophets, not by saluting and saying, "aye-aye," but with prayer, fasting, donating when able, and when necessary, calling for clarification.
In the following transcription, that is what has been done and you will read not only corrections in spelling, punctuation, and grammar, but also clarification in some details of the message that were unclear as a result of digital transcription and apparent lack of proofing. (marked with a different font color). Joseph has been consulted for clarification in the detail.
The beginning of this part of the site starts with highlights of Joseph's sermon after returning from Brazil in the fall of 2017 where he, and Bob Moore saw and handled golden plates. It repeats Mauricio's first email. His sermon is followed by highlights of the testimonies of the North American Witnesses. Soon there will be links that will take you to the complete sermon and testimonies.
Joseph's Sermon at Zarahemla Branch
After returning from the first trip to Brazil
(Where he and Bob Moore saw and held the golden plates)
October, 29 2017
(Corrections and clarifications OK'd by Joseph - in red)
Eu venho até você em nome de Jesus Cristo. That’s Portuguese. They taught me that and sent that message to you. That’s all the Portuguese I know. I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. In order that you might understand what all of this is about, I want to read to you the first invitation that I got from the people in Brazil to come and visit them.
The First Brazil Email Message
“Hi, Mr. Smith,
I have a lot to say, but as I do not know how to speak and write in English, I fear that the Google translator will transcribe a phrase otherwise, causing confusion that can be read by you. So I’ll briefly summarize the facts so that you can keep track of what happened to us and what we want with you.
I still do not understand all of your doctrine, but I will use the Bible and the texts of your scriptures, as it appears at the site of ….
It all started April 6th, 2007, it was the eve of Easter, I had climbed a hill alone to pray to God in the desire to get some answers to my questions. During the trip, I was lost in the woods closed until sunset and night came, and the darkness of the trees were larger than in an enclosed room, and without a flashlight, I could not move from that place. Fear at that time took over my senses making me feel like a dark force was overwhelming me when a light appeared through the trees, pushing away the fear that surrendered to me. Soon a character involved in the light, called me by name and said not to be afraid, identified himself as an angel of God with the name of Raphael (which years later I could see him in one of his writings that he had visited Joseph Smith Jr. in the past (Doctrine and Covenants 110:21b -- and that’s probably the LDS Doctrine and Covenants because that’s all they have that is written in Portuguese). On this occasion, the Angel Rafael, made with his hands lights to illuminate the whole forest so that could reach the top of the Hill, where I received the visitation of another celestial being, which I will not report here at this email, leave for another occasion. [I will tell you who that being – later on I learned who that being was, it’s Moroni, because at this beginning of this time Moroni began to work with these people.]
The being who was waiting for me at the top of the mountain, then prescribed, more than once, the text of Isaiah 1: 2-9, so that it was etched in my memory. He told me that he appeared to me because of my great faith and restlessness, and that my prayer had touched the feelings of Him who rules the whole universe. But He required me to return to that same place, no longer alone, but accompanied by three other men who would approach me for Bible study and that we should go back there once every year until 10 years had passed, and so we did, until we came to understand what God expects us to do.
Your contact was revealed to us in this last time, which was January 21st of this year 2017. We were told on this occasion that we went up the hill, that God is moving His hand to restore Zion to his place, determined by Him, in a place chosen to be the New Jerusalem in Missouri.
He said that the churches that bear His name had strayed from their covenant, making the arm of the flesh their strength. He showed us that the remnant quoted by Him to me the first time, in the Words of Isaiah 1:9, refers to the” Branches of the Restoration”. However, He affirmed that even among the branches of the restoration there were certain divergences of opinion, ([that’s quite a statement] and that they are not altogether ones of heart and mind.
Therefore, the Lord looks with appreciation to you, Mr. Smith, and to your congregation, for have seen your labor and the intent of your heart.
[Some of you who don’t know we too well - I’ve worked for 21 years to bring the Saints together, I started with the Waldo sermon 21 years ago, wherein the Lord told them that they had a window of opportunity to step through, to lay aside their differences, find common ground and begin to build up the Kingdom of God. And for the most part it went in one ear and out the other. And this is what He is referring to]
But there is no way to get your people back together in one flock in your country, for there is much strife and repugnance among the Latter Day Saints in regard to the other churches which, in one, have been divided into many, But God will do it from Brazil, until it fills all Latin America, Central and finally to arrive again in the lands of the north, when the people of the Covenant is counted as being a great multitude (Revelation 7:9)
In relation to what the Lord requires of us with you, it is that a congregation directed by you here in Brazil be established, and be in communion with the other branches of the restoration, because the holy spirit will operate in our midst entering in and preaching in many Chapels of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for there are many people in that denomination that the Lord intends to seek for Himself, as he did in the past when the Nephites preached to the Lamanites.
Our work, therefore is similar to that of Alma, who preached among the wicked people of King Noah, converting his members to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord allowed the powers of darkness to take over the regency of the greatest church of the Saints of today, but He intends to seek His own sheep from this flock, so that the prophecy of Isaiah 60:22 will come.
What we initially desire is the baptism of your hands, or an authority of someone sent to us from you for this purpose, and obtain the gift of the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill our ministry fully, as promised to us by the heavenly beings.
We are willing to separate our tithes from now on to achieve this goal, which is not ours only but of our Lord Jesus Christ we were told that you would be our leader as long as you live. Amen!”
His brother in the faith;
Mauricio Artur Berger 04.03.2017 (1st email sent to Joseph F Smith)
One of the reasons why they requested me was because the angel told them that the Lord had preserved a portion of the priesthood from Joseph the Prophet, through Joseph the third, and through Alexander Hale Smith, and through my father Arthur Smith, to me.
When I first read this invitation from Mauricio, I said, "yes, I’ll go, no question, I can." I could not say, "No I don’t want to go to that country." "I’ll go," but I felt ... I felt so unworthy and I fussed within myself time time and again. Why would the Lord pick me? After reading the Brazil letter in Maryville, Michigan, one of the ladies got up and went over to the Pastor and said, "We need to have prayer for Joseph." So he selected 3 elders who came up, placed their hands on my head and the first two gave very beautiful prayers, but the third one halfway through his prayer, he said, "Brother Joseph you need to quit fretting and worrying about not being worthy. God has called you to a job; step up to your work and do it." I was grateful for that, because that gives me a little more courage.
Also the angel had told the man in charge, Mauricio, he told him that my grandfather, Alexander Hale Smith, had resurrected a dead child. I said, "Wow! He had to have learned that from the angel, because not many people know that story."
I asked brother Bob Moore to go with me, because I’m not a world traveler, and he is. We got on the airplane in Kansas City and flew to Dallas. In Dallas I had requested that they furnish a wheelchair, because I can only walk so far, and then I’ve got to sit down. And they had a wheelchair waiting for me, and they took me halfway across the state of Texas. Poor Bob had to walk.
We arrived at Mauricio’s apartment sometime that afternoon, and we met the whole group. One of the first impressions I had of the group is that they were well taught on the doctrines and the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact later on in the week as we discussed with them, brother Bob turned to me and said to me, "Brother Joseph, do you feel like you’re back in school?" Because we were learning things that they had been taught by the angel that we did not know.
So then I got up Sunday morning and put on my white clothes, prepared, and we went out to a lake and found a place where it was suitable. We had prayer, and when the prayer was over, I waded out into the lake and I found what I thought was a suitable place. The first man who came out was Mauricio to be baptized. Another brother stepped out - Joni, and I baptized him, and I looked up, and here came another one, and I baptized that one, and here came another one, and I baptized that one, and here came another one. I baptized 9 people at one time. And we told them that we would gather together that evening, and I would give the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands.
I also said, and some of you are going to reach down and grab them rotten apples to throw at me, but that’s okay, because prior to this, by email, Mauricio had talked to me about the sacrament and he said, "Should I go buy that tray with all the little cups?" and I said, "What did the Book of Mormon say?" He (Mauricio) said, “one glass, one cup.” And I said, "Is that alright with you?" And he (Mauricio) said, “perfect”. Then he said, “What about the emblems, what should we have?” I said again, "What does the Book of Mormon say? He (Mauricio) said, “it says wine.” I said fine, suits me. So we had prepared for the sacrament bread and wine. Now you can throw your tomatoes at me if you want to. But that’s what I served, and that’s the way it was.
We sat down for the laying on of hands, and brother Mauricio was first. I placed my hands on his head, and I spoke in English, and I know he didn’t understand a word I said. And he stood up, and he kind of wavered just a little bit and turned and got a hold of me. I thought, well, he’s probably wanting to thank me I guess - I didn’t know, but then he went on. Later on, after the sacrament was served we had a testimonial service and I’ll jump ahead just a little bit here, because I think this will be interesting to you. He said that when I laid my hands on his head, he said he didn’t feel anything, but he said that when he stood up, there was a fire burst forth in his chest that almost made him stagger, and he turned to me for support. Only anyone who has ever felt in their life what I have experienced that day can understand what it is to be baptized with the baptism of fire. Well, I went ahead and confirmed the Holy Ghost on the rest, but also, before I went down, the Lord instructed me to ordain brother Mauricio and Joni to the Melchizedek priesthood. So after the laying on of hands, I ordained Mauricio to be an elder, and Joni also. And then we served the sacrament, and when it came time to serve the bread and the wine, I served Mauricio, he served me and then he served the people. Afterwards I said, "Now sometimes we leave this period of time for prayer or testimony, according to your desire." They began, each and every one, began to bear their testimony, and it was always, that they said, “There is a fire in here.” The Spirit, and I believe brother Bob will verify this, the Spirit in that room that time was so strong, it was almost overwhelming.
Now I’m going to skip a little bit and go to the last baptism and that was the Sunday before we left. We went out to the lake, and Mauricio wanted to baptize his wife. I said, "Well, you’re an elder now, go ahead!" And he went out and he baptized his wife, and I’m up on the bank saying Hallelujah! Because the priesthood was going right to work. Joni wanted to baptize his wife. He did. Mauricio baptized his whole family. And that night I gave the laying on of hands again. And we served the sacrament again. And they had the same testimonies.
I cannot find the words to describe these people. They love each other. They love each other in a way that we don’t understand. When they come into the room they ... each one, they greet each one with a hug and kiss. And the way they’ve been working, if somebody lost their job and got behind and needed some help they helped them out. They helped each other. It’s just a beautiful bunch of people.
One of our problems was communication. Mauricio's daughter learned English on the television while watching English-speaking movies and reading the Portuguese script on the bottom. Besides that we had a large screen computer set up with the Google translator.
We found during the week that they had had a lot of trouble with the LDS Church. Mauricio had the plates and the sword of Laban and he had stored them in the attic of his apartment. Brother Mauricio and his family, had locked up their house and had gone to a family affair in another town. And sometime in the evening, he (Mauricio) got a warning. He went back home, took the plates and the sword of Laban out of his apartment, took them outside, buried them in the ground and covered them up carefully. And then he went back to the family affair in another town. The next day, when they came home, the whole place was turned upside down. This is what Joseph Jr. went through. As soon as somebody found out he had them, there was someone out there after them.
And then there was another time, ... three o’clock in the morning they were in bed asleep and the neighbor calls and says, "Somebody’s trying to break into your house." So he called the police, but before the police got there, the people had fled. And he called his neighbor and said, “What scared them away?” --- "There was a real bright light right over your apartment that shined right down on them and scared them." Moroni is protecting them.
They said, "Friday night we’re going to show you some evidence." But Friday night came, and they shuffled all the women and children up to the shopping mall, and left us with the four brethren there and brother Bob and myself.
OH, I’m sorry I need to back up, just a minute, because the first Sunday night in our Sacrament service, the Lord brought my eyes around to one certain person and I said, "Okay." I guess I just looked at him. Pretty soon He brought me back to that man. And then again He would bring me back to him. I said, "Should I be ordaining him too? And if so, I need evidence." So, as the meeting closed and the people were leaving, brother Bob come into my room. He said, "there’s one more man we need to ordain." I said, "What’s his name?" He said, "Valdici." ( That is the closest I can come to it, Bob). I said, "Thank you brother Bob, because that’s the evidence I asked the Lord for." So we did ordain the third Elder there.
But, Friday night came, and I kind of had a suspicion of what they were going to bring, but I wasn’t prepared for what they actually brought. Two of them left, and in a few minutes they came back, and they had a board, about yea big, and something on the board covered with a cloth. My heart was already starting to beat, but when they pulled that cloth off I was totally welded in my chair. I could not get up. I could not do anything. The tears were running down my cheeks, because sitting in front of me were the Golden Plates of the Book of Mormon and the preserved portion, a portion, asealed portion. And when I could finally get my strength to get up, I said, "Can I hold them in my hands?" And they picked them up and handed them to me and I, I, I almost went down to the table. They are very heavy! I know 50 to 60 pounds.
The plates that my great-grandfather had carefully turned and translated, I turned and I marveled. I marveled when I thought of what was contained there. Of the many generations of the Nephites, and each generation had their historian, and then they handed down these things until it came to Moroni, and he had compacted it into one. And it was in my hand. I was holding it.
The plates were very smooth. I guessed them about 5 x 8 sheets, but no it’s more like 6 x 6, I think. You could, I could see the hieroglyphics on them, but you couldn’t feel them. This puzzled me because I thought they would be inscribed there but they are not. You can put your hand on it. It is smooth. But you can see them, don’t ask me how. Don’t ask me how. (Months later the other North American witnesses noted that the inscription was not smooth as Joseph perceived, but all of them agreed that some of the engraving was very finely done, and that the sensitivity of a person's fingers would be a determining variable. Many older people have much less sensitive fingertips, and Brother Joseph was 83 at the time.)
The sealed portion had 2 straps across it. They work something like a belt, they unhooked them and opened them up. I took one of the straps. It was metal but very flexible, and I wondered what kind of metal it was. I smelled it, there was a faint odor of brass, but they weren’t brass. I don’t know what they were but they were very flexible. The sealed portion, on the outside edges of the pages had two pins driven down through them that were so fixed, that you could not remove them.
What I learned earlier in the week, is that when Mauricio had first received these plates, he had been arguing with, or conversing with, one of the guys that had been up on the mountain with him 2 times (a very close friend). And that guy was saying, "this is all phony, this is all not real," and Mauricio... it got to the point where he wasn’t sure, and he did not want to be misled. He had studied for years with the LDS church, but he would not accept their doctrines. He could not accept their doctrines.
So in this conversation I was listening to, I heard that when he (Mauricio) was handed the plates and the sword and the interpreters, Mauricio broke the interpreters. At the time, that's all I heard - I did not get the rest of the story, but Mauricio did not break them right when he got them. But my heart almost stopped when he told that. And, he showed us the pieces of glass that were left, one piece about the size of a quarter, a little bigger. He said - he described them - he said they were a triangular form with a groove around the outside where it would fit into the frame.
I wondered why? Why would the Lord allow him to destroy them? But I was looking at the plates of the Book of Mormon and the sealed portion, and the first sheet of the sealed portion was right there, you could see the hieroglyphics on them. And I thought, maybe ... I don’t know .... I just thought maybe the reason the Lord allowed him to destroy them is ... had he had the interpreters he may have been able to translate that first sheet of the sealed portion and it wasn’t time for it to be translated. (The account above of the interpreters being broken leaves out the rest of the story. Mauricio broke the interpreters when he actually used them and both read and also saw a vision of terrible destruction upon America and the land of Zion because of the wickedness of its people. He wanted to see goodness and light and glory, and instead he saw the opposite, something greatly distressing. Then, remembering his skeptical friend's accusations, in great emotional agony he broke the interpreters. Moroni fused one lens back together and told Mauricio to make stones to substitute for the crushed lens). Moroni then took the plates back.)
We did learn that there is a portion of the seal plates that is going to be translated, and going to be published in the very near future, and that it will bring peace to those whose hearts are pure and whose desires are pure.
Then I looked at Laban’s sword. Have you ever noticed in the Book of Mormon every leader of the group, when he went to war, he used Laban’s sword. I never thought too much about it, I had thought well, it must be a pretty good sword. It’s only about that long. Less than 3 feet long. The blade is about three inches wide and maybe about three quarters of an inch back from the edge it starts to rise up, and the back part of the blade is heavy. And the sword is heavy. And I checked the edge of the sharp edge and it’s sharp. And I guarantee you if a man swings that and hits in the arm, you are going to lose your arm. Because the weight of that would be tremendous. They showed us a crack right where the blade goes into the handle where it had become cracked. The blade itself had begun to deteriorate, and Moroni had told them to wrap it in plastic to preserve it.
Brothers and Sisters, I kid you not. I held those plates in my hands, and they’re down there in Brazil. Somebody said, “well, why in Brazil?” Well, tell me something. Why here? God can’t find a group of people together here that will hold together 6 months out of the year, that would be of one heart one mind. And these people down there are of one heart and one mind.
Lord is starting to set his hand the second time and he’s starting down there in Brazil. But it’s coming to this country. We have to be prepared to receive it when it comes. We will have to be of pure heart; we will have be worthy to be called Holy. Brother Bob’s job, my job, is to bring the restoration Saints (and you’ll choke on this - I did) and the Temple Lot church together. This is what we’ve got to do. I said, "You're kidding, I know the temple lot Church, you're kidding!" But this is our job.
Our job, also, is to select 6 more witnesses to take down there - that they can see the plates and bear their testimony. The Lord wants eight witnesses, just like in the Book of Mormon times.
So, long ago, we received what brother Bob terms, and I agree, the first invitation, so to speak. But we had excuses. What we have in Brazil is the second invitation. The Lord is setting his hand the second time to prepare a place to gather His people. He's preparing a place for his Saints, and he’s working with those who will work with him according to his ways.
So what lies before us is we must become holy. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind and soul, and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. This is the Celestial law of God. We like to keep one foot in the kingdom of God and put the other one over there in Babylon. I tell you this - the stretch between the two is going to be too much for you to reach pretty soon. You’re going to have to move one foot or the other, and the choice of what foot you will move is up to you.
I remember a poem, I think I’ve got that poem. Yep, here it is. I’d like to read it to you. It says:
I want to let go, but I won’t let go. There are battles to fight by day and by night for God and what’s right. I’ll never let go. I want to let go, but I won’t let go. I’m sick 'tis true, worried and blue, worn through and through, but I will not let go. I want to let go, but I won’t let go. What? lying down in the field, surrender my shield, cowardly yield? NO! I will not let go. I want to let go, but I won’t let go. May this be my song against legions of wrong, oh God keep me strong that I may never let go.
Thank you and God bless.
Joseph F. Smith
The Testimonies of each North American Witness
After their return from the second trip to Brazil
(Where the plates were viewed, handled, and inspected by all of them)
March 31, 2018
Samuel Gould -- (an engineer) -- I’m from the Temple-Lot, and so I heard about the work in Brazil back in ….. quite a while ago.
Joe came to me last April, and he had a letter from Brazil. And he read it to me, and a vision I had when I first heard about Brazil - a vision of Zion and the restoration came flooding into my soul. When he got back (in the fall) he gave me a call. He told me about it and I tried to find out everything that I could.
Just after New Years, I went into a 40 day fast that lasted through Valentine’s day. And during that period of time I’d been given lots of signs and things of that nature but in the human mind I can sort them a lot of different ways.
And then I was asked to go down, and I went to the lord, and I asked the lord, “Why me? Why would you want me to go?” And the Lord showed me a dream that night 3 times, where I stood and bore witness to the truth when it would have been so much easier just to fold and let things fall where they may. I knew why he had selected me.
Well, during that period of time I had the courage to ask God to show me how he sees me, that I might prepare myself, that I could do His work. And he showed me an example in a dream. I thought I answered that situation pretty well. The Lord let me know, “If that is the sum total of the humility that you draw from, you’ll be unprofitable to me. Yeah, the lord showed me a number of things I did not like.
I did not want to go down there without being invited, because that’s one of our rules in the Temple-Lot church. You don’t go down, disturb some local without being invited first, and I hadn’t been invited. I talked to Tyler about that, I talked to my wife about it, and I prayed about it. And that morning, as I opened my eyes… (and I get up early)… as I opened my eyes, there was a vision of this man, his face beaming with great joy, waving me down. He didn’t say anything.
I didn’t go down there to see an angel. I went down there to assess the physical evidence that was there. For me to be able to examine it, Mauricio went and he took the pins out, and we turned the pages (on the sealed portion - not opened 'til then). And everybody was there, this most somber time. Mauricio and Joni and others who were there - they were just as engaged in looking and examining those pages as we were.
They had a beautiful luster about them, as we were turning the pages, and when I saw that last page come up and the cover of the sealed portion …. when I saw that plate, it gave me the hope of Zion. It was as if I could see Christ himself come down out of heaven and rest on that page where there was a little figure of a shepherd on the edge. I know it wasn’t Him, but I know it was His presence, because I’ve been in the presence of Jesus Christ before. And it was the promise that He was making that if we do our part, He will come.
I held the plates. We all held the plates. And as I’m holding them they took pictures of me. I had a somber look on my face, because I’m feeling it, and you know they asked me how much the plates weighed and stuff like that, and they were heavy! But as I was contemplating that, the weight to those plates went away, and the knowledge came from God that these are the very plates that Joseph Smith brought the Book of Mormon forth from. That knowledge. And in the picture you see me just break out with the big joyful smile. That is good news. It’s not anything you’ll ever get from an inspection device. It’s what you get from the Lord God. The Lord God is in it.
And I bear my testimony before man and God. This is His work. And I ask for you to seek repentance and to seek a testimony, for the Lord has a work to do. Zion will be a reality.
That is my joy.
David Gilmore -- The importance of what we are sharing is not lost on me. I have never in my life wanted, nor do I want now, to do anything other than to recommend to you Jesus Christ - He who was crucified and resurrected as out Savior.
I want to bear my testimony of how that spirit that I’ve come to know in my life bore record of this work to me. I’m not one who’s given often to spiritual manifestations. I’ve never spoken with God as I speak to men. I’ve never seen his words across the sky or heard His audible voice.
I wanted God to provide that for me. I wanted God to provide something - whether this work be true or false - that I would know without a doubt. And to me it would be that writing in the sky, that voice that I needed to hear. And I went down with great concerns, and any question that I’ve heard since I’ve been back, is not one that’s unique to the person asking me, because I thought the same things.
The minute the plane hit the ground and even in route I began asking whether that spirit that I’ve known in my life, the Holy Spirit, would testify of the validity of this work. And it did not come. And I’ve known in my life, I do not have the ability to conjure that Spirit, or force it into my life, or demand it whenever I want it.
The next day, I began to focus those prayers on my proper place before God, that rightful humility that he calls us to, yet very self-centered --- and I don’t mean that---I hope that’s received in the right way. I was concerned about what I was going to receive, because I knew so many of my friends and family would want to know when I came home. And in the midst of that prayer, my mind was drawn to those who I care about. And I realized that my heart broke then, and my prayer, and my offering in that worship service was - that if this is the work of God, it’s not for our consumption. It’s not for me. But it’s for the Salvation of the world; it’s a gift for all. And at that moment was the first time I felt that stirring within my heart.
The plates were brought before us. We were given time to inspect them as we wished. And we were not manipulated in any way at this moment, or any other time during the weekend. I can’t say that that selfsame Spirit continued during that time, but I was so interested in the details. But the Spirit bore witness to me in power when we moved through the sealed plates and came to a plate that none of us knew was there. But that image, that we’ve now referred to as the cover of the sealed portion (we’re creating new terminologies as we go along) - that depicted the return of God’s Heavenly City back upon the Earth. That is where my testimony and its fullness was received.
And so while we don’t control the days, we certainly control our preparation. We control how we act and the way we relate with one another. And I did not know these men well, if it all, before this trip. But I have found … I have found a desire to be with them.
And that’s the testimony I want to bare today.
Kelvin Henson -- Editor's note 2.22.19 - Kelvin's Description of the cover plate. Click for complete transcript below.
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 indentions 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 writeup. 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 employ 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.
Gary Metzger -- I too would like to share that I went to Brazil without any decisions. I had many doubts; the condition of the plates, the interpretation of Second Nephi, photos, every kind of a question that all you have in your minds, that you thought - I had the same questions.
But in my heart ... I’d already been working in Brazil for over 10 years. I’ve made four or five trips to Brazil. I was already in contact with the people, I was already in contact with the people at the very same time as these things began to develop. There were a number of people that were interested in the gospel, and I began making more contacts with them. So at the same time, I felt duty bound to investigate. I wasn’t sure about even going to hear the presentation that was made October 29. But there was an elder that called me on Tuesday, before that time, and said that he dreamed about me, and that the Lord had spoken to him, and he told me I should be there. I went to that presentation. After the presentation, Brother Joseph came to me that night and said, “Would you be willing to go to Brazil?” And at that moment I had to give him at least some sort of answer, so I said, “Yes, I would consider that.” And I didn’t hear from him for 6 weeks, and during those 6 weeks I was wondering, and up and down, and all those questions.
But I want to share with you now the things that I found while I was there - the testimony - the Spirit of God that came to me. The first event that I’d like to share about was Sunday morning. We arrived on Saturday afternoon. So on Sunday morning, on the 4th of March, we were in worship together and one of the ladies, it’s actually Mauricio’s cousin -her name is Cassiani Victoria - and she had an experience with the Holy Spirit. She saw a light in the sanctuary, and her heart was on fire, and she felt the peace of the Lord and wept quite profusely and extended her arms up in praise. And after that service, I know she set the table, and I believe she shared with Mauricio and brother Bob, is that correct?- about the desire to make a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, that she felt called to Him. I heard about that, and I shared with Cassiani and her husband Nelson for about 45 minutes later that same day. And I heard that she had that experience.
So the next day on Monday, I wanted to follow up on that with her. So I took Mauricio’s Book of Mormon in Portuguese, and I began to open it up and to share from the Book of Mormon with her. And I want to testify that his Book of Mormon is very well marked, very underlined. He has studied that book. He loves the lord Jesus Christ, and he loves His work. And during that time of sharing with Cassiani, I was going through Mosiah 9 and Second Nephi 13 about the covenant of baptism. And all of a sudden she looks at me and she says, “I feel like there’s something happening, something moving within me, like I’m pregnant.” And I said, “Are you?” ... I didn’t know. And she said, “No, no, I’m not pregnant.” And I can see this look of confusion in her mind about what’s going on with her body, so I instantly went into prayer and I started praying. About 15 seconds or so into the prayer, I started thinking, “Where’s she feeling that?” And then it entered into my mind, she’s not in pain. She’s being born again. She’s receiving the Spirit of God. And I looked up from my prayer and I asked her, “Are you feeling the fire of the Holy Spirit of God?,” and she says, “Yes,” and she says, “it’s all over me.” She held out her arm, “Feel.” So it was very real for her - the experience that she was having with the Spirit of God and her desire to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
Earlier on Sunday morning (going back to Sunday -- that above was a Monday conversation). But on Sunday, at the end of service, a brother named Valdeci, was in charge of our morning worship, and afterwards he turned to our brother Joseph F. Smith and said, “Do you have words to bring?” And Joseph was seated behind me, and he stood up, and he put his hand on my left shoulder and said, “Interpret for me into Portuguese.” And he began to speak to an individual, whose name is Wagner, in the congregation - that he had received of the Lord - that he had a call to the office of elder. And as I was translating into Portuguese, the power of the Holy Spirit came over me in such quantity that I was weeping before he was finished. Because I could feel that the word of the Lord was being delivered. And then another of our members, stood up and bore testimony of that. I won’t mention his name; I’ll let him do that if he wishes. But he confirmed that, and it was a testimony to me that the Lord is working with these men. That was one of three witnesses that had the angel appear to him and show him the plates. These are the individuals we’re talking about in Brazil. I can testify that those men are disciples of Jesus Christ - that the lord is calling them into the work.
Getting to know Mauricio a little bit more - he had an experience earlier in his life - a spiritual experience, when he was shown the Kirtland temple. And he heard the people sing. What song do you suppose he heard? “The Spirit of God.” Thank you very much. Now you have to understand that Portuguese is his native tongue and English is … almost not there. And as we were sharing together, we sang that hymn. And I watched him very carefully, and he was singing that song from memory in English. He knows the words of “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning,” because he’d heard it years ago, and it had so penetrated his soul that he had written and drawn a picture of the Kirtland temple many, many, many, times he told us.
So we entered that time of worship, and we sang, “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord.” I just want you to understand that - that moved our brother Mauricio - and greatly. And we here are going to sing it a little bit later, because there, he asked us to sing it again. And again. And we sang it 4 times that day as people came in. Because of the words of the song, which are very simply the gospel of Jesus Christ, it was very dear to him.
So my experience with the testimony of the plates … I will simply state that as we had read in our group witness, I beheld them, I saw them, and exactly as brother David - when that plate that covers the remaining part of the sealed portion which I estimate is a stack of about 3 inches tall - it’s a … that’s a God given plate. And, I also received my witness of that by the Spirit of God.
I want you to understand that there were 8 of us and all 8 of us slept in the 3 bedrooms that these people lived in. So they all slept in the living room together. And Mauricio’s cousin’s husband had supplied many things for us for their retreat. And he actually slept in a tent on the outside on the patio, so the family was altogether.
So, after I received a text about midnight, a text with a question in it, I just walked into the living room and I said, “Mauricio, you remember the experience you had on Monte Aguro in 2008/2009? We have some confusion in our mind about who were those individuals?” And he just said, “Well okay.” as he reviewed the experience, he started talking to his family, trying to remember together when it was, and the names - if they remembered the names. As a family they were talking about that, and it was a very natural conversation, and you have to understand that Mauricio’s apartment that he’s been in is of great security. We understand the difficulties, if someone professes to have those kinds of things. So they have a huge iron gate that blocks the entrance.
Now we were talking about that, and Mauricio said that one Sunday evening as 8 or 10 of them were worshiping together, there was a knock on the door, at the inside of their apartment. He opened the door, and he thought it was Peter, and so he said, “Hi Peter.” And the man said, “No, my name’s not Peter,” and he gave his name, and he said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I have a blessing to this home.” And he proceeded with the other 2 individuals to teach about the importance of the Lord’s day and of keeping it holy, and that you could not live in Zion unless you were doing that, and they’d come back months later - the same 3 - and taught the importance of the sacrament of the Lord Jesus Christ, of worshiping at His table together. And then the 9 year old says, “But Daddy don’t you remember how strange it was, because they were able to knock on the door of our apartment, but they couldn’t have gotten through the iron gate.” She recognized that the Lord had done something for these individuals to enter into their home that evening. So time and time again, we witnessed and we understood that the hand the Lord was there with these individuals, working with them.
I just want to confirm to you that the Spirit of the Lord was with us, it moved us, it taught us, it testified that some of the things that we saw, are of our Lord Jesus Christ and His work.
Tyler Crowell - I came to share my testimony, and I started to write it out. I’ve got one line, so I’ll read that.
I want to share with you and place in you, so you will know the richness of the Spirit that was there with us in Brazil and the love we have for our brothers and sisters there which I know are your brothers and sisters also, because I know if you experienced what we did, you would feel the same way we do.
And I share that, because when I returned from Brazil, the testimony that was radiating in me was this scripture from Moroni chapter 7 that says a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water, and a good fountain cannot bring forth bitter water. And so I knew. And in that passage it says you can know as clear as the daylight is from the dark night, what is of God. And so I brought back with me the testimony of all the fruit of the Spirit and all the manifestations and gifts of the Spirit that were present among us. And I knew.
I have been on a journey since last October when I heard this. It took me several weeks to get over the shock of what I heard. I kept saying, “Could this be true?
I can’t begin to tell you in ten minutes of my testimony and my journey, but I can tell you that I heard on October 30th for the first time the testimony of our brothers Joseph and Bob. And I was in awe. When my son got off the bus and came in the house, I sat him down in the living room and I said, “I’m ready to sell our house and live in a tent if we can have the opportunity to live in this holy city, to live in this New Jerusalem, this Zion.” Because the things of this world are no long of any value to me. And I will trade them all to have that opportunity.
And that night I had a dream and my house was full of people that had come to hear. They wanted to know. And I know that there is a great hungering and a thirsting in the land to drink from that living stream, that pure fountain of good water. And I know that is what the Lord is offering us now.
And the Lord took me on a journey. And I experienced things that I have never experienced before in my life. Like David said, I had never had a vision, I had never had the Lord’s audible voice speak to me. I’ve looked all my life for the things in the sky. I thought, “wouldn’t that be wonderful, to hear his voice, to have a vision.” But that wasn’t a gift I ever received until these last few months. And the Lord was giving me help, because when I heard that news, something happened to me, and it was like I was taken from a sound sleep laying down to being wide awake, and there was a trumpet blasting in my ear. The Lord began to work with me and I felt a power I’d never felt before.
And I wrestled, as Dave said, with all those questions, with all those uncertainties.
And this is what I want to say to you, to finish my testimony today, that I was convinced by the power of God in a way that I never could have imagined. I had all those thoughts stacked up and all that uncertainty in my mind. And I had no solution for it. And I brought it to the Lord, and I couldn’t have imagined the reply He gave. I can’t even describe it to you.
On March 20th, Tuesday morning, the only words I can give you is that the power and dominion and authority of the presence of God was opened to me. And in that power, and in that presence, and in that authority and that dominion, all the thoughts of the human mind, all the interpretations, the arguments, all the opinions, all the reasoning was brought to insignificance, and was brought into subjection. And it existed in an entirely different realm. Because what I stood before was ... (I don’t want to use human words, because I know those words are thrown around so carelessly), and yet I realize that the Lord had answered.
I feel like I was that guy in the scriptures who was out plowing his field, minding his own business, and the Lord called him. I feel like that guy who was… like the men who were mending their nets on the shore and they heard a voice that would forever change their life.
And saints, I want to tell you it’s true. Yes, it is true. And so we need to prepare ourselves now for what is coming and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.
And it is in His name I bring you this testimony. Amen”
Joseph F. Smith - My name is Joseph F. Smith, in case you don’t know. Most of you know me.
On the second visit down, it increased my faith, yes it did.
I want to testify to you this afternoon, that I am really proud of all these boys and these men that went down.
I thought of myself when we first went down there and I first handled the plates. I thought of the joy I had, knowing that my great grandfather had turned those same pages........
Brothers and sisters, I can testify to you today. You know, for many years you were just “Reorganites” to me, but you’ve become brothers and sisters. I love you, and I bear this testimony. This work is a work of God, and He is going to accomplish His work with or without us, and it is up to us to be a part of it.
For so many years, brothers and sisters, for so many years we’ve struggled. We have struggled through many years of darkness, through many years of contention, confusion, and division …to the point where the ol’ ship of Zion is tattered and torn.
We struggle to see through the darkness that surrounds us....... As a young boy, I used to get up real early in the morning, because I had chores to do before I went to school. I would always notice that in the Eastern sky there would begin to be a little light show, and a little more, and a little more light, and as that light came up out of the Eastern sky, it pushed back the darkness of the night until finally it heralded the arrival of Earth’s sun. We don’t think too much about that, but we see it many times. The work in Brazil is like that light that is rising up out of the East and it is going to push back that darkness that we have struggled for 185 years to overcome. That light is going to keep pushing back and pushing back and pushing back, and it’s going to herald the coming of the Son of God! God Bless
Joint Testimonies of the Witnesses
Ordination of Joseph F Smith
High Priest - President of the High Priesthood
Joint Testimony of the Three South American Witnesses
By the power and mercy of our Heavenly Father and our Master and Redeemer, yes, Jesus Christ, we bear our witness to all nations.
The nature of this testimony is to briefly describe what we have seen, heard and touched:
After some time with Mauricio Berger, who told us about the events on Mount Agudo, we decided to accompany him to the mountain. We can say that everything we have seen there has an extraordinarily sacred character. The prayers and praises offered to the Lord in that place, seeking to do the will of the Father, resulted in the visit of celestial beings; the instructions received directly from the Angel Moroni, are events that have marked our lives forever and ever. We squeezed his hand and received from him the Golden Plates, the translating stones and the Sword of Laban, formerly in possession of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. This sublime circumstance had a powerful effect on our beliefs by enlarging our perception of this great and marvelous work.
We affirm that, by the power of God, the Sealed Book of Mormon will be translated, contained in the plates.
We know, therefore, that the translation will take place in two time periods. The first part that belongs to Maurício Berger (in fulfillment of the prophecy of 2 Nephi 27: 21-26 LDS, or even 2 Nephi 11: 143-147 RLDS), with the intention of calling His people again to repentance. Upon completion of the translation, we understand that will be fulfilled what is written in 2 Nephi 30: 3 LDS, or 2 Nephi 12:80 RLDS – where it is clear this Record will be sealed back to the Lord in accordance with Ether 4: 7 LDS or Ether 1: 101 RLDS. Qualifying your people to receive the second part.
We place our witness at the disposal of the world, with a deep sense of gratitude and a total sense of responsibility towards God who directs this work. We solemnly affirm that by our fidelity to this testimony our garments will be clean at the last day.
In vain will be the one who stands up against the work of God. Honor and glory be for ever and ever, the Father, his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, in whom we entrust the conclusion of this glorious work. Amen.
Joni Batista, Valdeci Machado, and Wagner Zeppenfeld
Joint Testimony of the Eight North American Witnesses
Testimony of Eight Witnesses
We declare in the name of Jesus Christ that on Sunday, March 4, 2018, Maurício Artur Berger, the translator of the first part of the sealed plates, showed to us the golden plates which are covered on both sides with fine engravings; that we held the plates and turned the pages; and we closely examined the plates, which have the appearance of gold, and are bound together by three rings, which are silver in appearance; and we examined the characters thereon, which are exceeding fine and intricately engraved. By our examination and the confirmation of the Holy Spirit we have the assurance that they are the plates of Mormon. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we did both behold and handle before each other, as God bears this our witness.
We beheld and handled the interpreters, by which these engravings will be translated by the gift and power of God.
We further declare that in our presence the seals were removed which had tightly bound the greater portion of the plates. We beheld and examined the plates that were newly loosed, which have an exceeding luster with indented engravings.
Further, we bear record that the more part of all the plates remain sealed and are to come forth by the will of Jesus Christ in his own due time, and that we beheld and marveled to see the exquisite cover of the sealed book, that depicts upon the entire plate a carefully crafted and intricate image of the promised return of the heavenly city Zion, and that these things are to remain sealed until they are revealed by Christ to his people when they are prepared and found worthy.
We admonish all nations, kindreds, tongues and people to repent and come unto Christ and heed the words which he gives, that your souls may be found spotless at the last day.
Joseph F. Smith Bob Moore
Samuel S. Gould Brad Gault
Gary Metzger Tyler Crowell
David Gilmore Kelvin Henson
Did Everyone know this below except me?
2 Nephi 2:27-50 - Does this scripture talk about Brother Joseph and Brother Mauricio? The "Spokesman" and the "Moses." It says the spokesman will be named Joseph, after his father, and Joseph F. Smith's father's name was not Joseph. But think on this information from bible scripture, in the very first verse of Matthew: " The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Jesus was of the house of David, but his father, as we perceive the word "father," was called Joseph.
Ordination of Joseph F Smith
High Priest & President of the High Priesthood
I, Maurício Berger,
Having been confirmed by the hands of an angel as High Priest holding the keys of the kingdom of God on earth, brought back again among the sons of men for the purpose of restoring His Church in Zion and in the world.
I hereby consecrate and appoint Joseph Frederick Smith to the Presidency of the High Priesthood of the Church (in Zion).
(Revelation received through Mauricio A Berger, 10.29.2018)
And from this moment forward, Prophet, Seer and Revelator of My Church, as well as My servant Maurice Artur Berger. Receive, therefore, the keys corresponding to this call, so that it may proceed according to My servant Mauricio. These keys, who qualify him as High Priest in the Presidency of My Church in Zion and in the world, by which he may ask and receive, open and close, and be crowned with the same blessing and glory and honor and priesthood and gifts which in past times were placed on the head of my servant Hyrum Smith. Amen.
Eu, Maurício Berger,
Tendo sido confirmado pelas mãos de um anjo como Sumo Sacerdote detentor das chaves do reino de Deus na Terra, trazidas novamente entre os filhos dos homens com a finalidade de restabelecer Sua Igreja em Sião e no mundo.
Eis que consagro e designo Joseph Frederick Smith à Presidência do Sumo Sacerdócio da Igreja (Siao).
E deste momento em diante, Profeta, Vidente e Revelador da Minha Igreja, assim como meu servo Maurício Artur Berger. Receba, portanto, as chaves correspondentes a este chamado, para que proceda de acordo com o meu servo Maurício. Chaves estas, que o qualificam como Sumo Sacerdotena Presidência da Minha Igreja em Sião e no mundo, pelas quais poderá pedir e receber, abrir e fechar, e ser coroado com a mesma bênção e glória e honra e sacerdócio e dons que em tempos passados foram colocados sobre a cabeça de meu servo Hyrum Smith. Amém.