A Great Mystery is Soon to be Unfolded
It is in the context of the divine decree to Enoch, that God calls Abraham, as recorded by Moses, in the book of Genesis. Recall that many generations pass away after the Lord floods the earth, destroying the wicked, and the re-population of the world begins with Noah and his family, until we come to the construction of the tower of Babel, by Nimrod. After the Lord confounds the language of the people at the tower of Babel, and scatters them, many generations again pass away, until we come to the account of Abram, son of Terah, in Chapter 11 of Genesis.
In the meantime, however, thanks to the voices from the dust, we learn that there’s more to the story of the Lord’s work than that recorded in the book of Genesis. It turns out that the Lord didn’t confound the language of all the people at the tower of Babel, in spite of the text recorded in Genesis.
According to the voices from the dust, there was at least one family that cried unto him for mercy, and the Lord had compassion on them and their friends, insomuch that he did not confound their language. In fact, he led them to what we now call the American continent, which the Lord called “a land choice above all the lands of the earth.” Here, they flourished for many centuries before they were finally brought down to total destruction, sometime around 200-150 B.C., after they became fully ripened in sin and iniquity.
The discovery of this startling narrative was explained by the voices from the dust in the Book of Mormon, by the prophet Moroni, the son of Mormon, who was the compiler of the Book of Mormon, and therefore its namesake. So, then, Mormon, the father of Moroni, tells us how the ruins of these former inhabitants of the American continent were discovered by the Nephites, and how among these ruins was found a set of twenty-four plates of pure gold, recording the origin, the history and the final destruction of this unknown people.
The author of the gold plates was a prophet of the Lord named Ether, but, of course, his language was that of those who came from the tower Babel. It was the pure language of Adam, which was unknown by the time these plates were discovered by the Nephites, late in the second century before Christ.
It was a small group of Nephites that discovered the plates, when they had been wandering in the wilderness, trying to locate the main body of Nephites, from whom they had been separated for many years. These people were curious to know what the plates contained, but didn’t know how they could ever be translated from the strange language in which they were recorded, until they learned from a prophet of God that such things were indeed possible.
The name of the prophet explaining these things to them was Ammon, according to Mormon, who explains that Ammon taught their king, named Limhi, that the prophets of God, who possess the power to translate ancient records, are known as “seers,” and that the king of the main body of the Nephites, from whom this small group had been separated, was just such a prophet and seer. King Limhi was very curious and wanted to know if anyone could translate the records:
Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called a seer.
And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God.
And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet.
And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.
But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.
Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.
And now, when Ammon had made an end of speaking these words the king rejoiced exceedingly, and gave thanks to God, saying: Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates, and these interpreters were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men.
O how marvelous are the works of the Lord, and how long doth he suffer with his people; yea, and how blind and impenetrable are the understandings of the children of men; for they will not seek wisdom, neither do they desire that she should rule over them!
Yea, they are as a wild flock which fleeth from the shepherd, and scattereth, and are driven, and are devoured by the beasts of the forest. (Mosiah 8:13-21)
Eventually, King Limhi’s people were reunited with those of the main body of Nephites in the city of Zarahemla, and the King of Zarahemla, King Mosiah, translated the record on the twenty four plates of gold, by the power of God. Mormon explains:
…this he did because of the great anxiety of his people; for they were desirous beyond measure to know concerning those people who had been destroyed. And now he translated them by the means of those two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow. Now these things were prepared from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages; And they have been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he should discover to every creature who should possess the land the iniquities and abominations of his people; And whosoever has these things is called seer, after the manner of old times.
Now after Mosiah had finished translating these records, behold, it gave an account of the people who were destroyed, from the time that they were destroyed back to the building of the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people and they were scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth, yea, and even from that time back until the creation of Adam. Now this account did cause the people of Mosiah to mourn exceedingly, yea, they were filled with sorrow; nevertheless it gave them much knowledge, in the which they did rejoice.And this account shall be written hereafter; for behold, it is expedient that all people should know the things which are written in this account. (Mosiah 28:12-19)
The wonderful thing about this knowledge, which comes to us from those who have slumbered in the ground, is that it is a confirmation that the hand of the Lord was extended in preserving his people and also in preserving a record of them, back to the very beginning of time! Imagine what power the children of men will have in convincing their posterity that God does live and is actively engaged in preserving his people from the grasp of death and hell, once these records are revealed.
Fortunately, as the voices from the dust testify, the time will soon come when we shall have them, in the own due time of the Lord, when, in his wisdom, he shall reveal them to us. For it is wisdom in God that they be kept from us as yet that he might test the faith of the Gentiles, as he tested the faith of the Jews. For this reason, this part of the book from which the voices of the dust whisper to us, remains sealed, waiting for the time when, in the wisdom of the Lord, the children of this generation are ready for the revelation contained therein.