Who was Moroni? A general, a historian, a son, a prophet and an angel of glory.
As a general, he led the last army of his people in a desperate fight for survival. A fight against a hostile force that outnumbered them thousands to one. The inevitable loss of the battle led to the destruction of his entire nation.
As a historian he recorded the downfall of his people, a commission given to him by his father. A commission handed down to each generation for over a thousand years.
As a son, he watched his father lead their people as the war began. He watched his father fight the same fight that would become his responsibility. He watched as his father fell, a victim of wounds from earlier battles.
As a prophet, he wandered alone transporting the records of his people. He compiled and annotated his people’s records, condensing them down to one book. He continued to receive revelations that he added to the record. All this he did, not for his people, now gone, but for us. For future generations that he knew would need the records he protected. He would hide the record away, under direction from the Lord. All this he did knowing his struggles had purpose.
As an angel, he would bring the news of the ancient record to Joseph Smith. The ancient record, created by his own hand, containing the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Members of the LDS Church believe this is the event that John the Revelator foretold in Revelation 14:6-7:
“And 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, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
Wilford Woodruff commissioned Cyrus Dallin to design a statue for the pinnacle of the Salt Lake Temple. This new statue was placed facing east to symbolize the future coming of the Savior as described in Mathew 24:30-31:
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
The Angel Moroni statue now has many symbolic meanings. As Moroni, he is one of the primary agents of the restoration. With the trumpet, he proclaims the restoration of the Gospel to all the world. His proclamation of the Savior’s return is symbolized by his eastward orientation. His presence on many temples in many lands reminds of the universal nature of the gospel. And, to some, even his gilding is a reminder of the Gold Plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated.
Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith History 1:27-54
Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Moroni 1
Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Moroni, Angel
Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Moroni, Visitations Of
Rudd, Glen L. “The Angel Moroni” Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional, March 11, 2003
Mormon Bids Farewell to a Once Great Nation, by Arnold Friberg
Moroni Hides the Plates in the Hill Cumorah (Moroni Burying the Plates), by Tom Lovell
Moroni Appears to Joseph Smith in His Room (The Angel Moroni Appears to Joseph Smith)
Joseph Smith Receives the Gold Plates
Disambiguation: Captain Moroni
“In memory of our God,our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” – Captain Moroni
The book of Mormon speaks of 2 great individuals named Moroni. The first is Captain Moroni, who lived in the first century BC. During his time his people, the Nephites, were attacked both by another nation from without and by political dissent from within. His rallying standard, known as the Title of Liberty, is still an inspiration to millions today and a remembrance of things worth fighting for.
He was a master at strategy and tactics, but was never mentioned as being a Prophet.
This Moroni was not the inspiration for the statue. He was not the Angel that visited Joseph smith.
Captain Moroni Raises the Title of Liberty (Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty)