Question: What is The Sealed Book of Mormon, translated by Mauricio Berger?

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Question: What is The Sealed Book of Mormon, translated by Mauricio Berger?

Introduction to Question

This book, published in 2019, is claimed to be a translation of the sealed portion of the gold plates that were given to Joseph Smith Jr.

Mauricio A. Berger is from Brazil and was a member of the Catholic Church, then the Jehovah's Witnesses, then The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His membership in the Church has now been withdrawn.

Berger claims that in 2007 he was taken to meet the Angel Moroni, who gave him the gold plates, the interpreters, and the sword of Laban. He has published images of the plates and the sword of Laban.

Claims are occasionally made that some individual has received the sealed portion of the gold plates and has translated that portion. Mauricio Berger is one such individual. In 2019, he published his translation of part of the sealed portion of the plates he claims to have been given. The book is published by the United Literary Order of the Last Days and is called The Sealed Book of Mormon, Translated from the Plates of Mormon by the Gift and Power of God.

According to The Sealed Book of Mormon, the sealed portion of the gold plates contained:

  • The Sealed Book of Moses, purporting to be a vision of Moses recorded by himself concerning the happenings of the earth during each dispensation
  • The Acts of the Three Nephites, purporting to be an account written by Jonah, who is supposedly one of the sons of Nephi the disciple
  • The Prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite, purporting to be a summary of Samuel's prophecies
  • The Revelations of John, purportedly written by the three Nephites and describing their vision that was similar to John's vision as now included in the New Testament
  • The Book of Morian-Cumer, purporting to be a summary by Moroni of the writings of the brother of Jared

How can one view this situation as a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Response to Question

Two of Berger’s witnesses have already recanted their testimonies.

Berger had 11 witnesses to testify of the truthfulness of his work. At least two of the book's first witnesses, Bob Moore and Roberta Chinnery, have recanted their testimony.

Berger’s book does not align with the Book of Mormon

According to the Book of Mormon, the sealed portion of the gold plates "contains the complete record of the vision of the brother of Jared ( see Ether 4:4–5; [ 5:1 ]). This vision included 'all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof' (2 Nephi 27:10–11; see also Ether 3:25). So basically the Lord revealed to the brother of Jared the history of mankind, and the sealed portion of the plates was Moroni's translated copy of it."[1]

Nowhere in the Book of Mormon is there any indication that the sealed portion of the gold plates contains anything other than the record of the brother of Jared. Thus, Berger's book contains numerous material that, according to the Book of Mormon, should not be present in the translation of the sealed portion.

The sealed portion will likely not be revealed until a much more specific time.

First, the Lord declared that the words of the sealed portion would not be revealed "until the day that they [the Gentiles] shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord. And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me...that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw" (Ether 4:6–7). It may be for this reason that Bruce R. McConkie explained that the sealed portion of the gold plates will be translated during the Millennium.[2]

God would not reveal the sealed portion of the scriptures to members of the Church who are not the prophet

Any new scripture from God for the Latter-day Saints would be given to the President of the Church:

  • Joseph Smith: "The Presidents or [First] Presidency are over the Church; and revelations of the mind and will of God to the Church, are to come through the Presidency."[3]
  • James E. Faust: "Who is to declare the doctrine of the Church? It is well established by revelation and practice that the current President of the Church and his counselors have the keys to declare the doctrine of the Church."[4]
  • Harold B. Lee: "When there is to be anything different from that which the Lord has told us already, he will give it to his prophet not to some Tom, Dick, or Harry that is thumbing his way across the country; and not through someone, as another story relates, who swooned and came up and gave a revelation. I have said, 'Do you suppose that when the Lord has his prophet on the earth, that he is going to take some round-about means of revealing things to his children? That is what he has a prophet for, and when he has something to give to this Church, he will give it to the President, and the President will see that the presidents of stakes and missions get it, along with the General Authorities; and they in turn will see that the people are advised of any new change."[5]

Their words are substantiated by scripture. The Lord declares in Doctrine and Covenants 28 that the President of the Church is the only one authorized to receive revelations on behalf of the whole Church (Doctrine and Covenants 28:2). By following the President of the Church and his counselors and accepting new scripture only from them, the Latter-day Saints are protected from false doctrine and will receive the true words of Jesus Christ (Doctrine and Covenants 1:14, 38; 112:20).

Conclusion

Our hearts go out to Berger and those that have been deceived by these claims. It is easy to be deceived by these types of things; but this article should serve as a reminder to remain on spiritual guard. It will also be useful in identifying those scriptural principles that we can follow to protect ourselves against deception.

Notes

  1. "What is the 'sealed portion' of the Book of Mormon, and will we ever know what’s in it?" New Era 40 (October 2011): 31.
  2. Bruce R. McConkie, "The Bible, a Sealed Book," Supplement, A Symposium on the New Testament, 1984; in Teaching Seminary: Preservice Readings [2004]).
  3. "Chapter 16: Revelation and the Living Prophet," in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith
  4. James E. Faust, "The Abundant Life," Ensign 15 (November 1985).
  5. Harold B. Lee, "The Place of the Living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator," address to CES religious educators, July 8, 1964: 11; in "2.2 The Prophet Is the Lord's Spokesman," in Teachings of the Living Prophets Student Manual [2016]).