In March of 2019 Mauricio Berger of Brazil published the Sealed Book of Mormon. You can buy it on Amazon for about $5.00. I have a copy of the book and have read through it, although I haven’t studied it in detail. I have not met Mauricio, who is an excommunicated Mormon. Some people whom I know and whose work I respect have met him and have come out in support of the book, thus my interest.
The copyright for the book is held by United Literary Order of the Last Days, LLC, out of Independence Missouri. The forward to the book is written by Joseph Frederick Smith, a great-grandson of Joseph Smith Jr. The forward can be read on Amazon, along with the Preface, which was written by Mauricio, whose native language is Portuguese. You can get a PDF copy of the book from a simple Google search.
Because I am Watching
One of my favorite bloggers has long been Watcher (Because I am Watching), who has some unique perspectives on the restoration movement. His slant on things is from one who is very familiar with the ways of the reorganized LDS church. He seems to be well connected and sincere in advocating the Book of Mormon and the mission of Joseph Smith. His blog posts have almost always been interesting.
Of the dozens of bloggers whose writings I enjoy, I read Watcher’s posts each time they come out. I admit he has been my main source of news about Mauricio Berger and the Sealed Book of Mormon. I was especially intrigued when Watcher removed a recent post that contained some rather fascinating details about Mauricio in connection with John Pratt, a fairly visible figure in the remnant movement.
John Pratt Sacred Calendars
John P Pratt is a researcher in sacred calendars and chronology. He has published a number of rather fascinating articles in Meridian magazine and on his website. One of his most intriguing postulations to date has been his recent video with John Lefgren concluding the date of the First Vision was Sunday, 26 March 1820. The evidence is compelling, and I wholeheartedly agree with their conclusions.
John recently published Lehi’s Path to the Tree of Life (25 Nov 2019), which contains some excellent expository writing about the first part of Lehi’s dream in which he followed a man in white for many hours in darkness before he called upon the Lord for mercy. The implication is clear: following the man in white is analogous to the words so familiar to modern-day Mormons: “Follow the Prophet.”
Another Seer, a Dispensation Head
John was a keynote speaker on Saturday 16 November 2019 at the first world conference of “the second invitation” held down in Brazil. I haven’t seen a transcript of John’s presentation, but he has shared that he accepts Mauricio as a seer and was baptized by him on that day. As you can see, John appears to be very happy in this photo with Mauricio. He writes he was honored to meet him.
You can read all about John’s experience at the conference, his acceptance of the Sealed Book of Mormon as scripture and his impressions of Mauricio as a seer. In fact, at the conclusion of section 2.6 he declares him to be such, just before he launches into section 2.7 about Denver Snuffer also being the head of a dispensation. He sees no conflict in having two concurrent dispensation heads.
My Opinion of the Sealed Book of Mormon
Like Anonymous Bishop, I was not impressed with what I read in the Sealed Book of Mormon, as published by Mauricio Berger and the United Literary Order of the Last Days. Russell Anderson, whose work I also respect, feels otherwise. He has met with several of the witnesses to this new publication and facilitated a meeting between some of them and Denver. Never mind that several have now recanted their testimony and have distanced themselves from Mauricio.
I dismissed Mauricio’s claims last year after I made an extensive review of the writings from Price Publishing Company found on the Restoration Bookstore website. The images of the sword and the plates simply don’t appear legitimate. I concluded the claims and the artifacts are a hoax. I still feel the same way, in spite of the acceptance of such claims by two individuals I respect (John Pratt and Russell Anderson). Of course, it’s up to each of us to decide for ourselves what we believe and accept as truth.
Joseph Delivered the Plates to the Messenger
I like what Denver had to say on the subject, both in his two public posts (here and here) and in a recent communication with the scriptures committee: “The Book of Mormon gave Joseph directions on how to deal with the plates. He delivered them to the angel. Then the angel showed them to the Three Witnesses. Subsequently, Joseph had them in his possession and he showed them to the Eight Witnesses.
“The instruction in the Book of Mormon, which Joseph followed with diligence, required him then to ‘seal’ and ‘hide’ them. This is what he then did. Giving the same angel charge over them in their buried location known only to Joseph, and perhaps Emma. It was correct for him to say he ‘delivered them up to him and he has them in his charge’ thereafter. The explanation Joseph gave was intended to prevent a search for them, which would have been undertaken had he not attributed custody to the angel.”
We Must Each Choose What We Believe
I’m curious why Watcher removed his post after it went out to his subscribers. Does he plan to add more detail after conducting additional research? Was he contacted by John or someone else and asked to correct some details about which he only speculated? Yes, the post seemed to go a little far, even by Watcher’s standards, insinuating that Mauricio was about to take a polygamous wife. Why does that seem to be the test observers like to use in identifying false prophets?
Watcher makes a good point about John’s impression that Mauricio’s countenance shone when he spoke, similar to what witnesses said about Joseph when he spoke under the influence of the Holy Ghost. The folklore of Brigham appearing to be transfigured while speaking after the death of Joseph has been debunked. One assumes John knows this. I believe John is sincere, just as I believe Russell Anderson is convinced of the validity of the published account. I, on the other hand, remain a skeptic.