Question: Why didn't Joseph's siblings wake up during Moroni's visit?

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Question: Why didn't Joseph's siblings wake up during Moroni's visit?

God had the power to prevent Joseph's siblings from waking up during Moroni's visit

It is claimed that when Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith in his room on September 21, 1823, his siblings who were sleeping in the same room should have woken up. One critical website states,

"Now the big question is when Moroni came and spoke with Joseph in the night of September 21, 1823, why didn't this wake up Joseph's brothers who were sleeping in the very same room with him?"

Genesis tells us that God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam

Let's start with the basics. Genesis 2:21 tells us,

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

What if we were to state,

"Now the big question is that when the Lord God removed one of Adam's ribs, why didn't he wake up?"

Doctrine and Covenants suggests that one needs to have their spirits quickened in order to perceive angels

Doctrine and Covenants reads:

For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened the Spirit of God. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind. Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected. (D&C 67:11-13)

Since the verse ties conditions for seeing God (being quickened by the Spirit of God) with those for seeing angels. So perceiving an angel would not have been possible for the brothers and sisters of Joseph unless their physical and spiritual senses (D&C 88:15) were given the authorization and ability by the angel (or God) to see the angel.

It is perfectly reasonable to assume that God simply kept them asleep

For anyone who believes that for God nothing is impossible, the question is simple to answer. Why, then, must we insist that Joseph's brother's should have been awakened? Why is it unreasonable to assume that God simply kept them asleep? Recall that Joseph was useless the next day on the farm. He was exhausted and totally drained from the experience. The family was very very poor, and they could not afford to take a day off of work. Had the other boys woken up with Joseph every time, they too would have been useless, and the farm would have suffered as a result. The animals wouldn't be fed, the cows wouldn't be milked, the crops wouldn't have been tended too. That would have created some severe problems for an already poverty stricken family.

Van Wagoner and Walker argue that it is possible Joseph saw Moroni in vision through his seer stone. In response, Mark Ashurst-McGee noted:

"This argument falls short theoretically. For those who do not believe in Joseph's visions, there was nothing to wake anyone anyway. For those who do believe in Joseph's visions, the argument sounds theologically naive. Could not Moroni manifest himself to Joseph only? None of Paul's companions on the road to Damascus saw the resurrected Christ. A vision needs only to hold the attention of the visionary. Joseph's brothers can sleep in peace." [1]

The entire argument that Joseph's siblings should have awoken seems to strain to find fault, and it is clearly refuted by the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and artwork presented by the Church itself.


  1. Mark Ashurst-McGee, "A Pathway to Prophethood: Joseph Smith Junior as Rodsman, Village Seer, and Judeo-Christian Prophet," (Master's Thesis, University of Utah, Logan, Utah, 2000), 293.