By Rod Johnson

Rodric believes Moroni included special instruction for Modern times and wants to share his unique perspective the same way Moroni shared in The Book of Mormon.

Moroni Saw Me: Life & Thoughts of a Saint - Heros

In writing my memoir, I decided to include here sentiments I was unable to express in the book. One such sentiment is my feeling towards the Morrell family. I start with my seminary teacher. LDS Christian youth attend seminary for one hour of religious training each day. It was a small sacrifice as it enlarged my desire to live the gospel. I do not know how I had time for seminary, school and football. I did it though.

I adored Pat Morrell. She was my seminary teacher when I joined the church. She, along with a host of other members fellowshipped me into my ward. I did not start attending seminary until my sophomore year of high school. I lived right down the street from where Sister Morrell conducted the lessons. She did so from the office where she worked.

Every morning for my first year of seminary, Sister Morrell would call my home at 5:30 am for me to rise for seminary. It seemed that way anyway. We stopped answering the phone and my mom would yell, “Rodric, get up and go to seminary!”
We knew from whom the phone call came. We knew there was no avoiding it and I loved her for it. Sister Morrell was a busy woman with a penetrating spirit, yet no nonsense personality. She helped the scriptures come alive to me as a youth and I hung on every word she taught in seminary. God put spiritual giants like my seminary teach in place to lift and inspire the hearts of young people. Sister Morrell lifted my heart!       

Discover the Moroni Saw Me Project

Moroni Saw Me! by Rodric Johnson - Moroni Saw Me is about a young boy who goes through life's trials dealing with grief and pain as it comes and coming out on top. It is a true story. It is a story that does not end with the final chapter either.

I enjoy the level of involvement the LDS culture exacts of its members—all of our own volition of course. The Morrell family was to me a good example of a Southern Mormon family. They taught me that my misconception about the White Southern family needed updating—at least to the twentieth century.
From them I learned about Family Home Evening from them, which is a program of the church where families set aside one night a week, usually a Monday, for family gospel instruction and fun above all other things. They do not know this, but because of their family, my family has family home evening 95% of the time—most weeks!

            I recall sitting in their kitchen listening to them talk about different subjects and then playing games in their living room. I did not understand how White people could just invite me in and treat me so well when we were not supposed to be associating according to my third grade teacher (read about in the book). The adversary, Devil, used that one event in my life in third grade to help color all of my experiences in the church and without the church with White people. I loved my Mormon White people so much that I almost considered them normal people, almost. It still took time to bury the incorrect teaching I received at age eight. I clung to the Morrell family. It borderlined obsession.

My second idol was Patrick Morrell following my first idol, or I should say role model Dexter. I was there when he served a mission. He came back with some of the most severe stories about his mission! He effectively mortified me of missionary service. I do not believe he did so on purpose, but I hung on every word of his. I think I may have become the annoying little brother. His services as a missionary definitely put him on my mental hero status board.

I recall one story he told me about a companion he had with mental issues. I will not retell the entire story here, but I remember Patrick saying that he knew that the Lord wanted him to be the one to deal with that companion and all of his issues. I recall Patrick saying that he had several companions with issues. The only reason one of his companions went on mission was to fulfill his rite of passage. His companion did not want to be there. In fact, this one companion of Patrick’s could not go home! The family told the mission president that if that elder went home early he would have no home; they would disown him! Harsh, I know! It made no sense to me then and it makes no sense now that I have a son who is old enough to prepare for missionary service. I cannot imagine disowning my son forever just because he did not serve a two-year mission. I don’t want to imagine it either.

Patrick could not believe what he had experienced on mission! He told the stories because they were incredible to him and to us, me and his family. He knew I wanted to go on a mission so he told me that I should be prepared when I went to Utah. He said the people can be racist and there is hazing in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. He told me the stories and I became more anxious. I did not know I had to go through such things just to preach the gospel! Patrick’s mission sounded horrible! In fact, I remember nothing good that he told me about the mission save the Lord confirmed to him that his chief reason to serve a mission was to minister to his companions. I could see the spiritual changes in him, however. When he returned from his service, he was more like his Mom, a spiritual giant. Now, for that change to come upon me I was willing to risk going to the MTC!
           
Sister Morrell’s daughter Tracy married my next hero, Buck Golden. I remember going to their house after they were married just to play with their little kids. Buck was a strong example of assurance for me. Buck told me that every daughter of God deserves a husband who treats her with respect. That is what he modeled for me.
           
 I do not recall why I went to Tracy and Buck’s house, other than they lived down the street from us for a while. I just know that his presence made me feel safe as a youth.

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Shakespeare Has Nothing on Lehi!

Reading in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, I came across a passage of scripture, which many people claim proves that The Book of Mormon is a farce because Joseph Smith Junior must have plagiarized Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Lehi in despair over the souls of his children because at least two, Laman and Lemuel, did not express a sentiment to follow the commandments of God, feared for the salvation of their souls because he was shown in vision what things would befall his descendants. Due to the eventual wickedness of all of his sons' offspring, they would dwindle or languish in unbelief. According to Lehi, it all occurred because of the willful attitudes of  Laman and Lemuel. He besought them to believe in God.

"Awake," implored Lehi in the energy of his soul at the plight of his sons and their future offspring! "And arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return." This portion of the verse is where Joseph Smith is purported to have quoted Hamlet therefore proving the entire record of the Nephites a fraud and fiction! Poppycock! (2 Nephi 1:14) 

This is what Shakespeare wrote as the character Hamlet giving an interpretive exposition on the meaning of life:

"Who would fardels bear," Hamlet questions speaking of the culmination of events or bundle of events called life, "To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovered country from whose bourn No traveler returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of?" (Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1, page 4)

The modern text makes this more familiar to us as it reads, "Who would choose to grunt and sweat through an exhausting life, unless they were afraid of something dreadful after death, the undiscovered country from which no visitor returns, which we wonder about without getting any answers from and which makes us stick to the evils we know rather than rush off to seek the ones we don’t?"(Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1, page 4)

This part, "The undiscovered country from whose bourn No traveler returns.." is supposed to birth the words of Lehi which are, "...lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return...."

Three word are similar, the words "no," "traveler," and "return." How does that prove Joseph Smith plagiarized Hamlet? Lehi  was to lay down in a grave from which no traveler can return as an end-of-life event. Hamlet expressed that when people die they will not return.

Just because they expressed similar sentiments does not mean that Joseph Smith must have invented the Book of Mormon making it, therefore, false! That is ludicrous.

Also, the words of Lehi are more melodious and beautiful than those expressed by Shakespeare in the fake character of Hamlet. There is no comparison between the Book of Mormon and Hamlet. Shakespeare wishes he could have written as well as what Joseph Smith translated.

I suppose I am not impartial in this comparison. I enjoy Shakespeare's writings and the many works that are based on them. The Book of Mormon actually changed my life and continues to do so daily. I am sure Shakespeare would have appreciated the life-altering effect the words of the prophets from that book of scripture has on millions.

AND, even if Joseph Smith did use a sentiment from Hamlet during translation it was three words. How is that quoting Hamlet? He basically said, when you die you don't come back! No one comes back. At the time Lehi expressed that sentiment for the majority of mankind it was true! There were exceptions that were raised from the dead, but it was uncommon. Just like if you fall from an airplane in our day with no parachute you die. There have been exceptions, but the rule for such an occurrence is death!

I digress. Hamlet is not quoted in The Book of Mormon.