When Joseph went to the nearby hill where the records were buried, he thought “he could keep every commandment given him.”
After removing the golden plates, though, “the thought flashed across his mind that there might be something more in the box” that he could sell without breaking his promise.
Because of that thought, Moroni appeared and told him to wait another year before returning for the records.
1842 First Vision Account
“I cried unto the Lord in the agony of my soul why can I not obtain them.”
Every September, Joseph went to the hill and was taught by Moroni while his family “doubled [their] diligence in prayer” on his behalf. He worked to prepare himself and purify his motives—but would his efforts be enough?
Leading up to the fifth visit, the angel “told him if he would Do right . . . he might obtain [the plates] the 22nd Day of September Next and if not he never would have them” (Joseph Knight).