I have pondered the opening to the New Testament, with the announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ coming to Mary (Luke 1:26-38) and others through the testimony of angels. It is interesting that both the Old and New Testament begin with the witnessing of angels. In the beginning of the Book of Mormon Lehi has a vision where he is “overcome with the Spirit” and “saw …God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels” (1 Nephi 18). In this dispensation, we have the angel Moroni introducing the Prophet Joseph Smith to the Book of Mormon, as well as John the Baptist restoring the Aaronic Priesthood.
I had a conversation with a colleague about how the Lord uses angels as messengers. It is not by chance that the last author to work on the Book of Mormon was the angel the Lord sent to the prophet Joseph. The same goes for the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood- the person sent to give the authority to baptize was none other than the man who baptized Jesus Christ. The following quotes relating to angels teach that the voice of angels is one of the manifestations of the Holy Ghost:
“In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.” 1
“Perhaps more of us, including our students, could literally, or at least figuratively, behold the angels around us if we would but awaken from our stupor and hear the voice of the Spirit as those angels try to speak. …May I suggest to you that one of the things we need to teach our students… is the reality of angels, their work, and their ministry… I believe we need to speak of and believe in and bear testimony to the ministry of angels more than we sometimes do. They constitute one of God’s great methods of witnessing through the veil.” 2
“What does it mean that the Aaronic Priesthood holds ‘the key of the ministering of angels’ and of the ‘gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins’? The meaning is found in the ordinance of baptism and in the sacrament. Baptism is for the remission of sins, and the sacrament is a renewal of the covenants and blessings of baptism. Both should be preceded by repentance. When we keep the covenants made in these ordinances, we are promised that we will always have His Spirit to be with us. The ministering of angels is one of the manifestations of that Spirit. . . .
How does the Aaronic Priesthood hold the key to the ministering of angels? The answer is the same as for the Spirit of the Lord. In general, the blessings of spiritual companionship and communication are only available to those who are clean. As explained earlier, through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for “angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ” (2 Ne. 32:3). So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels.” 3
1. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p.435.
2. Elder Jeffery R. Holland, A Standard unto My People [address to religious educators at a symposium on the Book of Mormon, Brigham Young University, 9 Aug. 1994], 11–13.
3. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament, Ensign, November 1998, p.37.