Elijah’s Promise: An Oriental View

Although I was raised in the Church, I observed many cultural ceremonies and festivals originating in Buddhism as I grew up in Japan. One of those was what the Japanese call ohaka mairi, a visit to our ancestors’ graveyard. It usually took place on a holiday in Japan, which used to be called Senzo o Uyamau Hi, Honor Your Ancestors Day.

I did not realize the significance of the Autumnal Equinox Day, which often is referred to as the Buddhist holiday Higan, until I became a more serious student of the scriptures. It was September 21, 1823, when the angel Moroni visited a boy Joseph Smith to tell him about the buried record of Christ on the American continent and also to announce the visit of Elijah, who will plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. This announcement has such close resemblance with the holiday in Japan that I could not excuse it as a mere coincidence.

[Note about this article: on Joseph Fielding Smith’s statement that the day Elijah appeared in the Kirtland Temple was the exact day of Passover that year, see also “The Appearance of Elijah and Moses in the Kirtland Temple and the Jewish Passover,” Stephen D. Ricks, BYU Studies, Volume 23, no. 4. On revelations that April 6 is the actual birthday of Jesus, see “Dating the Birth of Christ,” Jeffrey R. Chadwick, BYU Studies, Volume 49, no. 4.]

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