Joseph Smith first claimed it was Nephi who visited him in his “First Vision,” NOT Moroni, as is now stated in the latter publishing of the Book of Mormon.
Here is a quote from Joseph Smith himself, found in the Church-published newspaper: Times and Seasons, April 15, 1842 “When I first looked upon him I was afraid, but the fear soon left me. He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi. That God has work for me to do,… He said there was a book deposited written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang.”
Times and Seasons, April 15, 1842, vol. 3, pg. 753 Joseph Smith Papers .org
Joseph lived for two years after the name Nephi was printed in Times and Seasons, and being the editor he never published a retraction. Two months later in 1842, the Millennial Star printed in England, also published Joseph Smith’s story stating that the angel’s name was Nephi. The newspaper quotes, “Again, we read the history of our beloved brother, Joseph Smith, and the glorious ministry and message of the angel Nephi, which has finally opened a new dispensation to man.”
Again, he never published a retraction or made any alterations to his own writings.
There has even been some confusion when it comes to LDS canonized Scriptures.
In modern printings of the History of the Church, Nephi has been changed to read Moroni. But other than a couple of references where the name Moroni appeared in 1835 and 1838, the angel firmly became Nephi in Joseph Smith’s writings.
Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt changed it from Nephi to Moroni in the 1878 edition of the Pearl of Great Price. It appears, as with the several First Vision accounts, the story of the angel’s visits evolved over many years.
Apparently, Nephi was the name he had settled upon and intended to be used for his angel.
Let’s not forget that Joseph Smith said the angel’s name was Nephi, not Moroni. In the end, a statue of the angel Moroni now appears, covered in gold leaf atop LDS temples. While the angel Nephi is consigned to the pages of the Book of Mormon.
Millennial Star, 1842, vol. 3, pg. 71
Pearl of Great Price, 1851 edition, pg. 41