Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 48- Come unto Christ

1. Mormon explains how to judge between good and evil.

Moroni 7:3 The peaceable followers of Christ

“In chapter 7 you notice that Mormon is sick to death of violence. He wants rest and peace. He’s just obsessed with it now. He said right at the beginning that since he was old enough to observe the ways of men, he had seen nothing but this restless violence (Mormon 2:18)…[Now he says] “I want to talk of peace for a change with some peaceable people.” He wants a peaceable world and he wants a rest. He’s sick and tired….Peace and rest are foremost in his mind here, and it comes out throughout this chapter.” (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Lecture 112, p. 277)

Moroni 7:5 By their works ye shall know them

‘We invite all to study the fruits and the works of this Church.

Those who are interested in the truth will be able to recognize the difference that the Church and its members make in the communities where they are established. They will also note the improvement in the lives of those who follow its teachings. Those who examine these fruits will discover that the fruits of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are delicious and desirable.’ (Marcos A Adukaitis, General Conference, April 2014)

Moroni 7:8-9 Giving a gift grudgingly

‘Mormon is setting a very high requirement for church members. Tithing paid with a grudging heart is counted as though we had never paid it at all. Attending church meetings without the right spirit is the same as staying away. Of course, there is value in practice, repetition, and working dutifully through low points in our lives. Certainly there is a point to praying even when our heart is not completely in the right place. Brigham Young said of such occasions: “If I do not feel like praying, and asking my Father in heaven to give me a morning blessing, and to preserve me and my family and the good upon the earth through the day, I should say, ‘Brigham, get down here, on your knees, bow your body down before the throne of Him who rules in the heavens, and stay there until you can feel to supplicate at that throne of grace erected for sinners.’”

But this is not the message Mormon is stressing. Rather, he emphasizes the need to achieve the state where we not only act the right way, but we are the right way. Mormon’s context is the Savior’s Sermon at the Temple, where the Messiah used several examples to show that one’s intent should be toward God and not for the accolades of men (3 Ne. 13:1–6, 16). Mormon’s sermon follows that theme. God does not receive prayer whose purpose is to communicate a message for other men. It might well achieve that purpose; but for the higher function of communicating with God, we need to have true intent.

Brigham Young’s instructions are not addressed to those who are praying to impress others, but rather to those who are neglecting prayers that they know they should offer. He is telling us that at times we must work to pray with full intent, even if it is not there when we begin our prayers.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

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Moroni 7:12-19 The light of Christ

“Regardless of whether this inner light, this knowledge of right and wrong, is called the Light of Christ, moral sense, or conscience, it can direct us to moderate our actions—unless, that is, we subdue it or silence it. …

“Every man, woman, and child of every nation, creed, or color—everyone, no matter where they live or what they believe or what they do—has within them the imperishable Light of Christ” (Boyd K Packer, “The Light of Christ,” Ensign, Apr. 2005, 8, 10).

2. Mormon explains the importance of faith, hope, and charity.

Moroni 7:20 Lay Hold on Every Good Thing

‘By mistakenly judging good for evil or vice versa, we run the risk of losing the ability to lay hold of every good thing. The process of laying hold of every good thing is given by Mormon.

1. Use the light of Christ to judge correctly between good and evil (verse 19)

2. Exercise faith (verse 21)

3. The administration of angels (verse 22)

4. Learn of Christ from the prophets (verse 23)

5. In Christ is every good thing (verse 24) [do all in his name Moses 5:7-8]

6. Live by every word that comes from the mouth of God (verse 25; D&C 84:44)’ (Robert J Norman, ldsmag.com)

Moroni 7:25 Men began to exercise faith in Christ

“It is interesting that though we exercise faith and so can increase it, we have faith but we never read of receiving it; we ask for and receive health, wisdom, protection, the necessities of life, and life itself, but we do not ask for faith; it is a principle that we seem to generate in ourselves, being dependent on some auxiliary source, for it is stimulated by hope. We can ‘lay hold’ of these things only if we are ‘meek and lowly’ (Matthew 11:29), for we cannot create power by an act of will; if that were possible Satan would be all-powerful.” (Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, p. 604)

Moroni 7:29-31 Ministering angels

“I am convinced that one of the profound themes of the Book of Mormon is the role and prevalence and central participation of angels in the gospel story. …

“One of the things that will become more important in our lives the longer we live is the reality of angels, their work and their ministry. I refer here not alone to the angel Moroni but also to those more personal ministering angels who are with us and around us, empowered to help us and who do exactly that (see 3 Ne. 7:18; Moro. 7:29–32, 37; D&C 107:20). …

“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, and no document in all this world teaches that principle so clearly and so powerfully as does the Book of Mormon” (Jeffrey R Holland, “For a Wise Purpose,” Ensign, Jan. 1996, 16–17).

Moroni 7:32-39 Faith in Jesus Christ

“To gain unshakable faith in Jesus Christ is to flood your life with brilliant light. You are no longer alone to struggle with challenges you know you cannot resolve or control yourself, for He said, ‘If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me’ (Moroni 7:33; italics added).

“If you are despondent, racked by transgression, are ill, alone, or desperately in need of comfort and support, I solemnly testify that the Lord will help you when you carefully obey the spiritual law upon which that help is predicated. He is your Father. You are His child. He loves you. He will never let you down. I know He will bless you” (Richard G Scott, in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 118; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 86).

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Moroni 7:41-43 Faith, hope and charity

‘Mormon is very clear that our hope is to be raised unto life eternal, because of our faith in Christ. He is also clear that one cannot have true faith and hope without being meek and lowly in heart, which leads to charity. (Moroni 7:41-43). Is it any wonder that most of the television programs and sitcoms teach pride, vulgarity, sexuality and all those things that mitigate against meekness and lowliness of heart? I see the young people try to emulate these things in their conversations with their friends and in the way they treat each other.

The fear is that we as Church members are absorbing too much of the world as Nephi warned us that many of us would do (2 Nephi 28:14). He says that the humble followers of Christ would in many instances be taught by the precepts of men. We are to become finely tuned spiritual instruments filled with charity. We must shun these worldly images in our actions, dress and grooming.’ (Robert J Norman, ldsmag.com)

Moroni 7:45 Charity suffereth long

‘Now, understanding charity or being charitable is not easy. And our scriptures have not indicated that it would be. Even “charity suffereth long” ( Moro. 7:45  1 Cor. 13:4) requires our thoughtful interpretation. The “suffering” that may come from loving is the result of our great caring. It comes because another matters to us so much.

To avoid that kind of suffering, we would have to avoid what gives us life and hope and joy—our capacity to love deeply. As an antidote against the suffering that will surely come as we have loved ones die, or see them struggle or be misled, or have them misunderstand us or even betray us, we can find relief in charity to others. We accepted bearing one another’s burdens and mourning with those who mourn, as we accepted Christ in our baptism. (See  Mosiah 18:8–9) His spirit and power will comfort us as we extend ourselves in help and love to those who need us.

If charity is not always quick to our understanding, it may occasionally be quick to our misunderstanding. It is not charity or kindness to endure any type of abuse or unrighteousness that may be inflicted on us by others. God’s commandment that as we love him, we must respect ourselves, suggests we must not accept disrespect from others. It is not charity to let another repeatedly deny our divine nature and agency. It is not charity to bow down in despair and helplessness. That kind of suffering should be ended, and that is very difficult to do alone. There are priesthood leaders and other loving servants who will give aid and strength when they know of the need. We must be willing to let others help us.’ (Aileen H Clyde, General Conference, October 1991)

Moroni 7:47 Charity is the pure love of Christ

 

“The phrase ‘love of Christ’ might have meaning in three dimensions: …First, love for Christ. This concept proclaims Jesus as the object of our love, and our lives should be an external expression of our gratitude for him…A second dimension of the meaning of charity is love from Christ. (Ether 12:33-34) The Savior’s act of redemption for our sins is of no effect without our willingness to comply with the conditions of his atonement…A third perception of charity is to possess a love that is like Christ. (2 Ne 33:7-9; Jn 13:34). Charity is not just…a word to describe actions or attitudes. Rather, it is an internal condition that must be developed and experienced in order to be understood…People who have charity have a love for the Savior, have received of his love, and love others as he does.” (C. Max Caldwell, Ensign, Nov. 1992, pp. 29-30)

3. Mormon teaches that little children are saved through Christ’s Atonement.

Moroni 8:1-8 The baptism of little children prohibited

Moroni 8 contains a letter Moroni received from his father, Mormon, that answers the question of whether little children need baptism. Note that the source for Mormon’s answers on this doctrinal question came to him directly by revelation from the Lord (see Moroni 8:7). The ordinance of baptism is “for the remission of sins” (D&C 49:13). But little children have no sins. In fact, they are not capable of committing sin, nor can Satan tempt them, as the Doctrine and Covenants explains:

“Little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

“Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me” (D&C 29:46–47).

The Lord has set the age when accountability begins—at eight years old (see JST, Genesis 17:11; D&C 68:25). Those who baptize infants to remove original sin, or the curse of Adam, as some call it, do so without a correct understanding of God and His plan (see Moroni 8:8).’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

Moroni 8:22-24 They that are without the law

‘Many persons live and die and never know the law of Christ. Such persons will be taught the gospel in the spirit world. There they will have the opportunity to exercise faith and repent of their sins. Living proxies on the earth perform the needed ordinances in their behalf, and the blessings of salvation may be theirs.

Those who are not capable of understanding the gospel are not considered accountable. They, like little children, are “alive in Christ” (Moroni 8:12; see also D&C 29:49–50).

President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) explained: “They are redeemed without baptism and will go to the celestial kingdom of God, there, we believe, to have their faculties or other deficiencies restored according to the Father’s mercy and justice” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 3:21).’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

4. The Holy Ghost testifies of all truth. Spiritual gifts follow those who come unto Christ.

Moroni 10:1 I write unto my brethren the Lamanites

“It is surprising that someone would write a letter to those who have destroyed his people—to his enemies who want to kill him too—and amazing that the letter is one of counsel rather than complaint or demand for vengeance. Moroni’s relation to his enemies is unusual, even for a prophet. We ought to wonder at his charity, but that charity is a model for what we should imitate in our own lives. It isn’t easy to do that. Anyone who has been humiliated or seriously hurt by another knows how difficult is forgiveness, the love that imitates Christ’s redeeming love. It may be that, except for Jesus Christ, we have no better model than Moroni. As we will see, Moroni takes that love to be the heart of the gospel.” (James E. Faulconer, “Sealings and Mercies: Moroni’s Final Exhortations in Moroni 10,” Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 22/1 (2013): 4–19.)

Moroni 10:2 I seal up these records

‘In “seal[ing] up these records,” Moroni is not referring to any physical process that will bind the plates together, but rather to a spiritual sealing—an anointing to their divinely ordained purpose. This is the context for Moroni’s title page: “Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed.” The sealing is so that “they might not be destroyed.” It is a protective sealing not a preventative sealing such as was placed on the vision of the brother of Jared.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

Moroni 10:3 Ponder it in your hearts

“The last five words of [Moroni 10:3] offer an important admonition—‘ponder it in your hearts.’ What is the antecedent of ‘it’—the thing that we are to ponder? It is ‘how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things.’ We are to remember how loving, how provident, how good, how forgiving our Heavenly Father has been toward us.

“What usually happens when we begin to ponder how merciful the Lord has been to mankind? To us personally? What happens when we count our blessings, or perhaps our sins for which we must ask his forgiveness, and recognize his hand in our individual lives? Is it not true that our hearts turn to the Lord in love and gratitude? Do our faith and humility increase? Yes, and that, in my judgment, is the impact of verse 3—following the counsel therein helps us to become more humble, more willing and ready to receive new information and knowledge with an open mind” (Gene R Cook, “Moroni’s Promise,” Ensign, Apr. 1994, 12).

Moroni 10:4 With a sincere heart

“Moroni makes an explicit promise of a spiritual manifestation to one who seeks to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. But, it must be noted, this promise is only extended to the person who will ‘ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ.’ The manifestation that is given in response to this promise, therefore, is not a sign given to convert an unbeliever. It is a sign that follows individual faith and commitment.” (Dallin H Oaks, The Lord’s Way, p. 98)

Moroni 10:8-18 Gifts of the Spirit

“[The purpose of spiritual gifts] is to enlighten, encourage, and edify the faithful so that they will inherit peace in this life and be guided toward eternal life in the world to come. Their presence is proof of the divinity of the Lord’s work; where they are not found, there the Church and kingdom of God is not. The promise is that they shall never be done away as long as the earth continues in its present state, except for unbelief (Moro. 10:19), but when the perfect day comes and the saints obtain exaltation, there will be no more need for them. As Paul expressed it, ‘When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.’ (1 Cor. 13.)

“Faithful persons are expected to seek the gifts of the Spirit with all their hearts. They are to ‘covet earnestly the best gifts’ (1 Cor. 12:31; D.&C. 46:8), to ‘desire spiritual gifts’ (1 Cor. 14:1), ‘to ask of God, who giveth liberally.’ (D.&C. 46:7; Matt. 7:7–8.) To some will be given one gift; to others, another; and ‘unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby.’ (D.&C. 46:29.)” (Bruce R McConkie, Mormon Doctrine)

Moroni 10:19 These gifts never will be done away

“[Moroni] informs us that it is the design of God that [these gifts] should continue among the children of men as long as the earth shall stand.  And why should not this be the case?  We have had reasoning upon this effect this afternoon, and this reasoning is consistent–that if one generation needs the spiritual gifts of God which are bestowed by the presence of the Spirit of God, another generation which needs salvation, and which stands in need of the assistance which these gifts bring, should likewise have them bestowed upon them”

“It is the greatest folly, it is a fallacy of the worst, and, I might say, of the most damning character to assert that one generation needs these gifts and that another generation can be saved without them.  Such a statement is the refuge of those who have no faith, or who do not believe that God is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever;’ that He does not deal with His children justly under all circumstances and in every generation alike.

“Now this is a cardinal principle in the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ.  I would not give a fig for a religion that did not possess these powers and gifts.” (Collected Discourses, Vol.1, George Q. Cannon, June 16, 1889)

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Moroni 10:30 Come unto Christ

“[Jesus Christ] is the pivotal figure of our theology and our faith. Every Latter-day Saint has the responsibility to know … with a certainty beyond doubt that Jesus is the resurrected, living Son of the living God” (Gordon B Hinckley, ‘Fear Not to Do Good,’ Ensign, May 1983, 80).

 

 

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