A PRIESTHOOD HANDBOOK
After recording the story of the Jaredite civilization, Moroni was surprised to find himself still alive and decided there must be something else he could contribute to the record. Perhaps he considered that he was the last member of the Church before an apostasy, and that the Church would have to be restored from the ground up, so he added a brief Priesthood handbook, chapters 1-5.
It is very interesting to think that his society, so different than ours today, had the exact ordinances that we do, and with the exact wording. This was also revealed to Joseph Smith (a revelation possibly initiated by his reading Moroni's words), so we know we are supposed to do the ordinances in the same way. In our worldwide church, we have many, many different societies, many different cultures, and yet we all participate in the very same ordinances. Beyond that, our meetings, unlike those of many other denominations, are conducted under the direction of the Spirit. (Moroni 6:9)
If you have a well-traveled member in your ward, you may like to ask him or her to share some experiences of attending church in other wards and branches around the world.
REQUIREMENTS FOR BAPTISM
Moroni then listed five requirements for prospective members to meet if they desired to join the Church through baptism:
- "And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.
- "Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit,
- "And witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
- "And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ,
- "Having a determination to serve him to the end." (Moroni 6:1-3)
"And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken..."
Why was this important? To meet a quota? To make sure their tithing got collected? No. It was so the members could be aware of them in order to follow the Savior's injunction in the New Testament to "feed my lambs."
"...that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith." (Moroni 6:4)
This would be a great time to have class members share times when they or members of their family were "remembered and nourished by the good word of God" through members of their congregations.
"We can by simple obedience help the Lord to take the lambs, His lambs, into His hands and take them in His arms home to their Father and our Father. I know that God will pour out the powers of heaven upon us as we join in preserving that sacred harvest of souls." (Elder Eyring, ibid.)