Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book of Mormon Lesson #47 "To Keep Them in the Right Way"

Moroni 1-6

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:
  1. "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.
  2. "Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit,
  3. "And witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
  4. "And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ,
  5. "Having a determination to serve him to the end."  (Moroni 6:1-3)
 And then he gave the expectations for those who were already in the Church regarding the new members: 

"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)


"All of us have tried at some time to nourish another person’s faith. Most of us have felt the concern of others for our own faith, and with it we have felt their love. More than a few of us have had a child look up to us and say, 'Would you like to go to church with me?' or, 'Would you pray with me?' And we have had our disappointments. Someone we love may not have accepted our attempts to nourish his or her faith. We know from painful experience that God respects the choice of His children not to be nourished. Yet this is a time to feel renewed optimism and hope that our power to nourish will be increased.

"The Lord through His living prophet has told us that He will preserve the bounteous harvest of new converts entering the waters of baptism. And the Lord will do it through us. So we can have confidence that by doing simple things, things that even a child can do, we will be granted greater power to nourish tender faith...


"Those new members of the Church are His children. He has known them and they have known Him in the world before this one. His purpose and that of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is to have them return to Him and to give them eternal life if they will only choose it. He has led and sustained His missionaries by the Holy Spirit to find and teach and baptize them. He allowed His Son to pay the price of their sins. Our Father and the Savior see those converts as tender lambs, purchased with a price we cannot fathom.

"A mortal parent may appreciate, in some small way, the feelings of a loving Heavenly Father. When our children come to the age when they must leave our direct care, we feel anxiety for their safety and concern that those who are to help them will not fail them. We can feel at least some of the Father’s and the Savior’s love for the new members of the Church and the trust They place in us to nourish."  (Elder Henry B. Eyring, "Feeding His Lambs", February 2008 Ensign.)

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.)

(Pictures in this post are from lds.org and are legal to use for teaching purposes.)

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