Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book of Mormon Lesson #48 "Come Unto Christ"

Moroni 7-8; 10

IDEAS FOR STUDY OF CHAPTER SEVEN

And now I, Moroni, write a few of the words of my father Mormon, which he spake concerning faith, hope, and charity; for after this manner did he speak unto the people, as he taught them in the synagogue which they had built for the place of worship.” (Moroni 7:1)
This is Mormon's great discourse on faith, hope and charity, almost identical in parts to another chapter of scripture—Where? 1 Corinthians 13, written by Paul, and D&C 46 revealed to Joseph Smith. The writing is so similar, we can only conclude that they must have gotten it from the same Source.  Here is a thought regarding these triplet chapters on faith, hope, and charity: They both follow instructions on how church organizations are to run, how meetings are to be conducted, and/or how church members are to view each other. What can we learn from that?

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CHAPTER EIGHT

The text of chapter eight is a letter from Mormon lambasting a terrible wickedness among the people. “Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ.” (Moroni 8:21) What is this terrible wickedness? It's infant baptism! Why is this so awful? (Wait for class response.) 

The answer can be found in verse 20: “And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.” Because of their mortal fallen state, being pure and sinless is not enough to save infants, but it is enough to qualify them to be saved by Christ through the Atonement. Saying that children need baptism denies the power of Christ. Those who believe thus do not know Christ, and knowing Christ is essential to being saved in his kingdom. Therefore, they are consigned to hell and endless torment.

CHAPTER TEN: MORONI'S FAREWELL

Gratitude Increases Faith.
Chapter 10 contains some scriptures that are very familiar to us. This is Moroni's great farewell, his parting words, his exhortations to us. Probably most class members could finish this sentence: “I would exhort you...” (Probably class members will respond with “that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true...”) This is the exhortation that we are most familiar with; however, there are eight exhortations in this chapter, and the first one is not to pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. There is something else that we must do first, or it will not do any good to pray about the Book of Mormon. (Ask the class to glance over the page to find the first instance.)

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember 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, and ponder it in here hearts.” (Moroni 10:3)

Why must we remember and ponder first? Because we can have no faith that the Lord will answer our prayers unless an understanding of the character of the Lord is firmly established in our minds. We must know Him to have faith in Him. Moroni teaches us an important principle here about the importance of remembering and the power of thoughts. The more we notice and remember the mercy of the Lord in our thoughts, the greater our faith will become. Alma 32 teaches us that if we nourish the seed, or the word of God, it will grow. It is not that the word needs our nourishment to mature into a tree. It's that it cannot grow within us without our nourishing it and providing an ever-enlarging space for it in our garden. Thus, remembering and pondering—or we might call it gratitude—increases faith. (Write “Gratitude” on the left of the board and “Faith” in the center with an arrow going from Gratitude to Faith.)

Faith Brings Peace

Mormon had seen terrible atrocities in his day, just about t worst things that you can imagine: cannibalism, rape, murder, slaughter of children. And yet, Mormon's words tell us that it is possible to enter into “the rest of the Lord” on this earth, in this life! Read carefully:

Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peacable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.” (Moroni 7:3)
This correlates with the message the angels proclaimed at the birth of Christ: “Peace on earth, good will to men,” which is more aptly translated, “Peace to men of good will.” Amid terrible strife in the world, Mormon and Moroni knew peace because they knew the Lord. (Write “Peace” on the right side of the board with an arrow going from Faith to Peace.)
In chapter ten, Moroni gives us a lot of information about the Lord that he hopes we will use to build our faith. Each time he exhorts us to do something, he reveals a little more about the character of God. We discussed the first two already:
The Lord...
  1. (Verse 3) ...is merciful.
  2. (Verse 4) ...will reveal truth.
  3. (Verse 7) ...has power.
  4. (Verse 18) ...gives us everything that is good.
  5. (Verse 19) ...is predictable.
  6. (Verse 27) ...will hold us accountable.
So the concluding exhortation is...

(Verse 30) Come unto Christ! (The aim of our new Sunday School youth curriculum that starts in January.)
Ways to Increase Gratitude, and therefore Faith, and therefore Peace

When we remember experiences, write them, or tell them to others, the experiences increase in size in our consciousness and have an effect on us and our relationship with any other people involved in the experience. Often people will say, “When I was growing up, we always...” [Fill in the blank with “...gathered around the piano to sing carols”; “...went on a picnic up the canyon” ; or whatever cherished memory they choose.] In fact, they only did that thing a few times, but they have enlarged the memory of it by recalling it so often an so fondly. Unfortunately, sometimes people will use this principle to their disadvantage in nursing a grudge: “She always...” [Fill in the blank with whatever bad treatment she gave the person on occasion.] The offense grows greater with remembering.

Just like thinking, writing, and telling about incidents with other people influence our relationship with, thinking, writing and telling about “what great things the Lord hath done for us” influences our relationship with Him. It is wise to write the Lord's mercies in our journals, recount them to others, and remember them frequently in quiet moments. This is why Elder Eyring has counseled us to record such things in our journals, and why we have testimony meetings every month.  (See "O Remember, Remember", from October 2007 General Conference.)

A study of the scriptures can also enlarge our memories and increase our gratitude to the Lord. The title page of the Book of Mormon declares that the book was written to “show...what great things the Lord hath done for [our] fathers.” The conclusion to the first chapter of the Book of Mormon testifies, “Behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord or over all those whom he hath chosen...” (1 Nephi 1:20)

CONCLUSION

Let's read Moroni's very last words (you may also want to read verses 32-33): “And now I bid unto all, farewell, I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead, Amen.” (Moroni 10:34) (Then you can show the first 4 minutes and 45 seconds of the video “How Rare a Possession,” ending where Moroni deposits the plates in the ground and the screen goes dark.)

Now we've buried the plates—in January we'll dig them back up! Get ready to study Church History and the Doctrine and Covenants.


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