Sunday, December 9, 2012
I have launched another blog of teaching aids for the new youth "Come Unto Me" curriculum. While I won't treat every discussion topic since I'm still doing this blog, I will have at least a couple of ideas for each month. Follow the link on the upper right of this blog to get there.
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.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
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)
"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.)