- Moroni 1-6: “To Keep Them in the Right Way” (November 30 – December 6)
Moroni thought he was done. He had appended his testimony to the end of his father’s book, as instructed (Mormon 8:1). He had subsequently added his own history of the Jaredite nation (Ether 1:1-2). Now, the book was complete, and his work was finished. “I had supposed not to have written more,” he tells us twice (Moroni 1:1, 4).
What changed? He survived. Under difficult circumstances, with his life constantly in danger, he lived longer than he expected. How long? Long enough to think of some additional content that needed to be added. Eventually, he returned to the record, adding the book that bears his name.
He must have agonized over what to include in this final set of chapters. He had seen our day. I can imagine him thinking, “What do my future readers need that isn’t already covered in the book?” Here are some of the topics that he chose to include:
- How the gift of the Holy Ghost is given (Moroni 2)
- How people receive priesthood authority (Moroni 3)
- How to administer the sacrament (Moroni 4 and Moroni 5)
- Qualifications for baptism (Moroni 6:1-3)
- How to organize the church, including meetings (Moroni 6:4-9)
Here are some lessons I have learned from the first six chapters of Moroni:
- There ought to be some things we value more than life itself: I, Moroni, Will Not Deny the Christ – Moroni 1:1-3.
- When we unexpectedly have more time than planned, we ought to use it wisely: I Had Supposed Not to Have Written Any More – Moroni 1:4.
- Callings and priesthood responsibilities bring order into the church, into our families, and into our individual lives: What Does It Mean to Be Ordained?
- Before fulfilling a priesthood responsibility, we need to prepare ourselves spiritually to receive God’s power: Ye Shall Call on the Father in My Name – Moroni 2:2.
- Church leaders teach the gospel, perform ordinances, bless us, and remind us of our duties: What Is a Priest?
- Mature members of the church with good judgment preside and watch over the church: What Is an Elder?
- It’s one thing to acquire faith; it’s another to sustain it over time: What Does It Mean to Endure to the End?
- When we receive a calling in the church, we are given multiple invitations to serve and multiple blessings to help us serve well: What Are “Gifts and Callings of God?”
- The sacrament prayers teach us about our relationship with each member of the Godhead: Moroni 4:3, 5:2 The Sacrament Prayers
- The sacrament prayers have three components: the Petition, the Purpose, and the Promises: What Can We Learn from the Sacrament Prayers?
- The words of the sacrament prayers are largely drawn from the teachings of the Savior as He introduced the sacrament: Where Did the Sacrament Prayers Come From?
- Partaking of the sacrament is symbolic of internalizing the character and attributes of the Savior: What Does It Mean to Eat and Drink the Bread and Water to Our Souls?
- We can learn from the sacrament prayers how to pray: Why Are Some Prayers Fixed (the Sacrament Prayers, for Example) in Contrast to Our Normal Prayers?
- Partaking of the sacrament in public helps us be transparent about our loyalty to the Savior: They Did Meet Together Oft to Partake – Moroni 6:5-6.
- Just as the priests, teachers, and deacons prepare to administer the sacrament each Sunday, we must prepare ourselves to receive the sacrament appropriately: All Those Who Partake of It – Moroni 4:3.
- The church helps us learn to love and serve others, enables us to give and receive guidance, and allows us to work together to accomplish collective goals: Why Is It Important for Us to Gather with Other Believers?
- Music can open our hearts to the Holy Ghost and can help us become more unified: What Is the Role of Music in the Gospel?
- Humility, repentance, and commitment enable us to be baptized and to receive an ongoing cleansing by the power of the Holy Ghost: Qualifications for Baptism – Moroni 6:1-3.
- Our struggle to understand and follow the will of God strengthens us and brings us closer to Him: The Workings of the Spirit – Moroni 6:9.
- As a community of saints, we strengthen and sustain one another: That They Might Be Remembered – Moroni 6:4-6.
When Moroni expressed his anxiety that his “weakness in writing” would cause some people to reject the Book of Mormon, the Savior responded with a reassuring promise: If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me;… Continue Reading →
On the first day of an economics class that I took as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University, the professor, James Kearl, conducted a dollar auction, which is a game designed by Yale economist Martin Shubik. In the game, the auctioneer offers a dollar for sale at a starting bid of 5¢. The catch is… Continue Reading →
Moroni tells us that the law of Moses was given by faith. It was a divinely inspired code of conduct given to help the children of Israel live to their full potential. (See Exodus 19:1-6.) But Moroni adds, “In the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way, and it is by… Continue Reading →
Near the end of the Book of Isaiah, the prophet describes a future time of happiness for the Lord’s covenant people. Speaking on behalf of God, Isaiah expresses surprise that people who had rebelled and rejected God so many times were now seeking after Him and willingly following Him: I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am… Continue Reading →
When Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, he made the best of a bad situation, but he couldn’t have known that his relocation to Egypt would eventually save the lives of his father and the rest of his family. But years later, after rising to a position of authority, when his brothers traveled… Continue Reading →
Moroni was painfully aware of his limitations. As he summarized the Jaredite record, he compared himself unfavorably to one of the authors of the Jaredite plates. Moroni worried that his imperfections would cause future readers to reject his writings, and he shared his anxiety with God in prayer: Behold, thou hast not made us mighty… Continue Reading →
The Jaredite king Emer presided over a period of prosperity, following a troubling time of political upheaval and distrust. Moroni tells us that “Emer did execute judgment in righteousness all his days” (Ether 9:21). What a relief it must have been for his people to know what to expect and to be able to have… Continue Reading →
While the Jaredites sat in enclosed barges for nearly a year, with all the food and animals they could carry, and with furious storms battering them, sometimes sinking them deep in the water, what did they do? How did they spend their time? Here is Moroni’s description: And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the… Continue Reading →
After arriving in the promised land, the first generation of Jaredites needed to make some foundational decisions about their new civilization. One of those was their form of government. The people wanted to choose a king. Their spiritual leader, the brother of Jared, opposed this idea. “Surely this thing leadeth into captivity,” he warned (Ether… Continue Reading →
A recurring theme in the Book of Ether is the arrival of unnamed prophets, warning the people of difficult days ahead and urging them to repent. These prophets were consistently rejected by the people but were sometimes protected by righteous kings. Here are some examples: During the reign of Shule, the fourth king, “there came… Continue Reading →
Thirty generations in fifteen chapters: in the Book of Ether, Moroni provides a sweeping history of the rise and fall of a civilization. At first glance, the book appears to be the story of the Jaredite people from the perspective of their kings. But upon closer consideration, it becomes clear that the narrative follows a… Continue Reading →
After living on the seashore for four years, the first generation of Jaredites prepared to cross the “great deep” (Ether 2:25). As they prepared to enter and launch eight enclosed barges, they must have felt extraordinary trepidation. God had said that they would be “as a whale in the midst of the sea.” He told… Continue Reading →
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai (for the second time), his face was shining brightly. He was unaware of this until he saw the reaction of his people: They were afraid and unwilling to come near him. Only when he placed a veil over his face to hide the light were they willing to… Continue Reading →
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sins: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. Deuteronomy 19:15 (See also Deuteronomy 17:6.) One of the features of this mortal life is… Continue Reading →
Humans hate uncertainty. We want to be able to accurately predict the future. We want to be able to explain things that seem mysterious. We don’t like being left in the dark. As the Jaredites prepared to embark on a journey of unknown duration across the ocean, the brother of Jared became concerned about two… Continue Reading →
After the first generation of Jaredites had traveled a great distance toward a land which God had promised would be “choice above all the lands of the earth” (Ether 1:42), they arrived at the ocean. Throughout their journey, they had prayed for instructions. Moroni tell us that they had been “directed continually by the hand… Continue Reading →
In March, 2019, I studied 20 different names or titles of Jesus Christ which appear in the Book of Mormon. I was particularly interested in the way each name was used, both in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.
In 2018, I wrote summaries of many of the sermons in the Book of Mormon. Each summary describes the setting, the purpose, an outline of the sermon’s content, and my takeaways from the sermon.
In 2019, I used the Book of Mormon to study 365 questions—one per day. Here is a list of those questions, grouped by category, with a link to the blog post for each question.