Some of the chapters in the Book of Mormon are addressed directly to us, the modern readers of the book. Moroni wrote, “I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormon 8:35).
During the month of September, I studied these “sermons” to modern readers. Specifically, I studied the following chapters:
- The Title Page
- Nephi explains the purposes of his two sets of plates (1 Nephi 6, 9)
- Nephi’s psalm (2 Nephi 4)
- Jacob discusses the allegory of the olive tree (Jacob 4-6)
- Mormon explains the inclusion of the small plates of Nephi (Words of Mormon)
- Alma’s feelings about his missionary calling (Alma 29)
- Mormon laments the foolishness of man (Helaman 12)
- Mormon testifies of the truth of the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 5)
- Mormon speaks to the modern Gentiles (3 Nephi 29-30, Mormon 3, 5)
- Mormon’s final message (Mormon 7)
- Moroni’s first message (Mormon 8-9)
- Moroni teaches about how to receive greater knowledge (Ether 4)
- Moroni prophecies about the three witnesses (Ether 5)
- Moroni warns us about secret combinations (Ether 8)
- Moroni’s message about faith (Ether 12)
- Moroni introduces his book (Moroni 1)
- Moroni’s final message (Moroni 10)
Following are some of the lessons I have learned from these chapters this month:
- Jesus Christ’s Atonement not only saves us from physical and spiritual death. It also transforms us. In fact, He can help us mature into the kind of people who don’t want to commit sins any more.
- Repentance begins with honesty about our shortcomings and acknowledging when our desires are not aligned with God’s. We also need to remember that we are dependent on Him. We should avoid hubris when things are going well.
- God provides us with both a “sail” (direction) and an “anchor” (a foundation of true principles). He loves and reaches out to all of His children.
- Our ability to gain additional spiritual knowledge depends on how we treat the knowledge we have been given. We need to treat sacred things with respect. We also need to be loyal to our convictions. We can be grateful that there are other witnesses to the things we know to be true.
- We need to avoid judging rashly. We should strive to recognize goodness and avoid being distracted by trivial imperfections. Our attitude toward all good things is reflective of our attitude toward the Savior.
- We need to focus on our highest priorities and let go of lesser concerns. We should avoid being distracted from the task at hand, and prepare ourselves for our final judgment by asking ourselves what the Savior thinks of us.
- We need to not only believe that God exists but also that He can be active in our lives. When we encounter obstacles, we can continue to move forward, working hard, and believing that He will help us overcome them. We can be candid in acknowledging our challenges because of that belief. We can also remember that we don’t have to have all the answers to take reasonable action.
- Faith leads to hope and charity. All three are essential for us to be prepared for our final judgment. Gratitude also leads to charity. We should remember that our service to others can have far-reaching effects which we cannot see.