Book of Mormon Lesson 47 (Moroni 1–6)
MORONI CONTINUES TO WRITE
Still Writing after Translating Ether
When he ended his abridgment of Jaredite history, Moroni supposed that he finished writing. But since he had not perished yet, he recorded additional truths he hoped would be of value.
Moroni was alone and hiding from the Lamanites (Moroni 1:1–4). If they captured him they would kill him unless he denied the Christ, which he would not do.
We do not know where Moroni was at this point. We know that he wandered for at least 21 years after his father’s death in 400 AD. We know that he ended up at the Hill Cumorah in New York, where he deposited the plates to wait for the restoration of the gospel (Mormon 8:14.) But we do not know what happened to him after he deposited the plates, nor where he wandered during those 21 years of wandering after his father’s death.
Sidney B. Sperry said, “Moroni wandered alone over this continent between the years AD 400 and AD 420. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that he traveled through our Utah valleys during those years and dedicated for a temple site the spot where the Manti Temple now stands.”1
Moroni dedicated the Manti Utah Temple site. Elder Orson F. Whitney wrote: “At a conference held in Ephraim, Sanpete County, June 25, 1875, nearly all the speakers expressed their feelings to have a temple built in Sanpete County, and gave their views as to what point and where to build it. . . . Early on the morning of April 25, 1877, President Brigham Young asked Brother Warren S. Snow to go with him to the Temple hill. Brother Snow says: ‘We two were alone; President Young took me to the spot where the Temple was to stand; we went to the southeast corner, and President Young said: ‘Here is the spot where the prophet Moroni stood and dedicated this piece of land for a Temple site and that is the reason why the location is made here, and we can’t move it from this spot; and if you and I are the only persons that come here at high noon today, we will dedicate this ground.’”2
Moroni dedicated the St. George Utah Temple site. “The site for the temple at St. George was swampy, but President Brigham Young insisted that it be built there because the spot had been dedicated by ancient Book of Mormon prophets.”3
Moroni also dedicated the Jackson County, Nauvoo, and Kirtland temple sites. “William McBride, patriarch from the Richfield Utah Stake, spoke at a prayer meeting in St. George in January 1881. After recalling many experiences from the Nauvoo period and quoting the Prophet Joseph Smith on many issues, Patriarch McBride referred to the Route the old Nephites took travelling to Cumorah from the south and south west; of having to bury their tr[e]asures as they journeyed and finally burying the Records and precious things in the Hill Cumorah; of Moroni dedicating the Temple site of what we now call St. George, Nauvoo, Jackson Co., Kirtland, and others we know not of as yet.”4
Moroni clearly crossed the continent, either before or after burying the plates in New York. Indian legends all across Northern America, too many to mention here, speak of the visit of a lone white prophet with a beard who wandered into their villages and taught them concerning Christ and his visit to their ancestors on this continent.5 The legends concerning this prophet, and concerning the white God who visited the Americas, are remarkable for their consistency across numerous cultures. It is at least possible that the prophet who taught them was Moroni as he wandered across North America between the Utah temple sites and Palmyra, New York.
Moroni Teaches about Essential Gospel Ordinances
Words that will be of value in some future day (Moroni 1:4).
The words Jesus spoke to His Nephite disciples while laying hands on them (Moroni 2:1, 3).
Bestowing the Gift of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 2:2–3). This ordinance is not optional, as some churches believe. Wherever the Apostles went, if they found any who had been baptized but not confirmed, they immediately laid their hands on them and bestowed the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Being born again comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances.”6 Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “Good conduct without the ordinances of the gospel will neither redeem nor exalt mankind; covenants and ordinances are essential.”7
Ordaining priests and teachers (Moroni 3:1–3).
The role of the Holy Ghost in ordinations (Moroni 3:4). The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “We believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost being enjoyed now, as much as it was in the Apostles’ days; we believe that it [the gift of the Holy Ghost] is necessary to make and to organize the priesthood, that no man can be called to fill any office in the ministry without it; we also believe in prophecy, in tongues, in visions, and in revelations, in gifts, and in healings; and that these things cannot be enjoyed without the gift of the Holy Ghost.”8
Proper administration of the sacrament (Moroni 4–5).
The wording and methods for these ordinances were given by Christ (Moroni 4:1–2).
The manner of administering the sacrament bread (Moroni 4:3).
The manner of administering the sacrament wine [water] (Moroni 5:2).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “In partaking of the sacrament, we can renew the effects of our baptism. . . . The renewal of our covenants by partaking of the sacrament should also be preceded by repentance, so we come to that sacred ordinance with a broken heart and a contrite spirit (2 Ne. 2:7; 3 Ne. 12:19; D&C 59:8). Then, as we renew our baptismal covenants and affirm that we will ‘always remember him’ (D&C 59:8), the Lord will renew the promised remission of our sins, under the conditions and at the time he chooses. . . . Out of the seemingly small act of consciously and reverently renewing our baptismal covenants comes a renewal of the blessings of baptism by water and by the Spirit, that we may always have his Spirit to be with us. In this way all of us will be guided, and in this way all of us can be cleansed.”9
Baptism and the Holy Ghost
Requirements for baptism among the Nephites. Compare these requirements to the ones given in our day (Moroni 6:1–3; D&C 20:37). “Fruit meet for repentance” implies requiring action that is adequate (meet) to demonstrate that the convert has complied with the law of repentance (v. 1).
Receiving the Holy Ghost (Moroni 6:4). “Wrought upon” means changed in some basic or essential way (v. 4). It refers to what occurs when the Spirit quickens and changes a convert to a new person.
MORONI TEACHES CONCERNING CHURCH PRACTICES
Fellowshipping New Converts
Fellowshipping new members (Moroni 6:4). They were numbered among the members and their names were taken. They were then nourished by the good word of God.
President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Any convert whose faith cold is a tragedy. Any member who falls into inactivity is a matter for serious concern. Christ left the ninety and nine to find the last sheep. His concern for the dropout was so serious that He made it the theme of one of His great lessons. We must constantly keep Church officers and the membership aware of the tremendous obligation to fellowship in a very real and warm and wonderful way those who come into the Church as converts, and to reach out with love to those who for one reason or another step into the shadows of inactivity.”10
“With the ever increasing number of converts, we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with `the good word of God.”11
Focusing on Christ and His Atonement
Christ is the author and finisher of our faith (Moroni 6:4). Whether we are new members or are well along in our journey toward exaltation, Moroni said we must all learn to “rely . . . alone upon the merits of Christ.”
The “Author” of Our Faith: McConkie and Millet said: “In some translations of the Bible this term author is translated as captain. Our Savior is indeed the captain of our salvation and the prime mover of our faith and the source of all righteousness. Another word for author is father. Jesus is truly the father or author of the salvation of all who come unto him and are ‘born again’ and thus become his children. (Compare Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 12:2)”
The “Finisher” of Our Faith: No one can return to the presence of God by virtue of his own works, but only when he relies on the merits of Christ and remains faithful to the Savior unto the end of his life. McConkie and Millet said: “Christ is the finisher of our faith in that, through our faith in him, he perfects our faith and perfects us. Through his grace we are saved or, in other words, spiritually finished as to immortality and eternal life. It is upon Christ and his infinite atonement that we should focus our hearts, minds, and strength. He is [the one whom]. . .the scriptures command us to consider as ‘the end of your salvation’ (D&C 46:7).”12
Conducting Church Meetings
The Church “did meet together oft” (Moroni 6:5–6). Anthon H. Lund declared, “Unless the Saints attend their meetings it will be hard for them to keep alive in the Gospel.”13
President Harold B. Lee said, “Your spiritual body needs nourishment at frequent intervals in order to assure its health and vigor. Earthly food does not satisfy this need. Food to satisfy your spiritual needs must come from spiritual sources. Principles of eternal truth, as contained in the gospel, and the proper exercise by engaging in spiritual activities are essential to the satisfying of your spiritual selves. Vital processes of the spirit are likewise maintained only by intelligent connection with spiritual fountains of truth. Spiritual sickness and death, which mean separation from the fountain of spiritual light, are sure to follow the severance of your connection with the spiritual nerve center, the Church of Jesus Christ.”14
Fasting, praying, and speaking. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Every sacrament meeting ought to be a spiritual feast. . .[and] a time of spiritual refreshment.”15
President Brigham Young said, “When people assemble to worship they should leave their worldly cares where they belong; then their minds are in a proper condition to worship the Lord, to call upon Him in the name of Jesus, and to get His Holy Spirit, that they may hear and understand things as they are in eternity, and know how to comprehend the providences of our God. This is the time for their minds to be open, to behold the invisible things of God, that He reveals by His Spirit.”16
To “partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.” President Spencer W. Kimball said, “We do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you.”17
Speaking to each other “concerning the welfare of [our members’] souls.” We come to Church not only to be served, but also to serve. We should come with a desire to share our gifts with others in order to lift and bless their lives. Complaining that Church is unnecessary reveals a kind of “me-first” thinking that ignores the need to serve others even as Christ selflessly served us.
Church meetings were conducted by inspiration of the Spirit (Moroni 6:9).
Church Discipline of Transgressors
Treatment of sinners in the Church (Moroni 6:7–8).
Church courts and the policies that govern them serve three general purposes:
— To protect the sacred name of the Church
— To clear the name of the innocent who are falsely accused
— To provide an opportunity for the guilty to repent.
Ronald E. Poelman said, “Church discipline . . . is not for the purpose of punishment only, but is intended to heal and renew.”18
1. Book of Mormon Compendium, 21.
2. Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball , 436.
3. Statement by David H. Cannon, Jr., Oct. 14, 1942, quoted in Kirk M. Curtis, History of the St. George Temple [Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1964], 24–25; In Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 5 vols.  1452.
4. Diary of Charles Lowell Walker,,2:525-526; in Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr., eds., Fourth Nephi through Moroni: From Zion to Destruction [BYU Religious Studies Center, 1995], 244.
5. See for example L. Taylor Hansen, He Walked the Americas [Amherst Press, 1963].
6. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith , 162.
7. In Conference Report, October 1984, 105.
8. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 243.
9. Ensign, November 1996, 61.
10. Church News, 8 April 1989, 6.
11. In Conference Report, April 1997, 66; or Ensign, May 1997, 47.
12. Reynolds & Sjodahl, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 4 vols., 4:330.
13. In Conference Report, October 1907, 9.
14. The Teachings of President Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams , 121.
15. Teachings of President Gordon B. Hinckley , 563–564.
16. Discourses of President Brigham Young, sel. Elder John A. Widtsoe , 167.
17. “The Sabbath—A Delight,” Ensign, Jan. 1978, 4–5.
18. Ensign, November 1993, 85.