"To Keep Them in the Right Way"
Lesson 47 - Moroni 1-6
Think of the last time you attended a sacrament meeting at a ward or branch other than your own. What elements of sacrament meeting are the same wherever you go in the Church? If you made a list, you would probably include praying, singing hymns, blessing and partaking of the sacrament, bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost on new converts, and concluding testimonies or discourses in the name of Jesus Christ. Consider why it is important that we be unified in these matters.
This lesson discusses Moroniís teachings about some of the ordinances of the gospel (bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordaining priests and teachers, administering the sacrament, and baptizing) that are part of the restored Church today. His teachings can help us see the continuation today of the same ordinances that existed in the Church that the Savior established anciently. They also help us fulfill our responsibility as Church members to strengthen one another and to "keep [one another] in the right way" (Moroni 6:4; see also 2 Nephi 25:28-29).
Having survived the destruction of the Nephites, Moroni continued his writings.
Moroni had believed that his abridgment of Etherís record would be his last writings. However, because he had not yet died, he continued writing.
Moroni 1:1-4 Moroniís circumstances were definitely not favorable while he was writing these words. He was alone and hiding from the Lamanites to preserve his life.
Moroni 1:2-3 The Lamanites would have killed him because they hated anyone who would not deny the Christ--and Moroni was not about to deny his Savior.
Consider what this shows us about Moroniís faith. How could you personally develop such a firm testimony of Jesus Christ that you would be sustained by it in such dire circumstances?
Moroni 1:4 Moroni continued to write because, even though the Lamanites of his day would have killed him, he continued to be concerned for their descendants.
Moroni taught about essential gospel ordinances.
The Book of Mormon teaches us about the importance of the ordinances of the gospel. However, until the book of Moroni, relatively little is recorded about how ordinances were performed. Moroni increases our understanding of how ordinances were performed in the ancient Church.
Moroni 2:1-3 describes the words the Savior spoke to His Nephite disciples as He laid His hands upon them.
Moroni 2:2. The Savior instructed the disciples to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost
Bestowing the Gift of the Holy Ghost
By the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus Christ.
Moroni 3 describes how the disciples ordained priests and teachers.
Ordaining Priests and Teachers
To preach repentance and remission of sins
D&C 20:46-59 While latter-day revelation gives more detail, we see that the responsibilities specified by Moroni are quite similar to the duties of priesthood holders today.
We help Aaronic Priesthood bearers understand and fulfill their assigned duties by assuring that they are familiar with the scriptures and that they are trained in the priesthood by adult leaders who know their duties and are led by the Spirit while they lead the young men.
Moroni 4 and Moroni 5 describe the manner of administering the sacrament.
Moroni 4:3; Moroni 5:2. These verses contain covenants we make through the sacrament:
Administering the Sacrament
To remember, follow, and obey the Savior.
We are promised that we will have the companionship of the Spirit in return for making and honoring our sacrament covenants. Think about how you feel when you have partaken of the sacrament reverently and worthily.
Chapters 2-5 are important for our day as they help us see the consistency of gospel ordinances through different periods of time.
It should strengthen us to see the same ordinances present in different dispensations of the Lordís Church because it is a testimony and evidence that the plan of salvation is consistent and the ordinances are allowing us to make the same covenants that have always bound us to our Heavenly parents.
Moroni explained the requirements for Church membership and the need for record keeping and fellowshipping.
Moroni 6:1-3 Moroni taught the requirements for baptism: True repentance, a broken heart and contrite spirit, a testimony of Jesus Christ and a determination to serve Him to the end.
Moroni 6:4 Moroni taught that after people were baptized and had received the gift of the Holy Ghost, "they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken".
Moroni 6:4 Their names were recorded "that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God to keep them in the right way...".
Of course, their priesthood leader has the responsibility to see that both long-time and new members are "remembered and nourished by the good word of God", but their brothers and sisters in the Church are also charged with that responsibility.
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: "Any convert whose faith grows cold is a tragedy. Any member who falls into inactivity is a matter for serious concern. The Lord left the ninety and nine to find the lost 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" (in Church News, 8 Apr. 1989, 6).
President Hinckley also said: "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 Ďthe good word of Godí (Moroni 6:4)" (Ensign, May 1997, 47).
Ponder what you can do to follow President Hinckleyís counsel and be sure to think about how you have been blessed by others who have remembered and nourished you.
Moroni 6:5-6. Moroni recorded that the Church "did meet together oft" to fast and pray, partake of the sacrament, and teach each other.
We are strengthened when we fast and pray together as we seek unity in our goals and our actions by seeking the guidance of the Spirit.
Church meetings give us an opportunity to speak to each other "concerning the welfare of [our] souls" as we speak in sacrament meetings or participate in or teach Sunday School, Primary, Young Men's/Women's, Priesthood, or Relief Society classes.
It is important that we meet together to partake of the sacrament so that we can renew our covenants and our commitment and help each other to honor those covenants.
Moroni 6:9 Moroni taught that Church meetings were to be conducted through the guidance of the Spirit.
To invite the Spirit into our meetings, we can each come with that "broken heart and contrite spirit" as well as a love for each other and a willingness to hear and obey.
Moroni taught of the importance of strengthening one another as members of the Church. Look for ways you can "remember and nourish" other members of the ward or branch and think of things you can do to help others feel welcome in our wards and branches.
Elder Carl B. Pratt told of the feelings his family experienced as they visited different wards in the Church. "Some wards our children loved to visit because they quickly found friends among the youth, and we all received a warm and hearty welcome. But there were other wards to which our children returned with less enthusiasm, and there was a noticeable absence of the warm and hearty welcome. ...We then began to observe that in some wards we visited ..., if we had been investigators or new members, we would not have felt very welcome... These experiences...made us conscious of the need we all have to improve what we call our fellowshipping skills. Brothers and sisters, we have the richest blessings that God can give to His children. We have the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We ought to be the most open, friendly, happy, kind, considerate, thoughtful, loving people in the whole world. Will nonmembers, new converts, and visitors to our chapels recognize us as His disciples by the warmth of our greeting, by the ease of our smiles, by the kindness and genuine concern that shine in our eyes?" (Ensign, Nov. 1997, 11-12).
Consider how you think visitors or new converts would feel in your ward or branch and then ponder ways in which you can improve the way visitors and new converts are treated.