Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Moroni 10

July 27, 2007 - Original Post

The Book of Mormon Challenge

Moroni begins his final chapter with a challenge. He asks us to “remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men” from the time of Adam to his day. He asks us to ponder in our hearts the mercy of the Lord and “these things” meaning the writings of Mormon and Moroni.

And when we “receive these things,” then we must ask our Heavenly Father “if these things are not true.” And if we ask in the name of Christ, having faith in Christ and with a sincere heart and real intent, then the Holy Ghost will manifest the truth of the Book of Mormon to us.

For me, I’ve always felt the Book of Mormon is true. It is ingrained within me and is a part of me. I can’t imagine what my life would be without it. I truly love the Book of Mormon. Notwithstanding these facts, I’ve felt the desire to pray about the Book of Mormon. I still feel a desire to pray about the Book of Mormon every time I finish reading it. Each time I do so, my testimony of it grows stronger. I think of all the lessons and spiritual experiences I’ve had while reading and pondering the Book of Mormon. And when I think of those things, my testimony grows.

While I was a missionary in the MTC, I finished reading the Book of Mormon and desired to have the Holy Ghost manifest to me the truth of the Book of Mormon before I embarked on a mission to Guatemala. Early in the morning, I got up and went out in the hallway to have some time to myself. I read Joseph Smith’s history that morning and then prayed about the Book of Mormon. After I finished praying, I simply knew it … I was just happy. Everything seemed to fall into place and I simply knew at that moment that the Book of Mormon is a true book and that Joseph was a true prophet and that the Church is the true church of Christ today. It was a happy moment in my spiritual life.

Spiritual Gifts

The Spirit of God to teach the word of wisdom (Moroni 10:9, 1 Cor. 12:8, D&C 46:17)

Elder Oaks describes this gift as the gift to wisely apply knowledge or the gift of judgment. (Dallin H. Oaks, “Spiritual Gifts,” Ensign, Sep 1986, 68)

Teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit (Moroni 10:10, 1 Cor. 12:8, D&C 46:18)
The D&C elaborates on this gift by adding, “that all may be taught to be wise and have knowledge.” I have seen many Sunday School teachers and seminary teachers and others exercise this gift. My parents have this gift. I have always sought this gift and feel that I have had it while teaching others on my mission as well as training missionaries in the MTC.

Exceedingly great faith (Moroni 10:11, 1 Cor. 12:9)

We have seen many of the Book of Mormon have this gift. The first example that comes to my mind is the old Lamanite king who Aaron taught. The old king believed Aaron’s words and exercised faith and was converted. (see Alma 22)

The gifts of healing (Moroni 10:11, 1 Cor. 12:9, D&C 46:19-20)

In the first area I served as a missionary (Pinares del Norte, Guatemala City), the sister who cooked our meals had this gift. Almost every morning while I ate her breakfast, some woman would bring her child over to this hermana to have the child be healed. I asked the hermana about this and she told me she has the gift of healing. She doesn’t know how it came to be, but that she just knows what ails a person and can heal them with remedies. I knew I was in good hands after I saw her heal these children.

Work mighty miracles (Moroni 10:12, 1 Cor. 12:10, D&C 46:21)

Miracles are all around us. What we need is to see them and recognize them. Just this evening, the kids and I read out of the Friend a story about a little boy who had pneumonia and meningitis and was hospitalized. The ward and even his little friends fasted for him. The doctors and his parents did not know if he would survive. But the faith of those fasting and praying for him miraculously healed him. (Susan Denney, “Jake’s Miracle,” Friend, Oct 2007, 16–17)

Gift of prophesy (Moroni 10:13, 1 Cor. 12:10, D&C 46:22)
Who can really dispute the gift of prophesy that President Hinckley possesses. He has forewarned and warned us of many things. He counseled us to get our homes in order. He taught us time and time again of the importance of the family and how the world attacks it. At least in my mind, I see his counsel and warnings as the gift of prophesy. He truly is able to lead us away from danger far before it is imminent.

Beholding of angels and ministering of spirits (Moroni 10:14, 1 Cor. 12:10)

Nephi and Alma and many others of the Book of Mormon had this gift. Joseph Smith seemed to have this gift too as he was taught by many different angels. I think that many who are close to the Spirit can have this gift when we do work for others in the temple. In counseling me to regularly attend the temple, my patriarchal blessing teaches me “that the veil between this life and the spirit world is thin.” I know I am not the only one who truly knows that truth.

Interpretation of tongues (Moroni 10:15-16, 1 Cor. 12:10, D&C 46:24-25)

How could the work of the Lord roll forward without this gift? Many missionaries and interpreters have received this gift and have used it as it was intended. The Book of Mormon and other Church publications are translated into dozens of languages. Just the General Conference page has almost 70 different language options.

Come Unto Christ

The clarion call of the Book of Mormon is that Christ lives and that we must come unto him. Moroni teaches us to come unto Christ “and be perfected in him.” (Moroni 10:32)

We must deny ourselves of ungodliness. We cannot expect to be God’s people if we do not strive to be like him. We must be different from the world. We must be the light and we are required to lead by example.

We must love God with all our might, mind and strength. In all that we do and in all that we think, we must exert the maximum effort in order for God’s grace to be sufficient.

If we do these things, then we are sanctified (Moroni 10:33) and our sins are remitted. Then we are holy and without spot.

As missionaries, we were often told that we had two years to work and the rest of our lives to think about it. The intent of that counsel was to help us to never tire of working … we were to squeeze every ounce out of our time. The same is true with lives. This life is too short and we have too much to accomplish in that short span. We must give God our all.

Moroni’s words are quite an inspiration and pep talk to go out and get to work.

Carry on, carry on, carry on (Hymn 255).

November 30, 2011 - Addition

I wanted to make Moroni 10:32 a little more meaningful and "down-to-earth"

"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him"
To me, this means 'seek Christ; learn of Christ and strive to be like him.'

"deny yourselves of all ungodliness"
To me, this means we need to examine our lives and find those actions, words and thoughts that are not in alignment with the gospel of Christ and then seek to de-emphasize them in our lives - to work toward ridding them from our life - to deny them existence in our actions, words and thoughts - to suffocate 'the bad'

"love God"
Mosiah 2:17 - to love God means to love our neighbor.  To love our neighbor means to serve them.

"with all your might, mind and strength"
To me, this implies we have to "lay it all on the line" - we have to "do our best" - we have to "care"  Some fear having their hearts hurt by being offended and instead of confronting that fear, they choose to dis-engage - they choose to not be hurt.  But if we don't "care/do our best/lay it all on the line" then we will miss out on valuable lessons; essentially we circumvent the growing process.  Doing your best is not just a Boy Scout motto - it is a critical ingredient to our eternal salvation.  Without it, we will not attain the grace of God.

Only after we seek Christ and deny ungodliness in our life and give it our all is his grace sufficient for us.


Emily said...

Hi Don,

This is Emily Wettstein, Shon's wife. We have never met but I want you to know that I enjoy reading your thoughts on the Book of Mormon. Thanks for taking the time to update this blog and to read the Book of Mormon. I also have such a strong testimony of this book. It has been a source of strength for me in my life. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts. I hope you don't mind.


Clinton Stimpson said...

I also have a few thoughts on Moroni 10:32 that make it more meaningful to me, if you don't mind my sharing. This scripture was shared in a class recently and there was a short discussion about how to be perfect, and a TODO list was made. But in that discussion, and important element was missing, and in my view, nothing on the TODO list acknowledged God's power or even his grace. However, both His grace and power are mentioned in verse 32.

Its that aspect of God's power that is missing from this blog, and I'd like to emphasize here:

"Yeah, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him" to me means to let Christ make me perfect.

Grace, is mentioned in Moroni 10:32, and is part of the process of making us perfect. The bible dictionary mentions that grace is an enabling power that gives us strength and assistance to do good works.

And the last part of the verse says, "if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."

To make it more meaningful to me, I ask myself, does my TODO list of being perfected in Christ include Christ? And after going through my TODO list, am I first going to acknowledge the power of God?

An oft cross referenced scripture is 2 Nephi 25:23, "... for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do."
I can think of 4 different ways to interpret that broad statement, some of which are out of context. One of those ways gives a certain view of the relationship between grace and "all you can do," and can be shown with this analogy. "we arrive by car, after all that driving." My question is, could one even drive without a car? Similarly, could one even perform works unto salvation without having his grace first.
Taking the context into consideration, I enjoy considering Nephi's examples a few verses before, of how the power of God and his mercies saved the Israelites from physical death in the wilderness.

2 Ne. 32:9 -- "ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, ... that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul."

My prayer is that we may all experience "real growth" and a testimony of His power.