Lesson 47: To Keep Them in the Right Way

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 206–9


Purpose

To increase class members’ understanding of gospel ordinances and of the need to strengthen one another.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      Moroni 1. Having survived the destruction of the Nephites, Moroni continues his writings. He must remain in hiding because he “will not deny the Christ.”

    2. b.

      Moroni 2–5. Moroni teaches about essential gospel ordinances.

    3. c.

      Moroni 6. Moroni explains the requirements for Church membership and the need for record keeping and fellowshipping.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: “Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1997, 49–50; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 68–73); “Care for New Converts” (Carl B. Pratt, Ensign, Nov. 1997, 11–12; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 11–13).

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Ask class members to think of the last time they attended a sacrament meeting at a ward or branch other than their own.

  • What elements of sacrament meeting are the same wherever you go in the Church? (Answers may 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.) Why do you think it is important that we be unified in these matters?

Explain that this lesson discusses Moroni’s 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).

Scripture Discussion and Application

Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. Having survived the destruction of the Nephites, Moroni continues his writings.

Read and discuss Moroni 1. Explain that Moroni had believed that his abridgment of Ether’s record would be his last writings. However, because he had not yet died, he continued writing.

  • Ask a class member to read Moroni 1:1–4 aloud. What were Moroni’s circumstances when he wrote this chapter? (See Moroni 1:1. He was alone and hiding from the Lamanites.) Why would the Lamanites have killed him? (See Moroni 1:2–3.) What does this show us about Moroni’s faith? How can we develop such a firm testimony of Jesus Christ?

  • Why did Moroni continue to write? (See Moroni 1:4. Point out that although the Lamanites of his day would have killed him, Moroni continued to be concerned for their descendants.)

2. Moroni teaches about essential gospel ordinances.

Read and discuss selected verses from Moroni 2–5. Explain that 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. Discuss how Moroni increases our understanding of how ordinances were performed in the ancient Church.

Invite a class member to read aloud Moroni 2, which describes the words the Savior spoke to His Nephite disciples as He laid His hands upon them. Write the heading Bestowing the Gift of the Holy Ghost on the chalkboard.

  • How did the Savior instruct the disciples to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost? (See Moroni 2:2. Under the heading on the chalkboard, write By the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus Christ.)

Invite a class member to read aloud Moroni 3, which describes how the disciples ordained priests and teachers. Write the heading Ordaining Priests and Teachers on the chalkboard.

  • What were priests and teachers ordained to do? (See Moroni 3:3. Under the second heading, write To preach repentance and remission of sins.) How are these responsibilities similar to the duties of priesthood holders today? (See D&C 20:46–59.) How can we help Aaronic Priesthood bearers understand and fulfill their assigned duties?

Invite two class members to read aloud Moroni 4 and 5, which describe the manner of administering the sacrament. Write the heading Administering the Sacrament on the chalkboard.

  • What covenants do we make through the sacrament? (See Moroni 4:3; 5:2. Under the third heading, write To remember, follow, and obey the Savior.) What are we promised in return? How do you feel when you have partaken of the sacrament reverently and worthily?

  • Why are chapters 2–5 important for our day? (Answers may include that they help us see the consistency of gospel ordinances through different periods of time.) How does it strengthen you to see the same ordinances present in different dispensations of the Lord’s Church?

3. Moroni explains the requirements for Church membership and the need for record keeping and fellowshipping.

Read and discuss Moroni 6.

  • What did Moroni teach about the requirements for baptism? (See Moroni 6:1–3.)

    Ask class members to think of examples of people who have continued to fulfill these requirements after being baptized. Invite them to share these examples as appropriate.

  • 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). Why were their names recorded? (See Moroni 6:4.) Who has the responsibility to see that both long-time and new members are “remembered and nourished by the good word of God”? (Emphasize that each of us has this opportunity and responsibility. Then share the quotations below.)

    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 ‘the good word of God’ (Moroni 6:4)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 66; or Ensign, May 1997, 47).

  • What can we do to follow President Hinckley’s counsel? How have you been blessed by others who have remembered and nourished you?

  • Moroni recorded that the Church “did meet together oft” (Moroni 6:5). Why? (See Moroni 6:5–6.) How are we strengthened when we fast and pray together? How do Church meetings give us an opportunity to speak to each other “concerning the welfare of [our] souls”? Why is it important that we meet together to partake of the sacrament?

  • What did Moroni teach about how Church meetings were conducted? (See Moroni 6:9.) What can each of us do to invite the Spirit into our meetings?

Conclusion

Explain that Moroni taught of the importance of strengthening one another as members of the Church. Encourage class members to look for ways they can “remember and nourish” other members of the ward or branch.

As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Idea

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use this idea as part of the lesson.

Helping 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. Share the following excerpt with class members:

“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?” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 12; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 11–12).

  • How do you think visitors or new converts would feel in our ward or branch? (Ask class members to ponder this question rather than answer it aloud.) How can we improve the way we treat visitors and new converts?