Moroni exhorted the Lamanites and all others who would read his testimony to ask God to confirm the truth of his words. He taught that God would manifest the truth of the Book of Mormon and the reality of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost. Moroni also declared that he would meet us before the judgment bar of God, where the Lord Himself would confirm the truth of Moroni’s words. (Note: You may want to leave time at the end of the lesson for students to share their testimonies of the Book of Mormon. To ensure that there is sufficient time, prayerfully select the portions of this lesson that will be most beneficial to your students.)
Suggestions for Teaching
Before class begins, draw on the board a picture of an arch with a keystone (you may want to refer to the illustration used in lesson 4). Begin the lesson by referring to the picture.
What is the purpose of the keystone in an arch?
How does a keystone relate to the Book of Mormon? (If students need help answering this question, you may want to suggest that they read the statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the sixth paragraph of the introduction to the Book of Mormon.)
Invite students to silently read the last paragraph of the introduction to the Book of Mormon. Before they read, ask them to look for three truths a person can come to know by obtaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon.
Just as an arch is held together by a keystone, what other parts of our testimonies are strengthened by gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon?
Why is it important for each individual to gain his or her own testimony of the Book of Mormon?
Summarize Moroni 10:1–2 by explaining that about 1,400 years before the Prophet Joseph Smith received the gold plates, Moroni concluded his father’s record by writing his final exhortation to those who would receive the Book of Mormon in the latter days. (It may be helpful to explain that the word exhort means to strongly encourage or urge someone. This word appears eight times in Moroni 10.)
Explain that Moroni exhorted all who receive the Book of Mormon to seek a testimony of its truth and divinity. Invite students to read Moroni 10:3–4 silently, looking for phrases that describe the requirements for obtaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon through the Holy Ghost. You might want to suggest that they mark these phrases as they discover them. As students report the phrases they have identified, write the phrases on the board. Their responses should include the following:
“Read these things”
“Remember how merciful the Lord hath been”
“Ponder it in your hearts”
“Ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ”
To help students better understand what someone must do to receive a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, use the following teaching ideas to discuss each of the requirements Moroni taught.
1. “Read these things”
Moroni invited us to “read these things,” or read the Book of Mormon. Invite a student to read aloud the following story told by Elder Tad R. Callister of the Quorum of the Seventy about how one young woman benefited from having read the Book of Mormon:
“A 14-year-old girl … said that she had been discussing religion with one of her friends at school. Her friend said to her, ‘What religion do you belong to?’
“She replied, ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons.’
“Her friend replied, ‘I know that church, and I know it’s not true.’
“‘How do you know?’ came the reply.
“‘Because,’ said her friend, ‘I have researched it.’
“‘Have you read the Book of Mormon?’
“‘No,’ came the answer. ‘I haven’t.’
“Then this sweet young girl responded, ‘Then you haven’t researched my church, because I have read every page of the Book of Mormon and I know it’s true’” (“The Book of Mormon—a Book from God,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 76).
Why is reading the Book of Mormon key to obtaining a testimony of its truthfulness?
How has reading the Book of Mormon this year strengthened your testimony of it and the truths it teaches?
2. “Remember how merciful the Lord hath been”
Moroni taught that those who read the Book of Mormon and desire to know of its truthfulness should “remember how merciful the Lord hath been” (Moroni 10:3). Explain that recognizing and remembering instances of the Lord’s mercy can soften our hearts and prepare us to feel the influence of the Holy Ghost. One meaning of the word merciful is compassionate. Invite students to ponder for a moment when they have experienced the Lord’s mercy or compassion toward them or recognized it in the life of someone they know.
Invite students to share examples of the Lord’s mercy in the Book of Mormon that have been meaningful to them.
How do you think remembering the Lord’s mercy can help someone be receptive to the Holy Ghost and receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon?
What evidence of the Lord’s mercy have you witnessed in your life?
What feelings do you have as you remember the mercy of the Lord in your life?
3. “Ponder [the Lord’s mercy] in your hearts”
Moroni taught that we must ponder the Lord’s mercy in our hearts. Explain that pondering ways the Lord has been merciful to others and ourselves prepares us to receive the influence of the Holy Ghost. To help students understand how this is so, invite a student to read the following explanation by Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Dictionaries say that ponder means to weigh mentally, think deeply about, deliberate, meditate. …
“By pondering, we give the Spirit an opportunity to impress and direct. Pondering is a powerful link between the heart and the mind. As we read the scriptures, our hearts and minds are touched. If we use the gift to ponder, we can take these eternal truths and realize how we can incorporate them into our daily actions. …
“Pondering is a progressive mental pursuit. It is a great gift to those who have learned to use it. We find understanding, insight, and practical application if we will use the gift of pondering” (“There Are Many Gifts,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 20).
As you have studied the Book of Mormon, when has pondering helped you feel the influence of the Holy Ghost?
What can we do to more consistently ponder as we study the scriptures?
4. “Ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in [Jesus] Christ”
Moroni taught that if we want to receive a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, we must ask God “with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in [Jesus] Christ.” Explain that to pray sincerely and with real intent means that we “intend to act on the answer [we] receive from God” (Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service , 111). Consider sharing the following story, in which a man prayed with real intent to obtain a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon:
“Occasionally I prayed to know what was right, but it was more of a passing thought than a sincere question. Then one night I decided to pray with ‘real intent.’
“I told Heavenly Father that I wanted to know Him and to be part of His true Church. I promised: ‘If Thou will let me know whether Joseph Smith is a real prophet and whether the Book of Mormon is true, I’ll do whatever Thou would have me do. If The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true Church, I’ll follow it and never give up.’
“I had no spectacular manifestation, but I felt at peace and went to bed. Several hours later I awoke with a distinct thought: ‘Joseph Smith is a true prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true.’ The thought was accompanied by indescribable peace. I fell asleep again, only to awake later with the exact same thought and feeling.
“Since that time, I have never doubted that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. I know that this is the Savior’s work and that Heavenly Father will answer our sincere petitions” (Rodolfo Armando Pérez Bonilla, “How I Know,” Ensign, Oct. 2011, 64).
Invite students to search Moroni 10:4 and identify what God will do for those who follow the process Moroni outlined.
What did Moroni promise to those who seek a testimony of the Book of Mormon in the way he prescribed?
In what ways might the Holy Ghost testify to us of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon? (Be sure students understand that most revelation does not come in a spectacular fashion. While some individuals may have overwhelming spiritual experiences, most will experience something quiet and subtle, such as a warm, peaceful feeling or an assurance. You might also want to explain that as we study the scriptures, the Spirit may testify of the truth of what we are reading. Then, when we specifically ask to know the truth of the Book of Mormon, the Spirit will confirm the witnesses we have already received.)
Invite a student to read Moroni 10:5–7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and identify what else Moroni promised that we can know through the Holy Ghost. Point out that Moroni 10:4–5 is a scripture mastery passage. You might want to encourage students to mark this passage in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily.
What can we learn from Moroni 10:3–7? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following principle: If we ask God in faith and with real intent, we can receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost.)
Invite students to write in notebooks or scripture study journals a goal concerning what they will do to obtain or strengthen their testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Encourage them to apply the principle taught by Moroni 10:4.
Invite a student to read Moroni 10:27–29 aloud. Ask the class to think about how they might answer the question found in Moroni 10:27. Testify that those who have received the Book of Mormon will be accountable to God for how they respond to it.
Allow sufficient time at the end of this lesson to invite students to share their testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Consider bearing your own testimony of the Book of Mormon. Assure students that as they continue to study the Book of Mormon throughout their lives, their faith in Jesus Christ and His gospel will grow.
Scripture Mastery—Moroni 10:4–5
Students who memorize Moroni 10:4–5 will be better prepared to share the message of the Book of Mormon with others. Write the passage on the board, and ask students to read it aloud as a class. Erase six words, and then have the class read it again, filling in the missing words as they read. Continue this process until most or all of the passage is erased.
Commentary and Background Information
Moroni 10:3. “Ponder it in your hearts”
Referring to Moroni 10:3, Elder Gene R. Cook explained:
“The last five words of the verse offer an important admonition—‘ponder it in your hearts.’ What is the antecedent of ‘it’—the thing that we are to ponder? It is ‘how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things.’ We are to remember how loving, how provident, how good, how forgiving our Heavenly Father has been toward us” (“Moroni’s Promise,” Ensign, Apr. 1994, 12).
This admonition near the end of the Book of Mormon to remember and ponder the Lord’s mercy is a fitting bookend to Nephi’s declaration that “I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen” (1 Nephi 1:20).
In addition to pondering the merciful nature of the Lord, those who read the Book of Mormon should ponder the eternal truths they discover within its pages (see the introduction to the Book of Mormon).
Moroni 10:4. The Holy Ghost will manifest the truth of the Book of Mormon to those who ask God with “real intent”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles commented on Moroni’s exhortation that we ask God with “real intent” regarding the truth of the Book of Mormon:
“Moroni did not promise a manifestation of the Holy Ghost to those who seek to know the truth of the Book of Mormon for hypothetical or academic reasons, even if they ‘ask with a sincere heart.’ The promise of Moroni is for those who are committed in their hearts to act upon the manifestation if it is received. Prayers based on any other reason have no promise because they are not made ‘with real intent’” (Pure in Heart , 19–20).
Moroni 10:27–29. Our salvation depends on how we receive the Book of Mormon
President Ezra Taft Benson emphasized the importance of the Book of Mormon when he extended the following exhortation to all members of the Church:
“Brethren and sisters, I implore you with all my heart that you consider with great solemnity the importance of the Book of Mormon to you personally and to the Church collectively.
“Over ten years ago I made the following statement regarding the Book of Mormon. …
“‘Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life. There is a difference between a convert who is built on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon and stays hold of that iron rod, and one who is not’ (Ensign, May 1975, p. 65).
“I reaffirm those words to you this day. Let us not remain under condemnation, with its scourge and judgment, by treating lightly this great and marvelous gift the Lord has given to us. [See D&C 84:54–58.] Rather, let us win the promises associated with treasuring it up in our hearts” (“The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7).
Supplemental Teaching Ideas
Moroni 10:3. “Remember how merciful the Lord hath been”
Invite students to read 1 Nephi 1:20, looking for what Nephi said he would show us in his writings. You might want to suggest that students write 1 Nephi 1:20 in the margin next to Moroni 10:3. These verses act as “bookends” that remind readers of the Lord’s mercies that are manifest throughout the Book of Mormon.
Moroni 10:3–5. Record and share your testimony of the Book of Mormon
Invite students to write their testimonies of the Book of Mormon, and encourage them to share their testimonies with friends and family members. (Point out that students may be able to use this activity to fulfill Personal Progress or Duty to God requirements.)
Moroni 10:3–5. Therefore, what?
Share the following account from Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
“A few years ago I showed one of my senior brethren a talk I had prepared for future delivery. He returned it with a stimulating two-word comment: ‘Therefore, what?’ The talk was incomplete because it omitted a vital element: what a listener should do” (“Following the Pioneers,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 72). Ask the class:
What will you do because you know the Book of Mormon is true?
Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If the Book of Mormon is true, I will …
Invite students to copy the statement in notebooks or scripture study journals. Then invite them to evaluate their own level of intent in seeking for a testimony of the Book of Mormon by completing the statement. Be sure to give students sufficient time to ponder their responses.