This lesson focuses on Ether 12:23–41. Moroni taught why people have weaknesses and what they must to do overcome them.
Assign three students to review and summarize the following chapters using the chapter summaries: Ether 4–5; Ether 6; and Ether 7–11. Ask another student to review Ether 12:6. Ask them to share with the class one or two principles they learned.
Write the word strong on one side of the board and weak on the other. Give students a moment to ponder what they feel are their strengths and what they feel are a few of their weaknesses or inadequacies. Explain that in Ether 12, Moroni taught how our weakness can become strong.
Invite a student to read Ether 12:23–25 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the weakness Moroni felt he and other Book of Mormon writers had.
What weakness did Moroni mention in these verses?
What did Moroni worry would happen because of the weakness of those who wrote the Book of Mormon?
After students respond, have them read silently the Lord’s response to Moroni’s concern in Ether 12:26–27, looking for why God gives us weaknesses. After students have had time to read the verses, remind them that Ether 12:27 is a scripture mastery passage.
To help students better understand the word weakness in these verses, ask a student to read the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“When we read in the scriptures of man’s ‘weakness,’ this term includes the generic but necessary weakness inherent in the general human condition in which the flesh has such an incessant [or constant] impact upon the spirit. … Weakness likewise includes, however, our specific, individual weaknesses, which we are expected to overcome” (Neal A. Maxwell, Lord, Increase Our Faith , 84).
You may need to explain that the general human condition Elder Maxwell spoke of refers to the weakness that comes to men and women through the Fall of Adam. Because of the Fall, we are all prone to temptation and human imperfection in addition to our own personal shortcomings.
Invite students to identify a principle taught in Ether 12:27. (Students may use different wording, but they should identify the following principle: If we humble ourselves and exercise faith in the Lord, then He will make weak things become strong unto us.)
To encourage application of this principle, write the following on the board:
Invite students to write these phrases at the top of a piece of paper. Under the headings, ask the students to ponder and write, now or later, (1) a weakness they feel they have, (2) how they can humble themselves regarding that weakness, and (3) how they can exercise faith in Christ so they can receive His help, or grace, to overcome the weakness they have listed.
When they have finished, encourage students to place the paper in their personal journals or in some other place where they will see it often and be reminded of the effort they desire to make. Testify to the students that as they humbly strive to overcome their weaknesses, the Lord will help “make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
Invite students to read Ether 12:26, 28, looking for how the Lord further responded to Moroni’s concerns about his weakness in writing. You may want to ask the following questions:
In Ether 12:26, Moroni mentioned meekness, which is to be gentle, humble, and submissive to divine will. Why do you think it requires meekness to overlook the weaknesses of others?
How can the Lord’s grace (His help or divine enabling power) help us not take advantage of the weaknesses of others?
Emphasize that as we develop faith, hope, and charity, the Lord’s grace will help us when we are faced with the weaknesses of others. Summarize Ether 12:29–32 by explaining that Moroni reviewed the importance of exercising faith and the witnesses and miracles it brings. Ask students to read Ether 12:33–35 and identify what Moroni wrote about the importance of exercising charity.
Why is it important to have charity when we are confronted with the weaknesses of others?
Invite students to share with a fellow student what they are doing to seek to have the grace of Jesus Christ more fully in their lives. Time permitting, you may want to invite a few students to share with the class how seeking to be closer to Jesus Christ has influenced their lives.
As students prepare to study the next unit, encourage them to consider the following: What if all of your friends and family were killed and you were the only one left alive who was faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ? Both Ether and Moroni experienced this type of aloneness. How can you endure any trial and obtain eternal life? Moroni 7 explains how faith, hope, and charity are necessary to obtain these gifts.