Lesson 141: Mormon 8

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

After writing about the destruction of his people and the death of his father, Moroni prophesied of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and warned of the consequences of rejecting it. Moroni saw that the Nephite record would come forth in a day of great wickedness, when many would love worldly possessions more than God.

Suggestions for Teaching

Mormon 8:1–25

Moroni prophesies of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon

Before class, prepare a display of objects or pictures representing technological advances. At the beginning of class, direct students’ attention to the display. Read aloud the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994):

President Ezra Taft Benson

“I would like to speak about one of the most significant gifts given to the world in modern times. The gift I am thinking of is more important than any of the inventions that have come out of the industrial and technological revolutions. This is a gift of greater value to mankind than even the many wonderful advances we have seen in modern medicine. It is of greater worth to mankind than the development of flight or space travel. I speak of the gift of …” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 4).

  • Would you like to have the gift that President Benson talked about? Why?

  • What do you think the gift might be?

Explain that Moroni taught about this gift. Ask students to read Mormon 8:12 to find out what the gift is. Help students understand that the phrase “this record” refers to the Book of Mormon. Explain that President Benson spoke of the gift of the Book of Mormon.

As students study Mormon 8 today, invite them to look for truths that help them better understand why the Book of Mormon is more valuable than advancements in any of the fields mentioned by President Benson.

Summarize Mormon 8:1–12 by explaining that Mormon was killed after the last battle between the Nephites and the Lamanites, and his son Moroni was left alone, without any family members or any of his people. It is likely that at least 15 years passed between the time when Mormon wrote his final words and the time when Moroni began to write on the plates. Moroni finished and preserved the Book of Mormon record in order to help people of a future day repent and come unto Christ.

Moroni hides the plates

Show a picture that includes a depiction of the golden plates (such as Moroni Hides the Plates in the Hill Cumorah [Gospel Art Book (2009), no. 86; see also lds.org/media-library]). Point out that when some people think of the golden plates, they might think of their monetary value. Explain that the golden plates were estimated as weighing between 40 and 60 pounds (18–27 kg). Invite students to guess what the golden plates might be worth in monetary value today.

To help students understand the eternal value of the Book of Mormon, invite a student to read Mormon 8:13–15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Moroni taught about the worth of the Book of Mormon.

  • According to Mormon 8:14, what aspect of the plates was really “of great worth”? (Help students see that because the Lord will not allow anyone to “get gain” from the golden plates, the plates themselves “are of no worth.” However, the record that was written on the plates “is of great worth.”)

Write the following truth on the board: The record of the Book of Mormon is of great worth.

  • In what ways is the Book of Mormon more valuable than technological or medical inventions?

  • If a friend asked you why the Book of Mormon is valuable to you, what would you say?

  • Moroni said that the Book of Mormon could only be brought forth by someone who had “an eye single to [God’s] glory” (Mormon 8:15). What do you think this means? (As students discuss this question, you may want to invite them to read Joseph Smith—History 1:46, which contains Moroni’s later instructions to Joseph Smith, before he brought forth the Book of Mormon.)

Invite a student to read Mormon 8:16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Moroni recorded about the way in which Joseph Smith would bring forth the Book of Mormon.

  • What truth does this verse teach about how Joseph Smith brought forth the Book of Mormon? (Students should identify a truth similar to the following: Joseph Smith brought forth the Book of Mormon by the power of God. Write this truth on the board, and invite students to consider writing it in their scriptures next to Mormon 8:16.)

  • How does this truth help explain the great worth of the Book of Mormon?

  • How might this truth affect how we regard the Prophet Joseph Smith?

To help prepare students to study and understand the content of Mormon 8:17–22, ask them to imagine coming across someone who is drowning. They throw the drowning person a life preserver, but rather than taking hold of it, the person rejects it and pushes it away.

  • What would you try to communicate to this person?

Explain that we read in Mormon 8:17–22 that Moroni warned those who would condemn or oppose the Book of Mormon and the Lord’s work of salvation. Invite students to read these verses and look for Moroni’s warnings.

  • What are Moroni’s warnings to those who reject or condemn the Book of Mormon and oppose the Lord’s work of salvation?

  • How are those who condemn the Book of Mormon and oppose the Lord’s work like a drowning person who refuses to take hold of a life preserver?

Summarize Mormon 8:23–25 by explaining that Moroni encouraged people of the latter days to read the words of Isaiah. He further explained that the prophets of the Book of Mormon had prayed for their brethren—meaning the Lamanites and their descendants—and for the person who would bring forth the Book of Mormon—meaning the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Mormon 8:26–41

Moroni sees the last days and condemns the spiritual wickedness of our time

Explain that Moroni described the conditions that would exist when the Book of Mormon would come forth. Ask students to imagine themselves in the place of Moroni, living more than 1,600 years ago and receiving a vision of our day.

Invite students to write a paragraph in their class notebooks or study journals, describing the spiritual conditions of our day. When students have had enough time to write, invite several of them to share what they have written.

Ask several students to take turns reading aloud from Mormon 8:26–32. As these verses are read, invite students to compare their paragraphs with Moroni’s prophetic description of our day.

  • What evidence have you seen of Moroni’s prophetic description of our day being fulfilled?

Invite a student to read Mormon 8:33 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Moroni invited the people of our day to do.

  • What did Moroni invite the people of our day to do?

  • According to this verse, why did Moroni invite the people of our day to “look … unto the revelations of God”? (Invite students to consider marking the phrase “the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.”)

Write the following truth on the board: The revelations of God will all be fulfilled.

Invite a student to read Mormon 8:34–35 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and try to visualize the great prophet Moroni speaking directly to them. Ask students to look as they follow along for why Moroni’s prophecies so accurately reflect our day. Invite students to report what they find.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), in which he spoke of Book of Mormon prophets:

President Ezra Taft Benosn

“If they saw our day, and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?’” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” 6).

  • How can knowing that Moroni and other prophets saw us and our day strengthen your faith in the Book of Mormon?

  • How can knowing that these prophets saw our day help us better understand the truth that the Book of Mormon is of great worth?

Summarize Mormon 8:36–41 by explaining that Moroni saw the wickedness of people in the latter days. They would be prideful and would care more about possessions and fine clothing than about the poor and the needy. Moroni rebuked these people and prophesied that the Lord would punish them.

Review the three bolded truths on the board. Then invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:

President Thomas S. Monson

“I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. I so testify with all my heart” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 87).

  • What did President Monson invite us to do with the Book of Mormon?

  • What blessings did he promise those who prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon every day?

Invite students to write in their class notebooks or study journals about how the Book of Mormon has blessed their lives. Consider asking a few students to share with the class what they wrote.

Encourage students to study and ponder the truths in the Book of Mormon each day.

Commentary and Background Information

Mormon 8:14–18. “Blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light”

Moroni prophesied of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who was chosen to bring the Book of Mormon to the world (see Mormon 8:15–16). Many other ancient prophets were also aware of Joseph Smith and prayed for his success in translating and publishing the golden plates, thus fulfilling the purposes of God (see Mormon 8:23–25; D&C 10:46). President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of the role of Joseph Smith in bringing forth the Book of Mormon:

President Boyd K. Packer

“The truth is, simply, that he was a prophet of God—nothing more and not one whit less!

“The scriptures did not come so much from Joseph Smith as they did through him. He was a conduit through which the revelations were given. …

“The Prophet Joseph Smith was an unschooled farm boy. To read some of his early letters in the original shows him to be somewhat unpolished in spelling and grammar and in expression.

“That the revelations came through him in any form of literary refinement is nothing short of a miracle” (Boyd K. Packer, “We Believe All That God Has Revealed,” Ensign, May 1974, 94).

Mormon 8:37–38. How does caring for the poor and the needy relate to eternal happiness?

Bishop H. David Burton, who served as Presiding Bishop, testified of the eternal consequences of caring for the poor and the needy:

Bishop H. David Burton

“The purpose, promises, and principles that reinforce our work of caring for the poor and needy extend far beyond the bounds of mortality. This sacred work is not only to benefit and bless those who suffer or are in need. As sons and daughters of God, we cannot inherit the full measure of eternal life without being fully invested in caring for each other while we are here on earth. It is in the benevolent practice of sacrifice and giving of ourselves to others that we learn the celestial principles of sacrifice and consecration [see D&C 104:15–18; see also D&C 105:2–3]” (H. David Burton, “The Sanctifying Work of Welfare,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 81–82).

Supplemental Teaching Idea

Mormon 8:33–41. God will hold us accountable for the way we treat the poor and those in need

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mormon 8:33–41. Ask the class to follow along, looking for attitudes and behaviors of people in our day whom Moroni saw in vision.

  • Why would some people in the last days not help those in need? (Answers may include pride, iniquity, loving money and fine clothing more than they love those in need, and desiring the praise of the world.)

  • In Mormon 8:38 we read that Moroni used the word pollutions. What are some influences in the world today that might be considered pollutions? (Answers may include pride, pornography, and the love of money.)

Ask students to write a sentence that summarizes what they have learned from Mormon 8:33–41 about our responsibility to care for the poor and those in need. Invite two or three students to read their sentences to the class. Though students’ words may vary, they should be able to identify the following truth: God will hold us accountable for the way we treat the poor and those in need.

  • What do you think are some of the most common needs in your school or community? What can the youth of the Church do to help care for people with these needs? (Help students understand that they are not expected to give their money and time to every worthy cause or to every person who asks for assistance. In their families and in the Church, youth receive many opportunities to help those in need. In addition, they can follow the guidance of the Spirit to give service on their own.)

  • What do you think youth in the Church can do to care for the poor? (If students do not mention fast offerings, you may want to emphasize paying fast offerings by reading the paragraphs under “Fast Sunday” in True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference [2004], pages 67–68.)

Ask students to think of a time when they noticed someone in need—temporally, emotionally, socially, or spiritually. Invite them to consider what they did to help that person—or, if they did not provide help, what they could have done. Invite them also to ponder why they chose to help or not to help.

After sufficient time, invite students to write in their class notebooks or study journals about one or two things they can do to care for the poor and those in need. They might write suggestions they have heard during class or their own ideas. Invite them to write a goal to do one of these things in the coming weeks. Encourage them to fulfill their goals.