Lesson 156: Moroni 7:20–48

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2012


Introduction

Moroni recorded the conclusion of the sermon that his father, Mormon, had delivered in a synagogue years earlier. In the sermon, Mormon taught his listeners how to “lay hold upon every good thing” (Moroni 7:20, 25). He explained the relationship between faith, hope, and charity, and concluded with a plea to his people to pray to the Father with all the energy of heart for the gift of charity, “the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47).

Suggestions for Teaching

Moroni 7:20–39

Mormon teaches that through faith in Jesus Christ, we can lay hold on every good thing

Before class, write the following question on the board:

What are some good things that Heavenly Father has blessed you with?

At the beginning of class, give students one or two minutes to answer this question in notebooks or scripture study journals. Then invite them to read some of the things they have listed.

Read Moroni 7:24 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the source of all the good things that have come to them.

  • Who is the source of all the good things that have come to you? (Students’ responses may vary, but they should express the following truth: All good things come because of Jesus Christ.)

To help students further understand the doctrine taught in Moroni 7:24, explain that as descendants of Adam and Eve, we are “fallen” and unable to receive any blessings on our own (see also Alma 22:14; Ether 3:2; Articles of Faith 1:3). Without Jesus Christ and His Atonement, “there could no good thing come unto [us].” Everything good that we have ever received from our Heavenly Father has come through the Savior and His Atonement.

Explain that Heavenly Father has many blessings in store for us. He wants us to “lay hold upon every good thing” (Moroni 7:19), and He wants to give us all that He has (see D&C 84:38).

Invite a student to read aloud Mormon’s question in Moroni 7:20. Then invite students to read Moroni 7:21–24 silently, looking for what these verses teach about how we can lay hold on every good thing.

  • Based on what you have read Moroni 7:21–24, how would you answer Mormon’s question in Moroni 7:20? (As students respond, help them identify the following principle: As we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, we can lay hold on every good thing.)

To help students understand how they can “lay hold upon every good thing,” ask a few of them to take turns reading aloud from Moroni 7:25–26, 32–38. Invite half of the class to identify ways we should show our faith in Jesus Christ. Invite the other half to look for good things that come to us as a result. (When a student reads verse 33, you may want to explain that the phrase “expedient in me” refers to things that are in harmony with the Lord’s will.)

After students report what they have found, consider asking them to write down a goal that will help them exercise greater faith in Jesus Christ and lay hold on all the good things that Heavenly Father desires to give them. Share your testimony that great blessings come through the Savior, His gospel, and His Atonement. Encourage students to exercise greater faith in Him.

Moroni 7:40–43

Mormon teaches that faith in Jesus Christ leads us to have hope for eternal life

Draw a picture of a three-legged stool on the board (or display a three-legged stool).

Read the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Three divine principles form a foundation upon which we can build the structure of our lives. … Together they give us a base of support like the legs of a three-legged stool” (“The Joy of Hope Fulfilled,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 33).

Label one of the legs of the stool with the phrase Faith in Jesus Christ. Ask students to think about what the other two legs might represent. Then invite students to read Moroni 7:40 silently to find out what the second leg represents. (The second leg represents hope.)

Read aloud the following expressions of hope. Invite students to listen for differences between these two expressions.

  1. 1.

    I hope it rains today.

  2. 2.

    I have hope in the promise of the Lord that I can feel peace through repentance.

  • In what ways are these expressions different? (Help students see that in the first example, the word hope refers to an uncertain wish. In the second example, the word hope is an expression of confidence. It is a motivation for action, and it is centered in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.)

To help students understand the word hope as it is used in the scriptures, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency:

“Hope is a gift of the Spirit. …

“Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance” (“The Infinite Power of Hope,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 21–22).

Invite a student to read Moroni 7:41 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Mormon taught we should hope for. As students report what they find, label the second leg of the stool with the phrase Hope for Eternal Life.

Point out that Moroni 7:41 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to suggest that students mark this verse in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily.

  • According to Moroni 7:41, how can we have hope to be raised to eternal life? (Although students may use different words, they should identify the following principle: If we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, we can obtain hope through His Atonement to be raised to eternal life.)

Invite students to read Moroni 7:42–43 on their own, looking for characteristics we need in order to have faith and hope. Ask them to report what they have found. (You may want to explain that to be meek and lowly of heart means to be humble, gentle, and submissive to the Lord’s will.)

  • Why do you think meekness and lowliness of heart are necessary in order to have faith and hope in the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Invite students to respond to the following question in notebooks or scripture study journals:

  • How does your faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement give you hope that you will receive eternal life?

Moroni 7:44–48

Mormon teaches the importance of charity

Refer back to the three-legged stool. Invite students to read Moroni 7:44 silently and identify a label for the third leg of the stool. As students report what they find, label the third leg with the word Charity. Ask them to define charity in their own words.

Invite a student to read Moroni 7:45–47 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Mormon described and defined charity.

  • How does Mormon define charity in Moroni 7:47? (“The pure love of Christ.”)

  • What do you think it means that charity will never fail?

  • Why do you think we are nothing if we do not have charity?

Invite students to choose descriptions of charity in Moroni 7:45 and explain what they think those descriptions mean. Clarify their explanations as needed. (For example, “suffereth long” means that someone endures trials patiently. “Envieth not” means that a person is not jealous of others. “Not puffed up” means that someone is humble. “Seeketh not her own” describes the quality of putting God and others before self. “Not easily provoked” means not angered easily. “Believeth all things” describes someone who accepts all truth.)

Ask students how they might respond in each of the following situations if they lack charity. Then ask how they might respond if they are filled with charity. (You may want to adapt these situations according to the needs and interests of the students you teach.)

  1. 1.

    People make fun of you or someone else at school.

  2. 2.

    You have a brother or sister who frequently annoys you.

  3. 3.

    Someone you know has committed a serious sin.

  4. 4.

    You do not like a new quorum or class adviser as much as you liked a previous adviser.

Invite a student to read Moroni 7:48 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and identify what we need to do to be blessed with the gift of charity. As students offer answers, make sure the following principle is clear: If we pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart and live as true followers of Jesus Christ, we can be filled with charity.

Point out that Moroni 7:45, 47–48 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to suggest that students mark these verses in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate them easily.

  • Why do you think we need to pray for the gift of charity with all the energy of heart?

  • When have you witnessed examples of charity? (Invite a few students to share experiences. You may also want to share an experience of your own.)

  • When have you felt that the Lord has helped you to feel more charitable toward others?

Ask students to review Moroni 7:45 and choose one element of charity in which they need to improve. Encourage them to pray for the gift of charity as they strive to improve in this area. Testify of the influence that faith, hope, and charity have had in your life.

Scripture Mastery—Moroni 7:41

Help students memorize Moroni 7:41. Consider using one of the methods explained in the appendix at the end of this manual.

Scripture Mastery—Moroni 7:45, 47–48

Invite students to choose from the following list an individual for whom they would like to have more charity: a family member, a quorum or class member, a classmate at school, a friend, or a neighbor. Encourage them to think about the person they have chosen as they read Moroni 7:45 and consider ways they could show the person more Christlike love. Invite them to write in notebooks or scripture study journals one or two ways they will show charity for the person they have chosen. Invite them to make this effort a part of their prayers in the coming week. You might consider giving students an opportunity to share their experiences in the coming days.

Note: Because of the length of this lesson, you might want to use this activity on another day, when you have extra time.

Commentary and Background Information

Moroni 7:29–31. The ministry of angels

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described the ministry of angels:

“‘The word “angel” is used in the scriptures for any heavenly being bearing God’s message’ (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist [1987], 54). The scriptures recite numerous instances where an angel appeared personally. Angelic appearances to Zacharias and Mary (see Luke 1) and to King Benjamin and Nephi, the son of Helaman (see Mosiah 3:2; 3 Ne. 7:17–18) are only a few examples. …

“… The ministering of angels can also be unseen. Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind. President John Taylor described ‘the action of the angels, or messengers of God, upon our minds, so that the heart can conceive … revelations from the eternal world’ (Gospel Kingdom, sel. G. Homer Durham [1987], 31).

“Nephi described three manifestations of the ministering of angels when he reminded his rebellious brothers that (1) they had ‘seen an angel,’ (2) they had ‘heard his voice from time to time,’ and (3) also that an angel had ‘spoken unto [them] in a still small voice’ though they were ‘past feeling’ and ‘could not feel his words’ (1 Ne. 17:45). The scriptures contain many other statements that angels are sent to teach the gospel and bring men to Christ (see Heb. 1:14; Alma 39:19; Moro. 7:25, 29, 31–32; D&C 20:35). Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen” (“The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 38–39).

Moroni 7:45–48. Charity, “the pure love of Christ”

President Thomas S. Monson taught about the need for the gift of charity:

“There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere. …

“Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others. …

“… Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. …

“… May [charity] guide you in everything you do. May it permeate your very souls and find expression in all your thoughts and actions” (“Charity Never Faileth,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 124–25).

Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles listed ways we can show charity:

“Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. …

“Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other” (“The Tongue Can Be a Sharp Sword,” Ensign, May 1992, 19).

Moroni 7:45–48. “The greater definition of ‘the pure love of Christ’”

Referring to Mormon’s words in Moroni 7:45–48, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“It is instructive to note that the charity, or ‘the pure love of Christ,’ we are to cherish can be interpreted two ways. One of its meanings is the kind of merciful, forgiving love Christ’s disciples should have for one another. That is, all Christians should try to love as the Savior loved, showing pure, redeeming compassion for all. Unfortunately, few, if any, mortals have been entirely successful in this endeavor, but it is an invitation that all should try to meet.

“The greater definition of ‘the pure love of Christ,’ however, is not what we as Christians try but largely fail to demonstrate toward others but rather what Christ totally succeeded in demonstrating toward us. True charity has been known only once. It is shown perfectly and purely in Christ’s unfailing, ultimate, and atoning love for us. It is Christ’s love for us that ‘suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not.’ It is his love for us that is not ‘puffed up … , not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.’ It is Christ’s love for us that ‘beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.’ It is as demonstrated in Christ that ‘charity never faileth.’ It is that charity—his pure love for us—without which we would be nothing, hopeless, of all men and women most miserable. Truly, those found possessed of the blessings of his love at the last day—the Atonement, the Resurrection, eternal life, eternal promise—surely it shall be well with them.

“This does not in any way minimize the commandment that we are to try to acquire this kind of love for one another. We should ‘pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love.’ [1 Corinthians 13:4–5, 7–8; Moroni 7:48.] We should try to be more constant and unfailing, more longsuffering and kind, less envious and puffed up in our relationships with others. As Christ lived so should we live, and as Christ loved so should we love. But the ‘pure love of Christ’ Mormon spoke of is precisely that—Christ’s love. With that divine gift, that redeeming bestowal, we have everything; without it we have nothing and ultimately are nothing, except in the end ‘devils [and] angels to a devil.’ [2 Nephi 9:9.]

“Life has its share of fears and failures. Sometimes things fall short. Sometimes people fail us, or economies or businesses or governments fail us. But one thing in time or eternity does not fail us—the pure love of Christ. …

“… The miracle of Christ’s charity both saves and changes us. His atoning love saves us from death and hell as well as from carnal, sensual, and devilish behavior. That redeeming love also transforms the soul, lifting it above fallen standards to something far more noble, far more holy. Wherefore, we must ‘cleave unto charity’—Christ’s pure love of us and our determined effort toward pure love of him and all others—for without it we are nothing, and our plan for eternal happiness is utterly wasted. Without the redeeming love of Christ in our lives, all other qualities—even virtuous qualities and exemplary good works—fall short of salvation and joy” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 336–37).