Moroni 7–9

Book of Mormon Teacher Resource Manual, (2004), 270–275


Introduction

Before concluding the Book of Mormon record with his own testimony, Moroni included two letters and a masterful sermon on faith, hope, and charity by his father. This sermon is directed to those who “are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ,” whom Mormon recognized by their “peaceable walk with the children of men” (Moroni 7:3–4). Mormon’s stirring words shed light on some of the most fundamental doctrines of the gospel. They provide a pattern that all must follow in order to receive the full blessings of the kingdom of God.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • Our service is acceptable to God when it is given with real intent (see Moroni 7:5–14; see also D&C 64:33–35).

  • Every person born into the world is given the Light of Christ, which helps us judge between good and evil (see Moroni 7:12–19).

  • Faith, hope, and charity are gifts of the Spirit given to those who humbly come unto Christ (see Moroni 7:20–48; see also Matthew 22:36–40; 1 Corinthians 13).

  • Through the Atonement of Christ, children who die before reaching the age of accountability are saved. Any errors little children commit are paid for through the Atonement, so these children do not need baptism (see Moroni 8:4–23; see also D&C 29:46–47; 68:25–27).

  • People who fail to follow the Lord can become very wicked in a short period of time. No matter how hardened people become, we should still try to help them accept and live the gospel (see Moroni 9; see also Mormon 3:11–12; 4:11–12; 5:1–2).

Additional Resources

  • Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, pp. 145–49.

Suggestions for Teaching

Moroni 7:5–14. Our service is acceptable to God if it is given with real intent. (20–25 minutes)

Show the picture Serving One Another (Gospel Art Picture Kit, no. 615) or another picture of someone giving service. Ask:

  • Why do you think serving others is so important?

  • What service have you participated in that meant a lot to you?

  • What feelings do you have toward those who have served you? toward those you have served?

Show the picture again and have the students imagine they are giving service. Ask them how they think the person they are serving would feel if that person overheard them say:

  • “I wish my parents had not made me come on this service project.”

  • “I sure hope we get paid for all this work.”

  • “I hope my friends notice how hard I am working. I really want them to like me.”

  • “I don’t see why I have to do this work. Can’t these people handle their own problems?”

Discuss the following questions:

  • What difference do our intentions make when we give service?

  • Why do you think the Lord is concerned about our intentions as much as our actions?

Read Moroni 7:1–4 and ask who is speaking and who is being spoken to. Read Moroni 7:5–10 and discuss the following questions:

  • What did Mormon teach about giving with “real intent” as opposed to giving “grudgingly”? (vv. 6–7).

  • How does God judge service that is given grudgingly? Why do you think that is so?

  • Why do you think service is a vital part of the gospel?

Read Moroni 7:11–14 and look for the analogy Mormon used to describe people who serve and pray without real intent. Ask:

  • How is someone who serves grudgingly like a bitter fountain?

  • What else do you learn from these verses?

  • What warning does Mormon give us in verse 14?

  • How can we apply these teachings in our personal life? in our families?

Write the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, on the board: “Service is a covenant obligation of all members of the Church of Jesus Christ” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1984, 13; or Ensign, Nov. 1984, 12). Write on the board the following list of motivations for serving, and ask students whether each is a lesser or higher motive:

  • Riches or honor

  • Good companionship

  • Fear of punishment

  • Duty or loyalty

  • Hope of an eternal reward

  • Charity, the pure love of Christ

Share the following excerpts from a talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. Stop and discuss his comments with students as needed.

“People serve one another for different reasons, and some reasons are better than others. Perhaps none of us serves in every capacity all the time for only a single reason. Since we are imperfect beings, most of us probably serve for a combination of reasons, and the combinations may be different from time to time as we grow spiritually. But we should all strive to serve for the reasons that are highest and best. …

“Some may serve for hope of earthly reward. … Others might serve in order to obtain worldly honors, prominence, or power. …

“Another reason for service—probably more worthy than the first, but still in the category of service in search of earthly reward—is that motivated by a personal desire to obtain good companionship. …

“These first two reasons for service are selfish and self-centered and unworthy of Saints. … Reasons aimed at earthly rewards are distinctly lesser in character and reward than the other reasons I will discuss.

“Some may serve out of fear of punishment. … Service out of fear of punishment is a lesser motive at best.

“Other persons may serve out of a sense of duty or out of loyalty to friends or family or traditions. … Those who serve out of a sense of duty or loyalty to various wholesome causes are the good and honorable men and women of the earth.

“Service of the character I have just described is worthy of praise and will surely qualify for blessings, especially if it is done willingly and joyfully. …

“… There are still higher reasons for service.

“One such higher reason for service is the hope of an eternal reward. This hope—the expectation of enjoying the fruits of our labors—is one of the most powerful sources of motivation. As a reason for service, it necessarily involves faith in God and in the fulfillment of his prophecies. …

“The last motive I will discuss is, in my opinion, the highest reason of all. In its relationship to service, it is what the scriptures call ‘a more excellent way’ (1 Corinthians 12:31).

“‘Charity is the pure love of Christ’ (Moroni 7:47). The Book of Mormon teaches us that this virtue is ‘the greatest of all’ (Moroni 7:46). …

“If our service is to be most efficacious, it must be accomplished for the love of God and the love of his children. …

“This principle—that our service should be for the love of God and the love of fellowmen rather than for personal advantage or any other lesser motive—is admittedly a high standard. …

“Service with all of our heart and mind is a high challenge for all of us. Such service must be free of selfish ambition. It must be motivated only by the pure love of Christ” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1984, 14–16; or Ensign, Nov. 1984, 13–15).

Invite students to share ideas about how they might develop better motivations to serve. Read Moroni 7:48, and then read the following statement by President Marion G. Romney, who was a member of the First Presidency:

“Some may ask, ‘How do I obtain these righteous feelings in giving? How do I overcome giving grudgingly? How do I obtain the “pure love of Christ?”’ To those I would say: Faithfully live all the commandments, give of yourselves, care for your families, serve in church callings, perform missionary work, pay tithes and offerings, study the scriptures—and the list could go on. As you lose yourself in this service, the Lord will touch and soften your heart and gradually bring you to the feelings with which he blessed the people in King Benjamin’s time, which prompted them to say, ‘Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.’ (Mosiah 5:2.)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, 131–32; or Ensign, Nov. 1981, 93).

Encourage students to strive to serve out of love for God and for others.

scripture mastery iconMoroni 7:12–19 (Scripture Mastery, Moroni 7:16–17). Every person born into the world is given the Light of Christ, which helps us judge between good and evil. (30–35 minutes)

Discuss the following questions as a class:

  • Why do you think God will never force you to do good?

  • Why do you think Satan cannot force you to do evil?

Have students read Moroni 7:12–13 and find the words that show how God and Satan get us to follow them. Ask:

  • What do the words “inviteth” and “enticeth” teach you about God and Satan?

  • Why do you think the Lord wants to entice or persuade you to do good?

  • Read 2 Nephi 2:27, 29. According to these verses, what is Satan’s intent?

  • How can you tell the difference between the enticements of God and those of Satan?

Ask students which of the following choices is “of God” and which is “of Satan”:

  • To read the New Era

  • To read a pornographic magazine

Ask if this was an easy judgment to make, and why. Ask for examples of choices between good and evil that are more difficult to judge, and discuss them as a class. (One example might be a movie that was widely acclaimed as best picture of the year but that had sexual content and profanity.)

Testify that the Lord has given each of us a gift that helps us judge between good and evil. Read Moroni 7:14–15 and the first part of verse 16, stopping after the phrase “that he may know good from evil.” Testify that the Spirit of Christ is that gift.

Have students read Moroni 7:16–19 looking for what these verses teach about choosing. Ask:

  • What impressed you in these verses?

  • What should we use to help us choose?

  • How could this counsel help you?

  • What does this teach you about God’s interest in your decisions and about His love for you?

To help students better understand the Spirit of Christ, read and discuss Doctrine and Covenants 84:44–47; 93:12, 16–20, 26–28. Have students cross-reference these verses with Moroni 7:16.

Invite students to list some popular movies, television shows, songs, or magazines. Discuss the following questions:

  • Which of these do you think “[invite] to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ”?

  • How do the Lord’s standards compare to the world’s standards concerning these forms of entertainment?

  • How can the principles in Moroni 7:16–19 help you decide what to read, watch, or listen to?

Read the section on entertainment and the media in the pamphlet For the Strength of Youth ([2001], 17–19), and ask: How do Mormon’s teachings compare to the standards found in this pamphlet?

Share the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“Let us use [Mormon’s] standard to judge what we read, the music we hear, the entertainment we watch, the thoughts we think [see Moroni 7:13, 17]. Let us be more Christlike” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 100; or Ensign, May 1986, 78).

Sing or read “Choose the Right” (Hymns, no. 239). Have students listen for the pattern for making choices as you read this statement by President Howard W. Hunter:

“Let us follow the Son of God in all ways and in all walks of life. Let us make him our exemplar and our guide. We should at every opportunity ask ourselves, ‘What would Jesus do?’ and then be more courageous to act upon the answer. We must follow Christ, in the best sense of that word. We must be about his work as he was about his Father’s. … To the extent that our mortal powers permit, we should make every effort to become like Christ—the one perfect and sinless example this world has ever seen” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 84; or Ensign, May 1994, 64).

Encourage students to follow this pattern.

weekly iconMoroni 7:20–48. Faith, hope, and charity are gifts of the Spirit given to those who humbly come to Christ. (40–45 minutes)

Write the following words, references, and statements on separate pieces of paper and place them in three gift-wrapped boxes (or other containers).

Box 1

Faith
Moroni 7:20–39
Alma 32:21–22

Box 2

Hope
Moroni 7:40–43
Ether 12:4
Hebrews 6:11–19

“Faith, Mormon taught, leads to hope, a special, theological kind of hope. The word is often used to express the most general of aspirations—wishes, if you will. But as used in the Book of Mormon it is very specific and flows naturally from one’s faith in Christ. …

“What is the nature of this hope? It is certainly much more than wishful thinking. It is to have ‘hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise’ [Moroni 7:41]. That is the theological meaning of hope in the faith-hope-charity sequence. With an eye to that meaning, Moroni 7:42 then clearly reads, ‘If a man have faith [in Christ and his atonement] he must needs [as a consequence] have hope [in the promise of the Resurrection, because the two are inextricably linked]; for without faith [in Christ’s atonement] there cannot be any hope [in the Resurrection].’” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 334–35).

Box 3

Charity
Moroni 7:44–48
1 Corinthians 13

Show students the boxes (do not open them yet). Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 46:7–9, 11–12, 26 and find answers to the following questions:

  • Where do gifts of the Spirit come from?

  • How many gifts does each person receive?

  • Should we seek for gifts of the Spirit?

  • For what purpose are gifts of the Spirit given?

Tell students that gifts of the Spirit can help us avoid being deceived by Satan and help us better understand the Lord’s promptings. Explain that in Moroni 7:5–19 Mormon gives counsel on how we can judge between good and evil. In verses 20–48, Mormon teaches about three gifts of the Spirit that will help us “lay hold upon every good thing” (v. 20). Ask students what it means to “lay hold upon” something. Have them read verse 1, and ask them which three gifts of the Spirit Mormon speaks of.

Divide students into three groups. Give each group one of the gift-wrapped boxes. Invite the groups to open their box, find the gift of the Spirit, and study the scriptures (and statement) about that gift. Write the following questions on the board, and have students look for the answers as they study. When they finish, discuss the questions as a class.

  • What are at least two truths you learned about this gift?

  • How can understanding these truths be a blessing to you?

  • Why is this gift important?

  • What can we do to strengthen this gift in our life?

Show students a twisted or braided rope, or draw the accompanying illustration on the board.

Tell students that a rope is made of strands that are intertwined. Each strand gives strength to the others. Testify that faith, hope, and charity are similar. They are interdependent and strengthen one another. Encourage students to seek to gain or strengthen these gifts in their lives.

scripture mastery iconMoroni 7:45–48 (Scripture Mastery, Moroni 7:45). Charity is the pure love of Christ. (15–20 minutes)

A day or two before class, invite students to watch for acts of service being performed. As you begin this lesson, ask students what acts of service they observed. Discuss the following questions:

  • What act of service impressed you? Why?

  • How did the person who received the service benefit from it?

  • How do you think the person who gave the service may have also benefited from it?

Read Moroni 7:45–48 and ask how the acts of service the students witnessed are like Mormon’s description of charity.

Tell students that charity means more than acts of service. Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

“One [meaning of charity or ‘the pure love of Christ’] is the kind of merciful, forgiving love Christ’s disciples should have one for another. …

“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 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’ [Moroni 7:48; see also 1 Corinthians 13:4–5, 7–8]. … 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]” (Christ and the New Covenant, 336–37).

Ask:

  • What did Elder Holland’s statement add to your understanding of charity?

  • Why do you think charity is so essential, and the greatest of all gifts?

Have a student read Moroni 7:45–48 for the class, but have the student replace the word charity with the Atonement each time it occurs. Ask: What does reading the verses this way teach you about the Atonement?

Encourage students to follow Jesus Christ’s example as they serve others. Also encourage them to seek the pure love of Christ in the sense Elder Holland spoke of, by applying the power of the Atonement in their lives.

Moroni 8:4–23. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, children who die before reaching the age of accountability are saved. Any errors little children commit are paid for through the Atonement, so these children do not need baptism. (30–35 minutes)

Bring several pictures of little children to class, including Christ and the Children (Gospel Art Picture Kit, no. 216) or a similar picture. Ask students:

  • What are some funny or interesting things you have seen little children do?

  • Why do you think the Savior asked us to become like little children? (see 3 Nephi 11:38).

  • How do you think Jesus Christ feels toward little children?

  • Why do you think the Savior loves them so much?

Tell students that the Book of Mormon explains several important doctrines about children. Understanding these doctrines will help students as they have children of their own or as they teach the gospel to others.

Assign each student one of the following examples (if necessary give the same example to more than one student). Have students read Moroni 8:1–24 and look for teachings that relate to their example. Have them also read Doctrine and Covenants 29:46–50; 68:25–27. When they finish, read the examples to the class. Pause after each example and invite the students assigned to that example to share how they would respond to the situation using the truths in Moroni 8.

  1. 1.

    You have just met a young couple whose four-year-old son was killed in a car accident. They have many questions, especially about what will happen to their son now.

  2. 2.

    A recent convert agrees that baptism for eight-year-old children is a good idea but wonders why that doctrine is stressed so much. She asks, “It doesn’t really matter if a person is baptized when they are eight months old, eight years old, or eighty years old, does it?”

  3. 3.

    As a missionary you meet a man who is sincerely seeking truth. He explains that all his life he was taught that little children are born unclean because of Adam’s transgression. He is certain that when infants die without being baptized, they die “unclean” and go to hell.

  4. 4.

    Your seminary teacher asks, “How does a belief in infant baptism show a lack of understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ?”

  5. 5.

    You have been asked to give a two-minute talk to the Primary children on the topic “Jesus Christ has perfect love for little children.”

  6. 6.

    During a Relief Society meeting, a sister asks about little children being without sin. She tells how her six-year-old son did something very bad, even after she explained to him why it was wrong. She is convinced that her son knew better and wonders why what he did would not be considered a sin for him.

  7. 7.

    A friend of yours tells you she has a brother with Down’s syndrome and has always heard that people born with certain mental disabilities are “not accountable.” She thinks they might be guaranteed a place in the celestial kingdom, like those children who die before the age of eight. She asks if you know any scriptures that teach that doctrine.

Bear your testimony of God’s love for little children. Read Mosiah 3:19; 3 Nephi 11:38 and tell students that we are commanded to become like children. Encourage students to develop the childlike characteristics the scriptures mention and to become free from sin again through repentance.

Moroni 9. People who fail to follow the Lord can become very wicked in a short period of time. No matter how hardened people become, we should still try to help them accept and live the gospel. (20–25 minutes)

A day or two before class peel a banana (or other fruit) and let it spoil. On the day of class, show students the rotten banana as well as a fresh banana still in its peel. Ask:

  • What is the difference between these two bananas?

  • What causes bananas to spoil?

  • How long do you think it took this banana to spoil?

Have students compare this fruit to people. Read Moroni 9:11–14 and tell students that these verses describe Mormon’s concern about the Nephites’ spiritual decay. Ask:

  • What do you think causes some people to decay spiritually?

  • How fast do some people decay spiritually?

Point out that the skin kept the good fruit from spoiling. Ask: What can help protect us from spiritual decay?

Invite students to read Moroni 9:3–5, 7–10, 18–20 and underline phrases that show how wicked the people became and why. Discuss their findings. Ask:

  • How do you think you would feel if you witnessed such wickedness?

  • What would you say if you had the opportunity to talk with these people?

  • What is our duty concerning people who have turned from the Lord?

Have a student read Moroni 9:6, and ask:

  • What did Mormon teach Moroni about what should be done for these people?

  • What can you learn from Mormon’s example?

  • Read Jacob 1:19. How does this verse relate to Mormon’s teaching?

  • What are some ways we could “labor diligently” for those who turn against the Lord?

Read Moroni 9:22, 25–26. Ask students why they think Mormon’s prayers for his son Moroni might have been helpful in his situation. Testify that in times of spiritual decay the prayers of the righteous can be a source of help and protection for others. Encourage students to guard themselves against spiritual decay and to pray for the well-being of others.