Moroni finished his father’s record by calling upon those who did not believe in Jesus Christ to turn to the Lord through repentance. He taught that God is a God of miracles who does not change and that miracles cease only because of unbelief. He encouraged people to believe in Jesus Christ and to pray to the Father with all their hearts in the name of Jesus Christ in order to receive the things they need.
Suggestions for Teaching
Moroni calls upon those who do not believe in Jesus Christ to repent
Ask students to think of a situation in which they felt uncomfortable. Invite a few students to tell about their experiences and explain why they felt uncomfortable. You might also ask them what would have made them feel more comfortable in those situations.
Invite students to read Mormon 9:1–5 silently, looking for the uncomfortable situation Moroni described. (You might also want to invite students to read Alma 12:12–15 and write this reference next to Mormon 9:1–5.)
At the Final Judgment, how will the wicked feel in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ? Why will they feel this way?
Invite a student to read the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith:
“There can be no salvation without repentance. A man cannot enter into the kingdom of God in his sins. It would be a very inconsistent thing for a man to come into the presence of the Father and to dwell in God’s presence in his sins. …
“I think there are a great many people upon the earth, many of them perhaps in the Church—at least some in the Church—who have an idea they can go through this life doing as they please, violating the commandments of the Lord and yet eventually they are going to come into his presence. They think they are going to repent, perhaps in the spirit world.
“They ought to read these words of Moroni [quoting Mormon 9:3–5].
“Do you think that a man whose life has been filled with corruption, who has been rebellious against God, who has not had the spirit of repentance, would be happy or comfortable should he be permitted to come into the presence of God?” (Doctrines of Salvation, ed. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:195–96; italics in original removed).
Why do we need to repent of our sins today and not wait until the Judgment? (To help students answer this question, you might want to invite them to read Alma 34:33–38.)
Invite a student to read Mormon 9:6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what those who are unbelieving must do so they can feel comfortable in God’s presence. After students report what they have found, ask them to identify words and phrases in Mormon 9:6 that describe those who have turned to the Lord and prayed for forgiveness. You may want to suggest that students mark the words and phrases they find.
Invite students to write in notebooks or scripture study journals a principle that summarizes Mormon 9:6. Call on two or three students to read what they have written. Although students may use different words, their responses should express the following truth: If we repent, we will be found spotless when we come into the presence of God.
Testify that through repentance and righteous living, we can prepare to be comfortable in the Lord’s presence. Invite students to ponder what they should do now to be prepared to meet the Lord.
Moroni declares that God performs miracles and answers the prayers of the faithful
Write miracles on the board. Ask students how they would define this word. After a few students have responded, invite the class to look up miracles in the Bible Dictionary. Ask them to read the entry, looking for information that might clarify or add to the definitions they have suggested.
Why do you think some people do not believe in miracles?
Summarize Mormon 9:7–8 by explaining that Moroni addressed people in the last days who would claim that revelation, prophecy, spiritual gifts, and miracles no longer occur.
Divide students into pairs. Invite one partner to read Mormon 9:9–11 silently, while the other reads Mormon 9:15–19 silently. Ask each student to write the main points Moroni made to persuade people to believe in miracles. When students have had enough time to finish, invite them to report to their partners what they have written.
On the left side of the board, write Miracles cease when we …
On the right side of the board, write Miracles can happen when we …
Invite a student to read Mormon 9:20 aloud, and ask the class to look for three reasons why God might cease to do miracles among His children. Invite a student to write these reasons on the board to complete the statement on the left side of the board, as shown in the following chart.
Ask students to rephrase each statement regarding why miracles cease in a way that expresses a condition that makes miracles possible. Their responses should be similar to the examples on the right side of the chart.
Miracles cease when we …
Miracles can happen when we …
Dwindle in unbelief
Increase our faith
Depart from the right way
Live in the right way, or keep God’s commandments
Know not the God in whom we should trust
Come to know and trust in God
Invite students to quickly review Mormon 9:9, 19, looking for Moroni’s teachings about God’s nature. After students report what they have found, ask:
Since we know God is unchanging and that He performed miracles among His children in former times, what can we know about His willingness to perform miracles in our lives today? (Although students may use different words, they should express the following principle: God has always performed miracles, and because He is unchangeable, He still works miracles according to our faith. You may want to write this principle on the board and suggest that students write it next to Mormon 9:19–20 in their scriptures.)
Explain that we can experience the miraculous power of God in our lives in many ways. To help students consider ways in which God is still a God of miracles, invite a student to read the following statement by Sister Sydney S. Reynolds of the Primary general presidency:
“I have learned … that the Lord will help us in every aspect of our lives when we are trying to serve Him and do His will.
“I believe that all of us can bear witness to these small miracles. We know children who pray for help to find a lost item and find it. We know of young people who gather the courage to stand as a witness of God and feel His sustaining hand. We know friends who pay their tithing with the last of their money and then, through a miracle, find themselves able to pay their tuition or their rent or somehow obtain food for their family. We can share experiences of prayers answered and priesthood blessings that gave courage, brought comfort, or restored health. These daily miracles acquaint us with the hand of the Lord in our lives” (“A God of Miracles,” Ensign, May 2001, 12).
What experiences have you had that confirm that God is still a God of miracles?
Moroni admonishes unbelievers to believe in Jesus Christ and to pray in His name
Invite a student to read Mormon 9:21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Moroni taught about praying to Heavenly Father.
What promise did Moroni give? (Students’ answers should reflect the following principle: If we pray in faith and in the name of Christ, Heavenly Father will give us whatever we ask for.)
To help students understand what it means to pray “in the name of Christ,” invite a student to read the following statement:
“We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ—when his words abide in us (John 15:7). We then ask for things it is possible for God to grant. Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ’s name at all; they in no way represent his mind, but spring out of the selfishness of man’s heart” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer”).
You may want to ask the following questions:
How can we ensure that the things we pray for reflect what the Lord wants for us?
When have you seen the promise given in Mormon 9:21 fulfilled? (You may need to give students time to think about this question before they respond.)
Summarize Mormon 9:22–25 by explaining that the Savior promised His disciples blessings when He sent them out to teach the gospel. Ask students to scan Mormon 9:22–25 and identify some of those blessings.
What does it mean to you that the Savior will “confirm all [His] words”? (Mormon 9:25).
Invite students to read Mormon 9:27–29 silently, looking for attitudes and actions that will help them qualify for and receive God’s help. You may want to ask students to write summaries of these verses in notebooks or scripture study journals.
To conclude this lesson, summarize Mormon 9:30–34 by telling students that Moroni was concerned that some people in the last days would reject the message of the Book of Mormon because of the imperfections of those who wrote it and of the language it was written in. Invite a student to read Mormon 9:35–37 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for reasons why Moroni and others prayed that the Book of Mormon would come forth in the latter days. (So the descendants of their brethren, the Lamanites, could be restored to “the knowledge of Christ” and to the covenants that God had made with the house of Israel.)
To help students summarize what they have learned today, ask the following questions:
How is the Book of Mormon evidence that God is a God of miracles and that He answers prayers?
What truths have you learned today that will influence your personal prayers?
Take some time to help students review the book of Mormon. Ask them to think about what they have learned from this book, both in seminary and in their personal scripture study. Invite them to briefly review some of the chapter summaries in Mormon to help them remember. Ask a few students to share something from Mormon that has inspired them or that has helped them have greater faith in Jesus Christ.
Commentary and Background Information
Mormon 9:9–10. “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever”
Moroni declared that God is an unchangeable being who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Mormon 9:9). According to Doctrine and Covenants 20:11–12, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon proves that God continues to “inspire men and call them to his holy work” in our day as He has in the past, “showing that he is the same God yesterday, today, and forever.”
The Lectures on Faith state that in order to have perfect faith in God, one must have “a correct idea of [God’s] character, perfections, and attributes” (Lectures on Faith , 38). One of God’s characteristics is that He will not change: “[God] changes not, neither is there variableness with him; but that he is the same from everlasting to everlasting, being the same yesterday, today, and for ever; and that his course is one eternal round, without variation” (Lectures on Faith, 41).
Consider the blessings of knowing that God continues His holy work in our day and will remain the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Mormon 9:10–26. Miracles
Moroni gave much evidence that bears witness to the miracles of God—the creation of heaven and earth, the creation of man, and the miracles wrought by Jesus and the Apostles (see Mormon 9:17–18). The “God of miracles” described by Moroni can still be found today. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that many miracles happen in our day and are present in the true Church of Jesus Christ:
“Many miracles happen every day in the work of our Church and in the lives of our members. Many of you have witnessed miracles, perhaps more than you realize.
“A miracle has been defined as ‘a beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand and of themselves cannot duplicate.’ [In Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 5 vols. (1992), 2:908.] The idea that events are brought about through divine power is rejected by most irreligious people and even by some who are religious. …
“… Miracles worked by the power of the priesthood are always present in the true Church of Jesus Christ. [See George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth (1987), sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 151–52.] The Book of Mormon teaches that ‘God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles’ (Mosiah 8:18). The ‘means’ provided is priesthood power (see James 5:14–15; D&C 42:43–48), and that power works miracles through faith (see Ether 12:12; Moro. 7:37)” (“Miracles,” Ensign, June 2001, 6, 8).
Mormon 9:32–34. Moroni wrote in reformed Egyptian
Moroni stated that he had the ability to write in at least two languages: Hebrew and reformed Egyptian. He noted that if the “plates had been sufficiently large,” he would have written in Hebrew; however, those who kept the record used “reformed Egyptian” due to the lack of space (see Mormon 9:32–33). Previously in the Book of Mormon, both Nephi and King Benjamin acknowledged their use of Egyptian. Nephi stated that he wrote in “the language of the Egyptians” when he engraved the small plates (1 Nephi 1:2). When speaking to his sons about the importance of the brass plates, King Benjamin noted that Lehi could read the record because he had “been taught in the language of the Egyptians” (Mosiah 1:4). Therefore, we understand that Lehi taught both the gospel and the Egyptian language “to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children” (Mosiah 1:4). Evidently, this pattern continued through the generations of record keepers who followed until Moroni learned the language from his father. However, Moroni acknowledged that he wrote in “reformed Egyptian” that had been “handed down and altered … according to [their] manner of speech” (Mormon 9:32), indicating that some adaptations in the use of the language had occurred over the thousand years since the time of Lehi. This could explain why Moroni concluded with the comment that “none other people knoweth our language” but that God had “prepared means for” the eventual interpretation and translation of the record (Mormon 9:34). Egyptian was commonly used in Lehi’s day, especially by merchants and traders who traveled widely throughout the region around Jerusalem. If, as some have suggested, Lehi’s profession required him to travel throughout the region, he likely would have made sure his sons learned the language of the Egyptians to support the family occupation.
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