Chapter 55: Moroni 8–9

Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, (2009), 200–203


Introduction

This scripture block consists of two epistles written by Mormon to his son Moroni. In the first epistle, Mormon focuses on the mercy of God and how the Atonement of Jesus Christ saves little children. Help students understand that because of the Atonement, “little children are whole” and do not need baptism (see Moroni 8:8–12). As you come to the epistle’s conclusion, you can help students understand that when they live according to the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, they will be anchored in righteousness throughout their lives and prepared to return to the presence of God.

In the second epistle, Mormon laments the depraved condition of the Nephites and the Lamanites of his day and adds words of counsel and comfort for those who remain righteous during trying times. Mormon and Moroni stayed faithful while surrounded by serious sin. Mormon’s writings provide an excellent opportunity to emphasize the importance of personal commitment to righteous living, regardless of the wickedness that surrounds us.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • Little children do not need baptism because they are “alive in Christ” (see Moroni 8:4–24).

  • Faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost lead us to God (see Moroni 8:25–26).

  • Anger separates us from the Spirit of the Lord (see Moroni 9:1–21).

  • According to our faith, Jesus Christ will lift us up even when we are surrounded by profound wickedness (see Moroni 9:22–26).

Suggestions for Teaching

Moroni 8:4–24. Little Children Do Not Need Baptism Because They Are “Alive in Christ”

Ask students to think of the last time they held a newborn baby. Invite them to share words they would use to describe the experience or words they would use to describe the newborn child.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:46–47. Ask students to explain these verses in their own words.

Tell students that as the Nephite society spiraled downward into wickedness, Mormon wrote an epistle to his son Moroni regarding disputations in the Church about infant baptism.

Instruct students to read Moroni 8:4–24 individually, highlighting instructions they discover about little children and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Then have them work as individuals or in pairs or small groups, writing as many statements as they can about why little children do not need baptism. To get them started, you could read Moroni 8:8 and write on the board Little children are whole.

After students have had time to study verses 8–24, invite them to share their statements with each other.

  • In what ways do these statements show God’s mercy?

  • What can we learn from Mormon’s words about those who are “without the law”? (See Moroni 8:22.)

To help students better understand the meaning of these verses, consider sharing some or all of the following explanations:

“Little children … are not capable of committing sin” (Moroni 8:8). Why? They are not accountable before the Lord (see D&C 29:47). If they do something wrong, their action is not considered a sin. The Atonement of Jesus Christ covers wrongdoings by unaccountable people.

“The curse of Adam is taken from them in [Christ]” (Moroni 8:8). Adam’s transgression brought physical death (separation of the body from the spirit) and spiritual death (separation from God) to all mankind. Through the Atonement, Jesus Christ has overcome these deaths—all will be resurrected, and all will return to God to be judged. (See Helaman 14:15–19; Mormon 9:12–13.) Little children are affected by the Fall, but the Atonement redeems them—and all people—from the Fall. Little children are not punished for Adam’s transgression (see Articles of Faith 1:2).

“It is solemn mockery before God [to] baptize little children” (Moroni 8:9). Why? Since the Atonement covers the wrongdoings of unaccountable children, baptizing them shows a lack of faith in the power of the Atonement. Mormon states that we should baptize only those “capable of committing sin” (Moroni 8:10).

“Little children cannot repent” (Moroni 8:19). Repentance is for people who are accountable. Children younger than eight years old and people who are mentally disabled with a mental age of less than eight years have no need for repentance.

Testify of the love and mercy of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in providing a way for the redemption of little children and for all those who do not become fully accountable for their actions in mortality.

Moroni 8:25–26. Faith in Christ, Repentance, Baptism, and Receiving the Holy Ghost Lead Us to God

Bring to class a stick or pole with one end labeled actions and the other end labeled consequences. To introduce Moroni 8:25–26, pick up the stick from the end labeled actions. Ensure that students can see that when you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other end as well. Ask students to state the principle demonstrated by this object lesson. (Actions always bring consequences.)

Invite students to suggest examples of positive and negative choices people might make and examples of how those choices can impact their future.

  • What is the best possible result of all your actions on the earth?

Explain that in Moroni 8:25–26, Mormon lists righteous choices and their consequences. Ask a student to read the verses. Have the rest of the class look for examples of actions and consequences in these verses. List these on the board, drawing arrows between them as shown in the following chart. (You may want to show an example or two before the student reads the verses.)

Repentance and faith →

Baptism and fulfilling the commandments

Fulfilling the commandments →

Remission of sins

Remission of sins →

Meekness and lowliness of heart

Meekness and lowliness of heart →

Visitation of the Holy Ghost

Visitation of the Holy Ghost →

Hope and perfect love, which endure by diligence unto prayer until the end when we will dwell with God

  • In what ways do these actions lead to the blessings Mormon identified?

  • In what ways are some of the principles listed on the board cycles rather than single events?

Remind the class that Moroni 8:22 states that “little children” and those “without the law” are “alive in Christ” through the power of His redemption.

  • What does it mean to you to be “alive in Christ”?

  • How do the principles on the board help us all become “alive in Christ”?

Moroni 9:1–21. Anger Separates Us from the Spirit of the Lord

Invite students to consider ways we are influenced when we feel anger. For example, ask them to describe how anger affects the way they:

  1. 1.

    Close a door.

  2. 2.

    Answer the phone.

  3. 3.

    Walk down the street.

  4. 4.

    Talk with others.

  5. 5.

    Pray.

  6. 6.

    Read the scriptures.

  7. 7.

    Feel about other people.

  8. 8.

    Feel about themselves.

  9. 9.

    Feel the Spirit.

Invite students to read Moroni 9:3, looking for Mormon’s observations about the Nephites.

  • In what ways do you think the Nephites’ refusal to repent might have been related to their feelings of anger with one another?

Invite a student to read Moroni 9:4.

  • Why do you think those who are unrighteous sometimes respond with anger to the word of God?

  • What are some ways anger can subtly come into our lives?

Ask students to share ways they have found to control or avoid anger.

Point out that anger can lead to devastating results. Invite students to read Moroni 9:5, 9–11, 18–20 silently, noting actions or attitudes that may have been results of the Nephites’ anger. After students have had time to read and think, invite them to share what they have found. Responses might include the following:

Verse 5—no fear of death, no love one toward another, thirst after blood and revenge continually

Verse 9—no regard for chastity and virtue

Verse 11—without civilization

Verse 18—no order and no mercy

Verse 19—perversion, brutality, delight in everything except that which is good

Verse 20—without principle, past feeling

The following questions can be used to further explore this issue:

  • What do you think it means to be “past feeling”? (See the statements by Elder Neal A. Maxwell and President Boyd K. Packer on pages 398–99 in the student manual.)

  • What evidence do you see in the world that some people are becoming past feeling?

  • What can we do to avoid becoming past feeling?

You might take a moment and contrast Mormon’s description of the Nephite society in these verses with his description of the followers of Jesus Christ in Moroni 7:3–4.

Moroni 9:22–26. According to Our Faith, Jesus Christ Will Lift Us Up Even When We Are Surrounded by Profound Wickedness

Bring a life preserver. (Or show a picture of a life preserver or describe one.)

Ask the class why even a person who knows how to swim might want to use a life preserver in a large body of water. (In the course of your discussion, point out that when a life preserver is used properly, it can keep someone from drowning, no matter how deep the water is or how exhausted the swimmer might be.)

Invite a few students to read Moroni 9:22, 25–26. Before they read, ask the rest of the class to look for the spiritual “life preservers” that Mormon and Moroni relied on.

Make sure students see that Mormon’s and Moroni’s faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ preserved them spiritually. Invite students to share phrases from verses 22 and 25–26 that demonstrate this great faith. Students’ answers may include the following:

Verse 22—“I recommend thee unto God. … I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved. … I pray unto God that he will spare thy life.”

Verse 25—“Be faithful in Christ. … May Christ lift thee up. … May his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.”

Verse 26—“May the grace of God the Father … and our Lord Jesus Christ … be, and abide with you forever.”

  • In what ways are our challenges similar to the challenges Mormon and Moroni faced?

  • How can Mormon’s response to challenges help us?

Invite a student to read Moroni 9:6.

  • How does this verse reflect Mormon’s faith?

As students respond, help them see that when our faith in God is strong, the actions of others will not deter us from doing what is right.

Allow students to take a few minutes to ponder how they might continue developing faith that will allow them to rise above the world and fulfill their personal missions on the earth. You may want to encourage them to record their thoughts in writing.

Invite students to share their testimonies about how faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ gives them strength to overcome the wickedness of the world.