ordinances
Week 49 is scheduled for study Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2020. Moroni recorded these chapters after 36 years of being alone. That’s a lot of time to think of the future. This book holds his most valued thoughts on the ordinances he wanted to include as the remaining portion of his record.

Day 1

Moroni 1 – Disciples of Jesus Christ remain faithful despite opposition.

Moroni recorded what he hoped would “be of worth … in some future day” (Moroni 1:4). What do you find in Moroni 1-6 that is of worth to you? Record what you discover, and consider sharing it with someone who also might find it valuable.

Have you ever wondered how the early Saints of this dispensation were able to remain faithful when so many of their neighbors and former friends turned against them and burned them out of their homes and drove them into the night without mercy? I have long wondered where the focus was for these Saints. It looks to me that the behavior of their friends and neighbors was completely disconnected from their own personal faith in Christ.

It makes sense to me that if my faith in Christ is connected with the behavior of those around me then if they persecute me I will end up blaming God for my problems. But if my faith has nothing to do with the behavior and attitudes of others then if they persecute me it should only bring me closer to God. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that our relationship with God is a very personal thing, and shouldn’t get mixed up with the opinion of others about our belief and faith. This appears to be the case with people like Mormon and Moroni. They remained faithful and charitable even when all those around them were falling away and turning to wickedness.

Today we don’t yet have mobs coming against us consisting of former members of the church, but we all probably know family members who have become disaffected because of lifestyle choices or disillusionment over historical events surrounding the church. In every period of time people find reasons for leaving the Lord’s kingdom, just as more people find and embrace His kingdom. It always comes down to personal choice.

Something that should be pointed out about this chapter is that there were still those who believed in Christ. Moroni’s family wasn’t alone. In Moroni 1:2 Moroni says this:

For behold, their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves; and because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ.

The society as a whole turned away from God and embraced all that Satan offered them, but there were still believers in the land. We have been promised that no matter how bad our society becomes, it will never be as bad as Moroni’s day, for there will never be another falling away on the same scale as he experienced in his day. We will have a great cleansing coming to the church, but the church will not cease to exist as it did in Moroni’s day. The church will continue until the Savior’s second coming. That should be a great source of comfort for us. No matter how bad it gets in the last days, we will still have the prophet and the church to help us stand strong.

Day 2

Moroni 2-6 – Priesthood ordinances must be administered as the Lord commands.

Moroni recorded what he hoped would “be of worth … in some future day” (Moroni 1:4). What do you find in Moroni 1-6 that is of worth to you? Record what you discover, and consider sharing it with someone who also might find it valuable.

I thought I would share a collection of articles on all of the basic priesthood ordinances and how to perform them. This is the home article (below) and it has links to each of the priesthood ordinances and how to perform them. There are also 3×5 cards you can print on card stock and carry with you to remind you what needs to be done. These were referenced from the Church’s website.

There is more to performing an ordinance than the technical requirements. We need to remember that all ordinances are based on priesthood and the faith of those giving and receiving the ordinances. It is important that we think about the blessings associated with each ordinance and consider why the Lord has required it of us. As we think of these things we will gain a greater appreciation for covenants and the blessings that are derived from making covenants.

Day 3

Moroni 6:4–9 – Disciples of Jesus Christ look after the welfare of each other’s souls

Moroni recorded what he hoped would “be of worth … in some future day” (Moroni 1:4). What do you find in Moroni 1-6 that is of worth to you? Record what you discover, and consider sharing it with someone who also might find it valuable.

The thought ran through my head, “Why do I need to babysit my neighbor or a stranger? Isn’t it enough that I have made the covenants and am living a respectable life?” I think those are legitimate questions, and ones each of us should ask our self. Here is an answer – not THE answer, but an answer.

According to Mosiah 18 our baptismal covenants are as follows:

8 Behold, … as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

Specifically, Alma lists the following as the conditions for being baptized.

  1. I am willing to mourn with those who mourn.
  2. I am willing to comfort those that stand in need of comfort.
  3. I am willing to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that I may be in, even until death.
  4. I will serve him (God) and keep his commandments.

Alma also tells us what the rewards are for our willingness to do these things:

  1. God will redeem me and I will be numbered with those of the first resurrection, so I may have eternal life.
  2. He will pour out His Spirit more abundantly upon me.

To answer my original questions, the reason for “babysitting” our neighbor and taking care of strangers is because I have covenanted with God to do so. In exchange for my godly behavior to my neighbors in mortality God has promised me an abundance of His Spirit and redemption and eternal life. It isn’t enough to make the promise at baptism, we must actually fulfill our end of the binding agreement with God. We cannot be saved without service, for that is the condition upon which our salvation is based.

We care for one another. Service to others is the vehicle by which God proves His children and changes us into celestial people. Service is the great purifier of our souls. Can you think of any way to purify our souls that does not include intense amounts of service to others? I can’t.

FHE/Personal Scripture Study

Moroni 6:8 – Forgiveness in repentance

Here is the verse.

But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.

I would like to focus on one main aspect of this verse, and that is what it means to forgive someone who claims to have repented. Remember that the key to this verse is that the one who has committed an act for which they needed to repent “sought forgiveness” from others, and were forgiven. Some will say, “Yes, but how do I know they did it with “real intent?” The answer is, you don’t, so forgive them anyway. Only time and their behavior will show you what their intentions were. The key here is that the members of the church were willing to forgive them “as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness.” I don’t see any limit put on how often we are required to forgive others here. Didn’t Jesus say we were to forgive seventy times seven, i.e. always?

Some claim that forgiveness requires forgetting the sin. What does it mean to forget a sin? Are we supposed to have a memory wipe each and every time someone does something mean or bad and then claims to have changed for the better? We all know that never happens. We always remember what happened in the past. So how can we effectively “forget” the wrong doing?

Think of forgetting a sin this way. Your loved one does something to hurt you, and tells you they are trying to change or have changed, and it won’t happen again. Because you love them you give them the benefit of the doubt, and you don’t hold their past action against them in their current behavior. You act as though it never happened. You still remember it, but you choose not to let it color your opinion of that person or to taint your relationship with them. You act as though it never happened, and only today exists.

This can be a difficult process, since so often with sin there are residual consequences that last for as long as a lifetime. Forgiving and forgetting is the combination of behaviors that allows each of us to grow and change, and not be fettered by old attitudes and past grudges. Without forgiving each other, and “forgetting” their past behavior – not holding it against them – none of us could move forward in our lives with meaningful relationships. Can you imagine how difficult it would be for you to pray and seek continued forgiveness from God if you felt He still held onto His old feelings about the offenses you gave Him? We trust God, and love Him, precisely because He doesn’t hold onto any of those offenses. He treats us as though they never happened once we have repented of them. Be assured He still remembers them, but He no longer can justify holding your offenses against you, because you have repented. We must do the same. We have been commanded to do the same, and we have covenanted to do the same.

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BoM Week 49

(Moroni 1-6)