Come Follow Me (Insights into Moroni 7-9, December 7-13) – powered by Happy Scribe
I’m Taylor and I’m Taylor. This is Book of Mormon Central’s Come Follow Me Insights. Today, Moroni seven through nine. Now, before we jump in, we want to let you know that we plan to continue to do these videos through the Come Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants year and we look forward to learning together with you.
So please join us.
OK, this set of chapters that we’re going to cover today are are amazing. They’re all Mormon.
So this is Moroni who has now inserted a talk his father gave probably many years before, if not decades before in the synagogue, back before the Nephites had been running for their life.
And then Chapter 8 is a letter that Mormon wrote to his son regarding some practices like infant baptism. And then Chapter nine is a second letter. But Mormon had written to his son near the end when when things had started to get really bad for the Nephites and the Lamanites were destroying them. So we’re going to we’re going to cover all three of these. But most of our time is going to be spent in Chapter seven in this speech that Mormon gave in the synagogue.
It’s it’s remarkable. I can only imagine what it would have been like to be there live and and to listen to him speaking live. So let’s pick it up in verse two. And now I’m Mormon, speaking to you, my beloved brethren.
And it is by the grace of God, the father and our Lord Jesus Christ and his holy will because of the gift of his calling.
And to me that I am permitted to speak to you at this time. Did you notice what just happened there?
Mormon has been called to a high and holy calling, and it looks from all indications and apostolic calling and he’s not relying on his calling alone. He’s recognizing that the calling has been extended. He’s been set apart to this calling, but it’s by the grace of God, the father, and our Lord Jesus Christ is by their grace that he’s able to then function in this calling that he’s been given.
That is critical for us to understand moving forward in time, in the dispensation of the fullness of times, recognizing that regardless of what the calling is that we have or the role that we have, it could be in relationships.
It could be in a church calling. It could be in opportunities in your community or with politics, whatever it is, whatever God has allowed you to have, it’s by his grace and the grace of his son alone that you can then actually do what needs to be done in that calling and have hope to to move forward.
Now, look, a verse three. Now, consider the source as we look at verse coming from Mormon.
All right. Before I would speak to you that are of the church that are the peaceable followers of Christ and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which you can enter into the rest of the Lord from this time henceforth until you shall rest with him in heaven.
Coming from the stylus of Mormon, that statement is remarkable because here’s a prophet who we don’t know exactly when he’s giving this speech to his people, but he knows he knows the lay of the land spiritually.
He knows the direction things are trending for the Nephites. He probably has a pretty good sense by this time that this isn’t going to end well for the people. And yet notice he’s talking about obtaining a sufficient hope by which you can enter into the rest of the Lord from this time henceforth until you shall rest with him in heaven.
I think if Mormon were here today, he could look at the lay of our cultural and societal land and say, whoa, this is rough. There’s a lot of unrest, there’s a lot of inequity, a lot of wickedness. There’s a lot of good being called evil and a lot of evil being called good going on here.
But you don’t have to get caught up in it. You can have hope in Christ that you can move forward for the rest of time through all of this turmoil and tribulation that’s going on around us. And you can find joy in the journey, as President Monson was fond of saying throughout the the rest of our lives and into the future.
Now jump over to verse five four. I remember the word of God which says by their works, ye shall know them, for if their works be good, then they are good.
Also, that little concept right there launches him into this next segment he’s going to give you between comparing between good and evil and judging.
Notice what he did. However he he’s quoting the Lord. He says, for I remember the word of God which says by their works, ye shall know them. If you do a search on that phrase by their works, ye shall know them. You’re only going to find it here in the Book of Mormon. But back in thirty five fourteen. Jesus said by their fruits ye shall know them. What Mormons seems to be doing, we would assume, is he’s interpreting Jesus’s word fruits and this allegory of using a tree and by their fruits ye shall know them.
And he’s taking the word fruits and he’s saying, let me tell you what that is. It’s your works, it’s what you do. Which makes perfect sense. Right. We live in a world that almost seems to insist that we keep looking here.
The world has taken Jesus’s statement by their fruits. Ye shall know them and has twisted it to say by their roots, ye shall know them.
Consequently, we have people who spend more time trying to dig up dirt on historical prophets and even the Book of Mormon itself, trying to find flaws in where it came from and how we got it and how it how it was produced.
I love the fact that Mormon is giving a second witness to Jesus, his words to say it’s by their fruits. You shall know them, taste it. We’re commanded to taste the fruits.
That’s how we come to know if something’s real. So I love that at the outset here. He’s saying if you want to really judge something, it’s it’s by the fruits that that thing is to be judged.
Then he goes into this section here for verse six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, where he almost to some people and I’ve heard people talk about this, they said, wow, Mormon, he’s really, really polarizing.
It’s either all good or all bad.
And they’ll use verse verse seven, eight, nine to verify this.
Check it out.
I’m going to lead in with verse six for behold, God has said a man being evil cannot do that, which is good for if he offers a gift or Preus under God, except he shall do it with real intent. It profit is him nothing.
So there are some who say, wow, Norman, it’s really it’s really polarizing here to say you either have to be righteous or giving gifts doesn’t do any good or look at verse nine.
Likewise. Also, it is it counted evil unto a man if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart. And it prophetess him nothing for God, receivals Nonesuch, where for a man being evil cannot do that which is good.
Neither will he give a good gift.
Now, before you jump into this arena of pointing out perhaps what is limited or flawed with Mormon’s perspective, I prefer to give God’s prophets the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.
And this is one of those cases where instead of saying, well, I would disagree with Morman on this, I would say, wow, read carefully what he’s saying and notice what happens and read all of it.
Don’t stay stuck in one or two verses. Read all of Mormon’s words and you get to know Mormans heart.
You understand his perspective better. Look what he says in verse 13 and 14.
But behold that which is of God, invite us and entice us to do good continually work for everything which invite us and entices to do good and to love God and to serve him is inspired of God. Now, verse 14, where four, take heed, my beloved brethren, that you do not judge that which is evil to be of God or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. Did you catch that?
He’s giving you this this dichotomy here between good and evil.
And he’s saying make sure that you don’t judge to be evil, that which is good or that which is good to be evil. And you can tell by the fruits it’s back to this tree analogy again.
Here’s the point.
Who’s who’s ultimately the one who’s going to decide ultimately, finally, what’s evil and what’s good, whose prayers are beneficial and whose prayers aren’t, whose works are beneficial and whose works aren’t.
That’s not our job. Ultimately, to make a final judgment on that, we get to make a different kind of judgment.
And Elder Deloney chokes gave a great talk back in nineteen ninety eight March of ninety eight called Judge Not in judging. And in there he makes it very clear that there are two kinds of judgments.
There are final judgments and there are intermediate judgments.
And his point is this is not your job. Final judgment belongs to God alone. That’s it.
It’s not our role to to make those those final assessments.
But he said we have to make intermediate judgments all the time in life.
You can’t live every every time you make a decision, you’re making an intermediate judgment. So using that framework, we now have lenses through which to understand and interpret what Mormans teaching us here.
And it’s beautiful in this realm of verse 16 and 17, take notice.
Behold, the spirit of Christ is given to every man that he may know good from evil brothers and sisters. We live in a world that is making all kinds of truth claims and people. It’s like Joseph Smith history low here, low there. We’ve come come to me. I’ve got the truth and others know I’ve got the truth. And there’s there’s contention and there’s disputation and there’s disagreement all over the place.
You’ll notice what Morman is doing here. And it’s refreshing. He’s saying the spirit of Christ is given to every man. What percentage that would be one hundred. Every person can know good from evil.
We all have within us this ability to discern truth from error. And we can’t blame anybody else in our search for truth and say, well, they were convincing. He gives you the formula. Wherefore I show to you the way to judge in Laurice, he’s not going to show us how to make a final judgment because they’re the command is judged not to be not judged evil in this final context.
He’s going to show you how to make these intermediate judgments to use Elder Oaks as overlay here.
He says for everything which invited to do good to persuade, to believe in Christ, isn’t forced by the power and gift of Christ.
Wherefore you may know with a perfect knowledge, it is of God. That’s a perfect knowledge. You don’t even need to have have a belief in it. You can know this is inviting me, persuading me it tastes good, it elevates my soul. It makes me want to be a better person. I feel I taste the fruits of the spirit. Then you can know that’s of God. It’s good. Now, the opposite verse 17 whatsoever saying persuade his men to do evil and believe not in Christ and deny him and serve not God.
Then you may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil for after this man. Or does the devil work for he persuaded no man to do good. No, not one. Neither do his angels. Neither do they who subject themselves unto him. Keep in mind, Morman is speaking to his audience. Moroni is either God. He’s either got a transcript of that talk that was written down at the time, or moron. I was old enough and he was there and he remembers it in the spirits, helping him write down the exact words we don’t know.
But keep in mind, Mormons speaking to his audience, living in a very, very wicked world with a society that’s imploding.
It’s got some ups and downs to it, but the general general trend is downward for him. But Mormon has also seen our day. Moroni has seen our day and marone, I chose to include it. That signals to me that, wow, these these teachings aren’t intended to just be applicable to Mormons audience back in the 4th century A.D. But Moroni, with his prophetic mantle, now made them relevant to us because he saw our day and he’s seeing the need for us to to be able to make these intermediate judgments between good and evil.
Now, I need to point something out here.
Sometimes we put so much emphasis on the good versus evil kinds of dichotomies or arguments that we miss out on some of the relevancy of what the scriptures are teaching us.
Let me show you what I mean.
Most of you probably aren’t going to be walking down a sidewalk sometime this week and all of a sudden be tempted to rob a bank and have the Holy Ghost prompt you to go and do a ministering visit.
And you’re sitting there saying, which which one should I do? And if that were the case, then verse 16 and 17 would be really easy as a formula to say, OK, well, I’m not going to rob the bank. I’m going to choose the good, not the evil. The reality is, is most of the time, most of us aren’t being tempted between ultimate evil stuff and ultimate good stuff. Much of the time we’re tempted with other things.
Sometimes it’s not even a temptation. Sometimes it’s a choice that we need to now judge make another intermediate judgement. And it’s a judgment between that which is good, that which is better and that which is best.
Once again, can you remember President or at the time it was elder Deloney chokes his great talk back in October of twenty seven called Good, Better and Best.
This is where the power of intermediate judgment can be really, really helpful. I’m not taking away the fact that we need to make entreated judgements between good and evil. I’m just saying that often our judgments need to come in that good realm between that which is good, that which is better and that which is best.
And the Holy Ghost can then help us discern the degree to which these things are going to persuade people to believe in Christ and to be good and to move forward in their life. Hey, now, verse eighteen. And now my brother and seeing that, you know, the light by which he may judge which light is the light of Christ, remember, we know that that is given to all people. Everybody has the light of Christ.
See that you do not judge wrong for wrongfully for with that same judgment which you judge, you shall also.
Be judged. This is this is a beautiful concept, and to to clarify this point, I’m going to triangulate it with a little parable from the savior’s teachings near the end of his life in Matthew Chapter twenty five, starting in verse 14 through 30, you get the parable of the talents. So just really quickly, you’ll remember we had one individual who got five talents, one who was given two talents and another who was given one. Now, you’ll notice what happens when it comes to judging here.
OK, follow this through. This guy turned his talents into ten. This guy turned his talents into for this guy, buried his and then unburied it with one.
If you if you actually look carefully at the parable and the outcome of the parable, we can learn a great deal about judging. Hey, look at verse twenty one of Matthew, chapter twenty five in this parable, his lord said under him, Well done thou good and faithful servant thou has been faithful over a few things.
I will make the ruler over many things enter thou into the joy of the Lord.
That’s what he told this guy brothers and sisters when the Lord returned to give those Earth to his servants again. These servants are bringing the talents, thinking they’re giving them back to the Lord because they don’t belong to me.
And in return he is sending them back out with the talents, retaining the talents.
And if you were to interview this guy as he walks out and say, tell me what kind of a being is the Lord, I think you would hear words like kind, gracious, loving, amazing, powerful. I would do anything for him.
I love him. I think that’s what you would hear from this guy. Enter the second gate, notice in verse twenty three, has Lord set on to him, well done, good and faithful servant. Just a side note here. The only difference between verse twenty one and twenty three is the word thou and the King James translators added it. It’s not even in the Greek texts because the the Greek text for verse twenty one and twenty three is identical.
There’s there’s zero textural difference between those two in any of the Greek manuscripts.
So basically he’s saying the same thing to this second guy. Well done thou good and faithful servant. And he walks out. If you were to interview him, I think he would judge the Lord the same way as the first guy did. Now, here’s where the lesson comes in. Look at how the third guy judged the Lord. Listen carefully to the words.
In fact, if you were to interview the third guy on his way in carrying the talent, it’s somewhere between 60 and 150 pounds, depending on which talent they’re they’re using.
But it’s a big weight. He’s carrying that in. If you were to interview him and say, hey, tell me tell me about the Lord. What kind of a person is he? See how he would respond based on what you hear here? Then he would should receive the one telling came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art and hard men reaping where that has not shown in gathering, where there was no straw. And I was afraid and I went and hid the talent in the earth.
Lo there thou hast that is thine.
You can see you can feel dripping from this page, you can feel the the fear and the the anxiety of this guy thinking you are such a mean lord. You take things that aren’t really yours and you are. Here’s your talent.
You’ve got it. I’m glad I. I was never comfortable having it take a back. At which point, I think if these two were listening to the conversation, they’d say, what are you talking about? We can’t we can’t both be talking about the same person here. That’s impossible. And yet look what happens.
March twenty six is Lord answered and said to him that wicked and slothful servant. Now news that I report I so not together where I have not Strutt. And then he takes the talent from him, gives it to other. And then in verse 30 Casti the unprofitable servant into outer darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It’s kind of a sad ending to the parable. The brothers and sisters, if you look at this parable from the context of what Mormons teaching see that you do not judge wrongfully for with that same judgment which you judge.
You shall also be judged. Makes it feel like more of a final judgment realm. If your perception, your judgment of God is that he is a being who is harsh and angry and unforgiving and vengeful. Then how are you going to live your life? What are the fruits of your life going to be? Your your efforts to do anything good are going to be done out of fear.
You’re not going to progress on the covenant path if that’s how you’ve judged God to be, if that’s the kind of being you worship.
And the grand irony of this parable is. Four, with that same judgment, which you judge, you shall also be judged they saw the Lord, they judged the Lord as a merciful, kind, gracious, loving, grace filled being.
And what did they see exactly what they had pictured in their mind? He judged the Lord wrongly. I could be simplifying this way too much.
I might be totally wrong on this. But brothers and sisters, I choose in my own life to not see God as a vengeful, angry being who’s pacing back and forth with a furrowed brow and a big book with my name on it and a permanent marker in his hand waiting for me to mess up again so he can make another mark against me so he can build a case to condemn me. I choose to judge our God as a being of mercy, a being of love, a being of power and knowledge, he’s he’s not he’s not ignorant to my sins and my weakness.
He knows all about them more than I do. But he’s looking down with outstretched arms and an inviting, warm smile on his face, encouraging me to try to work more closely with him, to overcome them and to continually repent, even if it means repenting again and again and again. Something that Pope Francis has taught, and by the way, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, we look for truth wherever it comes from. If it’s true, then we embrace it.
And I want to share something that I learned from something I read from Pope Francis, he said. You will get tired of repenting far before Jesus will get tired of forgiving you. I think that’s right on. I think he is far more merciful, far kinder, far more gracious with us than we are with ourselves or than we are with him. And so that’s those are those are important principles for us to remember as we move forward, making all kinds of intermediate judgments in our life.
Isn’t the gospel of Jesus Christ so beautiful and so full of love and light and we just love to be with you guys, just feel the spirit that comes from being with God in his word and as we’ve been feeling this love of God, I want to focus on that for just a few minutes. That very word love. That really is the purpose of the Book of Mormon is to message and to share and to elucidate and to explain and to demonstrate the love of God that we can know that it is there for us at all times.
Now, during this year, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the meanings of words, and let me spend time on one of the most important words that shows up in the Book of Mormon actually doesn’t show up a lot. But I think it’s one of the most significant words. And I want to point out that. In the Bible and in the Book of Mormon names. Are often the lesson. So when we know the meanings of names, we often know what the main lesson is, to be sure, not as many lessons to get out of the scriptures, but when you know the names, you know what the lesson or the theme or the thesis is.
So let’s talk about Mormon. He is our faithful editor who very seldom inserts himself. It’s not about him, he spends all this time trying to forefront Jesus and he’s just way in the background, just trying to be a window to Jesus. It’s incredible.
He wants us to focus on what matters now. Let’s take a look at. What his name may mean in Egyptian, the word more. May come from the Egyptian word merry, which means love and the moan of Mormon will just make sure we all know what we’re talking about here.
Mormons name. May come from the ancient Egyptian word to mean. Everlasting or enduring? So if Mormans name is the lesson for the entire Book of Mormon, his name is, then love endures forever. And whose love are we talking about, the love of God? Let’s look at how this plays out. In this speech that Moroni preserves for us look particularly again at verses forty six and forty seven and look for the theme Love and remember. Mormon’s name may mean love endures forever, and he may be concluded his speech by witnessing and testifying of the meaning of his own name, which is the entire point of the plan, salvation wrapped up in the love of God for forty six, where for my beloved brother, the word love right there if you have not charity.
Another word for love here, nothing for charity, never fail if we’re for cleave onto charity, which is the greatest of all for all, things must fail. But charity is the pure love of Christ and it endures forever. And Whoso is found possessed of it at the last day. It shall be well with him. Now, just consider this. If we translated back into the Egyptian versus forty and forty six. Forty six to forty seven. The phrase charity never fail if it would be translated as Morman.
So sisters out there, members of the Royal Society, what is your motto, charity never fail if and if you wanted to see that in Egyptian, you would say Morman. And here again, going to verse 47. Charity endures forever or the pure love of Christ endures forever. You could summarize verse forty seven with the name Morman. So if you look again at the totality of Chapter seven of moron, I look for the theme of love, look for words like love, beloved and charity and maybe just highlight them.
How often does that word show up? And just again. The name is the lesson among the many lessons you could get out of this chapter, and I’d like to then highlight what is the name of the book. The Book of Mormon, what have we translated this back into the Egyptian and then translated into English, we would call this the Book of God’s Everlasting Love. Think about that. I know we try not to call ourselves Mormons anymore, but what if you did take on that title?
You don’t use the word Mormon. You said. I’m a representative of God’s everlasting love. I’m a witness of God’s everlasting love. I’m somebody who has tasted of God’s everlasting love. I’m somebody who desires to feel and experience and to share with others God’s everlasting love. So I just love that the Book of Mormon itself. Tells us right up front, this is the book about God’s everlasting love and Tyler Todd earlier from Pope Francis. That love is so far beyond our comprehension.
We will wear ourselves out long before God ever wear himself out, providing love to us. So in your journey, just remember, as you dig deep into God’s word, no, that it was preserved as an act of love for you, and we invite you to feel God’s love yet again in your life.
OK, now Mormon asks a really important question in verse twenty seven where for my beloved brethren have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven and has sat down on the right hand of God to claim of the Father, his rights of mercy, what she hath upon the children of men. Do we no longer see miracles as a really profound question. And he answers that in verse twenty eight he has answered the ends of the law, and he claims all those who have faith in him and they who have faith in him will cleave into every good thing where for he advocated the cause of the children and men and he dwells eternally in the heavens.
And because he had done this, my beloved brother, and have miracle ceased, behold, I send you name. Neither have angels ceased to minister until the children of men, and then he describes this beautiful interaction between God, angels and prophets and men, the rest of the world’s men and women look over 30. Speaking of the angels, they are subject under him to minister, according to the word of his command, showing themselves into them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.
Many years ago, when I was taking institue classes at Utah State University up in Logan, Utah, I had so many amazing teachers, one of them in particular, that I took many classes from named Jerry Wilson, who had a huge impact on my life and my development as a as a student of the gospel and as a teacher. He taught me for the first time this beautiful concept here in verse 30 through 32 that has just helped me understand the scriptures and life and the blessing of living on the Earth with living prophets more than than many other things that have happened.
Here’s the doctrine. The angels come and they park the veil and they reveal themselves to the word that he uses here in verse thirty one is declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.
So there are these special opportunities given to a group that the scriptures call the chosen vessels. They can now bear testimony and by the way, this is one of the the beautiful descriptors that we get for the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary, she is a chosen vessel. She she is able to to bring forth into the world the very son of God as a chosen vessel. So there are multiple ways to look at this phrase.
But in this context, we’re talking about here specifically the chosen vessels of the Lord that know certain things can now go and bear testimony notice for 30 to and by so doing, the Lord God prepare the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ.
This is this is fascinating. So this person can bear testimony to all these different groups, what Morman here is calling the residence of the people can now have faith because they’ve heard the testimony of one who knows and now they can bear testimony moving outward from their.
Let me make something clear. I don’t I don’t know. I don’t have have a clue as to why God doesn’t just part the veil and talk to everybody at once from the podium of heaven and tell us what to do and then closed the veil and say, now go do it. He doesn’t seem to use that option very often. He seems to usually go with this option that’s described here of revealing things to the chosen vessel.
So they’ll then bear testimony so the residue of the people can have faith in him.
There’s something powerful about two gifts of the spirit. One of them is the gift to know. And there’s another gift of the spirit, which is the gift to believe on the testimony or on the words of those who know. And once again, we live in a world that seems to want to force it, to say everybody has to be on an equal level of knowing things at the same level. That doesn’t seem to be what the scriptures are teaching.
It seems that it’s a gift of the spirit to be able to listen to those chosen vessels who do know. And when we when we sit at the feet of prophets, seers and revelation and hear their testimonies, it’s a gift of the spirit to be able to believe on their words and to be able to strengthen our faith in Christ through that belief on their words. And that’s how our missionaries go throughout the world preaching this this gospel so that people can hopefully experience that gift of the spirit to believe on their words until they get to the point where that belief can turn into actual faith to move forward, to repent of their sins and to get baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and make that covenant connection themselves with God moving forward.
Now turning the page over. He he comes into a little segment here in the in these next few verses talking about hope and the power of hope. We’ve had so many wonderful talks in general conference given on the subject of hope from from a variety of sisters and brothers who have spoken from that pulpit to us.
And you could you could go on Google General Conference, hope and find a whole list of talks that address this, not in a general conference way, but at BYU this fall semester. Our very first devotional was was given by President and Sister Worden and then President Kevin Worden’s address. He spent a lot of time talking about hope here in Merlini seven. And he he shared a thought that resonated with me. I love it. And I’ve thought this for years.
But the way he worded it was beautiful because there’s I’ve heard people argue to the point sometimes where it becomes almost contentious about the difference between faith and hope and which comes first hope or faith and which is needed. And people will point out one verse here or one verse there to try to prove their point in the argument. I love what president was and did in his talk. He talked about two types of hope. That hope does come before faith and hope does come after faith and is built on faith.
It’s both. There’s there shouldn’t be an argument as to whether it comes before or after, because hope comes before and after. He called the first level of hope and nascent hope or a beginning of forming hope where you hope for something. And then you build your faith on that and then on that foundation of faith. Now you build this kind of hope that he’s describing in this first column of page five. Twenty four in our English Book of Mormon verse thirty nine.
But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you.
I judged that you have faith in Christ because of your meekness, for if you have not faith in him, then you’re not fit to be numbered among the people of his church. And then verse 40 again, my beloved brother and I would speak to you concerning hope. How is it that you can attain unto faith? Save you shall have hope and verse forty two.
If a man have faith, he must need to have hope for without faith there cannot be any hope. Are you noticing how everything begins and ends in this discussion with hope? We may have lost lots of things in our life, but our prayers. You never lose your hope, your hope in Christ, whether it be that beginning kind of hope or that foundation built on faith kind of hope that propels us into this next segment. Notice first. Forty four.
None is acceptable before God save the meek and lowly and heart. And if a man b McInally and Heart and confessed by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ he must needs have charity. If you have not charity, he is nothing.
Or for he must needs have a charity which now launches us into this incredible discourse on charity. You’re going to read about charity or the The Pure Love of Christ or a gap in other scriptures.
But I don’t know of any section that is clearer, that is more profound in this discussion of the pure love of Christ than Mormons speech here.
In fact, let me ask you let me do it this way. What if you’re a member of your bishopric came up to your of your branch presidency and asked you to give a talk in an upcoming secret meeting, and they said your topic is charity, speak for 10 to 12 minutes on the topic of charity.
My hunch is my guess is that many of us would instantly start thinking in our minds of charitable things that people can do to demonstrate charity.
And this would be the essence of our talk.
Now, I’m not I’m not judging, not condemning this.
I’m pointing out that words do matter. Definitions do matter.
The fascinating thing is if you look at verse forty seven, he gives you the definition. But charity is the pure love of Christ.
Notis. These are my efforts to reflect Christ’s pure love, their charitable acts. No question about that. They’re wonderful. They’re reflective of God’s love if you’re going to give a talk on charity.
Then this would be the better representation of what charity is. It’s God’s perfect. It’s it’s the pure love of Christ.
Elder Holland has talked about this where he said, true charity, pure love isn’t what you and I produce. In essence, he says it’s only ever been experienced once.
And it’s it’s coming from Christ that it’s his pure love, which now means whenever I go and do these kinds of things, I’m simply taking a portion of what Christ has given me. And I’m now reflecting it outward to those around me and sometimes trying to reflect some of it back up to God as I try to love God with all my heart, my mind and strength. But the reality is, is he loved you first. Before he asked you to love him in return, now let me demonstrate something else for you.
Look, a verse 45, I’m going to demonstrate this pay close attention already. And charity suffers long and is kind and envious, not and is not puffed up. Sick is not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil and rejoice not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Bears all things. Believes all things. Hopes all things. Indorse all things. OK, I told you I was going to demonstrate something for you. Let’s see how well I did.
I won’t be able to get this feedback from you, but you just think to yourself, answer this question. How many of you stayed 100 percent focused 100 percent of the time? While I was reading verse forty five one verse these descriptions of charity. We do this in the church quite frequently.
When we’re teaching, we’ll ask people to read a verse or two or three or four of scripture, and then at the end we’ll ask them a question.
When in reality, many people in the class will have been zoned out to one degree or another while we’re reading it, just because that’s human tendency, that’s how our brains seem to to function for whatever reason.
So let me share with you a little principle as a teacher in in your family or in a church setting or in a personal scripture study setting. Something shifts, something changes when you go into a verse of scripture with a question on your mind, you’re trying to find something. If you go in with what you might call a look for, look for this, it changes things.
So let me try this again with verse forty five modeling now this look for principle, look for not just a random list of things that describe charity, because the reality is as if we’re not careful, we are going to talk about charity as if it’s this this thing, this entity unto itself, this blob somewhere out there in the universe that’s just that’s just floating there.
And it’s filled with all of these attributes. The reality is charity is not a disembodied thing, charity is an attribute of Christ. It’s an attribute in a characteristic of God. It’s something you and I want to try to become more like. We want to be more like God. And he is a god of love. So instead of being disembodied, have it be an attribute of the savior himself, which means you can take the word charity in verse 45 and draw a little line and write the name Christ.
Now look for what happens in verse forty five. As we take that perspective, I want you to think of times in the scriptures that you know of where Christ has demonstrated each of these characteristics.
And Christ suffers long and is kind. And I have to just pause there. Notice suffers long and is kind get put together, it’s it’s fairly simple and straightforward to be kind when you’re in good health, when everything’s flowing smoothly for you, it’s an entirely different thing to be in the midst of a long, painful suffering episode of life and to still be kind. And yet we see that Jesus is in Gethsemani, he’s finished three to four hours of of this intense suffering in Gethsemani, when the arresting party comes, Peter’s going to cut off Malkasian.
You and I would be tempted to look at Malkmus and say, you think that hurts? You know nothing about pain, but not Jesus. Jesus is able to suffer long and still be kind to to an enemy, a guy who came to arrest him and he goes over and he kills him in Luke’s account.
On the cross, he’s lifted up upon the cross, and one of the first things that he seems to have said is Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. We assume he’s speaking there of the Roman soldiers who just finished putting him on the cross in a cruel way and his statement is, please forgive them, suffers long and is kind. And kind to his mother, it’s to his enemies, his family, and it’s all in the midst of the most intense suffering, this this universe will know, not us.
The next part, Christ envious not is not puffed up. Seekers’, not his own. Are you seeing instances in your mind’s eye as we go through here? He’s not easily provoked thinkers. No evil rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hope with all things. North, all things once again. Brothers and sisters, you’re not trying to approach some nebula out in the universe, you’re trying to come to Christ and to become more like him through his merits, his mercy and his grace.
Ironically, through his charity, he he will teach us how to take on these attributes if we’re if we’re more fully listen to him. Look at verse forty seven again. But charity is the pure love of Christ and it endures forever. And Whoso is found possessed of it at the last stage shall be well with him. What’s the solution for us? First 48, where for my beloved brother and pray unto the father. With all the energy of heart disease may be filled with this love, which she has bestowed upon all who are true followers of his son, Jesus Christ, that you may become the sons of God, that when he shall appear these we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is, that we may have this hope that we may be purified even as he is pure.
Amen. Did you notice it? We shall see him. As he is, because we’ll be like him, all of these attributes of charity or these attributes of Christ in verse forty five. We’ve been working on them with Christ and he’s been helping us do better, and that doesn’t mean you’re going to be perfect today. It just means you’re going to try a little harder to be a little better to use President Hinkley’s phrase. At implementing these these attributes, these little arrows, these little attempts at charitable acts can get bigger and bigger and bigger over time until we can become more like him.
And then we’ll see him as he is because we’ve become like him are our words, our hands, our fruits, our works have become in line with his now chapter eight.
This is a letter that Morman wrote to Moroni when he found out that some people were instituting infant baptism and he addressed some struggles with infant baptism. Let me point out something here. Verse eight is where Mormon found out about what was going on. He went to the Lord. He sought the Lord’s will concerning it. And verse eight, he gives you the words from the Holy Ghost principles taught to him by the Holy Ghost in verse eight. Here’s the principal.
Listen to the words of Christ the Redeemer, your Lord, your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. The whole need no physician, but they that are sick, where four little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin. Wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me that it has no power over them in the law of circumcision is done away in me.
And he says after this matter to the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me. So it’s back to President Nelson’s challenge of hear him. So the words of Christ came to Mormans through the power of the Holy Ghost. That’s the principle. And then what Morman did is he gave the practices that the church was supposed to implement in his day. And he starts giving those in verse 10, telling Moroney, his son what to teach and how to apply these these principles from what the Holy Ghost taught him.
Look at verse 16 will be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this matter, for they shall perish, except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God, and I fear not. What man can do for perfect love casts out all fear. Verse 20 key that say if the little children need baptism, Denias the mercies of Christ and set up the not the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.
And he he talks in here about God and not being a respecter persons, can you picture a little baby that died before it was baptized coming to the judgment bar and saying I didn’t get a chance to be baptized? I died before that possibility was given to me. Can you picture a God that said, oh, then you have no place with me in my kingdom and sending that child off? It’s that’s a harsh doctrine when you look at this idea of a God who is not a respecter persons and the power of the atonement, taking care of anything that needs to be taken care of for these children who are incapable of sinning, therefore not needing to repent nor be baptized until they’re they come of age.
It’s a beautiful principle to teach us another attribute of God, his his ability to to not be a respecter of persons, which, by the way, back to this, you can plug charity in here. But you can plug everything else that’s good in the gospel in here as well. All of the attributes of God can be fit into this diagram. No respecter of persons, God gives us that now we work on trying to become more like him.
True faith, God had ultimate faith in us in his godly way long before he ever asked us to have faith in him.
So now we try to return some of that faith as well as act in faith, reflecting these godly attributes. Faith, hope, charity, mercy, forgiveness. Now we get to work on it. This is one symbolic visualization of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything good comes to us from God.
And then we work on trying to be a reflecting mirror, so to speak, of God’s attributes and characteristics, perfections with people around us, as well as reflecting some of the back up.
And that is is beautifully laid out, again, not just with attributes like charity, but with principles of the gospel like Morman addresses in Chapter eight and then Chapter nine. This is a hard chapter for some of you. This is going to be one of your least favorite chapters in the entire Book of Mormon because of how? How graphically painful it is. I’m not going to get into that part of the chapter, I’m going to focus on just a few verses for six now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labored diligently for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation for we have a labor to perform whilst in the tabernacle of clay that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness and rest our souls in the Kingdom of God coming from warming that verses beautiful knowing what’s going on in his society, he’s saying everything’s falling apart.
But that’s not an excuse for us to fall apart or for us to sit down and give up in our efforts. Morman is a perfect example of somebody who just keeps doing everything he can to work with the people down to the bitterest of the bitter ends and in the way they’re living their life and the way these laminates and Nephites are interacting. Mormon and his son and I are going to continue to preach and teach and do what they can when the Lord allows them.
Now, in closing, look at what he look at, what Mormon counsels his son to do, knowing what they’re what they’re facing in their in their society, in their culture, in their near future. Look at the hope. Try to notice the grace of God and see the charity, the pure love of God reflected from heaven through Morman to his son Malony and by extension, to us today in our world that needs this message as much as ever before.
My son be faithful in Christ and may not the things which I’ve written Greevey to Wady down until death. But may Christ lift the up and may his sufferings and death and the showing, his body and our fathers and his mercy and long suffering and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.
And may the grace of God, the father whose throne is high in the heavens and our Lord Jesus Christ who sits on the right hand of his power until all things shall become subject under him, be and abide with you forever. Amen. Brothers and sisters, as we close our hope, our prayer for all of us is that we will never tire of turning to Christ, turning to God, seeking to emulate his perfect example and continually repenting again and again and again on this covenant path, knowing that he is merciful and mighty to save.
And that is how we have judged him, is a god of mercy, a God of love, a God of power to forgive and to cleanse us and to help us move along this path becoming more and more like him. He lives and he loves you. And I leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ in.