Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Sunday, November 1, 2020

I Speak unto You as If Ye Were Present”



Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog

We know, as Latter-day Saints, that we believe in the Book of Mormon, it is the foundation of our religion. We believe that it is divine and sent to us from God to give us the completeness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But do we as members of His church take time to better understand the role of the Book of Mormon and its purpose?

In a study of the final testimony of Mormon and the initial writings of Moroni, we can better understand the role and purpose of the Book of Mormon. Moroni declared: “I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormon 8:35).

The Book of Mormon is a guide, a precious thing given unto us to carry us through. Let us take time today to renew our study with an enhanced outlook to gain a better understanding of this divine gift.

History and Background

Mormon 7 After the final battle between the Nephites and Lamanites, Mormon wrote to the future descendants of the Book of Mormon people about the importance of knowing who they are and what they must do to be saved. With great love for the future descendants of his enemies, Mormon taught the importance of following the gospel of Jesus Christ so that it might be “well with [them] in the day of judgment”

Mormon 8 After writing about the destruction of his people and the death of his father, Moroni prophesied of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and warned of the consequences of rejecting it. Moroni saw that the Nephite record would come forth in a day of great wickedness, when many would love worldly possessions more than God.

Mormon 9 Moroni finished his father’s record by calling upon those who do 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 in the name of Jesus Christ in order to receive the things they need.

Part One: Mormon 7:8–108:12–229:31–37 The Book of Mormon is of great worth.

How do you determine the value of something? How does knowing the value of something change the way we use it? Learning more about what Moroni said about the value of the Book of Mormon (“this record”) can help us understand its value, even more than we do already.

12 And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.

13 Behold, I make an end of speaking concerning this people. I am the son of Mormon, and my father was a descendant of Nephi.

14 And I am the same who hideth up this record unto the Lord; the plates thereof are of no worth, because of the commandment of the Lord. For he truly saith that no one shall have them to get gain; but the record thereof is of great worth; and whoso shall bring it to light, him will the Lord bless.

15 For none can have power to bring it to light save it be given him of God; for God wills that it shall be done with an eye single to his glory, or the welfare of the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord.

16 And blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light; for it shall be brought out of darkness unto light, according to the word of God; yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people; and it shall be done by the power of God.

17 And if there be faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire.

18 And he that saith: Show unto me, or ye shall be smitten—let him beware lest he commandeth that which is forbidden of the Lord.

19 For behold, the same that judgeth rashly shall be judged rashly again; for according to his works shall his wages be; therefore, he that smiteth shall be smitten again, of the Lord.

20 Behold what the scripture says—man shall not smite, neither shall he judge; for judgment is mine, saith the Lord, and vengeance is mine also, and I will repay.

21 And he that shall breathe out wrath and strifes against the work of the Lord, and against the covenant people of the Lord who are the house of Israel, and shall say: We will destroy the work of the Lord, and the Lord will not remember his covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel—the same is in danger to be hewn down and cast into the fire;

22 For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled.

What did Moroni say about the value of the Book of Mormon in the above verses?

How can we show that we value the Book of Mormon?

In recognizing the role and importance of the Book of Mormon its important to remember that the Book of Mormon and the Bible support each other. Mormon 7:8–10 

Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you.

For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them.

10 And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen.

Summarize Mormon’s description of the two records in the above verses.

One purpose of the Book of Mormon is to prove to the world that the Holy Bible is true (see D&C 20:11). By reading the Book of Mormon, a person’s testimony of the Bible increases. President Ezra Taft Benson spoke of his love for the Bible and the Book of Mormon and how both testify that Jesus is the Christ: “I love the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments. It is a source of great truth. …“… That sacred and holy book has been of inestimable worth to the children of men. In fact, it was a passage from the Bible that inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to go to a grove of trees near his home and kneel in prayer. What followed was the glorious vision that commenced the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. That vision also began the process of bringing forth new scripture [the Book of Mormon] to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Bible in bearing witness to a wicked world that Jesus is the Christ and that God lives and loves His children and is still intimately involved in their salvation and exaltation” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 100–101; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 78). (Book of Mormon Student Manual)

Can you find examples of how the Bible and Book of Mormon overlap each other in the above verses?

Can you find how the Book of Mormon and Bible are different in the above verses?

What Mormon said about the relationship between “this” (the Book of Mormon) and “that” (the Bible)?

The Bible testifies of the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Mormon testifies of the Bible. Mormon declared, “This [the Book of Mormon] is written for the intent that ye may believe that [the Bible]; and if ye believe that [the Bible] ye will believe this [the Book of Mormon] also” (Mormon 7:9).

President Brigham Young declared it impossible for someone who claimed to truly believe in the Bible to not believe in the Book of Mormon if they have seriously studied the Book of Mormon and learned its doctrines: “No man can say that this book (laying his hand on the Bible) is true, is the word of the Lord, is the way, is the guide-board in the path, and a charter by which we may learn the will of God; and at the same time say, that the Book of Mormon is untrue; if he has had the privilege of reading it, or of hearing it read, and learning its doctrines. There is not that person on the face of the earth who has had the privilege of learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ from these two books, who can say that one is true, and the other is false” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 459). (Book of Mormon Student Manual)

**Point to Ponder: Look in the Guide to the Scriptures to find verses from the Book of Mormon and the Bible that help us understand the truths.

Part Two: Mormon 8:1–11 We can be faithful even when we are alone.

As we are approaching the end of this year’s study of the Book of Mormon, perhaps we could reflect on why we feel this book was written for our day.

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. …“Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations [see 2 Nephi 25:21Jacob 1:3Mormon 7:18:34–35]. …“If they saw our day, and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?’(“The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 6).

Why did the Lord inspire Moroni to include these words in the record? How do they help us in our day? Mormon 8:26–41

26 And no one need say they shall not come, for they surely shall, for the Lord hath spoken it; for out of the earth shall they come, by the hand of the Lord, and none can stay it; and it shall come in a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away; and it shall come even as if one should speak from the dead.

27 And it shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness.

28 Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches.

29 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands;

30 And there shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places.

31 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.

32 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins.

33 O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.

34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?

39 Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?

40 Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?

41 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.

What evidence have you seen of Moroni’s prophetic description of our day being fulfilled?

What did Moroni invite the people of our day to do? Mormon 8:33 “look … unto the revelations of God”?

How might knowing that Moroni saw our day influence the way we read the Book of Mormon?

President Ezra Taft Benson spoke of Book of Mormon prophets: “If they saw our day, and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?’ (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” 6).

How can knowing that Moroni and other prophets saw us and our day strengthen your faith in the Book of Mormon?

How can knowing that these prophets saw our day help us better understand the truth that the Book of Mormon is of great worth?

Moroni saw the wickedness of people in the latter days. They would be prideful and would care more about possessions and fine clothing than about the poor and the needy. Moroni rebuked these people and prophesied that the Lord would punish them.

President Thomas S. Monson said: I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. I so testify with all my heart” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 87).

What did President Monson invite us to do with the Book of Mormon?

What blessings did he promise those who prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon every day?

As taught in this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families, Mormon 9:1–30 contains Moroni’s message in response to the lack of belief in Jesus Christ in our day.

And now, I speak also concerning those who do not believe in Christ.

Behold, will ye believe in the day of your visitation—behold, when the Lord shall come, yea, even that great day when the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, yea, in that great day when ye shall be brought to stand before the Lamb of God—then will ye say that there is no God?

Then will ye longer deny the Christ, or can ye behold the Lamb of God? Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws?

Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell.

For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.

O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.

And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;

Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.

For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?

10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.

11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.

12 Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.

13 And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.

14 And then cometh the judgment of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still.

15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.

16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?

17 Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?

18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.

19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.

20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

22 For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;

23 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;

24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;

25 And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.

26 And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.

27 O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.

29 See that ye are not baptized unworthily; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out.

30 Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words.

Even though Mormon 9:1–6 was written to “those who do not believe in Christ,” it is helpful for all of us to imagine standing before God one day to be judged.

What counsel do you find helpful in the following verses? (Click the link to read or see above)

 1–6 (the consequences of not believing in Christ) Click the link to read or see above

  • how will the wicked feel in the presence of Jesus Christ?
  • Why will they feel this way?

President Boyd K. Packer told of traveling for six days as a young man with a military crew in a hot, smoky freight train, with no way to bathe or change clothes. At a train stop, the hungry crew went to a restaurant. “It was crowded, and so we joined a long line waiting to be seated. I was first, just behind some well-dressed women. Even without turning around, the stately woman in front of me soon became aware that we were there. “She turned and looked at us. Then she turned and looked me over from head to toe. There I stood in that sweaty, dirty, sooty, wrinkled uniform. She said in a tone of disgust, ‘My, what untidy men!’ All eyes turned to us. “No doubt she wished we were not there; I shared her wish. I felt as dirty as I was, uncomfortable, and ashamed.”

President Packer then quoted Mormon 9:4 and compared his experience to being spiritually unclean in the presence of God. Testifying that the Atonement of Jesus Christ was the only way he could become spiritually clean, he then said: “Can you imagine how I felt when finally I could see that if I followed whatever conditions the Redeemer had set, I need never endure the agony of being spiritually unclean? Imagine the consoling, liberating, exalting feeling that will come to you when you see the reality of the Atonement and the practical everyday value of it to you individually” (“Washed Clean,” Ensign, May 1997, 9–10).

  • What principle can we identify from Moroni’s teachings in Mormon 9:6? Those who turn from their unbelief to the Lord can be cleansed from their sins through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

7–20 (the importance of believing in a God of revelation and miracles) Click the link to read or see above

What are the main points Moroni made to persuade people to believe in miracles?

What are three reasons why God might cease to do miracles among His children?

Miracles cease when we …Miracles can happen when we …
Dwindle in unbeliefIncrease our faith
Depart from the right wayLive in the right way, or keep God’s commandments
Know not the God in whom we should trustCome to know and trust in God

Since we know God is unchanging and that He performed miracles among His children in former times, what truth can we learn from verse 19 about His willingness to perform miracles in our lives today? God has always performed miracles, and because He is unchangeable, He still works miracles according to our faith. 

21–30  (Moroni’s counsel to us) Click the link to read or see above

What Counsel does Moroni give to us in these verses? If we pray in faith and in the name of Christ, doubting nothing, Heavenly Father will give us what we ask for.

**Point to Ponder: The Book of Mormon is so important that Moroni was concerned some people in the last days would reject its message because of the imperfections of those who wrote it and of the language it was written in. However, Moroni and others prayed in faith that the Book of Mormon would come forth in the latter days so that 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.

Conclusion

Moroni’s prophetic vantage point allowed him to complete the Nephite record with total awareness of both the escalating wickedness and the great spiritual blessings of the dispensation of the fulness of times. In a day when some people might be inclined to abandon faith in the face of great difficulties, Moroni’s words teach us to see miracles and revelations as evidence that “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever”  Although the spiritual and social conditions in the world may be in a state of constant change and decline, God’s covenant people can have full confidence that He is eternally the same.

Resources

Book of Mormon Student Manual

Ensign

Conference Reports

Doctrine and Covenants

Holy Bible King James

Book of Mormon

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  Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end...