Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Sunday, October 25, 2020

“I Would That I Could Persuade All … to Repent”

 






Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org

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


        As we move to the next section to study Mormon 1–6, this week, let's look for truths that can help         each of us remain faithful in times of wickedness, as Mormon did. But as we do let's keep in mind         that repentance is not just for the big ones, it's a daily process that we should engage in. We are             human and still make human mistakes, choices, and actions. If we heed the council of Mormon in         these chapters, we can more feel more prepared and have a heart full of joy knowing that we have         done all we can do to be repentant, and be obedient to Christ who has suffered all to save us.

History and Background

The first six chapters of the book of Moroni deal with ordinances and practices of the Church in Moroni’s day: baptism, confirmation and the gift of the Holy Ghost, conferral of the priesthood and ordination to offices in the priesthood, the sacrament, fellowshipping new members, and conducting Church meetings. Some might be inclined to skip these chapters because their content is so familiar to active Latter-day Saints. But Moroni included these teachings because he felt that “perhaps they may be of worth unto [his] brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day” Moroni 1:4.

Moroni 1–3 After completing his abridgment of the plates of Ether, Moroni supposed that he would not write any more. However, he was inspired to “write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto [his] brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord” Moroni 1:4. His words affirm his faithfulness to Jesus Christ, and they also outline important ordinances of the gospel.

Moroni 4–5 Moroni recorded the Savior’s instructions to the Nephites regarding the administration of the sacrament, including the prayers that priesthood holders were to use in blessing the bread and wine.

Moroni 6 As Moroni neared the completion of his writings on the plates, he explained some of the qualifications for individuals to be baptized into the Church. He then outlined the responsibilities of Church members to care for each other. He also explained the purposes of Church meetings and emphasized the need for Church meetings to be conducted by the influence of the Holy Ghost.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • Priesthood ordinances are essential in the gospel of Jesus Christ Moroni 2–6.
  • We partake of the sacrament to renew covenants with the Lord Moroni 4–5.
  • Repentance leads to baptism Moroni 6:1–3.
  • We must watch over each other and nourish each other with the word of God Moroni 6:4–9.

Part One: Mormon 1–6 We can live righteously despite the wickedness around us.

Mormon reported that, starting in the 201st year, pride, disunity, and wickedness took over (see 4 Nephi 1:24–47). In the book of Mormon we read of events where he was an eyewitness. These events include the demise of the Nephite civilization. In Mormon 1–6 we can empathize with Mormon’s sorrow over the destruction of his people, a destruction which came upon them because of their rejection of the Lord and His gospel. We can also resolve to avoid such calamity in our own lives. (Book of Mormon Student Manual)

We can all, as members of the church understand Mormon’s experience with striving to live righteously in a wicked world. Particularly in this time and season we are currently in. What can we learn from Mormon’s example that might help us now?

In the following verses find phrases or words that identify Mormon’s qualities that would direct us today ? Mormon 1:2–3, 15–162:1, 23–243:1–3, 12, 17–22

And about the time that Ammaron hid up the records unto the Lord, he came unto me, (I being about ten years of age, and I began to be learned somewhat after the manner of the learning of my people) and Ammaron said unto me: I perceive that thou art a sober child, and art quick to observe;

Therefore, when ye are about twenty and four years old I would that ye should remember the things that ye have observed concerning this people; and when ye are of that age go to the land Antum, unto a hill which shall be called Shim; and there have I deposited unto the Lord all the sacred engravings concerning this people.

15 And I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus.

16 And I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden that I should preach unto them; for behold they had wilfully rebelled against their God; and the beloved disciples were taken away out of the land, because of their iniquity.

And it came to pass in that same year there began to be a war again between the Nephites and the Lamanites. And notwithstanding I being young, was large in stature; therefore the people of Nephi appointed me that I should be their leader, or the leader of their armies.

23 And it came to pass that I did speak unto my people, and did urge them with great energy, that they would stand boldly before the Lamanites and fight for their wives, and their children, and their houses, and their homes.

24 And my words did arouse them somewhat to vigor, insomuch that they did not flee from before the Lamanites, but did stand with boldness against them.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites did not come to battle again until ten years more had passed away. And behold, I had employed my people, the Nephites, in preparing their lands and their arms against the time of battle.

And it came to pass that the Lord did say unto me: Cry unto this people—Repent ye, and come unto me, and be ye baptized, and build up again my church, and ye shall be spared.

And I did cry unto this people, but it was in vain; and they did not realize that it was the Lord that had spared them, and granted unto them a chance for repentance. And behold they did harden their hearts against the Lord their God.

How would these qualities have helped Mormon remain spiritually strong?

How can they help us be more like Mormon?

Mormon frequently wrote directly to people in our day. What can we learn from his words to us in Mormon 3:17–22 and 5:10–24? (click the link to read or see passage below)

17 Therefore I write unto you, Gentiles, and also unto you, house of Israel, when the work shall commence, that ye shall be about to prepare to return to the land of your inheritance;

18 Yea, behold, I write unto all the ends of the earth; yea, unto you, twelve tribes of Israel, who shall be judged according to your works by the twelve whom Jesus chose to be his disciples in the land of Jerusalem.

19 And I write also unto the remnant of this people, who shall also be judged by the twelve whom Jesus chose in this land; and they shall be judged by the other twelve whom Jesus chose in the land of Jerusalem.

20 And these things doth the Spirit manifest unto me; therefore I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil;

21 And also that ye may believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, which ye shall have among you; and also that the Jews, the covenant people of the Lord, shall have other witness besides him whom they saw and heard, that Jesus, whom they slew, was the very Christ and the very God.

22 And I would that I could persuade all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.

10 And now behold, this I speak unto their seed, and also to the Gentiles who have care for the house of Israel, that realize and know from whence their blessings come.

11 For I know that such will sorrow for the calamity of the house of Israel; yea, they will sorrow for the destruction of this people; they will sorrow that this people had not repented that they might have been clasped in the arms of Jesus.

12 Now these things are written unto the remnant of the house of Jacob; and they are written after this manner, because it is known of God that wickedness will not bring them forth unto them; and they are to be hid up unto the Lord that they may come forth in his own due time.

13 And this is the commandment which I have received; and behold, they shall come forth according to the commandment of the Lord, when he shall see fit, in his wisdom.

14 And behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews; and for this intent shall they go—that they may be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; that the Father may bring about, through his most Beloved, his great and eternal purpose, in restoring the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of their inheritance, which the Lord their God hath given them, unto the fulfilling of his covenant;

15 And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles; for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry.

16 For behold, the Spirit of the Lord hath already ceased to strive with their fathers; and they are without Christ and God in the world; and they are driven about as chaff before the wind.

17 They were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their shepherd; yea, they were led even by God the Father.

18 But now, behold, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they.

19 And behold, the Lord hath reserved their blessings, which they might have received in the land, for the Gentiles who shall possess the land.

20 But behold, it shall come to pass that they shall be driven and scattered by the Gentiles; and after they have been driven and scattered by the Gentiles, behold, then will the Lord remember the covenant which he made unto Abraham and unto all the house of Israel.

21 And also the Lord will remember the prayers of the righteous, which have been put up unto him for them.

22 And then, O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways?

23 Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll?

24 Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver.

What qualities did he have that made him a great leader?

In an overview of Mormon’s life, President Gordon B. Hinckley referred to the meaning associated with Mormon’s name, a name that has become a reference to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “May I remind you for a moment of the greatness and of the goodness of this man Mormon. He lived on this American continent in the fourth century after Christ. When Mormon was a boy of ten, the historian of the people, whose name was Ammaron, described him as ‘a sober child, and … quick to observe’ (Mormon 1:2). Ammaron gave him a charge that when he reached the age of twenty-four, he was to take custody of the records of the generations who had preceded him. The years that followed Mormon’s childhood were years of terrible bloodshed for his nation, the result of a long and vicious and terrible war between those who were called Nephites and those who were called Lamanites. Mormon later became the leader of the armies of the Nephites and witnessed the carnage of his people, making it plain to them that their repeated defeats came because they forsook the Lord and He in turn abandoned them. …“He wrote to our generation with words of warning and pleading, proclaiming with eloquence his testimony of the resurrected Christ. He warned of calamities to come if we should forsake the ways of the Lord as his own people had done. Knowing that his own life would soon be brought to an end, as his enemies hunted the survivors, he pleaded for our generation to walk with faith, hope, and charity, declaring, ‘Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him’ (Moroni 7:47). Such was the goodness, the strength, the power, the faith, the prophetic heart of the prophet-leader Mormon” (Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 69–70; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 52).

How can we apply Mormon’s counsel to help us stay spiritually strong in today’s world?

Part Two: Mormon 2:10–15 Repentance requires a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

To learn about the difference between sorrow that leads to repentance and sorrow that does not, we read Mormon 2:10–15 

10 And it came to pass that the Nephites began to repent of their iniquity, and began to cry even as had been prophesied by Samuel the prophet; for behold no man could keep that which was his own, for the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land.

11 Thus there began to be a mourning and a lamentation in all the land because of these things, and more especially among the people of Nephi.

12 And it came to pass that when I, Mormon, saw their lamentation and their mourning and their sorrow before the Lord, my heart did begin to rejoice within me, knowing the mercies and the long-suffering of the Lord, therefore supposing that he would be merciful unto them that they would again become a righteous people.

13 But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin.

14 And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives.

15 And it came to pass that my sorrow did return unto me again, and I saw that the day of grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually; for I saw thousands of them hewn down in open rebellion against their God, and heaped up as dung upon the face of the land. And thus three hundred and forty and four years had passed away.

What is the role of “sorrowing” in repentance? If our sorrow for sin is unto repentance, it will lead us to come unto Christ with a humble heart. Sorrow only for the consequences of sin leads to damnation, or being stopped in our progress toward eternal life.

Why were the Nephites sorrowing? Mormon 2:10–13 (click to read or see above passage) They sorrowed only because of the consequences of their sins, not because they regretted their actions.

What do you think it means that “the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin?" (See Verse 13 in above passage)

What did the Nephites not do, because they were sorrowing only for the consequences of sin?

How might sorrowing only because of the consequences of sin prevent us from coming unto Jesus Christ and repenting? Sorrowing only because of the consequences of sin can prevent us from coming unto Jesus Christ with broken hearts and contrite spirits.

What should we feel sorrow for when we sin?

What do you think it means to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit? To be humble and repentant [see Guide to the Scriptures, “Broken Heart,” scriptures.lds.org].)

Repentance isn’t easy. It takes ability. It takes self-discipline and humility. Repentance is not a negative teaching, but rather it is a positive process of building good character. Repentance could become a remedy for most spiritual ills. However, it is not a mere superficial, shallow-rooted expression of regret. What, then, is true repentance?

President Joseph F. Smith declared that: “True repentance is not only sorrow for sins, and humble penitence and contrition before God, but it involves the necessity of turning away from them [sins], a discontinuance of all evil practices and deeds, a thorough reformation of life, a vital change from evil to good, from vice to virtue, from darkness to light. Not only so, but to make restitution, so far as it is possible, for all the wrongs we have done, to pay our debts, and restore to God and man their rights—that which is due to them from us. This is true repentance, and the exercise of the will and all the powers of body and mind is demanded, to complete this glorious work of repentance; [only] then God will accept it.” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 123.)

If one truly repents, it will be manifested by his works, for, “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins —behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” (D&C 58:43.) Thus repentance calls for a heartfelt sorrow for sin resulting not only in a cessation thereof but also in reformation of life. That’s the important thing—a reformation of life!

To repent isn’t exactly popular these days. Yet the Lord expects each of us to repent, to improve, and to conscientiously reform our lives. In fact, he set for us a lofty goal, saying: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48.) (There is Need for Repentance Elray L Christiansen October 1973 General Conference)

What attitudes and behaviors can help us have “broken hearts and contrite spirits”?

“Let him that stole steal no more. …” (Eph. 4:28.)

“… let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly. …” (D&C 121:45.)

“… pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44.) Destroy your enemies by making them your friends.

Let the unkind among us become considerate.

Let the truth be spoken always, no matter what the consequences may be. (There is Need for Repentance Elray L Christiansen October 1973 General Conference)

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:7–8, 10.)

Part Three: Mormon 3:12 We can love others, even if we don’t agree with their choices.

Like Mormon, many of us associate closely with people who do not share our beliefs. How might we use Mormon’s experience in loving others despite our differences?

12 Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts.

What was Mormon’s response when the Nephites swore to seek revenge? 3:11–13 

11 And it came to pass that I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.

12 Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts.

13 And thrice have I delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, and they have repented not of their sins.

When he was in the Presiding Bishopric, Bishop Glenn L. Pace admonished us to strive to emulate the love Mormon exhibited: “This prophet had Christlike love for a fallen people. Can we be content with loving less? We must press forward with the pure love of Christ to spread the good news of the gospel. As we do so and fight the war of good against evil, light against darkness, and truth against falsehood, we must not neglect our responsibility of dressing the wounds of those who have fallen in battle. There is no room in the kingdom for fatalism” (Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 8; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 8–9).

What experiences do you have from your own lives of loving those who did not share your beliefs or values?

President Dallin H. Oaks explained: “We should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion. We encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them’ (Matthew 7:12). “When our positions do not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries” (“Loving Others and Living with Differences,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 27).

Part 4: Mormon 6:17 Jesus Christ stands with open arms to receive us.

For those who might have no hope that they can be forgiven for their sins, Mormon’s description of the Savior standing “with open arms to receive you” provides reassurance.

17 O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!

What does this verse teach about the Savior’s eagerness to help us?

President Russell M. Nelson shared the following experience:

“Last year while Elder David S. Baxter and I were driving to a stake conference, we stopped at a restaurant. Later when returning to our car, we were approached by a woman who called out to us. … She asked if we were elders in the Church. We said yes. Almost unrestrained, she told the story of her tragic life, swamped in sin. Now, only 28 years old, she was miserable. She felt worthless, with nothing to live for. As she spoke, the sweetness of her soul began to emerge. Pleading tearfully, she asked if there was any hope for her, any way up and out of her hopelessness.

“‘Yes,’ we responded, ‘there is hope. Hope is linked to repentance. You can change. You can “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him”’ [Moroni 10:32]. We urged her not to procrastinate [see Alma 13:2734:33]. She sobbed humbly and thanked us sincerely.

“As Elder Baxter and I continued our journey, we pondered that experience. We recalled the counsel given to a hopeless soul by Aaron, who said, ‘If thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, … then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest’ [Alma 22:16]. …

“… To the 28-year-old woman mired in the swamp of sin, and to each one of us, I declare that the sweet blessing of repentance is possible. It comes through complete conversion to the Lord and His holy work.”

In addition, President Nelson observed: “We also remember the sinful people under the care of their concerned leader, Mormon, who wrote, ‘I was without hope, for I knew the judgments of the Lord which should come upon them; for they repented not of their iniquities, but did struggle for their lives without calling upon that Being who created them’ (Mormon 5:2)” (“Repentance and Conversion,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 102, 104).

Mormon mourned the death of his unrepentant people and sorrowed that they did not change their ways before their lives ended. If they had set aside their pride and repented of their sins, Mormon taught that their reunion with the Savior would have been joyful (see Mormon 6:17).

We too must prepare ourselves to stand before the Lord at the Judgment. President James E. Faust explained:

“We long for the ultimate blessing of the Atonement—to become one with Him, to be in His divine presence, to be called individually by name as He warmly welcomes us home with a radiant smile, beckoning us with open arms to be enfolded in His boundless love. How gloriously sublime this experience will be if we can feel worthy enough to be in His presence! The free gift of His great atoning sacrifice for each of us is the only way we can be exalted enough to stand before Him and see Him face-to-face. The overwhelming message of the Atonement is the perfect love the Savior has for each and all of us. It is a love which is full of mercy, patience, grace, equity, long-suffering, and, above all, forgiving.

“The evil influence of Satan would destroy any hope we have in overcoming our mistakes. He would have us feel that we are lost and that there is no hope. In contrast, Jesus reaches down to us to lift us up. Through our repentance and the gift of the Atonement, we can prepare to be worthy to stand in His presence” (Conference Report, Oct. 2001, 22; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 20).

Along with ourselves, how can we help others recognize that repentance is possible?

Conclusion

It's important to know that though our times are severely wicked, they will get worse, yet, there is hope for we can live righteously in a wicked world, the Lord does not leave us alone to do so. He has given us specific guidelines through these chapters as well as our living prophet today. Keeping this in mind it is critical that we understand repentance and what it means to have a broken heart and contrite spirit. To love others as Christ loves us and to be prepared to meet him. Are we? Today if he came could we stand before him and look at him with a perfect recollection of all we have done, thought, said? I can imagine that we would be bathing his feet with our tears.

As we access the Atonement, repenting righteously, we can be ready, and He will accept our hearts. Let us not forget He stands with open arms, to everyone, that means you and me too. Let us press forward with this goal, with this hope in mind.

Resources

Book of Mormon Student Manual

Ensign

Conference Reports

Guide to the Scriptures

Seminary Manual

Institute Manual

The Fall of Adam and Eve

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