Have you ever jumped ahead to read the last few pages of a book first? I have. I try not to, but sometimes I really like to know how it all turns out. I’m also a little sad every time I come to the end of a good book. I find myself slowing it down so that the story and characters stay alive a little longer.
I’ve definitely done that this time through Moroni. I haven’t quite wanted to reach and finish Moroni 10, the last chapter of this incredible book. Yet, this might be the best last chapter to read first. Moroni tells us how to receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon, how to recognize gifts of the Spirit, teaches of faith, hope, and charity, encourages us to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32), and challenges us to sanctify our souls. That’s a great note to end (and begin again) on.
DISCUSS and PONDER: What blessings have your family received by studying the Book of Mormon together this year? Review this chart I made earlier. How have you felt or seen any of these promises fulfilled?
I can know the truth by the power of the Holy Ghost
My mission set of scriptures is so worn that these pages with these verses have completely fallen out. That’s how many times I, or any missionary, has referred to this passage in Moroni 10. We sometimes call it Moroni’s promise but really it’s the Lord’s promise, His divine formula for knowing truth. The Lord offers a guarantee, standing behind each prophet who has testified within: that each reader can discover individually the truth of the Book of Mormon. What a powerful promise.
Moroni exhorts us, which is a strong way of inviting us to heed. An exhortation is a call to action. It isn’t a passive invitation but is filled with verbs: we are to 1) read these things; 2) remember how merciful the Lord hath been; 3) ponder in our hearts; 4) receive these things; 5) ask God if they are true; and 6) know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:3-5). This promise from the Lord is sure. What isn’t as clear is its timing. For some, perhaps this process is quick, for others it takes longer. But for those who honestly seek, answers will come.
Not only will an honest seeker come to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, but they will come to know Christ. That is part of the promise: “ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:7). So, this promise is bigger than knowing if the Book of Mormon is true. It is about much more, as stated in the introduction page: “Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.”
DISCUSS and PONDER:
What are some of your family’s favorite stories from this reading of the Book of Mormon? How have you seen “how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men” (Moroni 10:3) from your study this year? How have you seen the Lord’s hand of mercy in your own lives?
Have your family brainstorm single words or short phrases from the Book of Mormon. These can be principles such as FAITH and CONVERSION, names such as NEPHI or SAMUEL THE LAMANITE, or anything else that reminds you of your study this year. The more the better.
- Have everyone choose a word from the list and hand-letter or color it to make a visual reminder you somethings you have learned
- Or, drop all of your words into a Word Cloud generator (here’s an option or this one) and print it out as a reminder. Here’s mine in the shape of the tree of life:
“Deny not the gifts of God.”
Moroni wanted us to understand more about recognizing and developing the spiritual gifts we’ve been given. He listed several examples of such gifts in these verses and counseled us to “deny not the gifts of God, for they are many” (Moroni 10:8).
As suggested in the Come, Follow Me manual, let’s look at some truths that can help us discover our spiritual gifts and use them with greater power to bless ourselves and others:
- Gifts are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them (Moroni 10:8)
- All these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ (Moroni 10:17)
- They come unto every man severally (individually) (Moroni 10:17)
- They come according to God’s will (Moroni 10:17)
- Every good gift comes of Christ ((Moroni 10:18)
- Spiritual gifts will never be done away except by unbelief, since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Moroni 10:19)
- Faith, hope, and charity are a must (Moroni 10:20)
- Spiritual gifts always accompany faith (Moroni 10 chapter heading)
- When we do good we work by the power and gifts of God (Moroni 10:25)
- We should come unto Christ and lay hold upon every good gift (Moroni 10:30)
Discovering and developing spiritual gifts is an individual and life-long quest. For me, gifts surface at different seasons in my life and for different purposes. My patriarchal blessing gives me insight, as well as perspectives from close family and friends. When we are willing to be taught, and take our strengths and weaknesses before the Lord, we will be taught in how to best use our gifts to serve others (Ether 12:27).
DISCUSS and PONDER:
Why did Moroni choose to devote several verses to spiritual gifts in what became the last chapter of the Book of Mormon? What are we to learn about the importance of spiritual gifts? What are some ways we can recognize which gifts of the Spirit we already have and which we should actively seek after? How can we better support and draw out the spiritual gifts of others?
- Review the definition of “Gifts of the Spirit” in the Guide to the Scriptures: “Special spiritual blessings given by the Lord to worthy individuals for their own benefit and for them to use in blessing others.” Divide into groups and study Doctrine and Covenants 46:11–33 and 1 Corinthians 12:1–12. What do you learn from these additional scriptures that shed light on Moroni 10?
- How could you help a friend or child who feels they don’t have any spiritual gifts? Read the entry on Spiritual Gifts in Gospel Topics: “Each faithful member of the Church has at least one spiritual gift…The Lord blesses His children in many ways according to their faithfulness and their needs and the needs of those they serve.”
- Make a list of at least one spiritual gift that each member of your family has. Display it for the week and reflect on how those gifts make the family stronger.
- Children could use this article in the Friend to help them learn more about spiritual gifts.
I can be perfected through the grace of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes it seems we live in a world where we demand perfection from ourselves and from others. Perfectionism can be damaging, rigid, and divisive. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Around the Church I hear many who struggle with this issue: ‘I am just not good enough.’ ‘I fall so far short.’ ‘I will never measure up.’ I hear this from teenagers. I hear it from missionaries. I hear it from new converts. I hear it from lifelong members” (Be Ye Therefore Perfect—Eventually, Oct. 2017).
What, then, are we to learn about becoming perfect?
Moroni’s insight is critical to understanding this. He challenged us to, “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him…that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32). The grace of Christ is key.
We aren’t expected to be perfect on our own – that will always be outside of our mortal reach. Such perfectionism denies Christ and His Atoning sacrifice. No, we are to instead “deny [our]selves of all ungodliness” and “love God with all [our] might, mind and strength” (Moroni 10:32). As we come unto Christ and love and serve Him with all that we have, we become perfected in Him. It is through His love, mercy, and ultimate grace that we are made perfect. Our covenants yoke us to Him and “we become holy, without spot” as we receive a remission of our sins (Moroni 10:33).
Elder Holland said, “The grace of Christ offers us not only salvation from sorrow and sin and death but also salvation from our own persistent self-criticism….Except for Jesus, there have been no flawless performances on this earthly journey we are pursuing, so while in mortality let’s strive for steady improvement without obsessing over what behavioral scientists call ‘toxic perfectionism….May we refuse to let our own mortal follies, and the inevitable shortcomings of even the best men and women around us, make us cynical about the truths of the gospel, the truthfulness of the Church, our hope for our future, or the possibility of godliness. If we persevere, then somewhere in eternity our refinement will be finished and complete—which is the New Testament meaning of perfection” (Be Ye Therefore Perfect—Eventually, Oct. 2017).
My daughter’s gymnastics teacher often said, “Practice makes progress.” Progress is the real goal. Elder Holland called this “steady improvement.” As we take steps towards Christ, we move towards perfection in Christ. Repentance is a gift that helps us get there.
DISCUSS and PONDER:
How can perfectionism be toxic? What is the difference between being perfect and becoming perfect in Christ? How can we exercise more patience with ourselves and others in our journey along the covenant path towards perfection in Christ? What could we do in our family to better help each other make “steady improvement” towards worthwhile goals?
Each chapter of Moroni feels like the end, as he wasn’t sure how much longer he’d be able to write. However, as he wrote the very last verse in the Book of Mormon, he appeared to know this really was the end. He wrote his final exhortation and testimony before he sealed up the record.
Writers know how challenging it is to craft a finish to a chapter, a conversation, and especially a book. They aim to give readers a sense of completion while also challenging them to move ahead. Moroni did just that: “And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen” (Moroni 10:34).
He bid us farewell. He testified that he knows what will happen to him after he dies. He testified of the resurrection and judgement. Then, perhaps because he felt so connected to us as the readers he loved and labored for, he expressed hope of meeting us “before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah” (Moroni 10:34). What would we say to him? How would we account for how we have cherished and lived by the record he sacrificed so much for?
As I read “THE END” at the bottom of the page, I feel a twinge of sadness as I wrap up yet another reading of this incredible record. I feel how much my own testimony – and that of my family – has grown this year. Somehow, and I think I’ve decided to start each new reading of the Book of Mormon with Moroni 10, I feel like this is just the beginning. Great things did not end in this book. There are “many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” yet ahead (Article of Faith 9). I want to live a life full of “steady improvement”, of coming closer to Jesus Christ a little each day, so that I can be “perfected in Christ” and end my life with a testimony as inspiring as Moroni’s.