In Moroni 7, Mormon is addressing members who have sufficient hope to enter into the rest of the Lord and who walk peaceably with the children of men (Moroni 7:3-4). Coming unto Christ requires a spiritual sensitivity acquired only by those who are acting with no hypocrisy and with real intent (2 Nephi 31:13).
Even a good man can be considered evil when his heart and intent are not pure, or he begrudges his service in the kingdom or to his fellowman. Thus, Adam was taught that the Law of Sacrifice included doing all things in the name of the Son (Moses 5:7-8). There is no exception to this law and covenant. It is designed to influence our lives from the time that we arise in the morning to our going to bed at night. It is to influence the way we treat each person, the types of an employee or employers that we are, the ways we dress and groom, keep our yard, take care of all of our earthly stewardship, etc. To the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the Lord commanded, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36). These are protections for us so that we will not be servants of the devil and so that we can follow Christ (Moroni 7:11).
Judge with Righteous Judgment
Those who are thus oriented will be better equipped to judge correctly and not judge that which is evil to be good. There is some “politically correct” nonsense going around today that we should not judge. However, Mormon makes it clear that it is given to us to judge so that we may know the good from evil. Elder Dallin Oaks has recently given an excellent talk on judgment and the necessity of judging and the types of judgments that we make(1). All things that persuade one to come unto Christ and believe in him are of God.
We ought to fear and tremble as we watch references to God and Christ and the commandments slowly excised from our schools and our culture. We, as a nation, are in the process of changing good for evil and evil for good (Isaiah 5:20) and the Saints need to have a perfect knowledge of how to judge. Evil is being labeled as good and vice versa. Those things which lead us away from Christ and his commandments and to not serve God is from the Devil, which Mormon says that we can know perfectly (Moroni 7:16-17).
Judgment is serious business as we will be judged with the same judgment with which we judge. Therefore, the light of Christ must be strong in us so that we do not judge wrongfully. Some judgments must take time and we must “search diligently in the light of Christ” so that we may know the good from evil. Satan is becoming sophisticated in his packaging and labeling of evil. We must be careful or we may be duped.
Lay Hold on Every Good Thing
By mistakenly judging good for evil or vice versa, we run the risk of losing the ability to lay hold of every good thing. The process of laying hold of every good thing is given by Mormon.
1. Use the light of Christ to judge correctly between good and evil (verse 19)
2. Exercise faith (verse 21)
3. The administration of angels (verse 22)
4. Learn of Christ from the prophets (verse 23)
5. In Christ is every good thing (verse 24) [do all in his name Moses 5:7-8]
6. Live by every word that comes from the mouth of God (verse 25; D&C 84:44)
Miracles and Angels
Christ is a God of miracles and has it so designed that we are to have “many miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day” (Alma 37:40). Alma taught that the use of the Liahona and the miracles worked as Lehi and his colony journeyed to the Promised Land were a type and shadow of our own lives we travel to a far better land of promise (Alma 37:43-47). From the Lehi exodus we learn that when they were slothful and forgot to exercise faith and diligence the marvelous works ceased. Is it possible that we fail to see many of the miracles because they were worked by “small means” (Alma 37:41) or they are categorized as “coincidences?”
Both miracles and angels appearing unto the children of men are needed so long as there is one man on the earth to be saved (Moroni 7:36). These things are essentials in the saving process and cease only because of unbelief. Without faith, miracles and the appearance of angels “all is vain” says Mormon, “and awful is the state of man” (Moroni 7:37-38). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “We may look for angels and receive their ministrations.”(2) Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said this about the administration of angels,
“I am convinced that one of the profound themes of the Book of Mormon, one which may not yet have been developed enough in our teaching of young people, is the role and prevalence and central participation of angels in the everlasting gospel story.
“May I suggest to you that one of the things we need to teach our students, and one of the things which will become more important in their lives the longer they live, is the reality of angels, their work, and their ministry. Obviously I speak here not alone of the angel Moroni, but also of those more personal ministering angels who are with us and around us, empowered to help us, and who do exactly that.
“Perhaps more of us, including our students, could literally, or at least figuratively, behold the angels around us if we would but awaken from our stupor and hear the voice of the Spirit as those angels try to speak.
“I believe we need to speak of and believe in and bear testimony to the ministry of angels more than we sometimes do. They constitute one of God’s great methods of witnessing through the veil, and no document in all this world teaches that principle so clearly and so powerfully and so often as does the Book of Mormon.(3) “
Faith, Hope and Charity
Mormon is very clear that our hope is to be raised unto life eternal, because of our faith in Christ. He is also clear that one cannot have true faith and hope without being meek and lowly in heart, which leads to charity. (Moroni 7:41-43). Is it any wonder that most of the television programs and sitcoms teach pride, vulgarity, sexuality and all those things that mitigate against meekness and lowliness of heart? I see the young people try to emulate these things in their conversations with their friends and in the way they treat each other.
The fear is that we as Church members are absorbing too much of the world as Nephi warned us that many of us would do (2 Nephi 28:14). He says that the humble followers of Christ would in many instances be taught by the precepts of men. We are to become finely tuned spiritual instruments filled with charity. We must shun these worldly images in our actions, dress and grooming.
After all, true charity is actually a gift from God given only to those who pray with all the energy of their heart and are true followers of Christ (Moroni 7:47-48).
The issue of little children was taught beautifully by an angel of God presence sent to King Benjamin. (See Mosiah 3:16-19)
By the Power of the Holy Ghost
It behooves us as Latter-day Saints to know for sure, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and to treat it with great respect and search out the hidden truths contained therein. If we treat the Book of Mormon lightly, we will be condemned and our minds will be darkened (D&C 84:54-58). We are in a trial period with a “lesser part” of Christ’s teachings to see if the Lord will make “greater things” known unto us from the larger plates. If we do not pass this trial of our faith, the greater things will be withheld to our condemnation (3 Nephi 26:6-11).
Importance of the Gifts of God
The gifts of the Spirit are not gender specific. They belong to both female and male. In Mark 16:17-18, the Savior taught that the gifts of the Spirit will follow them that believe. Moroni, like his father Mormon, is quick to remind us that the running of the kingdom depends on these gifts. If these things are done away with then there are none that are doing good (Moroni 10:23-26). When the kingdom is well and healthy it is filled with the Spirit. Those who are expunging the things of this world out of their lives as they prepare for life in a better kingdom will be blessed with the gifts of the Spirit.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught,
If the saints are to be saved, they must accept, understand, and experience the gifts of the Spirit. Since religion itself is of the Spirit, and deals with spiritual things, it can be received and known only by the power of the Spirit. Thus where the gifts of the Spirit are manifest, there is true religion; and where the gifts of the Spirit are not manifest, there true religion is not. Hence, in his farewell to the Lamanites, Moroni counseled: “I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many.” (Moro. 10:8.) (4)
Come Unto Christ and be Perfected in Him
I think it is singular that the Book of Mormon closes with an appeal to come unto Christ and to be perfected in him. We must understand that it is ultimately the power of Christ that saves and perfects us. If we feel that we have the power to perfect ourselves then we “deny his power.” Moses taught very clearly that only Christ (the LORD thy God who is Jehovah/Christ) could circumcise our hearts (Deut. 30:6). King Benjamin taught this same principle that only faith in Christ could change our hearts (Mosiah 5:7). They only way we can make the changes necessary for perfection is to yield our hearts to him (Helaman 3:35) to make them pure and sanctified. We are finally reminded by Moroni, that the blood of Christ is in the covenant of the Father (Moroni 10:33). Therefore, all covenants that we make imply that we know that it is by the power of the atonement of Christ that will purify and purge us so that we will be perfected in him.
1. “Judge Not” and Judging, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign 1999, p.7
2. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, by Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1976, p. 161
3. “A Standard unto My People,” an address by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, delivered at a CES Symposium on August 9, 1994, Brigham Young University
4. Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, by Bruce R. McConkie, Vol.2, p.36