Book of Mormon Lesson #43: “How Could Ye Have Departed From the Ways of the Lord?” Mormon 1-6; Moroni 9
1. Joseph Fielding Smith: We may conclude that Mormon received the priesthood at a very tender age. He was only ten years old when Ammoron counseled him and placed in him the wonderful trust as guardian of the sacred plates. Moreover, when he was fifteen years of age he had a visitation by the Lord and “tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus.” Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 2, pp. 9-10.
2. Erastus Snow: If our spirits are inclined to be stiff and refractory, and we desire continually the gratification of our own will to the extent that this feeling prevails in us, the Spirit of the Lord is held at a distance from us; or, in other words, the Father withholds his Spirit from us in proportion as we desire the gratification of our own will. Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 352.
3. Dean L. Larsen: [willful rebellion] While the Lord has made it clear that he will not permit apostate influences to engulf his Church in this dispensation, he may, from time to time, require a purging of those who fail to withstand the tests, in a manner that he has described in unmistakable terms. Such purging, if it is required in our day, will be as painful and devastating as any experienced by God’s children at any time on the earth. The Book of Mormon: Alma, The Testimony of the Word, p. 12.
4. Orson Pratt: [Mormon 2:13 – sorrowing not unto repentance] There are different kinds of sorrow. Thieves, robbers, murderers, adulterers, etc., are frequently sorrowful because they have been detected in the crimes they have committed. They are not sorrowful because they have sinned against God, or because they have injured others; but they are sorry because their crimes have been exposed, or that they have been prevented from a realization of the happiness which they anticipated. This is the sorrow of the world; and it is of the same nature as the sorrowing of the evil spirits in hell: they are sorry when they fail to accomplish their malicious designs against God and His people. This kind of sorrow worketh death. Others have a species of sorrow arising through fear. They are convinced that they have, in numerous instances, violated the law of God; but yet they feel no disposition to reform. … But the sorrow that is acceptable in the sight of God is that which leads to true repentance, or reformation of conduct; it is that sorrow which arises not only through fear of punishment, but through a proper sense of the evil consequences of sin; it is that sorrow which arises from a knowledge of our own unworthiness, and from a contrast of our own degraded and fallen condition with the mercy, goodness, and holiness of God. We are sorry that we should ever have condescended to do evil. We are sorry that we should ever have rendered ourselves so unworthy before God; we are sorry at the weakness of our own fallen nature. This kind of sorrow will lead us to obey every commandment of God; it will make us humble and childlike in our dispositions; it will impart unto us meekness and lowliness of mind; it will cause our hearts to be broken and our spirits to be contrite; it will cause us to watch, with great carefulness, every word, thought and deed; it will call up our past dealings with mankind, and we will feel most anxious to make restitution to all whom we may have, in any way, injured. … These, and many other good things, are the result of godly sorrow for sin. This is repentance not in word, but in deed; this is the sorrow with which the heavens are pleased. Writings of an Apostle, pp. 30-31.
5. Spencer W. Kimball: [Mormon 2:15 – the day of grace was past] It is true that the great principle of repentance is always available, but for the wicked and rebellious there are serious reservations to this statement. For instance, sin is intensely habit-forming and sometimes moves men to the tragic point of no return. Without repentance there can be no forgiveness, and without forgiveness all the blessings of eternity hang in jeopardy. As the transgressor moves deeper and deeper in his sin, and the error is entrenched more deeply and the will to change is weakened, it becomes increasingly nearer hopeless and he skids down and down until either he does not want to climb back up or he has lost the power to do so. The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 117.
6. Boyd K. Packer: [Mormon 4:5 – wicked punished by the wicked] As was the case with the Nephites, so often is it the case that God does not have to personally curse, condemn, or punish the wicked; their actions and associations produce natural consequences that in and of themselves become severe punishments. Many of the destructions, plagues, and atrocities that come upon the world are a direct result of the wickedness of man. Teach Ye Diligently, p. 262.
7. C.S. Lewis: It is men, not God, who have produced racks, whips, prisons, slavery, guns, bayonets, and bombs; it is by human avarice or human stupidity, not by the churlishness of nature, that we have poverty and overwork. The Problem of Pain, p. 89.
8. Ezra Taft Benson: [Mormon 5:10 – realize and know from whence blessings come] In the outer office of the Council of Twelve hangs a painting by Utah artist Arnold Friberg, depicting George Washington, the father of our country, on his knees at Valley Forge. That painting symbolizes the faith of our forebears. I wish it could be in every American home. In the 1940’s, while serving as the executive officer of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in Washington, D.C., I saw in a Hilton hotel a placard depicting Uncle Sam, representing America, on his knees in humility and prayer. Beneath the placard was the inscription “Not beaten there by the hammer and sickle, but freely, responsibly, confidently .… We need fear nothing or no one save God.” That picture has stayed in my memory ever since. America on her knees – in recognition that all our blessings come from God! America on her knees – out of a desire to serve the God of this land by keeping His commandments! This is the sovereign remedy to all of our problems and the preservation of our liberties. This Nation Shall Endure, pp. 45-46.
9. Sidney B. Sperry: Before the last great battle ensued between the Nephite and Lamanite armies at Cumorah in the year 385 AD, Mormon entrusted the plates containing his abridgement of the plates of Nephi to his son, Moroni. Nevertheless, after the battle – in which he was wounded – Mormon again obtained the plates and added some final words found in chapters 6 and 7 respectively of the book called after his name. All of the other records of his people he had previously hid up in the hill Cumorah. It seems almost incredible, but the apparent fact remains that Moroni wandered alone over the face of this land for sixteen years (Mormon 8:6) before adding anything to the abridged record as commanded by his father. A Book of Mormon Treasury, p. 122.
10. Gilbert Charles Orme: [Mormon 5:17 – Christ as their shepherd] A story is told about the great Lincoln in the dark days of the Civil War. As the president paced the floor wondering who would be the victor, North or South, his secretary said, “Mr. Lincoln, I hope the Lord is on our side.” To this, the president answered, “I hope we are on the Lord’s side.” What a difference in point of view. When the whole world is in turmoil, we can all ask, are we on the Lord’s side? The Four Estates of Man, p. 121.
11. Robert D. Hales: [Mormon 9:3-5 – anger] When my sweetheart and I were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple, Elder Harold B. Lee gave us wise counsel: “When you raise your voice in anger, the Spirit departs from your home.” We must never, out of anger, lock the door of our home or our heart to our children. Like the prodigal son, our children need to know that when they come to themselves they can turn to us for love and counsel. Gen. Conference, April 1999.
12. Spencer W. Kimball: [Mormon 9:9 – that which was most dear and precious] The lack of chastity, fidelity, and virtue – fast becoming great, worldwide sins which need to be repented of – causes rivers of tears to flow, breaks numerous homes, deprives and frustrates armies of innocent children. Loss of virtue, as you know, has toppled many nations and civilizations. Moral decadence is a villain, and his forehead is branded with the words, dishonesty, bribery, irreverence, selfishness, immorality, debauchery, and all forms of sexual deviation. Each of us is a son or daughter of God and has a responsibility to measure up to a perfect, Christlike life of self-mastery, finally returning to God with our virtue. Gen. Conference, Oct. 1979.
13. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: Despite the terrible scenes of wickedness and warfare he has observed and described to Moroni, Mormon ends his epistle with hope and encouragement that is centered in Christ. He prays for the protection of his beloved son and gives a final exhortation to Moroni not to despair because of the terrible things happening around them, but to be of good cheer in Christ. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 362.
14. Ezra Taft Benson: The gospel is the only answer to the problems of the world. We may cry peace. We may hold peace conferences. And I have nothing but commendation for those who work for peace. But it is my conviction that peace must come from within. It cannot be imposed by state mandate. It can come only by following the teachings and the example of the Prince of Peace. Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 705.
Next week: Mormon 7-9 “I Speak Unto You As If Ye Were Present”