Book of Mormon Lesson 48: Moroni 7, 8, 10

Dec 28, 12 Book of Mormon Lesson 48:  Moroni 7, 8, 10

“Come Unto Christ”

To access Jared Anderson’s podcast and lesson notes that go over this lesson, click here.

I have some brief thoughts I would like to share.   I don’t think I have ever in my life studied the Book of Mormon  in such depth as I have this year.   As Mormon’s life came to a close, I felt a real loss.  He was a companion that I had for nearly five-hundred pages. Now, as the Book of Mormon comes to a close through the voice of Moroni, I once again have that sense of loss, but also of hope.  The hope comes through my faith in a resurrected Jesus Christ.

What about next year’s curriculum?   At this point, I do not know.  There are other areas of LDS thought that I would like to explore through the blog and I don’t know if I would have time to do that as well as do a weekly post on the upcoming Sunday School lesson; these weekly posts take me anywhere from six to ten hours to do.

Like Nephi, he [Mormon] hopes  for their [the Nephites] repentance but at some point recognizes that it will not come (we can track the development of this despair in the sermon and two letters that Moroni copied into his own book in Moroni 7-9)”  Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon, A Reader’s Guidepg. 94).

Moroni2 Quotes Mormon2‘s Sermon on Faith, Hope, and Charity:  Moroni 7:1-48

Distinguishing Between Good and Evil:   Moroni 7:1-19

“….like Nephi, Moroni neglects to tell us exactly when and where Mormon originally delivered his sermon on faith, hope, and charity, but we do know that he was speaking to believers.  This is the reason, perhaps, that when he talks of faith, he is more interested in its effects than in how one might acquire it in the first place (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 100-101).

7:1 “…did he speak unto the people…”   I wonder when this happened.  Did it happen during the brief time when the Nephites repented? (Mormon 2:10-16)

7:4 “…peaceable walk with the children of men…”   It is by how they treated others that Mormon knew that these people were righteous.

7:6 “…with real intent…”   How does one know the intent of another and how can someone know if one is doing good “with real intent“?

7:6 “…it profiteth him nothing…”  Perhaps this refers to 3 Nephi 14:20

7:10-11   It seems to me that Mormon is committing the logical fallacy of a false dilemma/dichotomy (click here to read what this is).   The opposite of this fallacy is argument to moderation (click here to read what this is).

7:13, 16 “…that which inviteth and enticeth to do good…is inspired of  God…ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of  God…”    This seems to be a good way to approach what some may call “spiritual questions”  or “spiritual epistemology” in life.   Ask yourself, “Will this decision bring about good or harm?”

7:16-17

“…Moroni fills his editorial interruptions with distinctive phrases about Jesus’ characteristics and mission allude to the Nephites’ extensive teachings about him (Jesus)….The purpose of their inclusion seems not so much to instruct as to suggest by juxtaposition that the Jaredites shared the Nephite understanding of Christ, despite the fact that the  Jaredite narrative was evidently silent on such matters…According to Moroni’s comments in Ether, Jesus is:

  • The source  of all that persuades to do good (Ether 4:12;  Moroni 7:16-17) (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 237).

Mormon2 on Faith:  Moroni 7:20-39

7:22-25 

In his address, Mormon never cites specific historical events in an attempt to persuade his listeners to believe.  Although he makes the general reference to the influence of angels and prophets (Moroni 7:22-25) (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 100-101).

7:24 “…and all things which are good cometh of Christ;  otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them…”  The logic here is confusing to me.   Is Mormon’s definition of “fallen” the inability of “good thing(s) coming” to people?  Why could good things not come to people  except through Christ?

7:26 “…thing ye shall ask…”  See 3 Nephi 18:20

7:33-34 

“…He then goes on to explore the relationship between faith, hope, and charity, arguing that the latter two virtues are natural products of true faith.  His main concern seems to be teaching his hearers how to distinguish between good and evil – a topic for which concrete examples might have been useful – but he argues from general theological principles rather than from historical examples, and his only quotations are from the words of Jesus… “(Moroni 7:33-34) (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 100-101).

7:33 “And Christ hath said…”  This reference is uncertain.

7:34 “And he hath said…”  See 3 Nephi 9:22;  27:20;  Ether 4:18

7:37

“…he ends up arguing that angelic visitations and miracles are as much the result of faith as its cause… (Moroni 7:37) (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 100-101).  

7:38 “…according to the words of Christ…”  This reference is uncertain.

Mormon2 on Hope and Charity:  Moroni 7:40-48

7:40 “…How is it that ye can can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?…without faith there cannot be hope”   For me it is exhausting how some members like to place in chronological order which comes first,  hope or faith?   To me it is as if they are trying to provide some type of Systematic Theology (click here for a definition of Systematic Theology), which Mormonism almost entirely rejects.  Just think of the most popular book written to try to systematize our beliefs.  It is no longer printed by Deseret Book;  I am speaking of “Mormon Doctrine”  by Elder Bruce R. McConkie.   Here Mormon places faith before hope.  His son Moroni, places hope before faith (see Ether 12:8, 9“…But because of faith…they might hope..ye may also have hope…”    I think the take-home message here is that hope and faith are interconnected and very fluid.

7:43, 44  Faith leads to hope which leads to “the meek and lowly heart” which can lead to charity.   It is beautiful how all these three are interconnected.

I like what one of the participants of Jared’s Engaging Gospel Doctrine podcast said about the interplay between faith, hope, and charity.  Essentially she said that  one reading of that scripture is that faith is what we exercise in relation to God.  This then gives us hope and the self-confidence that we can be the beings we want to be.  Charity is what we do for others.   Or, in other words, faith is what we express towards God, hope is what we express towards ourselves, and charity is what we express towards others.

7:45 See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

7:45 “…charity is the pure love of Christ…”   In Greek, the word from which charity is translated, is agape (Strong number 25).  It is most commonly translated into “love”.    Within the English-speaking world, charity is most commonly used to mean something you give (ie charitable donations).  However in Mormonism, it means something more than that and I like the unique meaning it has within our religion.

agapao (Strong number 25)  is the verb form of agape.  It means to love (in a social or moral sense).  Phileo (Strong number 25) is also translated into “love”, but its meaning is “to be a friend to (fond of an individual or object); have affection for (denoting personal attachment as a matter of sentiment or feeling).  Understanding the Greek gives John 21:15-17 new meaning:

John 21:15 “…lovest (agapao) thou me? Yea, Lord;…I love (phileo) thee…”

John 21:16 “…lovest (agapao) thou me? Yea, Lord…I love (phileo) thee…”

 John 21:17 “…lovest (phileo) thou me?

John 21:17 “…lovest (phileo) thou me?….I love (phileo) thee…”

“The context itself indicates that agapao in the first two questions suggests the “love” that values and esteems (cf. Revelation 12:11).  It is an unselfish “love,” ready to serve.  The use of phileo in Peter’s answer and the Lord’s third question conveys the thought of cherishing the Object above all else, of manifesting an affection characterized by constancy, from the motive of the highest veneration” (Strong’s Concordance, number 264).

In  a private message Jared Anderson said,  ”Jesus says “do you agape me?” and Peter says “I phileo” you two times, then the third time Jesus says “do you phileo me?” and Peter is upset because he gets that Jesus went down to his level.”  Jared  then went on to explain that agape is seen as a more elevated  form of love.

It seems to me that, if the Gospel of Jesus Christ is supposed to transform us into “new creatures” (2 Corinthians 5:17), charity is the greatest manifestation of that transformation.   Maybe when Paul speaks of “the law (in the broadest sense of the term) being dead” (Romans 7:4, 6;  Galatians 2:19), he is essentially saying that the do’s and dont’s  of  a Christian’s faith are dead because they have been so incorporated into the life of the Christian that his new transformed self supersedes the law.

The laughing Buddha Hotei is pointing to the moon, who was a monk who lived during the Later Liang Dynasty (907–923 AD) of China. Contentment and happiness being his defining attributes, Hotei has a cheerful face and a big belly.

Taking another look at it, as the Sixth Patriarch Huineng said:

“Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?”

Or, another way to say it is that the do’s and dont’s (the law) is the finger that points to what we are supposed to be.  Eventually we are supposed to look beyond the finger and begin to gaze at the moon.

 [End of Moroni2 Quotes of Mormon2's Sermon on Faith, Hope and Charity;  Moroni 7:1-48]

Moroni2 Quotes a Letter from Mormon2:  Moroni 8:1-30

Mormon on Infant Baptism:  Moroni 8:1-26

“…The first letter to Moroni, on the folly of infant baptism, similarly eschews historical analysis for personal revelations (“immediately after I had learned these things of you  I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter”), for the theological argument (“little children are alive in Christ…if not so, God is a partial God…for how many little children have died without baptism!”), direct exhortation (“behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God”), and blunt condemnation (“Wo unto such [preachers of false doctrines], for they are in danger of death, hell and endless torment”; Moroni 8:7, 12, 16, 12).  Nevertheless, in his closing comment we hear a brief, familiar theme (on prophecy) from the Mormon that we have come to know from his historical editing:  “And after rejecting so great a knowledge, my  son, they must perish soon, unto the fulfilling of the prophecies which were spoken by the prophets, as well as the words of our Savior himself” (Moroni 8:29) (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 100-102).

8:3 “…his Holy Child…” I like this title. I don’t think I have ever noticed it before.    I wonder what would happen if you ended an LDS Sacrament Meeting invocation or benediction with, “We say these things in the name of thy Holy Child, Jesus.  Amen”?  You might have to insert in the required “even” into the wording, so it would look like this:  “…thy Holy Child, even Jesus. Amen.”   That last comment was for you, Josh Richardson.

8:8, 11 For all of you that served a Spanish-speaking mission.  Do you remember using this scripture in the discussions?   I remember what  shock it was when I learned that it was only something included in the Spanish discussions;  it was not part of the English-speaking discussions.

8:8 “…for they are not capable of committing sin..” If this is the doctrine, then why do I still hear at childrens’ baptisms the following: ” After you are baptized, all of your sins will be washed away”?

8:8 “…and the law of circumcision is done.”  Say what?  What does that have to do with infant baptism?   It seems, almost as if, Mormon just kind of through that in at the end.

8:18 “…neither a changeable being…”  The theological term for this is immutable (click here to read more).

8:22 “…and also all they that are without law…” It seems to me that to whom Mormon is referring are those that respond to “General Revelation” (click here for definition).   That is, those that recognize there is a God, but for whatever reason have not had the opportunity to respond to “Special Revelation” (click here for definition), are the ones that are saved.   Of course, in Mormon theology, this does not preclude the need for baptism.

Mormon2 on the Destruction of the Nephites:  Moroni 8: 27-30

8:27 “…the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction, except they should repent.”   

“…but they do not avail themselves of that opportunity.  Nephite history has become linear rather than cyclical” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 114)

8:29 “…as well as the words of  the Savior himself.”  See Alma 45:10-12;  Helaman 13:8-10;  3 Nephi 27:32

[End of Moroni2 Quotes a Letter from Mormon2Moroni 8:1-30]

Moroni2‘s Farewell to the Lamanites:  Moroni 10:1-23

Looking at the internal chronology of the Book of Mormon, it appears that twenty years have passed away since Moroni has finished the Jaredite record and his writing of Moroni chapter 10 (see The book of Mormon 8:6; Moroni 1:1; Moroni 10:1).

“Moroni’s contribution to the Book of Mormon is much briefer than either Nephi’s or Mormon’s and he reveals much less about his own life, though stories and details from his decades of wandering alone undoubtedly would have proven quite interesting….Indeed, Moroni neglects to provide the basic facts that readers might expect, such as a narrations of his father’s death.  He merely mentions in passing that Mormon was “slain in battle” (Mormon 8:5) - hardly a satisfying send-off for the figure who has been our guide through more than five hundred years of Nephite history” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 218).

Pray for a Manifestation of the Truth: Moroni 10:1-7

10:1 “…my brethren, the Lamanites…”  

Moroni does state that his compilation of the Book of Mormon was for the benefit of his brethren the Lamanites, but he seems to be entrusting these materials to the Gentiles, expecting that they will eventually make them accessible to the descendants of Lehi.  Only in Moroni 10:1-23 does he address these “brethren” directly, and then he concludes by speaking “to all the ends of the earth,” that is, his wider, primary audience (Moroni 10:24-34).  One other passage where the House of Israel is addressed directly is Ether 4:14-15, but this is Jesus speaking rather than Moroni (Hardy, Reader’s Guide, pg. 317, note 4)

…Where Mormon tended to provide well-integrated, carefully structured accounts with relatively developed characters and brief, sporadic editorial comments, Moroni does just the opposite…. in contrast to his father’s abridging, there is not much artistry here.  Perhaps he simply did not have much to work with.

“…Because his editing is more awkward, with much less literary shaping, Moroni maintains a more pervasive narrator presence.  He has to jump in more frequently, and at greater length, to make his points clear.  In the first edition of 1830 there were six chapters in the book of Ether (now subdivided into fifteen chapters), and of these, five began with some variations of “And now I Moroni, proceed to give an account of [the Jaredites]…” (Ether 1:1;  5:1;  6:1;  9:1;  13:1).  The remaining chapter (originally numbered as V, but now Ether 12) consist almost entirely of Moroni’s commentary.  In all, the phrase “I, Moroni” appears eleven times in the book of Ether.  By Comparison, over the course of Mormon’s much lengthier abridgment of earlier records, “I, Mormon” occurs only three times (3 Nephi 26:12;  28:24; 4 Nephi 1:23).  Moroni employs Mormon’s favorite commentarial device, “thus we see,” only once (Ether 14:25), preferring to alternate chronicle-like passages of historical synopsis with long editorial interruptions, often aimed directly at his Gentile readers (see Ether 2:9-12;  4:4-19;  8:20-26;  12:6-41)(Grant Hardy,  Understanding the Book of Mormon:  A Reader’s Guide, pg. 222-225)

10:3 “…ponder it in your hearts..”  What are we to ponder? Answer –   “…how merciful the Lord hath been.” 

“…In even more general terms, the unifying theme of the book, from the first chapter to the last, is that God’s mercies are ever extended to those who exercise faith.  Nephi introduces his account with the words, “Behold, I, Nephi will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath  chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the  power of deliverance”(1 Nephi 1:20), a sentiment echoed in Moroni’s concluding exhortation to his readers:  “Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things…that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things”(Moroni 10:3).  The tragedy of course, is that so few people take advantage of God’s compassionate offer (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 8).

10:4 “…if these things are not true…”  What things?  What does Moroni mean by “true”?  Does it necessarily mean that the record is a historical document?   Does it mean true in the sense that the book teaches good principles?

“It is easy to see the differences between Mormon’s and Moroni’s approaches to history…

“…Mormon exhibited a keen interest in evidence and argumentation, especially in demonstrating when prophetic warnings were fulfilled.  Moroni, by contrast, appears to have given up on the idea that his readers could be persuaded through historical evidence.  Although he certainly believes that God’s promises will come to pass (book of Mormon 8:22, 33), he realizes that many of his readers will “deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies” (book of Mormon 9:7). Consequently, he does not bother to note the sort of prophecy /fulfillment connections that characterized Mormon’s history.  For instance, Jaredite prophets warned that unless the people repented they would be destroyed, their bones would be heaped upon the earth, and God would bring another people to inherit the land (Ether 11:6, 21).  Moroni knows that these predictions came true (see Mosiah 8:8;  Ether 14:21) but he never explicitly makes the point.

“…Instead Moroni seems to believe that only God can convince skeptical latter-day readers of the truth of his account.  In a verse beloved by Latter-day Saints missionaries, he urges that “when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true…he will manifest the truth of it unto you , by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4). In book of Mormon 9:25 (cf. v. 21) We first meet Moroni, he assured his readers that God would confirm all his words “whosoever shall believe in ["Jesus"] name, doubting nothing”….Moroni does not think that he can prove the truth of his account;  rather, he appeals to his readers to exercise faith, trusting that this will lead the receptive to a personal encounter with god’s affirming Spirit.

“…Since Moroni believes that spiritual knowledge depends more on prayer and revelation than on historical research, we might expect him to take a different approach to the task of writing history than his father, and that is exactly what we find….Because [Moroni] edits so differently, he subtly undercuts the significance of his father’s literary achievement even as he celebrates it.  How important are facts in the end?  Does the careful balancing of historical details and literary presentation really matter when all we truly need is the witness of the Spirit?  Or perhaps Moroni’s attitude reflects not a disagreement over basic principles so much as a frustration.   In this interpretation, Moroni is not dismissing his father’s efforts or sensibilities, but he despairs – rightly, as it turns out – that they will not gain Mormon the respect he deserves.  Instead, prideful future readers will mock, and there is really no compelling retort (especially without any culturally specific New Word archaeological evidence to support Mormon’s scrupulous historiographical details) (Grant Hardy,  Understanding the Book of Mormon:  A Reader’s Guide, pg. 222-225)

“Using Moroni 10:4 as a missionary tool is primarily a twentieth-century phenomenon.  Early church members did not cite the verse, as can be seen in Grant Underwood’s “Book of Mormon Usage in Early LDS Theology,” Dialogue:  A Journal of Mormon Thought 17, 3 (Autumns 1984): 35-74.  The one exception occurred in 1832 when the editor of a church magazine reprinted the tenth chapter of Moroni in its entirety, noting that it provided “a guide by which the world may inquire of the Lord and know of a truth, that these things are so,” but this idea was not followed up until 1884, when George Q. Cannon cited Moroni 10:4 as an afterthought to a conference talk and asked if this was not the way that his listeners in the congregation had gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon (Evening and Morning Star 1,5 [October 1832]: 38; Journal of Discourses 25 [year TK]” 128-129).  Such a strategy of proselytizing was brought to the forefront by B.H. Roberts in a series of articles and pamphlets that culminated in his New Witnesses for God (Salt Lake City:  Deseret News, 1909), 2:7, 378-80; 3:234)” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 318, note 10)

10:5 “…know the truth of all things.”  

“Actually, this theme of spiritual confirmation has been building through each of his three conclusions, from a brief mention at Mormon 9:25, quoting Jesus (“whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words”), to a longer discussion in Ether 12 of how a “witness” comes only after “a trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6), to specific instructions in Moroni 10 for how to “ask God…in the name of Christ…with a sincere heart, and with real intent” so that he might “manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4).  Whether one regards that promise as real or fanciful, it is nevertheless a fitting conclusion to a book that wishes to be much more than a book, a text that wants to envelop readers in a world of its  own making.  In this respect, the Book of Mormon is very much like the Bible, of which Erich Auerbach famously wrote:  “Far from seeking, like Homer, merely to make us forget our own reality for a few hours, [the Bible] seeks to overcome our reality;  we are to fit our own life into its world, feel ourselves to be elements in its structure of universal history” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 265-266;  Erich Auerbach, Mimesis:  The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, trans. Willard R. Trask, pg. 15).

10:6 “…and whatsoever thing is good is just and true…nothing that is good denieth the Christ”   This thought seems to indicate that the Book of Mormon being “true” can mean that it is “good/true” because it “denieth [not] the Christ”.   This perhaps will allow those within our faith tradition that struggle with the anachronisms, the direct inserting of the KJV into the Book of Mormon, etc. to still find place within our faith community.

 The Gifts of God:  Moroni  10:8-23

“The last chapter in the Book of Mormon, Moroni 10, is a complex literary creation in which several of the writing strategies we have come to associate with Moroni are in evidence. The  first thing many readers will notice is a discussion of gifts of the spirit that again follows an anachronistic New Testament text, this time based on Paul’s similar list in 1 Corinthians 12 (Moroni 10:8-17;  1 Corinthians 12:4-11).  The presence of this passage, though, is more easily attributable to translator intervention than the adaptations from Hebrews 6 and Ether 12 because it is much less integrated into the surrounding argument.  It still, however, occupies a specific place within a broader structure.

Moroni divides his final farewell into two parts:  in the first he addresses “my brethren the Lamanites” (vv. 1-23), and then he directs his attention to “all the ends of the earth” (vv24-34), which includes the Gentiles as well as the various descendants of the House of Israel.  In doing so, he is reversing a pattern set by his father when Mormon wrote his own separate farewells to “all the ends of the earth” (book of Mormon 3:17-22) and then later to the Lamanites (book of Mormon 7:1-10).  Mormon and Moroni alike take an urgent insistent tone, with the father’s four instances of “know ye that…” in the book of Mormon 7 matching his son’s eight repetitions of “I would exhort you that…” in Moroni 10 (both of these phrases occur primarily in the segments directed toward the Lamanites and are virtually nonexistent elsewhere in the Book of Mormon).  The only occurrence of either of these phrases elsewhere is a “know you that” in 3 Nephi 27:27 (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 324, note 14)

Moroni’s comments to the Lamanites include the 1 Corinthians 12 passage along with additional connections to themes and phrases from his earlier remarks in the book of Mormon 9 and Ether 12 (including “nothing that is good denieth the Christ…deny not the gifts of God” [Moroni 10:6,8], echoing his allusion to Mormon’s writings in the  book of Mormon 9:1, 7; and God is “the same yesterday, today and forever” [Moroni 10:19], echoing an allusion to Nephi’s writings  in the book of Mormon 9:9).  Moroni seems to have grown so fond of the strategy of allusion that he now even alludes to himself alluding to others.  (The literary critic James Woods has described self-plagiarism as “proof that a style has achieved self-consistency.”) (James Woods, How Fictions Works, pg. 65) At Moroni 10:20, he issues a second appeal for faith, hope, and charity, thereby incorporating his second conclusion at Ether 12.  He ends this section with a quotation, “If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me”  attributed to Christ (Moroni 10:23), which was cited previously by his father in Moroni 7:33 (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 261-265).

10:11 “…and to another, exceeding great faith.”    I find it interesting that in one of the few chapters in which we get Moroni’s own thoughts, he does not include “knowing” as a gift of the Spirit, but only faith (see Doctrine and Covenants 46:13-14;  88:118).

10:23 “…if ye have faith (not knowledge) ye can do all things which are expedient unto me.”  See Moroni 7:33.

[End of Moroni2's Farewell to the Lamanites:  Moroni 10:1-23]

Moroni2‘s Farewell to All the Ends of the Earth:  Moroni 10:24-34

Remember These Things:  Moroni 10:24-29

The final section, to “all the ends of the earth,” begins in Moroni 10:24 and continues its incorporation of allusions to Moroni 7 (his father’s sermon, reproduced in that chapter, was apparently still on Moroni’s mind).  Anticipating the spiritual state of those among whom his book will come forth, he considers the possibility that the power and gifts of God might be done away with, and, like Mormon before him, he indicates that “it shall be none that doeth good among you, no, not one” (Moroni 10:25), again clearly echoing Mormon’s words from Moroni 7: “for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one” (vs. 17).

Perhaps not surprisingly, Moroni finishes the book of Mormon with a series of quick allusions to the farewell comments of the book’s preceding editors, especially those who wrote in the Small Plates.  (We already know that Moroni cares about last words, since those were the only ones he quoted directly from the Jaredite prophet Ether;  see Ether 15:34.)  We hear the voices of these characters one more time, in a sort of verbal curtain call:

Compare the following verses in Moroni 10 with previous Book of Mormon farewells:

“…for he shall see me at the bar of God….as one crying form the dead…the dust”  Moroni 10:27/2 Nephi 33:11, 13; cf. 2 Nephi 3:19; Isaiah 29:4; 2 Nephi 26:16

“…proceed forth out of the mouth…God will show unto you, that that…true”  Moroni 10:28-29/2 Nephi 33:14; cf. 2 Nephi 3:21;  Moroni 7:35;  cf. 2 Nephi 33:11

“…come unto Christ…lay hold upon every good gift…”  Moroni 10:30/Omni 1:26;  Moroni 7:19, 10, 25

“…Awake, and arise from the dust…”  Moroni 10:31/ 2 Nephi 1:14, 23; cf. Isaiah 52:1-2

“…I bid unto all, farewell, I soon go to rest….meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah…”  Moroni 10:34/Enos 1:27;  Jacob 6:13 (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 261-265).

In addition, the passage includes an obvious allusion to Isaiah, who was also a major voice form the Small Plates.

“Moroni 10 is Moroni’s final attempt to bring the Book of Mormon to close.  His first conclusion, at  the book of Mormon 8-9, alluded to connections between himself, his father, Nephi, and the prophecies of the biblical Joseph included on the Brass Plates….Finally, in his third effort, written some twenty years after the first, Moroni puts on a striking display of allusive virtuosity as he borrows from the farewell speeches of his predecessors in order to construct an an urgent appeal to readers that is, at the same time, a homage to all the editors – no only Nephi and Mormon but several of the minor narrators from the Small Plates as well.  In this way Moroni forges a still stronger connection between the beginning and the end of Nephite history while also emphasizing the general unity of purpose among all it s contributors.  The gradual development of his ideas on how to compose a formal farewell can be set against his evolving conception of how best to complete his father’s history” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 261-265).

10:25 “…he shall work by the power and gifts of God.”  Notice that there is no mention of ordination in order to have this power.

10:28 “…unto the fulfilling of the prophecies.”  Perhaps this refers to  2 Nephi 3:19-20;  27:13;  29:2

10:29

“Despite his earlier misgivings about the spiritual receptiveness of the Gentiles, Moroni seems to have taken to heart Jesus’ assurance that “if they [The Gentiles] have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful” (Ether 12:37), and he trusts that “God shall show unto you [his readers], that that which I have written is true” (Moroni 10:29) (Hardy, A Reader’s Edition, 246).

Come Unto Christ:  Moroni 10:30-34

10:30, 32 “…come unto Christ…”  
“The phrase “come unto Christ,”  now a favorite of Latter-day Saints, occurs only four times in the Book of Mormon:  twice in Moroni 10, and then in Jacob 1:7 Omni 1:26.  Nevertheless Christ’s invitation to “come unto me” occurs nearly thirty (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 324, note 17).

10:31 “…O, daughter of Zion… See Isaiah 29:4;  3 Nephi 20:36-37

10:31 “…no more be confounded…”  See Isaiah 54:2-4;  3 Nephi 22:2-4

10:32-33 I cannot think of any scripture that better encapsulates the transformation that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is supposed to bring about than these verses.

[After Mormon's jarring letter (Moroni 9)] Moroni immediately follows this massacre, rape, torture, and even cannibalism with his final conclusion, which emphasizes gifts of the spirit and coming to Christ.  The jarring juxtaposition serves his purposes here, since  the contrast between living with or without God could not be made more strongly.

At this point – with the conclusion of chapter 10 – Moroni’s voice goes silent, but not for Joseph Smith, who asserted that he again saw and heard Moroni now an angel, on the night of September 23, 1823, still avidly quoting (and adapting) scripture….by the last chapter, however (and in contrast to his father’s dominant mode of persuasion), he has relinquished that role to a higher power, one that can keep speaking long after his own demise: “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye ma know the truth of things” (Moroni 10:5).  Actually, this theme of spiritual confirmation has been building through each of his three conclusions, from a brief mention in Mormon 9:25, quoting Jesus (“whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words”), to a longer discussion in Ether 12 of how a “witness” comes only after “a trial of your faith” ( Ether 12:6), to specific instructions in Moroni 10 for how to “ask God…in the name of Christ…with a sincere heart, with real intent” so that he might “manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (v.s 4).  Whether one regards that promise as real or fanciful, it is nevertheless a fitting conclusion to a book that wishes  to be much more than a book, a text that wants to envelop readers in a world of its own making.   In this respect, the Book of Mormon is very much like the Bible, of which Erich Auerbach famously wrote:  “Far from seeking, like Homer, merely to make us forget our own reality for a few hours, [the Bible] seeks to overcome our reality;  we are to fit our own life into its world, feel ourselves to be elements in its structure of universal history” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 265-266;  Erich Auerbach, Mimesis:  The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, trans. Willard R. Trask, pg. 15).   I know, I already quoted this, but I like it sooo much.

[End of Moroni2's Farewell to All the Ends of the Earth:  Moroni 10:24-34]

According to the Book of Mormon’s internal chronology, the Title Pate may have been written after Moroni 10 was completed (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 324, note 20).

5 Comments

  1. Josh Richardson /

    Ah yes, “even”, the unnecessary clarifier.

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  2. Jerilyn /

    Moroni’s words on charity are some of my very favorite scripture.

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    • Jerilyn,

      I agree. I grew to have a greater appreciation for charity as I read through chapter 7 of Moroni this time around, I woke up with the following thoughts and decided to add them to the post. It’s 2:30 am right now:

      It seems to me that, if the Gospel of Jesus Christ is supposed to transform us into “new creatures” (2 Corinthians 5:17), charity is the greatest manifestation of that transformation. Maybe when Paul speaks of “the law (in the broadest sense of the term) being dead” (Romans 7:4, 6; Galatians 2:19), he is essentially saying that the do’s and dont’s of a Christian’s faith are dead because they have been so incorporated into the life of the Christian that his new transformed self supersedes the law.

      Taking another look at it, as the Sixth Patriarch Huineng said:

      “Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?”

      Or, another way to say it is that the do’s and dont’s (the law) is the finger that points to what we are supposed to be. Eventually we are supposed to look beyond the finger and begin to gaze at the moon.

      I like what one of the participants of Jared’s Engaging Gospel Doctrine podcast said about the interplay between faith, hope, and charity. Essentially she said that one reading of that scripture is that faith is what we exercise in relation to God. This then gives us hope and the self-confidence that we can be the beings we want to be. Charity is what we do for others.

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  3. Chareine /

    Finally, I am understanding that to BECOME is more important than what we do or say. If we live the gospel our whole lives through without becoming what God would have us become, then we have failed to understand our purpose here and our own divine potential.It is not enough just merely to do or say. I MUST BECOME what He would have me become.

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