Moroni 1-6

Did Moroni travel all the way to Utah just to dedicate a piece of land for a temple site? What is the correct meaning and function of the terms “elders” “priests” and “teachers”? Why was wine changed to water in the sacramental prayers? And why isn’t un-leaven bread used for the sacrament in the LDS Church? Did the ancient church keep membership records of those who were baptized?

The final book in the Book of Mormon is the book of Moroni.  The time period for this book is between AD. 400 and AD. 421.  Remember, the Lamanites had completely, destroyed all the Nephites during their last battle at Hill Cumorah.  Only Moroni was left to survive.  After he finished abridging the book of Ether, Moroni did not expect to write any more on the gold plates.

Moroni 1:1 “NOW I, Moroni, after having made an end of abridging the account of the people of Jared, I had supposed not to have written more, but I have not as yet perished; and I make not myself known to the Lamanites lest they should destroy me.” 

Moroni 1:2 “For behold, their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves; and because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ.”

Moroni 1:3 “And I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ; wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life.”  When Moroni states that he “wander withersoever” we learn that he wandered thousands of miles west of Cumorah to what is now, Utah.  Moroni did so in order to dedicate the site where the LDS Manti Temple now stands.  A brief account of Moroni dedicating this temple site is given in the book Life of Heber C. Kimball, page 436. “At a conference held in Ephraim Sanpete County Utah, June 25th, 1875, nearly all the speakers expressed their feelings to have a temple built in Sanpete County, and gave their views as to what point and where to build it… President Brigham Young said: ‘The Temple should be built on Manti stone quarry.’  Early on the morning of April 25th, 1877, President Brigham Young asked Brother Warren S. Snow to go with him to the Temple hill.  Brother Snow says: ‘We two were alone: President Young took me to the spot where the Temple was to stand; we went to the southeast corner, and President Young said: ‘Here is the spot where the prophet Moroni stood and dedicated this piece of land for a Temple site, and that is the reason why the location is made here, and we can’t move it from this spot; and if you and I are the only persons that come here at high noon today, we will dedicate this ground.’”  Is it reasonable to think that Moroni – in AD. 400 – walked over 2,000 miles across North American just to dedicate a piece of land?  Or was this just Brigham Youngs’ way of exciting the pioneer Latter-day Saints to build a temple?

Moroni 1:4 “Wherefore, I write a few more things, contrary to that which I had supposed; for I had supposed not to have written any more; but I write a few things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord.”  He decides to write a few more things so that the Lamanites will have something to read after they killed him.  The words “more things, that” are in 1 Corinthians 6:3 and “the will of the Lord” are in Acts 21:14. 

 

On the one hand, Moroni’s chapters might suggest a certain randomness in the way the contents of the book have been selected.  The realization that this book contains Moroni’s last words just before his certain death might convey a sense of the content’s importance, for surely Moroni would not waste his time – at this time – on anything but the most important matters.  

Moroni 2:1 “THE words of Christ, which he spake unto his disciples, the twelve whom he had chosen, as he laid his hands upon them.”  Moroni tells the Lamanites what Jesus said in secret to his twelve Nephite apostles.  How did Moroni know what Jesus told the twelve disciples in secret?  The phrase “his hands upon them” is in Acts 19:6.

Moroni 2:2 “And he called them by name, saying: Ye shall call on the Father in my name, in mighty prayer; and after ye have done this ye shall have power that to him upon whom ye shall lay your hands, ye shall give the Holy Ghost; and in my name shall ye give it, for thus do mine apostles.”  (See 3 Nephi 15:36-37).  The phrase “call on the Father” is in 1 Peter 1:17. It doesn’t mention whether or not this “power” to give the Holy Ghost is priesthood power.  Latter-day Saints would assume that is what Moroni was talking about, but it isn’t clarified.

Moroni 2:3 “Now Christ spake these words unto them at the time of his first appearing; and the multitude heard it not, but the disciples heard it; and on as many as they laid their hands, fell the Holy Ghost.” The words “the multitude heard” are in Matthew 22:33.

Moroni 3:1 Moroni provides the Lamanites with instructions on ordaining priests and teachers. “THE manner which the disciples, who were called the elders of the church, ordained priests and teachers – “  The phrase “called the elders of the church” is from Acts 20:17. In the New Testament, the term “elders” was referring to older mature men.  It was not designated as an office in the church organization.  Today, Latter-day Saint men can be given the higher priesthood and be ordained an “elder” as young as 18 years old. 

We find in the New Testament church there were “teachers” but there were no “priests” (see Ephesians 4:11).  Question is – Why would Moroni and those Book of Mormon prophets before him practice ordaining priests in their church government?  A priest would have to had come from the lineage of Levi, whose duties were to perform the rituals of animal sacrifices in the temple.  Since Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses, there was no more use for animal sacrifices and the temple rituals and ordinances.  Why was the Book of Mormon continuing, on with priests? 

Now “teachers” are mentioned in the New Testament as those who fed the flock of believers by teaching them the word of God and helping them in their spiritual understanding and growth.  In the LDS Church, a “Teacher” becomes an ordained office in the Aaronic priesthood.  There is no such thing as a priesthood “office” of Teacher in the Bible.  In the LDS context, “Teacher” is a title and they don’t actually teach.  Teachers are 14-15 year-old-boys, and their main role is to prepare the sacrament.  Then there are those who are called to be teachers in the sense that they teach approved church curriculum in various church classes, like Sunday School.  But they are not “ordained.”  They are “set apart” which includes a blessing for the duration of their call to that position. 

 Moroni 3:2 Again, speaking of Jesus’ disciples, “After they had prayed unto the Father in the name of Christ, they laid their hands upon them, and said:”  The words “the name of Christ” are in 1 Peter 4:14.

Moroni 3:3 “In the name of Jesus Christ I ordain you to be a priest, (or, if he be a teacher) I ordain you to be a teacher, to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end.  Amen.”  The phrase “the name of Jesus Christ” is in 1 Corinthians 1:2 and “repentance and remission of sins” is in Luke 24:47.

Concerning the priests and teachers in this chapter, Apostle and President of the LDS Church, Joseph Fielding Smith wrote in Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol 1, pages 12-126 “When the Savior came to the Nephites, he established the Church in its fulness among them, and he informed them that former things had passed away, for they were all fulfilled in him.  He gave the Nephites all the authority of the priesthood which we exercise today.  Therefore we are justified in the belief that not only was the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood conferred, but also the Aaronic Priesthood remained with them from this time until, through wickedness, all priesthood ceased.  We may be assured that in the days of Moroni the Nephites did ordain teachers and priests in the Aaronic Priesthood; but before the visit of the Savior they officiated in the Melchizedek Priesthood.” 

Moroni 3:4 “And after this manner did they ordain priests and teachers, according to the gifts and callings of God unto men; and they ordained them by the power of the Holy Ghost, which was in them.”  No mention of priesthood authority being necessary for these ordinations.  No mention of priesthood authority in the wording of the prayer.  It was all done “by the power of the Holy Ghost.”  The phrase “the power of the Holy Ghost” is from Romans 15:13.

Moroni 4:1 In the next two chapters, Moroni gives instructions on how to administer the sacrament.  “THE manner of their elders and priests administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church; and they administered it according to the commandments of Christ; wherefore we know the manner to be true; and the elder or priest did minister it –“  The words “Christ unto” are in Acts 8:5.

Moroni 4:2 “And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:”  The phrase “the name of Christ” is in 1 Peter 4:14.

Moroni 4:3 This verse can be compared to D&C 20:77. “O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of they Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.  Amen.”  The phrase “in remembrance of” is in Luke 1:54. Was it leaven or un-leaven bread, cause that is important? 

Moroni 5:1 “THE manner of administering the wine – Behold, they took the cup, and said:”

Moroni 5:2 This verse can be compared to D&C 20:79. “O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them.  Amen.”

The modern Mormon Church uses water in place of wine, in preparing and partaking of the sacrament.  This is done in conjunction with the instructions to Joseph Smith, recorded in Doctrine and Covenants Section 27:1-3

In 1830 Joseph Smith set out to procure wine for the sacrament, when he received a revelation commanding him not to purchase wine or strong drink, meaning liquor from his enemies for fear that his enemies might poison the wine or liquor.  The Saints were to use wine of their own making.  Water is now used instead of wine in sacramental services of the LDS Church. 

Moroni 6 Next, Moroni writes about baptism among the people of Nephi, after they were instructed by the Lord at the time of His appearance to them in 3rd Nephi.

Moroni 6:1 “AND now I speak concerning baptism.  Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meat that they were worthy of it.” 

Moroni 6:2 “Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.” 

Moroni 6:3 “And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.”  The phrase “the name of Christ” is in 1 Peter 4:14. 

Moroni 6:4 “And after they had been received unto baptism and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and finisher of their faith.”  The phrase “the power of the Holy Ghost” is from Romans 15:13.

Today, the LDS Church along with many other Christian churches, keep membership records of those who have been baptized.  The mission statement of these churches is to nourish their members by the good word of God.  However, it is difficult to find a church that follows through on that promise.  Most of the time spent at church is on peripheral activities and rhetoric.  A small percentage involves the actual study of the Word of God.  

Using the term “Holy Ghost” in this verse is anachronistic.  The two titles “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” are a product of the King James translation of the New Testament.  We would not expect to see an 1830 translation of ancient text produce the same two titles unique to the King James New Testament – but in the Book of Mormon we do.   The “Holy Spirit” is used 15 times and the “Holy Ghost” 84 times.  Oddly, the Book of Mormon uses BOTH titles in the same sentence – in Jacob 6:8.   

Moroni 6:5 Now, Moroni talks about the importance of attending church meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and the necessity of church discipline.  “And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.”  The words “of their souls” are in 1 Peter 4:19.

Moroni 6:6 “And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.”  The words “in remembrance of” are in Luke 1:54.

Moroni 6:7 “And they were strict to observe that there should be no iniquity among them; and whoso was found to commit iniquity, and three witnesses of the church did condemn them before the elders, and if they repented not, and confessed not, their names were blotted out, and they were not numbered among the people of Christ.”  They were excommunicated.  Because that would be the Christ-like thing to do, wouldn’t it?

According to modern Mormon policy, LDS Church courts (disciplinary courts or courts of love) serve three general purposes: to protect the sacred name of the Church, to clear the name of the innocent who are falsely accused, and to provide an opportunity for the guilty to repent. 

Moroni 6:8 “But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.” 

Moroni 6:9 Moroni reminds the reader that this is the Lord’s church, and that things related to its functioning must be directed by the Holy Ghost.  “And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.” 

This concludes our study for today.  Please subscribe, so you will not miss any of the future episodes.  You can also catch us on YouTube, Apple podcast, and Google podcast.  Or you can go to our website at Talking to Mormons.com – where you can download this script and learn much more.

Until next time,

God Bless!

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