Several weeks ago I shared a post that discusses how we tend to prefer the short spiritual sound bites in the form of selective verses, scripture masteries, general conference quotes, uplifting memes and the like shared through social media. In that I shared how these spiritual sound bites can be less filling and unhealthy. For more context, I recommend you read the post first before going further.
Going back to the wikipedia definition of “sound bites”:
“Due to its brevity, the sound bite often overshadows the broader context in which it was spoken, and can be misleading or inaccurate.”
So in the spirit of “digging deeper” and trying to “feast” on something more–something that captures the “broader context” that might fill you up more than that snackable portion–a reader identified and pointed me to yet another instance of a snackable bite. So, with the workings of the spirit, I will let you be the judge.
Ahhh, Yes, Moroni
Not just any ol’ morsel of Moroni, but one of the most precious chapters in the book of Moroni. Moroni chapter 10 is great for a few spiritual sound bites. Verses 3 through 5 are used by missionaries every day around the world to invite investigators to discern the truth of the Book of Mormon. And we can’t have a Sunday school lesson about spiritual gifts without quoting and discussing the various gifts mentioned by Moroni in verses 8 through 17. So what if we expanded our minds a bit and tried to take in the broader context of this chapter and really see how much more there is to feast on.
First, consider the circumstances.
- This is the end of the compilation put together by Moroni. This chapter is his farewell saying, “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.” (v34)
- He is transferring all accountability from him to you (each of us) for knowing the truth of his witness and testimony saying, “For the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?”
He just finished compiling selective records and testimony:
- Chapter 6, Moroni teaches about baptism and meeting together as followers of Christ:
- None were baptized save they had truly repented.
- “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 the finisher of their faith” (v4; emphasis added).
- Chapter 7, Moroni quotes the teachings of his father, Mormon, including:
- The invitation to enter the rest of the Lord.
- Understanding the source of good and evil and discerning between them using the Light of Christ.
- The unceasing role of angels in calling all to repentance and bring to pass the covenants that the Father made with the children of men.
- The invitation to repent, be baptized in His name (all 3 baptisms), continue in faith that you may be saved (don’t take that lightly; know what that means).
- Miracles only cease because of unbelief.
- “Have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise” (v41; emphasis added).
- “Cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart” (v43).
- The power of charity.
- The invitation to “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure” (v48; emphasis added).
- Chapter 8, where Mormon writes a farewell letter to his son, Moroni. Mormon teaches about the mockery of infant baptism and that the fruits of redemption being baptism of repentance (water) and the spirit (fire) and the Holy Ghost, becoming a “saint” and enduring with love and prayer unto “the end” (not end of life, by the way).
- Chapter 9, laments the condition of the Lamanites as they “are without principle, and past feeling; and their wickedness” (v20) and “they must perish except they repent and return unto him” (v22).
If you are not yet familiar with the key Doctrine of Christ terms and phrases found throughout the Book of Mormon and that Moroni also uses including: baptism, sons and daughters of God, true followers, unbelief, rest of the Lord, cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, Church of Christ, the way, the promise, fruits of redemption and others, I would recommend that you begin your study of The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide.
Partake of the Whole Fruit
The Doctrine of Christ content in these previous chapters has been building up to Moroni’s farewell in Chapter 10. It appears that these are not just a few passing thoughts from Moroni. He shares hist farewell “by way of exhortation unto you” (v2; emphasis added).
There are 8 major “exhortations” in this chapter. Let’s ponder all 8 of them and use them to feast on more than spiritual sound bites:
- v3: Is it any coincidence that Moroni is connecting his exhortations to the beginning with Adam? Why Adam? How was the Lord “merciful” unto Adam?
- v4-6: What “things” (“receive these things”) is Moroni referring to? What is the overall message of the Book of Mormon that Moroni and Mormon capture in their editing and commentaries?
- v7: Why is it so important that he would exhort you to not deny “the power of God”? Faith in the power of God is in direct contrast to what in verses 19 and 24?
- v8-17: Why is he exhorting that you deny not the mere existence of the gifts of God? This is not a complete list of the gifts of God, so why mention these particular ones? Under what conditions do these gifts “profit” us?
- v18: He has said that the source of these gifts is Christ more than once in verses 8 through 17. How impactful is it that, this time, he exhorts you to “remember that every good gift cometh of Christ”?
- What is keeping all these incredible gifts from being received from Christ?
- What is the connection between faith, hope and charity?
- Why is it that “except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God”?
- What is the Kingdom of God?
- In addition to gifts being done away due to “unbelief”, what else will be done away?
- The gifts come from Christ, not God the Father; Why?
- [Note: “Doeth good” is a deeper concept and deserves its own discussion that can’t be done today.]
- v27-29: He wants you to “remember these things” because he wants to be able to transfer accountability to you at the judgment bar. How will God “show unto you, that that which [he has] written is true?
- v30-34: Moroni now brings together the exhortations of our spiritual sound bites (v3-5, gifts of Christ).
- He invites you to come unto who? What does that mean? Why?
- Which two major groups does he call out?
- What are the “covenants of the Eternal Father” he references?
- What is required that you could be “perfect in Christ?”
- He refers back to this “power of God”–what is required to not deny it?
- What part of the Doctrine of Christ is represented by his invitation to be “sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot?”
Feasting Is Filling
Again, my hope is that this new pondering exercise will help you recognize a few things. First, that living off of spiritual and snackable sound bites will never offer you the spiritual health that is intended for you. Feast on all the words of Christ. Believe them.
Also, I hope you realize more than you did before that the Doctrine of Christ is peppered all throughout scripture but more specifically in The Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the latter day guide for the Gentiles to receive the Savior, Jesus Christ, Himself and to have the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost abide in each of them forever. This is His doctrine. Believe His doctrine through His words and His spirit.
Now It’s Your Turn
I invite you also to seek on your own for these newfound opportunities to go beyond the spiritual sound bites and feast on more of the words of Christ. When you do, I would love for you to share your experience feasting on them with me. Let me know if it would be ok to share with others. As always, connect with me at ProjectDoctrineOfChrist@gmail.com.