Sunday School Lesson 43

November 2, 2004 | 2 comments
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Lesson 43: Mormon 1-6, Moroni 9

Since I’m putting these together between conferences all over North America, the last lesson and this are not as complete as I would like. My apologies.

Chapter 1

Verse 15: What does Mormon mean when he says he “tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus�? What might that metaphor say to us?

Verse 16: Notice that Mormon isn’t allowed to preach because the people were in rebellion, not because he was only fifteen. We think of Mormon as an incredible fifteen-year-old, but might not this also say something about the potential of our own fifteen-year-olds?

Verse 17: The implication of the beginning of the verse is that Mormon could have left his people, perhaps to go off on his own as Lehi and other prophets have done. It is surprising that leaving is such a real possibility for a fifteen-year-old. How can that be?

Chapter 2

Verse 1: We’ve seen that Mormon must have been extraordinary, especially when compared with what we expect to see in boys his age. But it is unlikely that we would ask even an extraordinary boy to lead the army. What might this tell us about the Nephites?

Verse 8: How is the word “revolution� being used here? The Lamanites appear to be a separate group rather than a group within the Nephite nation, so “revolution� doesn’t seem to mean what we usually mean by it, an internal attempt to overthrow the government.

Verse 12: What kind of rejoicing is this that Mormon describes? Usually we feel sorrow when we see the kind of suffering and destruction he is seeing, even if those suffering “deserve� what they are getting or are being brought to repentance by their sufferings. (We think something like, “It’s too bad it took this to get them to repent.�) Is Mormon simply callous, or is something else going on here?

Verse 13: What is the difference between the sorrow of the damned and the sorrow of the repentant? How do we distinguish the two? (See also 2 Corinthians 7:9-11.)

Verse 14: Why do they wish to die and struggle for their lives at the same time?

Verse 15: What does he mean when he says “the day of grace was past with them�? The word “grace� refers to a gift of some sort. What gift is no longer available to them? Why is it a gift? Why is it not longer available, because God now refuses to give it or for some other reason?

Verse 19: To what is he referring when he says he will be lifted up at the last day? How does that contrast with the sorrow he has felt for his whole life?

Verse 26: Notice that though Book of Mormon prophets have taken Nephite defeat as a sign of Nephite wickedness, Mormon does not take Nephite victory as a sign of Nephite righteousness. Does this tell us anything about our own situation?

Chapter 3

Verse 12: What does it mean to say that Mormon loves his people? They are so wicked that he will no longer lead them. How can he love them? What was “without faith�? Mormon’s prayer? If so, why was he praying so long for them? Why would a person pray all day long for another, but without faith?

Verses 14-15: What has changed so that Mormon will no longer help them? What do the Nephites now want that they didn’t seem to want before? What might that say to us about our attitudes toward our enemies?

Verse 16: What is an “idle witness�?

Verse 17: He begins this verse with the word “therefore.� Is what follows in the rest of the chapter a conclusion from what came before?

Chapter 4

Verse 14: The Old Testament is full of references to idols and warnings against them, but the Book of Mormon has very few—only five that I could find outside this chapter, if you exclude the references in the Isaiah passages (2 Nephi 9:37; Alma 7:6, 17:15, 31:1; and Helaman 6:31). Why do you suppose there are so few references to idols in the Book of Mormon when it is such an important topic in the Old Testament?

Chapter 5

Verses 8-9, 11: If these chapters were a movie, it would be “R� rated. Why does Mormon tell us of the carnage he witnessed? (In the next chapter, almost 220,000 people—men, women, and children—are killed in one battle.)

Verse 12: What does Mormon mean when he says “it is known of God that wickedness will not bring them forth unto them�?

Verse 14: How can the Book of Mormon persuade the Jews that Jesus is the Christ?

Verse 16: What does it mean to be “without Christ and God in the world�? Aren’t most people without them? Or is Mormon saying something more than we might say if we said that most of the those in an area not-yet-proselytized are without Christ and God in the world? What does it mean to say that they are driven as chaff? From where? To where?

Verse 17: Is Mormon saying something contradictory here? If Christ was their shepherd, how can they be lead by the Father? Is he perhaps speaking of Christ as the Father (cf. Mosiah 15:2)?

Chapter 6

Verse 2: Why does Mormon propose a battle?

Verse 17: What does Mormon mean when he call the Nephites “fair ones�? At this point in Nephite and Lamanite history, it is doubtful he is talking about their skin color. But given what we have seen, he also can’t be talking about their character.

Moroni, chapter 9

Moroni seems to intended to book of Moroni to be primarily a set of specific instructions for us in the latter-days. Why, then, does he stick this chapter, perhaps the most gruesome in the whole Book of Mormon, in the middle of the other chapters?

Verses 25-26: How is Mormon’s message in these verses intended to help Moroni? (Does the story of depravity Mormon has just told serve a purpose in relation to these verses?)

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2 Responses to Sunday School Lesson 43

  1. Ted Vaggalis on November 18, 2004 at 7:22 pm

    Jim:

    I saw that you had put up your Sunday School lessons and was grateful to read them. Our class has just finished this lesson and there were some good insights. One thing that we noted was how Mormon chapters 1 and 2 should be read in connection with the Allegory of the Olive Tree back in Jacob. We came to this when we noted that Mormon is giving us some way to judge how things are in our day. Given his description of the Nephites during his day, we see that they have crossed a line, so to speak, that they are beyond repentence and that there is no good to be expected from them. This is different from the account in 3 Nephi just prior to the Savior’s visit. At that moment, there is still hope to turn these people to the right path. There is no such hope in Mormon’s day.

    It is also interesting that Mormon’s experiences are to comfort him. There is nothing given to say to the Nephites, given their state. All of this recalled the various scenes in Jacob, the Allegory of the Olive Tree. Eventually we get to a point where the tree is dead and must be cut down and burned because it can no longer give fruit.

    I thought you might find this of interest.

  2. Ted Vaggalis on November 18, 2004 at 7:22 pm

    Jim:

    I saw that you had put up your Sunday School lessons and was grateful to read them. Our class has just finished this lesson and there were some good insights. One thing that we noted was how Mormon chapters 1 and 2 should be read in connection with the Allegory of the Olive Tree back in Jacob. We came to this when we noted that Mormon is giving us some way to judge how things are in our day. Given his description of the Nephites during his day, we see that they have crossed a line, so to speak, that they are beyond repentence and that there is no good to be expected from them. This is different from the account in 3 Nephi just prior to the Savior’s visit. At that moment, there is still hope to turn these people to the right path. There is no such hope in Mormon’s day.

    It is also interesting that Mormon’s experiences are to comfort him. There is nothing given to say to the Nephites, given their state. All of this recalled the various scenes in Jacob, the Allegory of the Olive Tree. Eventually we get to a point where the tree is dead and must be cut down and burned because it can no longer give fruit.

    I thought you might find this of interest.