Sunday School Lesson 44

November 13, 2004 | no comments
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Lesson 44: Mormon 7-9

Chapter 7

Verse 1: Notice that Mormon speaks of “the remnant of this people.â€? To whom does “this” refer? To whom was he speaking in chapter 6? We call the remnant “Lamanites,â€? but Mormon seems not to be thinking of them in that way.

Verse 2: Why must the remnant know that they are of the house of Israel?

Verse 3: Notice the number of times this is repeated, each time more fully than the last: here, in verse 5, in verse 8, and in verse 10. What do you make of that repetition?

Verse 4: Does this verse forbid the remnant from taking up arms to defend the United States or the other countries in Central and South America in which they live? What does it mean?

Verse 7: What does it mean to be found guiltless before Christ?

Verse 9: The Book of Mormon is written with the intent of helping us believe the Bible? How does it do that? How is it true that if we believe the Bible we will also believe the Book of Mormon? There are, after all, many who claim to believe the Bible who do not believe the Book of Mormon, even when they learn of it. It follows logically from what this verse says that they do not believe the Bible? How can that be?

Chapter 8

Verse 12: Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon is the most perfect book on the earth. What then does it mean to say that there are imperfections in it? (See also verse 17 and the title page of the book.) And what are the greater things that those who believe the Book of Mormon will know?

Verse 15: What two reasons does Moroni give here for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon?

Verses 18-20: To whom are these verses addressed?

Verses 21-22: To whom are these verses addressed?

Verse 23: Why does Moroni tell them to search the writings of Isaiah? How are they relevant to this context?

Verse 23-25: Who are the saints who have gone before? What covenant did the Lord make with them?

Verse 26: Presumably Moroni is speaking of the Book of Mormon. In the last verse he said it would come forth in a day when people will no longer believe in miracles. That describes many who lived when Joseph received the plates and even more today. Here it says it will come at a time when “the blood of the saints shall cry unto the Lord because of secret combinations and the works of darkness.� How does that describe the time when the Book of Mormon was revealed? The blood of which saints? What secret combinations?

Verse 31: What kinds of pollutions is Moroni thinking of here? Is it the list which follows, or is does it include more than that?

Verse 32: Can you think of an example of this? It is unlikely that a church at the time the Book of Mormon came forth would be so bold as to make this offer explicit. (The Catholic Church had stopped selling indulgences several hundred years before Joseph Smith’s day.) How might a church in the 19th, 20th, or 21st century say that people’s sins will be forgiven for money?

Verse 33: In what ways do people get gain from churches? How do people transfigure the word of God? Can they do so unintentionally? Do we ever do so, intentionally or unintentionally? What are “these things� which he promises will be fulfilled?

Verses 35-37: To whom are these verses addressed? To everyone in the last dispensation or only to those at the time of Joseph Smith? To everyone or only to those outside the Church? What does it mean to walk and to lift ourselves up in the pride of our hearts? What does “fine apparel� mean here? Why is wearing it a problem? How does wearing it lead, as Moroni indicates, to envy, strife, malice, and persecution? Is the wearing of fine apparel a problem for us today? In what circumstances?

Verse 37: What does it mean to love these things more than we love the poor and the needy? How would we tell if we were described by this verse?

Verse 38: To what does “that which will canker� refer? How would that thing canker its possessors?

Verse 39: The beginning of this verse is a little odd. How would we adorn ourselves with what has life? What adornment would that be? Does the verse say we shouldn’t adorn ourselves with what doesn’t have life?

Verse 40: In the Book of Mormon we are accustomed to the phrase, “secret combinations.� The phrase “secret abominations� is also found in Alma 37:26-27; 3 Nephi 16:10, 30:2; and D&C 117:11. (“Secret combinations are referred to in 2 Nephi 9:9, 26:22; Alma 37:30-31; Helaman 3:23; 3 Nephi 4:29, 7:6, 9; 4 Nephi 1:42; Mormon 8:27; Ether 8:18-19, 22, 24, 9:1, 11:15, 13:18, 14:8, 10; D&C 42:64; and Moses 5:51.) Is there a difference between the two? If so, what is it?

Chapter 9

Verse 5: What does “nakedness before God� mean?

Verse 8: If we deny continuing revelation, how is it that we don’t know Christ’s preaching (his gospel)? When might we in the Church be guilty of denying continuing revelation?

Verse 10: Why is it that those who believe in a varying god don’t believe in a God of miracles?

Verse 11ff.: What is a miracle? When we think of miracles, we think of such things as healing the sick. Moroni, however, uses the fall and redemption of mankind as his example. But that is part of the plan, isn’t it? How is it a miracle? How might Moroni’s discussion of the fall and redemption as miracles help us think differently about miracles?

Verse 20: Are there fewer miracles today than in times past? If so, what does it tell us about ourselves? If we perceive that fewer miracles are done, does that say something of the same sort?

Verse 21: Is this the same promise made to Nephi (in Helaman)?

Verse 23: What does it mean to be damned?

Verse 25: What does this verse mean? What does it mean that the Savior will confirm his words “even unto the ends of the earth�?

Verse 27: What does it mean to “begin as in times of old�? We often quote the phrase “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.� What does it mean? The phrase itself occurs in only one other place in scripture, Philippians 2:12. (A related phrase is found in Alma 34:37, and another is found in Ephesians 6:5. The comparison of these verses to the verse in Ephesians may be helpful.) The phrase “fear and trembling� seems to connote the solemn feeling of responsibility we should have before the Father—our recognition of the weight of that responsibility and our fear that we may fail in it. In Philippians when Paul uses the phrase, “your own,� he is reminding them that they cannot depend on him to save them, that they must live the Christian life as much when he is gone as when he is present. Does Moroni mean the same thing as Paul, or is he saying something different? If something different, what?

Verse 28: What does it mean to be wise in the days of our probation? Why do we strip ourselves of uncleanness? What might that metaphor suggest? In what sense is uncleanness something which we have put on, an addition to who we are? How can we ask not to yield to temptation? Can the Lord prevent us from falling prey to temptation?

Verse 29: To what does this refer in “if you do this�?

Verse 31: Why does Moroni keep mentioning his imperfections and those of the other writers? What imperfections does he seem to have in mind? Shouldn’t he be more self-confident, have a better self-image?

Verse 35: Why do Moroni, Mormon, and the other writers have to rid themselves of the blood of their brothers and sisters? Why would that blood be on them?

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