“Introduction to the Book of Moroni,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Moroni,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
As students study the book of Moroni, they can draw strength from the powerful examples and teachings of Moroni and his father, Mormon. They will learn about basic ordinances and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ; the importance of doing righteous works with real intent; the way to judge between good and evil; the relationship between faith, hope, and charity; and the salvation of little children. Students will also read Moroni’s exhortation to pray to know for themselves that the Book of Mormon is true (see Moroni 10:3–5) and to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32).
Moroni wrote this book, which includes his own words, the words of Jesus Christ to His twelve Nephite disciples (see Moroni 2), and the words of his father, Mormon (see Moroni 7–9). Before the Nephites were destroyed, Moroni served among them as a military leader and a Church leader (see Mormon 6:12; Moroni 8:1). Like other major writers and compilers of the Book of Mormon, Moroni was a witness of the Savior. He testified, “I have seen Jesus, and … he hath talked with me face to face” (Ether 12:39). Moroni was faithful to his testimony, refusing to deny Christ during a time when the Lamanites were killing every Nephite who would not deny Him (see Moroni 1:1–3). In 1823, approximately 1,400 years after completing the record of the Book of Mormon, Moroni appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith as a resurrected being and informed Joseph that the record was deposited in a hill near his home (see Joseph Smith—History 1:29–35). At that time and periodically during the next four years, Moroni instructed Joseph Smith “respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days” (Joseph Smith—History 1:54).
Moroni stated, “I write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day” (Moroni 1:4; see also Moroni 10:1). He also declared that he spoke “unto all the ends of the earth,” warning that at the judgment bar of God, all would be held accountable for the words he had written (see Moroni 10:24, 27). In preparation for this event, Moroni invited all to “come unto Christ” (Moroni 10:30, 32).
Moroni likely wrote and compiled this book between the years A.D. 401 and A.D. 421 (see Mormon 8:4–6; Moroni 10:1). He did not say where he was when he wrote it—only that he wandered wherever he could for the safety of his life (see Moroni 1:1–3).
This book provides details concerning Jesus Christ’s instructions to His twelve Nephite disciples as He gave them power to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Moroni 2; see also 3 Nephi 18:36–37). It also includes the only instructions in the Book of Mormon regarding the performance of priesthood ordinations and the prayers used in the ordinance of the sacrament (see Moroni 3–5). Other distinctive features of this book include Mormon’s teachings on discerning good from evil (see Moroni 7:12–19), the ministering of angels (see Moroni 7:29–39), charity as the pure love of Christ (see Moroni 7:44–48), and the salvation of little children (see Moroni 8). It also includes Mormon’s description of the depravity of the Nephites and Lamanites before their final battle at Cumorah (see Moroni 9). Moroni included his own teachings on gifts of the Spirit (see Moroni 10:8–26). He also recorded an invitation, found in Moroni 10:3–5, that provides a key contribution to the Book of Mormon. Referring to this passage, President Gordon B. Hinckley explained that the Book of Mormon “is the only book that contains within its covers a promise that by divine power the reader may know with certainty of its truth” (“A Testimony Vibrant and True,” Ensign, Aug. 2005, 4).
Moroni 1–6 While wandering for the safety of his life, Moroni records ordinances and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ. These include conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost, performing priesthood ordinations, administering the sacrament, and qualifying for baptism. Moroni also discusses the spiritual nourishment of Church members as well as the purposes of Church meetings and how they were conducted.
Moroni 7 Moroni records a sermon given by Mormon, who taught about the Light of Christ, the importance of doing righteous acts with real intent, discerning the difference between good and evil, laying hold upon every good thing, and the relationship between faith, hope, and charity.
Moroni 8–9 Moroni records letters from Mormon explaining why little children do not need baptism and describing the gross wickedness among the Nephites and the Lamanites.
Moroni 10 Moroni exhorts all who will read the Book of Mormon to pray to know of its truthfulness, to deny not the power and gifts of God, and to come unto Christ and be perfected in him.