Lesson 158: Moroni 9

“Lesson 158: Moroni 9,” 2017 Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 158,” 2017 BoM Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 158

Moroni 9


In his final recorded epistle to his son Moroni, Mormon sorrowed for the wicked state of the Nephites. He urged Moroni to labor diligently to help the Nephites repent. Mormon also recounted the sufferings of the people caused by their wickedness. Notwithstanding the corrupt condition of his people, he encouraged Moroni to be faithful in Jesus Christ and have hope in the promise of eternal life.

Suggestions for Teaching

Moroni 9:1–20

Mormon laments the wickedness of the Nephites and the Lamanites

Ask students to ponder whether they have ever tried to help someone, only to have their efforts rejected.

  • How might some people respond when their good intentions are repeatedly rejected by those they are trying to help?

Explain to the class that Moroni 9 is a letter written by the prophet Mormon to his son Moroni. As students study Moroni 9 today, invite them to look for principles that can guide them when their efforts to help others are rejected.

Invite a student to read Moroni 9:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the word Mormon used to describe the situation of the Nephites. After students respond, you may need to explain that the word grievous refers to something that is very painful, distressing, or sorrowful.

Write the following scripture references on the board: Moroni 9:2–5; Moroni 9:7–10; Moroni 9:11–15; Moroni 9:16–19. Divide students into four groups. Assign each group to read one of the scripture passages listed on the board, looking for the grievous things Mormon described. Invite a student from each group to report what they find.

Invite a student to read Moroni 9:20 aloud. Ask students to look for Mormon’s description of his people. Invite students to report what they find.

  • What do you think it means to be “without principle”? (To live without standards and without honoring and keeping the commandments of God.)

  • What do you think it means to be “past feeling”? (To be hard-hearted against the Spirit of the Lord and the Light of Christ and to not distinguish between right and wrong.)

Explain that in Moroni 9:6, Mormon counseled his son on how to respond to the grievous circumstances they were in. Invite a student to read Moroni 9:6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Mormon counseled his son to do.

  • What did Mormon counsel his son to do? (Invite students to consider marking the phrase “notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently” in verse 6.)

  • What principle can we learn from this verse about serving those who do not respond positively to our efforts to help them? (Help students identify the following principle: We are to labor diligently in God’s service, even if those we serve do not respond positively. Write this principle on the board, and invite students to consider writing it in their scriptures.)

  • According to verse 6, why did Mormon continue to labor among people who hardened their hearts against the word of God?

Present the following situations (or create a few of your own). Invite one or more students to explain how they might relate the principle on the board to each situation you present.

  1. As president of your Young Women class, you are responsible for five other young women in your ward. One of these young women has not come to Church meetings or activities for over a year. After you have personally invited her to come for the past three months, she still has not come to any meetings or activities.

  2. As a home teacher, you work diligently to minister to each of your assigned families. However, for the past few months, one of your families has not returned your phone calls or answered the door when you have stopped by.

  3. You feel impressed to invite one of your good friends to meet with the missionaries. He dismisses your invitation, yet you continue to feel impressions to ask him again.

Show students the video “Strengthen Thy Brethren” (10:16), in which Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the Seventy gives an account of a priesthood leader who labored diligently with a young man even though he was repeatedly rejected. Show the video from time code 0:24 to 3:03. If you are unable to show the video, invite a student to read aloud the following account as told by Elder Arnold. Invite students to listen for what the young man finally saw in his priesthood leader.

Elder Mervyn B. Arnold

“As a member of the branch presidency in Fortaleza, Brazil, Brother Marques with the other priesthood leaders developed a plan to reactivate those who were less active in his branch. One of those who was less active was a young man by the name of Fernando Araujo. Recently I spoke to Fernando, and he told me of his experience:

“‘I became involved in surfing competitions on Sunday mornings and stopped going to my Church meetings. One Sunday morning Brother Marques knocked on my door and asked my nonmember mother if he could talk to me. When she told him I was sleeping, he asked permission to wake me. He said to me, “Fernando, you are late for church!” Not listening to my excuses, he took me to church.

“‘The next Sunday the same thing happened, so on the third Sunday I decided to leave early to avoid him. As I opened the gate I found him sitting on his car, reading the scriptures. When he saw me he said, “Good! You are up early. Today we will go and find another young man!” …

“‘After eight Sundays I could not get rid of him, so I decided to sleep at a friend’s house. I was at the beach the next morning when I saw a man dressed in a suit and tie walking towards me. When I saw that it was Brother Marques, I ran into the water. All of a sudden, I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder. It was Brother Marques, in water up to his chest! He took me by the hand and said, “You are late! Let’s go.” …

“‘That day as we walked out of the ocean, I was touched by Brother Marques’s sincere love and worry for me. … Brother Marques didn’t just give me a ride to church—the quorum made sure I remained active. They planned activities that made me feel needed and wanted, I received a calling, and the quorum members became my friends’” (Mervyn B. Arnold, “Strengthen Thy Brethren,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 46–47).

  • What stands out to you about Brother Marques’s efforts to help Fernando?

  • How have you or others you know been blessed by continuing to love and serve someone who did not respond positively at first?

Testify that we and others will be blessed as we continue to love and serve those around us, even if they do not respond positively to our efforts. Invite students to ponder how they can apply this principle in their lives. Encourage them to follow through on any promptings they receive.

Moroni 9:21–26

Mormon encourages Moroni to be faithful

Invite students to name any recent events in their community or nation or in the world that could cause people to feel discouraged.

Invite students to read Moroni 9:21–22, 25–26 silently. Ask them to look for the counsel Mormon gave to Moroni about what he should do in his discouraging circumstances. To help students analyze these verses, ask the following questions:

  • What counsel did Mormon give his son Moroni that may have encouraged him?

  • What did Mormon suggest ought to “rest in [Moroni’s] mind forever”? (Moroni 9:25). How might remembering the Savior and His Atonement help us when we are discouraged or when we are surrounded by wickedness?

  • What principle can we learn from these verses about how to respond to the difficulties and wickedness that may surround us? (Though students may use different words, they should express that if we are faithful in Jesus Christ, He will lift us up even when difficulties and wickedness surround us. You may want to write this principle on the board and suggest that students write it in their scriptures.)

  • What are some ways in which the Savior might lift us up when we are surrounded by difficulties and wickedness?

  • Does being lifted up mean that we are immediately freed from difficulties? How do Mormon and Moroni’s lives instruct us about what it means to be lifted up?

  • What experiences in your life or in the lives of those close to you demonstrate that this principle is true?

Testify of the strength you have received from being faithful in Jesus Christ. Encourage students to ponder ways they can be more faithful and more mindful of Jesus Christ, even when they are discouraged or surrounded by wickedness.

Commentary and Background Information

Moroni 9:6. Serving those who do not respond positively

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency encouraged us to persevere in our efforts to labor among God’s children:

President Henry B. Eyring

“[The oath and covenant of the priesthood] is a covenant [Melchizedek priesthood holders] make with God to keep all His commandments and give service as He would give it if He were personally present. Living up to that standard as best we can builds the strength we will need to endure to the end.

“Great priesthood trainers have shown me how to build that strength: it is to form a habit of pushing on through the fatigue and fear that might make you think of quitting. The Lord’s great mentors have shown me that spiritual staying power comes from working past the point when others would have taken a rest. …

“… I promise you if you do all that you can, God will magnify your strength and your wisdom” (Henry B. Eyring, “Preparation in the Priesthood: ‘I Need Your Help,’” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 58, 59).

Moroni 9:18–20. “Past feeling”

Mormon explained to his son Moroni that their people were “without principle, and past feeling” (Moroni 9:20). Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that failure to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and failure to keep the commandments of God can lead us to this condition:

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“Our capacity to feel controls our behavior in many ways, and by inaction when our feelings prompt us to do good, we deaden that capacity to feel. It was Jesus’ striking sensitivity to the needs of those about him that made it possible for him to respond in action.

“At the other end of the spiritual spectrum are individuals such as Nephi’s erring brothers; Nephi noted their increasing insensitivity to things spiritual: ‘[God] hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words’ [1 Nephi 17:45].

“When we become too encrusted with error, our spiritual antennae wilt and we slip beyond mortal reach. This can happen to entire civilizations. In his lamentation to his son Moroni, Mormon notes the deterioration of the Nephite society. The symptoms include a wickedness so profound that Mormon’s people were described by him as being ‘past feeling’ [Moroni 9:20]. … Imperviousness to the promptings of the still small voice of God will also mean that we have ears but cannot hear, not only the promptings of God, but also the pleas of men” (Neal A. Maxwell, A Time to Choose [1972], 59–60).