“Moses 8,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual (2017)
“Moses 8,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual
Many generations of prophets foresaw Noah as the prophet in the days of the cleansing of the earth by flood (see Moses 8:2, 9). Noah was ordained to the higher priesthood when ten years old by his grandfather Methuselah (see D&C 107:52). He became a preacher of righteousness, even as Enoch. He, his wife, and his sons—Japheth, Shem, and Ham—and their wives were the only people to survive the Flood. Noah holds the keys of his dispensation and stands next to Adam in authority (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 104).
Noah is the angel Gabriel (see Teachings: Joseph Smith, 104), who appeared to Zacharias to announce that he would be the father of John the Baptist and to Mary to announce that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ. Noah also functions in the calling of an Elias (see D&C 27:6–7), meaning one who prepares or restores. Through his various appearances, Noah has performed both of these functions.
A list of the “sons of God,” which began in Moses 6:8–25, continues in Moses 8 with the addition of Lamech (verse 5), Noah (verse 9), and Noah’s three sons (verse 12). These brethren were all holders of the higher priesthood (see D&C 107:40–52; for more information about Methuselah, see D&C 107:50, 52–57).
President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) applied the lessons from Moses 8:14–15 to our day, saying:
“Because the daughters of Noah married the sons of men contrary to the teachings of the Lord, his anger was kindled, and this offense was one cause that brought to pass the universal flood. … The daughters who had been born, evidently under the covenant, and were the daughters of the sons of God, that is to say of those who held the priesthood, were transgressing the commandment of the Lord and were marrying out of the Church. Thus they were cutting themselves off from the blessings of the priesthood contrary to the teachings of Noah and the will of God. …
“Today there are foolish daughters of those who hold this same priesthood who are violating this commandment and marrying the sons of men; there are also some of the sons of those who hold the priesthood who are marrying the daughters of men. All of this is contrary to the will of God just as much as it was in the days of Noah” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr. , 1:136–37).
President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) explained: “From the days of Father Adam to the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors, whenever the priesthood has been on the earth, a major responsibility has been the preaching of the saving, eternal principles of the gospel—the plan of salvation. Father Adam taught these things to his own children. (Moses 5:12.) Consider Noah’s long years of missionary effort and the preachings of all the ancient prophets. (Moses 8:16–20.) Each in his day was commanded to carry the gospel message to the children of men and call them to repentance as the only means of escaping the pending judgments” (“Missionary Work: A Major Responsibility,” Ensign, May 1974, 105).
President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973) stated, “This means the withdrawing of that vital light which all could have enjoyed if they had kept the commandments” (Stand Ye in Holy Places , 119; see also 1 Nephi 7:14; 2 Nephi 26:11; Mormon 5:16; Ether 2:15; 15:19; Moroni 8:28; 9:4; D&C 1:33).
Note that this verse is an important and inspired correction to Genesis 6:6, which reads: “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” The Hebrew word used here, and translated repented in the Bible, is nacham (naw-kham), which literally means “to sigh,” “to breathe strongly,” “to be sorry,” “to pity.”
Elder Mark E. Petersen (1900–1984) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote:
“Noah, who built the ark, was one of God’s greatest servants, chosen before he was born as were others of the prophets. He was no eccentric, as many have supposed. Neither was he a mythical figure created only in legend. Noah was real. …
“Let no one downgrade the life and mission of this great prophet. Noah was so near perfect in his day that he literally walked and talked with God. …
“Few men in any age were as great as Noah. In many respects he was like Adam, the first man. Both had served as ministering angels in the presence of God even after their mortal experience” (Noah and the Flood , 1–2).
President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “So the Lord commanded Noah to build an ark into which he was to take his family and the animals of the earth to preserve seed after the flood, and all flesh that was not in the ark perished according to the Lord’s decree. Of course this story is not believed by the wise and the great among the children of men, any more than was Noah’s story in his day” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie , 3:39).
President John Taylor (1808–87) taught: “God destroyed the wicked of that generation with a flood. Why did He destroy them? He destroyed them for their benefit, if you can comprehend it” (“Discourse,” Deseret News, Nov. 7, 1883, 658; see also “Discourse,” Deseret News, Jan. 16, 1878, 787, for President Taylor’s view of the Flood as an act of love).