Except Ye Have Charity Ye Can in Nowise Be Saved in the Kingdom of God

Moroni testifies that charity (born of faith and hope in Christ) is a state of being opposite to despair.

“…There must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity. And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope. And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity.” (Moroni 10:20-22)

Questions

-Often hate would be considered the closest opposite of charity (which is the pure love of Christ). But, how closely tied together are feelings of despair and feelings of hate — directed towards oneself or others?

Nothing That is Good Denieth the Christ

Moroni defines the good as that which is just and true. All philosophies, creeds, and actions that deny Christ — who is the embodiment of all that is good – are essentially opposed to goodness. The power of God’s goodness is manifest in the mortal world through the workings of the Holy Spirit in the lives of mortals who exercise faith in the Good Lord.

“…Whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledges that he is. And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow and forever.” (Moroni 10:6-7)

Questions:

-Are there many things that appear good but, at core, are not based on the above teachings of Moroni?

Ask God, the Eternal Father, in the Name of Christ

Moroni exhorts all who read the Book of Mormon to pray to God about its truthfulness. Those who ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, and with faith in Christ will receive a witness of its truth by the power of the Holy Ghost.

“I seal up these records, after I have spoken a few words by way of exhortation unto you. Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:2-5)

Questions:

-Does Moroni say that the witness from the Holy Ghost will be immediate?

-How can a person get into a proper state of heart and mind to ask with faith, real intent, and a sincere heart?

-How many don’t really want to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God and, therefore, aren’t prepared to ask God with faith, a sincere heart, and real intent?

Teachings of the Seventy:

“The Lord has made it plain in a number of scriptures how he feels about the Book of Mormon; he and his prophets testify to us that it is true (see, for example, Moro. 10:28–292 Ne. 33:10–11D&C 17:6D&C 18:2–3). Yet he still invites every reader to seek personal confirmation from him of these testimonies.” (Cook, Gene R. “Moroni’s Promise.” Ensign, Apr. 1994, 12-16

 

The Holy Ghost Filleth with Hope and Perfect Love

Mormon succinctly describes the path to dwelling with God and His saints.

“And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins; And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.” (Moroni 8:25-26)

Questions:

-Are there other commandments, besides baptism, that when kept bring a remission of sins?

-How important is heartfelt prayer when it comes to staying on the path back to God’s eternal presence?

None is Acceptable before God, Save the Meek and Lowly in Heart

Moroni testifies of the interconnected gospel principles of faith, hope, meekness, and charity.

“…If ye have not faith in [Christ] then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church. And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope? And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope. And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart. If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and the lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.” (Moroni 7:39-44)

Questions:

-How many understand that the baseline for spiritual growth and spiritual health is deep humility toward — and willingness to obey – God?

If These Things Have Ceased: Wo Be unto the Children of Men

Moroni teaches that true faith in Christ is always accompanied by miracles of all kinds. A people who do not believe in miracles do not have true faith in Christ.

“…Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved. And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain. For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.” (Moroni 7:33-38)

Questions:

-Why does Moroni put such a strong emphasis on the importance of miracles in his writings?

-Are the prevailing philosophies and worldviews of our highly-educated and wealthy classes (who control media) friendly to the idea of a God who intervenes in the affairs of mankind through miracles?  

Angels Minister unto the Chosen Vessels of the Lord

Moroni testifies that the ministry of angels is in an ongoing part of God’s work to call all to repentance and gather Israel (i.e. gather those who will repent and covenant anew to serve God).

“…[Christ] hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens. And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him. And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.” (Moroni 7:28-32)

Questions:

-What type of person does the Lord send his heavenly angels to?

-Are they likely to be sent to a person who is not deeply engaged in His latter-day work of gathering Israel in line with the covenants He has made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?

All Good Things Come from Christ

Moroni teaches that faith in Jesus Christ is (and always has been) the means by which good flows into the lives of individuals and into the world in general.

“And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing? And now I come to that faith of which I said I would speak; and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold of every good thing. For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing. And God also declared unto prophets, by his own mouth, that Christ should come. And behold, there were divers ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them.” (Moroni 7:20-24)

“Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ. And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.” (Moroni 7:25-26)

Questions:

-As Christ, under the direction of the Father, was the Creator, is His spirit woven into all of creation? Does this include the heart and mind of every human soul who has inhabited the earth since the creation?

Search Diligently in the Light of Christ

Moroni provides powerful keys to discerning good from evil.

“Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.” (Moroni 7:12-19)

Questions:

-Do those seeking to follow Christ sometimes have difficulty discerning the difference between being condemnatory of others (on the one hand) and the above commandment to judge righteously between good and evil (on the other hand)?

-Do many struggle with the necessity to hate the sin (unflinchingly recognizing evil for what it is) but still love the sinner (extending love and forgiveness to others regardless of whether the other person’s sins are similar in type or perceived magnitude in comparison to one’s own)?

-Because of the difficulty found in squarely confronting sin in themselves and their loved ones, have many tender-hearted people been lured into making poor judgments about evil in our time?

A Bitter Fountain Cannot Bring Forth Good Water

The Nephite prophet, Moroni, teaches about the power of real intent when seeking to give service to God through one’s actions.   

“…I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also. For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness. For behold if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. And likewise also it is counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such. Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift. For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.” (Moroni 7:5-11)

Questions:

-If a person’s heart is truly in the right place (in terms of striving to serve Christ and diligently seeking the guidance of His Spirit) will his or her actions be counted as righteousness – even when that person acts imperfectly and makes mistakes?

-When it comes to defining good works and evil works, how important is the state of one’s heart (in relation to God) when determining which is which?