Book of Moroni

by S. Michael Wilcox

Between A.D. 400 and 421, Moroni 2, the last custodian of the gold plates, compiled the final book in the Book of Mormon record. He wrote: "I had supposed not to have written any more; but I write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren" (Moro. 1:4). He then brought together loosely related but important items, including ordinances performed both in the church of his day and in THE CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints today (chaps. 2-6), one of his father's sermons (chap. 7), and two of his father's letters (chap. 9). He concluded with his own testimony and exhortations to readers (chap. 10).

ORDINANCES (CHAPS. 2-6). Chapter 2 contains instructions given by the resurrected Jesus Christ to his twelve disciples in the Western Hemisphere at the time when he bestowed upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift is conferred in the name of Jesus Christ and by the laying-on of hands from one who has received authority. Chapter 3 explains that priests and teachers were ordained in the name of Jesus Christ by the laying-on of hands by one holding proper authority. The main function of priests and teachers was to teach repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Chapters 4 and 5 contain the set prayers for blessing the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, prayers currently used in the Church. Chapter 6 outlines the requirements for baptism, which include a "broken heart," contrite spirit, and true repentance. Moroni then detailed how Church members recorded the names of all members, taught one another, met together in fasting and prayer, and partook of the Sacrament often.

MORMON'S SERMON AND LETTERS (CHAPS. 7-9). Mormon's sermon (chap. 7) deals with faith, hope, and charity and includes teachings on how to distinguish between good and evil, the necessity of spiritual gifts, the nature of miracles, and instruction on how to obtain charity, "the pure love of Christ" (7:47).

The first letter (chap. 8) condemns infant baptism. Mormon taught that children are made pure through the Atonement of Christ and do not need the cleansing power of baptism until they are old enough to be accountable for their actions and can repent of their sins.

The second letter (chap. 9) recites the level of depravity to which the Nephites and Lamanites had fallen (before A.D. 385), offering reasons for their prophesied destruction ("they are without principle, and past feeling"—verse 20), along with Mormon's charge to his son to remain faithful to Christ in spite of their society's wickedness.

EXHORTATION AND FAREWELL (CHAP. 10). Moroni exhorts all who read the Book of Mormon to ponder and pray for a divine witness of its truthfulness (verses 3-5) and urges his readers not to deny the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which he enumerates (verses 8-19). He bears his personal testimony of Jesus Christ and urges all to "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness" (verse 32). He bids his readers farewell until he meets them on the final judgment day at "the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah" (verse 34).

(See Basic Beliefs home page; Book of Mormon home page)

Bibliography

Jackson, Kent P., ed. Studies in Scripture, Vol. 8, pp. 282-312. Salt Lake City, 1988.