How to finish off The Book of Mormon
in a big way? I've been puzzling on this for some time. The answer came in a surprising way.
My husband, as part of his highcouncilman duties for the stake, had the assignment to attend the singles branch - and for once, our entire family went with him.
What a privilege this was! Not only was the spirit strong as these new college youth went about their various duties as a young Relief Society President, a young Priesthood or Sunday School teacher, but it was wonderful to imagine that just a few short years ago they themselves were sitting in a seminary class.
[It is this future thinking which has driven me all year toward exerting big efforts to prepare my seminary kids for future service opportunities such as we saw the young adults carrying out on Sunday in their singles group.]
So, while sitting at a table after the meetings during a "Break the Fast" dinner, my husband and I found ourselves across the table from a newly returned missionary, who had served in Hungary.
The spirit washed over me. I knew then how best to finish off the study of The Book of Mormon!
My seminary students already knew that Moroni 10 contains "the big promise" as the way to find all truth. But the spirit was showing me how I could bring that to life through a newly returned missionary, who spent two years of his life sharing that very promise!
So I asked the young man if he would kindly come to my classroom on Tuesday to speak of his mission in Book of Mormon terms. In other words, I asked him if he would read Moroni 8, 9, & 10 prior to Tuesday and then prepare experiences from his mission that coincided in some fashion with those teachings in those particular chapters.
Well, that young man came today. And what resulted was a room bathed in the spirit and light of the Lord. Here are just a few of the things he shared as he walked the students through the last three chapters of our course of study this year.
As the teacher, I had started off the morning by introducing Moroni 8 and what Mormon taught his son about the beauty of young children and their innocence before the eyes of God. The returned missionary then took over and shared how interesting he thought is was that these words came from a career army general. For, as this returned missionary saw it, that was essentially what Mormon was.
Indeed, Mormon had supervised Nephite armies from his teens! He continued in that position off and on for the remainder of his life. Our visitor today pointed out how remarkable it was to him that Mormon, having seen such depraved acts of war/hatred had been able to retain such a soft heart towards the most innocent of God's creations - children. Thus, Mormon's perspective and words in Moroni 8 are particularly important.
He then moved on and shared an experience from the beginning of his mission. He and his companion had been teaching a woman whose children had grown up/were gone and her husband had left her. She was absorbing the gospel at a tremendous rate. When the time came for the baptismal interview, this missionary was nervous asking her the baptismal interview questions. How badly he wanted for her to be able to answer them all well and be able to be baptised.
Her response to the question, "Have you repented of all of your past sins?", marked him deeply. She expressed emotions almost identical to what Mormon shares in Moroni 8:25-26. She was experiencing all of those fruits! Today, this young R.M. shared how the spirit embued that interview with purity and power and as a result, he knew that woman was ready for baptism. He said how powerful the teachings are in The Book of Mormon and how factual and true.
Then he moved on to more truths and experiences from his mission that paralleled these chapters.
This chapter, the young man shared, must have been a difficult chapter for Mormon and probably Moroni to record. He asked the class if they ever felt it hard to be faithful and "good," in spite of so many kids around them choosing "bad." He told the seminary kids that Mormon would be able to understand their feelings - that the people surrounding him and his son Moroni were choosing very bad things. And he referenced this chapter.
But Mormon teaches what we must do, even in such situations. The returned missionary had a student read Moroni 9:6 and he shared that in spite of all that is going around us, we must remain faithful. We must not cease to labor. We must be diligent while during our time on earth. The reason? So that we can "conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God."
By this time, I was personally amazed at how this young returned-missionary was able to share so many real-to-life parallels from these chapters. The spirit in the room was quite powerful. I was grateful to have listened to the prompting on Sunday to invite him to speak. He then moved on to Moroni 10.
This young man first started by sharing an analogy of what happens when a small business is dying, due to its financial issues and liabilities. Normally a company in this situation might need to declare bankruptcy, and as a result, the original owner's dream for that business dies with the death or dissolution of the company from bankruptcy.
But then along arrives an offer from a much larger corporation. Due to it's fiscal health and financial flow, it purchases the business and is able to make it viable again.
This, the young man shared with our class today, is what Moroni tells us Christ can do for us. He then asked a student to read Moroni 10:32-33:
Yes, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
This beautiful young returned missionary then testified to my seminary kids that this is what Christ does. Just like a powerful business can "save" a small company that is going under by purchasing it and making it solvent, Christ does that for us.
The Savior has purchased us with His Blood. And whereas we cannot be perfect on our own, we can
be perfect within Christ. Because of Christ we will live forever. Because of Christ our souls need not be bankrupt.
Then the returned missionary shared "the big promise" in Moroni 10:3-5. He witnessed that they too could have the experience of having this question answered for them: "Is The Book of Mormon from God?"
He promised them that he'd seen this born out on his mission and that he knew they could see it born out in their lives, if they were willing to apply themselves.
What this all did today was bring the Book of Mormon to life for these kids. This isn't just a book for them to study for no reason; this book actually brings change into the lives of others. And it's going on around them as we speak. Missionaries all around the world, at this very moment, are sharing the gospel, sharing Mormon's and Moroni's words, along with the other prophets, from The Book of Mormon. And it is bringing joy and eternal life.
People's lives, as a result, are bettered for it. The fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galations 5:22 were quite evident as we learned at the feet of this young returned missionary - "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith."
What a beautiful way to end our course of study - through the words of a freshly returned missionary who witnessed in his own beautiful way to all of this. I'm so grateful the spirit spoke to me on Sunday to invite this young man to speak. I think he left quite an impression as we finished up our Book of Mormon study.
The Lord is so good to inspire His seminary teachers - I know these ideas don't come from me. And I'm grateful He would help this young returned missionary to help His youth.
For more teaching ideas and free PDFs, simply visit the Seminary Class Notes group