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Book of Mormon Lesson – Lesson 47: “To Keep Them in the Right Way”

Posted by janetlisonbee on November 30, 2008

BOM Lesson 47: Moroni 1-6

Moroni is surprised that he his still alive and decides to write some more in hopes that “perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord.” [Moroni 1:4] It has been asked why Moroni used the word “perhaps” as if to suggest that these words may not be of worth! It may be that Moroni, after looking over the record, realized that the method of confirming and ordaining, along with the Sacrament prayers had not been written down, and even though he knew that the Lord would, in a future day, restore the Gospel, he probably thought that they might need this information. He might as well put it down…won’t hurt anything, hence the “perhaps.” We know that the Lord did reveal these things, however, to the prophet Joseph Smith as recorded in Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Moroni, chapters 4-5

In verse 2 of Chapter 4, we read that they all knelt down as they blessed the Sacrament, which I think would be a wonderful thing to do and would enhance the experience. However, I did check the two times recorded when Jesus blessed the Sacrament as recorded in 3rd Nephi and it doesn’t seem that anyone knelt.

This may be a good time to discuss the sacrament. Good questions might be asked such as why is bread and wine good metaphors for the body of Christ. One might list the ingredients for bread–wheat, oil, water and salt, and see how they apply to Christ and how the Lord has used each of these ingredients to symbolize the Christian life—for we “are the body of Christ, members in particular” [1 Corinthians 12:27]. The planting and cultivation of grapes and the uses of wine would also be a good discussion.

Moroni 6

6:7 And they were strict to observe that there should be no iniquity among them; and whoso was found to commit iniquity, and three witnesses of the church did condemn them before the elders, and if they repented not, and confessed not, their names were blotted out, and they were not numbered among the people of Christ.

Early Church Councils


George Smith Jof D 11:3-10, 11-12, 15 November 1864, Pg.7-8

The Church in Kirtland were few in number compared with the inhabitants of the city of Ogden. We had high council upon high council, bishop’s trial upon bishop’s trial; and labor and toil constantly to settle difficulties and get our minds instructed in principle and doctrine, and in the power that we had to contend with. I remember very well the organization of the high council at Kirtland as a permanent institution, there had been several councils of twelve high priests called for special cases, but they organized it permanently on 17th February 1834. On the 19th, the first case that was brought up was that of Elder Curtis Hodge, Sen., who while speaking in meeting had gone into a Methodist spasm, shouting and screaming in such a manner as caused one of the elders to rebuke him. Brother Hodge was brought before the council for so doing. A great deal of instruction was imparted to the people, who were assembled in a room sixteen feet by eighteen. The decision was, that the charges in the declaration had been fairly sustained by good witnesses, that Elder Hodge ought to have confessed when rebuked by Elder Ezra Thayer; also if he had the spirit of the Lord at the meetings where he halloed, he must have abused it and grieved it away, and all the council agreed with the decision. The report of this case is in Millennial Star, Volume 15, page 18, and well worthy of perusal.

It was at the same council that Daniel Copley, a timid young man, who had been ordained a priest, and required to go and preach the gospel, was called to an account for not going on his mission. The young man said he was too weak to attempt to preach, and the council cut him off the Church. I wonder what our missionaries now would think of so rigid a discipline as was given at that time thirty-one years ago, under the immediate supervision of the Prophet.

Far West

Erastus Snow, autobiography, holograph, BYU.

Elder Orson Hyde and H.C. Kimball of the 12 Apostles had just reached home from their first English mission, and were preparing to move with their families to Missouri. I joined them with my family, (Elder Alva Beman having died during my absence on my last mission.) We proceeded by land to the Ohio River which we decended [sic] in steamer, thence up the Mississippi and Mosuri [sic] Rivers, to Richmond and arrived at Farr [sic] West Aug 8th the day T.B. Marshs wife was being tried for stealing a pint of strippings, on being found guilty, he took her part which resulted in his fall from President of the 12 Apostles and opened the way for President Young to become his successor.


Moroni 6:5 And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.

The early Saints met together more often than we do now and their meetings ran longer as well.


Joseph Smith, Sr., biog by E. Skinner, thesis, BYU, 1958, pg. 146

Public meetings were regularly held in the Temple, after its dedication, on Sundays; and on the first Thursday of each month a fast meeting, commencing at or before 10 a.m. and closing at 4 p.m. The Temple was so constructed that with white canvas curtains, which could be dropped and raised at pleasure, the lower story was, whenever occasion required, divided into four sections or apartments. This was invariably done at these fast meetings. The two sets of pulpits, one on the east and the other on the west end of the building, were intersected by the curtain extending from east to west, so as to leave half their lengths in each apartment, and they were occupied by the presiding officers who directed the services. Thus four separate meetings were in session at the same time, without, in the least interfering with the other — giving opportunity for four to exercise instead of one.

On the aforementioned days, Father Smith, (the Prophet’s father) was in the habit of entering the Temple very early in the morning, and there offering up his prayers to God, in that holy place, before the rising of the sun, after having told the Saints publicly that they were welcome to come as early as they pleased. The result was that many assembled before the hour of 10 a.m., and did not leave till after 4 p.m.

Father Smith, in the capacity of his calling as President, gave general counsel and instructions on fast day; recommending that the greater portion of the forenoon should be spent in prayer with testimonies of manifestations of the power of God, and with exhortations to faithfulness. At about 3 p.m. he would order the curtains to be drawn up– bringing the four congregations into one, over which he then presided until the close of the meeting.

The Saints were humble, and through our united faith, the Spirit of God was poured out in copious effusion, and for one hour we enjoyed pentecostal refreshings from on high. On these occasions the gifts of the Gospel were powerfully manifest — speaking and singing in tongues, the interpretation of tongues, the gift of healing and of prophecy, were freely exercised. These monthly fasting meetings were so interesting and so very enjoyable, that people came long distances to attend them.


Don F. Colvin, “Temple at Nauvoo,” thesis, BYU, 1962, pg. 134

Besides general worship meetings, daily prayer meetings became a practice in 1846, as various sized groups of priesthood members met in the temple for this purpose. The practice continued even after dedication of the building.

Winter Quarters

Helen Whitney, “Winter Quarters,” Woman’s Exponent 14:105

[page 105] We never dreamed when commencing those little prayer meetings, coming together so frequently and enjoying the outpourings of the Holy Spirit, of having to meet and contend with the opposite; but so it was. The love and union that prevailed seemed to enrage the evil one, and not being able to cause a division among us, he vented his wrath upon the little ones.

Salt Lake Valley

Joseph F. Smith, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.3, Pg.110

The most gladdening news we can communicate to the Conference of the Church in our Epistle is that from every part of the land which we inhabit, gratifying reports have been received of the zeal and diligence of the people in attending to the duties of their religion. Probably at no time in our history has there been a better disposition manifested by the people to attend their meetings on the Sabbath day, and on fast days, and the prayer meetings which have been held during week day evenings. Meetings have been held at suitable residences on many of the blocks in the city and country wards throughout these mountains. These have generally been crowded, and have been occupied by the Elders in giving instruction, and by the Saints in bearing testimony and in prayer.

Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 5, p.470

20th November, 1855. Met with the high council last night with my brethren in the presence of Elder John Taylor from New York. I am appointed to labor in the Sunday School and I find great pleasure in the service of the Lord. I attend the prayer meeting every week held at Brother Pollard’s house.


Moroni 9:6 And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.

Prescindia Huntington autobiography, in Women of Mormondom (1877), Pg.208 – Pg.209

At another time a cousin of ours came to visit us at Kirtland. She wanted to go to one of the saints’ fast meetings, to hear someone sing or speak in tongues, but she said she expected to have a hearty laugh. Accordingly we went with our cousin to the meeting, during which a Brother McCarter rose and sang a song of Zion in tongues; I arose and sang simultaneously with him the same tune and words, beginning and ending each verse in perfect unison, without varying a word. It was just as though we had sung it together a thousand times. After we came out of meeting, our cousin observed, “Instead of laughing, I never felt so solemn in my life.”

Stephen Post, Diary, LDS Archives, Pg. 17

It was ascertained and told to us last eve [March 27, 1836] that there were 1000 persons in the house of the Lord [Kirtland Temple] yesterday and they contributed as they went in $960.00. I will mention here that two of the apostles, Brigham Young and David Patten sang each a song of Zion in tongues and each spoke in tongues and Elder Patten interpreted Brother Young’s tongue which he spake.

Stephen Post, Diary, LDS Archives, Pg. 19-20

After the washing, the brethren commenced prophesying for the spirit of prophecy was poured out upon the congregation. The house was divided into four parts by the curtains and they prophesied, spake and sang in tongues in each room. We fasted until even when we partook of bread and wine in commemoration of the marriage supper of the Lamb. Now having attended through the endowment, I could form an idea of the endowment anciently for God’s ordinances change not.

5 Responses to “Book of Mormon Lesson – Lesson 47: “To Keep Them in the Right Way””

  1. Ty said

    Here’s a million dollar question – If you were to die right now, would you qualify for the celestial kingdom? If you’re like most Mormons, you’re not sure. You try hard to be as good as possible, but you still don’t know if you’ve done enough. If the Book of Mormon is really scripture, this hope will always elude you. Alma 11:37 says God cannot save you in your sins. Are all of your sins forgiven? Moroni 10:32 says you must be perfected in Christ, which can only be done by denying yourself of “all ungodliness”. Have you done that? Do you repent on a regular basis? Is so, then it is clear that you sin on a regular basis, since only those who break the commandments need to repent. 1 Nephi 3:7 states that you are able to keep His commandments. In fact according to D&C 25:15, you are required to keep them continually! Since you haven’t done this so far, why assume you will in the future? Of course, we should all try to be holy; but if you think that sinning less will qualify you to live in God’s presence, you are mistaken (Gal 3:1-11). The assumption that good works are required for forgiveness only cheapens Christ’s atonement, making it nothing more than a partial payment. God chooses to justify us by faith. Jesus alone does the “perfecting” (Heb 10:14). God gives peace to those who trust in Him alone. If you don’t have this peace, it’s probably because at least a part of you trusts in yourself. Questions? [Admin Edit: advertisement removed]

  2. BrianJ said

    Ty, I initially thought to delete your comment as spam, since it is only marginally relevant to Janet’s post and apparently posted only as an advertisement for your own site. Nevertheless, I decided to let is stay because a) it describes a deep misunderstanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (which we have discussed many times on this site), and b) my hope that someone will come forward to claim your million dollars.

    Now, to respond more specifically to your comment. You wrote, “If the Book of Mormon is really scripture, this hope will always elude you.” Preposterous! My belief that the Book of Mormon is scripture gives me great hope that I will return to live with God:

    “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:4)

  3. BrianJ said

    Janet, very useful notes with all the church history. As for Moroni’s “perhaps,” you raise an interesting question. I’ve read it to be a bit of a melancholy admission on his part: “I’m not really certain what the Lord has in store for me or my work.” Alternatively, he may be expressing doubt that the Lamanites will ever find his writings worthwhile.

  4. Robert C. said

    Janet, thanks for these notes. I thought the quote from Skinner’s thesis was particularly intriguing, how they met in the temple for regular meetings, and from 10 am to 4 pm! Am I alone if feeling like 3 hours of church is a long time (at least with kids, and with our church meeting from 1-4 pm….)

  5. deweyolsen said

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