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Relationship to Mormon. The relationship of Chapters 8-9 to the rest of Mormon is addressed at Mormon.
Story. Chapter 8-9 was written by Moroni following the death of his father Mormon. Moroni will eventually make more plates and write the books of Ether and Moroni. But at this point he expects only to write a few last words according to the commandment of his father Mormon. Chapters 8-9 consists of __ major sections:
- Verses 8:1-13a: Moroni witnesses the destruction of the Nephite people four hundred years after the coming of Christ. He also says that he he will write a few things as commanded by his father Mormon and then hide up the record.
- Verses 8:13b-26a: Moroni says that the record will come forth for the welfare of the House of Israel, according to the Lord's covenant with the House of Israel as described in Isaiah, and he warns his readers not to oppose the restoration of the House of Israel. He also warns his readers not to condemn the record for any imperfections of man that it may contain.
- Verses 8:26b-41: Moroni describes the day in which the record will come forth as a time of pride, seeking praise of the world, fine clothing, and neglect of the poor; priestcrafts that seek gain, deny miracles, and preach that sin does not matter; secret combinations and murders; and wars, rumors of wars, and natural disasters.
- Verses 9:1-6: Moroni addresses those who do not believe in Christ, warning that they will see Christ at the final judgment, and exhorting them to turn to Christ now.
- Verses 9:7-29: Moroni then addresses those who do believe in God but deny the power of miracles. He recounts God's work from the creation through the fall, atonement, resurrection, and final judgment. He also explains that while that work remains uncompleted, God will always work miracles, signs will always follow those who believe, and miracles will cease only when people lack faith.
- Verses 9:30-37: Moroni concludes by briefly reviewing his earlier themes: the record will come forth, it should not be condemned because of any imperfections of men, and it is written to fulfill the Lord's covenant with the House of Israel in bringing them to a knowledge of Christ.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 8-9 include:
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- Morm 8-9. Moroni must of had a pretty lonely life. Can you imagine not having a father because he was killed in war and all your friends were kiled as well. All that you have is your records and you. I would probably go insane with boredom and loneliness.
- Mormon and Moroni’s concluding words to the Book of Mormon, are some of the most poignant and beautifully scripted in all of the standard works. Indeed, it is difficult to comprehend the desperation and loneliness that must have been felt as both of these men tried to change a nation that had fallen down the slippery slope of pride. Incredibly, this same sense of need and call for the Lord during a time when being righteous was the exception and both the Nephites and the Lamanites were yielding to the tempters power. I find it to be interesting that both Mormon and Moroni prove to be abridgers of the word, in that where Mormon tells the story of Lehi and his posterity here upon the earth. Moroni, like his father, will abridge and tell the story of the Jaredites and their eventual fall into great wickedness and eventual abomination. Both Moroni and Mormon tell the stories of a blessed people who eventually fell from the sight of God, only to be cleansed by his ever powerful hand.
- Mormon never gives up hope that the powerful hand of God will intervene and influence his fallen people. As Mormon calls the people to repentance he tries to help those around him gain an understanding that if they humble themselves before God that they will be spared and would reap the blessings that the Lord promises to those that are obedient. (Morm. 5:23-24) Conversely, Moroni looks back in retrospect and characterizes the fact that the Nephites and Lamanites did not take heed to the Prophets words. He knows that his people have fallen, yet realizes the Lord’s eternal “promises shall be fulfilled.” (Morm. 8:22).
- In the Book of Ether similarities are apparent of those in the Book of Mormon. Both books show how the pride cycle of the respective groups created a downfall and the eventual utter destruction of once beautiful societies. Mormon is telling the story. As Moroni receives the plates he feels the need to interject his feelings on the Lord’s plan and how we can bring ourselves closer to him. This is very apparent in Ether 12. Both authors demonstrate hope. Mormon’s hope relies more on the present circumstances while Moroni’s hope is projected toward the greater plan of God. It is interesting to note the unique perspectives that stem from the two authors different circumstances. While both are directing and telling a similar story, they both come from different views and terminate with different outcomes. Both demonstrate love for the Lord and the great understanding of his punishment and mercy in the Plan of Salvation.
- Morm 9:3-5: Judging ourselves. Moroni teaches that the wicked and unbelieving in this life will actually be more at ease with their guilt when they are out of the presence of God. It is as if your father owned a professional sports team like the Lakers. And you being his favorite son were granted to play for the Lakers only due to the fact that your father owned the team and not due to talent. You would feel so uncomfortable and out of place out on the court. That is why this life is so crucial to prepare to meet God in this life. Hell is living in eternity with the knowledge that your progression is damned due to your choices in this earthly life. That is why all of the prophets urge us to repent. Also see Mos. 3:25-26.
- Morm 9:27. This verse suggests that doubt and belief are incompatible. See Mark 5:36 for the incompatibility of fear and belief and Mark 4:40 for the incompatibility of faith and fear.
- Morm 9:31-33: Imperfections. Verse 33 suggests that Moroni is talking about imperfections related to the way he writes. He is talking about the types of errors one makes when writing in a language less familiar than one's own native tongue. We might call these grammatical errors.
- Morm 8:12 together with Morm. 8:17 suggest that Moroni is talking about both grammatical errors and other types as well. Or, we might interpret "imperfections" as being specific to grammatical errors (as it is used in verse 33) and "faults" as a presumably wider category. This explains how Moroni can both say in Morm. 8:17 that they know of no faults while at the same time seeming to explicitly acknowledge imperfections in Verses 8:31-33.
- The word imperfection in Morm 8:31 should be distinguished from sins. Moroni is talking about innocent mistakes. Of course, the same advice given may apply to sins as well (e.g. condemn not, but thank God that he...); however, Moroni is interested in thinking about the types of errors found in his writings here and whatever errors he's making, they either can't be helped because he's having to write in the less familiar "reformed Egyptian" (Verse 8:32) or they are things he simply doesn't know about Morm. 8:17?
- Morm 9:31-33: Condemn not...thank God. Moroni is concerned here with those who will condemn his writings because of imperfections. Instead we should thank God that we've seen these imperfections. Interestingly, Mormon doesn't say that seeing these imperfections makes us more wise. Instead he uses the phrase "give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been" (emphasis added). Understanding his (and his father's) imperfections opens the possibility for us to learn to be more wise--but isn't already proof of it.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- Morm 8:24: How should we take the statements about faith in v. 24? If we understand them literally, should we compare our own abilities to exercise faith against those we read about here?
- Morm 8:26: Was it just the highly educated classes of Americans who said in the 1820s that miracles had ceased, or was this a widespread belief?
- Morm 8:27: How were the saints already being persecuted before the publication of the Book of Mormon?
- Morm 8:28: Did the leaders and teachers envy their parishioners, because it was the latter, rather than the former, who were the most humble and most likely to experience God's power in their lives?
- Morm 8:29: How long was this "day" of natural disasters supposed to be?
- Morm 8:30: Why did the Lord provide a sign about natural phenomenon of the last days that would be scientifically measurable and verifiable?
- Morm 8:31: What images did the word "pollutions" call forth for preindustrial readers of the Book of Mormon?
- Morm 8:32: Is Mormon pairing the phrase "Come unto me" and the offer by these churches to forgive people of their sins for money in order to show on both accounts that these apostate sects were setting themselves up as replacements for the Redeemer?
- Morm 8:33: Would it be more accurate to say that these apostate churches transfigured the meaning and applicability of the scriptures?
- Morm 8:34: Was Moroni aware that more than a millennium separated him from his readers?
- Morm 8:35: Was Moroni more aware of our doings than of our thoughts, because the future visions he beheld showed speech and behavior but not the inner reasoning of modern-day people?
- Morm 8:35: Is it possible that these in-depth visions of modern society allowed Moroni to learn the English language? If so, did this acquisition of English affect his use of language on the plates? Furthermore, is Moroni's unique wording of biblical verses (when he visited Joseph Smith) evidence that he had tried his hand at translating scripture into English, but perhaps without the quality control of an editor?
- Morm 8:36: Who were these few and why were they seemingly exempt from the universal sin of pride?
- Morm 8:37: Is it the readers of Moroni's words or apostate Christians who are being identified and targeted by Moroni's use of "ye"?
- Morm 8:38: If the Apostasy was inevitable, then how can we expect the Christians to have preserved, or blame them for not preserving, the truth about how to become and live like Christ?
- Morm 8:39: Do the wicked feel justified in their greed because they feel entitled to the wealth they have earned through their their own labor and superior character?
- Morm 8:40: Was Moroni saying it was righteous for the widows and orphans to petition the Lord for vengeance upon those whose wickedness oppresses them?
- Morm 8:41: How is the blood of the saints being spilled even to this day?
- Morm 9:22: Where did Moroni gain access to this statement that Jesus made to his apostles in the New Testament: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15)? Or did Moroni use the word "disciples" instead of "apostles" to suggest that Jesus delivered the exact same statement to his twelve in both the New and Old Worlds?
- Morm 9:33: What does it mean that there would be no imperfection in their record if those who wrote the Book of Mormon could have written in their version of Hebrew? What does it tells us about the types of imperfections Mormon talks about in verse 31? Would these types of imperfections be lost once translated with divine help? Or are they still present in the Book of Mormon?
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