Editor’s note: “Resources to follow Him” curates study resources, teachings, and thoughts to deepen your study of this week’s Come, Follow Me.
There is a scene in one of the new Book of Mormon videos that came out in September that always breaks my heart a little bit. It depicts what we read in Moroni 1, “I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life.” It shows Moroni walking alone through different landscapes, and for me, it made me appreciate Moroni in a way I hadn’t previously.
Despite spending the first few months of the pandemic at my parents’ home in North Carolina, as someone who lives by myself, I have spent a lot of time since then alone, which was the situation I found myself in when I watched this video for the first time. Maybe that is why my heart went out to Moroni and I loved him even more for making sure we got this book despite great loneliness and the threat of death.
In the Come, Follow Me chapters we read this week, Moroni writes “a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth.” Remember how in Mormon 8:35, Moroni wrote, “I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.” So as this man wandered, what was important enough for him to for him to write a few more things? I think it was us.
In Moroni 2–5, we read how the Holy Ghost should be given by the laying on of hands, how the priesthood should be conferred, and what the words of the sacrament prayers were—the same as they are today. This section feels more administrative than any other set of chapters in the Book of Mormon, but chances are, if you have had home church over the past nine months, someone has probably opened to Moroni 4 and 5 to read the words of the sacrament prayers. The administration of ordinances like the sacrament has always mattered, but that administration has looked different this year.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:20 tells us, “In the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.” This past Sunday morning, as I watched the sacrament be blessed and passed in my own home, I saw the power of God once again. And thanks to Moroni, we have a clear idea of how those ordinances should be carried out and the power of godliness has been made manifest to us. Aren’t we grateful that he wrote a few more things? Here are a few additional insights into these important chapters.
Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler begin this week’s episode of “Don’t Miss This” by discussing Moroni’s loneliness and why he may have chosen to write what he did. “Obviously he wasn’t gathering with a Church community, he wasn’t having that faith community relationship and that gathering on the Sabbath and all of those things, but he missed them. And we know he missed them because what he writes in these first six chapters are almost his memories, I think also his testimony of the importance of gathering as faith communities,” Freeman says. She addresses the question that many seem to be having about why we have to go back to Church. Why is it necessary?
“I love that this one man wants to say maybe, ‘Let me tell you what I miss the most’ or ‘Let me tell you what is the most important thing. If I have time to just sit down and write to you what you should hold as the most sacred practices, these would be some of those things,’” Freeman says.
The Sacrament—A Form of Self-Care
Karen Zelnick Rivera, a guest on this week’s episode of the Sunday on Monday Study Group, shares a personal experience she had with the sacrament:
I already mentioned that I believe it and feel that to be real, that we can always have the Spirit to be with us. But one particular sacrament prayer I remember. . . . I don't think there's any pain more painful, I think, than feeling, like, real heartbreak for whatever reason that is, in any capacity. And I was in a time of my life where I just felt so broken. And I remember sitting there listening to the sacrament prayer. I mean, I don't have experiences like this ever. . . . But it's like I could feel the Savior sitting next to me. . . . I don't even know how to describe it, almost like I could feel my soul just lean over and rest my head on His shoulder and feel what that would feel like to feel the comfort and the love from the Savior, who I know loves me more than I can love myself and anybody can possibly love me. And just, like, feeling that comfort and the power as the words to the sacrament prayer are read about His body and His blood being shed for me was something that I will never forget and [that] has made me feel the sacrament more tangibly, more powerfully than I ever had before.
Host Tammy Uzelac Hall goes on to ask Rivera, “The fact that the sacrament is for the soul of every member, it's something that we all need to remember. And so, talking about souls, I'm just curious to know, how has that were connected to your experience, Karen?”
Rivera replies, “It was my soul that was just so weary. There are probably a lot of people listening, especially this year, who just feel that they really resonate with that, that they are just. . . . From what we read and what we see and what we feel and what we're experiencing, that they are just so tired, and their soul is tired. . . . And so, I think that's why the sacrament is so beautiful, because that is a place for our soul to replenish. Not just the type of self-care that we can do on our own that we should and hopefully are doing on our own, but that is where God meets us in our self-care and helps take care of us even more.”
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original presented by LDS Living. You can access the full study group discussion through the Bookshelf app. Listen to a segment of this week's episode below or listen to the full Sunday on Monday episode here.
Always or Sometimes?
On this week’s episode of another Come, Follow Me podcast, Unshaken, Jared Halverson devotes nearly his entire episode to walking through the sacrament prayers line by line. While we do not believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation (meaning we do not believe that the emblems of the sacrament literally turn into the body and blood of Christ), Halverson says, “For all intents and purposes, are we seeing those things behind the emblems that are used to represent them? If all we see is bread and water, then we are not seeing that the Lord is good. If all we’re tasting is bread and water, then we’re not tasting that the Lord is good.” He emphasizes that our experience with the sacrament and our receiving of its promised blessings are dependent on how we approach it and keep our end of the deal.
For example, when we promise to “always” remember Him, we are promised that we will “always” have His Spirit to be with us, but Halverson points out that we are essentially saying to the Lord either, “I am willing to mostly remember you because I mostly want the Holy Ghost’s companionship,” or “I will sometimes remember God so that He will sometimes give me the Holy Ghost.”
But in the end, Halverson addresses the final verse in this week’s reading that discusses meetings conducted by the church “after the manner of the workings of the Spirit” by emphasizing our need to be guided by the Spirit in our worship. He suggested that home church has presented an opportunity to reflect on whether the Spirit is a key component to our Sunday services.
“Have you sensed a hint, maybe a preview of coming millennial attractions as we have had much more of a home-centered, Church-supported experience?” Halverson asks. “First, as suggested and recommended by the prophets and then forced upon us by a pandemic. How do you run home church on weeks that you can’t go to the chapel? How do you worship around the kitchen table or in the living room? I pray that these verses in Moroni 6 can become our personal ideal. What needs to happen in my home, within my family, to fast, to pray, to speak with each other—to the ones that matter most to us, ones whose souls we’re most tied to personally—for their welfare and can we pay attention to the workings of the Spirit and by the power of the Spirit decide how we will worship God in our homes. . . . With Church meetings like that, retention and reactivation wouldn’t be such a challenge, you couldn’t keep people away.”