1 And now I, Moroni, write a few of the words of my father Mormon, which he spake concerning faith, hope, and charity; for after this manner did he speak unto the people, as he taught them in the synagogue which they had built for the place of worship. [There were few who were willing to worship in the synagogue in the later years of Mormon’s life. This sermon so impressed Moroni that he kept it and was inspired to include it in the final text of the record.]
2 And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy will, because of the gift of his calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you [in this manner] at this time.
3 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ [always repenting], and that have obtained a sufficient hope [through baptism] by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord [the gift of the Holy Ghost], from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.
4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men. [How you conduct yourself with other people.]
5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works [fruit] ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.
6 For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. [What are the results of an evil man praying to God? Where is the fruit?]
7 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
8 For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift [blessing or offering], he doeth it grudgingly [Regretting the act, for his heart is not there, and wonders how it will help him.]; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. [Evil is a strong word, meaning it is by the power of the Adversary to do his will. Such a person is a hypocrite who pretends to pray to God, but there is no fruit.]
9 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.
10 Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift. [Mormon’s words encourage each of us to focus upon the results of the acts of one professing to be from God.]
11 For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil. [This all makes sense, but how do you judge this in real life? Imagine if your church leader appeared in every way to be righteous: he looks like a saint, he speaks of Jesus, he prays eloquently of the Gospel, he councils kindly, but something is missing. How can you discern they are not of God?]
12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
Satan is not stupid, even though many would like to think so. How could he fall after knowing the Lord to the degree he did? Satan has chosen the path he walks and knows exactly what he is doing. He knows that the righteous will not follow him at first. They must be seduced, one small sin at a time. Give them a hundred truths, and inject a single lie. Lure them carefully away from the light. Evil is that one lie, enough to canker the heart and lead away. What will that lie be for you? Here, we must judge righteously.
13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. [We are told that “every thing” that leads to goodness, to love God, and serve him is inspired of God. What if a person is teaching these good things, but there is a lie injected? We must exercise discernment.]
14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
One of the slippery slopes of our time is the preacher that sets themselves up as a light as they preach the platitudes of righteousness. Words of truth that the people agree are of God. But, then they demand their followers to look to them for their light, to live by their words, and not to truly know the Lord. The only thing that a servant of God truly preaches is repentance. This includes the why’s, what’s, how’s, and when’s of the process. There should be no question of how to come unto Christ. Mormon is about to explain this in detail.
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. [Easy as one, two, three.]
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. [What is it that persuades a person to believe in Christ? Is it the warm hearted stories from the pulpit? Is it the reading of essays by scriptural scholars, or those who have high standing of leadership? No, it is the participation in the “power of the gift of Christ,” which are the gifts of the Spirit.]
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
The only way to “do good” is to follow the doctrine of Christ and participate in the gifts of the Spirit, which are many and will be touched upon in this chapter and chapter ten.
18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge [divide the good from the evil], which light is the light of Christ [The Spirit], see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. [You will follow that which you judge. If you judge evil to be good (which is what evil does), you will choose darkness.]
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently [It is a process and great work to do this.] in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ. [As you earnestly seek every good thing, judging between the good and evil, you will find the Lord.]
20 And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing? [He is about to explain further the process.]
21 And now I come to that faith [the foundation], of which I said I would speak; and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold on every good thing.
22 For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.
23 And God also declared unto prophets, by his own mouth, that Christ should come. [Believe in Christ and the words taught by the prophets. This is the foundation of your faith.]
24 And behold, there were divers [many different] ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them.
25 Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God [by revelation, scripture, and hearing the voice of others], men [all people] began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ.
26 And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name [receieved the Holy Ghost]; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good [according to God’s will], in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you. [The “believing” part is critical, for the Lord requires that we take action and if we do not believe our faith is dormant.]
27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles [the gifts of the Spirit] ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?
28 For he hath answered the ends of the law [Atonement], and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave [grab hold] unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens. [There is a difference between having “faith in him” and having faith of him, or about him, or like him. We are saved as He becomes a part of us. This is charity, the pure love of Christ. After we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost we exercise, “The pure love in Christ.” For as we become one with him we are claimed as His Son or Daughter under the Atonement.]
29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. [Miracles will follow them that believe “in Christ.”]
30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves [the angels] unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.
This is a key scripture to opening a particular gift of the Spirit which includes the ministering of angels and the beholding of angels. Angels only come to those who exercise faith. These individuals are seeking truth, they believe in the gifts, and do not block the reception of them because of false traditions (unbelief). How will an angel come to you? There are divers ways [various methods] this can occur. If one has “strong faith” [seeking the Lord’s revelation and acting upon it], and they have a “firm mind in every form of godliness”[mind is filled with virtue and belief in the Lord’s power in them], they will not be inhibited from conversing with the angelic host.
31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance [bring them to Christ], and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father [in regards to the Everlasting Covenant], which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord [3rd and 4th estate], that they may bear testimony of him.
32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men [second estate] may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.
33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. [You will be given the gifts of the Spirit as they are needed.]
34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved. [First step of the Doctrine of Christ, repent and come unto Him.]
35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? [Are there no miracles? Will angels cease to visit the followers of Christ? No way!]
37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo [sad and cursed] be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief [false traditions], and all is vain. [There is no hope.]
38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name [seek Jesus and act upon His words]; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made. [They will continue as a second estate forever.]
39 But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, for I judge that ye have faith in Christ because of your meekness [seeking His will above all things]; for if ye have not faith in him then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church.
40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope? [The second step of the Doctrine of Christ.]
41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. [This promise is made to the Father when we are baptized in water, a reminder of the resurrection of the soul unto Christ and life eternal.]
42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.
43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart. [You must have a broken heart and contrite spirit to accomplish this.]
44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart [full repentance, and full submission to the Lord]; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity. [Charity is the power of God that opens the door to baptism of fire and the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is the “pure love in Christ.”]
Mormon now gives us a list of attributes that are obtained by those who acquire charity. These are some of the “fruits” of charity:
45 And charity suffereth long [patient in afflictions], and is kind, and envieth not [does not compare their possessions to others], and is not puffed up [humble], seeketh not her own [focused on other’s needs], is not easily provoked [slow to anger], thinketh no evil [virtuous thoughts], and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth [thoughts filled with the joy of the Lord] , beareth all things [that the Lord gives them], believeth all things [that the Lord gives them], hopeth all things [are possible through the Lord], endureth all things. [every sacrifice the Lord requires]
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— [To receive charity is to receive the promise of the Father that you are worthy of receiving the gift of Christ. This is the turnkey moment in your judgment, where you are found worthy to approach the Lord. Shortly thereafter the baptism of fire is given and the gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed, as you are made holy and worthy to enter the presence of the Lord. Without this cleansing and holy sanctification, your attempt to ascend the hill of the Lord will fail.]
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
There are seven virtues of godliness that lead to charity. Once we are fully tested, the Father opens our heart and the light pours into us. We are ready to receive the Son.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart [full submission, contrite heart], that ye may be filled with this love [light of Christ], which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. [Our spirits are made pure and holy when we receive the third part of the Doctrine of Christ, the baptism of fire and the gift of the Holy Ghost. By this, we are able to stand in His presence, filled with light and glory, and be like Him in that we will not wither in His presence.]
This truly is a beautiful sermon given of Moroni’s father Mormon. He lays out the Gospel in its simplicity and the pitfalls that prevent many from receiving a fullness.