Come Follow Me: Moroni 1-6 “To Keep Them in the Right Way”

The Sacred Practice of Remembering

Leaving a written legacy

Ida B. Wells’ Legacy

When civil rights activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett was in her later years, a younger woman approached her with an awkward question:

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, 1930

A young woman recently asked me to tell her of my connection with the lynching agitation which was started in 1892. She said she was at a YWCA vesper service when the subject for discussion was Joan of Arc, and each person was asked to tell of someone they knew who had traits of character resembling this French heroine and martyr. She was the only colored girl present, and not wishing to lag behind the others, she named me. She was then asked to tell why she thought I deserved such mention.

She said, “Mrs. Barnett, I couldn’t tell why I thought so. I have heard you mentioned so often by that name, so I gave it. I was dreadfully embarrassed. Won’t you please tell me what it was you did, so the next time I am asked such a question I can give an intelligent answer?”

When she told me she was twenty-five years old, I realized that one reason she did not know was because the happenings about which she inquired took place before she was born. Another was that there was no record from which she could inform herself.

This conversation led Wells-Barnett to realize that she needed to write her personal history.

It is therefore for the young people who have so little of our race’s history recorded that I am for the first time in my life writing about myself. I am all the more constrained to do this because there is such a lack of authentic race history of Reconstruction times written by the Negro himself.

…The gallant fight and marvelous bravery of the black men of the South fighting and dying to exercise and maintain their newborn rights as free men and citizens, with little protection from the government which gave them these rights and with no previous training in citizenship or politics, is a story which would fire the race pride of all our young people if it had only been written down. It is a heritage of which they would be proud—to know how their fathers and grandfathers handled their brief day of power during the Reconstruction period.

…The history of this entire period which reflected glory on the race should be known. Yet most of it is buried in oblivion and only the southern white man’s misrepresentations are in the public libraries and college textbooks of the land. The black men who made the history of that day were too modest to write of it, or did not realize the importance of the written word to their posterity. And so, because our youth are entitled to the facts of race history which only the participants can give, I am thus led to set forth the facts contained in this volume which I dedicate to them.

-Ida B. Wells-Barnett (Crusade for Justice. University of Chicago Press.)

Ida B. Wells spent her final years working on her autobiography while concurrently continuing her activism.  The final chapter, which begins, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” ends abruptly in the middle of a word she was unable to finish writing before her death. Although unfinished, it was published and “has held a special position in African American culture as a protest against oppression” and “as an historical record from the African American point of view.” (Akiko Ochiai, Ida B. Wells and her Crusade for Justice: An African American Woman’s Testimonial Autobiography, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal 75(2))

  • Why did Ida B. Wells-Barnett feel compelled to write her story?
  • Who was she writing for? How did she believe it would benefit them?

Moroni’s Legacy

As the final author of the Book of Mormon, Moroni had a unique role in finishing and preserving the record. Share the video “Moroni Invites All to Come unto Christ” which is based on excerpts of Moroni’s writings from the Book of Moroni, Mormon 8-9, and the Title Page of the Book of Mormon.

  • What stood out to you from the video?
  • How was Moroni’s mission unique and challenging?
  • What compelled him to complete his mission? How might he have found strength and motivation to do what he did?

Read the Title Page of the Book of Mormon, which is attributed to Moroni. (See More Light On Who Wrote The Title Page by Clyde J. Williams, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.)

THE BOOK OF MORMON
AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY THE HAND OF MORMON
UPON PLATES TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI

Moroni in the Cave by Jorge Cocco

Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites—Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile—Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation—Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed—To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof—Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile—The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also, which is a record of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven—Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

  • According to the title page, why was the Book of Mormon written?
  • Who were the authors writing for? How did they believe it would benefit them?

In Mormon chapter 8, Moroni writes that his father, Mormon, who compiled the Book of Mormon, has died in battle with the Lamanites. Moroni writes that he intends to add only “a few things” because he has no writing materials and it seems likely that he will also be killed. But to his surprise, Moroni survives battle. At some point, he obtains writing supplies and adds more chapters to the Book of Mormon “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). Today, these additional chapters are known as the Book of Moroni.

  • Why does Moroni call the Lamanites, “my brethren” after they have killed all of his people?
  • Why does he hope his writings will be “of worth” to them?

Review the ten chapter headings within the Book of Moroni.

  • How does Moroni choose to use this additional opportunity to write more chapters?
  • Why would he choose these topics?
  • How have these writings been “of worth” to us as modern church members?

Remembering as We Partake of the Sacrament

It is through Moroni that we obtained the prayers and procedure we use for the Sacrament. Invite class members to read the (short) chapters 4 and 5 of Moroni  and look for the words “remember” and “remembrance.”

The manner of their elders and priests administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church; and they administered it according to the commandments of Christ; wherefore we know the manner to be true; and the elder or priest did minister it—

And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

The manner of administering the wine—Behold, they took the cup, and said:

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

Moroni 4:1-3; Moroni 5:1-2

  • Where did you see the word remember?  What are we instructed to remember?
  • How can we better focus on remembering Christ during the Sacrament?

Share the video, “Always Remember Him” or this excerpt from the talk it is based on:  “This Do in Remembrance of Me” by Jeffrey R. Holland, October 1995.

This particular ordinance with all its symbolism and imagery comes to us more readily and more repeatedly than any other in our life. …In the simple and beautiful language of the sacramental prayers those young priests offer, the principal word we hear seems to be remember. …What is stressed in both prayers is that all of this is done in remembrance of Christ. In so participating we witness that we will always remember him, that we may always have his Spirit to be with us.

-Jeffrey R. Holland, “This Do in Remembrance of Me”

 

 

  • What are the advantages of partaking of the Sacrament often? What are the challenges?
  • How can we make Sacrament time feel special and sacred, in spite of its familiarity and frequency?
  • During the current pandemic, many people have been unable to partake of the Sacrament due to quarantines.  How can we remember Him if circumstances prevent partaking of the Sacrament?
  • How can we remember Him during times of our lives that make focusing on the Sacrament difficult, such as while nursing infants or parenting young children?  How can support others who are in such phases of life?

Moroni taught that church members of his time also met together often for the ordinance of the Sacrament. As they read Moroni 6:4-6, invite the class to again look for the word “remember.”

And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.

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

And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.

Moroni 6:4-6

  • Where did you see the word remember?  What are we instructed to remember?
  • How do we remember and nourish each other?

 

April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series and host of the Religious Feminism Podcast. Learn more about April at aprilyoungb.com.

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1 Response

  1. EmilyCC says:

    This is a great lesson plan, and I love the story of Ida B. Wells-Barnett to begin this. Thank you!

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