Shortcutting Past Moroni’s Promise

shortcutMoroni 10:4-5 is perhaps the most memorized passage in LDS scripture:

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

However, in this modern era of fast food, rapid transit and instant messaging, Moroni’s advice seems a bit old-fashioned. Isn’t there a quicker method to gospel truth, shortcutting past all that inquiry and patient waiting for revelation through the Holy Ghost?

Here is a modern alternative to Moroni’s methods:

And when ye shall receive these things, just do as you’re told.

There are several advantages to this new approach:
1.    It is easier to memorize than Moroni’s promise.
2.    Faith, real intent and a sincere heart are not required.
3.    Holy Ghost power is not wasted (just in case such power is not a renewable resource).
4.    Chances are that the person speaking from the pulpit is more spiritual than you are, or at least vested with greater authority than you are, so it is likely that he is right. Why waste time and effort just to make sure? Certainly you wouldn’t doubt something said by such an honorable person?

I think the logic presented in item 4 is the most compelling of all the advantages listed.  I have heard variations of item 4 preached on many occasions.  Unfortunately, after applying Moroni’s promise to item 4, I cannot testify that I know the truth of item 4 by the power of the Holy Ghost.  In fact, I suspect that we miss out on something when we shortcut past Moroni’s promise.

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

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7 Responses

  1. Maybe the biggest advantage to the modern shortcut method is that it doesn’t open the door to a possible negative answer.

  2. y’know, this makes me wonder. Could the recent talks about “follow the Prophet” and “follow the bretheren”, etc, be coming about because of the impatience of waiting for answers in modern times?

    Is this lack of patience endemic in our Church? JS tended to ask for a number of things that were ahead of the peoples ability to do them properly (united order, polygamy, build a temple in Independance, etc). Is a collorary to wanting only the answers we are already given a desire to have everything spiritual there could possibly be right now, darn the consequences?

    This is a good post, btw. We need to remember that understanding only what we’e been told is the least we can do. Even the Church as a whole can only be given understanding that would suit the whole world, no matter what the level of understanding. We each grow at our own pace and learn, through the spirit, what we need to learn at the level we ahve thus far attained.

  3. mb says:

    You may have a point about our modern inability to stop, ponder and meditate for insight. I attended a RS class awhile ago where one good sister actually did say, “I don’t want to have to go through all that ‘follow the Spirit’ stuff. Why can’t God just tell us what to do?”

  4. Jessawhy says:

    This is a great post. (I didn’t see it till just now, but it went up 2 days ago?)

    I think some traditional Mormons would say that we use Moroni’s promise when it comes to verifying the truth of the BoM, but not when it comes to following the prophets. I hope I’m wrong, that most people would apply the promise more broadly, but I don’t really see that happening, because of all the good reasons you listed.

  5. Spunky says:

    This reminds me a bit of a friend’s conversion story. He isn’t much of a reader, so he decided to just pray to know if the BOM was true, because he didn’t want to waste his time reading it if it was not true scripture. He did this, and was baptised shortly thereafter– before even reading the BOM cover to cover.

    In such a time-precious world, I thought his example was brilliant. I apply this example in other ways- such as, I don’t generally enjoy crafts, so even if there is a short spiritual message offered, I don’t need to go to every craft meeting, waste time and money on something that I don’t enjoy making just for a 2 minute spiritual message, particularly when I prefer attendng the temple. Same goes for leadership (or other) advice. Just last week, a man in testimony meeting called everyone to repentance if we had not yet done a “I am a Mormon” profile. Um… while he might have a testimony of his own profile, and I respect that, I am content to pray for direction before I follow his advice in putting up a profile. Being a lemming is a bigger waste of time than is actually trying out Moroni’s promise, IMO.

  6. alex w. says:

    I’ve never thought of it that way before. Interesting. Thank you for writing this!

    CourseCorrection’s comment rings so familiar to me. There’s always that fear of the answer being something you didn’t want it to be, and then what?

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