Saturday, December 8, 2012

Moroni Finishes His Record, Part 7

Mormon's sermon on faith, included in Moroni 7, enters the topic of the ministry of angels (Moro. 7:22).  Angels were sent to minister "unto the children of men" to teach them about Christ.  This statement about angels ministering unto men is general, not limited to a small group of leaders.  All men and women may and should receive angels, or true messengers.  These messengers are sent from the presence of God to teach them how to "begin" to exercise faith in Christ (Moro. 7:25).  This is the beginning of revealed religion.

It is by this faith that men are saved, and "become the sons of God" (Moro 7:26).  Mormon tries to convince his audience that miracles haven't ceased because Christ left and ascended into heaven.  Miracles haven't ceased, and angels haven't ceased to minister unto the children of men (Moro. 7:29).  They are subject unto Christ and are sent by him unto men (Moro. 7:30).

As long as there is one man left upon the earth to be saved, so long as time shall last, angels will be sent to minister unto that man (Moro. 7:36).  Does this not imply that the ministry of angels is in some way inescapably tied to your salvation?  Can you be saved without the ministry of angels?  In other words, can you be prepared in all things, and be brought to the veil to meet your Lord without the guidance of true messengers?  What does the temple teach about this?  Do the teachings of the temple validate Mormon's testimony?

It is by faith that angels come to minister unto man (Moro. 7:37).  If angels have ceased to minister unto men, it is because of unbelief, and their religion is vain (ibid.).  "For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name (Moro. 7:38).

Both Mormon and Moroni speak unto you as if you were present (Morm. 8:35).  In order for their message to have the intended impact, you must actually believe the text is speaking to you personally.  Many in the Church insist passages like this are not meant to be taken personally.  You should read the text carefully and ask yourself if you're willing to believe that.

Remember that you cannot justify your standing before God by a reference to Joseph Smith's own experiences with angels.  Joseph Smith's personal experiences are no more a fair assessment of your own standing before God than Moses' experiences were a reflection of the righteousness of the children of Israel.  Nor are Joseph's personal experiences a good determinant of the Church's present condition.  In fact, Mormon said our churches "have become polluted" because of our pride (Morm. 8:36).  "The holy church of God" has been polluted from the inside out (Morm. 8:38).  Hugh Nibley always said it was an inside job.

The things Moroni included for us as he finished his record should be more helpful to us than we tend to allow them to be.  His words are corroborated by the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith.  In the vision of the telestial world he saw that those who were to be heirs of salvation would be ministered to by angels (D&C 76:88).  They receive instruction from true messengers if they seek redemption from the fall.

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