In Moroni Chapter 6, Moroni looks back at the Church of Christ that led to hundreds of years of peace on the American Continent. He gives us advice that is very relevant to the Church in our days and filled with insight that would strengthen our words and branches. I see his counsel echoing the wise instruction of the Apostles and Prophets urging us to baptize converts that are truly converted, fellowship those that enter the fold, and to have the spirit present in our meetings.
1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.
2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.
When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Taking upon us His name is one of the most significant experiences we have in life. Yet sometimes we pass through that experience without having a full understanding…..
4 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.
Everyone of course remembers President Hinckley’s plea that every recent convert be given: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with “the good word of God.” In my mission we were woefully inadequate at doing so. New Converts went for months without a calling and without friendship outside of the full time missionaries. Bishops/branch presidents would regard callings as a gift that needed to be reserved for those that ‘earned’ their trust rather than an opportunity to help strengthen a new members testimony. So many wonderful people fell away due to the return of old habits and the pressures of family and friends. Sadly, when a new convert would make a mistake members would be judgmental rather than loving. How dramatic would be the growth in the church if we took to heart Moroni and President Hinckley’s plea and truly strove to accept, love and integrate these new coverts.
7 And they were strict to observe that there should be no iniquity among them; and whoso was found to commit iniquity, and three witnesses of the church did condemn them before the elders, and if they repented not, and confessed not, their names were blotted out, and they were not numbered among the people of Christ.8 But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.
Unfortunately, from time to time we also hear of Church members who become discouraged and subsequently quit coming to and participating in our Church meetings because they think they don’t fit in….
5 And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.6 And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.9 And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.
In that environment, strong impressions began to flow to me again. I wrote them down. The message included specific counsel on how to become more effective as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I received such an outpouring of impressions that were so personal that I felt it was not appropriate to record them in the midst of a Sunday School class. I sought a more private location, where I continued to write the feelings that flooded into my mind and heart as faithfully as possible. After each powerful impression was recorded, I pondered the feelings I had received to determine if I had accurately expressed them in writing. As a result, I made a few minor changes to what had been written. Then I studied their meaning and application in my own life.
Subsequently I prayed, reviewing with the Lord what I thought I had been taught by the Spirit. When a feeling of peace came, I thanked Him for the guidance given. I was then impressed to ask, “Was there yet more to be given?” I received further impressions, and the process of writing down the impressions, pondering, and praying for confirmation was repeated. Again I was prompted to ask, “Is there more I should know?” And there was. When that last, most sacred experience was concluded, I had received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction one could hope to obtain in this life. Had I not responded to the first impressions and recorded them, I would not have received the last, most precious guidance.” ( To Acquire Spiritual Guidance; October 2009)