Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Power and Faith of the Saints in Moroni’s Past

As Moroni takes over writing on the plates from his father Mormon, he spends some time talking about factors besides the Lord’s purposes that will bring about the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. One of these that caught my attention was the prayers of the Saints.
23 Search the prophecies of Isaiah. Behold, I cannot write them. Yea, behold I say unto you, that those saints who have gone before me, who have possessed this land, shall cry, yea, even from the dust will they cry unto the Lord; and as the Lord liveth he will remember the covenant which he hath made with them.
24 And he knoweth their prayers, that they were in behalf of their brethren. And he knoweth their faith, for in his name could they remove mountains; and in his name could they cause the earth to shake; and by the power of his word did they cause prisons to tumble to the earth; yea, even the fiery furnace could not harm them, neither wild beasts nor poisonous serpents, because of the power of his word. (Mormon 8:23-24)
When I have read these verses before, I just assumed the saints referred to were the disciples of Christ, because of the reference to the furnaces and beasts that could not harm them and how similar that was the description of how the three Nephites were miraculously preserved. And yet, I now wonder if there is a reason Moroni called them “saints” and not “disciples of Jesus.” It makes me think that this could be describing the faith of the general church membership, not just the highest leaders.

I also notice that when Moroni refers to Isaiah, he repeats enough of an image—“crying from the dust”—that we can identify exactly where Moroni was thinking of: Isaiah 29. But he reworks the meaning a bit for his own purposes. Instead of terrible ones crying from the dust, Moroni has saints crying from the dust, essentially praying during mortality and beyond in behalf of their brethren. In v25 he also says their prayers were for the one who would bring forth the Book of Mormon, so it is a good bet it was also for all those engaged in the Restoration as well, as it continues today.

And Moroni wants us to know those prayers will be efficacious because of the great faith of those praying, and he cites the miracles they could do in the name of Jesus and by the power of His word as evidence of their spiritual power.

I don’t know about you, but it gets me thinking about what I might need to do so that my faith as a Latter-day Saint can grow to match those ancient Saints.

I don’t need to move mountains, but what obstacles in my life would I like to remove? I can think of a few, for sure.

I would rather not shake the earth, but it might be nice to use my faith to shake my false complacency.

What psychological prisons that hold me captive could use some destruction? What flame wars and beastly poisonous behavior could I use protection from by the power of Christ’s word?

How might our prayers, acting in Jesus’s name and by the power of His word accomplish?