Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Moroni 4: Bless and Sanctify

Moroni offhandedly mentions yet another thing that Christ explicitly commanded when he visited the Americas that somehow did not merit a mention in 3 Nephi.  This time it's the sacrament prayer.  And that's kind of ironic, considering that we agree to keep the commandments in that prayer—but when we're commanded to administer the sacrament in a specific way, we almost forget to preserve that method for future generations.

But what really caught my eye about this chapter this time around was the specific phrasing.  The pronouns make me wonder if this is still a leftover of the mostly Trinitarian attitude of the original Book of Mormon.  Look at verse 3:
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.
So we're speaking directly to God the Father the whole time, which means whenever the words him or his are used, it's a reference to Jesus.  Which means that the commandments we're supposed to keep are Jesus's commandments.  Usually, commandments are attributed to God the Father—at least in Mormonism. But it also means that when we'll have his Spirit to be with us, it's Jesus's spirit.  And I don't ever remember the Holy Ghost being taught as belonging to the Son.  It always belongs to the Father.  The spirit of God like a fire is burning...not the spirit of Jesus.

So perhaps this verse was written with the whole Father-and-Son-are-still-kind-of-the-same-guy mindset, which makes it all the more bizarre that it winds up being one of the things that is repeated most often, most officially, and most stringently in modern-day Mormonism.

1 comment:

  1. You make some excellent points here. Mormon doctrine on the Godhead is supposed to be clear, but it has certainly changed over time. However, as you have pointed out multiple time in your BoM Commentary, the Book of Mormon teaches that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are one being.

    Joseph Smith had trouble with pronouns, and it does add to the confusion and understanding of the Godhead in Mormonismm. I bear testimony of that. In the name of thy son, amen.