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29th Floor Sunday School
56 minutes | Dec 13, 2020
Come Follow Me for Dec 14-20 - Moroni 10
Final chapter of The Book of Mormon. Moroni gives us 8 exhortations, starting with exhorting us to remember how merciful God is to us and culminating with the exhortation to come unto Christ. The Book of Mormon is a record of God’s mercy to a small group of wanderers somewhere in the American continent and its ultimate purpose is to help us come unto Christ. Moroni also promises that by the power of the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of all things, which I understand to be not a question of historicity, but whether something is true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ultimately our greatest desire should be for the Holy Ghost to testify that we are true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we have no better tool to help us stay true than The Book of Mormon!
63 minutes | Dec 6, 2020
Come Follow Me for Dec 7-13 - Moroni 7-9
Moroni shares the teachings of his father, Mormon, including a sermon he gave to the Nephite church and letters he wrote to Moroni. His sermon teaches the importance of doing the right thing for the right reason, which is the only way the we can attain personal growth and progress. Through the grace of Christ, we are able to “lay hold” of the good that we do, meaning that it helps us to progress back towards our heavenly goal. Once we have hope, in that we believe in where we are going, and we have faith, in that we believe in the path to get there, then we add to that charity, which is the fuel the enables us to move forward on that path towards our goal. All three work together in the Plan of Salvation and are made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Mormon condemns the practice of infant baptism, in that it denies the grace and goodness of the Plan, replacing it instead with “dead works,” as opposed to being alive in Christ.
63 minutes | Nov 29, 2020
Come Follow Me for Nov 30-Dec 6 - Moroni 1-6
Moroni, finding himself still alive, gives guidance to members of the future Church of Jesus Christ about a few critical aspects of a church, choosing to focus on the power to give the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordaining and calling teachers, the sacrament, baptism, and meeting together. In a world where COVID has forced many of our normal church activities online, we discuss the limitation of virtual church and the importance of having physical experiences to further our spiritual growth. In addition to the covered chapters, this lesson also draws from (1) Melvin J. Ballard’s talk “The Sacramental Covenant,” delivered at a Mutual Improvement Association conference on June 8, 1919, which you can find here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/1976/01/classic-discourses-from-the-general-authorities-the-sacramental-covenant?lang=eng&id, and (2) David A. Bednar’s talk “Things as they Really Are,” delivered at a Church Education System fireside on Mary 3, 2009, which you can find here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2010/06/things-as-they-really-are?lang=eng&id
65 minutes | Nov 22, 2020
Come Follow Me for Nov 23-29 - Ether 12-15
Moroni finishes his account of Ether, the great prophet and rightful heir to the Jaredite throne. Ether teaches to believe in God, repent, and hope for a better world. Moroni then discourses on faith and hope, and how both are necessary in order to receive the “heavenly gift,” which is returning to the presence of God. Hope is believing in the destination; faith is believing the map that takes us there. God cannot perform miracles in our lives if we do not have faith, and the greatest miracle is taking us back to his presence, which is our eternal destination. The Jaredites reject Ether and his message and, rather than building a society to bring them closer to God, they descend into hell and eventually destroy themselves.
58 minutes | Nov 15, 2020
Come Follow Me for Nov 16-22 - Ether 6-11
Moroni recounts nearly 2,000 years of Jaredite history, beginning with the journey across the ocean in eight barges by the light of 16 small stones touched by the hand of God. Discussion of the meaning of this journey to us 4,000 years removed and its importance to the Jaredites going forward. Moroni then goes into unusually detail as to the historical record, while only occasionally drawing spiritual conclusions for the reader. One of the important conclusions is the dangers of secret combinations, which caused the destruction of the Jaredites, the Nephites, and any other nation for which darkness replaces light.
67 minutes | Nov 8, 2020
Come Follow Me for Nov 9-15 - Ether 1-5
Discussion of the beginning of Ether. Moroni condensed the Jaredite record to focus on two main events: their coming to the promised land and their destruction. The former teaches us about Christ, the temple and the Plan of Salvation, while the former is a warning to everyone that has entered into covenants with God. The Brother of Jared is a type of Christ, while Jared was also likely a righteous and spiritual man. The Brother of Jared has a temple experience when he learns the true nature of God, and just as Christ revealed himself as he touched the stones to bring light to the Jaredites in their voyage, so too will the Nephite record reveal Christ and give light to all who read The Book of Mormon as we struggle to return to the presence of God.
65 minutes | Nov 1, 2020
Come Follow Me for Nov 2-8 - Mormon 7-9
Mormon finishes his record by pleading with the Lamanites to come to the knowledge that their fathers had of the plan of salvation and their covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. Moroni takes charge of the Nephite records and prepares to close up his account by testifying that The Book of Mormon is not perfect and likely contains mistakes. We must be charitable in judging this book, because our ability to recognize God’s hand in this book likely speaks volumes as to our ability to recognize God. The Book of Mormon will come forward in a day in which the same mistakes that caused the fall of the Nephites will be prevalent, including the denial by many of miracles. If we believe in Jesus Christ, we believe in a God of miracles and expect God to perform miracles in our lives.
62 minutes | Oct 26, 2020
Come Follow Me for Oct 26-Nov 1 - Mormon 1-6
Mormon details the fall and destruction of the Nephites. He was given charge over the Nephite records when he was very young because he was “sober” and “quick to observe,” and so his account is intended to be a spiritual record of the Nephites, recording his spiritual observations and explanations as to what happened. Because of their lack of faith, the Nephites are not able to observe the miracles of God and eventually they aren’t even able to hold on to the things which are theirs. Ultimately, rather than coming unto Christ where there is safety and permanence, they are scattered around by their enemies until they are ultimately destroyed.
66 minutes | Oct 19, 2020
Come Follow Me for Oct 19-25 - 3 Nephi 27-4 Nephi
The Savior teaches the importance of taking upon ourselves His name and building upon His Gospel, and if we do this then we are His disciples and members of His church. He teaches the Gospel, which is that He came to be lifted up so that when we are lifted up to judged, we are judged by Christ based upon our relationship with Him, or in other words whether we have taken upon ourselves His name. Three of the Nephite disciples are blessed to remain on the earth and teach the Gospel. The Nephites keep the commandments and become one because of the love of God in their hearts, but this unity doesn’t last as pride causes them to take upon themselves names other than that of the Savior, and as a result their Zion society begins to fall apart.
65 minutes | Oct 12, 2020
Come Follow Me for Oct 12-18 - 3 Nephi 20-26
The Savior concludes his teaching to the Nephite masses by administering the sacrament through His apostles and teaching about the gathering of Israel. He makes sure their scriptures include important events and teachings that they had failed to record, including evidence of His ability to overcome death on behalf of everyone, which is the fundamental purpose of the atonement. He teaches the importance of tithing, but not as a way for us to achieve temporal security, but for spiritual blessings, including those relating to our families. Mormon did not record all of Christ’s teachings, but if we are to know what else Christ taught we must seek for it ourselves.
61 minutes | Sep 27, 2020
Come Follow Me for Sept 28-Oct 11 - 3 Nephi 17-19
Christ continues to teach the descendants of Lehi in the ancient Americas. He heals their sick and afflicted and blesses their children, giving the Savior a fullness of joy. He administers the sacrament to the 12 and then commands them to give it to the multitudes. He ascends back to heaven, promising to return the next day, causing many to make extraordinary efforts to be there the next day to hear him. He prays that those who believe in Him will be purified through Him, and that they will become one with Him in the same way that He is one with the Father, teaching an important truth about the Atonement.
66 minutes | Sep 20, 2020
Come Follow Me for Sept 21-27 - 3 Nephi 12-16
Study of the sermon taught to the Nephites at the temple, parts of which are nearly identical to the King James version of the Sermon on the Mount. We discuss reasons as to why that might be the case and closely look at some of the differences. We then consider ways in which the teachings that follow the Sermon on the Mount chapters in 3 Nephite further expound and elaborate on the Sermon chapters, providing students of The Book of Mormon with additional insights into the Sermon on the Mount and how those teaching have specific applicability to the Nephites.
63 minutes | Sep 13, 2020
Come Follow Me for Sept 14-20 - 3 Nephi 8-11
In the midst of Nephite infighting an incredible storm arrives that destroys cities and kills thousands. The three hours of constant destruction are followed by thick darkness. In the midst of the darkness, they hear a voice testifying that Jesus Christ is the light of the world. Not long after, a group gathered at the temple witness The Father introducing The Son, after which they each have the opportunity to individually approach Christ and feel his wounds with their own hands. Christ them teaches of the atoning effect of baptism, and if we have come unto Christ and become one with Him, we will also become one with all others who have done likewise. The Savior also simplifies his doctrine: faith, repentance, baptism and salvation--anything more is unnecessary, and anything less eventually results in the cessation of progression.In addition to the covered chapters, this lesson also draws from (1) Neal A. Maxwell’s October 1995 talk “Swallowed Up in the Well of the Father,” (2) JST Matthew 16:25-29, (3) Matthew 3:17, (4) Matthew 17:5, (5) Joseph Smith History 1:17, and (6) D&C 38:27.
62 minutes | Sep 10, 2020
Come Follow Me for Sept 7-13 - 3 Nephi 1-7
Nephite society goes from wickedness, to righteousness, and then back to wickedness. The sign of Christ’s birth causes them to believe for a time, but before long they forget and the Gadianton robbers gain power. The Nephites are forced to come together to protect themselves from the robbers, and eventually they defeat them, leading to several years of humility, righteousness and prosperity. But divisions drive them apart and break up the church, and corruption ends up destroying the government, leading to chaos. One important lesson from this is that we cannot rely upon signs and miracles for true faith, but must daily engage in the things of the Spirit.
62 minutes | Aug 30, 2020
Come Follow Me for August 31-September 6 - Helaman 13-16
Samuel the Lamanite prophet warns the Nephites that they must repent because Christ is coming and he is going to turn their world upside down. They won’t even to be able to count upon the sun going down at the end of the day, let alone the riches and accumulated wealth that they currently rely upon for comfort. Christ comes and is resurrected to overcome both deaths: the death at the time we came to this earth and were physically separated from God, and the death that will come if we have not repented and are thus cast off forever from His presence. We must all choose to accept Christ and his Gospel to combat the uncertainties of this world rather relying upon the things of this world which provide only temporary and “slippery” solutions.
62 minutes | Aug 23, 2020
Come Follow Me for August 24-30 - Helaman 7-12
In this lesson we learn more about Nephi, the son of Helaman, and his struggles to help his people repent and come unto Christ. Like all prophets, he testifies of Christ, and he does so in a dramatic way by miraculously informing the people that their chief judge has been murdered. The message is clear: if he has the power to tell them the murder of their chief judge, why can’t he also prophecy of the coming death and atonement of The Chief Judge, even Jesus Christ. The Nephites go through increasingly rapid cycles of wickedness, induced by the Gadianton robbers, on the one hand, and humility and repentance on the other, causing Mormon to remind us of the dangers of riches and the importance of needing to be reminded of our reliance upon God.
62 minutes | Aug 16, 2020
Come Follow Me for August 17-23 - Helaman 1-6
Nephites suffer from political strife, secret combinations, internal dissentions, and attacks from the Lamanites. Despite these challenges, the solution remains the same: repenting and calling upon the name of Jesus Christ. Helaman counsels his sons, Lehi and Nephi, to build their lives upon the foundation of the Rock of Heavan, so that when they are confronted with the challenges that ultimately will come, they can remain firm and safe. Towards the end of these chapters, many Lamanites repent while the Nephites begin to embrace the secret combinations, and the Lamanites begin to surpass the Nephites in righteousness.
56 minutes | Aug 9, 2020
Come Follow Me for August 10-16 - Alma 53-63
Study of the end of the Book of Alma and the second half of the war chapters. We focus on the 2,000 young Ammonite soldiers that entered into a covenant to protect their families, who earlier had entered into a covenant that they would not engage in battle. In some ways, these faithful young men can be thought of as types of Christ. We also discuss Captain Moroni, who bravely and lovingly led the Nephites through these difficult times. In the end, these years of warring led many people to harden their hearts, while others, because of their humility, had their hearts softened from all of the fighting.
69 minutes | Aug 2, 2020
Come Follow Me for August 3-9 - Alma 43-52
Discussion of the first part of the war chapters in the Book of Alma. In this lesson we search themes that Mormon may have wanted us to pick up on and that we can apply to our lives, of which I find eight: (1) the Nephites were motivated by a better cause, (2) the Nephites were prepared for Lamanite attacks, (3) the Nephites recognized the hand of God in their actions, (4) the Nephite success in battle strengthened the church, (5) Nephite leaders were men of God, (6) the Nephites recognized the link between religion and freedom, (7) the Nephites knew that most people are decent, but they can be led to do bad things, and (8) the Nephites were happy even in the midst of challenges. In addition to the covered chapters, this lesson also draws from Hugh Nibley’s 1983 BYU commencement addressed titled “Leaders and Managers.”
68 minutes | Jul 26, 2020
Come Follow Me for July 27-August 2 - Alma 39-42
Alma counsels his son Corianton, who was struggling with keeping the commandments and had a few basic questions about the Plan of Salvation. Corianton was likely guilty of two sins: violating the law of chastity and preventing others from accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, one of which ranks #3 on the hierarchy of sins. Alma shares his understanding of what happens to our spirits after we die and teaches that the resurrection is best understood as a restoration of things to their natural order. He reminds his son of the justice of God, and the need for mercy, which is made possible by the atonement of Jesus Christ and can only be accessed by repentance. Justice and mercy go together, like yin and yang, because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. In addition to the covered chapters, this lesson also draws from (1) Elder Jeffery R. Hollands classic talk “Of Souls, Symbols and Sacraments,” (2) “The Sin ‘Next to Murder’” by Michael Ash, and (3) Joseph Fielding Smith in Doctrines of Salvation.
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