The order of the church in D&C 20 and the Book of Mormon

Mar 11, 2021
5 min read

Just a casual observation, nothing mind-blowing, but as I read through D&C 20 I was enjoying how much the order of the early church took from the Book of Mormon and especially the book of Moroni.

Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it. 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. And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end. 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; […]

Moroni 6:1-4

All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

D&C 20:37

You have the ordination of priests and teachers in Moroni chapter 3 which corresponds to D&C 20:30-60 which is more detailed.

The sacrament prayers in Moroni chapters 4 and 5 correspond to the verses in D&C 20:76-79.

The instructions regarding taking down names of converts and then “blotting” out names is very similar.

…their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God […] 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.

Moroni 6:4-7

With a list of the names of the several members uniting themselves with the church since the last conference; or send by the hand of some priest; so that a regular list of all the names of the whole church may be kept in a book by one of the elders, whomsoever the other elders shall appoint from time to time; And also, if any have been expelled from the church, so that their names may be blotted out of the general church record of names.

D&C 20:82-83

The method of baptism is taken from 3 Nephi:

Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.

3 Nephi 11:23-26

Baptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent—The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water.

D&C 20:72-74

Their meetings were also both conducted in the same way, as led by the Spirit.

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.

Moroni 6:9

The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the commandments and revelations of God.

D&C 20:45

I’m sure there are many other parallels, this post was not meant to be exhaustive by any means.

Overall, it was a pleasant reminder of how important the Book of Mormon was in guiding the early saints and the principles are still valid today.

After Moroni finished with the Book of Ether he was ready to call it done but he figured that he would keep writing as long as he was still around and there was empty space on the plates:

Now I, Moroni, after having made an end of abridging the account of the people of Jared, I had supposed not to have written more, but I have not as yet perished; […] Wherefore, I write a few more things, contrary to that which I had supposed; for I had supposed not to have written any more; but I write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord.

Moroni 1:1,4

Moroni’s position must have been incredibly difficult. Everyone you knew and loved is dead; killed in brutal hand-to-hand combat. Your entire civilization is gone and your own existence will not be tolerated by your enemies.

You hold in your possession a record that will be the sign that will signify the fulfilling of God’s covenants in the last days and if anyone finds you with it, they’ll kill you and destroy the record.

You’ve technically finished this sacred project started by your father, but you realized that your own mind holds the last remnants of your culture’s history and religious teachings.

It doesn’t seem like there was a specific timeframe of when those plates needed to be buried, but you’re still alive, and there is some space left to write. Do you bury them as is, or can you not resist the urge to say something, anything, to the future?

I can’t even imagine the difficulty of figuring out what I would say or pass on, but the little extra that Moroni wrote is of great worth.

The last words of a lone survivor, a man of tremendous faith, a witness of incredible things.

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