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Interpreting Interpreter
The Ghost of Moroni

This post is a summary of the article “The Holy Ghost in the Book of Moroni: Possessed of Charity” by Newell D. Wright and Val Larsen in Volume 57 of Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. An introduction to the Interpreting Interpreter series is available at


The Takeaway

Wright and Larsen discuss what each chapter in Moroni has to teach us about the Holy Ghost, with an emphasis on its transformative power, and on the path we’ll walk if we don’t take advantage of that power.


The Summary

In this article, Newell D. Wright and Val Larsen provide a chapter-by-chapter outline of the Book of Moroni in relation to the theme of the Holy Ghost. The first six chapters provide (1) an introduction to important themes, (2) show how the Holy Ghost is conferred, (3) outline its connection to the priesthood (as the power through which individuals are ordained), (4) highlights (via the sacrament) how we can become one with both Christ and the Holy Ghost), (5) how that connection is formed through a capacity to keep the commandments, and (6) the covenant community that we are connected with as a result. Chapter 7 then fully develops the theme of the Holy Ghost as an agent of transformation and a guide in navigating the “doctrine of the two ways”–two divergent outcomes that stem from our mortal choices.

Charity, the pure love of Christ, is framed as the “efficient cause” of that transformation. If we cleave unto charity, are possessed by charity, and are filled with charity, the Holy Ghost can help us become sons and daughters of God. If we make the alternative choice, Satan will instead seal us his.

Chapter 8 provides an example of how to apply this principle, with Mormon’s charity allowing him to “love little children with a perfect love”, and to affirm their salvation. Chapter 9, in contrast, shows the real-life consequences of denying the Holy Ghost as the Nephites’ civilization collapses. Lastly, Chapter 10 features the promise that truth can be manifest to us through the Holy Ghost. If we receive that truth, we have the potential to be like our Heavenly Parents. If we don’t, we “cannot be saved in the Kingdom of God”. As Wright and Larsen conclude:

“The Holy Ghost is the connecting thread that runs throughout the Book of Moroni…When we cleave unto the Holy Ghost and are possessed of charity, we become one with Christ and the father, see them as they are and become like them. The obverse is also true, if we cleave unto, are possessed of, and filled with the spirit of the Devil, we become one with him…Those two paths are open to us. It is, thus, vitally important that, influenced by the Holy Ghost, we make the choice Moroni urges us to make.”


The Reflection

Moroni 10 just happens to be one of my favorite chapters of scripture. As is Mosiah 3, which includes my favorite passage on the transformative power of the Holy Ghost. The idea that pure Christlike love is what turns the gears of that transformation is a powerful one, and suggests where we should be prioritizing our spiritual and temporal efforts. Love is where the Spirit is enticing us to go, and as we yield to those enticings, our hearts become changed by that love. It’ll be hard for me not to think of that further on my next read of Moroni.

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