Toward the end of the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon, the Jaredites become wicked and reject the prophets. The prophet Ether prophesies “great and marvelous things” to the Jaredites, but they do not believe these things “because they saw them not” (Ether 12:5).
At this point in the Jaredites’ story, Moroni jumps into a discourse on faith. “It is as if Moroni realizes that faith could have been the antidote to the wickedness that led to the destruction of the Jaredite nation,” said Brother Mark L. Pace, Sunday School general president, to Brigham Young University faculty, staff and students on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
“Of course, Moroni knows that it’s too late for the Jaredites, but he isn’t writing to the Jaredites — he’s writing to each of us, and it’s not too late for us,” he said. “Moroni wanted us to know that faith is the antidote to the wickedness of the world in which we live.”
Moroni illustrates the power of faith in Ether 12 with the examples of Alma and Amulek causing the prison walls to tumble to the earth; Ammon, Nephi and Lehi converting thousands of Lamanites; and the Savior Jesus Christ appearing to the people.
During his BYU devotional address on Oct. 29, Brother Pace elaborated on Moroni’s discourse about acting in faith and testified that “faith still precedes the miracle.”
Brother Pace shared five “patterns of faith” to demonstrate faith in Jesus Christ and qualify for the miracles God has prepared:
- Following the Lord’s living prophet
- Attending Sunday meetings
- Participating in home-centered gospel learning
- Paying tithes and offerings
- Attending the temple
Follow the Lord’s living prophet
Brother Pace told the story of Charles Walker, a man born in England in 1832, who emigrated to the United States and came to Salt Lake City in 1855. After working hard for seven years to establish his home, Charles Walker was called to leave and help settle the “Cotton Country” in southwestern Utah — what is now known as St. George.
Charles Walkers’ faith in the gospel and desire to be obedient to his leaders is evident in his journal entries. He is the author to the words of the hymn, “Dearest Children, God is Near You,” which describes the blessings available to the faithful.
“The faithfulness of Charles Walker preceded the miracle of a righteous posterity,” Brother Pace said. “Your faith in following the living prophet throughout your lives will have the same result.”
Attend Sunday meetings
When Melvin and Teresa Merchan and their two children lived in the village of Ripoll, Spain, the nearest chapel was over 70 kilometers (about 43.5 miles) away. Between 2004 to 2010, the Merchan family spent approximately 11 hours each Sunday to travel to Church by train, attend meetings and return home.
When Brother Pace asked the Merchans why they made such a sacrifice, he said they responded with this simple statement: “We desired that our children would grow up in the Church and remain active in the Church. That was our principal goal. The rest was of lesser importance to us.”
Several miracles came because of their faith, Brother Pace told BYU students. A branch of the Church has been established in a nearby community, the Merchan’s son Bryan served a full-time mission, and their daughter Carol married in the Madrid temple.
“Now, it is not likely that you and I will be required to make an 11-hour sacrifice to attend our Sunday meetings,” Brother Pace said. “But, we might ask ourselves, what price we are willing to pay for the conversion of ourselves and our posterity? That blessing will come as we exercise the faith to partake of the sacrament weekly.”
Participate in home-centered gospel learning
When Brother Pace was called as Sunday School general president last April, he asked President Russell M. Nelson what he would like him to do in his calling. President Nelson’s reply was to encourage members to use “Come, Follow Me.”
Brother Pace quoted President Nelson’s warning during the October 2018 general conference about the need for “counterstrategies and proactive plans” to survive spiritually against the adversary’s attacks. President Nelson promised that the influence of the adversary would decrease as the home is remodeled into a center of gospel learning.
“‘Come, Follow Me’ is the Lord’s counterstrategy and proactive plan,” Brother Pace said. “Studying the scriptures, with the ‘Come, Follow Me’ resource as our guide, is like painting the door posts of our home with the blood of the sacrificial lamb, as the children of Israel did while in bondage.”
He added, “Our act of faith in studying the scriptures daily protects us and our families from the influence of the adversary.”
Pay tithes and offerings
Quoting Malachi 3:8-11, Brother Pace emphasized that tithing is paid because of faith, not because of money. And the day will come when faith regarding tithing will be tested. “That will be the moment when you show the Lord, and yourself, who you really are,” he said.
As a bishop almost 20 years ago, Brother Pace met two young couples who moved into his ward. Both had been married in the temple. During tithing settlement, the first couple expressed their struggle to pay tithing due to the costs of rent, food, gas and tuition.
The second couple, however, faithfully paid their tithing, despite dealing with the same expenses.
“I was impressed with how their humble donations added up to a magnificent miracle as the Lord provided for their family and they remained worthy of their temple blessings,” Brother Pace said.
“We can show our faith by always being current in the payment of our tithes and offerings.”
Attend the temple
Making the sacrifice to serve and worship in the temple will also bring miracles, Brother Pace said. He shared a personal experience that occurred when he and his wife, Anne Marie, sought the blessing of an additional child and committed to attend the temple every week for 12 months.
Several months into their weekly temple attendance, Anne Marie became pregnant. After completing the full-year commitment, Brother Pace said the experience changed his life: “My feelings for the house of the Lord, and my devotion to the work performed there, deepened in a profound way.
“Now, I am not suggesting that the Lord expects you to attend the temple every week; nor am I saying that doing so will mean you will be blessed with more children,” Brother Pace said.
But miracles come only after exercising faith. “As you exercise your faith to, in President Nelson’s words, ‘make an appointment regularly with the Lord — to be in His holy house — then keep that appointment with exactness and joy,’ you will discover similar miracles in your lives,” he said.