We had a school holiday and so it has been two weeks since our last lesson. This was a super interesting experience. Another random person showed up for class. As class started going on, it came out that she had studied with the Mormons before briefly, and her husband was a “priest in the Mormon church” who left in order to marry a Catholic woman. He’s had a hard time with his decision to leave the church.
Anyway, this woman seemed to be genuinely interested if not fully open, and she has a very solid understanding of the scriptures. Not shy, she dominated our conversation. It was interesting to see how the interaction went down.
I was SUPER anxious as I started teaching because of the newcomer. Most of my lesson material was coming from D&C 82 and D&C 84 (oath and covenant of the Priesthood). It was crazy how well-prepared she was to hear this material. She says she’ll be back next week because obviously the Lord is directing her to study with us. I agree with her. I hope she isn’t too hardheaded to learn what she can from us, and I hope I can have the spirit with me to be able to cover topics in the right way. I think there was a lot I could have done better. I am a terrible missionary.
Anyway, I used the material from the manual for the first few verses of D&C 82. I rarely teach very long straight from the manual, but this really stuck out for me when I read it, and I taught it nearly word-for-word. It went well, especially for our visitor.
For D&C 84 I really struggled. Could that section be any more random? I ended up using an interview with Elder Perry on the Priesthood to provide a structure to present the material. I paused after the questions and we had short discussions. Worked fine.
Visitor does not believe she needs to be baptized, so I talked with her about John 3 (which fortuitously we had just talked about during Sunday School last Sunday, so I was poised). I gently challenged her to think about being baptized (this is 15000000% out of character for me, but the spirit was very strong and had been prompting me for some time), which she rejected flat out. I didn’t push, but it’s pretty clear this is the reason she’s been sent to us: she has some things to learn about authority and ordinances.
Anyway, it was a crazy experience. Good, but stressful.
Student with the question wondering what the mammon of unrighteous is didn’t show, but for your information, here is what that phrase means. The text below is taken straight from two parts of the old Seminary student manual:
D&C 82:22. Why Is the Church Commanded to Make Friends with the “Mammon of Unrighteousness”?
“The commandment of the Lord that the saints should make themselves ‘friends with the mammon of unrighteousness,’ seems to be a hard saying when not properly understood. It is not intended that in making friends of the ‘mammon of unrighteousness’ that the brethren were to partake with them in their sins; to receive them to their bosoms, intermarry with them and … come down to their level. They were to so live that peace with their enemies might be assured. They were to treat them kindly, be friendly with them as far as correct and virtuous principles would permit, but never to swear with them or drink and carouse with them. If they could allay prejudice and show a willingness to trade with and show a kindly spirit, it might help to turn them away from their bitterness. Judgment was to be left with the Lord.” (Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:323.)
The phrase “mammon of unrighteousness” is taken from the parable of the unjust steward (see Luke 16:11).
The scriptures teach that the station and rewards we inherit in the life after this are determined by how firmly we commit ourself to the gospel, seek the power of the Atonement to overcome our sins, and take responsibility for our stewardship over temporal blessings.
In what has for some people been a troubling parable, the Savior commented on the prudence of a steward who prepared for his future by cheating his master (see Luke 16:1–8). The Savior said, “The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. … If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:8, 11). Elder James E. Talmage explained:
“Our Lord’s purpose was to show the contrast between the care, thoughtfulness, and devotion of men engaged in the money-making affairs of earth, and the half hearted ways of many who are professedly striving after spiritual riches. Worldly-minded men do not neglect provision for their future years, and often are sinfully eager to amass plenty; while the ‘children of light,’ or those who believe spiritual wealth to be above all earthly possessions, are less energetic, prudent, or wise. By ‘mammon of unrighteousness’ we may understand material wealth or worldly things. While far inferior to the treasures of heaven, money or that which it represents may be the means of accomplishing good, and of furthering the purposes of God. Our Lord’s admonition was to utilize ‘mammon’ in good works, while it lasted, for some day it shall fail, and only the results achieved through its use shall endure. If the wicked steward, when cast out from his master’s house because of unworthiness, might hope to be received into the homes of those whom he had favored, how much more confidently may they who are genuinely devoted to the right hope to be received into the everlasting mansions of God! Such seems to be part of the lesson.
“It was not the steward’s dishonesty that was extolled; his prudence and foresight were commended. … The lesson may be summed up in this wise: Make such use of your wealth as shall insure you friends hereafter. Be diligent; for the day in which you can use your earthly riches will soon pass. Take a lesson from even the dishonest and the evil; if they are so prudent as to provide for the only future they think of, how much more should you, who believe in an eternal future, provide therefor! If you have not learned wisdom and prudence in the use of ‘unrighteous mammon,’ how can you be trusted with the more enduring riches? If you have not learned how to use properly the wealth of another, which has been committed to you as steward, how can you expect to be successful in the handling of great wealth should such be given you as your own? Emulate the unjust steward and the lovers of mammon, not in their dishonesty, cupidity, and miserly hoarding of the wealth that is at best but transitory, but in their zeal, forethought, and provision for the future.” (Jesus the Christ, pp. 463–64.)