Nearly 1700 years ago in ancient America, a young boy was called to do a very serious and sacred work for his people, and for us.
This boy was a descendant of the Jews, having grown up a believer of God and Jesus Christ his entire life. At this time, there was so much evil that he stood out from many as a “sober child and [was] quick to observe.”a His name was Mormon.
The man who entrusted Mormon his calling was one of the few good and righteous men at the time and he went by the name of Ammaron. Ammaron instructed 10-year-old Mormon to write down everything he would witness in his lifetime concerning his people, much like the prophets of old. His people were called the Nephites. Mormon may not have known it then, but his words and testimony would benefit hundreds of thousands of souls many years later.
Well, this boy grew up to be a strong young man. And when his nation needed him most, he led the army as a General through many wars. Under his command, they faced many losses and few wins. His people, who used to be a God-fearing populace, soon rejected their faith in Jesus Christ and acted in open rebellion not even 300 years after He Himself had visited them. They couldn’t win without the Lord’s strength, and yet they didn’t want it. This lack of faith and wickedness retracted God’s influence over them, making them weak when against their enemies.
You see, Mormon’s people had divided into two main groups known as the Lamanites and the Nephites long before he was born. A division so ancient, that it stretched back nearly a millennia from his time. Their enemies, the Lamanites had once been family, friends, and neighbors. But he was asked to lead an army against them because the Lamanites had one intention-and that was to destroy the Nephites off the face of the earth.
A sibling rivalry between good and bad (Nephite and Lamanite) that millennia ago, stirred sincere hatred toward God on the Lamanite’s side. This hatred fueled their thirst for Nephite blood and submission.
Mormon led the Nephite armies as best as he could. He was able to find time to raise a family and have the only child we know of, named Moroni.
As the wars increased, the bloodshed grew more fervent amongst both sides. Mormon and his army were forced to flee from city to city for decades as the Lamanites hunted them like beasts.
I imagine that Mormon must have felt like a vagabond, forced to fight for his family and nation working with men who didn’t care about anything more than their pride and satisfactions. While the Nephite army would flee from their enemiesb, they left behind the women and children whom were almost always the Lamanites prize for conquering.
This must have all been so incredibly frustrating!
The nation was full of countless accounts of carnage, stealing, hatred, witchcraft, adultery, abominable actions, and many morec.
As horrible as this all sounds, it rings a bell, doesn’t it? This sounds a lot like our time.
We live in a world where nation hates nation, where stealing is common, where relationships are treated as disposable, where money is a tool for greed, where pride is rampant in the hearts of many, and where murder is pronounced from a news anchor’s lips almost every2 seconds... the list goes on.
You could say that Mormon knew what it felt like to be living in a world that seemed to be going crazy. There were corruptions in government. There was hatred for those who were different than them. There were people who began to deny God and His matchless mercy, miracles, and power.
I’m amazed at how similar his time was to ours. He seems like he could relate very well to us.
What this meant for Mormon and Moroni
Mormon eventually fulfilled the wish Ammaron had for him. While fortifying a city called Jashon, he realized he happened to be nearby the city Antum where the record of his people was hidden. He took his chance and dug them up from the hill in which they were deposited and began to write the things he had seen.d
Within this time his son Moroni grew and became much like his father. You can imagine that Moroni grew up seeing the horrible things his father had seen. And yet, these two men, father and son, wrote some of the most hope-filled messages of Jesus Christ in the entire book of the Book of Mormon. With melancholy and despair at every turn, they had hope.
What was their secret?
The Unaccounted for… Account
There are pockets of time where Mormon and Moroni don’t write in their respective personal records and I wondered to myself, ‘What happened in those times?’ How did they go from despairing to rejoicing? They were strangers to a nation filled with peace.
And although they may not have kept a detailed diary of their conversion, their hopeful moments, or their how to’s during these extremely hard times, what we see as a result of their hidden growth is miraculous.
I made a timeline below to show the big events of both of their lives:
321 AD. Mormon receives his mission from Ammaron.
327-362 AD. Mormon leads the Nephites into battle. Many die in battle due to their foolish ways. He prays for them often, to no avail.
345 AD. Mormon obtained the plates and desires to help his brethren come unto Christ, but they don’t listen.
362 AD. Mormon refuses to lead the faithless and wicked Nephites in battle.
375 AD. Mormon decides to help the armies again after their many losses in battle.
385 AD. The Nephites and Lamanites arrange their final battles by the hill Cumorah. More than 130,000 Nephites were killed in battle leaving only 24 survivors including Mormon and his son Moroni.
385-400 AD. The Lamanites hunt down the remaining Nephites, killing Mormon among them, leaving Moroni alone to finish the record of his fallen people.
421 AD. Moroni finishes the record and bids us farewell with his last testimony. He buries all of the plates in the hill Cumorah.
As you can see, there were plenty of years to ponder for these two- especially in the years of 400-421 AD after Mormon was killed and Moroni was left alone.
I’m convinced that the time that is hidden to us, is when they were growing the most. I believe they were testing their faith and becoming the men we needed them to be. And as a result, they shared very inspirational and uplifting testimonies of Jesus Christ that have helped many come unto Him.
Because of their words, I myself was inspired to come back to Christ several years ago. I too, was at a very low point in my life when everything seemed over before it even began. I was so grateful for their words during this time. Especially Moroni’s words.
Mormon and Moroni testified of the truthfulness of faith, hope, charity, Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and the grace of God. They spoke of the lovely fruits of the Gospel; all after seeing heinous acts and abominations their entire lives. Their hope pierced through their circumstances. This hope was deeply rooted in them.
“…As we come unto Jesus Christ by exercising faith in Him, repenting, and making and keeping covenants, our brokenness—whatever its cause—can be healed. This process, which invites the Savior’s healing power into our lives, does not just restore us to what we were before but makes us better than we ever were. I know that through our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can all be mended, made whole, and fulfill our purpose, just like a beautiful-sounding, brand-new piano…”
As beautifully stated by Sister Franco, you can be healed! I have had some serious trials in my life. You have probably had serious trials, too.
Just like cracks in vase these trying and sometimes traumatizing circumstances can stay with us forever.
However, it doesn’t need to be that way! Mormon and Moroni had very hard trials and I don’t doubt they were affected greatly. But they were able to find happiness in the quite moments with their Savior in prayer and fasting.
They achieved something that so many people search for their entire lives and they found it in the most dark of times.
They studied the word of God in the scriptures, they experimented on their faith, they trusted God, and they were able to leave us at the end of their lives saying, ‘This is all real. This changed me, this helped me. And if you come unto Christ you will be healed.’
To conclude, I’ll share one of my favorite scriptures in all of the Book of Mormon in Moroni chapter 10:
Moroni was sure of the truthfulness of these things. I mean, he had to in order to bear such a powerful testimony hope coming from where he’s been! And I want to let you all know that I know for myself that this is true, too.
I bear testimony, that as someone who is taken up in the clouds looks down on the world they left behind, you will also gain this same exaltation if you embark on the journey to the summit that is Him.
If you’re looking for peace and happiness in today’s crazy world and are trying to navigate the never-ending obstacles, I invite you to read these chapters in the Book of Mormon:
They were the chapters I used to illustrate the journey of hope Mormon and Moroni took us on today. I know that if you do as they did and come unto Christ with all of you heart, mind, might, and strength, you will have joy. You will have peace. These are the valuable things the world can’t give you in the same abundance God can.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.