Moroni, Chapter 9

What does this letter contain?

“My beloved son, I write unto you again that ye may know that I am yet alive; but I write somewhat of that which is grievous (v. 1).”  The contents of this letter from Mormon to Moroni, are grievous.  Grievous means “causing or marked by grief or anguish”.  This was when the Nephites had been nearly destroyed because of their wickedness.

Mormon tells of a battle that they had been in, but had not won.  A lot of their men had died (v. 2).  He knew that Satan was stirring up the hearts of the people and they were near complete destruction (v. 3).  Mormon had continued to preach to the people, but they had hardened their hearts and no longer had the spirit with them (v. 4).  “For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually (v. 5).”  Mormon and Moroni were living in a time of great anger and fighting.

Mormon told Moroni to continue to “labor diligently” for the rest of their lives, or they would be condemned as well (v. 6).  He continues by telling Moroni about what has happened to their people.  “For according to the knowledge which I have received from Amoron, behold, the Lamanites have many prisoners, which they took from the tower of Sherrizah; and there were men, women, and children (v. 7).  And the husbands and fathers of those women and children they have slain; and they feed the women upon the flesh of their husbands, and the children upon the flesh of their fathers; and no water, save a little, do they give unto them (v. 8 ).  And notwithstanding this great abomination of the Lamanites, it doth not exceed that of our people in Moriantum. For behold, many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoners; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue (v. 9)—And after they had done this thing, they did murder them in a most cruel manner, torturing their bodies even unto death; and after they have done this, they devour their flesh like unto wild beasts, because of the hardness of their hearts; and they do it for a token of bravery (v. 10).  O my beloved son, how can a people like this, that are without civilization (v. 11)—(And only a few years have passed away, and they were a civil and a delightsome people)(v. 12)  But O my son, how can a people like this, whose adelight is in so much abomination (v. 13)—How can we expect that God will stay his hand in judgment against us (v. 14)?”

They truly lived in wicked times.  The lamanites were not only fighting them, but taking them as slaves, defiling them, forcing them to do awful things and then murdering them.  Many women were also left to wander and die (v. 16).  Mormon’s army was weak at this point and many had tried to run, but were caught and tortured by the Lamanites (v. 17).  “O the depravity of my people! They are without order and without mercy. Behold, I am but a man, and I have but the strength of a man, and I cannot any longer enforce my commands (v. 18 ).  And they have become strong in their perversion; and they are like brutal, sparing none, neither old nor young; and they delight in everything save that which is good; and the suffering of our women and our children upon all the face of this land doth exceed everything; yea, tongue cannot tell, neither can it be written (v. 19).  And now, my son, I dwell no longer upon this horrible scene. Behold, thou knowest the wickedness of this people; thou knowest that they are without principle, and past feeling; and their wickedness doth exceed that of the Lamanites (v. 20).”  The people were so wicked at this time that they could not find happiness in good things.  I cannot imagine a time when I could witness a people being tortured and killed so brutally and not completely turn myself to the Lord, willing to do anything to save my family.  These people still refused to repent.

I am sure that both Mormon and Moroni were extremely sad for the state of the people. I would want to hide myself away from all the wickedness and sadness.  Mormon was truly a great man of God.  “Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it; wherefore, I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased cstriving with them (v. 4). . . . And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God (v. 6). . . . Behold, my son, I cannot recommend them unto God lest he should smite me (v. 21).”  He knew that they refused to listen to the Holy Ghost and would not repent, but he had a calling to preach repentance to the people and so he did.  He loved them and felt great sorrow for the loss of their souls.

“But behold, my son, I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved; and I pray unto God that he will spare thy life, to witness the return of his people unto him, or their utter destruction; for I know that they must perish except they repent and return unto him (v. 22).  And if they perish it will be like unto the Jaredites, because of the wilfulness of their hearts, seeking for blood and revenge (v. 23).  And if it so be that they perish, we know that many of our brethren have deserted over unto the Lamanites, and many more will also desert over unto them; wherefore, write somewhat a few things, if thou art spared and I shall perish and not see thee; but I trust that I may see thee soon; for I have sacred records that I would deliver up unto thee (v. 24).”  Mormon knew the fate of the people because of their wickedness, but he had hope for his son because he knew Moroni was righteous.  He also knew the importance of the records being preserved and eventually teaching the remnant of their seed.  This remnant would come from some of those Nephites who had joined with the Lamanites.  Some day the sacred records would save souls after the Nephites were gone.

As wickedness and a lack of repentance become more and more prevalent today, I can see how easy it would be to lose faith and hope in the future. We have a great example in Mormon found in this chapter.  “My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever (v. 25).  And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever. Amen (v. 26).”  We would benefit from listening to this counsel as well.  We need to be strong in the faith in Jesus Christ.  He has lived and died for us, so that we would have the example we need and so that we would be able to live with God again.  Our willing to act upon this faith, will give us the hope to be able to endure this life, no matter how awful things may get around us.

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