The Lamanites don’t come against them for another 10 years (Mormon is now 51). He spends this time “preparing their lands and their arms against the time of battle.” (1)
In moments of peace, we need to never stop spiritually fortifying ourselves and our homes against the power of the destroyer.
Mormon is commanded to cry repentance unto the people and they will be spared. I love how our God gives His people so many chances to change. Mormon’s people had become dangerously wicked, and had been for decades. Yet, God tells him that He will spare them if they turn back to Him now.
God doesn’t hold grudges or give us what we deserve. Though we are sinners, He keeps reaching out, urging us to return to Him, so He can make us whole. This society was into devil worship, way more wicked than our society today, and yet God sent the message through Mormon that He would forgive them their atrocities, even still. That is beyond merciful. That is infinite love and grace.
And I did cry unto this people, but it was in vain; and they did not realize that it was the Lord that had spared them, and granted unto them a chance for repentance. And behold they did harden their hearts against the Lord their God.”Mormon 3:3
What caused them (and us) to harden their (our) hearts?
I think remembering is a big part of it. Remembering can keep us humble, so we don’t get lifted up in pride (which seems to be the gateway sin, leading to all other wickedness).
In a past General Conference talk, Pres. Eyring talked about how he kept a journal for years, and each night, he would look back on his day and answer this question: Have I see the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?
As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.”Henry B. Eyring, O Remember, Remember, Ensign, Nov 2007, 67, 69
He asserted that finding ways to recognize and remember all God’s kindnesses to us actually strengthens our testimonies of Jesus Christ. He talked about why it is sometimes hard to remember in our daily lives.
…the challenge to remember has always been the hardest for those who are blessed abundantly. Those who are faithful to God are protected and prospered. That comes as the result of serving God and keeping His commandments. But with those blessings comes the temptation to forget their source. It is easy to begin to feel the blessings were granted not by a loving God on whom we depend but by our own powers….(ibid, Eyring)
This, sadly, is what happened to the Nephite nation. They had been blessed so abundantly. Even at this time, Moroni has led them to defeat their enemies, and will go on to lead them to two more victories. But they refuse to see God’s hand in any of it. They only see their own.
Sadly, prosperity is not the only reason people forget God. It can also be hard to remember Him when our lives go badly. When we struggle, as so many do, in grinding poverty or when our enemies prevail against us or when sickness is not healed, the enemy of our souls can send his evil message that there is no God or that if He exists He does not care about us. Then it can be hard for the Holy Ghost to bring to our remembrance the lifetime of blessings the Lord has given from our infancy and in the midst of our distress.”(ibid, Eyring)
In 361 AD, the Lamanites come against the land of Desolation, where the Nephites have placed their army. The Nephites drive them back a second time, defeating them. The next year, they do the same a third time. Instead of being humble and grateful to God for their victories, their pride inflates. They do not remember that it is God who has been with them in the past. It is God who has given them all that is good.
And now, because of this great thing which my people, the Nephites, had done, they began to boast in their own strength, and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain by their enemies.”Mormon 3:9
When we don’t remember, we will boast in our own strength. So when we catch ourselves doing this, we would be wise to drop to our knees and repent, asking God to open our eyes to see His hand, instead of our own.
Mormon is thoroughly disgusted by his people’s boastfulness and callousness against God.
And it came to pass that I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.”Mormon 3:11
He had led them, “and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts.” (12)
Though his people were wicked, Mormon truly loved them. He had led them three times to victory against their enemies. He never stopped praying for them to return unto Christ. He worked with them to fortify their cities, so they would be safe. But instead of being humbled, they are lifted up to even greater pride and vengeance, wanting to destroy their enemy completely from the earth.
They have totally forgotten the Lord their God.
How can we keep this same forgetful attitude from blinding us to our God?
The key to the remembering that brings and maintains testimony is receiving the Holy Ghost as a companion. It is the Holy Ghost who helps us see what God has done for us. It is the Holy Ghost who can help those we serve to see what God has done for them…
It is the Holy Ghost who testifies that Jesus Christ is the Beloved Son of a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to have eternal life with Him in families. With even the beginning of that testimony, we feel a desire to serve Him and to keep His commandments. When we persist in doing that, we receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost to give us power in our service. We come to see the hand of God more clearly, so clearly that in time we not only remember Him, but we come to love Him and, through the power of the Atonement, become more like Him.”(Eyring, O Remember, Remember
Though Mormon lived in a wicked city, surrounded by “forgetters,” he remembered God and He loved Him. That gave him love for his people, even though he knew from their choices that their end would not be a good one, since they had rejected the Giver of all Goodness.
When his people swear by all that is forbidden, even Jesus Christ, to go up against their brethren and destroy them, God tells Mormon:
Vengeance is mine, and I will repay; and because this people repented not after I had delivered them, behold, they shall be cut off from the face of the earth.”Mormon 3:15
God does not receive any enjoyment out of destroying His children. I believe it actually makes Him weep. How utterly heart-breaking this had to be for Mormon, to “stand as an idle witness to manifest unto the world the things which I saw and heard…” (16)
Mormon now writes to his future audience—the Gentiles and the twelve tribes of Israel. He pleads with us, who will receive his record, to do better than his people did. To remember! He urges us to make better choices, so we are prepared to stand before the judgment seat of God.
And these things doth the Spirit manifest unto me; therefore I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil;
And also that ye may believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, which ye shall have among you; and also that the Jews, the covenant people of the Lord, shall have other witness besides him whom they saw and heard, that Jesus, whom they slew, was the very Christ and the very God.”Moron 3:20-21
The word Very is defined as :extremely, exceedingly, exceptionally, extraordinarily, tremendously, immensely, hugely, intensely, acutely, abundantly, singularly, uncommonly, decidedly, particularly, supremely, highly, remarkably, really, truly, mightily, ever so.
So, with that definition in mind, Jesus is supremely Christ, really Christ, truly Christ, ever so the Christ, decidedly Christ, particularly Christ. There is no other who can save us.
Mormon’s greatest desire is recorded in the last verse:
And I would that I could persuade all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.”Mormon 3:22
Remember. Repent. Prepare.
Mormon lived out his life with this prayer in his heart for us. For me. For you. For all who would listen and remember the goodness of God, and then partake of His mercy and grace.
How can I better remember and see God’s hand in my life every day?
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