Moroni inserts an epistle from his father to him. Mormon begins by saying how he rejoices in his good heart and that he has been called to the ministry. I love how he calls his son “beloved.” (2) He then gives Moroni this loving parental assurance:
“I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.” (3)
Am I mindful of my own children (and others) in my prayers, asking God’s grace upon them, that their faith will be strengthened to handle whatever they are called upon to do in this life?
Mormon sets forth the correct order for baptism, for there have been disputations about it and he has “inquired of the Lord concerning this matter…” (7). He desires that Moroni “labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you.” (6) He has prayed about this matter and Christ spoke directly to him.
Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me (their Redeemer), that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.”Moroni 8:8
He goes on to say “that it is a solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.” (9)
He tells his son to teach “repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.” (10) He tells him that “little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world.” (12) Isn’t that a wonderful phrase to describe children—alive in Christ?
Those who believe little children need saving are “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity.” (14) That doesn’t sound good.
Mormon then gives us a key to preaching and testifying of Christ.
Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.”Moroni 8:16
Faith in Jesus Christ and fear cannot coexist.
Mormon says perfect love banishes fear. I believe faith and hope lead to that perfect love—charity. Our confidence waxes strong and we don’t fear what man can do or say against us.
When we have charity, we not only love God, but our fellowmen…and like Mormon, we “love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.” (17)
Mormon once more declares the vile wickedness of infant baptism.
And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of hi and the power of his redemption.”Moroni 8:20
Mormon goes on to declare with boldness that stems from authority and perfect love that Christ saves all those who are without the law—those who have not heard the gospel plan of happiness yet. He is a merciful and fair Father. He explains the gospel plan.
And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;
And the remission of sins bringeth meekness and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.”Moroni 8:25-26
Mormon ends his letter by saying he will write again soon if he does not have to go out against the Lamanites. Then he gives this achingly sad remark.
Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction except they should repent.”Moroni 8:27
The pride in the hearts of people today is troubling. Political leaders take credit to themselves and infect the population with inflated pride and fake patriotism, setting themselves and us up as better than others. Maybe we think we’re better because of the way we voted or the church we attend. Maybe we think we’re better because of the color of our skin or the culture we belong to. Maybe we think we’re better than others because we’re more educated or rich or whatever.
Whenever we think we’re better than another person (any person), we need to repent, because pride has infected us. And it does so easily and very subtly. We can become prideful about good things. Maybe we think we’re better than others because we pray to God every day or study His words every day. Maybe we think we’re better because we serve others consistently and pay generously to charitable organizations. That is still pride, and the devil can use that pride to bring about our downfall.
One thing that struck me in a recent book I read (the autobiography of Frederick Douglass) was how he said he would much rather have a non-religious slave master than a religious one, because religious slaveholders (in his experience) justified their cruel behavior and diabolical worldview with scripture and became even crueler than those who were not religious.
Have you seen religion or faith used unrighteously today—to judge others, to ridicule others, to set oneself up above others because of piousness? I have. I have even found myself at times being self-righteous in some form or another, judging another as not as good as me because of some trait I’ve observed. When that happens, I am the worse sinner than the one I judge.
Let us beware of pride. Throughout time, pride has been the downfall of not only nations, but countless individuals. It is a dangerous trait we need to weed out daily from our souls, or it can infect us to the point of destruction.
Though Mormon isn’t naïve about the state of his nation, he asks Moroni to:
Pray for them, my son, that repentance may come unto them.”Moroni 8:28
Despite how wicked our world may seem, we need to never stop praying, because that means we have no hope. And hope is everything!
Mormon fears the “Spirit hath ceased striving with” his people (28). He also suggests that they are killing all those who believe in God in his part of the land. That is heartbreaking that this father must write about his nation’s demise to his son.
The Book of Mormon was written and preserved for our day, to help us learn from the past and not make the same mistakes as the Nephite and Jaredite nations. Pride brought about their downfall, and if we shrug off these lessons preserved for us, pride will bring about our own downfall (personal and national).
Let us work to be more humble in every aspect of our life, not just spiritually, but politically, socially, intellectually, and physically.
Let us never give in to the temptation to look down upon any other person we meet (or haven’t met). Many populous leaders in our day (all around the globe) stir up fears about immigrants, certain ethnic groups or religious groups to gain more power. Never let any man or woman lead you to hate any group of people.
Remember: fear and faith cannot coexist. If you fear Muslims or Mexican immigrants or Jews or blacks or poor people or anyone else, your faith is lacking.
We must not let others stir up our fears. We can be troubled or concerned about issues, but we do not need to fear. God is ultimately in charge, and He has told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Our neighbors include all those groups power-hungry leaders will tell us to hate (opposing political parties, ethnic groups, etc).
- Love God first and foremost in your life.
- Have faith in Jesus Christ.
- And then love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no reason to fear if we do those things.
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