Book of Mormon Lesson 44 (Mormon 7–9)
MORMON’S FINAL TEACHINGS
Mormon’s Letter to Latter-Day Lamanites
Mormon speaks directly to the latter-day Lamanites—“the remnant of this people who are spared, . . . yea, . . . [a] remnant of the house of Israel” (Mormon 7:1–5).
—Ye are the House of Israel (v. 2).
—Repent (v. 3).
—Forsake war (v. 4).
—Know your genealogy; know/believe in Christ; know about redemption (v. 5).
—Resurrection and judgment (v. 6).
—Exaltation (singing in choirs above) (v. 7).
This and That: “This is written for the intent that ye may believe that” (Mormon 7:8–10). “This” is the Book of Mormon. “That” is the Bible.
President Brigham Young said, “No man can say that this book (laying his hands on the Bible) is true . . . and at the same time say that the Book of Mormon is untrue; . . . There is not that person on the face of the earth who has had the privilege of learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ from these two books, that can say that one is true, and the other is false. No Latter-day Saint, no man or woman, can say the Book of Mormon is true, and at the same time say that the Bible is untrue. If one be true, both are.”1
MORONI FINISHES HIS FATHER’S RECORD
The Death of the Prophet Mormon
Mormon 8 contains Moroni’s first writings after the death of his father, Mormon. Although this chapter was written 16 years later (400 AD), Moroni’s loneliness is still quite evident (Mormon 8:1–5). He made a sorrowful notation in his father’s record, reporting the death of the prophet Mormon (Mormon 8:5–6).
Some Conclusions About Mormon
Mormon departed this life as yet another martyr for the cause of Christ. Can we speak too highly of this great and good man? As “Mormons,” we have been called by his name for centuries, and while it is not the name of our Church, it is nonetheless a name of honor to be associated with a man of such great honor and dignity and courage and charity.
Perhaps more importantly, the book which we are here studying bears his name. It is, in fact, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” but let us never forget who the testator was. It was Mormon—the abridger of the record, the preserver of the teachings of the Nephite prophets, the wise counselor who continuously interpreted the meaning and importance of the events he described with his “and thus we see” commentaries. God be ever praised for raising up such a man in the midst of the Nephites to preserve their sacred records and to bless us with his wise counsel.
Moroni’s Lonely Situation
After the battle of Cumorah, the Lamanites hunted down the remaining 24 Nephites and killed all of them except Moroni (Mormon 8:1–5). This means all of the Nephites associated with Mormon’s army. Not all of the Nephites everywhere were annihilated (Mormon 8:6–7).
Dr. Hugh Nibley said, “The Nephites were destroyed, we are told, but..what does [this] mean?.. A complete slaughter . . . would of course be the end of their history altogether, but that is not what ‘destroyed’ means . . . Only once in the Book of Mormon do we read of a case of annihilation, when we are specifically told that ‘every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed’ (Alma 16:9). . . . In other instances the Lord promises that he will not utterly destroy the descendants of Lehi’s youngest son, Joseph (2 Nephi 3:3), or of Lemuel (2 Nephi 4:9), and . . . Nephi is told that God ‘will not suffer that the Gentiles will utterly destroy the mixture of thy seed which are among thy brethren’ (1 Nephi 13:30).”2
Nevertheless, the entire land was filled with murder and bloodshed (Mormon 8:6–9). And there were no righteous people left except for Moroni and the Three Nephites, who had visited and comforted him (Mormon 8:10–11).
Moroni Did Not Tell Us Everything He Knew
“Were it possible, I would make all things known unto you” (Mormon 8:12–13). Moroni is a prophet in his own right, and knows all about the future of his people. He is apologetic for the “imperfections” in the record he is keeping, but promises that “whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these” (v. 12).
The Prophet Joseph Smith said something similar in his final days at Nauvoo before martyrdom: “Would to God, brethren, I could tell you who I am! Would to God I could tell you what I know! But you would call it blasphemy, and there are men upon this stand who would want to take my life . . . If the Church knew all the commandments, one-half they would reject through prejudice and ignorance . . . When God offers a blessing, or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned.”3
The Prophet Joseph Smith also said, “It is my meditation all the day and more than my meat and drink to know how I shall make the Saints of God to comprehend the visions that roll like an overflowing surge before my mind. O how I wo[u]ld delight to bring before you things which you never thought of, but poverty and the cares of the world prevent. But I am glad I have the privilege of communicating to you some things which if grasped closely will be a help to you when the clouds are gathering and the storms are ready to burst upon you like peals of thunder. Lay hold of these things and let not your knees tremble, nor hearts faint.”4
Moroni Prophesies of the Book of Mormon
Moroni prophesied of Joseph Smith, saying, “Blessed be he that shall bring this thing [the Book of Mormon] to light” (Mormon 8:14–16). Moroni later played an important role in Joseph Smith’s translating the Book of Mormon (JS–History 1:30–35, 46, 59).
Is the Book of Mormon Perfect? Moroni tells us that if there are faults in the record, they are the faults of men (Mormon 8:17). These faults were the inability of Nephite prophets to communicate in writing as fully as they would like (Ether 12:23–25; 2 Nephi 33:1, 11).
The Book of Mormon helps the work of the Lord in our day, testifying of Christ and telling the Lamanites that they are of chosen Israel (Mormon 8:21–22). The record will come forth in answer to the faith and prayers of Nephite prophets (Mormon 8:23–25; Mormon 9:30; Moroni 10:27). God had covenanted with them that the record would be preserved and given to a remnant of their posterity (v. 24).
Moroni prophesied about conditions in the world when the Book of Mormon would come forth (Mormon 8:26–33).
— “It shall be said that miracles are done away” (v. 26).
— The blood of martyred saints shall cry unto the Lord (v. 27).
— The power of God shall be denied (v. 28).
— Churches will be defiled and “lifted up in the pride of their hearts” (v. 28).
— There will be wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places (v. 30).
— “There shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth . . . murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations” (v. 31).
— People will say there is no sin, “Do this, or . . . that, and it mattereth not” (v. 31).
— “There shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins” (v. 32).
Bruce R. McConkie said, “This is the great day of Satan’s power. It is the day of false Christs, false prophets, false miracles, false religions, false doctrines, false philosophies. It is a day when fables take precedence over facts, when all but the very elect are deceived.”5
Moroni wrote that “Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormon 8:34–35). Ezra Taft Benson said, “The Book of Mormon was written for us today. God is the author of the book. It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing today. Those people never had the book—it was meant for us.”6
Moroni prophesied concerning great swelling pride in the last days (Mormon 8:36–41).
MORONI’S “FINAL” WORDS
Moroni Exhorts Us to Believe in Christ
Moroni noted that the wicked and unbelieving will be uncomfortable in the presence of God (Mormon 9:1–6).
Gifts of the Spirit: Moroni challenged those who do not believe in them, saying that God is the same today as in the past (Mormon 9:7–9).
Miracles: Moroni challenged those who do not believe in miracles, saying that God is a “God of miracles” (Mormon 9:10–11).
The mighty power of our God (Mormon 9:15–17).
The Prophet Joseph Smith spoke of similar feelings as a young boy, “I looked upon the sun, the glorious luminary of the earth, and also the moon, rolling in their majesty through the heavens; also the stars, shining in their courses, and the earth upon which I stood; and the beast of the field and the fowls of heaven and the fish of the waters; and also man walking forth upon the face of the earth in majesty, and in the strength of beauty, whose power and intelligence in governing…things [is] so exceedingly great and marvelous, even in the likeness of Him who created them. When I considered upon these things my heart exclaimed, ‘Well hath the wise man said it is a fool that saith in his heart ‘there is no God.’‘ My heart exclaimed, ‘All these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotent and omnipresent power.'”7
Moroni summarized the Plan of Redemption (Mormon 9:11–14).
Moroni said that miracles cease among those who are wicked or unbelieving (Mormon 9:18–20).
Moroni listed the signs that will continue to follow those who believe in Christ (Mormon 9:21–26).
Moroni’s Closing Comments
Moroni closed his father’s record, thinking he was finished. Actually, he would live for another 20 years, but he did not know this as he closed this part of the record.
Moroni said, “doubt not, but be believing” (Mormon 9:27). The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Where doubt is. . . .faith has no power . . . . Doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time; so that, persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence; and where unshaken confidence is not, there faith is weak; and where faith is weak the persons will not be able to contend against all the opposition, tribulations, and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.”8
Moroni invited us to “come unto the Lord with all your heart and strip yourselves of uncleanness” (Mormon 9:28–29).
Moroni urged us to “condemn [him] not” for his weaknesses but to learn from them how to “be more wise than we have been” (Mormon 9:30–31).
Moroni wrote with a revised version of the Hebrew language (Mormon 9:32–34).
Moroni wrote concerning accountability for those we teach (Mormon 9:35). John Taylor said, “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty.”9 Perhaps the best known example of this in modern revelation is the one concerning parents being held accountable for the sins of their children if they have neglected to teach them (D&C 68:25).
And finally, Moroni prophesied that the Lamanites will be restored to a knowledge of Christ in the last days (Mormon 9:36–37).
1. In Journal of Discourses, 1:38.
2. Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites, 240–242.
3. In Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 322–323.
4. Scott H. Faulring (ed.), The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith: An American Prophet’s Record, 366–367.
5. Mormon Doctrine, 730.
6. In Conference Report, April 1975, 94–95; or Ensign, May 1975, 63–64.
7. A History of the life of Joseph Smith, Jr., Joseph Smith’s first and only attempt to record the events of his first vision in his own hand. Original is in the archives of the Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also in Scott H. Faulring, The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, 5.
8. Lectures on Faith, 46, 126.
9. In Journal of Discourses, 20:23.