Back to Mormon.
In verse 1 we learn that, during those ten years of peace, Mormon had the Nephites working to prepare themselves. It's a lesson for us all: When we are in times of peace and prosperity in our lives, it is not the time to sit back and relax, but a time to prepare.
Think of all the ways we can prepare... gardens, canning, budgets, scripture study, FHE, attending meetings, even eating dinner with family. All of these things the prophets have counseled us to do in preparation for all the many things we may face in life.
Adversity is a part of this life- there will always be trials. There is no way out of it. When we are in a blessed time of peace, that is the time to read your scriptures, say your prayers, and strengthen your faith so when the tough times come - and they will - you will be ready.
The Nephites didn't acknowledge the mercy of the Lord. He had granted them on last chance- ten whole years- to repent. They enjoyed the time of peace, but never acknowledged the source of that peace. They claimed the good times as a result of their own efforts. Another lesson for our day: thank the Lord in good times, not just turn to Him in bad times.
but, verse 12 puzzles me. Mormon writes that the love he had for his wicked brethren was the love of God. It sounds like they weren't a very lovable people. They would be hard to love. Mormon was blessed by God with a love for them. I have to admit that this is how I survive teenagers. God grants me a love for them. Sometimes I wonder about my capacity to love those that are hard to love. This verse reinforces that I can love them. If the love doesn't emanate from my own heart, God can bless me with love for them.
But it is the second half that I find very interesting. He says he had prayed for them, but "it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts."
Mormon is the most faithful person I read about! Elder Neil. A. Maxwell in the April 1999 General Conference said, "The prophet Mormon unselfishly consented to lead a people who were in steep decline. He prayed for them, but confided that his prayers were without faith because of the people’s wickedness."
I think he lost faith in people. I think his faith in the Lord was strong... vibrant... and powerful.
I think he knew what was going to happen. I think he knew that his people had reached that point - the point of no return. They had made their choice.
He led them, he loved them, he prayed for them, he served them- but he knew they wouldn't make it. It's kind of like watching the movie Titanic, and yelling at the people on the screen to avoid the iceberg, or to get on the boats faster. You already know what's going to happen, but it is still hard to refrain from hoping and yelling.
Mormon knew, at this point, that the Nephites were a 'lost cause,' so he turns all of his attention on us in verses 17-22. He pleads with us that we might understand that we will be judged for our works and thoughts, that the Book of Mormon is truly a witness of Christ. He saw our day, and implores us to prepare and share. Prepare ourselves in the gospel, and share it with others.
Prepare and share. I like that. It's kinda catchy.
What did you think/learn today?