2 And about the time that Ammaron hid up the records unto the Lord, he came unto me, (I being about ten years of age, and I began to be learned somewhat after the manner of the learning of my people) and Ammaron said unto me: I perceive that thou art a sober child, and art quick to observe;
3 Therefore, when ye are about twenty and four years old I would that ye should remember the things that ye have observed concerning this people; and when ye are of that age go to the land Antum, unto a hill which shall be called Shim; and there have I deposited unto the Lord all the sacred engravings concerning this people.
4 And behold, ye shall take the plates of Nephi unto yourself, and the remainder shall ye leave in the place where they are; and ye shall engrave on the plates of Nephi all the things that ye have observed concerning this people. (Mormon 1:2-4)
It is extraordinary that Mormon was chosen for this role of record-keeping at age 10. Ammaron’s words about him are that he was a sober child and quick to observe. I have to wonder how much Ammaron had to search and do some observing himself as he was trying to decide who would be not just a good caretaker of the records, but who would be willing to write more for them and who would have edifying things to write. It would have to be someone who was willing, who was able, who was committed, and who had the resources to take the time. I think it is very likely that the Spirit helped Ammaron choose Mormon.
It is interesting to think about Ammaron’s faith as he gave this charge to a 10-year-old boy. He had to have faith that Mormon would stay faithful, not only up to age 24, but for the rest of his life. If at any point Mormon had fallen away from the church, the records would have been in jeopardy and would have to be taken away from him.
I notice that once Ammaron found Mormon, he didn’t automatically dump all the records on him immediately. (And he couldn’t, since the records were hid up in the hill Shim, probably in enormous piles.) Instead, he gave him a charge to begin the record-keeping and writing of observations on the plates starting at age 24. This would give Mormon time to grow and mature into the role.
I wonder if Mormon had a really good memory, or if he began writing his observations immediately to prepare for that day and then had to condense when he turned 24.
I also wonder if maybe the charge of future record-keeping also acted as both a spur and a stabilizing factor in Mormon’s life, especially during the difficult times as he led the Nephites in their battles until the Lamanites wiped them out. Before he was 24, I wonder if he made important life choices according to whether they would fit him better spiritually for his record-keeping duties. And once he retained the plates, I wonder if he ever found himself making choices according to whether it would help him write with the Spirit or not.
I’ve noticed writing this blog has done a bit of that for me, though I don’t see this blog as anywhere near the imperative for the future that Mormon’s record-keeping was. For some reason I feel driven to write, even if I don’t know why. But I have noticed that keeping it going requires I live at a little higher level. I’ve noticed I have to be more careful about the media I consume. I have to make good choices about what I do so I can be prepared to write. It’s both a goad and a stabilizing blessing to me.
Perhaps you have writing that gives you the same feelings.