Thursday, September 13, 2018

What’s the point of Moroni 9?

Moroni 9 is such an unpleasant chapter, giving a peek from Mormon at the horrible things the Nephites were doing, that it is hard to see why Moroni chose to include it in the Book of Mormon. I have usually pointed to the horrible stuff as an index of how bad things can get, and yet I don’t know if that was Moroni’s intent for including it. Did he really mean it to be a bellwether of society’s depravity or decadence? 

            I think the key to its inclusion lies between the awful stuff.

            In between the reports of cannibalism, rape, torture, starvation, disorder, and disobedience, we see that Mormon is still hard at work.
--He’s preaching to the people, trying different approaches—sharpness or gentleness—and noting whether it works or not.
--He’s determined to keep trying to preach, for his own spiritual benefit, even if his listeners don’t accept it.
--He’s determined to conquer Satan in his own life, even if others are not.
--He maintains his faith in God’s justice and anticipates God will judge his people.
--He seems to have wanted to relieve those starving in Sherrizah, even if circumstance and his people were against him doing that.
--He prays for Moroni (actually this was in Moroni 8)
--He trusts in Christ that Moroni will be saved to either witness Nephite repentance or their complete destruction.
--He trusts he will be spared long enough to pass sacred records to Moroni.
--He is still engaged in the work of record-making and record-keeping.
--He exhorts his son to be faithful in Christ and remember the resurrection and Christ’s mercy and long-suffering forever.
--He anticipates the day when all things will be subject to Christ (even if few seem subject at that time)
--He recognizes that the things he’s written could weigh Moroni down, but he exhorts him to be lifted by Christ.

In all of this, we see a righteous man doing his best to use his good influence on those around him, anxiously engaged in good causes, attempting to show charity, expressing faith in Christ, expressing hope for a glorious future (though stuck in a dismal and decadent present), exhibiting long-suffering among the evil around him, keeping a perspective of justice in noting that his people are worse than the Lamanites, and so forth.

He’s a great example of a good person who maintains his integrity in awfully wicked conditions. This is probably what Moroni wanted us to see. His example shows us it is possible.

Personal News Item: I've been working like crazy on a commentary on the Book of Revelation, so that is my next big project to come down the pipe.  This will take some of the blog posts I've done and add to them. My thinking has evolved a lot, so not all the posts I've put up here will be included.  I'm very excited about the things I'm learning and can't wait to share them with you!


amberwoods said...

Really looking forward to reading your commentary!! Thank you :)

Michaela Stephens said...

Thanks! Working as hard as I can on it!