Do you really want to be a MORMON?

Don’t worry. You aren’t reading anti-Mormon literature. What you will read is so deeply pro-Mormon, that you will come closer to understanding the full implications of being named after the prophet Mormon. At the end of this I’ll ask you the same question: “Do you really want to be a Mormon?”

Did you know that there was a time in history in which all of us came within a hair’s breadth of losing out on the treasure that is the Book of Mormon? It’s true.

Mormon, was not only the prophet who abridged most of the book that covered much of Nephite history and the teachings of Christ, but he was the chief captain of the armies of the Nephites. That’s a dangerous calling. Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Mormon hadn’t survived to finish his record?

There is a time in Mormon’s life that he should have been killed in cold blood with every other soul in the Nephite nation with the exception of 23 other souls and the few who dissented or escaped.

This is what happened: In 384 AD, Mormon stood at the head of hundreds of thousands of Nephites armed with weapons of war in a vain attempt at national preservation. Mormon didn’t even try to number the attacking Lamanites because there were so many of them. It’s very telling that what happens next is reminiscent of using a sharp blade to fell a tree:

Mormon 6:10

“And it came to pass that my men were hewn down, yea, even my ten thousand who were with me, and I fell wounded in the midst; and they passed by me that they did not put an end to my life.”

This is when Mormon should have been killed. Everyone else was being felled like timber and somehow an aging man at the head of his soldiers wasn’t? Why is this so? I can offer a theory. Whether it’s true or not, one still has to admit that Mormon was a correct and Christ-like man of perfect understanding who should be emulated on every point.

You may recall that there was a time in which Mormon was not leading Nephite armies. More than 20 years previous to this fateful day in the land of Cumorah, Mormon made a decision that only peaceful followers of Christ would understand. Apparently, nobody else at that time understood him.

Mormon 3:10–11

“And they did swear by the heavens, and also by the throne of God, that they would go up to battle against their enemies, and would cut them off from the face of the land.

And it came to pass that I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.”

Mormon resigned from his post of General to be a witness to the destruction of his people because they broke the Lord’s law of war.  Can you imagine the shock of the whole nation upon hearing the news that their general had stepped down? The public pressure for him to recant his words must have been quite intense. The Nephites, however, ignored his words and example and undertook to give the first offense in a new series of wars. This new round of violence proved to turn the tide from their favor and toward their eventual destruction. To re-iterate how this new Nephite policy was against the time-honored tradition of righteous Nephites, let’s look at the words of Mormon in the book of Alma:

Alma 48:14–16

“Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives. And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger; And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lord would deliver them (…).”

A careful and honest reading of the above passage should show to the truth-seeking Latter-day Saint that a hallmark of the Lord’s people is to translate the personal emulation of Christ into foreign policy by never giving an offense and only using military force to defend. This policy is an outgrowth of faith that when one obeys commandments, that the Lord himself, through miraculous means, if necessary will preserve his people. Where is this faith to be found in our nations of today?

Let’s now return to the destruction of the Nephite nation. Mormon is again at the head of his people fighting a defensive war and he is spared while those under his command are not. Why is this? We could say that the spirit of the Lord softened the hearts of the Lamanites that they didn’t slay him. He obviously had more to write in the record which we now know as the Book of Mormon.

What thoughts could have entered their minds that stayed their hands from ending his life? I speculate that mercy was shown to him because he did what he could to attempt to persuade the Nephites not to go to an unprovoked battle against the Lamanites.  He only took up the sword again when they were on the defensive.

Surely, the countless throngs of Lamanites must have seen him. Mormon didn’t say he made any attempt to hide at that time. Surely, everyone knew who he was because the King of the Lamanites wrote an epistle to Mormon himself. No doubt he wore the colors or insignia indicating that he was the chief captain of the Nephite armies. Even if they thought he was dead, wouldn’t it have been a mark of honor for some junior Lamanite warrior to scalp the great leader Mormon and at least claim to have killed him? Still he survived, at least that particular day. Why is that?

It is my opinion that all people amongst the Nephites and Lamanites revered or at least respected this great man who not only lived the teachings of Christ in his personal life, but also translated his convictions into public speech and action. The news that he had stepped down from his command must have been big news everywhere amongst both nations. Mormon, the man who refused to raise his sword to lead people in unrighteous warfare, was spared by every single one of the thousands of Lamanites who marched passed him to destroy the people he was leading against them. Their lust for blood that proved fatal to everyone else that day was not directed at Mormon. This survivor is the man who lived long enough to finish the record written on plates of gold.

Do we appreciate the pains and miracles that brought this record to light in these days? Do we appreciate the life and morals of the man who labored to compile it for us? Knowing that the Book of Mormon was written for OUR day, should we not take to heart the messages within it and liken this book of scripture unto ourselves personally and collectively?

I invite all those who have taken upon themselves the name of Christ, to also emulate the man who gave his name to the most correct book ever written. Among other things we must NEVER support unrighteous dominion and thus we CANNOT support aggressive warfare. Because of Mormon’s example, I gladly identify myself with this loving prophet of God, and warrior of perfect understanding. I am glad to say that my name is JC and I’m a Mormon. Knowing these things, do you still really want to be a Mormon too? I hope that you do.

Image: LDS Media Library