Mormon 7 Mormon’s Last Words
Mormon’s closing words are a powerful message to the latter-day descendants of his “enemies,” the Lamanites. In verse 1 he addresses himself to them as “the remnant of this people who are spared … that they may know of the things of their fathers.” He then gives them several foundational truths: That they are of the house of Israel (verses 2, 10); that they must repent (verses 3, 5, 8); that they must lay down their weapons of war (verse 4); that they must believe in Jesus Christ (verses 5, 10); and that they must be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and follow the example of the Savior (verses 8, 10).
Look for the additional truths Mormon taught about Jesus Christ in verses 5-7, 10.
In verses 8-9 Mormon foresaw the coming forth of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, including their focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ and the impact they can have in our day. It is helpful to read these verses as follows:
“Therefore, repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record [the Book of Mormon] but also in the record [the Bible] which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record [the Bible] shall come from the Gentiles unto you. For behold this [the Book of Mormon] is written for the intent that ye may believe that [the Bible]; and if ye believe that [the Bible] ye will believe this [the Book of Mormon] also; and if ye believe this [the Book of Mormon] ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them.”
In these verses Mormon has boldly proclaimed that true believers in the Bible will also believe the Book of Mormon (and that likewise, the Book of Mormon supports belief in the Bible). This is similar to Nephi’s final declaration over 900 years earlier, when he stated that true believers in Christ will also believe in Nephi’s writings in the Book of Mormon. Nephi wrote: “And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me” (2 Nephi 33:10).
Mormon 8:1-13 “The Sad Tale”
Mormon’s son Moroni takes over the sacred record. Consider his first words and imagine the life and mission of Moroni, to whom we owe so much gratitude: “I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people…. And whether they will slay me, I know not. Therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not…. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor wither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not…. There are none save it be the Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land. And there are none that do know the true God…” (verses 3-5, 9-10).
Moroni is understandably melancholy, yet determined to fulfill his new mission, albeit alone. He has consolation in that he has seen and been ministered to by the Three Nephites (verses 10-11) and he knows the importance of his stewardship over the Nephite records that are now in his possession (verse 12).
Mormon 8:14-22 “The Eternal Purposes of the Lord Shall Roll On”
Moroni shares critical instructions and assertions regarding the plates, for the benefit of Joseph Smith (as the future translator of the plates) as well as for the future readers of the Book of Mormon:
- “The plates thereof are of no worth … no one shall have them to get gain” (verse 14). Thus, the plates would have no monetary value because the Lord had declared that nobody would be able to convert the plates’ precious metal into financial gain. This is why the Prophet Joseph Smith was shocked when he first attempted to remove the plates from the hill; as recounted in Saints: “Joseph could not help thinking that he now knew exactly where to find enough treasure to free his family from poverty…. He reached for them—and felt a shock pulse through him. He jerked his hand back but then reached for the plates twice more and was shocked each time. [The Angel Moroni explained:] ‘They are not deposited here for the sake of accumulating gain and wealth for the glory of this world.’” (Volume 1, pp. 25-26.)
- Moroni continued, “but the record thereof is of great worth [and] none can have power to bring it to light save it be given him of God; for God wills that it shall be done with an eye single to his glory.… And blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light … and it shall be done by the power of God” (verses 14-16). Indeed, after his first visit to the site of the plates’ burial, Joseph needed four more years of tutoring and maturing before he was able to approach his prophetic task with “an eye single” to the glory of God.
Then Moroni added four more stern warnings to those who would encounter the Book of Mormon:
- “And if there be faults [in the record] they be the faults of a man…. Therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire” (verse 17).
- “And he that saith: Show unto me [a sign, or the plates?], or ye shall be smitten—let him beware” (verse 18).
- “For behold, the same that judgeth rashly shall be judged rashly again” (verse 19).
- “And he that shall breathe out wrath and strifes against the work of the Lord,… the same is in danger to be hewn down and cast into the fire” (verse 21).
Moroni finalized these strong statements with: “For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled” (verse 22).
Mormon 8:26-41 “Jesus Christ Hath Shown You Unto Me”
Moroni had been shown in vision the peoples and conditions of the latter days, and thus could say to us, “I speak unto you as if ye were present” (verse 35). Go through verses 26-41 and list all the things Moroni prophesied for our day. Do you see fulfillment of the things Moroni saw and recorded? What things stand out most for you? Note that among all the evils that would characterize our day, Moroni mentioned three times our failure to care for the poor and needy among us (see verses 37, 39-40).
Mormon 9:1-30 A Message for Unbelievers
In this chapter Moroni endeavors to persuade two groups of latter-day unbelievers. First, to “those who do not believe in Christ” (verse 1), Moroni asks questions, then provides answers, followed by invitations:
- “When the Lord shall come … and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, yea, in that great day when ye shall be brought to stand before the Lamb of God—then will ye say that there is no God?” (verse 2).
- “Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws?” (verse 3).
- “Ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell” (verse 4).
- “When ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you” (verse 5).
- “O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day” (verse 6).
Next, to those who say that “there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing” nor other spiritual gifts (verse 7), Moroni speaks very strongly, bearing powerful witness of the “God of miracles” (verse 11).
First he asserts, “He that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them” (verse 8). Then Moroni speaks of three great, undeniable, foundational miracles:
- The Creation (verses 11-12, 16-17).
- The Atonement (verses 12-13).
- The Resurrection and Judgment (verses 13-14).
Continue by looking for Moroni’s dynamic, forceful, testimonial statements in verses 15-26.
Then—as always—come the invitations. Find the dozen or so things that Moroni invites unbelievers to do (or not do) in verses 27-29. How do you think these things will help someone who denies revelations and miracles?
And finally, the statement of authority: “Behold, I speak unto you as though I speak from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words” (verse 30).
I greatly appreciate these lesson insights. I use them every week during our family ZOOM Come Follow Me meetings. They present many ideas and questions that I would not consider otherwise.