Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dang, this is depressing.

I know a lot of teenagers. I have three off them. None of them, and I mean NONE of them are qualified to lead an army. So, what was it about Mormon that allowed him to be qualified at the ripe old age of 15? Seriously. Fifteen.

1. And it came to pass in that same year there began to be a war again between the Nephites and the Lamanites. And notwithstanding I being young, was large in stature; therefore the people of Nephi appointed me that I should be their leader, or the leader of their armies.

This absolutely blows me away. At age fifteen, Mormon was asked to lead the armies of the people of Nephi. Lead. Their. Army. How did they even know about him? He never mentions that he was popular in any way. How had he gotten their attention? Was he into sports? Did they have sports? Was his dad a big wig? Into politics? In the military himself? Does he ever mention that his dad was still alive? Why doesn't his dad lead the army? Mormon was an ancient Joan of Arc, I guess.

Why Mormon? He was large in stature (sounds a lot like Nephi) so he was a big kid, but did that qualify him to LEAD an army? Did he have experience? Where did he get it? Seriously. Who asks a teenager to lead an army unless they have experience leading men, figuring out battle strategy, and understand the art of war etc... and where would Mormon get that at age 15? I'm still wracking my brain to figure it out, but I guess the Lord had his hand in it. Mormon was in the right place at the right time, and the Lord made sure things fell into place for him. I would really like to know the details. 

The next few verses talk about the battles that happened, one after another. The whole B of M is about people who can't seem to get along. Back and forth, back and forth, someone is always upset and starting a war. It sounds a lot like the world we live in now if you think about it. 

In verse 3, Mormon's armies are so frightened that they turn tail and run away! They go north and finally reach the city of Angola. How would you have liked to have lived in that town? Armies are not usually recommended guests! I won't go into details here, but remember they were a wicked, dishonest, and forsaken people. Imagine what they were capable of. They take over your city, build fortifications and hope to survive. At least the residents hoped to survive. They had a chicken crap army living there that kept running away from the enemy. What happened to the citizens of that city? Were they driven out too? Did the Lamanites leave them alone and only follow the army, or did they stay to rape and pillage? I can't imagine the atrocities that must have happened, and still, the Nephites would not repent, but were hateful and prideful! They were driven out of Angola and the Lamanites followed them, driving them out of every city they tried to hide in!. Poor Mormon. He probably felt like an utter failure! Here he was, now only 16, leading the Nephite army, and they lost one battle after another.

Seriously. Every. Single. Battle.

I wonder if his people complained and wanted him replaced. Did they think they'd made a mistake appointing him their general? Did he have good councilors? Obviously not. They lost every battle! But then, he was leading an army that did not have the Lord at its back.

Finally, in verse 8...

But behold, the land was filled with robbers and with Lamanites; and notwithstanding the great destruction which hung over my people, they did not repent of their evil doings; therefore there was blood and carnage spread throughout all the face of the land, both on the part of the Nephites and also on the part of the Lamanites; and it was one complete revolution throughout all the face of the land.

Mormon seems a little amazed that they have gone through so many trials and STILL the Nephites won't repent. How hard and traumatic does your life have to be before you are sufficiently humbled? I guess some people never get to that place. Some people never are humbled. Some people would rather die than admit they were wrong.

And at the end of that verse he uses the word "revolution" which is interesting. Why did he choose that word? Here's the Webster dictionary definition.

Revolution : the usually violent attempt by many people to end the rule of one government and start a new one  : a sudden, extreme, or complete change in the way people live, work, etc.
I'l let you ponder that. But remember. Every word counts. It's important. Peel back the layers of the onion to understand it. What kind of revolution was this? I'm guessing is was as much spiritual as physical. If you look at the spiritual side, then the part of the definition that says, "a complete change in the way people live and work etc..." makes sense. They had completely evolved into something else. 

And now, finally, something good happens for Mormon.

And now, the Lamanites had a king, and his name was Aaron; and he came against us with an army of forty and four thousand. And behold, I withstood him with forty and two thousand. And it came to pass that I beat him with my army that he fled before me. And behold, all this was done, and three hundred and thirty years had passed away.

Finally! A miracle for poor Mormon! It's about dang time! And guess what happens now!  10 And it came to pass that the Nephites began to repent of their iniquity, and began to cry even as had been prophesied by Samuel the prophet;

Is your heart melting? Are you so happy that the people are finally turning to the Lord? That they are finally repenting? Yes? Well, stop it! Don't be happy! This isn't a happy moment! These people are still idiots! And do you what to know why? I'll tell you. They only repented for one reason and here it is... for behold no man could keep that which was his own, for the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land.

Those selfish, little brats! They only cared about their possessions! Even Mormon was deceived for a little while, but he was young and maybe a bit altruistic and naive. We'll cut him some slack.

 12 And it came to pass that when I, Mormon, saw their lamentation and their mourning and their sorrow before the Lord, my heart did begin to rejoice within me, knowing the mercies and the long-suffering of the Lord, therefore supposing that he would be merciful unto them that they would again become a righteous people. 

13 But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin.

Again, poor Mormon. Teenagers take thing really hard too. Everything seems so huge and terrible to them. I don't know how "normal" he was as a teen, but this had to weigh heavy. It had to have been traumatic--everything he'd gone through. Most teens don't have to witness death and destruction at every turn as Mormon did. It had to have shaped him. It had to have scarred him to some degree, especially being so alone in a spiritual way. No one to confide in who thought like he did. But I would guess that the Lord blessed him and took some of these heartaches to himself. I'm sure he was with Mormon every step of the way. He would have to have been. Mormon wouldn't have made it otherwise. Just think about that.

And the poor people of Nephi. There weren't allowed to take happiness sin. That had to have been hard. For a while though, I bet they did! 

14 And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives.

They wished to die? And yet kept fighting to live? I don't think they knew what they wanted. They didn't have hope for the future. What kind of a world were they leaving for their children? A world of blood, fear, hate, and sadness. 

It had to have been pretty terrible. Gadianton robbers everywhere, people being robbed all the time. If there was as much wickedness as Mormon says, there was probably a lot of murder and rape too. We're going to end with verse 15, because I'm depressed enough as it is, and I'm ready to wallow in misery for the unrepentant Nephites.

15 And it came to pass that my sorrow did return unto me again, and I saw that the day of grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually; for I saw thousands of them hewn down in open rebellion against their God, and heaped up as dung upon the face of the land. And thus three hundred and forty and four years had passed away.

Fourteen years have gone by. Mormon is a man now, and he's pretty graphic here, but he says it like it is. He wasn't one to beat around the bush, but he didn't really have room on the plates to do that anyway. He knew we would be reading these words someday. He wanted to make it plain and simple so we would understand. This could happen to us. This is happening to us. As much as we want to deny it, it is. And just like the people of Nephi, we can't see it. We think we're right. We think we're righteous. We think we are chosen. So did the Nephites, and yet they were hewn down and piled like dung upon the face of the land. 

Don't be silly and think you have no need to repent, or that you're good enough because you pay your tithing, go to the temple, and listen to your leaders. (This also falls under the umbrella of "unbelief")

On a lighter note, the Lord is anxious for us to turn to him! He's standing there, wringing his hands, waiting, praying that we will take that one teeny, tiny, little step in his direction! Just say sorry! Apologize for being prideful. Apologize for watching R rated movies, or porn, or for swearing. Stop reading smut novels and yelling at your kids. Stop working so much and ignoring your family. Stop judging that neighbor who drives you nuts or denying forgiveness because you're right... or whatever your vice is. Don't let yourself go past your day of grace! It's baby steps, friends. One little thing at a time. You can do it. You have to do it... or you won't make it to where you really want to go.

Disclaimer: I can NOT figure out what the problem is with the font. It changed overnight! One of these days... 

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