Today's study is in the book of Mormon. Don't be confused. I'm talking about the little set of chapters toward the end of the B of M. Most people never get there. They read first Nephi over and over, but poor Mormon, he gets missed just because he's at the end.
This is one of the coolest books I've ever studied. Well, they are all pretty cool, but I like this one especially. There are a TON of gold nuggets in Mormon that most people gloss over.
We're going to study here on this blog like I do in my personal study. Dissecting sentence by sentence, and sometimes word by word, because remember, every word counts! Every word is a gold nugget and was included for a reason. We are going to figure out why! Remember to pray for the spirit before you begin, so you can be taught the meaning of everything you read. Something else important to remember is that the B of M is like an onion. Once your learn the basic meaning of a sentence, quite often the spirit will take you deeper. One sentence can have multiple meanings. It's the way the Savior teaches. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear, and eyes to see, let them see. Get it?
Starting in Mormon 1:2 Mormon is introducing himself. He's ten years old and he explains that he has begun to be taught in the way of his people. I'm guessing that means he has started school, has learned to read, is studying history, and is gaining a testimony of the gospel. He doesn't go into a ton of detail here, so we aren't sure.
Ammaron, the keeper of the plates, comes to him, recognizing that Mormon is a sober child and quick to observe. What does that mean? We'll he probably wasn't silly or disobedient. He most likely didn't have ADHD. He didn't tease and play or bully. He was a serious kid who loved learning and wanted to be respected, even at that young of an age. What an honor to be chosen by Ammaron.
In verse 3, Ammaron tells him to go to a hill called Shim when he's twenty years old to get the plates that have been buried there. Wow! This is huge! He's saying this to a ten year old? Why? Why now? Was Ammaron dying? Was he old? Was he sick? We aren't told, but we can assume that one of these reasons is the case. He needs to pass the records on, and the Lord most likely told Ammaron to choose Mormon. Also, ten years is a long time for Mormon to remember these details. He'll need the Lord's help in this, I'm sure. I know my own kids wouldn't remember!
And behold, ye shall take the plates of Nephi unto yourself, (says Ammaron to Mormon) 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.
So he tells Mormon to ONLY take the plates of Nephi and continue the history--to sum up the last twenty years. That will be a huge undertaking for a kid! Maybe he'll keep a journal of some sort or more likely he'll rely on the Lord to tell him what to write.
This next verse is interesting. Why is it included? Why did Mormon write it?
And I, Mormon, being a descendant of Nephi, (and my father’s name was Mormon) I remembered the things which Ammaron commanded me.
Who cares that he's a descendant of Nephi and who cares if his dad's name was Mormon? Well, it must be important because it's included. So, let's try to figure it out. Nephi, (and he's talking about first Nephi, the one who had to deal with Laman and Lemuel) was his grandpa, many generations back. He knew the stories and probably revered him, not only as a prophet, but as a relative. He probably wanted to be like him, to emulate him. So, being Nephi's descendant was a big deal to him. Mormon also mentions that he's named after his father. Why? His dad is never really talked about, but Mormon wants it known that he carries his name. It's important to him. His dad must have been a very good, honorable man.
When Mormon is eleven, his dad takes him to a new town. They move. It's significant to him. They go farther south to the land of Zarahemla, farther from the hill, Shim.
The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea.
It sounds a lot like it is now. This is how the United States is at this moment. Covered with buildings, towns, people. Maybe there were more people at that time than who live here now. Who knows? The only number he gives us is " numerous as the sand of the sea". That's a bunch. Millions. And that's just the people he knows about.
In that year, wars begin between the Lamanites and the Nephites. Actually, they just continue. There are always wars between the Nephites and Lamanites. Enough already! And what a surprise, but this is the beginning of the end, so pay attention. It sounds a lot like what we are going through now, in this world we live in. Mormon includes it for a reason, so we can "liken" these verses to us.
The war began on Zarahemla's border, by the river Sidon. So, on the outside edge, just like you'd picture it in those days. Today, we probably won't have that luxury. Not when bombs can be easily dropped anywhere.
Mormon goes on to explain that there are battles back and forth, but then he tells us this...
But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people.
I'm guessing this means that the Lord was fed up. He'd tried and tried, and the people would not listen. The question I ask here is, how did the Lord take away his disciples? Did they die or just pack up and leave? Why weren't one of them keeping this record? Why Mormon? Curious. And how many were there? Did they know Mormon? Did they talk with him and teach him? Were there twelve or does the word disciple here have a broader meaning of anyone who followed Christ? Not just twelve apostles. I'm leaning toward the twelve here.
Whatever the meaning, we know the result. God took his authority back. There were no more miracles, meaning there had been, and there were no more healings, which means there had been. How could a people become so wicked and forgetful so fast? We've been here in the promised land for less time and many feel that we've become ripe with iniquity. Will God take his authority away? Will war come upon us?
In every generation of time, the Lord's chosen people apostatize. EVERY time. And every time he takes his authority back. If we liken THAT to us, what a scary prospect. Never become so comfortable that you think it isn't possible today. Don't be so arrogant as to say he wouldn't do it. God can do whatever he wants, and he makes promises that are predicated on our obedience. If we aren't obedient, then he doesn't have to keep his promise. Remember THAT!
And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief.
Now this is sad. The Holy Ghost did not come upon any. Well, that's not completely true. He came to Mormon. Maybe there were other individuals he came to also, but Mormon doesn't know about them. He is writing what he sees and knows, remember?
Something important here is to understand the word "unbelief".
Unbelief--a lack of religious belief; an absence of faith. incredulity or skepticism especially in matters of religious faith, It also means believing in incorrect doctrine, in incorrect traditions etc...
Do we have that issue today? Do we believe in false tradtions? We absolutely do. This is an area where we need to repent. It's one of those areas where we need to study to learn what those false traditionas are. Just because someone in a possition of authority says something, should you believe it? I don't think so. Every prophet in the scriptures tells us to pray to get an answer for ourselves. NEVER trust in the arm of the flesh, no matter how much you want to!
We're almost done here.
We have only gotten through half of chapter one and look at how much there is to think about! Never rush through the scriptures. There's no hurry! The Lord wants us to ponder these things. He want's us to sit and think, "Why was this added? Why is this important?"
Because every word is.
We'll pick up where we left off tomorrow. At least I'll try! I have other things to get to today and this post is plenty long!
May you have a wonderful day, and I hope it is filled with thoughts of Mormon. What an amazing young man!