Thursday, October 29, 2020

Destruction of the Nephites (Mormon 1-6, Moroni 9)

A Day of Wickedness and Abomination

 

READ Mormon 1:2-4

What was Mormon like as a child and why did this appeal to Ammaron?

By only 10 years old, he stood out from the rest of the children.

He was serious probably a “thinker”; he could contemplate serious matters in a mature way.

He was very smart but also resolute; meaning he would both understand what was needed and be willing to do it.

He was responsible enough, even at that age, to be tasked with remembering and fulfilling a very adult task 14 years into the future.

 

READ Mormon 1:13-14 and 4 Nephi 1:45-46

What is the spiritual effect of a society steeped in wickedness and unbelief?

They have no ministering angels (translated or otherwise).

They have no miracles or healings.

They have no gifts of the Spirit.

They have no gift of the Holy Ghost or mighty change of heart.

And as a result, they have “proof” that these things don’t exist anyway…because they have no evidence that they do exist!  This bias confirms their false beliefs, but they’ve done it to themselves.  They have not considered that just because these experiences and attributes aren’t had among ANY of them, they don’t exist.

The old religion practiced in Zion had essentially vanished from their society.

 

READ Mormon 1:15

What happened to Mormon at age 15?

Jesus Christ came to Him and ministered to Him in the flesh (see D&C 132:21-25).

He was redeemed from the fall, forgiven and changed; he “tasted” the fruit of the tree of life or the effects of the Atonement of Christ, which redeems (see 1 Nephi 8:10-12; Ether 3:13).

He knew of the “goodness of Jesus”; he was given a tactile knowledge of the goodness of Jesus in enacting the atonement by touching for himself the wounds which prove that Christ did what He said He did (see 3 Nephi 11:14-15).

How did this happen in a world as wicked as Mormon’s?

The Lord is no respecter of persons; if anyone fulfills the requirements, they receive the blessings.

It shows that anyone can receive these greatest blessings even in a society of wickedness.

It shows that anyone can receive Christ Himself even if there is no other “righteous” priesthood holder with “keys” to “authorize” it; Christ can appear to whomever He wants, whenever He wants.

 

READ Mormon 1:16-19

Why did the Lord forbid Mormon to preach unto the people – couldn’t it have enabled their repentance?

They were fully ripe in their iniquity.

They were consigned to their destruction.

Like the Jaredites, they have no desire to repent anyway (see Mormon 2:13).

The Lord has withdrawn Himself completely from them and they are in their own hands.

Can the Lord really “curse” the land so that treasures become “slippery” and what does this mean?

Evidently, He can.

The Lord does not always allow the wicked to revel in their wickedness forever without consequence.

Today, this happens in the stock market, all the time.

When the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, where do the people turn?

To whatever spirits will give heed to them or abide with them.

It is interesting to note that they still value the power that the supernatural can give them; they are just not willing to abide by the eternal laws required to connect with God.

 

READ Mormon 2:1-2

What does the fact that the Nephites chose a 16-year-old Mormon to be their General tell us about him and about them?

He was extremely physically imposing, even at 16.

He was noticeably different from the rest of the soldiers in ways that the Nephites valued – intelligence, even the spirit of God.

Perhaps he was from a prestigious family; he does mention that he is a direct descendent of Nephi I.

Even then, the Nephites seem desperate to appoint a 16-year-old to lead the armies!  They must have had a poor talent pool (think Union Army in the American Civil War, until Grant and Sherman).

 

READ Mormon 2:8

What does it mean that it was “one complete revolution throughout all the face of the land”?

The Nephite nation is in chaos and civil war against itself.

The Lamanite nation is in chaos and civil war.

It’s not so much pitched battles with armies (although there were some of these, too) but the entire land is in a completely lawless and violent state.

The robbers are a key part of this – the foundation of it; they have “infested” all people and turned them against each other through their secret works of darkness.

 

READ Mormon 2:10-15

What is the difference between the sorrow of the damned and the sorrow of the repentant?

Sorrow of the damned does not change behavior; it is motivated by anger or frustration in the fact that there are negative consequences for behavior (sin).

Sorrow of the repentant does motivate a change in behavior; it is motivated by contrition and a broken heart from a realization of one’s true (lost and fallen) state before God, the consequences of that state, and a desire to do whatever it takes to change, in order to be saved.

Why do they wish to die but struggle for their lives at the same time?

This life is all they know or really believe in (or they would repent…) but they hate it.

However, the fear of death and fight for life is strong in the natural man.

And if there is some kind of Supreme Being as they see it, they hate Him for not allowing them to enjoy their sins or for not saving them in their sins.

What does it mean that the “day of grace was past with them”?

There is a limit to the timing and criteria allowed by the Lord for forgiveness; when people claim they understand the Gospel, have the fullness, and therefore deliberately rebel against God, driving the Holy Ghost out from among them, then the day of grace has passed.

Grace is an undeserved blessing; Christ extends it “unfairly” to us anyway - does not have to grant it and it’s undeserved on our part as we have not earned any of it, regardless of how “righteous” we are; if we “willfully rebel”, He can choose to refuse to grant us His grace – that is a completely just consequence to our rebellion.   

 

READ Mormon 2:17-19

What did Mormon do when he first retrieved the record from the place where it was hidden?

He did as Ammaron had asked of him: he documented all the wickedness and abominations of the people, in full.

It was only later that he created and wrote “these plates” or his summary, which became the Book of Mormon.

What hope does Mormon’s life give those of us living in the latter days?

Mormon was a perfect candidate to write this Book for us, as he lived in a wicked and violent nation, so he could truly understand ours.

While we, too, live within a society where we have witnessed a “continual scene of wickedness and abominations” since childhood…

And our hearts should be broken any time we turn on the news…

We can KNOW that we will be “lifted up” at the last day through Jesus Christ; we can know our standing before Him and that He has snatched us and declared us clean before the Father from the blood of the wicked generation among whom we live (see D&C 88:75).

From this, we can see just how little the social decay of a population affects the lives of the Lord’s followers; an entire nation can be blind, but that does not prevent disciples from seeing; neither religions, traditions nor governments keep an individual from repenting – Mormon is a great example of this.

 

READ Mormon 2:20-21

Describe the state of Nephite society?

A nation of refugees fleeing for their lives.

Their society is in shambles; they are on the brink of destruction; no food is being manufactured; they are fighting for their lives.

 

READ Mormon 2:25-27 and Mormon 3:8-10

Despite the Lord withdrawing from the Nephites, how did they beat the Lamanites whose army was almost twice as big?

Bravery, fierceness, and military strategy.

It was all on them; they had reason to be proud.

How are the Nephites violating the principles of “Christian war” that we read about during the Great Lamanite War in Alma?

They are swearing to exact revenge.

They are preparing to practice pre-emptive strikes.

They are planning on exterminating a threat before it can destroy them.

 

READ Mormon 4:4-5, 17-18

What happened to the Nephites because of their “preventative war”, when they attacked the Lamanites to exterminate them?

They had no support from the Lord.

They were left unto themselves.

They suffered a major defeat (see Mormon 4:1-3).

Ironically, they justified the attack of the Lamanites into Nephite land, which would end in the extermination of the Nephites themselves.

 

READ Mormon 3:11-16

Why does Mormon refuse to lead the Nephite armies from that time forward, even though they had always been a group of vile sinners during his lifetime?

He knows the Nephites’ recent military history and knows the Lord’s principles of war, and as a soldier who is also a prophet, he will not violate those principles for any reason.

How can Mormon still love his people, as wicked as they are?

He has charity, the pure love of Christ, which motivated the Lord during the atonement when He was suffering the sins of those who were about to put Him to death.

Even though they are wicked, they are still children of God and had good or endearing qualities about them.

Mormon always held out the wish that his friends, for that is who they were, would repent – at least to some degree; this is a heartbreaking experience for him.

Why would Mormon cry all day long in prayer for his friends, yet do it “without faith”?

Because he truly loved them.

Because perhaps the Lord would have mercy on them for his sake.

Because the impending destruction of his people was so terrible to contemplate that he felt he had to do something.

Because he needed to obtain the will of the Lord in this matter so that he could enable it, as per the Lord’s instructions to him.

 

READ Mormon 3:20-22

Why is Mormon writing to the latter-day Gentiles, Jews and the Remnant of Israel?

To warn us regarding the reality of the judgement seat of Christ.

To warn us that we are heading toward our own destruction, following the same path that his people trod.

To testify to us that the Fullness of the Gospel of Christ is the only thing that can save us; but that it can save us only if we will believe it, repent and accept it.

 

READ Mormon 4:5

How do the judgements of God punish the wicked?

The wicked punish and destroy each other when God withdraws His Spirit and protection.

He lets the natural order of the telestial kingdom take its course.

 

READ Mormon 4:11-15

Why did the Lamanites beat the Nephites?

They outnumbered them.

Why did the Nephites beat the Lamanites?

They were driven by a murderous rage for revenge.

What do the Nephites and Lamanites have in common?

A delight in the shedding of blood – killing and murder.

Every heart was hardened.

They were likely much more alike at this point than they were different, a sad irony.

 

READ Mormon 5:1-2

How did the Nephites view the “Return of Mormon”?

A heroic return!  Like a scene from an epic action or comic book movie.

That through his wits, leadership and strength, Mormon could turn the tide and save them.

Why did Mormon return to lead the Nephites?

He loved his people and preferred to die with them than watch them die.

He knew it was a suicide mission; he had no hope, for he had read about the end result of the judgements of God in the scriptures he had access to (Nephi I’s account) and he also knew it from personal revelation from the Lord’s own voice.

 

READ Mormon 5:8-9 and Mormon 5:21-24

Why does Mormon “harrow up our souls” with his account of carnage?

A knowledge of these things must come unto the Remnant and also to the Gentiles.

Both as a serious warning for us to not venture down the path that leads to such atrocities – which seemingly we are on, or why give us the warning (see Mormon 5:22-24) and to demonstrate how one can live in a society such as this and still know God (see Mormon 5:21).

To show us how quickly a great society like ours can devolve into wickedness, and ultimately its entire destruction, at its own hands.

 

READ Mormon 5:16-18

How are they without Christ and God in the world?

Because the Spirit has been withdrawn from them; it has ceased to strive with (attempt to influence) them.

Because they have grieved the Spirit so thoroughly with their wickedness.

What is chaff and what does it mean to be driven like chaff before the wind?

Chaff = the dry husk of corn or wild grasses; refuse; worthless matter; especially that which is light weight and apt to be carried in the wind.

Chaff has no ability to influence where it will be blown by the wind; it is completely at the mercy of whatever directions the wind may be blowing.

Satan likes to “play with his food” like a cat with a mouse; he will drive those who are enslaved to him in whatever direction he finds amusing, usually because it causes distress and anguish to those being blown about; he doesn’t do this at first, though – they must be bound by his chains first, then he can have his way with them.

How could a people move from being led by the Father Himself and being shepherded personally by Christ to this level of degeneracy?

They willfully rebelled.

They purposely decided they did not want Christ to lead them.

And while it may seem like it all started with pride, which led to the breaking up of the Law of Consecration (not having all things in common) and the rise of false religion, it actually started back when they no longer sought after Christ to know Him personally, but relied on the testimony and experiences of others (their parents and grandparents); without a personal knowledge of Christ, they had lost their “sail, anchor and rudder” which at first was difficult to discern, because the “sea” was still so calm in the late days of Zion.

 

 

Mormon’s Letter to Moroni: A People Without Civilization

 

The following is a letter from Mormon to his son Moroni which fits into the chronology of the story at this point (after Mormon has rejoined the Nephite army but before their ultimate destruction).

 

READ Moroni 9:3-5

How does Satan influence the Nephites not to repent, despite all the losses they are incurring, which should humble them or at the least scare them into repentance?

He stirs them up continually to anger one with another, so they are not only fighting the Lamanite enemy but are angry with each other, too; they have lost their love for each other.

Anger is a strong emotion which is a response to perceived provocation, hurt or threat; it can be used as a protective mechanism to cover up fear, hurt or sadness; it triggers fight or flight or survival responses and constrains reasoning in the brain; for this reason, it can be used by Satan to not only distract but actually inhibit the angry individual from communing with the Spirit or even making more thoughtful decisions.

The behaviors that come from anger (violence, revenge, cruelty, killing, no fear of death) grieve the Spirit to the degree that it withdraws itself from the individual, allowing Satan to have that much more power as he fills the vacuum.

How do the Nephites react to Mormon’s counsel and preaching?

They are either angry with him when he uses “sharpness” or…

They ignore his counsel and harden their hearts when he doesn’t.

 

READ Moroni 9:6

So why does Mormon counsel Moroni to continue to try to influence the Nephites?

Because it is their calling or duty or mission to “labor” to help their associates to repent and come unto Christ; otherwise they fail in their calling and receive a condemnation (which would not be just if they hadn’t accepted the duty).

Their own salvations may be hanging in the balance; to the degree they attempt to help others, they will be saved themselves.

They may have condescended to come to this earth for this very purpose – and to help save even one family member or friend that would not have otherwise been saved is worth it (see D&C 18:10-16; Moses 1:39).

Once you are safe in the “rest of the Lord” at the end of an eternity, why would you ever want to leave?  Because you love those who have not yet made it into His rest and you feel that if there is anything you could do to enable them to make it during their next external round, it would be worth the sacrifice and risk (see 1 Corinthians 15:30) to condescend again into a mortal probation to attempt it. 

 

READ Moroni 9:7-12, 18-20

Why did Moroni transcribe this letter with all its gory and offensive detail into his account?

To illustrate the depths to which mankind can fall when the Spirit has withdrawn from them due to their choices to sin.

To set a specific set of reference points with regards to the fullness of iniquity – if your society is doing these things (or is getting close by paying to be entertained by them in movies or books), you are ripened in iniquity and are about to be destroyed.

What does it mean to be “past feeling”?

They are “past feeling” the Spirit; they will not feel the Spirit because they actively fight against its influence, so as a result they cannot feel the Spirit.

The Spirit has withdrawn from them so completely and they have opened themselves up to evil spirits to the degree that they are totally possessed by them, so they are without “principle” or completely out of alignment with eternal law.

What does it mean to be “without civilization”?

The loss of all human restraint.

Awful brutality, especially against those who cannot fight back.

Without mercy and full of blind anger and hate.

Chaotic, animalistic, perverted, depraved mob behavior – like crazed zombies or a pack of ravenous wolves.

Without fear of authority, including military authority, or even death.

How can people go from being civilized to being depraved in the course of only a few years or less?

It starts with the withdrawal of the Spirit due to sin.

But it is triggered by desperate circumstances like war, disease or natural disaster, usually accompanied by a loss of the rule of law, including the lack of law enforcement and penalties for breaking the law.

Who is most at risk in a society like this?

Those who cannot defend themselves.

The women, children, elderly, and disabled.

Why would God allow these atrocities?

The wicked punish the wicked (see Mormon 4:5).

And the entire society had turned from God (see 4 Nephi 1:45-46).

But children as victims of this behavior is completely unjust as they are not yet accountable, regardless of the evil of the society in which they are being brought up; the Lord has promised to wipe away all tears and will receive them up unto Himself, while the wicked will be held to account for what they have done (see Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 7:17; Alma 14:10-11).

 

READ Moroni 9:13-15

What does Mormon ask God for?

To end it; to destroy the people so that the sins and violent cruelty will stop.

This is a society where the children have no hope but to be brought up in sin, abomination and depravity – it is time to put a stop to all of it.

 

READ Moroni 9:21-23

Why can Mormon no longer intercede with God for the people?

There is no hope for them because they have sinned so badly against the light and they refuse to repent of it.

It is interesting that he still holds out the faintest of hopes that they might repent; that is charity at work in his heart.

But he knows the rules (eternal law), and justice will be done if they do not repent and come unto Christ.

 

READ Moroni 9:25-26

How could Mormon’s letter not grieve Moroni and weigh him down unto despair?

Understanding the depth of the darkness in this world is required if we are to overcome it and help others to do the same; if we are to become like God we must know good from evil (see TPJS 156:3-157:1; 2 Nephi 2:26; Alma 12:31; Alma 29:5; Helaman 14:31; Moroni 7:15-19; Moses 6:56).

Christ is our example and has suffered all things; He has descended below all things that He may raise all things up, that He may draw all men to Him to lift them up that they might live as He does (see D&C 19:10-20; D&C 88:6; D&C 122:8; 1 Corinthians 15:22; John 12:32; 2 Nephi 26:24-28; 3 Nephi 27:14-16; 3 Nephi 15:1); Christ is the reason we should not despair when we come to see and understand this degree of heartbreaking darkness.

Why does Mormon want “the showing of (Christ’s) body unto our fathers” to rest in Moroni’s mind forever?

So that he will understand that it is a possibility (see LoF 2:54-56).

So that he will want to experience the same thing himself (see 1 Nephi 10:17-19; 1 Nephi 11:1).

So that he will imagine himself experiencing it with the eye of faith (see Ether 12:19; Alma 5:15; Alma 32:40).

So that he will come unto Christ himself in the flesh and be saved (see Ether 3:13).

As Mormon himself did (see Mormon 1:15).

So that the memory of Christ’s ministry to Him and the tokens that he will witness of what Christ has done to save him, WILL truly rest in his mind forever, for he will know these things with a surety (see 3 Nephi 11:14-15).

 

 

The Destruction of the Nephites


READ Mormon 6:1-6

Why did Mormon propose a battle?

So that he could pick the place of his death, near where he could hide the records; so that he could write, if the Lord allowed him to, the account of what happened and his final testimony to us.

He thought it was the best place to have a tactical advantage; but if the tactical advantage was so advantageous, the king of the Lamanites would not have accepted his offer, so it must not have been much of an advantage under the circumstances.

It was over anyway – Mormon knew it and wanted it to be done (see Moroni 9:13-15).

Why would the Lamanites destroy the scriptural records if they could?

They knew what they were, as they were also sinning against the light (they had all been one society).

They truly hate God and would love to destroy His word; they take His truth to be hard.

Satan is their God and he might know what the Lord has in mind for that record and had driven them to destroy it.

Plus, whoever wins the war gets to tell the story and they’d prefer to tell a different story than the one Mormon is likely writing.


READ Mormon 6:7-11

How many died in this great battle?

Approximately 220,000.

Which were probably a combination of men, women and children because they had gathered the whole nation together at Cumorah to defend themselves.

 

READ Mormon 6:16-20

These are an extremely wicked group of people who have reached the fullness of iniquity; why does Mormon mourn them so terribly?

They were his friends, despite their wickedness, and he truly loved them for who they were – not just because of who he was, i.e. filled with charity for all mankind.

He saw the good in them – they were fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, they were not “monsters” but people and he desperately wanted them to repent that they might be saved (although, yes, there were some that might qualify as depraved monsters, not all of them were or they were not always that way).

What does Mormon mean by the term “fair ones”?

This is not a reference to skin color, as “Nephite” and “Lamanite” at that point were religious, then political labels, not primarily ethnic (they’d lived as one for several generations in Zion and very likely intermarried).

Clearly, it wasn’t in reference to their character or behavior.

It could refer to their spirits; they are beings of light with all the potential that a mortal probation can provide.

It could refer to their physical beauty, which in this case would be paradoxical because their inner “beauty” was seriously lacking, and now even their physical beauty was gone, having been hacked to bits by the Lamanites.

Did Jesus stand with open arms to receive even the Nephites at 99% on the “Fullness of Iniquity Scale”; right up until the tipping point?

Yes.

He stands at the door and knocks; He is no respecter of persons; His desire is to save as many as will come unto Him; He would have taken them back at the last hour if they would have repented, like Jonah’s Nineveh (see Jonah 4:4-10).

 

READ Mormon 6:21-22

Why does Mormon say “and if it so be that ye are righteous…” when they clearly weren’t or they would not be dead?

It is not his to judge.

He is not presuming that he knows their hearts sufficient to judge them; it is possible that the Lord will have mercy on some because of circumstances Mormon is unaware of or doesn’t understand.

Does God still love the sinner after their opportunity to repent is past?

Mercy is still His to extend, but justice must also be served.

But yes, He still loves all His children, even though He must administer justice upon them which they will find hard to bear.

How did the Nephites fulfill the requirements of the Fullness of Iniquity, such that they deserved to be swept away (see Ether 2:9-10)?

Pride (see Moroni 8:27).

Secret combinations (see Helaman 2:13).

Violence (see Mormon 4:11).

Worship false gods - materialism and military might/arm of the flesh (see 2 Nephi 26:10).

Rejection of all that is good - change the Law/relativism/humanism, cast out/kill the righteous people (see 4 Nephi 1:30-34 and Mormon 1:13-14).

Perversion of the procreative gift (see Moroni 9:9).

Fascination with evil/occult (see Mormon 1:19).

Without civilization/victimizing of women and children (see Moroni 9:10-11, 18-20).

 

All the boxes have been checked – they are ripe in the fullness of iniquity and are destroyed. 

 

READ Ether 2:11

Where are we today on this scale?  What do we deserve?

We are close, and the casting out of the righteous from the Gentile Church for bearing testimony of the reality of the living Christ from having been ministered to by Him personally or even preaching that this is possible, much less required, is a clear sign we are near the tipping point.

Nephi and Christ Himself both prophesied that we, the Gentiles, would reach the fullness and deserve to be destroyed (see 2 Nephi 28:1-32; 3 Nephi 16:10-15; 3 Nephi 20:15-20).

Regarding the other elements of a fullness of iniquity society, it is obvious that we are nearing the end (pride, secret combinations, violence, false gods, morality, occult, without “civilization”).

 

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