Sunday, December 18, 2016

Moroni 10:20-22 -- On Moroni's Example

"Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.
And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope.
And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity."
Moroni 10:20-22

This is an excerpt from the last chapter of the Book of Mormon.  Moroni, whose father Mormon compiled most of the records that make up the book, is still alive even though his whole nation has been destroyed, and he's watched everyone he cared about die.  Moroni then abridges and adds one final record and writes some personal notes, here in this chapter, to anyone who will read the book.

What stands out to me very vividly about these verses is that Moroni, alone and wandering wherever he can to stay alive (Moroni 1:1-3) is here teaching *us* not to be in despair.  What he and his father saw is described in very small part in these last chapters, but it includes rape, torture, cannibalism, and combinations of the same.  Perhaps worse, it was Moroni's own people, the Nephites, who were the more depraved, and who were completely destroyed, along with his father.  What reasons does Moroni have to hope?

And yet, Moroni in the midst of all of that didn't become part of it, and he also did not despair, even in his unusually challenging circumstances.  He doesn't crawl into his bedroll and give up, or commit suicide-by-Lamanite by "accidentally" alerting them to his presence.  Instead, he trusts God, and he writes to us, encouraging us to do the right thing, to have faith and hope and charity (the pure love of Christ) in our lives.

Moroni is a hero to me, and I think we can learn a lot from his example.  Instead of letting our circumstances crumple us into a little ball of anxiety and despair, we can stay smooth and hopeful, and even find joy in whatever circumstances that we are in, because we have God.  Faith in God means that there IS hope.  Even if, like Moroni, it gets to the point where we've lost everything we love, we can still dedicate ourselves to the future. We can write and share and keep trusting that God will make it right, even when it seems to have all gone wrong.  We were *imaginary* people to Moroni.  We didn't exist yet except as an idea, but he loved us anyway.  He had that pure love that we call charity because he trusted God and had faith that he would carry his words to somewhere in the future where they could do some good.  And here they are, and here we are.  Bless Moroni for being that faithful, and hopeful, and that full of love.  And let us try to trust God enough to follow his example.

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