Book of Mormon
How Could Ye Have Departed from the
Ways of the Lord?
Mormon is given responsibility for the sacred records.
Mormon becomes the leader of the Nephite armies. The Nephites suffer
in battle because of wickedness.
Mormon explains the purposes for the records he has abridged and written.
In a final great battle, all but 24 of the Nephites are killed.
A study of this lesson will help us see the importance of living according to
gospel principles despite the increasing wickedness in the world.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 43 Handout (PDF)
After the Savior's visit, the Nephites lived in a Zion society.
"And it came to pass that
there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did
dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings,
nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any
manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people
among all the people who had been created by the hand of God." (4
After nearly 200 years, this society began a pattern of decline (see 4
A group of Nephites revolted from the Church and called themselves Lamanites
The people became proud of their exceeding prosperity and began wearing
costly clothing and adornments (v24).
The law of consecration was abandoned (v25).
The people began to be divided into social classes (v26).
False churches were organized to get gain (v26-28).
Followers of the true church were persecuted (v29-34).
There was a great division among the people (v35-38).
The children were taught to reject gospel truth (v38-39).
The wicked became more numerous than the righteous (v40).
Secret oaths and combinations were started again (v42).
The righteous people began to be proud and seek the things of the world
Gadianton conspiracy overran the whole land (v46).
The word Mormon.
Joseph Smith wrote to the editor of the Times & Seasons to clarify
the meaning of the word 'Mormon'. He wrote: "The
error I speak of is the definition of the word 'Mormon'. It has been
stated that this word was derived from the Greek word mormo. This
is not the case. There was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from
which I, through the grace of the Lord, translated the Book of Mormon.... The word Mormon, means
literally, more good." (HC 5:399-400)
Mormon's narrative of important events early in his life.
Mormon says that Ammaron came to him at age ten.
We read in 4th Nephi that Ammaron had been given custody of the records
by his brother Amos (see
Ammaron said to Mormon: "I perceive that thou
art a sober child, and art quick to observe" (v2).
Ammaron commissioned Mormon to go to the land Antum and the hill Shim,
at the age of twenty-four, and take possession of the plates of Nephi and leave
the remainder of the records in the hill (v3-4).
He further commissioned Mormon to engrave upon those plates his own observations
At age eleven he was taken by his father to the land southward,
"even to the
land of Zarahemla" (v6).
He noted that 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"
At this same time a there began to be a war between the Nephites and the
MORMON 1:13-19. The spiritual condition of the Nephites.
WHAT WAS THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF THE NEPHITE NATION?
Wickedness prevailed upon the face of the land (v13).
The Lord removed his disciples and the works of miracles and healing ceased
The wickedness was so great that Mormon was forbidden to preach to the
The Gadianton robbers had free reign over the land (v18).
The treasures of the people were slippery and could not hang on to
There was witchcraft, sorceries, magic, and the power of the evil one was
upon the land (v19).
At the age of sixteen Mormon was appointed general of the Nephite armies
DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT THERE WAS A LEADERSHIP VACUUM IN THE NEPHITE NATION? WHY?
"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"
What a terrible time this must have been to live, yet Mormon was able to
retain his faith. "And wo is me because
of their wickedness; for my heart has been filled with sorrow because of
their wickedness, all my days; nevertheless, I know that I shall be lifted
up at the last day" (v19).
HOW DO YOU SUPPOSE MORMON WAS ABLE TO RETAIN HIS FAITH IN SUCH DIFFICULT
Surely his parents had taught him properly, for he was a sober and observant child.
The record states that he was visited of the Lord and had "tasted and knew
of the goodness of Jesus" (Mormon 1:15).
He must have clung to that burning testimony through the difficult days.
Surely he prayed with devotion to Heavenly Father on a daily basis.
Mormon had an intimate knowledge of the scriptures and the history of his
WHY DIDN'T THE NEPHITE'S SORROW FOR THEIR WICKEDNESS LEAD THEM TO REPENTANCE?
They were grieving over the loss of their possessions and the fact that the Lord
would not "suffer them to take happiness in sin"
WHAT IS THE LESSON FOR US IN OUR DAY?
"Now I rejoice, not
that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were
made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in
nothing. For godly sorrow worketh
repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world
worketh death." (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "In contrast there
is the 'sorrowing of the damned,' which occurs when people can no longer
have it both ways; they can no longer take happiness in sin, and yet they
remain unrescued because they have not turned completely to God."
(Men and Women of Christ, p77)
President Spencer W. Kimball: "The truly
repentant man is sorry before he is apprehended. He is sorry even if his
secret is never known. He desires to make voluntary amends. The culprit
has not 'godly sorrow' who must be found out by being reported or by chains
of circumstances which finally bring the offense to light. The thief is
not repentant who continues in grave offenses until he is caught. Repentance
of the godly type means that one comes to recognize the sin and voluntarily
and without pressure from outside sources begins his transformation."
(The Miracle of Forgiveness, p153)
Mormon says that he was able to arouse the Nephites "somewhat to vigor"
and they had a successful campaign against the Lamanites. They made
a treaty with the Lamanites and the Gadianton robbers.
He wrote, "...nevertheless the strength
of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves, that the Spirit
of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto
our brethren." (v26)
Mormon says that the people refused to acknowledge that it was
the Lord that had spared them and "granted them a
chance for repentance" (v3).
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT WE RECOGNIZE THE BLESSINGS WE RECEIVE FROM THE
Consider what happened to the attitude of the Nephites.
"And now, because of this great
thing which my people, the Nephites, had done, they began to boast in their
own strength, and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge
themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain by their enemies."
A commandment for our day.
"And now behold, this I speak
unto their seed, and also to the Gentiles who have care for the house of
Israel, that realize and know from whence their blessings come."
At this season of Thanksgiving, it would be well
for us to consider the following statements made by President Abraham Lincoln:
Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme
Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of
nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set
apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.
And whereas it is the duty
of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power
of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with
assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to
recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all
history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
And, in so much as we know
that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments
and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity
of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted
upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national
reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest
bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and
prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has
ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which
preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we
have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these
blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel
the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God
that made us!
It behooves us
then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national
sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. (Proclamation
setting apart, Thursday the 30th day of April, 1863 a day of National
humiliation, fasting, and prayer)
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal
hand worked out these great things [referring to the great blessings of this
land]. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with
us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and
gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American
people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United
States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign
lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of
Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
(Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day, made October 3, 1863)
Mormon says that he did
to lead the Nephite armies (v11).
"And it came to pass that I utterly refused to
go up against mine enemies; and I did even as the Lord had commanded me;
and I did stand as an idle witness to manifest unto the world the things
which I saw and heard, according to the manifestations of the Spirit which
had testified of things to come" (v3).
Mormon says that the people did swear
before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their
Mormon wrote that the word of the Lord came
to him saying: "Vengeance is mine, and I
will repay" (v15).
WHY DO YOU THINK THE LORD HAS COMMANDED US TO NOT SEEK VENGEANCE?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Men
are forbidden to execute vengeance upon their fellow men, unless by revelation
(acting in the capacity of the Lord's agents) they are sent forth to do
his appointed will. (D. & C. 98:23-48.) Ancient Israel, for instance,
was commanded to execute the Lord's vengeance upon the Amalekites. (1 Sam.
15:2-3.) Aside from such unusual and seldom-occurring situations, however,
the decree is that vengeance, recompense, and judgment come from the Lord
himself." (Mormon Doctrine, p821)
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE CONSEQUENCES WHEN PEOPLE SOUGHT
VENGEANCE? EVEN IN SMALL MATTERS?
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME FEELINGS OF VENGEANCE IF THEY
ARISE IN OUR HEARTS?
The wars continue.
The records states that because the Nephites waged a war
of aggression they were smitten. "...were
it not for that the Lamanites could have had no power over them"
In another battle the Nephites were able to drive
the Lamanites back and they "did boast
in their strength" (v8).
Mormon said of the declining situation: "And
it is impossible for the tongue to describe, or for man to write a perfect
description of the horrible scene of the blood and carnage which was among
the people, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites; and every heart
was hardened, so that they delighted in the shedding of blood continually"
The Lamanites came down to war and from this time the
Nephites could have no power over the Lamanites and they "began
to be swept off by them even as a dew before the sun" (v17-18).
Mormon says that he once again took command of the Nephite
He loved his people and even though he felt it was hopeless, his loyalty
to the nation was such that he once again took up command to assist the
Mormon was writing to us in our time.
WHAT IMPORTANT MESSAGE IS MORMON ATTEMPTING TO CONVEY?
Mormon writes the king of the Lamanites desiring that he gather his people to
the land of Cumorah (v2).
The king granted the desire of Mormon (v3).
Mormon buried all the records he had been entrusted with in the hill Cumorah
except for these few plates which he gave to his son Moroni (v6).
The last battle and Mormon's lament.
WHY DID SUCH A GREAT CALAMITY COME UPON THE PEOPLE OF MORMON'S DAY?
HOW CAN THE BOOK OF MORMON HELP ALL PEOPLE TODAY?
We need to learn and heed the lessons of history or else the consequences
are sure. The Book of Mormon teaches those lessons and it inspires men to
WHAT DOES MORMON'S LAMENTS REVEAL ABOUT HIM?
HOW DO YOU THINK HE FOUND STRENGTH AMID SUCH ANGUISH AND HOPELESSNESS?
Moroni 9 - A Letter From Mormon To Moroni
WHAT CAN WE LEARN ABOUT PERSEVERANCE FROM MORMON'S WORK WITH THE NEPHITES?
WHY WOULD WE BE CONDEMNED IF WE CEASED TO LABOR DILIGENTLY IN HELPING OTHERS
REPENT AND TURN TO CHRIST?
The worth of souls is great in the eyes of God, and his children need to
be given every opportunity to repent.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "Only reform and
self-restraint, institutional and individual, can finally rescue society! Only a sufficient number of sin-resistant souls can change the marketplace. As Church members we should be part of that sin-resistant counterculture."
(Ensign, May 1993, p77)
"My son, be faithful in Christ;
and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee
down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and
death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering,
and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever. And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens,
and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power,
until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you
forever. Amen." (Moroni 9:25-26)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the events discussed in this lesson.
How did you feel as you read about the destruction of the Nephite nation? What
lessons can you apply to your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
History of the Church (HC).
Men and Women of Christ by Neal A. Maxwell.
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
19 September 2016