Moroni, son of Mormon, is a man of impressive credentials by any standard. He was the last prophet/historian to engrave on the gold plates. With his own hands he buried the future Book of Mormon in the Hill Cumorah. As a glorious resurrected man sent from the presence of God, he tutored Joseph Smith for four years before entrusting him with the plates.
John the Revelator saw him in vision: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). Due to his pivotal position in history, Moroni is honored in gold atop temples from Accra, Ghana, to Adelaide, Australia, and from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Asuncion, Paraguay.
Yet, in living real life, Moroni experienced seasons of fear, anxiety, and loss. He empties his heart in the first ten verses of Mormon chapter eight:
- I, Moroni… have but few things to write.
- After the great and tremendous battle… the Nephites… were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed.
- My father was also killed by them.
- I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people.
- Whether [the Lamanites] will slay me, I know not.
- Whither I go it mattereth not.
- I would write… if I had room upon the plates, but I have not.
- Ore I have none.
- I am alone.
- My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk.
- I have not friends nor whither to go.
- How long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not.
- The Lamanites have hunted my people… even until they are no more.
- The Lamanites are at war one with another.
- The whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed.
- There are none save it be the Lamanites and robbers who exist upon the face of the land.
- And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain.
Can you see him in your mind, disconsolately scratching out his sorrow-filled heart on the plates? His anguish for father, family, and friends—all of whom suffered violent deaths—is beyond measure. In his aloneness, he doesn’t care where he goes or how long he lives. Yet somehow, someway, despite all opposition, adversity, and personal loss, he receives strength. He finishes chapters eight and nine of his father’s book, finds ore and makes new plates, abridges the fifteen chapters of Ether, inserts his own testimony of faith, and writes his own book with its ten chapters of instruction and testimony.
How could he, depressed as he was, gird up his loins, fresh courage take to such an astonishing degree? From the eighth chapter of Mormon to the end of the Book of Mormon, Moroni teaches, by example and word, his nine-step course in how to overcome anxiety and depression that are the result of loss and fear.
1. He recorded his feelings and documented his situation, establishing a baseline for him to remember his low point and to measure his healing.
2. At some point he realized he needed to stop rehearsing the awfulness of his situation: “I make an end of speaking concerning this people” (Mormon 8:13).
3. He remembered who he is and his heritage: “Behold, I am Moroni” (Mormon 8:12); “I am the son of Mormon, and my father was a descendant of Nephi” (Mormon 8:13).
4. He defined himself by his work: “And I am the same who hideth up this record unto the Lord” (Mormon 8:14).
5. He accepted comfort and took courage from others’ words. He remembered his father’s words: “My son, be faithful in Christ” (Moroni 9:25). He recalled being visited by the Three Nephites: “Behold, my father and I have seen them: and they have ministered unto us” (Mormon 8:11).
6. He got to work.
7. He translated the Jaredite plates and found a compatriot in the prophet Ether who also watched a civilization destroy itself. Moroni must have felt kinship when he read Ether’s words: “Whether the Lord will that I be translated, or that I suffer the will of the Lord in the flesh, it mattereth not, if it so be that I am saved in the kingdom of God” (Ether 15:34).
8. He forgave and found purpose. In Moroni 1:1, he reported that the Lamanites were trying to kill him, but three verses later he explained that his purpose in writing was to write something that “may be worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day” (Moroni 1:4).
9. He put his trust in Jesus Christ and admonished all: “Love God with all your might, mind and strength,” “deny not his power,” be “sanctified in Christ” (Moroni 10:32-33).
When I feel alone or forsaken and start spiraling into negativity, I try to think about which of Moroni’s principles of emotional wellbeing will help.
1. I can do what Moroni did. I can spill out my heart in a journal.
2. I can do what Moroni did. I can stop talking about my loss, disappointment, and hurt. I don’t know if this is normal, but when something really bad happens, I want to tell everyone. About five years ago our family experienced a tragic accident. For months I told everyone who would listen—extended family, friends, clerks in stores, telemarketers on the phone, strangers on the street, reliving the shock over and over. At some point I realized I was stuck in a destructive pattern. I was perpetuating the grief and not moving toward acceptance or healing.
3. I can do what Moroni did. I can gather courage by remembering strengths of my earthly parents and ancestors. My father was a World War II veteran. My mother served others every day of her life with music. Grandpa Todd grew a large garden to help feed his family during the depression. Grandma Todd spent her life caring for children with gentleness. Grandfather Haymore’s greatest joy was teaching the gospel. Grandmother Haymore made clothes for me and for many, many, many others.
4. I can do what Moroni did. I can gather courage by remembering my heavenly parentage. I am “a beloved spirit… daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, [have] a divine nature and destiny” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).
5. I can do what Moroni did. I can get to work and define my future self by figuratively finishing my father’s record, finding ore, and fulfilling my callings.
6. I can do what Moroni did. I can gain comfort and strength though the words of others—listening for promptings from the Holy Ghost, listening to prophets, past and present, and listening to advice from others who have been where I am.
7. I can do what Moroni did. I can forgive by praying for those who have caused my loved ones or me harm. I can forgive by doing good to others.
8. I can do what Moroni did. I can submit my will to God’s will and acknowledge that He sees the whole elephant while I see only a speck of an eyelash.
9. I can do what Moroni did. “Love God with all [my] might, mind and strength,” “deny not his power,” and strive to be “sanctified in Christ” (Moroni 10:32-33).
10. I can do what Moroni did. I can look forward to a glorious day in the future when I will actually meet him in paradise at “the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah” (Moroni 10:34).