As we start our studies today on Mormon 7-9, Moroni has taken over the record from his father and is in a tragic position. He has seen his culture decimated and he is the last survivor of what was once a thriving world. Could anything be sadder than this?


As we start our studies today on Mormon 7-9, Moroni has taken over the record from his father and is in a tragic position. He has seen his culture decimated and he is the last survivor of what was once a thriving world. Could anything be sadder than this?


Hello, we are Scot and Maurine Proctor and this is Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast, where today we study a lesson called “I Speak unto You as if Ye were Present.”

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Now, as Moroni takes over his father’s record and we begin reading in Mormon 7, it is about 400 AD , and this is 15 years after the battles at Cumorah. Those Nephites who had survived these wars had escaped to the south , but the Lamanites were determined to track them down and kill every one of them. Moroni’s plight could not have been more difficult. He was in constant danger and he was utterly alone. He describes it:

And my father also was killed by them, and I even aremain balone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not.

Therefore I will write and ahide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not.

Behold, my father hath made athis record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the bplates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and chow long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not (Mormon 8)


Loneliness is one of the diseases of our time, but this is something on a different scale. There are last survivors of a community, a nation, even an animal species that is about to go extinct and there is something so shattering about it. There were the last of certain Indian tribes that no longer exist in the United States like the book The Last of the Mohicans.

We can scarcely imagine what Moroni would have seen as the last survivor of his people. Carnage. Bloodshed. The loss of his family. Certainly his mission to protect the record that would become the Book of Mormon must have been one of the most difficult of any, and no one would have been expected to undertake such a difficult mission if the Book of Mormon were not so important to save a people and prepare them for the second coming of the Savior. 


What fascinates me is that in Mormon 7,  where Moroni begins recording, his first message is to the Lamanites, whom he calls “a aremnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant”. He is giving them all the instructions they need to come unto Christ and return to the covenant again. When you consider all the destruction that he has seen at the hands of the Lamanites, when you consider that the Lamanites have murdered all his kin including his beloved father, what a magnificent soul Moroni has to seek to bring them covenant blessings.

If Moroni were a natural man instead of a son of God, he would be thinking about revenge . He would be boiling in anger and hatred, but instead he is addressing a message of love to the Lamanites.  Remember that old movie, Princess Bride, where one of the characters always said my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father . Prepare to die.’ And he went around with sword in hand hoping to kill his father’s murderer. I only bring that up to showcase the contrast between how a Prophet of God acts and what the world teaches us. 


The Savior taught in his Sermon on the Mount.

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt alove thy bneighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, aLove your benemiescbless them that dcurse you, do egood to them that fhate you, and gpray for them which despitefully use you, and hpersecute you (Matthew 5).

Surely this is one of the litmus tests of Christianity, for it is not sufficient to love those who love you or who are like you or who agree with you politically or in any other way. We are to love those who are our enemies–that means even if they are threatening to us or our point of view or look entirely different than we do. They may not only be our enemies but also people we just consider to be others, the ones we are indifferent to. What an important lesson Moroni teaches us in his care for the Lamanites and the covenant 


And it is not just Moroni who sought to bring covenant blessings to the Lamanites who were the sworn enemies of the Nephites. We see that this was a concern for other prophets in the Book of Mormon. 

Enos, for example wrote of his prayer.

15 Wherefore, I knowing that the Lord God was able to apreserve our records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.

16 And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would apreserve the brecords; and he covenanted with me that he would cbring dthem forth unto the Lamanites in his own due time (Enos 1).

Moroni, in preserving these records in part for the Lamanites, is an answer to the Book of Mormon prophet’s prayers, including Enos.


This reminds me of a woman we spoke to when we went to the Helsinki, Finland temple dedication. She had been a child in Vyborg which at the time was part of Finland, but it is in an area between Russia and Finland that had long been contested.  When she was little, the Russians attacked and her mother had to  grab her  small children, holding a baby, and run through the woods to escape, with soldiers, bent on destroying them, not far behind. They never were able to return to their beautiful farm and from then forward lived in various other towns in Finland feeling like wanderers far from home. 

What was so remarkable about her story, is that just as the Finnish temple was to open , she was diligently studying Russian, because it was her dearest hope to help the Russian Saints receive their temple work and make sacred covenants.  She particularly loved helping the Russian Saints and felt a special spirit about it . How easy it would have been for her to carry resentment and even hatred for all she had lost, but she had no trace of that. Indeed she loved them. So it is still possible and also required to love our enemies today.


Moroni in his lonely plight was also carrying forth one of the purposes of the Book of Mormon that we learn on the title page. This book is not only to bring people to Christ but is specifically to the Lamanites as well as the Jew and Gentile, “which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever.”

Now let’s go back to that phrase that the aremnant of the seed of Jacob…are numbered among the people of the first covenant”. Moroni says in Mormon 9 I will show unto you a God of amiracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Mormon 9:11).


Truman Madsen said, “There is a Biblical and Talmudic admonition never to speak of God as ”the God of Abraham , Isaac , and Jacob,” but rather as the “God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” thus to underline that each patriarch and matriarch came directly to God . Each found him in the same way and at the same sacrificial cost.”

Moroni tells us what that sacrifice entails in Mormon 7:

Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved.


Note how our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson has asked us to repent, which gives us more access to the saving, protective, delivering power of the covenant. He said, “The word for repentance in the Greek New Testament is metaneo. The prefix meta means ‘change.’ The suffix noeo Is related to Greek words that mean mind, knowledge, spirit, and breath.

“Thus, when Jesus asks you and me to repent , he is inviting us to change our ‘mind’, our ‘knowledge’, our ‘spirit’–even the way we breathe.”


Moroni continues:

Know ye that ye must lay down your weapons of war, and delight no more in the shedding of blood, and take them not again, save it be that God shall acommand you.

Now, we may think that weapons of war our axes, swords and scimitars , but in fact all those attitudes we carry that divide us from others in enmity are our weapons, and we must also lay them down as part of our covenant responsibilities.


Know ye that ye must come to the aknowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and bbelieve in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the cvictory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up (Mormon 7)

So Moroni is telling them what they must know to be part of the covenant, but he also points out what they have forgotten–and this could not be more critical. They have forgotten who they are. They have forgotten their fathers, their identity, and their foundation.

This is why Moroni begins here: “Know ye that ye are of the ahouse of Israel.”

To lose yourself is to lose your destiny. Isn’t it ironic that life should have this affect upon us? We have become amnesiac and have forgotten who we are. Satan loves to help us forget.


As we came to earth, leaving our premortal home, there is no question that the privileges and responsibilities of having the covenant was key to our identity, but here we are distracted , caught up in the thick of thin things and we just forget. We think our career or our neighborhood or our social club is our identity . These are all passing things, but the covenant is with us forever.

President Nelson told us in this last conference, “The very name of Israel refers to a person who is willing to let God prevail in his or her life. That concept stirs my soul!

“The word willing is crucial to this interpretation of Israel. We all have our agency. We can choose to be of Israel or not . We can choose to let God prevail in our lives, or not we can choose to let God be the most powerful influence in our lives, or not.


He continued, “As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or “latter-day covenant Israel,” we have been charged to assist the Lord with this pivotal work.“ (Russell M. Nelson, “Let God Prevail”.

Don’t you love that term “latter day covenant Israel?” It seems to perfectly describe our identity as we are in a covenant with the Lord and have taken upon ourselves His name. We also know that our sacred responsibility before the Second Coming of the Savior is to gather Israel on both sides of the veil, and we are to use the very instrument that Moroni was protecting to do that– the Book of Mormon.

It is important to note that every book of scripture we have is centered on Jesus Christ and the covenant. We have the Old Testament and the New Testament, but another word for testament is covenant. They could be called the old covenant and the new covenant.


One writer said, “The covenant is a bond, an alliance, an agreement, a compact, a treaty, a pact, a contract. Its essential idea is union between God and man. God offers man partnership with himself. It is a union and partnership based on a binding legal contract. While the covenant is a fellowship between God and man, it is a fellowship with a legal basis.”

It is like testifying in court.


The Doctrine and Covenants is clearly about covenants and, as we have said today, the purpose of the Book of Mormon is to gather Israel to participate in the covenant


Now the last battle at Cumorah took place in AD 385 and the last book of Moroni is written in AD 421, which means Moroni was wandering for some 36 years. Undoubtedly, he was shown exactly the place he should bury the sacred record, so that some 1400 years later it would be proximate to the place Joseph Smith would live. He describes the times as “one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war”. The original purpose of the war seemed to be to decimate the Nephites, but now that they’re gone, it is Lamanites against Lamanites, and Lamanites against the robbers. What is so clearly demonstrated is that the final battle between the Nephites and Lamanites did not accomplish anything. The Lamanites saw their enemies, the Nephites, destroyed but the war goes on, futilely and uselessly. It seems to have become nothing but the bloodlust of a people without God.


Moroni, of course, was not carrying all the sacred records and artifacts of the Nephites with him during his journeys. This would have involved several wagonloads and been impossible.  He is, however, carrying some sacred things that you may not have known he had.

We have interesting artists conceptions of the box that Joseph Smith was led to on the west side of the Hill Cumorah not far from the top. Some show a very small, rectangular opening, just large enough for the gold plates to fit, but is that accurate? What was in the box? More to the point what is it the Moroni had put in the box and therefore had carried with him?  We know the answer to this because we know what the three witnesses were shown them by the Angel Moroni.


Let’s make a list:

1 The Gold Plates.

2 The Breastplate. This breastplate came from the Jaredites, which is something that you fasten onto your chest and hook in the back with some sort of straps It also has some kind of attachment, and what is that for?

3 Bows. What are these bows? They are attached to the breastplate, and apparently, they swing across to come together. What do they hold?

4 The Urim and Thummim.

5 The Liahona. They were sometimes referred to as the sacred directors.


Also in the box:

6 The Plates of Brass. They were in the box. Isn’t that exciting.

7 The Sword of Laban. Now, that kind of throws us off because we always see that box in artists’ conceptions (as mentioned above) where the plates fit perfectly in that little rectangular hole. No, there is the sword of Laban in there. So that’s a pretty good-sized box.

In fact, the early Brethren, including David Whitmer specifically, called it ‘a casket.’ “Three times [David Whitmer] has been at the Hill Cumorah and seen the casket that contained the tablets and seerstone. Eventually the casket has been washed down to the foot of the hill, but it was to be seen when he last visited the historic place.”


There’s more:

8 The rod of Aaron. We know very little about the rod of Aaron. But as I have studied this, it was a rod that came up and on the end of that rod you could place a seer stone, and it was another way of holding a stone so you could see the things of God (as far as I understand). All these things were shown to the Three Witnesses.

So we know that Moroni at least had these items with him but we know much less about where he went.

Dr. John L. Lund, in his book “Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon Is this the Place?” has collected some interesting accounts of brethren who heard Joseph Smith talk about the Saints’ trek to the Rocky Mountains and Moroni’s trek to upstate New York to bury the gold plates.


Dr. Lund wrote: “Two maps showing Moroni’s travels from Central America to Palmyra, New York were produced by two contemporaries of the prophet who said that their information came from Joseph Smith himself. Patriarch Wm. McBride and Brother Andrew M. Hamilton, both of whom settled in the Richfield, Utah area credited Joseph Smith with teaching them…that Moroni had dedicated several temple sites during his long journey.   Moroni carried with him what Joseph Smith referred to as the ‘other things’ which were found buried with the gold plates.”  


Dr. Lund said, “The temple sites credited to Moroni’s dedications are the St. George and Manti, Utah temples, plus Nauvoo, Independence and Kirtland, and, according to Patriarch McBride, ‘others we know not of yet.’  McBride wrote that Joseph ‘marked with his cane in the sand the track the Saints would take to the Rocky Mountains’ and also drew a map of Moroni’s travels.”  


H. Donl Peterson, professor emeritus of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University wrote:

At a conference held in Ephraim, Sanpete County, June 25th, 1875, nearly all the speakers expressed their feelings to have a temple built in Sanpete County, and gave their views as to what point and where to build it,..  At 4 p.m. that day President Brigham Young said: “The Temple should be build on Manti stone quarry.” Early on the morning of April 25, 1877, President Brigham Young asked Brother Warren S. Snow to go with him to the Temple hill. Brother Snow says: ‘We two were alone: President Young took me to the spot where the Temple was to stand; we went to the southeast corner, and President Young said: “Here is the spot where the prophet Moroni stood and dedicated this piece of land for a Temple site, and that is the reason why the location is made here, and we can’t move it from this spot; and if you and I are the only persons that come here at high noon today, we will dedicate this ground.’”

Now these original sources could be stronger and some dismiss them, but it is interesting that these records exist among us.


Moroni gives us a witness of who he is and the mission that he has been entrusted with. “I am the son of Mormon, and my father was a adescendant of Nephi. And I am the same who ahideth up this record unto the Lord” (Mormon 8:13) He wants there to be no question about the provenance of this book. If part of the covenant is to remember your fathers, Moroni is living that commandment. He is remembering his father, Mormon, by carrying out his command to protect the plates and bury them for a future generation. This is both devotion to his earthly father as well as his Heavenly Father.

Though the plates are of a precious metal Moroni also tells us “The plates thereof are of no worth, because of the commandment of the Lord. For he truly saith that no one shall have them bto get gain; but the record thereof is of cgreat worth; and whoso shall bring it to light, him will the Lord bless.”


As we know, Joseph Smith made five trips to the Hill Cumorah in order to obtain the plates, but was not successful until the last time. On his second visit on 22 September, 1824, he dislodged the stone lid and as he took up the plates, it crossed his mind that there might be something else of material worth in the box, so he laid the plates down to check. This seems quite natural in some ways because the Smiths were impoverished and had to work hard for their living. However, this was contrary to what he had been told. Joseph had been instructed in a former revelation, according to his mother’s account, “not to lay the plates down, or put them for a moment out of his hands, until he got into the house and deposited them in a chest or trunk, having a good lock and key.” But “contrary to this he had laid them down with the view of securing some fancied or imaginary treasure that remained.” Anything in this box, but particularly the plates, as we learn in Mormon 8 were not for gain. He was not able to obtain the plates that year.      


The record was of great worth, inestimable worth And the Lord would bless whoso should bring it to light

“For none can have power to bring it to light save it be given him of God; for God wills that it shall be done with an aeye single to his glory, or the welfare of the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord”(Mormon 8:15), Moroni tells us. “ It shall be bbrought out of darkness unto light…by the power of God (Mormon 8:16).

Do you think as Moroni buried those plates that he wondered what might become of them?


Of course not. This is what Moroni absolutely knew: 

22 For the eternal apurposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled (Mormon 8).

Those who had come before and kept this record had prayed in behalf of their brethren, and their faith was so mighty that ”in his name they could remove mountains and in his name could they cause the earth to shake, and by the power of his word did they cause prisons to tumble to the earth; yeah, even the fiery furnace could not harm them, comment either wild beast or poisonous serpents, because of the power of his word” (Mormon 8:24)


25 And behold, their aprayers were also in behalf of him that the Lord should suffer to bring these things forth.

26 And no one need say they shall not come, for they surely shall, for the Lord hath spoken it (Mormon 8:24)

God cannot be stopped in his course. He is all powerful and all knowledgeable and unchanging , and Moroni could know that his sacrifice and love in guarding these plates and burying them up for another day would not be in vain.


Don’t you love this immovable and firm foundation upon whom our universe is built? It is God that we can completely count on. If he says it will be, it will be. If he says it is true, it is true.

We learn in the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants:

38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my aword shall not pass away, but shall all be bfulfilled, whether by mine own cvoice or by the dvoice of my eservants, it is the fsame.


As mortals we live in a world that is unpredictable. Things change. Political administrations change. The philosophes of men cannot be counted on. What’s trending on social media today may be out of favor tomorrow. The popular idea of yesterday looks quaint a few years later. Yesterday’s high styles look ridiculous. Even our own bodies are not the same one day to the next.  How confusing it all is! Where can you stand on really solid ground?

We are blessed to know that in the heavens there are no administrative changes.  Commandments are not revised nor rewritten. God’s personality and presence is not erratic, fickle, or changeable.


Once, reading these verses, I was so overcome with gratitude that beyond this world that feels like a rollercoaster that sometimes plunges you into darkness, there stands our Lord who is an unshakable source of light and love.

I often pray in gratitude: thank thee for being there, unchanging and unchangeable. Thank thee that thy love is sure and that thy word cannot be moved from its course.  When I just thank him for being at the foundation of all things a steadying force , I have some of my sweetest prayers.


We are told in Mormon 9:

For do we not read that God is the asame byesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no cvariableness neither shadow of changing?

10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.

11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of amiracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same bGod who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.


15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do ano miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.

16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous aworks of God?

If God did miracles in the past, of course He does them today, otherwise he would be a changing God. If He parted the Red Sea in the past of course he could do it today. If He healed the lame and the sick and the blind yesterday, of course He can do it today . It all depends on our faithfulness.


If we have eyes to see, we will see those miracles in our own life.  They may look quiet and unobtrusive to those who cannot hear or see, but for faithful covenant keepers, Red Seas part and mountains move in our lives often. These may be mountains of discouragement or opposition . There may be problems that look too big to solve. They may be seas we cannot cross to find our own way home, but miracles happen and we are blessed when we can see them.


Here’s a small one from our lives. We were taking photographs for a book on the Book of Mormon and had to travel to the best candidate for Nephi’s Bountiful where he had built the ship in the country of Oman. Warren Aston had found this place on the Arabian Sea that met all the criteria that Nephi gives us in the Book of Mormon for where his ship was built. Warren had written a paper on it for an organization called FARMS, that included a small hand-drawn map of its location on the border of Oman and Yemen.  It was in a place only accessed by dirt roads and well off the beaten path. We were sure we would have a hard time finding it with only the rough map that we had.


Before we left Cairo , we had a special prayer that we would be able to get a map that would get us to this location. We knew, of course, that there would be no map that said Nephi’s Bountiful on it, But we needed a map that would show us the surroundings and give us some small sense of how to get to this obscure beach that had no direct roads in . So our prayers we’re very intent that we could find a map.

When we arrived in our hotel in Oman , we went to a car rental desk and asked for a map of the country. We were given a tourist map that showed only about five or six main roads in the country and also some hand drawn pictures of wildlife.


Of course, this map would not be helpful to get us to this most obscure spot down a series of dirt roads at the other end of the country.  We knew that we had prayed for a good map and this was not the answer, and so we asked again. ”Do you have any other more detailed map of the country?” Suddenly the man who was helping us seemed to get an idea, and he put his finger across his lips as if to be quiet, saying shhh. “I do have another map, but it is a secret military map and you cannot tell anyone you have it.”  He reached into a desk door and pulled out this map that was only of the region we needed to go to. The map spelled out the area where we were heading in great detail, including giving us the contours of the mountains that lead down to the sea.

It was an invaluable map, exactly what we needed to travel to Nephi’s Bountiful. It was a prayer answered.


Was that a miracle? No question. What are the chances that we would end up in a hotel that would have that map and that the man behind the desk would be so willing to give it to us? We see miracles as part of our lives as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our lives are full of them. 

Moroni knew that this sacred record that he hid up in the earth would come forth and he knew who the record was for. It was for us, a people living in a time when Satan would be raging on the earth. He says, “But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing (Mormon 8:35).


This book could not be more pointed and directed at us. It is about a people preparing for the coming of the Lord. It is about a people who are tempted by materialism and disbelief. It is about a people who are proud and don’t want to be taught. It is about the people who are blessed when they keep their covenants no matter how difficult the world is around them. It teaches us about the disagreements that lead to tribalism. It teaches us about standing up for freedom, family, and our God when they are threatened. Most of all it teaches us about the sacred mission of Jesus Christ and his atonement and our opportunity to awaken to our privileges.

When I have taught institute classes on the Book of Mormon, I have my students look at this Mormon chapter 8 right at the beginning. I want them to know how relevant every story and every teaching and every event is to this time now.  


Moroni has seen our day, and it is a day when it is said that miracles are done away. It is a day when secret combinations and the works of darkness in high places are powerful. It is a day when the power of God is denied, and, in fact, people have flown from him. It is a day when people and their institutions are lifted up in pride. It is a day of fires and tempests and vapors of smoke in foreign lands. It is a day of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes. It is a day of great pollutions upon the face of the earth and murders and deceptions and lusting for power . It is a day when people no longer believe that there is truth, so they say do this or do that and it matters not. (See Mormon 8) 

If we want to know how to negotiate all the challenges of our time, there is a simple and profound answer. Read the Book of Mormon. In its pages we will find what we need.


That’s all for today. This has been Scot and Maurine Proctor with Meridian Magazines Come Follow Me podcast. Next week we will be studying Ether chapters one through five called “Rend that Veil of Unbelief”. Special thanks to Paul Cardall, who supplied the music for this podcast and to Michaela Proctor Hutchins who is our producer. See you next time.