Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ammaron and Mormon

Here's something that I wrote almost a year ago that has been gathering dust on my hard drive.

Towards the end of the Book of Mormon, the righteous civilization and way of life was deteriorating. The Nephite record was approaching a thousand years of history, and with it a thousand years of promises that it would go to future generations. Ammoron hid the plates as constrained by the spirit, as civilization became more decadent. Then he went to Mormon, and instructed him to take care of the plates when he turned 24, when Mormon was only ten years old. This was an incredible act of faith. Entrusting the future of such a record, with such promises about it in the hands of a ten year old kid who had little if any support around him is amazing. Telling a ten year old that in fourteen years he would have such a responsibility, including the necessity of learning a new script and the art of engraving, is mind boggling to me. Plus he had to keep track of everything going on around him in order to write the history of the people.
Everyone discusses how amazing it was that Joseph Smith had such great responsibility fall on him at such a young age. But Mormon was younger when he received his initial call, and in my mind had a more difficult task. He saw Christ at fifteen, comparable to Joseph, yet they had completely opposite callings. Joseph was to build up Zion, Mormon was to watch it vanish. Joseph was to bring the Book of Mormon to light, Mormon to watch it go into darkness. Joseph led the saints to (temporary) safety and watched over an ever increasing flock, Mormon led his people to death and watched them curse God and die. Joseph died with thousands of saints that supported him, Mormon died after watching the deaths hundreds of thousands.
When discussing Mormon, I think we need to realize how great he truly was. Being designated as the compiler of the Book of Mormon at ten, he lived in a wicked, hateful, and downfallen society, yet never lost faith. That is an amazing man.


Nick said...

Mormon is definitely on the list of people I want to meet.

One thing I'm always reminded of when I read the Book of Mormon is that nearly the whole text is written BY him. All the events he wrote about were first read by him, then interpreted and picked apart for what he thought was most important for us, then written down with his own words. Knowing that makes the all the many many war chapters make a little more sense. War was all he knew, and even though he probably abhorred it, like any general he was probably fascinated by the strategy, which is why we see so much of it. It probably contributed to his choice of name for his son, an equally amazing character as Mormon.

I had never really thought about Ammaron before- its true, it must have required amazing faith just to hand over a thousand years of sacred history to a ten year old boy when the whole world was going to pot around him.

Jared said...

My mission president gave me some additional insight into Mormon and the importance and gravity of the work he was assigned.

President Ferguson pointed out that the Council of Nicaea convened in AD 325. This is one of the official markers of the loss of many plain and precious truths of the gospel. Meanwhile, within 20 years of the convening of this council, Mormon returned to the hill where Ammaron had deposited the plates and began to make his abridgement.

Interesting that while on one side of the world men were working to further the apostasy, on the other side of the world one man was doing a work that would provide the keystone for the restoration. I keep learning over and over that God really knows what he's doing.

Jenny said...

I really liked this Warren--I have a penchant for looking at the similarities and differences in the lives of prophets, apostles, disciples, etc.

Something that struck me as I was reading over this again was how both Mormon and Joseph's lives testify of Christ and His ministry. It's kind of like they represent (broadly) two reactions to the gospel: Joseph=acceptance and growth (not that he obviously didn't encounter a lot of rejection, but as you noted, the general trend was up) and Mormon=rejection and death. The Gospels show us these two choices over and over again. Christ gathers followers, disciples choose living water, and the church begins to be built. At the same time, those who should have been most prepared to recognize Him reject Him and are ultimately the cause of His death.

Not to be overly simplistic, but Mormon and Joseph, probably two of the most well-known figures (or at least names) in the church today, seem to serve as a kind of symbol for us: in the end, we can either accept or reject their message (or perhaps more to the point, the Book of Mormon).