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Mormon: Leading the Sorrowing Damned

Leaders of integrity or infamy found in The Book of Mormon provide the fodder for spiritual growth and self-improvement. It was made for us.

Mormon lived during the Fourth Century AD--presumably on the North American continent. He was a prophet of God, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, a historian, and a general. As a prophet and historian, his message was meant for a latter-day. Unfortunately for him, his day was apocalyptic in nature. Debauchery surrounded Mormon on every side it appears as he mentions in his record. In this article, the role he took as a military leader in a crumbling society receives attention.


Mormon, instructed by the Lord to withhold teaching the gospel to the people and confronted with those, who rebuffed him for saying anything about faith, mentions later in the record that when he attempted to speak to his brethren about the gospel, they would tremble in anger. The people turned away from God in full knowledge and would not receive instruction. Mormon did the best he could under the circumstances.

"I did remain among them, but I was forbidden to preach unto them," he lamented, "because of the hardness of their hearts; and because of the hardness of their hearts the land was cursed for their sake." Mormon 1:15-17

Mormon's faith isolated him from his compatriots. He stood alone as a prophet in a dying nation, the Nephites, against an enemy who purposely taught their children not to believe in Christ, the Lamanites. No matter where he would go, his lot would be to exist apart from society spiritually (outside of his family).

In the Military

Mormon admitted that he was a large and powerful teenage man at 15 years of age. His government sought him to lead them to war against the Lamanites. Though Mormon did not mention much about himself and his credentials, it is evident from the level of trust given him at such a tender age that he was a remarkable young man--to garner the faith of men much older than he to lead them into battles.

Young Mormon


It is safe to assume that Mormon proved his worth in battle opportunities prior to being asked to lead all the armies as a general at 15 years of age.

A scripture in Isaiah speaks about a prophecy where the people would rise up and ask a person to lead them because that person has clothing--desperate for any leader.

Where it differs is that Mormon was able to lead the armies. Mormon's ability to rally men of differing faiths and spiritual levels to fight for the good of their dwindling nation gave him great perspective in compiling the record, which became The Book of Mormon.

Wars and The Sorrowing of the Damned

Mormon had witnessed the Lamanites go to battle against the Nephites prior to leading the armies of the Nephites. His nation had beaten the Lamanites away previously to the point that their enemies did not meet them for battle for four years.

Earlier in the record, Mormon abridged history that spoke of Captain Moroni who successfully fought off Lamanite aggression in his day by teaching the word of God to his soldiers and keeping a strict command of his armies in addition to training. He also consulted prophets before engaging the enemy.

Mormon wanted to do this same thing, but the difference was the hearts of the people. They had known prosperity for so long that there was no connection to the suffering of their ancestors.

The Lord Delivering Nephite Ancestors to the Promised Land

The Lord Delivering Nephite Ancestors to the Promised Land

They could not remember the things the Lord had done for them because of apathy. Mormon later had a son whom he named Moroni--probably as a symbol for what he hoped could occur with his people--a repeat of Captain Moroni's chapter in history. It was not to be so.

In 326 A.D., Mormon led an army of Nephites to war against a more substantial Lamanite army. So vast was this army it frightened the soldiers of Mormon. Mormon's armies retreated often. The nation was teetering the brink of destruction, and general disorder and mayhem filled the land. Criminal activity went unchecked, and the people lamented.

This lamentation actually brought hope to Mormon to see the people grieving their plight. King Aaron of the Lamanites had struck fear in the hearts of the Nephites with his numerous armies bent on destroying Nephite society.

Mormon wrote,

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...when I, Mormon, saw their lamentation and their mourning and their sorrow before the Lord, my heart did begin to rejoice within me, knowing the mercies and the long-suffering of the Lord, therefore supposing that he would be merciful unto them that they would again become a righteous people. Mormon 2:12

To his utter heartbreak, he found that the people only lamented because they could not live their lives in sin and still receive the protection of heaven. Mormon said, "It was rather the sorrowing of the damned because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin." Mormon 2:13

Diffusion of the Seed of Lehi

In 345 A.D., the Nephites were repulsed by the Lamanites to the city of Jashon, which was near the place where Ammaron deposited the records of the Nephites. Mormon, being the correct age, retrieved the plates to record the dealings of the Nephites as Ammaron instructed.

In his dual role as a historian and general, he had a unique opportunity to view his people from a military standpoint. As a prophet, he also was able to see why the things that occurred did occur within a society.

He wrote.

...I did speak unto my people, and did urge them with great energy, that they would stand boldly before the Lamanites and fight for their wives, and their children, and their houses, and their homes. And my words did arouse them somewhat to vigor, insomuch that they did not flee from before the Lamanites, but did stand with boldness against them. Mormon 2:23-24

With the urging of Mormon, the Nephite nation fought for truth and freedom. They fought for the liberty of their families against the Lamanites and an entire culture of robbers who had taken up the old oaths of Gadianton--similar to the organized crime in present-day America and other modern nations.

After successive battles, the Nephites won ground. Mormon reveals that his people entered into a treaty with the Lamanites and the Gadianton robbers in 349 A. D. where they obtained the lands of their inheritance to the north of the famed narrow neck of land.

Within that treaty, the lands to the south belonged to the Lamanites and robbers. Mormon does not explicitly mention that the Gadianton robbers claimed any land. The bandits may have made some sort of deal with the Lamanites.

The Gadianton robbers appeared to have hated the Lamanites and Nephites equally but sided with the Lamanites because of social differences with the Nephites. The fact that the Lamanites and robbers both spawned from the society that they then referred to as Nephites may have something to do with the temporary truce between them.

Changing of the Guard

Mormon's son, Moroni eventually takes the records to record the remainder of the events of the Nephites. He reveals that after the destruction of the Nephites as a nation that the Lamanites began a great war among themselves. There is no trace of the Nephite or Lamanite societies following the record of the Book of Mormon.

A popular assumption is that after generations of war the people from these two civilizations submerged into other groups that migrated to the Americas and ceased to be a separate people.

Some experts and faithful suggest that the Maya, Aztecs, Inca, and Hopewell people are related if not directly associated with the Nephite and Lamanite societies. Evidence supports that possibility because Mormon recorded the Lamanites purposely taught their children a different Heritage than that of the Nephites.


Mormon: Captain and Leader of Integrity and Honor. The narrow path that Mormon walked could not include the swearing upon sacred things. He retired his general’s regalia at the Narrow Neck of Land. It was a symbolic statement.\

Mormon: Among the Spiritually Dead. In the failing moral environment, Mormon receives exception from God. Mormon describes how he received visitations of the spirit and acknowledgement of heaven to sooth him in his jaded culture. This is part one of Leading the Spiritually Dead.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Rodric Anthony Johnson

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