Although Mormon grew up in a time of great wickedness, he chose to be faithful. Because of his faithfulness, he was called to care for the records of the Nephites. When he was 15 years old, Mormon was “visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus” (Mormon 1:15). In the same year, the Nephites appointed him to lead their armies (see Mormon 2:1). He desired to help the Nephites repent, but because of their willful rebellion, he was forbidden by the Lord to preach to them. The Nephites lost the gift of the Holy Ghost and other gifts of God and were left to their own strength as they battled the Lamanites.
What are some words you would like people to use when they describe you?
Have you ever been described as a Mormon? What does it mean to you to have someone describe you as a Mormon?
President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke about the nickname Mormon, which some people use when referring to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
“While I sometimes regret that people do not call this church by its proper name, I am happy that the nickname they use is one of great honor made so by a remarkable man and a book which gives an unmatched testimony concerning the Redeemer of the world.
“Anyone who comes to know the man Mormon, through the reading and pondering of his words, anyone who reads this precious trove of history which was assembled and preserved in large measure by him, will come to know that Mormon is not a word of disrepute, but that it represents the greatest good—that good which is of God” (“Mormon Should Mean ‘More Good,’” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 52–53).
Mormon, the prophet, was born in a time when almost everyone in the land was living in wickedness. At this time a prophet named Ammaron was commanded to hide up all of the sacred records (see 4 Nephi 1:47–49). Ammaron visited the then 10-year-old boy Mormon and gave him instructions concerning his future responsibility with the records. Read Mormon 1:2, and look for words or phrases Ammaron used to describe young Mormon.
One word Ammaron used to describe Mormon was sober. The word sober means serious, solemn, righteous, or godly. You may want to write this definition in the margin of your scriptures. What topics or situations in life do you think you should be sober about? It is important to understand that sober people can have fun and laugh, but they understand when it is appropriate to be lighthearted and when it is appropriate to be more serious.
Ammaron also described Mormon as being “quick to observe” (Mormon 1:2). What do you think it means to be quick to observe? Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that the word observe is used in the scriptures in two ways:
“[A] seemingly simple and perhaps underappreciated spiritual gift—the capacity of being ‘quick to observe’ (Mormon 1:2)—is vitally important for you and for me in the world in which we do now and will yet live. …
“Please consider the significance of this important spiritual gift. As used in the scriptures, the word observe has two primary uses. One use denotes ‘to look’ or ‘to see’ or ‘to notice’—as we learn in Isaiah 42:20. …
“The second use of the word observe suggests ‘to obey’ or ‘to keep’—as is evident in [Doctrine and Covenants 54:6]. …
“Thus when we are quick to observe, we promptly look or notice and obey. Both of these fundamental elements—looking and obeying—are essential to being quick to observe. And the prophet Mormon is an impressive example of this gift in action” (“Quick to Observe,” Ensign, Dec. 2006, 31–32).
In your scripture study journal, write your thoughts about how this character trait of being quick to observe could help you in your everyday life.
Read Mormon 1:3–5, and identify Ammaron’s instructions to Mormon. How might Mormon’s character traits of being sober and quick to observe help him with these responsibilities?
Have you ever lost something very valuable? While still in his youth, Mormon witnessed a number of battles between the Nephites and the Lamanites and the spread of great wickedness upon the land (see Mormon 1:6–13). Because the wickedness of the Nephites became so great, Mormon recorded that they lost many precious gifts from the Lord.
Make two columns in your scripture study journal. Title the first column “Gifts the Nephites Lost.” Read Mormon 1:13–14, 18, and look for what gifts the Lord took from the Nephites. Write your findings in the first column. Title the second column “Why the Lord Took His Gifts Away.” Read Mormon 1:14, 16–17, 19, and look for reasons why the Lord took His gifts from the Nephites. Write your findings in the second column.
From these verses we can learn that wickedness and unbelief drive away gifts of the Lord and the influence of the Holy Ghost. Even though the Nephites’ rebellion was extreme, this principle also applies to us individually when we disobey any of God’s commandments.
If you had lived in Mormon’s time, which of the gifts of God mentioned in Mormon 1:13–14, 18 would you most regret losing?
Read Mormon 1:15, and look for what Mormon was experiencing while the rest of the Nephites were losing the gift of the Holy Ghost and other gifts of God. How do you think Mormon was able to have spiritual experiences even though he was in the midst of great wickedness?
Consider the following scenario: A 30-year-old man lives at home with his parents and chooses not to look for work. Instead, he lives off of his parents’ labors and wastes his time in unproductive activities such as spending most of his time playing video games. Contrast this scenario with the description of the boy Mormon as you study Mormon 2.
Read Mormon 2:1–2, and look for what responsibility Mormon was given and how old he was when he received it.
Not long after Mormon’s appointment as leader of the Nephite armies, the Lamanite army came upon the Nephites with such force that the Nephites were frightened and retreated. The Lamanites drove them from city to city until the Nephites gathered in one place. Eventually, Mormon’s army withstood the Lamanites and caused them to flee (see Mormon 2:3–9).
Read Mormon 2:10–15, and look for the spiritual condition of the Nephites after these battles. Then answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why were the Nephites sorrowing?
According to Mormon 2:14, how did Mormon know that their sorrow was not an indication of true repentance?
What differences can you see in Mormon 2:13–14 between those who sorrowed unto repentance and those whose sorrow led to damnation (being stopped in their progression)?
These verses teach that if our sorrow for sin is unto repentance, it will lead us to come unto Christ with a humble heart. They also illustrate the principle that sorrow only for the consequences of sin leads to damnation (or being stopped in our progress toward eternal life).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How might someone who has sinned show worldly sorrow—the kind of sorrow that leads to damnation?
How might someone who has sinned manifest the kind of sorrow that leads to repentance?
Ponder how you respond when you realize you have made mistakes or sinned. If you come unto the Savior with a humble heart and repent, you can experience peace and be reconciled to God.
As battles with the Lamanites continued, Mormon found himself near the hill where Ammaron had hidden the Nephite records. He removed the plates of Nephi and began to record what he had observed among the people since the time he was a child (see Mormon 2:16–18). Read Mormon 2:18–19, and mark some of the phrases that describe the spiritual conditions that Mormon grew up with.
From what you have learned about Mormon, why do you think he was confident that he would be “lifted up at the last day”? (Mormon 2:19). (In this context, “lifted up at the last day” means to be exalted—resurrected with a celestial body and brought into the presence of God to remain with Him forever.)
Mormon’s life is a testimony that we can choose to live righteously even in a wicked society.
Consider the following counsel: “You are responsible for the choices you make. God is mindful of you and will help you make good choices, even if your family and friends use their agency in ways that are not right. Have the moral courage to stand firm in obeying God’s will, even if you have to stand alone. As you do this, you set an example for others to follow” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 2).
In your scripture study journal, write about a time when you saw a friend or family member stand firm in obeying God’s will even when others were not. Also write your thoughts about how that person’s example and Mormon’s example are helpful to you.
The Young Women motto is “Stand for Truth and Righteousness.” Whether you are a young woman or a young man, think of a specific area of your life in which you can be more determined to stand for what is right. The Lord will help you as you strive to stand for what is right even when others around you might not.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Mormon 1–2 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: