As you study the book of Mormon, you will learn valuable lessons from Mormon, who lived faithfully as a disciple of Jesus Christ even though he was surrounded throughout his life by “a continual scene of wickedness and abominations” (Mormon 2:18). You will also benefit from studying the words of Moroni, Mormon’s son, who testified to latter-day readers, “Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormon 8:35). By studying these writings you can learn the importance of choosing to live according to the commandments and covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mormon wrote the first seven chapters of this book as a brief account of the wickedness and wars among the Nephites and Lamanites in his day. He also made “a full account” of events from his lifetime upon the large plates of Nephi. (See Mormon 2:18; 5:9.) When Mormon was “about ten years of age,” the record keeper Ammaron informed him that eventually he would have the responsibility to record “all the things that [he] observed concerning this people” (Mormon 1:2, 4). At about age 24, he gained custody of the plates of Nephi and made “a record according to the words of Ammaron” (Mormon 2:17). Later, Mormon began abridging the large plates of Nephi, which included writings from prophets and record keepers from Lehi through Ammaron. Near the end of his life, Mormon “hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to [him] by the hand of the Lord,” except for a few plates that he gave to his son Moroni (Mormon 6:6). He then led the Nephites in their last great battle against the Lamanites. Before Mormon died, he directed Moroni to complete his record. Moroni added the writings comprising chapters 8–9 of this book.
Mormon likely wrote Mormon 1–7 between A.D. 345 and A.D. 401 (see Mormon 2:15–17; 8:5–6). He finished his writings after the final great battle between the Nephites and the Lamanites at Cumorah (see Mormon 6:10–11). Moroni probably wrote Mormon 8–9 between the years A.D. 401 and A.D. 421 as he wandered for the safety of his life (see Mormon 8:4–6; Moroni 1:1–3).