What is an Elizabeth? A Michael? What about a Mary or Collin? Are names important? Why do we place such a value in naming things? People are peculiar in having to name every little thing they encounter from the newly discovered comet to the bone that belongs to an unknown dinosaur to the smallest germ! But what would happen if we called the Statue of Liberty "Giant Green Greek Girl"? Or Paris's Eiffel Tower "The French Pylon Thing"?
Meet Mormon. An extraordinary military general who lived in the American Continent about 311 to 385 A.D. He was a sharp-witted young boy who was greatly trusted from the age of 10. He was later given command of his people's armies at the age of 15--yes, 15! A teenager. Can you believe it? He was buff and smart and wise.
He also recorded his people's history the goings on of the wars and travails as well as revelations and faith of his kin. He led them until he couldn't anymore. He witnessed their mass destruction. Imagine watching your country destroy itself until there is no one left? He bemoaned their state and shared the inspirations of his heart. His faith in God is amazing! What a precious script to read--an actual history of an ancient people who occupied this land so very long ago. He wasn't the only person entrusted with the sacred mission--there were those before and after him.
So, how did these people end up on this side of the world during that era?
Do you remember when the Assyrians invaded Israel and reeked destruction in 722 BC? They also carried many people away into captivity. There were a few groups of people who pleaded for protection and whom the Lord led out of the country before destruction fell. A small family trekked across the deserts and sailed the seas, landing in the Americas. They made that their home and grew and grew until they destroyed their great civilization to what the early settlers knew as the natives. Also, one of King Zedekiah's sons (Mulek) had fled with an entourage and settled in the Americas. Yes, the two groups of people eventually met up (323-130 BC) and it was a happy union!
So, if Mormon is this guy who is the descendant of a group who escaped the clutches of the Assyrians, then what?
Well, let's go back to Moroni, Mormon's son. He is the last writer in the sacred writings of his people (passed down from the first family who fled the destruction of Israel). They had used hammered plates of gold, not scrolls as did the writers in the Old World. So Moroni, as the battle continued on and threatened to find him, had finished his work and hid these precious writings in a hill far north in North America: Manchester, New York near Palmyra to be exact. That brings us to the next question...
How in the world was that discovered?
Well, during that time in 1819, the Second Great Awakening was in full swing and the curiosity of a young boy named Joseph Smith had him wondering why the surrounding religions contended so fiercely against each other. His thought was along these lines, "Isn't God's word God's word? Why are they all fighting against each other? Which is right?" Feeling troubled and after finding a verse in the Holy Bible that struck a chord (James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.), he marched into the neighboring forest and decided to pray and see if he could find out for himself. His prayer was indeed answered. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and declared for him to "join none of them for they are all wrong."
Three years later, Moroni--yes, the last writer of those ancient writings, visited Joseph and shared with him the writings that Moroni had hidden. It was Joseph's duty to bring them out into the light and under the Lord's direction, translate them into what we know today as the Book of Mormon.
Let me introduce you to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. Living by the church's standards has helped me become a better person throughout my life and I am grateful for Mormon, his son, for the many people who kept records throughout time both in the New and Old World. I am also grateful for the little boy Joseph Smith who had the courage to honor God's will.
Though I have been born into this Church, I've found my way through and prayed of its truth. If you read the entire Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ (a scriptural companion to the Holy Bible), you are invited to pray and ask if it is true. Why not find out for yourself?
So there you have it: What is a Mormon? No, who was Mormon? Mormon is a prophet of old who lived on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean who simply kept record of his people and their faith.
Thoughts welcome--please be kind. :)
Thanks for dropping by!