Never Without Charity
The events documented in Mormon 1-6 may be the most bleak and tragic in the entire Book of Mormon. Within six short chapters we witness the final fall and destruction of the Nephite people. Although Mormon did not record the “full account of all the wickedness and abominations” (Mormon 2:18), the events he documented are more than sufficient to move us with a portion of the sadness that caused his “soul [to be] rent with anguish” (Mormon 6:16). Hundreds of years before Mormon, Nephi saw the destruction of his people in vision. So great was Nephi’s sorrow that it caused him to write:
O the pain, and the anguish of my soul for the loss of the slain of my people! For I, Nephi, have seen it, and it well nigh consumeth me before the presence of the Lord.2 Nephi 26:7
As the one living through this harrowing time, it is little wonder that Mormon felt profound despair. The glimpse of himself that he shares with us shows his Christlike discipleship as an island amidst a sea of death and wickedness. When Mormon tries to turn his fellow Nephites toward Christ – only to face hard hearts and willful rebellion – he realizes his efforts are in vain and concludes “it was without faith” (Mormon 3:12). Then, after again taking up leadership of his people, Mormon faces even greater heartache and declares “I was without hope” (Mormon 5:2).
Seeing Mormon describe his situation as without faith and hope may call to mind the teachings of Paul: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three” (1 Corinthians 13:13). But do we see Mormon without charity? No! The pure love of Christ is clearly shown in each of Mormon’s interactions with his people. Later, we read Mormon’s words to his son Moroni regarding charity:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.Moroni 7:46-47
As you study this week, find instances where Mormon exercises the pure love of Christ. Use the following table as a start for your own personal study:
When you feel a lack of faith and hope, how can you exercise the pure love of Christ?
With Open Arms to Receive You
While there will be many opportunities for each of us to minister to others with the pure love of Christ, there will also be moments when we need to experience it for ourselves. As the Nephites gathered for what would be their final battle, Mormon watches and cries:
O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus who stood with open arms to receive you?
O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen?Mormon 6:17, 19
Even as Mormon watched the destruction of his people, he testified of the eternal love of the Savior. Again, Mormon’s reaction is mirrored across centuries. After Nephi foresaw the destruction of his people, he recorded an identical message:
For he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.2 Nephi 26:33
If you feel you are fighting what appears to be your own final battle, remember the words of Nephi and Mormon: He stands with open arms to receive you.
Come unto Jesus, ye heavy laden,
Careworn and fainting, by sin oppressed.
He’ll safely guide you unto that haven
Where all who trust him may rest.
Come unto Jesus; He’ll ever heed you,
Though in the darkness you’ve gone astray.
His love will find you and gently lead you
From darkest night into day.
Come unto Jesus; He’ll surely hear you,
If you in meekness plead for his love.
Oh, know you not that angels are near you
From brightest mansions above?
Come unto Jesus from ev’ry nation,Come unto Jesus, Hymn 117
From ev’ry land and isle of the sea.
Unto the high and lowly in station,
Ever he calls, “Come to me.”