Sure, Mormon was the one who devoted untold years pouring over centuries of records. From this wealth of stories, genealogies, and doctrinal messages he compiled the Book of Mormon. But in the early chapters of his personal book, we see the makings of an incredible and diverse person.
When Mormon was 10 years old, the Prophet Ammaron told him that at some later time, Mormon should go the location where he had deposited all the sacred records of the Nephites nation. Think about this, Mormon was 10. By my current calculation, that puts Mormon in 5th grade.
But even at that early age, Ammaron could perceive Mormon was: “… a sober child, and [quick] to observe.” My guess is that God had to go through great lengths to convince Ammaron to trust this boy with these most sacred plates.
By age 11, Mormon’s family moved to Zarahemla. In the eyes of this young boy, this great city was teeming with people. Young Mormon was impressed by the grandeur of the buildings dotting Zarahemla’s skyline.
From this pithy account, I assume Mormon spent the first 10 years of his life in the country side making majestic buildings and high concentration of people foreign to this young and impressionable boy.
We don’t know why Mormon’s family moved from their country home to the city. The most likely reason was a war had just begun. Those out in the periphery were unprotected from Lamanite armies. So the sea of humanity Mormon witnessed was likely caused by a large influx of refugees – including Mormon and his family.
By 15, Mormon had his religious awakening. I am sure he and his family were already members of the church. So when he states: “… I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus” I feel he is talking about a personal vision of Christ.
At 10 he received a call from a prophet to care for the sacred records.
At 11, he was a refugee.
At 15, he was a prophet.
As a young prophet, he felt compelled to preach to the Nephites. But God soon told him to stop as the Nephites’ hearts were so hardened by this time.
But Mormon’s missionary zeal and devotion to God was never a disadvantage to him. In fact, by age 16, this young man was appointed the leader of the entire Nephites army.
Mormon’s meteoric rise from country boy to a military leader and prophet, though extremely rare, forces me to wonder of the great potential of our youth.
I am convinced that many of our children would excel when provided greater responsibilities. True, they won’t always succeed. Even Mormon experienced tragic failures. Perhaps if we worried less about failure and more about trying, we would discover the untapped strength of our children.