The Pain of the Inevitable

hopelessMormon knew how things would end.

He was fully aware the Nephites would be destroyed. His was a hopeless situation. But he persisted. This is one of the great miracles of the Book of Mormon.

Mormon faithfully executed his military responsibilities, though the odds were never in his favor. Because he was able to eke out victories and stalemates where lesser leaders would have fled, his grit and determination gave his soldiers and the people hope.

But Mormon was human. At one point, after a miraculous victory, Mormon’s own troops reveled in their hard-won fight by boasting in their own strength failing to give God, who gave them this ray of hope, His due.

That was too much for Mormon. His troops knew better. They knew how important religion was to their leader. Mormon saw this as a personal slap in his face.

recordsSo, Mormon retreated. He resigned his military commission and planned to devote the rest of his days to his more important work – abridging the sacred records.

Mormon knew how things would end.

But, as the years past and the endless wars against the Lamanites persisted, the Nephites once again lost hope.

Their victories waned.

Their losses mounted.

They thought back to their glory day, such as they were, when Mormon was their leader. They apologized to him for their disrespect. They begged Mormon to recant and lead them to victory.

I am sure Mormon struggled with this decision. Yes, he loved his people and it hurt him deeply to witness their destruction. But it seemed so pointless to assume that even he could delay the inevitable.

Mormon knew how things would end.

Yet his sense of patriotism and his sincere love for his people got the better of him. He consented to their demands. He took up his commission.

At first, there were some stunning victories. The soldiers seemed humbled, even grateful. Mormon had hope. But all too soon, their fortunes shifted. Defeats replaced victories and the Nephites plunged headlong towards their tragic demise.

Mormon knew how things would end.

I can see, in my mind’s eye, the tired, wounded, and defeated Mormon laying on a hillside overlooking his last battlefield. I can hear him lamenting the destruction of this once great nation to his son Moroni:

lastbattleO 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!

 Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss.

 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!

 But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return.

Yes, Mormon knew how things would end.

But even an anticipated tragedy is still a tragedy.

A pain prepared for still hurts.

What a tragedy.

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