Crisis of Faith

crisis1I marvel at Moroni.

He was the last Nephite to survive the annihilation with his testimony intact. After witnessing the slaughter of his people, including his father, wife, and children, he was left to wander for years, maybe even decades.

Not just to wander, but to cart along with him and be responsible for his people’s most sacred treasure — the Gold Plates, Brass Plates, Sword of Laban, Liahona, and others.

While bereft of family, and friends, he did have one thing in abundance – time.

crisis2He had plenty of time.

At first, Moroni was unsure if time was on his side. He assumed his own capture and death were eminent. Once he got away from the borders of the warring Lamanites he knew that time would be his constant companion.

crisis3But the currents of loneliness and uncertainty create a confluence of despair.

I get the sense that Moroni reached the nadir of despair towards the end of the Jaredite record. Their tale of total annihilation opened still raw and deep wounds in Moroni. The similarities were obvious.

Here was a once great and richly blessed people who threw it all away for pride, selfishness, and greed.

As a result, in Ether 12 we see Moroni having what I consider to be of his crisis of faith.

This chapter starts with Moroni introducing us to the prophet Ether. Again, the similarities are palpable.

Like Moroni, Ether’s prophetic reign was one of utter futility.

Like Moroni, Ether was the last to survive his people’s annihilation still clinging to testimony.

Like Moroni, Ether wrote the final words of his fallen people.

In the middle of Chapter 12, Moroni writes one of the greatest discourse on faith in all of holy writ. He beings his lecture on faith with this familiar passage:

I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

Trial of your faith – that was something Moroni understood.

Yet right after his classic treaties on faith, we see the depths of Moroni’s own faith crisis. After years of wandering and pondering, those familiar feelings of futility once again overwhelm our lonely prophet. He begins to doubt if is lifelong effort has any true and lasting value.

In his anguish, he cries out:

… Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing…

You can almost feel Moroni’s pain.

Was it all worth it?

Everything he touched seemed to fail.

crisis4But a merciful God tenderly reached out to his beloved prophet saying:

Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness…

I continue to find comfort in the raw emotions of the Book of Mormon prophets.

They struggled with the same concepts with which we struggle.

They triumphed just as you and I will.

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