We are coming to the close of this glorious book. These last few books are some of the saddest in human history, comparable only to the Flood and yet also have some wonderful doctrine and principles. Here we see the end of two separate nations who lived in overlapping times, though shared the same continent and knew nothing of each other. My heart aches for these people. The last few times I have read the Book of Mormon, when I start getting to the end, it always makes me sad. I wonder how they could be so stupid as to kill themselves off like this.
However, I realize that at least half of the latter nation did survive, but without any faith in God or correct knowledge of what really happened over the 600 years when a small family arrived from Jerusalem. This finishes up the record we have of people of Lehi. We also had the Mulekites intermingled with the Nephites, a people who were also brought over from Jerusalem 11 years after Lehi. They brought nor kept any record and were found by the Nephites who were in escape from the Lamanites sometime around 200 bc.
In this second the the last book in the Boo of Mormon, Ether, we learn of another family and friends who are guided over to this promised land and through time also kill themselves off, only this time, one remains. Just one, who then eventually finds the Mulekite people, and then dies 9 months later.
Thus we find in this record the history of 3 different groups of families who were brought over by the hand of the Lord to this chosen and special land. At some points in their history, there were millions. Combined histories, perhaps tens of millions throughout the hundreds of years they were here, and only hundreds of thousands survived, if that. Such a waste! Satan was laughing and loving seeing his handy work. All those souls brought to a point where redemption wasn’t possible anymore because of the hardness of their hearts.
So astonishingly sorrowful.
Ether, was a prophet though. And prophets will teach and prophesy. Moroni was the last of his people, the Nephites. Ether was the last of his people, the Jaredites. Moroni inserts the translated record of Ether into the final plates. I’m sure he found comfort in Ether’s teachings as they both were the same: prophets, last of their kind, unsure when the end of their lives would be as both were hunted by their enemies and the last to witness the end of a nation. They had one more common bond, something that all of us have or could have a bond with as well.
Inspired by Ether’s teachings, Moroni builds on the overall theme of this record, which is Faith and Hope.
“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith , maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:4) “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.” (Ether 12:6)
Moroni had faith. Ether had faith. All of the prophets who every lived has had faith. Everyone who has ever lived and who currently live who believe in Jesus Christ has or had faith. It is faith that makes this world livable and bearable. Faith and hope. That’s how we are able to read and learn about the horrors of this world and not be overcome with sorrow. Faith and hope.
President Henry B Eyring, of the First Presidency has said, “If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest of times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right through the guidance of the spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. We never need feel unloved or alone in the Lord’s service, because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and right to bear us up, and He always keeps His word. His love is unfailing.”
I testify to you that I have become a better, more righteous person through reading the Book of Mormon. I know that this book is the true word of God because I have prayed about it and by the feelings I get when I read it. Truly, as our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith has said, ” a man would get nearer to God by abiding its precepts than by any other book.” (Book of Mormon Introduction) I can testify of this. I have gotten nearer to our God from reading this book and abiding its precepts than any other. How and why? Because it is plain and easy to understand. Because I allow the Holy Spirit to work in me and give me the guidance that we all need.
I have faith. Not sufficient to move mountains, but faith enough to know that I owe everything to my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. I am blessed to have the fullness of the Gospel in my life and to have the opportunity to live with my Father in Heaven and Savior again.
But what about you? And what about the guy we pass in the grocery store? What about everyone else? That’s our job. It is our responsibility to give them the chance to know too so that they can have the choice to accept this redemptive message.
These things I leave, in the name of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Amen.