Mormon Chapter 8
Mormon 8-9 Moroni's warning to the people of this final dispensation.
Mormon's son Moroni has now taken possession of the plates of Mormon. He will "finish" the record of his father (Mormon 8-9). He will then engrave onto the plates of Mormon his abridgment or translation of the record of the Jaredites (the book of Ether), his own writings (the book of Moroni), and he will conclude by engraving the title page of the Book of Mormon directly onto final page of the plates of Mormon.
Moroni was probably born close to AD 350. Other than his father Mormon, we know nothing about any other family members. We don't know his mother's name or whether he had siblings or whether or not he was married. As mentioned elsewhere, Mormon probably named his son after Captain Moroni whom Mormon admired immensely.
1 Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon. Behold, I have but few things to write, which things I have been commanded by my father.
2 And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed.
3 And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not.
verses 1-3 The reader may read between the lines of these verses and sense the respect and admiration which Moroni had for his father.
4 Therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not.
5 Behold, my father hath made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not.
verse 5 Moroni's comments imply that the plates of Mormon are almost full. He will write the "few things" which "have been commanded by [his] father," which is apparently only this brief farewell in verses 1-5. But he does not have room on the plates to also write "the sad tale of the destruction of [his] people," which he refers to in this verse as "it."
verses 6-13 After his farewell in verse 5, Moroni likely did not intend to write further. However, he now returns, likely surprised that he is still alive, to the record some fifteen years following his farewell in verse 5. He will now add eight verses and then bid farewell yet again. The succinctness of his farewell again implies that the plates of Mormon are full.
Moroni will yet survive at least another twenty-one years (Moroni 10:1).
6 Behold, four hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Savior.
7 And behold, the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites.
verse 7 It would appear that the Lamanites effected a near extinction of the "Nephite" people. This verse suggests that those who did not fight in the great final battle, including the men, women, children of the Nephites were systematically slaughtered.
"yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites" The word marvelous usually places a positive spin on the events it modifies. Here, however, the word means astonishing, unusual, out of the ordinary.
8 And behold, it is the hand of the Lord which hath done it. And behold also, the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war.
9 And now, behold, I say no more concerning them, for there are none save it be the Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land.
10 And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.
11 But behold, my father and I have seen them, and they have ministered unto us.
12 And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.
verse 12 "the same shall know of greater things than these" Again a promise to those who receive and believe in the Book of Mormon-they will one day receive more revelations than are contained in the present-day Book of Mormon, including even more of the Savior's teachings during his visit to the temple in Bountiful (3 Nephi 26:9).
"were it possible, I would make all things known unto you" As Moroni translated the Jaredite record, he included the vision of the brother of Jared in which Jared's brother saw all things from beginning to end. Moroni likely intended that we have his account of that vision, and he entered it onto the plates of Mormon. But he was then later constrained by the Lord to seal up that portion of the plates of Mormon so that they would not be available for Joseph Smith to translate. That portion of the revealed record will also one day be made available to the scripturally diligent.
13 Behold, I make an end of speaking concerning this people. I am the son of Mormon, and my father was a descendant of Nephi.
verses 12-13 This is Moroni's second farewell (see verse 5). Again, he apparently intended that this would be the end of his writing. His third farewell is found at the end of Mormon (Mormon 9:37), and his fourth farewell is found in Ether 12:38-41. His fifth and final farewell will be found at the end of the book of Moroni (Moroni 10:34).
Dr. Sidney B. Sperry and others have speculated that Moroni wrote the two paragraphs of the title page at two different times of his life (A Book of Mormon Treasury, 123-25). He suggests that Moroni wrote the first paragraph after he had written Mormon 8:12-13 and the second after he had translated the account of the people of Jared. His translation or abridgment of the Jaredite record was made apparently between the time he wrote the last verse in Mormon (Mormon 9:37) and the first verse in Moroni. One point against Moroni's writing the title page in two different sessions is that it was found on the "last leaf" of the plates of Mormon. Unless he designated beforehand a page to be used for the title page and then wrote on it on two different occasions, it is more likely that he entered the title page at one time as his last entry onto the plates of Mormon.
14 And I am the same who hideth up this record unto the Lord; the plates thereof are of no worth, because of the commandment of the Lord. For he truly saith that no one shall have them to get gain; but the record thereof is of great worth; and whoso shall bring it to light, him will the Lord bless.
verse 14 Moroni returns yet again to the plates to write further. He gives no date for this entry. One peculiarity is worth noting. Previously Moroni had implied that the plates of Mormon were full and that he had no resources from which to make new plates (Mormon 8:5). Now, however, room on the plates no longer seems a problem. Moroni will finish the record of his father (Mormon 8:14-41 and Mormon 9); abridge the twenty-four gold plates of Ether (including the extensive visions and teachings of the brother of Jared which comprise the sealed portion of the plates of Mormon; write his own book (Moroni); and write the title page. It would seem likely that in spite of the fact that he previously lamented that "ore I have none," he likely found a way to add to the plates of Mormon.
It also seems likely that since his previous entry onto the plates, Moroni had been shown several visions of the future importance of the Book of Mormon record. Also he had probably been given the "keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim" (D&C 27:5). With these keys, Moroni's calling would extend beyond the grave to the last dispensation when he would give the sacred text to a new young prophet.
15 For none can have power to bring it to light save it be given him of God; for God wills that it shall be done with an eye single to his glory, or the welfare of the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord.
verse 15 "save it be given him of God" He who brings the record to light in the final dispensation will do it "by the gift and power of God."
"with an eye single to his glory" In part, the Book of Mormon will come forth in the latter days for the purpose of bringing honor and respect to God.
16 And blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light; for it shall be brought out of darkness unto light, according to the word of God; yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people; and it shall be done by the power of God.
verse 16 "blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light" This is an obvious reference to Joseph Smith.
"by the power of God" Again, Joseph Smith taught that the plates were translated "by the gift and power of God."
The reader may wish to review the supplemental article, Biblical Prophecies of the Book of Mormon.
17 And if there be faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire.
verse 17 He who condemns the book of Mormon, condemns that which God approves.
18 And he that saith: Show unto me, or ye shall be smitten-let him beware lest he commandeth that which is forbidden of the Lord.
verse 18 The experience Martin Harris had with Professor Charles Anthon reflected the spirit of this verse:
He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. He then said to me, 'Let me see that certificate.' I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them" (JS-H 1:63-65).
This verse is a warning to him who would seek for signs relative to the Book of Mormon.
19 For behold, the same that judgeth rashly shall be judged rashly again; for according to his works shall his wages be; therefore, he that smiteth shall be smitten again, of the Lord.
verse 19 "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (3 Nephi 14:2).
20 Behold what the scripture says-man shall not smite, neither shall he judge; for judgment is mine, saith the Lord, and vengeance is mine also, and I will repay.
21 And he that shall breathe out wrath and strifes against the work of the Lord, and against the covenant people of the Lord who are the house of Israel, and shall say: We will destroy the work of the Lord, and the Lord will not remember his covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel-the same is in danger to be hewn down and cast into the fire;
22 For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled.
verses 21-22 Let him who would fight against the Lord's latter-day kingdom beware.
23 Search the prophecies of Isaiah. Behold, I cannot write them. Yea, behold I say unto you, that those saints who have gone before me, who have possessed this land, shall cry, yea, even from the dust will they cry unto the Lord; and as the Lord liveth he will remember the covenant which he hath made with them.
verse 23 Moroni urges his readers to search the prophecies of Isaiah who emphasizes, in his writings, that the Lord will never forget his chosen people or the covenants he has made with them. Moroni avers with a sacred oath that the Lord will remember his covenant people. For further discussion on the subject of a chosen people, see the commentary for 1 Nephi 1:19-20.
24 And he knoweth their prayers, that they were in behalf of their brethren. And he knoweth their faith, for in his name could they remove mountains; and in his name could they cause the earth to shake; and by the power of his word did they cause prisons to tumble to the earth; yea, even the fiery furnace could not harm them, neither wild beasts nor poisonous serpents, because of the power of his word.
verse 24 "And he knoweth their prayers" The Lord is aware of the prayers offered by the Book of Mormon prophets, including especially the twelve Nephite disciples, on behalf of the latter-day remnant of their seed (see D&C 10:46-51). Their prayers were also uttered on behalf of Joseph Smith (see the following verse).
25 And behold, their prayers were also in behalf of him that the Lord should suffer to bring these things forth.
verse 25 Referring to the Prophet Joseph, Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: "Holy prophets spoke of him, by name, thousands of years before his mortal birth (2 Nephi 3). And as to the mighty work to be started by him-there are as many prophecies foretelling it as there are about any other single subject, not even excepting the host of prophetic utterances about our Lord and his redemptive sacrifice" (Mormon Doctrine, 396).
26 And no one need say they shall not come, for they surely shall, for the Lord hath spoken it; for out of the earth shall they come, by the hand of the Lord, and none can stay it; and it shall come in a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away; and it shall come even as if one should speak from the dead.
verse 26 "no one need say they shall not come" The writings of the Book of Mormon prophets will come forth in the latter days.
"it shall come in a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away" Moroni comments on our day. Many believe that, for centuries, revelation and the gifts of the Spirit have been lost from the world following the death of the early apostles, and thus they must be no longer needed. Some believe that God has revealed all that will ever need to be revealed and is no longer active in the affairs of humanity: "He hath done his work" (2 Nephi 28:5-6).
27 And it shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness.
verse 27 Many have given their lives for the kingdom of God in this and other dispensations, and yet the wicked on earth persist in their efforts to thwart the work.
28 Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches.
verse 28 The leaders of the apostate churches of the latter days will be lifted up in pride even to the envying or coveting the things possessed by members of their own congregations.
29 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands;
30 And there shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places.
verses 29-30 Moroni speaks of some of the "signs of the times (latter days)."
31 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.
verse 31 Moroni's expression "great pollutions" likely refers to evil causes and deeds rather than air quality.
"many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not" Here, again, is an expression of the philosophy of humanism (see the commentary for Jacob 7:2).
"wo unto such for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity" Following this mortal life, they will find themselves in hell-the spirit prison-where they will begin to work out their salvation through their own suffering.
32 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins.
verse 32 It was practices such these, the selling of "indulgences," that infuriated Martin Luther and produced in him a drive to play a significant role in the Protestant reformation which laid the foundation for the restoration of the fulness of the gospel.
verses 26-32 These verses contain an apt description of today.
33 O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.
verse 33 Here the word "transfigured" is used in a negative sense meaning altered or corrupted.
"that ye might bring damnation upon your souls" For a brief discussion of what it means to be damned, see the commentary for 2 Nephi 9:24.
34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.
35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
verse 35 Here it is clearly stated that the Book of Mormon was written to people in our day-to us in this final dispensation. The Lord intended that it address our particular problems and questions, and to that end he showed us and our society to Moroni in vision. President Ezra Taft Benson said: "The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. Mormon wrote near the end of the Nephite civilization. Under the inspiration of God, who sees all things from the beginning, he abridged centuries of records, choosing the stories, speeches, and events that would be most helpful to us. . . . If they [the keepers of the plates] saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, 'Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record?'" (A Witness and a Warning. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988, 19).
36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies-because of the praise of the world?
39 Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?
verses 36-39 We should not make the mistake of assuming that Moroni's warnings, in these verses, about the sin of pride applies only to other churches and other peoples today and not to us. Review the commentary for Mosiah 4:26 as a reminder of the essential nature of the commandment to impart of our substance to the needy.
For a discussion of the concept of hypocrisy, see the commentary for 3 Nephi 13:5.
40 Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?
41 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.
verses 40-41 Moroni warns against the evils of pride and failure to look after the needy in a most dramatic and ominous fashion!