Mormon 7


 



MDC Contents

 

 

 Mormon 7:1

1  And now, behold, I would speak somewhat unto the remnant of this people who are spared, if it so be that God may give unto them my words, that they may know of the things of their fathers; yea, I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel; and these are the words which I speak:

 

The story is now over, the final calamity has happened: except that the story is not over. Mormon’s efforts at physical and spiritual salvation of his people have failed, but he still has a mission to perform, and he closes out his record by focusing on that purpose.

 

Every time that “speak somewhat” is used in the Book of Mormon text it is connection with a first person narrative. It is a qualifier that the speaker/writer places on the discourse that they are about to give. This is not just Mormon the editor speaking, but Mormon the author speaking for himself. The following message is Mormon’s intended conclusion to his text.

 

Mormon 7:2

2  Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel.

 

Because Mormon is speaking to a future audience that he knows will have spent some time in apostasy, he cannot be certain that they will understand their heritage. It is perhaps interesting that LDS custom has labeled all Native Americans Lamanites. Mormon, however, addresses them as a “remnant of this people.” Mormon is treating his future audience as future Nephites, not Lamanites. For Mormon it is probable that he understood the politico-religious meaning of the term, and that while the ultimate recipients of his work would be termed Lamanites for their position relative to the gospel, they were still, in their spiritual bloodlines, Nephites, and more importantly, of the house Israel. Mormon begins with this statement because it is the foundation of the blessings that will come to this line. There are promises made by God to the house of Israel, and Mormon wants his future readers to understand that they are potential participants in those blessings.

 

Mormon 7:3

3  Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved.

 

This is the gospel. First we repent. First we understand our position relative to God, and desire to improve it.

 

Mormon 7:4

4  Know ye that ye must lay down your weapons of war, and delight no more in the shedding of blood, and take them not again, save it be that God shall command you.

 

This is a fascinating statement because it tells us something of the nature of Mormon’s vision of the future. While he may have seen the events of the last days, he did not see clearly enough to understand the cultural and social changes that would occur between the time the record was hidden up and when it was to come forth. Mormon is picturing the descendants of the “remnant of this people” in the same context as those who have conquered them, and who are setting the tone for the world as it will be in the future as far as Mormon sees it.

 

This suggests to us that Mormon saw the future as one where the Lamanites that he knew were still the dominant culture of the remnant of his people. Mormon did not clearly foresee our day in terms of culture, but rather saw the future in terms of what he could readily predict. This is the reason that he specifically mentions taking up arms. The Lamanites who have attacked the Nephites are the wave of a future in Mesoamerica that was bringing increased warfare. Mormon had seen the fruits of it, and condemned them. He is speaking to these Lamanite/Gadiantons that he sees as the future, and telling them that they must cease the killing. They did not listen. Sadly, mankind has not listened.

 

Mormon 7:5

5  Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up.

 

Mormon combines the first two statements into the foundation of this one. The future remnant must first come to a knowledge of their fathers. That is one of the functions of the Book of Mormon, to show to the remnant who their fathers were. As Mormon has painted a picture of those fathers he has given several who are eminently admirable. He has also not declined to paint a picture of those who were less than admirable. He desires that the future remnant really known and understand their fathers.

 

Of course the next message is repentance, but particular a repentance that will lead to an understanding of Jesus Christ. This is an important part of his message for his mental picture of who that remnant was. If Mormon is seeing them as future Lamanite/Gadiantons, then he understands that the future remnant, like the current Lamanites, have rejected the Savior in favor of other Gods. The message of the Book of Mormon has always been the centrality of the Atoning Messiah, known as Jesus. The future remnant must also come to know their Atoning Messiah.

 

Mormon 7:6

6  And he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead, whereby man must be raised to stand before his judgment-seat.

Mormon 7:7

7  And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.

 

Mormon now emphasizes the two important functions of the mission of the Atoning Messiah. He “bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead,” and “he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world.” This is the duality of the redemption from physical and spiritual death.

 

Mormon 7:8

8  Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you.

 

After the remnant learns of their true heritage, repents, lays down their arms, and believes in the Atoning Messiah, they must act on that knowledge. The action for them will be as it ever has been – baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and then adherence to the gospel.

 

In this short concluding message, Mormon has condensed the entire text into its essential message, and that message is the gospel.

 

Mormon 7:9

9  For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them.

 

[this is written for the intent that ye may believe]: Mormon reiterates that his entire work has been written for this purpose. It is written for a future audience while pulling examples from the past. It is written for a future people who might believe where his current people had not. The Book of Mormon is expressly written so that we might better believe in God.

 

Mormon 7:10

10  And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment.  Amen.

 

Mormon returns to the very first statement he made. The remnant is to understand that they are of the house of Israel. Here he makes it explicit that they are inheritors of “the first covenant.”

 

While Mormon understood that the work would first come to the Gentiles, his very personal dedication is not to the Gentiles, but to the remnant of his people, the house of Israel. Mormon may allow us to read it and be adopted in to the covenant, but he wrote it for his own.

 

Textual: This is the end of a chapter in the 1830 edition, and the end of the direct hand of Mormon on the plates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Brant Gardner. Copyright 2002