“In [4th Nephi], Mormon records his own life and history. It consists of 9 chapters and contains much of sorrow, bloodshed, wars and wickedness. In fact, Mormon was asked, at age 15, to serve as the commander-in-chief of all the Nephite armies. This is indeed a compliment to him, but it could also be a sad commentary on what wickedness had done to the men in his nation.
We are told that the word, “Mormon,” means “more good.” See History of the Church, volume 5, pages 399-400. Mormon certainly exemplified his noble name.
Before we study the 9 chapters in his book, we will take time to consider how this humble prophet survived in such a wicked environment and maintained his courage and his spirituality. There are many lessons for us in the principles taught by Mormon’s life.
We will list 6 steps, out of many, which we find in this book, and will narrow our approach down to “How to survive when your world is falling apart all around you,” using Mormon as our example. We will quote from his writings to support each step.
HOW TO SURVIVE WHEN YOUR WORLD
IS FALLING APART ALL AROUND YOU
Step 1 (Mormon 1:15). Gain your own strong testimony of the gospel: “I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus.”
Step 2 (Mormon 1:5, 2:17): Personal, strict obedience to righteous commitments, covenants, etc: “I remembered the things which Ammaron commanded me [in Mormon 1:3-4]. I had gone according to the word of Ammaron, and taken the plates of Nephi, and did make a record according to the words of Ammaron.”
Step 3 (Mormon 2:19): Confidence in your personal standing with God: “I know that I shall be lifted up at the last day.”
Step 4 (Mormon 3:11): Allow for “time out” when things become overwhelming, realizing that you will try again later, after you’ve regained strength: “I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.”
Step 5 (Mormon 5:1-2). Try again, and keep trying, even though there may seem to be little or no hope of success, because of seemingly “impossible” people. It is Christlike to keep trying with people: “I did go forth among the Nephites, and did repent of the oath which I had made that I would no more assist them; …But behold, I was without hope.”
Step 6 (Mormon 7:1). Love your enemies. Desire good for them. Do good for them. Such feelings and actions provide stability and are a means to spiritual survival for one’s self: “AND now, behold, I would speak somewhat unto the remnant of this people who are spared [the Lamanites, the bitter enemies of Mormon who have virtually destroyed his people] if it so be that God may give unto them my words, that they may know of the things of their fathers [the gospel of Christ, which their ancestors had]; yea, I speak unto you…”
As stated above, Mormon is a wonderful example of someone who maintained his spirituality and Christlike attributes while surrounded by terrible wickedness and insensitivity to spiritual things.”
-David J Ridges, “The Book of Mormon Made Easier” Part Three: Helaman through Moroni, pg 237-8