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6 takeaways for our times from Mormon 1–6

Editor's note: “Resources to follow Him” curates study resources, teachings, and thoughts to deepen your study of this week's Come, Follow Me.

The start of this week’s lesson in the Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families manual paints a grim picture:

Mormon spared us the “full account” of the “awful scene” of wickedness and bloodshed that he saw among the Nephites (Mormon 2:18; 5:8). But what he did record in Mormon 1–6 is enough to remind us how far righteous people can fall.

Why did Mormon choose to include these scenes in the records he kept? As the manual explains, he knew his audience would go beyond the wicked people of his day to us.

Here are six takeaways for our times from this week’s Come, Follow Me chapters.

1. Winning the War

These chapters in the Book of Mormon start out with the return of war, as we read in Mormon 1:8 that the Nephites and the Lamanites return to battle. And though we may not be engaged in a physical battle like the Nephites and Lamanites, two of the senior Apostles have described our current challenges using the word “war.”

Around two weeks after the Church suspended gatherings worldwide due to COVID-19, President M. Russell Ballard spoke with Church News and assured the world that we will win this “war on the coronavirus.” And in April 2020 general conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Even as we speak, we are waging an ‘all hands on deck’ war with COVID-19, a solemn reminder that a virus 1,000 times smaller than a grain of sand can bring entire populations and global economies to their knees.”

What will help us win the war? Perhaps it’s the same thing that Mormon found to be his solace during his wartime and the reason he wrote his account: belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mormon 3:21).

“The Lord Jesus Christ loves us with a love beyond our ability to comprehend,” President Ballard told Church News. “The kingdom of God will continue to roll forth. . . . Everything is going to be just fine as we turn our hearts to our Father in Heaven and look to Him and to the Savior as the Redeemer of all mankind.”

That’s how we can win our own personal war during these troubled times.

Read more counsel from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the COVID-19 outbreak at Church News

2. The Difference between Worldly Sorrow and Godly Sorrow

In Mormon 2, Mormon describes “a mourning and a lamentation in all the land” (Mormon 2:11). The sorrow of these people was not a sorrow unto repentance but rather a sorrowing of the damned (see Mormon 2:13). On this week’s episode of the Sunday on Monday Study Group podcast, the hosts discuss the difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow using a quote from Elder Orson Pratt:

Worldly Sorrow: 

“There are different kinds of sorrow. Thieves, robbers, murderers, adulterers, etc., are frequently sorrowful because they have been detected in the crimes they have committed. They are not sorrowful because they have sinned against God or because they have injured others; but they are sorry because their crimes have been exposed or that they have been prevented from a realization of the happiness which they anticipated. This is the sorrow of the world; and it is of the same nature as the sorrowing of the evil spirits in hell: they are sorry when they fail to accomplish their malicious designs against God and His people. This kind of sorrow worketh death."

Godly Sorrow:

"This kind of sorrow will lead us to obey every commandment of God; it will make us humble and childlike in our dispositions; it will impart unto us meekness and lowliness of mind; it will cause our hearts to be broken and our spirits to be contrite; it will cause us to watch, with great carefulness, every word, thought, and deed; it will call up our past dealings with mankind, and we will feel most anxious to make restitution to all whom we may have, in any way, injured. . . . These, and many other good things, are the results of godly sorrow for sin. This is repentance not in word, but in deed: this is the sorrow with which the heavens are pleased."

Mormon hoped the people would feel godly sorrow, and his hope extends to us today as Mormon pleads for “all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ” (Mormon 3:22).

The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original presented by LDS Living. You can access the full study group discussion through the Bookshelf app. Listen to a segment of this week's episode above or listen to the full Sunday on Monday episode here.

3. Quick to Observe

At a Brigham Young University devotional in May 2005, Elder David A. Bednar discussed how the prophet Mormon was “quick to observe” (Mormon 1:2), saying, “Your future success and happiness will in large measure be determined by this spiritual capacity.”

So what does it mean to be “quick to observe” and how can we apply this important spiritual gift? Elder Bednar notes the following in his address:

As used in the scriptures, the word observe has two primary uses. One use denotes “to look” or “to see” or “to notice”—as we learn in Isaiah 42:20: “Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not” (emphasis added).

The second use of the word observe suggests “to obey” or “to keep”—as is evident in the Doctrine and Covenants: “But blessed are they who have kept the covenant and observed the commandment, for they shall obtain mercy” (D&C 54:6; emphasis added).

Thus when we are quick to observe, we promptly look or notice and obey. Both of these fundamental elements—looking and obeying—are essential to being quick to observe. And the prophet Mormon is an impressive example of this gift in action.

Watch Elder Bednar’s full address below.

4. A Step in the Wrong Direction May Be Right After All

In this week’s episode of “Unshaken,” a verse-by-verse Come, Follow Me video study, Jared Halverson explains how Mormon’s father took him to the land southward. For Mormon, this may have seemed like a step in the wrong direction since the land northward held the Hill Cumorah where the final battles would take place and the Hill Shem would be where the records were deposited, but the Lord had a purpose for him down in Zarahemla.

Halverson explains how this can be a lesson for all of us.

“Sometimes in life what seems like a step in the wrong direction . . . may end up being the perfect move toward being able to fulfill the missions that God would have you accomplish,” Halverson explains in the video.

Halverson explained how when we move in the wrong direction, it can prepare us to become a better instrument in the hands of God. In Zarahemla, Mormon was able to observe his people firsthand, which was part of his divine mission.

Watch this week’s lesson from Jared Halverson below.

5. In the Hands of God

On this week’s episode of “Don’t Miss This,” David Butler and Emily Belle Freeman pair two of Mormon’s verses together:

Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll? (Mormon 5:23).

O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you! (Mormon 6:17).

Butler and Freeman use the verses to show how God stands with open arms to receive us.

“Those strong, gentle, anchoring, guiding arms are not only His arms, but they are open, ready to receive anyone who wants to come into them,” Butler says in the episode.

Freeman adds, His arms are open and are you in them? Like where are you at right now? Because if He’s standing there, arms wide open with that invitation of, ‘Let me rescue you and deliver you and heal you and save you at any cost and by any means,’ He couldn’t give more than what He offers us. And I just love to ask myself this all the time, ‘Where am I at with that invitation and am I entering in? Am I allowing Him to hold me in His hands or am I too stubborn or I want to do it my way or I’ve got this right now?’ . . . Should you just take a little pause and think for a minute, where am I at with Jesus in my life right now and where could I be?

You can watch the episode of “Don’t Miss This” below.

► You may also like: 'Don't Miss This' resources for Doctrine and Covenants now available for preorder

6. Loving Others Despite Differences

Mormon was very different than the wicked people who surrounded him, and yet he still desired their salvation. The Come, Follow Me—Sunday School manual shares the following quote from President Dallin H. Oaks about loving others who believe differently than we do:

We should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion. We encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).

When our positions do not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries.

Watch President Oaks’s full address below.


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Lindsey Williams

Lindsey Williams joined the LDS Living team with a passion to find the stories that matter most. Previous stops in her career include BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the Special Projects Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Utah Valley Magazine. When she's not searching for stories to write, the Colorado Springs native is most likely on a hiking trail. Follow her on Twitter with the handle @lindsey5brooke.

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