Neither do I condemn you
– Nonviolent Jesus
Learning to be more wise about how we read the Book of Mormon can be a challenge for anyone today. Even though many of us have read it through and through several times, we still struggle to grasp its message of peace, of absolute rejection of violence, and fail to appreciate its real challenge to turn individuals, churches and nations away from the fatalities and lies of war.
The Book of Mormon is by and large a work of reflection on ‘where could we have possibly gone wrong?’ It is a work in which the author(s) seek to retrace their actions, their words, and their thinking – as a people and as a collective. They attempt to explain the wrongs they have committed to potential future readers, so that the readers in turn can benefit from their sad experience.
What do we emphasise when reading this book? What do we put forward as the book’s main message and contention in a 21st century context?
As Moroni writes: we need to “learn to be more wise” than they.
The following short excerpt are among the last words of Mormon written down by Moroni at the conclusion of the abridgement of his father’s work. They are written to those that would receive these words and that would, based on the wisdom found in this epic narrative, seek to live in a more peaceful way:
Wherefore I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope, by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth, until ye shall rest with him in heaven.
And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men; for I remember the word of God, which saith, By their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.