Moroni 9:4 when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me
The word of God is sharp to the wicked and soothing to the righteous. This is because the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center (1 Ne 16:2). To the wicked, the word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow (DC 6:2). Alternatively, to the righteous, the word of God can be as the balm of Gilead, a salve for the wounded soul, or a bandage for the broken hearted (Jacob 2:8). Therefore, whether the word is sharp or soothing depends as much upon the listener as it does the speaker. In the days of king Benjamin there were many holy men [who] did use much sharpness. But why did they use so much sharpness? Because of the stiffneckedness of the people (WofM 1:17).
Therefore, Mormon's use of sharpness had as much to do with his people's spiritual apostasy as it did with his choice of words. Nevertheless, there are times when the Spirit moves a prophet, leader, or parent to use words which are sharp enough to divide asunder both joints and marrow. Such correction is inspired by charity more than righteous indignation. For whom the Lord loveth, he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth (Prov 3:12).
To withhold appropriate sharpness, when moved upon to do so, is not an act of love but an act of Jonah-like cowardice. This is the burden of the watchman on the tower; he must cry repentance even when the mission is troubling. Jacob explained what this feels like, it grieveth my soul and causeth me to shrink with shame before the presence of my Maker, that I must testify unto you concerning the wickedness of your hearts. And also it grieveth me that I must use so much boldness of speech concerning you (Jacob 1:6-7). But in spite of Jacob and Mormon's burdensome responsibilities, neither one of them failed in their duty to cry repentance with that sharpness which must be followed with an increase of love (DC 121:43).
Boyd K. Packer
"It is not easy to take criticism. Sometimes it is even harder to give it. But a teacher has that responsibility. If we love our students, we will do all we can to help them, even if at times it has the promise of disturbing the relationship between us. When we are called as a teacher, when we are a parent, we have that authority and that responsibility. We must use it righteously." (Teach Ye Diligently, p. 349)
"Their awful guilt leaps out in their instant resentment of any criticism of themselves: 'When I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me' (Moroni 9:4). They have reached that point of suicidal defiance which the Greeks called Ate, the point of no return, when the sinner with a sort of fatal fascination does everything that is most calculated to hasten his own removal from the scene-he is finished, and now all that remains is to get him out of the way: 'O my beloved son, how can a people like this, that are without civilization . . . expect that God will stay his hand?' (Moroni 9:11, 14).
"Nephite civilization was thus not extinguished at Cumorah. It had already ceased to exist for some time before the final house-cleaning. War had become the order of the day, 'and every heart was hardened' (Mormon 4:11), with the military requisitioning the necessities of life and leaving the noncombatants 'to faint by the way and die' (Moroni 9:16)." (Since Cumorah, p. 400)
Moroni 9:5 they thirst after blood and revenge continually
"Mormon and Moroni supply the epilogue to the Book of Mormon, the son drawing freely on his father's notes and letters. The picture that these two paint of their world, which in their minds has a significant resemblance to our own, is one of unrelieved gloom. The situation is unbelievably bad and, in view of the way things are going, quite without hope. The scenes of horror and violence, culminating in the sickening escalation of atrocities by Lamanites and Nephites in the 9th chapter of Mormon, need no news-photographs to make their message convincing to the modern world. The Nephites, like the great heroes of tragedy--Oedipus, Macbeth, Achilles--as they approach their end, are hopelessly trapped by a desperate mentality in which the suppressed awareness of their own sins finds paranoid expression in a mad, ungovernable hatred of others: 'They have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually' (Moroni 9:5)." (Since Cumorah, p. 399)
Moroni 9:6 let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation
"This one verse contains an entire discourse on the importance of enduring to the end and always being found doing one's duty. Both Mormon and Moroni could have easily given up hope on their people, lost the motivation to continue in their prophetic callings, and become fatalistic. Instead, Mormon exhorts Moroni to continue to labor in his divinely inspired duty. From their examples we learn that diligence in doing one's duty is not to be dependent upon the receptiveness of others. We must do our duty, be diligent in fulfilling the Lord's commands, regardless of how others choose to conduct their lives or how they respond to our efforts. To do otherwise is to let go of the iron rod, to cease enduring to the end, which brings one under condemnation (compare 2 Corinthians 5:9; Jacob 1:19)." (McConkie, Millet, and Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, p. 360)
Ezra Taft Benson
"In the final letter recorded in the Book of Mormon from Mormon to his son Moroni, he gave counsel that applies to our day. Both father and son were seeing a whole Christian civilization fall because its people would not serve the God of the land, even Jesus Christ. Mormon wrote, 'And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.' (Moroni 9:6.) You and I have a similar labor to perform now-to conquer the enemy and rest our souls in the kingdom." (A Witness and a Warning, p. 58)
Marion G. Romney
"Mormon's performance, along with his counsel to his son Moroni, is an heroic example of one's continuing unto the end under the most trying circumstances...And a discouraging and thankless job it was!" (Conference Report, Apr. 1954, p. 133)
"In this crucible of wickedness the true greatness of Mormon shines like a star as he calls his son to action, telling him that no matter how bad things are, we must never stop trying to do what we can to improve matters, 'for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay' (Moroni 9:6). In this spirit Mormon took over command of the army even when he knew that all was lost, 'for they looked upon me as though I could deliver them from their afflictions. But behold, I was without hope' (Mormon 5:1-2). His is the predicament of the true tragic hero." (Since Cumorah, p. 401)
Moroni 9:9 that which was most dear and precious...which is chastity and virtue
Spencer W. Kimball
"The strengthening of family ties should become a rallying cry for Latter-day Saint families everywhere. So also should a return to chastity, our most valuable possession. Chastity and virtue are 'most dear and precious above all things' (Moro. 9:9), more valuable than rubies or diamonds, than herds and flocks, than gold and silver, or than automobiles and land. But, sadly, in many cases they are on sale at the cheapest shops and at the cheapest prices." (Ensign, Nov. 1979, "We Need a Listening Ear")
Neal A. Maxwell
"When we think of this constellation of reasons (why the Church is constantly concerned with freedom from sin), we can understand why it is not just recurring rhetoric when prophets like Moroni observe that the loss of chastity is the loss of that which is precious above all things. (See Moroni 9:9.) And why, so many times, the writers of the scriptures, observing their own people's decadence, have equated ripening in iniquity with the spread of fornication and adultery. (See Helaman 8:26.)" (Notwithstanding My Weakness, p. 100)
Moroni 9:10 they do it for a token of bravery
For a moment, let's consider how absurd this is! The soldiers in Moriantum defined bravery by the torture of young, helpless women. But which part was the brave part? Was it when they raped them? Was it when they tortured them? Was it when they murdered them? Was it when they ate them? Or was a soldier only brave if he did all four? Certainly, we must search the annals of history to find men as brave as these noble, girl-torturers! Or at least, so Satan had convinced them.
Again, the Book of Mormon teaches us that Satan has an amazing ability with the wicked. He can convince them that cowardice is bravery, that debauchery is nobility, that dark is light, and that evil is good, proving that if there is one thing over which he is master, it is his ability to disguise reality.
Moroni 9:16 the army of Zenephi has carried away provisions, and left them to wander whithersoever they can for food
"Revenge, [Mormon] said, was the one thing God absolutely would not tolerate (Mormon 3:9-16). For once that starts, there is no ending. Mormon shows us the military power completely out of control, practicing the usual atrocities, requisitioning everything for themselves while 'many old women do faint by the way and die' (Moroni 9:16). (Prophetic Book of Mormon, p. 524)
Moroni 9:18-20 They are without order and without mercy...without principle, and past feeling
"Righteousness and truth result in order, while evil and wickedness lead to confusion and disorder. In describing the depraved state of things at the close of the Nephite narrative, Mormon spoke of his people as 'without civilization,' 'without principle,' 'past feeling,' and, interestingly enough, 'without order and without mercy' (Moroni 9:11, 18, 20). Whereas faithfulness and adherence to the light of Christ and to moral codes and standards bring forth peace and decency and enhanced organization among the sons and daughters of God, indifference towards or defiance of divine law bring forth chaos and division. Nephi explained that 'the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man. And when the Spirit ceaseth to strive with man then cometh speedy destruction.' (2 Nephi 26:11.) Those who no longer enjoy the influence of the Spirit 'are without Christ and God in the world; and they are driven about as chaff before the wind' (Mormon 5:16). When the Spirit ceases to strive with men and women, Satan has 'full power over the hearts of the people' and they are 'given up unto the hardness of their hearts, and the blindness of their minds' (Ether 15:19). The Holy Spirit is an organizing principle, and the nearer we approach our Heavenly Father the greater will be our grasp of reality, our ability to see things as they really are and to value our true relationship to man and God." (Millet and McConkie, Joseph Smith: The Choice Seer, chapter 17)
"Here then is the real calamity that befell the Nephites in all its tragic horror-and there is no mention whatever of enemy action or of anyone belonging to the wrong party: the ultimate catastrophe is not that people are struck down, but that they should be found in any circumstances whatever 'without order and without mercy, . . . without principle and past feeling.'" (Since Cumorah, p. 400)
Neal A. Maxwell
"President Harold B. Lee has called our attention to the phrase 'past feeling' which is used several places in the scriptures. In Ephesians, Paul links it to lasciviousness that apparently so sated its victims that they sought 'uncleanness with greediness.' Moroni used the same two words to describe a decaying society which was 'without civilization,' 'without order and without mercy,' and in which people had 'lost their love, one towards another.' Insensate, this society saw violence, gross immorality, brutality and all kinds of 'kamikaze' behavior. Nephi used the same concept in his earlier lamentation about his brothers' inability to heed the urgings of the Spirit because they were 'past feeling.' The common thread is obvious: the inevitable dulling of our capacity to feel renders us impervious to conscience, to the needs of others, and to insights both intellectual and spiritual. Such imperceptivity, like alcoholism, apparently reaches a stage where the will can no longer enforce itself upon our impulses." (For the Power Is in Them, p. 22)
Neal A. Maxwell
Ironically, in all their eagerness to experience certain things, hedonists, become desensitized. People who wrongly celebrate their capacity to feel finally reach a point where they lose much of their capacity to feel! In the words of three different prophets, such individuals become 'past feeling' (see 1 Ne. 17:45; Eph. 4:19; Moro. 9:20).
"When people proceed 'without principle,' erelong they will be 'without civilization,' 'without mercy,' and 'past feeling' (see Moro. 9:11-20). Such individuals do not experience real joy." (Ensign, May 1995, pp. 67-68)
Moroni 9:22 I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved
In contrast to the rest of the Nephites, Mormon acknowledged Moroni's righteousness and could confidently recommend him to God. How wonderful would it be if Mormon would do the same for us? Yet, in a way, a temple recommend is the same thing. It signifies that the Bishop and Stake President are saying, in effect, I recommend thee unto God.
Still, the greatest recommend we can receive is the one which comes from Jehovah, Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life (DC 45:4-5, italics added). We ought to live our lives such that we may confidently look forward to the time when we hear the Savior use these words in recommending us to the Father.
Moroni 9:24 if thou art spared and I shall perish
Mormon is not sure when his time is up. He has been fighting in battles since the age of 15. Now, near the end of his life, having seen thousands of strong warriors fall by the sword, he must have wondered when his time would come. But Mormon does not fear death. He really only cares about two things, that he can first pass on the responsibility to be guardian of the plates to Moroni and that the final destruction of his people gets recorded by someone. He knows that the Lord will preserve him at least until he can deliver up the sacred records to Moroni. Thus, prior to the battle at Cumorah, Mormon takes care of both of these provisions in anticipation of his own death (Mormon 6:6; 8:1-3). Quite to his own surprise, he survives the final battle and finishes his portion of the record, comprising Mormon 6:7 through Mormon 7:10.
Moroni 9:25 may Christ lift thee up...and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever
Marion D. Hanks
"Christ in our lives is not meant to grieve us or weigh us down unto death because we have been imperfect. Through him we may be lifted up by accepting his gifts and his mercy and long-suffering. These blessings we must seek to keep in our minds always." (Ensign, July 1973, "What Manner of Men")
Henry B. Eyring
"I was chatting with my wife at the end of a long day. Three of our children were in the room, listening. I turned and noticed that one of them was watching me-and watching my face intently. And then he asked me, softly, 'Why are you unhappy?' I tried to give a reason for my furrowed brow, but I realized later that he could well have been asking this deeper question: 'Can I see in you the hope for peace in this life that Jesus promised?'
"To turn my thoughts from what darkened my look to what would brighten it, I went to another letter from Mormon to his son. Both Mormon and Moroni were facing days of difficulty that make my challenges pale. Mormon knew his son might be overcome with gloom and foreboding, so he told him the perfect antidote. He told him that he could choose, by what he put in his mind, to become an example of hope. Here is what he wrote: 'My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.' (Moroni 9:25.)" (To Draw Closer to God, p. 133)