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What Would Mormon and Moroni Say to You Today?

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"What Would Mormon and Moroni Say to You Today?"
Elder Craig C. Christensen
May 21, 2020
My dear brothers and sisters, over the past few months, we have been living in very unique and unsettling circumstances—unlike anything any of us have ever experienced before. Lives have been disrupted, or even lost in some cases, and most of us have learned with greater urgency the importance of caring for ourselves and for those we love. Notwithstanding these circumstances, Sister Christensen and I are grateful to celebrate with you and feel blessed by the technology that allows us to spend a few moments with you. Just think, these commencement exercises will likely go down in BYU–Idaho history; you will forever be known as the class who graduated over the internet—many of you participating from your own homes. Of course, we would rather be with you in on campus, and we realize that if any of you are actually going to “walk” today, it will be a leisurely stroll around your backyards. In any event, you should feel immense satisfaction in what you accomplished while studying at BYU–Idaho and should take time today to reflect on the many blessings you have received from these experiences.

Graduation, after all, is more than an event in an auditorium or a diploma in a picture frame. Graduation is about who you have become intellectually, spiritually, and socially over the last few years. In short, graduation celebrates your character. It is your character that matters, and it is your character that will help you navigate these uncertain times.

Over the past few weeks and months, as conditions around the world have continued to change rapidly, I have written and rewritten my message to you several times. With each iteration, my desire has been to help you draw closer to the Savior Jesus Christ. My overarching feeling has been to share with you my testimony, understanding that our only source of hope—real hope—for the future, even in the face of very challenging circumstances, is in and through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I can only imagine how you might be feeling right now about the world and your future. Even under the best of circumstances, there is a lot of uncertainty when you leave a situation where you have excelled, especially a place as secure and peaceful as BYU–Idaho, and enter a new and unfamiliar phase of life. You naturally have many questions about what lies ahead. The COVID-19 pandemic, with the social and economic upheaval it has brought, makes the future even more uncertain.

As I have thought about you and the possible challenges you may be facing, I have reflected on many relevant examples of uncertainty and trying times as recorded in the Book of Mormon. I have felt anew that this sacred testament of Jesus Christ was written for our day. It has been prepared and preserved by the hand of Almighty God, who knew of “the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth” in the last days. [i] The Book of Mormon is a precious gift from our Heavenly Father, meant to turn our hearts to His Son, Jesus Christ, and to help us find peace and hope in Him.

Of particular note, I have been impressed by the example of two Bood of Mormon heroes whom I admire deeply: Mormon and his son Moroni. These two faithful, valiant disciples knew what it was like to face an uncertain future. They knew what it was like to feel isolated and alone.

Mormon and Moroni lived in a time of war, when the fate of the entire Nephite civilization was hanging in the balance. They saw horrible atrocities committed by their enemies and by their own people. Moroni, following the destruction of the Nephites, went into hiding to finish the record of his people. He spent 20-plus years living in isolation and wandering in the wilderness. Naturally, this was a time of deep anxiety for both of them. [ii]

Yet despite all of the fear, uncertainty, and wickedness around them, Mormon and Moroni focused on the future, on the importance of having what they described as a “strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.” [iii] Notwithstanding the conflict that surrounded them, they centered their writings on the essence of enduring faith, boundless hope, and Christlike charity. Through difficult times, they taught and testified that miracles would never cease. They spoke of holding on to every good thing and every good gift, and bore witness of the saving, exalting power of Jesus Christ. I believe this is precisely the message we need to hear.

Therefore, I have repeatedly asked myself, “If Mormon and Moroni were here today, what would they say to us? Given the challenges we face, what counsel would they offer?” Well, we have a few clues; we have the words that Mormon and Moroni chose to include in their sacred record, which they knew would be preserved to come forth as a voice from the dust in our day. [iv] As Moroni prophetically stated, “I speak unto you as if ye were present . . . [for] behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me.” [v] I am not sure whether Mormon or Moroni saw the pandemic of COVID–19, yet they knew we would not escape suffering in one way or another. More importantly, they knew exactly where we should turn for comfort and peace.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

First and foremost, I believe Mormon and Moroni would teach us about faith: a growing and powerful faith. When the future is uncertain, when the path ahead seems obscure, we need what Mormon and Moroni had—the ability to see and believe in things that are not readily apparent to the natural eye. In other words, we need to have faith, or to use Moroni’s words, “exceedingly great faith.” [vi]

The attitude prevalent in the world today is to act based only on facts we can verify with our physical senses. But this puts limits, unnecessary limits, on what we can do, because our natural senses are severely inadequate. As President Boyd K. Packer was known to say, “If all you know is what you see with your natural eyes and hear with your natural ears, then you will not know very much.” [vii]

Once again, to quote Moroni: “I . . . would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” [viii]

There is much about the future that we cannot see. For many, this creates a trial of faith. We do not know what the ramifications of COVID-19 will ultimately be, especially economically and socially. We do not know what other challenges lie ahead for us individually, as a society, or in the world. But we do know, as President Russell M. Nelson recently said, that “our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, know us, love us, and are watching over us. Of that we can be certain.” [ix] This certainly applies to each of you individually. God loves you. Jesus Christ loves you. They are engaged in every aspect of your lives and are watching over you continually.

Mormon taught that with faith in Christ, we “have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in [Him],” for “it is by faith that miracles are wrought.” [x] Both Mormon and Moroni knew that we would live in a cynical and secular time, so they included the clear admonition that we “deny not the power of God.” [xi] That we rely wholly and completely on them!

“Has the day of miracles ceased?” Mormon asked. “Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?” Moroni, then responded to his own question stating emphatically: “Behold I say unto you, Nay.” [xii]

I bear my witness that faith has not ceased, and neither have miracles. They continue in this Church and in the lives of faithful people everywhere. I remind you of what President Nelson told us two years ago: “Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory.” [xiii] You and I are witnessing those mighty works and many miraculous events, in our families and in the world, even as the rest of humanity may see only fear and chaos.

If Mormon and Moroni were here, they would teach us that we know enough to have enduring faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and that through Him, we can have faith in the future, even in the eternities. They would testify that as we act on our faith in Christ, we will see mighty miracles in our lives and receive His matchless power.

Hope for and in the Savior Jesus Christ

I think Mormon and Moroni would also encourage us to have hope—to be optimistic about the future. Life in their world was perilous, and must have seemed even hopeless at times. And yet Moroni wrote that “whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God.” Knowing a little about Moroni’s circumstances makes these words even more powerful. When you and I have that kind of hope, our souls have “an anchor” that makes us “sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” [xiv]

President Nelson has recently taught that “the joy we feel [and, I would add, that the hope we feel] has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” [xv] Mormon taught that we find hope in and trough Jesus Christ. Said he, “Ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.” [xvi]

Hope empowers us to keep doing good, even if the results are not immediately apparent, because we know that God’s “promises are sure.” [xvii] With hope, we can see good in the world and in other people. It is this kind of vision and this degree of hope that enables us to “lay hold upon every good thing” [xviii] and “upon every good gift.” [xix]

I think that if Mormon and Moroni were here today, they would tell us not to let the challenges of the moment overshadow the blessings that will be ours throughout the eternities. They would remind us that today’s trials are only a small moment in time. There are a lot of “good works” still to be accomplished, and you are a big part of the Lord’s plan to accomplish His divine purposes. Your examples and your positive outlook on life will bless the world for many years to come. Knowing what you know and being who you are affords you every reason to have boundless hope for the future.

Charity, the Pure Love of Christ

Having taught about faith and hope, Mormon and Moroni would most want us to both understand and experience charity. They knew that faith and hope are “vain” if they do not change us, that without charity we are “nothing.” [xx] In a day when so much seems unstable, how comforting it is to know that we can “cleave unto charity, which is the greatest gift of all, for all things must fail—but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.” [xxi]

Trials need not harden our hearts. Like you, I have seen many examples in recent weeks of people who have become more softhearted, even more charitable, because of their seemingly unsurmountable trials. I have been inspired by what Mormon describes as those who suffer long and yet are kind, envy not, are not puffed up, seek not their own, are not easily provoked, think no evil, rejoice in the truth, bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. [xxii] Their amazing examples truly demonstrate that “charity never faileth.” [xxiii]

If Mormon and Moroni were here today, surely they would urge us to “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ. Surely Mormon and Moroni would assure [us] that [we] may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” [xxiv] Clearly, Mormon and Moroni would teach us how to love, how to love God with all our hearts, and with all our might, mind and strength. And they would teach us to how to love, truly love, all of God’s children. [xxv]

The Power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Finally, while Mormon and Moroni were serving on different battlefields in the war with the Lamanites, Mormon wrote a letter to his son, detailing some of the atrocities he had witnessed. Mormon then closed his letter with these tender words:

“My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down . . . 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.” [xxvi] How did Mormon and Moroni thrive spiritually in their perilous times? The same way you and I will: by turning to the Savior.

If Mormon and Moroni were here today, I feel very confident that they would testify of Jesus Christ and His Atonement, because they were prophets, and this is what prophets are called to do. They would seek every possible way to build our faith in Him. They would, in the words of Moroni, “commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever.” [xxvii]

I add my sure witness to theirs. I testify that Jesus Christ has the power to turn night into day. He can right all wrongs. He is “the light and the life of the world—the light that shineth in darkness.” [xxviii] With Moroni, I invite you to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ.” [xxix]

Brothers and sisters, your future is bright. I am confident that you will emerge from any challenges you feel, any trials you are enduring, or any uncertainty that may exist in your world even stronger and better as you “press forward with steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men” and hold on to what you have experienced spiritually and intellectually while studying at Brigham Young University–Idaho. [xxx]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s kingdom on earth, led by the Savior Himself. It has a glorious mission to fulfill, and you are destined to be an essential part of that mission. I congratulate you most warmly for the faith and diligence that have brought you to this point. And I express my utmost confidence that you will continue to accomplish great things as you rely totally and steadfastly on Savior’s grace and divine guidance. May He continue to bless you and your future endeavors is my humble prayer, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[i] Doctrine and Covenants 1:17.

[ii] Some of the most poignant words in the Book of Mormon are found in Mormon’s lament over the destruction of his people (see Mormon 6:17–22).

[iii] Moroni 7:30.

[iv] See Mormon 8:35; 9:30; see also Isaiah 29:4.

[v] Mormon 8:35.

[vi] Moroni 10:10.

[vii] In David A. Bednar, “Quick to Observe,” Ensign, Dec. 2006, 36.

[viii] Ether 12:6.

[ix] “President Nelson Shares Message of Hope during COVID-19 Outbreak,” Mar. 14, 2020;

[x] Moroni 7:33, 37.

[xi] Moroni 10:7.

[xii] Moroni 7:35–37; see also Mormon 9:15–20.

[xiii] Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 96.

[xiv] Ether 12:4; emphasis added.

[xv] Russell M. Nelson, “Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 82.

[xvi] Moroni 7:41.

[xvii] “I Am a Child of God,” Children’s Songbook, 2–3.

[xviii] Moroni 7:19.

[xix] Moroni 10:30.

[xx] Moroni 7:44.

[xxi] Moroni 7:46–47.

[xxii] See Moroni 7:45.

[xxiii] Moroni 7:46.

[xxiv] Moroni 7:48.

[xxv] See Doctrine and Covenants 59:5–6.

[xxvi] Moroni 9:25.

[xxvii] Ether 12:41.

[xxviii] Doctrine and Covenants 45:7.

[xxix] Moroni 10:32.

[xxx] 2 Nephi 31:20.