8 Yea, even they who have looked up to you for protection, yea, have placed you in a situation that ye might have succored them, yea, ye might have sent armies unto them, to have strengthened them, and have saved thousands of them from falling by the sword.
9 But behold, this is not all—ye have withheld your provisions from them, insomuch that many have fought and bled out their lives because of their great desires which they had for the welfare of this people; yea, and this they have done when they were about to perish with hunger, because of your exceedingly great neglect towards them.
10 And now, my beloved brethren—for ye ought to be beloved; yea, and ye ought to have stirred yourselves more diligently for the welfare and the freedom of this people; but behold, ye have neglected them insomuch that the blood of thousands shall come upon your heads for vengeance; yea, for known unto God were all their cries, and all their sufferings—
Laziness is always a vice but particularly for those who hold positions of responsibility. When other people “[look] up to you for protection,” then negligence is a serious sin. As Captain Moroni tells Pahoran in the passage above, the failure of the government to send adequate provisions and support to the army in a time of war has directly resulted in unnecessary deaths. Those deaths hang over the heads of the people who might have prevented them by doing their duty with more diligence.
There is more to the story, as we learn in the following chapter. But even before learning the circumstances (and the self-doubt) which held Pahoran back from fulfilling his duty, we learn a true principle from the bold rebuke of Moroni. Here are some other examples of prophets teaching the same principle:
- “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, “Chapter 18: Service in the Church“).
- “We did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence” (Jacob 1:19).
- “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World“).
Today, I will take seriously the responsibilities I have in each of my leadership roles. I will remember that the people I lead depend upon me to take action on their behalf. If I am negligent in those responsibilities, I betray the trust they have placed in me and I may cause them to suffer in ways that only I could have prevented. Remembering this, I will work diligently and with integrity in my leadership roles, including my role as a father.