Soon after Moroni was called as a church leader, his father, Mormon, wrote him this letter.
Mormon’s purpose in writing his son was to correct a doctrinal misunderstanding.
- Greeting: I’m grateful for your calling, and “I am mindful of you always in my prayers” (Moroni 8:2-3).
- I’m troubled to hear that there are disagreements among you regarding baptism (Moroni 8:4-6).
- Christ came into the world to call sinners to repentance. Baptism is for those who are capable of committing sin, not for little children (Moroni 8:7-11).
- The doctrine: “Little children are alive in Christ.” How could God condemn little children who died without baptism through no fault of their own? (Moroni 8:12-23)
- The role of baptism: Repentance and baptism bring a remission of sins for those who have broken the law. This enables them to receive the Holy Ghost, which fills them with hope and love, preparing them to dwell with God (Moroni 8:24-26).
- Our people, the Nephites will be completely destroyed because of their pride unless they repent (Moroni 8:27-29).
- “Farewell, my son” (Moroni 8:30).
When Jesus appeared to the inhabitants of the American continent, He urged them to avoid contention about how baptisms should be performed: “According as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been” (3 Nephi 11:28). In this epistle to his son, Mormon echoes this concern, and then explains why the mechanics of baptism are crucial: because they reflect underlying principles which ultimately affect our behavior.
King Benjamin learned from an angel that the Atonement of Jesus Christ saves those who sin in ignorance, including little children (Mosiah 3:11, 16). Mormon echoes this doctrine and pleads with us to recognize that a fair and loving God would not condemn people for something they had no control over. Then, he points out the implication for those of us who have knowingly sinned: We need to repent, be baptized, and humble ourselves like a little child in order to receive Christ’s saving power (Moroni 8:10). (See also 3 Nephi 11:38-39.)
I will respond to Mormon’s first epistle by striving to humble myself. I will seek to approach the Savior with the attitude of a small child: trusting Him, willing to receive correction from Him, and believing that He is able to save all those who become as little children (Matthew 18:2-5).
Blog Posts About Mormon’s First Epistle to Moroni
- As Their Little Children – Moroni 8:10 (5/26/2017)
- Mindful of You – Moroni 8:2-3 (11/26/2016)
- The Endurance of Faith – Moroni 3:3, 8:3 (12/28/2015)
- Moroni 8:25-26 The First Fruits of Repentance is Baptism (12/29/2014)