The Prayers of Those Who Have Gone Hence

14 And it hath become expedient that I,
according to the will of God,
that the prayers of those who have gone hence,
who were the holy ones,
should be fulfilled
according to their faith,
should make a record of these things which have been done—
(3 Nephi 5:14)

Mormon’s intergenerational perspective was critical to his success in his prophetic calling.

He tells us in the verse just before the passage above that he was called to preach God’s word to his people, and we know that he did just that. For example, in Moroni 7, we have the text of a sermon that he delivered on faith, hope, and charity. We also know that he was frequently disappointed by his people’s lack of responsiveness (Mormon 3:11-16, Moroni 9:4-6).

But in this chapter, a brief editorial note during the period between the birth and the death of the Savior, Mormon discusses his most important calling, a calling which he could not have fulfilled without an expansive perspective.

His ancestors had prayed that a record of their people would be preserved to bless the lives of subsequent generations (Enos 1:13-18). Even as Mormon watched the destruction of his own nation and the deterioration of civilization among their enemies, he was able to maintain his confidence that the record he was creating would fulfill those prayers. He studied ancient records kept by his people and searched for the events and teachings which would be most beneficial to subsequent generations. He constructed a set of plates with his own hands and painstakingly carved this history on them. In doing so, he was fulfilling the prayers of people he had never met on behalf of people he would never meet. What an amazing act of faith!

Today, I will strive to follow Mormon’s example by maintaining my perspective as I serve. I will remember that the good things I do can have far-reaching effects. I will do what God wants me to do without expecting to see all of the positive outcomes of my actions.

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