For ten years, from AD 350 to AD 360, the Nephites fought no battles. Their leader, Mormon, spent that decade preparing for the conflicts to come. Like Captain Moroni, he led his people “in preparing their lands and their arms against the time of battle” (Mormon 3:1). (See Alma 50:1-6.)
But unlike Captain Moroni, Mormon was unable to turn his people toward God. “They did not realize that it was the Lord that had spared them, and granted unto them a chance for repentance.” As a result, “they did harden their hearts against God” (Mormon 3:3).
I’ve been thinking today about the tragedy of missed opportunities, and particularly the tragedy of unrecognized opportunities. To the Nephites, ten years of peace might have seemed unremarkable, but Mormon saw those years as a blessing: a time to prepare, a chance to repent. And the Nephites missed that chance because they didn’t realize what they had been given.
As President Russell M. Nelson has recently reminded us, “Unusual times can bring unusual rewards.” He encouraged us to take advantage of the opportunities available to us during the pandemic:
I pray that we as a people are using this unique time to grow spiritually. We are here on earth to be tested, to see if we will choose to follow Jesus Christ, to repent regularly, to learn, and to progress. Our spirits long to progress. And we do that best by staying firmly on the covenant path.“Moving Forward,” General Conference, October 2020
Today, I will strive to recognize opportunities to grow and progress, particularly during this unique time. I will particularly take advantage of the chances to repent which my Heavenly Father has given to me.