Spreading lies attached to the character of men like Captain Moroni, George Washington and Joseph Smith not only weaken the influence of righteous heroes for good but also leave the world without strong examples of true manhood and faith to follow. Even when undertaken with the best intentions, attempts to “humanize” the heroes of the past can encourage rationalization in our personal lives and destroy shining examples of Christ-like attributes.
Bradley K. Young
A recent article by Book of Mormon Central about the correspondence between Captain Moroni and Pahoran portrays Moroni as a man, “susceptible to anger, frustration, doubt, and misplaced outrage…” 1
It speaks of Moroni giving way to an, “emotional outburst” and commends the Book of Mormon for describing Captain Moroni in “an unflattering light.” The Book of Mormon Central article also describes Moroni as “impatient and jump[ing] to unfair conclusions”.
Is this really the picture that the Book of Mormon paints?
Mormon’s statements about Moroni’s character are best summed up when he said,
“if all men had been, were, and ever would be like unto Moroni…the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever.” (Alma 48:17)
President Hunter speaking of this compliment said,
“I can’t imagine a finer tribute from one man to another.” 2
Mormon also records that Moroni was,
“a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding…a man whose soul did joy in liberty and the freedom of his country…and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ…and had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion even to the loss of his blood.” (Alma 48:11)
Mormon’s obvious admiration for Captain Moroni may even have shown itself when Mormon named his own son Moroni.
Moroni’s letter in Alma 60 is certainly strong and unapologetic. What prompted such a bold letter?
- Moroni learns that not only he and his men are starving and without support but also Helaman and his men. (Alma 58:7)
- Moroni, “immediately” sends a letter to Pahoran requesting aid for Helaman but receives no response. As we find out later, the reason for the lack of aid is rebellion and loss of the capital city. Pahoran chooses not to inform his chief captain, Moroni, about the problem. (Alma 59:3-4)
- Because of a lack of support, the city of Nephihah falls and thousands are killed. Moroni is, “exceedingly sorrowful” because of the loss of city—most especially because he knew it to be one, “easily maintained” and he had expected it to have proper support. (Alma 59:9)
Moroni has been left completely in the dark and knows only that for some reason the government is neglecting their responsibility. Doubtless concerned about how he can keep his oath to defend everything he holds dear, he goes to the Lord for revelation and receives an answer that,
“If those [who are] appointed…governors do not repent of their sins and iniquities, ye shall go up to battle against them.” (Alma 60:33)
Note that the Lord through revelation reprimands the governors of the land, including Pahoran.
Moroni then writes a warning to the entire government. He “desires to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect” but more so wants them to, “repent…and be up and doing.” (Alma 60:24)
He caps off the letter by stating that the Lord has spoken and unless some changes are made, he [Moroni] will, “go up to battle against [them].” (Alma 60)
Thankfully, at this point, Pahoran realizes what needs to be done. He sends a response which Moroni receives, “soon after.” (Alma 61:1)
Pahoran speaks of the dilemma he has been dealing with, wondering “whether it was just in us to go against our brethren”, and makes clear his gratitude to Moroni for answering this question that has (doubtless) been haunting him. (Alma 61:19) He responds with great humility to Moroni’s boldness and invites Moroni to join forces with him to quell the insurrection. Yes, Pahoran is a great example of patience and humility when he is admonished by the Lord and demonstrates how we should respond when justly rebuked.
Pahoran’s lack of initiative contrasts strongly with Moroni’s active righteousness & capacity to seek, receive, & act on personal revelation.
Pahoran’s lack of initiative, however, contrasts strongly with Moroni’s active righteousness and capacity to seek, receive, and act on personal revelation. Perhaps this is the reason Mormon doesn’t list Pahoran as one of the men who were, “no less serviceable” to the country than Moroni. (Alma 48:18-19)
In an excellent article on this subject, Oralyn Maran makes the following point after noting that sometimes we today feel that Moroni was a little hard on Pahoran.
“Interestingly, we have no such mixed feelings about Pahoran. We talk about the “Pahoran principle,” meaning we should not take offense but meet railing with gentleness. Much has been written on this, and it certainly is a good “take away” from the story. We see him as a victim of difficult circumstances beyond his control when the kingmen take control of the government away from him. And in spite of all this adversity, he is able to respond to Moroni’s accusations and threats with equanimity and graciousness. He seems to epitomize long-suffering and unconditional love. That certainly makes him seem great.” 3
We may be tempted to feel that Captain Moroni was overly harsh with this good man.
Many who feel this way may also wonder why Christ chose to cleanse the temple with a whip in-hand.
Said Jeffrey R Holland,
“Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds. Talk about man creating God in his own image!” 4
The fact is that in our world, we are encouraged to worship the God of Political Correctness who has become so large that he entirely eclipses the place of righteous indignation and/or a bold stand for truth. If our world wants a soft god, wouldn’t it make sense that we would also tend to criticize those from the scriptures who are examples of God’s pro-active righteousness and justice?
Perhaps Mormon included Moroni’s example to expose the weakness of the often superficial political correctness of our day.
It is certainly worth noting that Mormon, who saw our day and wrote every page of the Book of Mormon for us, is clear that Captain Moroni is the one we should admire and, consequently, strive to emulate. It seems a little presumptuous of Book of Mormon Central to assume that they know more about Captain Moroni’s character than Mormon did. Hijacking Mormon’s lesson in order to portray the whole situation in a light shaded by current norms is unacceptable. We should be trying to learn the lessons Mormon was trying to teach and become, ourselves, those over whom, “the devil (will) never have power.” (Alma 48:17)
- “Why Was Moroni’s Correspondence with Pahoran Significant?” Book of Mormon Central.
- Hunter, Howard W. “No Less Serviceable,” Ensign, Apr. 1992, 64–65.
- Moran, OraLyn. “Moroni and Pahnoran,” Religious Educator 15, no. 3 (2014): 103–115.
- Holland, Jeffery R. “The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship.” Conference, April 2014.
I remember thinking Moroni was a bit “too much” when I first read this account years ago, but then I reread it and realized the severity of the situation. Moroni was a born leader, obviously not a gentle, quiet person who would stand idly watching evil take over his people. He was a strong, passionate, loving man of God who loved his brothers and sisters and wanted to protect them and keep them on the right path. It takes strong, passionate, loving people to take charge and be an amazing leader that motivates your people to stand and fight against evil. Some of us are more quiet, ready to comfort and help others, and some of us are more bold and take charge kind of people. Different people, different things, neither one bad. Good article.
Thank you for this article! We are in serious need of righteous examples in our day, and Captain Moroni is one of the finest examples we have.
It is interesting how Moroni’s boldness seems offensive to people today.
Like Jeffery R. Holland’s quote:”…it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.”
Pahoran wasn’t listed among the righteous, being slow to act and to respond to Moroni’s letters.
Moroni had good reason to be angry at Pahoran. He and his men were starving while they were trying to hold off their enemies and defend their cities. Moroni was keeping his covenants by fighting for the freedom of his people.
I had no idea that people were attacking Captain Moroni in this way. Like with all great men, satan has tried (and does very well) to mar their good names. We see this with many of the great prophets, not to mention Jesus Christ, Himself.
I think that this talk from a general conference address, says it better than I could.
Vaughn J. Featherstone; But Watchman, What of the Night? 1975
Vietnam wasn’t a defensive war.
Vietnam was a war similiar to defending the anti nephi lehis. It was a war of defending the defenceless. A sovereign state was attacked by the northern communists with the. Material support from the Soviets and the Chinese. South Vietnam had no way to defend against this onslaught without outside support. It was the kingmen in America who betrayed saigon two years after the war had been decisively won by the South Vietnamese and americans in the battlefield. South only needed the material to keep flowing and oil to keep their tanks and aircraft running, but the kingmen renounced the paris peace accords publicly once they got the super majority in congress after the watergate scandal. This was in fact a treason. It was a clear signal from the gadiantons in washington that Saigon is effectively abandondoned and on its own. They could not keep their tanks running nor aircraft and they ran short on ammunition. North onlybneeded to keep pushing untill they run dry, and so they did. This is the one reason I would never vote a democrat ever if I was a US citizen, because it is the party of the kingmen and Gadianton. Sure the GOP has their Mittens Romneys also who are definitely Gadianton lackeys, but democrats are always against America winning anything dwcisively. Even the WW2 was their disastor, in which half of europe was given to the soviets, evwn though the US was the sole nuclear power at the time and could have forced the red army out from europe. When ever conservstibe Americans win a war, regardless of if it was neccessary or not, you can bet your money on democrats handing over that victory to the enemy. Ww2, Korea(they pinished McArthur for humiliating them), Vietnam, “desert storm episode 2” Al-Qaeda was thorougly annilihalted and the last year of Bush, there were no US casualties in that country, so Obama rushed to make sure that would not continue and pulled the troops out and let ISIS filll the vacuum. Now that same thing was done in Afganistan, even though not a single US casualty has been suffered in the pas 18 months. I am not speaking for or against these later wars, just saying that democrats pissed on the graves of those soldiers who fought in those wars, and this is a trend. I think it is clear who are the primary kingmen and lackeys of Gadianton in the US, but ever since Benson went to receive his eternal reward, church leaders have become quite cowardly about speaking the truth about that topic.
This article commits the same eisegetical readings that it accuses Book of Mormon Central of doing. For example, the author writes that “Pahoran chooses not to inform his chief captain, Moroni, about the problem” and cites Alma 50:3-4, but those verses say nothing about Pahoran. We have no way of knowing why Pahoran chose to do this, if he even chose at all. I imagine being driven from the city during a coup made it difficult to sit down and write a letter, particularly if he didn’t know who he could trust or if the kingmen would intercept it.
“Note that the Lord through revelation reprimands the governors of the land, including Pahoran.” But this conclusion is not supported in the text. Indeed, in Alma 61:20, Pahoran clearly interprets this command as applying to the rebellious kingmen, not to himself, and stresses that he has wrestled with the same problem.
“Yes, Pahoran is a great example of patience and humility when he is admonished by the Lord and demonstrates how we should respond when justly rebuked.” Again, this is not supported in the text. Pahoran never once acknowledges that he has been admonished by the Lord and he does not talk about repenting and seeking the Lord’s favor as the Book of Mormon records the Nephites doing in other instances during this war. Indeed, Pahoran writes, “you have censured me, but it mattereth not.” He doesn’t ascribe that censure to the Lord, and, understanding that Moroni was not in possession of the facts on the ground, he does not discuss the matter further.
“Pahoran’s lack of initiative, however, contrasts strongly with Moroni’s active righteousness and capacity to seek, receive, and act on personal revelation.” And again, this is not borne out in the text. We don’t have Pahoran’s account of how the kingmen’s coup happened; we have no idea if he suffered from a lack of initiative, though his subsequent actions detailed in Alma 61 seem to display plenty of initiative and belie this article’s claim. Additionally, no comment is made on Pahoran’s righteousness. Now, perhaps that is because he wasn’t very righteous, but again, there is nothing in the text to suggest that. (Personally, I feel that the language he uses in his epistle sufficiently demonstrates that he is a God-fearing man, but I recognize that that is subjective.) Absence of evidence if not evidence of absence.
In the end, a close reading faithful to the relevant text seems to indicate that the conclusion of this article drives its interpretation of the scriptural account, rather than the other way around, resulting in the same eisegetical misreadings the author accuses Book of Mormon Central of doing. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and two misreadings don’t make a correct one either.
The article does not reference Alma 50:3-4, it references Alma 59:3-4, which does support the author’s conclusion. It tells how Moroni sends a letter to Pahoran. It does not mention a response from Pahoran and from Alma 59:9 we can obviously deduce that Moroni has not received any response because he is unaware of Pahoran’s problem. We also learn that enough time had elapsed that Moroni thought that Pahoran had already sent reinforcements to the city of Nephihah (after receiving Moroni’s epistle) so it would not fall.
“We have no way of knowing why Pahoran chose to do this, if he even chose at all.” Pahoran was responsible for the government and also to keep his chief captain informed. However the chips fell, it was his responsibility.
“But this conclusion is not supported in the text. Indeed, in Alma 61:20, Pahoran clearly interprets this command as applying to the rebellious kingmen, not to himself, and stresses that he has wrestled with the same problem.”
Alma 60:33- “Ye know that ye do transgress the laws of God, and ye do know that ye do trample them under your feet. Behold, the Lord saith unto me: If those whom ye have appointed your governors do not repent of their sins and iniquities, ye shall go up to battle against them.” Moroni’s epistle, directed by personal revelation, was not sent reprimanding the kingmen – it was sent reprimanding Pahoran and the government leaders for their “slothfulness” in defending the land. He did so in direct response to revelation from God (something he tells Pahoran). The verse you quoted is Pahoran accepting Moroni’s reprimand and from Alma 61:19 we learn that Pahoran was grateful to receive this ‘censure’ from Moroni (and the Lord) as to his actions in going against the kingmen.
“Pahoran never once acknowledges that he has been admonished by the Lord and he does not talk about repenting.” In Alma 61:19-20 Pahoran thanks Moroni for reminding him of the Lord’s command that it is indeed “just in us to go against our brethren.” He explains that he was “worried concerning what [he] should do.” Pahoran’s entire letter to Moroni is a re-commitment to following the Lord’s commands and being valiant for their freedom.
“Indeed, Pahoran writes, “you have censured me, but it mattereth not.” He doesn’t ascribe that censure to the Lord.” Your quote of scripture is incomplete. The whole reads:
“And now, in your epistle you have censured me, but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart.”
Pahoran rejoiced in Moroni’s “greatness” and then thanked him for reminding him of the Lord’s commandment it was “just in us to go against our brethren” right after acknowledging that he had been “worried concerning what [he] should do”. While we do not know how things worked out between Pahoran and the Lord or the exact details of the coup, we know Pahoran was thankful and received joy from Moroni’s revelation-directed correction and acknowledged that it was indeed a commandment of the Lord that they “go up against their brethren.”
“We don’t have Pahoran’s account of how the kingmen’s coup happened; we have no idea if he suffered from a lack of initiative.” We don’t know exact details but we do know enough. Again, Pahoran’s attitude, as already detailed in the last couple paragraphs, acknowledges that he was “worried concerning what [he] should do”.
Contrast this story where Pahoran was the victim of a coup and fails to inform his chief captain to the story in Alma 46. There, Moroni becomes aware of kingmen among them and instantly acts to re-commit the people and bring the kingmen to justice. Those who would not support the freedom of the people were put to death (Alma 46:35). Had Moroni sat back, the wicked Amalickiah would have finished his ‘coup’ of the government and massive bloodshed would have resulted.
“We have no idea if he suffered from a lack of initiative, though his subsequent actions detailed in Alma 61 seem to display plenty of initiative and belie this article’s claim.” Alma 61 is Pahoran’s re-commitment after Moroni’s revelation-directed ‘censure’, recognizing that he has been “worried concerning what [he] should do” and thanking Moroni for the reminder. I think this would qualify as a case of repentance.
“In the end, a close reading faithful to the relevant text seems to indicate that the conclusion of this article drives its interpretation of the scriptural account, rather than the other way around.” In your comment you attacked several phrases in the article, yet you included little or no information supporting any other view. The amount of scriptural evidence backing this article’s view suggests the opposite of your conclusion – that instead of ‘having’ to twist selective bits of scripture, the entirety of the story brings us solidly to this conclusion.
“The article does not reference Alma 50:3–4, it references Alma 59:3–4.” Ach, that was a typo on my part, sorry. But my comment stands. Moroni receives no response from Pahoran, but there’s no stated reason in the text. From Pahoran’s epistle we can safely surmise that it was because of the coup, but there’s no reason given. Did Moroni’s letter arrive? Was the runner killed? Was he intercepted? Did someone in Pahoran’s government ensure that that particular letter never made it to his desk? I mean, maybe Pahoran didn’t care and simply chose not to reply, but that’s only one of many options and nothing in the text requires the interpretation that Pahoran chose not to respond.
“Pahoran’s entire letter to Moroni is a re-commitment to following the Lord’s commands and being valiant for their freedom.” That’s one way to read it, but not the only way. Given that he’s already rallied the people where he is, how is he not committed to their freedom? In what way has he not been following the Lord’s commands? He apparently has been wondering what to do about the coup and when Moroni’s letter arrives he recognizes it as the Lord’s answer. Who are we to say that he should have already known it? He’s trying to figure out what to do in a civil war situation, after all.
“Pahoran’s attitude, as already detailed in the last couple paragraphs, acknowledges that he was ‘worried concerning what [he] should do.'” This isn’t before the coup though. He’s been gathering his forces but fears to sin by attacking his own people, which is hardly the attitude of a sinner. Lacking initiative doesn’t equal refraining from acting. Again, this is a viable interpretation, but *only with the end conclusion in mind.*
“Alma 61 is Pahoran’s re-commitment after Moroni’s revelation-directed ‘censure’, recognizing that he has been ‘worried concerning what [he] should do’ and thanking Moroni for the reminder. I think this would qualify as a case of repentance.” That’s fine; as I acknowledged above, there is absolutely an element of subjectivity in this. But again, it’s a reading colored by the conclusion in that the text does not require it. There are other was to read it, such as I suggested in my comment, which is my point.
“The amount of scriptural evidence backing this article’s view suggests the opposite of your conclusion.” It does if you examine the evidence with the author’s conclusion as the correct way to read the account. Then of course the evidence, interpreted to favor the conclusion, favors the conclusion. But interpreted without the author’s conclusion in mind there is nothing in the text that requires arriving at that conclusion. Which, again, is my point: the author’s conclusion is eisegetical in that it reads into the text assumptions that are not present. Because of this, there is no need to accept it as the only possible interpretation, despite the author’s positioning of it as such.
“I mean, maybe Pahoran didn’t care and simply chose not to reply, but that’s only one of many options and nothing in the text requires the interpretation that Pahoran chose not to respond.” You’ll note I did not conclude why Pahoran didn’t respond – thus you couldn’t quote any conclusion of mine. I did say that Pahoran was responsible to inform Moroni and Moroni didn’t get informed.
“This isn’t before the coup though.” That is your own interpretation and is not supported by the text.
“He’s been gathering his forces but fears to sin by attacking his own people, which is hardly the attitude of a sinner.” Pahoran’s real problem – his ‘sin’, was a sin of omission. The Lord had commanded them that the king men and those who fought against the freedoms of the people should instantly be put to death. Pahoran’s reluctance shows an end result: a sin of omission by ‘lacking initiative’ and ‘[fearing] to attack’, disobeying though the Lord had clearly commanded it. Moroni’s letter was a strong reminder of the Lord’s commandment and gave Pahoran the push he needed to obey it.
“There are other ways to read it, such as I suggested in my comment, which is my point.” While variation in the exact details is definitely possible, the conclusion of this article is the only conclusion I have seen that is well supported by the text. The conclusions you suggested in your previous comment are not well supported by the text. If you can propose another conclusion that is better supported by the text, then you have the option to say that yours is right and LDS Answers’ is wrong. Otherwise, there is no point in trying to discredit their conclusion by saying other conclusions could possibly be drawn.
“This article commits the same [eisegetical] readings that it accuses Book of Mormon Central of doing.” – original comment. It doesn’t, as you have admitted yourself: “Again, this is a viable interpretation.” Indeed it is – the one best supported by the text as a whole. You also call LDS Answers’ conclusion a “misreading”. This article addressed this topic because it felt that Book of Mormon Central’s conclusion was not supported by the text – which it isn’t. To say LDS Answers is doing the same thing Book of Mormon Central did is to say that LDS Answers’ article is not supported by the text. However, their conclusion is indeed well supported as has been shown both through the article and the comments.
I feel to make the same comment that I made when reading Jack of Hearts’ comments on the recent Brigham Young article.
I struggle to read comments that have no positive purpose. If they led to a discussion about principle or an attempt to teach, change, or uplift, that would be different. Instead, this seems to be yet another attack simply for the purpose of tearing down and encouraging arguments over the specific wording or the way that things are presented. The article may well have little wording flaws, an imperfect person wrote it.
I feel that the arguments you present don’t make a lot of sense…like your comment that the rebuke from the Lord is directed at the kingmen. That is directly addressed in the article. “If those (who are) appointed governors…” That sounds pretty directed at Pahoran and the Nephite government to me. But setting all of that aside, I simply am noting, in hope that Jack of Hearts will consider it, that commenting with the sole purpose of finding fault or tearing down is a tactic of the destroyer. I wish that he/she would consider comment on principle or truth with the purpose of teaching and building.
“I struggle to read comments that have no positive purpose. If they led to a discussion about principle or an attempt to teach, change, or uplift, that would be different. Instead, this seems to be yet another attack simply for the purpose of tearing down and encouraging arguments over the specific wording or the way that things are presented. The article may well have little wording flaws, an imperfect person wrote it.” I have to ask, do you read my comments? I don’t see how you can come away from a discussion of how the claim of the article (either this one or the transfiguration of Brigham Young) is flawed and complain about “little wording flaws.” I’m not complaining about spelling and grammar problems in my above comment; rather, I am pointing out that the author’s interpretation of this account depends on first accepting the conclusion that he claims to come to when examining the evidence, which is an eisegetical reading. I listed several examples in my comment of points in the article where key assumptions were made (such as Pahoran choosing to not inform Moroni of the coup) that are not supported by textual evidence. This is a discussion of the central purpose of the article, not some nit-picking at formatting. Additionally, I am trying to “[lead] to a discussion about principle or an attempt to teach, change, or uplift” as I discuss rigorous textual interpretation and potential interpretations of scripture. You’re welcome to join.
“‘If those [who are] appointed governors…’ That sounds pretty directed at Pahoran and the Nephite government to me.” What makes you think that? I mean, it’s absolutely a true principle, but does it apply to Pahoran? He doesn’t seem to think so, as I mentioned. Why not? And note that the footnote on iniquity in Alma 60:33 references Alma 61:18, where Pahoran writes that recapturing Zarahemla will “put an end to this great iniquity.” Why isn’t that the iniquity the Lord is referring to, given that that’s how Pahoran interprets Moroni’s epistle and what the cross-reference points us to?
Do you think Moroni would throw a temper tantrum, if in Alma 48: 17 it clearly states, “… if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.”?
There are also other scriptures mentioning Moroni being, “firm in the faith of Christ”(Alma 48:13) and “not delight[ing] in bloodshed” (Alma 48:11).
Do you think anyone can can have a problem with his temper and be unshakeable by the powers of hell at the same time?
Pahoran’s gentle response to such a bold letter makes Pahoran look like a hero.
Yes, there are lessons to learn about responding with kindness, but that should not diminish Moroni’s character. In response to Moroni’s prayer, the Lord said,
“If those whom ye have appointed your governors do not repent of their sins and iniquities, ye shall go up to battle against them.”(Alma 60:33).
This revelation, given to Moroni, makes reference to Pahoran. Moroni was left in the dark without having any knowledge of what had happened with Pahoran, yet he received this message. It is clear in this verse that Pahoran committed a sin. He didn’t call upon Moroni for assistance, or let him know what was happening in the government. He did not send support to Moroni or Helaman. He had committed a sin, and Moroni was authorized, by God, thru revelation, to do something about it.
The first time I read the scripture account between Moroni and Pahoran in my youth, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Pahoran and his situation. But after spending the last 8 years teaching this story 3 times a year, one can’t help see the real account. Pahoran exhibits a great amount of apathy in the cause. Yes, he loves God and freedom but does nothing about it.
We, ourselves can learn a tremendous lesson from this narrative. Apathy is a very deadly disease and if not careful each of us can be plagued with it, and cause thousands of our brother and sisters to suffer a spiritual death. As covenant making people, we are not to wait to be told what to do, remain neutral, or lukewarm. Lukewarm is an enemy to God. He states it very clear in the scriptures.
I loved the article and I love this story of Moroni. This is a great story to share with our families to show what happens when we just sit, and it also shows how we are to fight, as Moroni teaches.
It seems that the Church also published an article in the Ensign about this exact topic, which supports some of these ideas from Book of Mormon Central.
“Moroni uses some rather harsh words in his letter”
“[Pahoran] replaces anger with kindness”
Even the LDS Book of Mormon Teacher Manual says,
“Moroni falsely accuses Pahoran, who responds with love and respect”
“In his anger, he wrote a letter to Pahoran”
A BYU speech also mentioned these same points…
“However, in his abridgment, Mormon made it clear that Moroni mistakenly assumed Pahoran was part of the problem”
“this uncharacteristic error by the great Captain Moroni.”
“Even in this misjudgment Moroni is also our model.”
The article that Book of Mormon Central published doesn’t say that Moroni was a bad example. They are simply showing us what Mormon is showing us, and what the LDS Church and BYU is showing us. Personally, I can relate more to a more human Moroni.
Book of Mormon Central actually has two great articles about how awesome Moroni is.
Why Did Mormon See Captain Moroni As A Hero?
Why Was Moroni’s Young Age An Advantage?
“Sometimes from behind the pulpit, in our classrooms, in our Council meetings and in our church publications we hear, read or witness things that do not square with the truth. This is especially true where freedom is involved. Now do not let this serve as an excuse for your own wrong-doing. The Lord is letting the wheat and the tares mature before he fully purges the Church. He is also testing you to see if you will be misled. The devil is trying to deceive the very elect.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Our Immediate Responsibility, BYU Devotional, October 25, 1966.)
Here is a Church publication that disagrees with you and agrees with LDS Answers. https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/re-15-no-3-2014/moroni-and-pahoran-0
Another example is the subject of unconditional love. Here is one pro-unconditional love on LDS.org.
And yet, here is another article by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve that is strongly against unconditional love, saying it is false doctrine.
BYU and other Church members recently honored Harry Reid. Does this mean the Church is now pro-abortion, pro-socialism and pro-everything that Harry Reid stands for, though it is diametrically opposed to countless statements by Presidents of the Church?
Your position contradicts the position of J. Reuben Clark Jr.
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
President Harold B. Lee also taught:
Instead of just throwing links to articles around, if you will make logical arguments and support it by scripture and Presidents of the Church, you will make fewer errors in judgment. Tearing down Moroni and building up a wavering, indecisive and uninspired Pahoran seems a strange model for life. I think I’ll stick with the Lord’s version of Moroni, as is clearly taught in the Book of Mormon.
I found about 6 extra articles that support Book of Mormons position. I also found a quote from Elder David A. Bednar and Prophet Howard W. Hunter.
“[Moroni] harshly accused him of thoughtlessness, slothfulness, and neglect. Pahoran might easily have resented Moroni and his message, but he chose not to take offense. Pahoran responded compassionately” David A Bednar
“Pahoran—the latter of whom had the nobility of soul not to condemn when he was very unjustly accused” President Howard W. Hunter (Notice Hunter said it was unjust of Moroni)
It’s amazing how we all interpret scriptures differently. Some people might think they are taking the correct approach to interpreting scriptures, but it’s best to get context and look at all sources, and see what the Church has published on the subject. These is part of reading from the “best books” that the Lord has asked us to use. Elder Ballard said “the ‘best books’ include the scriptures, the teachings of modern prophets and apostles, and the best LDS scholarship available.” I recommend we stay close to the Church’s publications, and the words of modern prophets (like Bednar and Hunter). Book of Mormon Central has done a great job in explaining what these prophets and Church publications mean. I think LDS Answers misunderstands what BMC publishes, what the Church publishes, and what these prophets have stated.
What then of the very words of scripture? This article has done a great job of actually going to the scriptures and finding the truth, not just repeating what has been said about the story (what BoM Central was doing).
Ann has shared a ton of great quotes regarding what scripture is or isn’t – but here’s the poser. If Alma 60:33 says that Moroni was acting under the direction of personal revelation from God and some in the church today interpret it otherwise, who’s right? The scripture or the commentary? The most correct book on earth or a person’s interpretation of the story?
Have you carefully read Alma 60-61? If you haven’t, please do. You will find that Moroni is a greater man than you ever realized. Despite his terrible physical circumstances and the huge loss of life that occurred because of the government’s neglect, he gives Pahoran and the government the benefit of the doubt. Moroni makes me think of Nephi in the way he responds to this apparent unrighteousness – asking questions to stir their hearts up in remembrance of their covenants and the commandments. He even clearly says that he doesn’t want to go against them to battle but is “constrained according to the covenant which [he had] made to keep the commandments of God.” Moroni, contrary to how it has been modernly interpreted, was acting under revelation and being obedient even as a firmly reprimanded a friend and ally.
Our society is truly plagued with political correctness, and I also believe Mormon was teaching us why it is wrong to be politically correct. Moroni was acting under direction of the spirit, and his “strong toned” letter was just what Pahoran needed to move them towards regaining their liberty!!
In This article, many commenter’s have been trying to prove their point, that maybe Pahoran wasn’t so bad. The thing is, we don’t know what pahoran was like, and It probably doesn’t even matter. What we do know is that Moroni Is an excellent example of “God’s pro-active righteousness and justice”. He is the man we should be defending.
We may learn a few valuable lessons from Pahoran, but we shouldn’t be using those as a weapon to hijack Moroni.
This statement and quote explain perfectly, why book of Mormon central (and probably many others) would criticize Captain Moroni.
“The fact is that in our world, we are encouraged to worship the God of Political Correctness who has become so large that he entirely eclipses the place of righteous indignation and/or a bold stand for truth. If our world wants a soft god, wouldn’t it make sense that we would also tend to criticize those from the scriptures who are examples of God’s pro-active righteousness and justice”
“Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.
Talk about man creating God in his own image!”
These scriptures prove of the greatness of Moroni:
Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.
Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country. And thus I close mine epistle.
Alma 43: 16,29; 16-54:
Now, the leader of the Nephites, or the man who had been appointed to be the chief captain over the Nephites—now the chief captain took the command of all the armies of the Nephites—and his name was Moroni;
Alma 48: 11-13, 17-19:
11 And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;
12 Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.
13 Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.
Moroni’s rightful anger wasn’t direct towards Pahoran alone but all the people of the land of Zarahemla who were in the center of the land and doing nothing to support the cause of freedom because they were safe. It’s a powerful lesson of our duties and what government can do to support our freedoms.
I love this topic. What a great discussion this article sparked. It is more timely than ever. Surely this is a time when we need more civil dialogue like the kind we read of in scripture between Moroni and Pahoran, and among the commenters on this forum. I recently had a political discussion with a family member that really surprised me, I had no idea how differing our views were before, but the act of discussing it openly actually brought us closer together and helped me see how I need to actively learn to articulate political principles, and to maintain love for all despite our differences. We must wake up and more confidently and boldly talk about these things, because the enemy is counting on us being lulled into passivity. I find that I grow a lot more when my desire is to discover and defend truth rather than opinion, and accept that it may involve changing my mind or someone taking offense with me before clarity comes. It is worth that risk to hold our elected leaders accountable and defend our rights. I can find parts of myself in both Moroni and Pahoran’s characters, there are times I have felt alarmed and betrayed by the laws and choices of my elected officials and have voiced my opinions boldly, and knew that was the right thing to do even when it wasn’t popular. And there are times when in discussion with friends or family who are more actively involved in political issues than me, I have have been humbled to realize I have been too lukewarm about certain freedoms and need to wake up and take my responsibilities as a citizen more seriously, which has prompted me to act. There are things we can learn from both sides of the table without discounting the value of either. Both Moroni and Pahoran have critical strengths and for me the essential lesson from this isn’t so much who is better as it is: when faced with a dilemma, LISTEN to God and then to one another, TALK and get on the same page with true principles, COMBINE strengths towards the common worthy goal. How easy it is to misconstrue the meaning of a person’s words without more context and insight into their character. Pahoran could respond the way he did to Moroni both because of his own humility and because of what he already knew about Moroni’s character. The message of this article motivates me to get to know my elected officials and neighbors better, actively engage in the political process like our church leaders are continually counseling us to do, and do so with love and gratitude for the opportunity to even dialogue in the first place. Having lived abroad in communist countries, I do not take those freedoms for granted anymore. Heaven forbid we are ever in a place or time where it’s taken away.
And, interestingly, this topic reminds me of the account of Mary and Martha when Martha is ‘cumbered about much serving’ and asks Jesus for Mary’s help, while Jesus commends her for using her gift being ‘careful and troubled about many things’ while also commending Mary for her attentiveness to Him. But the story is often tilted one way or another, which makes me sad. Our weaknesses are really our gifts mis-applied. We know enough about both sisters in other verses to see they are not one-dimensional figures, and the fact that Jesus corrected Martha about what Mary was doing didn’t change who he knew Martha was inside – a bold witness for Him! “Whom the Lord loveth he correcteth” (Prov 3:12). But correcting her did help Martha grow!! God wisely allows us to rub shoulders with each other to reveal our weaknesses and the need to turn to Him for strength in all things. I am a Martha so this hits close to home and has been the source of much learning for me.
Another witness: https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/moroni-the-man-pahoran-the-propagandist-a-hidden-lesson-for-modern-day-readers-of-the-book-of-mormon-by-grego/
I disagree with those who minimize Pahoran’s stature and greatness. Inability to communicate between Zarahemla and the battlefield made it impossible for either Pahoran or Moroni to know the extent of the difficulties each was facing. The king-men had Zarahemla by the throat, and Pahoran himself was in exile, powerless to lead. When he received Moroni’a epistle, he could have responded in anger, perhaps accusing Moroni of poor military leadership resulting in Nephite army loses. He could have threatened court marshall, relieving him of his position for incompetence. Instead, Pahoran (now knowing of Moroni’s dire circumstances) responded with love and kindness, expressed joy at the greatness of Moroni’s heart, then proposed a plan to solve both of the problems they faced. In the end, the Nephites prevailed, and eventually peace was restored. In my opinion, the outcome could have been disastrous for the Nephite nation were it not Pahoran’S humility and kindness.