I Would That I Could Persuade All to Repent Mormon 1-6
This has been an interesting week of scripture study for me as I worked my way through Mormon 1-6 and also worked on my Come Follow Me for the Doctrine and Covenants Study Companions at the same time. Some of the things that I was reading really came together for me, and it was a true blessing to be able to do both at the same time.
I Would That I Could Persuade All to Repent
I imagine it was difficult for Mormon as he watched the destruction of his people and wished that he could persuade all to repent. Yet also being so close to the Lord and a prophet, he ultimately knew where things were leading, and it had to be heartbreaking for him.
I think the message that really stood out to me is all about love. Love for the people we serve. Love for the people around us that are making mistakes. Even when we can’t change the choices or behavior of others, we can still love them.
A Lesson learned from Cub Scouts
Several years ago, my husband and I were serving as Webelos leaders. If you’ve ever been a Webelos leader, you’ll understand when I say that this is no easy task. For one thing, the amount of things that the boys had to complete was monumental and required a lot of planning and coordination. But more of a challenge is dealing with a large group of 10 year old boys that can potentially have problems focusing on the task at hand.
But my husband and I were a good team. I was the planner/organizer that put the activities together and he was the muscle that kept everyone in line. It was a good system. We got the job done, but it didn’t mean I had a great attitude. The boys were loud and messy, and as the boys came into our group and left our group there was always at least one that was hard to manage. Every week when our activity was over I would wring my hands and wonder why I bothered.
Loving those we serve, even when it's difficult
We’d been the leaders for a couple of years, and had a good schedule and system down, yet each week when it was time for our meeting, I would dread it and couldn’t wait for it to be over. One of the requirements each year was to take the boys on a hike, and it was probably my least favorite of all the things we had to do.
When the week of our third hike rolled around, we had the boys bring water and snacks and loaded them in the car headed to the canyon where we would do our hike. On the way there, they were loud, and insisted on rolling down the windows and screaming out of them at people and a few horses as we drove. I was watching the clock waiting for the entire event to be over.
There was a lot of wrangling happening as we hiked. I’m pretty sure my husband had to remind them not to throw rocks at least a dozen times as there was a horse trail below us, and there were stragglers and those who insisted on running ahead the entire time. It was a little like herding cats.
The Spider Incident
We got to the end of the trail and everyone found a rock to sit on and eat their snacks. One of the boys just happened to perch himself right below a spider’s web without realizing it, and before he knew it, the spider decided to come down and investigate. Then began the screaming, running around freaking out...and the other boys thought it was hilarious, of course.
When the snacks were gone, we headed back down the trail. But something had changed. The boy that had been surprised by the spider’s visit was not running around being unruly. He had honestly been shaken by this event, and you could see how the fear had changed him. It was not a laughing matter for him at all. So instead of running around with the other boys, he was hanging back with me. We were completely at the back of the pack, and he was telling me about his fear of spiders, which led to talk of other things too. Suddenly he wasn’t a rambunctious 10 year old boy to me, and at one point on this trail, I looked over at him and for the first time, I saw him through the eyes of the Savior.
I instantly felt all the love that the Savior had for him, and knew how precious he was. With tears running down my face, I realized suddenly that Heavenly Father loved these boys, and He needed me to love them too, and I hadn’t been doing that. I needed to do some serious repenting and change my attitude. It was the lesson I needed from that calling, and coincidentally, we got released not long after that. But the lesson stayed with me. That day, that hike, and that 10 year old boy changed me forever.
So why did Mormon bother if it was a lost cause?
It might seem like a stretch to compare a pack of unruly 10 year old boys to the wicked Nephite nation, but this experience with the Webelos helps me, in a small way, understand a little of why Mormon did some of the things he did. And this story of the Webelos came back to me as I was reading this week.
Mormon truly loved these people, despite their actions. He led their army, he prayed for them, and he loved them. How much easier it might have been for him to say “why bother” and take his records and leave. But he didn’t, because he loved his people, and he continued to want to help them even when he knew his efforts were futile. And he loved us, despite not knowing us, enough to put all the effort required into preserving the records. And he did it all because he saw the people around him through the eyes of the Lord.
Maybe it’s a good lesson for all of us, especially in the contentious world we live in right now. If we could all look around us and see our brothers and sisters through the eyes of the Savior, and love them as He loves us, imagine how much different things could be.
This week's challenge cards
There were so many possibilities for good talks and videos to go with this week's lesson! I had a list a mile long, but had to narrow it down to what I thought were the best ones. I left off the talks that are in the manual because there is a link to them from the lesson, but don't forget about them because they're great talks.
If you're unfamiliar with the challenge cards, they are six activities, talks, or videos that go with the lesson--one for each day of the week. They can serve as a great way to incorporate a little bit of study time each day to help as you do your regular scripture study.
Be sure to subscribe and I'll send them every week on Sunday night for the upcoming lesson!