[I wrote the following in a facebook group about Mormon's young leadership.]
I teach a class on
military leadership and one of the major questions I ask is whether the great
leaders were born or trained. Many of the ancient commanders like Alexander the
Great were amazing so it sure seems like they were born geniuses. But I must
remind my students that those born in the elite and upper class had numerous
advantages that others didn’t. Most people lived as farmers barely eking out a
living. If they did have to fight they would be comfortable with farming and
hunting implements but usually not swords. Think of David with his sling, which
a shepherd would need often to ward off predators. Or see Mosiah 9:16. The elites on the other hand
could spend their days training. Therefore, you see people like Ammon, the
former crown prince, who could time and angle his defensive sword strokes in
such a way that he could cut off arms. Mormon and Moroni clearly had language
training as they could read and write. (Moroni provided a discursive explanation of why he wrote in one ancient, obscure language instead of another, Mormon 9:32-33.) Alexander the Great was tutored by
Aristotle and Mormon seems to have been a quick study, we don’t know from who,
to receive his commission at the age of 10. Most farmers were often
undernourished but the elites would be taller, healthier, and have the diets to
build muscle mass.
I read Mormon 1-2 and saw many factors that aided his leadership. Like Alexander the Great he had many advantages that those from lesser families and bloodlines wouldn’t have. We might consider this an example of where much is given much is required and I think he and his son delivered. Mormon led the people through 70 years of wickedness and warfare and of course we have the book that bears his name.
Our young men and women living in the modern age need to take advantage of the education- physical, mental, and spiritual, that are available to everybody. They need to take their spiritual training seriously. Unfortunately, we seem to be a sedentary society that doesn’t train our minds or bodies. Instead of mental gymnasts we seem to be mental couch potatoes. We eat spiritual Twinkies instead of diving into the hard work of really understanding and applying the scriptures. We join the angry mob in cancelling people without considering how the media and small groups of strident jerks lead us around by the nose. I think Mormon would be ashamed at how we squander all the many gifts and tools available to the least of us that used to be the luxury of a few.