Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Mormon Bred

 [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.


LL said...

For a 10 year old to "lead warriors", the warriors would need to ascent. I don't know of, have never met a 10 year old who could lead warriors from the front, as was required in the BOM style of warfare. Imagine the OIC of a SEAL platoon being ten?

I think of the young Ensigns in the British Army - most very young - whose job it was to protect the standard. They'd stand in the line of battle next to a sergeant with what was essentially a boar spear, and perhaps a grenadier carrying a blunderbuss (shotgun) and they'd march forward to engage. Though an officer, they didn't lead men. They learned.

Alexander had tutors but Phillip taught him how to lead men by example (by Phillip's own example), and the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

The BOM is lacking in these sorts of details because that's not why it was written, as a spiritual abridgment. However we may infer that Mormon learned "grace-by-grace".

Morgan Deane said...

Good point. He got the command to eventually be the record keeper at 10, he didn't take military command until 15 or 16. That is still pretty young, which is why discussing the advantages he was born with was very important.

LL said...

There have been monarchs who took command at a young age - but most were under the guidance of a regency. There are MANY examples of that. Often regents become usurpers, but that was obviously not the case here (providing that there was some sort of regent named).