(October 27, 2014)
We each have our cultural biases that are out of harmony with the Lord’s teachings – and that is no different from the prophets (ancient and modern). Mormon clearly was biased by his understanding of proper warfare – and it shines through brightly in his description of Captain Moroni’s methods of warfare. On the one hand, Mormon is overflowing with praise for
Moroni and his capacity and effectiveness as
a leader. On the other hand, Mormon is
almost apologetic in his treatment of Moroni’s
tactics. At times the Book of Mormon
reads like the writings of an apologist not quite sure if the subject he is
praising is deserving.
Because of that, we get Mormon’s language about how Moroni was right to use cunning because he was protecting the Church and the Nephite families – language we would not have now because our cultural assumptions are that cunning strategies are entirely appropriate. We have language such as Mormon all but praising Jacob – a bloodthirsty Zoramite, no less – for his fierceness and determination in battle.
There is a lesson and good news to take from this. The lesson is that if a prophet of God as important and accomplished as Mormon can have issues with cultural biases, then it is certain that we too have cultural biases and blinders that preclude us from seeing the truth clearly. The good news is that Mormon was a prophet and was able to overcome his biases through the help of the Lord, and thus we also have hope that we can overcome our biases from the same source.