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Captain Moroni and Alma.
Moroni and Alma were totally different people. I mean, Alma lived in Jershon with a bunch of pacifists (well, they weren’t actually traditional pacifists; they just didn’t feel like they could personally fight) and Moroni was a man of war. And Moroni was GOOD at war. Really, really good. He was only 25, but he was leading men into battles and killing so many Lamanites that they didn’t number them. He put people to death when they wouldn’t fight for the cause of freedom. Alma was a prophet of God who baptized Lamanites.
Who was more righteous?
If we had to guess, it might feel easier to choose Alma. Alma was a prophet, and he was baptizing Lamanites. Captain Moroni fought wars, and he was killing Lamanites. I think the most interesting thing about this is the fact that we don’t actually know who was more righteous. Are prophets righteous? YES. Are they the most righteous? Maybe. Or maybe they were just the right men for the job at that time. It doesn’t actually matter who was more righteous, but I bring it up to teach a principle.
Each of us has different personalities, gifts, and struggles and each of us has highly personalized missions from our Heavenly Father. We need to embrace them. We can’t compare them.
This. This is what I’m talking about today.
My husband is anything but traditional. He’s loud and confident, a little crazy (or if I’m being honest, a LOT crazy). Motorcycles. Very motivated by money. Loves shock value. Has a general disregard for what people think of him. He held my baby upside down after giving him a baby blessing in the middle of sacrament meeting for everyone to see. And while I’m all about becoming more reverent, I also whole-heartedly acknowledge the fact that my husband is an incredible man.
There have been many times since I’ve married Conner that I’ve received comments about my husband. There have been many times that I’ve received side glances. There have been plenty of times that I’ve rolled my eyes at his antics, but the people who really know Conner, know how good he is.
My husband has very unique gifts and a big personality to attend them.
Let me illustrate my principle in a different way before I circle back around to Conner.
An excommunicated member of the church (who is also a historian), D. Michael Quinn, wrote a book about the history of the finances of the church. I didn’t read the book, but I did read an interview from the author of the book. It’s no secret that the church is worth a lot. However, it wasn’t always this way. In 1962, the church was $33 million dollars in debt, and they were unsure they could make payroll. According to an inflation calculator I found on Google, that’s $280 million dollars in debt. It is very difficult to help other people when you’re in debt.
Now. When I was describing my husband earlier, I described him as “motivated by money.” In the few years I’ve been married to him, this has warranted the occasional negative comment.
I’d like to tell you a little bit about Elder N. Eldon Tanner. N. Eldon Tanner was called as an apostle around the same time the church found itself in immense debt in 1962. N. Eldon Tanner had an immense knowledge of finance, and the church tapped into that knowledge. Not only did N. Eldon Tanner play a huge role in getting the church out of debt, he slowly introduced the church to corporate finance.
Side note. Not everybody loves that the church does corporate finance. That is a topic for another day, and if you have questions or comments about that, feel free to post them below.
Anyway. The church has avoided debt since that time. Not only have they avoided debt, but they have gotten to the point where they are capable of providing millions of dollars of relief. Say what you will about getting rich and corporate finance, but the world is a better place because the church is rich.
So Elder Tanner knew a lot about finance (probably because he was interested in it), and his contribution has blessed the entire world. Is it wrong to be interested in money? No! Is it wrong to love money more than God? Yes!
There are seminary teachers and institute teachers and general authorities and historians that are all contributing to the building of the kingdom of God. There are also CEO’s, military captains, and basketball coaches (shoutout to my mission president) that contribute just as much. Now here is my principle again split into two parts.
- God has a calling for each of us, and it’s not always something that necessarily looks spiritual from the outside. Our personalities often coincide with these callings that He has for us. I love learning and reading; I make videos about Come Follow Me. My husband is a risk-taker; he makes a great entrepreneur and inventor.
- We’ve got to stop comparing ourselves, for better or worse. Am I better than my husband because I spend a ton of time in Come Follow Me? Was Alma better than Captain Moroni?
My husband receives just as much revelation as I do. I may be receiving revelation for Come Follow Me, but I know Conner is receiving revelation about the things he builds. We’re both developing the skill of listening to our Heavenly Father. You can develop that skill in any honest facet of your life.
Let’s read about Captain Moroni and some scriptures that teach my same point.
17 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.
18 Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God.
19 Now behold, Helaman and his brethren were no less serviceable unto the people than was Moroni; for they did preach the word of God, and they did baptize unto repentance all men whosoever would hearken unto their words.
All of these men did good things within their spheres of expertise even though their spheres were drastically different. Captain Moroni did some great things over the course of these chapters. He consulted the prophet, and he made professional (and most likely inspired) decisions like putting armor on his soldiers and placing armies in specific places to catch the Lamanites. He inspired people to remember their families and freedom. He bore his testimony to his enemies. We can listen to the prophet, make important and inspired decisions, and remember our priorities. We can bear our testimonies in our day to day lives.
One last related concept. As I mentioned previously, Captain Moroni was good at war, and he used it to protect his people. We all have different talents that we can use to build the kingdom. But. Our specific talents and personalities also come with temptations and potential downfalls.
Alma 48:11 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;
Moroni did not delight in bloodshed. He could have. He faced some pretty terrible people, and he could have really enjoyed taking revenge. But he did not delight in bloodshed. He took the very best of his calling and his personality and his gifts and shunned the rest. I have to make sure I don’t think I’m better than other people; Conner has to make sure he always puts God first. We all have our weaknesses, but God can take those weaknesses and use them to build the kingdom. So. Embrace your calling and gifts. Don’t compare your calling and gifts to someone else’s. Fortify the parts of your personality that could get you into trouble.