After completing the abridgement, as told by the story “Mormon’s Abridgement”, he concentrated on preparing his men for one last battle against the Lamanites. Mormon was a military strategist and often used the ocean, rivers, and land formation to their advantage.

On the eve of that great battle, he placed his people in groups of ten thousand, each led by a captain or general.  Mormon’s son Moroni was one of these generals.  There were twenty-three of these groups, accounting for a total of 230,000 people ready to fight for their lives. This included the woman and children. Mormon probably felt it would be better for them to die defending themselves than to be captured as innocent civilians and tortured to death. Standing together as families, they watched with terror, as described in this verse by Mormon: “And it came to pass that my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they wait to receive them.” (Mormon 6:7)

The battle lasted the entire day, and by sunset, not a single Nephite was left standing. Mormon lay on the battlefield severely wounded but alive, having been passed over by the Lamanite army as being dead. This was also true for his son Moroni and twenty-two other Nephites.  Thinking the battle was complete, the Lamanites did not return the next day to complete their mission of destruction, leaving even their own dead without any attention.

Mormon and the remaining Nephites managed to nurse each other back to health without being detected by the Lamanites. The morning after the battle, Mormon surveyed the scene of carnage from the top of the hill Cumorah.  His heart ached with indescribable pains for the destruction of his people.  He recalled the names of eleven military leaders who had fallen, each with an army of 10,000 men.  He remembered also ten other commanders and their armies, far more than 200,000 who had died in battle.  Only twenty-four survived, including himself and his son Moroni, and his lamentations at that time were sad and poignant.

“And my soul was rent with anguish, because of the slain of my people, and I cried:

“O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!

“Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss.

“O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen!

“But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return.

“And the day soon cometh that your mortal must put on immortality, and these bodies which are now moldering in corruption must soon become incorruptible bodies; and then ye must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, to be judged according to your works; and if it so be that ye are righteous, then are ye blessed with your fathers who have gone before you.

“O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you. But behold, ye are gone, and the Father, yea, the Eternal Father of heaven, knoweth your state; and he doeth with you according to his justice and mercy.” (Mormon 6:16-22)

The afflicted Mormon then added his own account to the abridgement of the Large Plates of Nephi, including his account of the destruction of the Nephites, and called the resulting record The Book of Mormon.  The story that follows is that of his son Moroni and how he protected the Gold Plates containing the record of the Nephite people.
Written by Burke McConkie.

Click here "Mormon 6" to read the actual account of this story from the Book of Mormon.

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