I Moroni Even Remain Alone

Alan C. Miner

It is interesting that Moroni twice makes mention of the fact that he is “alone.” In Mormon 8:3 he says, “And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father.” In Mormon 8:5 he says, “Behold, my father hath made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go.”

In respect to Moroni’s writing assignment, the phrase “I even remain alone to write the sad tale” apparently means that Moroni was the only official Nephite scribe left. He makes a point that he had received a “commandment” from his father Mormon, the only other prophet and record keeper besides Moroni. However, the idea that Moroni was the only Nephite left is a little bit questionable. Moroni 1:2 lets us know that at a later date Moroni says, “they (the Lamanites) put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ.” Therefore, the meaning of the phrase “I am alone” probably means that all the other major Nephite leaders had been put to death by the Lamanites. The words in Mormon 8:5, “my father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinfolk” implies further that Mormon and Moroni were probably part of a great family unit that shouldered much spiritual and secular responsibility in the Nephite society. The phrase, “I have not friends nor whither to go” might imply the lack of righteous covenant people to whom Moroni could go for help. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

According to John Sorenson, the record came to an end because the lineage did, not because an entire civilization ceased (see Moroni 9:20,24) The difference is important if we are to relate the volume accurately to archaeological finds. Mormon noted that “a few . . had escaped into the south countries, and a few . . had dissented over unto the Lamanites” (Mormon 6:15). Naturally, large numbers of people of Nephite descent had never consented to flee their lands in the first place (Mormon 2:7-8), but had switched allegiance and renounced their old beliefs and allegiance rather than move out (Moroni 1:2) Mormon observed to his son that “many of our brethren have dissented over unto the Lamanites” (Moroni 9:24) The Doctrine and Covenants says that modern descendants of not only the Nephites but also the major lineages allied with them, the Jacobites, Josephites, and Zoramites, will yet be identified (D & C 3:17-20; 10:48). [John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, p. 56] [See the commentary on Ether 1:1: 13:21]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary