Modern-day Moronis

Captain Moroni was fierce in his defense of freedom because of what freedom meant to the family and to God's kingdom.

Though well-known for raising the Title of Liberty to rally Nephites against the tirades of Amalickiah (see Alma 46:12), that display was certainly not Moroni's first demonstration of his loyalty to those noble causes.

A year or so earlier, Moroni had teamed his army with that of Lehi's to drive Zerahemnah, an opposition leader apparently equally wicked to Amalickiah, from the Nephite homeland. (See Alma 43 and 44.)

A man of justice who "did not delight in bloodshed," Moroni offered Zerahemnah and his warriors their freedom and their lives — if they would simply covenant to end their fighting.

That Zerahemnah refused reveals his foolish wickedness.

But it is the way in which Moroni made the offer that reveals his unfeigned dedication to the things of righteousness.

In commanding Zerahemnah to lay down his weapons, Moroni invoked "our faith," "our religion," "our rites of worship," "our church," "the sacred support which we owe to our wives and children," the "liberty that binds us to our lands and our country," God, and "all that is most dear to us." (See Alma 44:5.)

Can anyone — warrior, peacemaker or otherwise — find greater wisdom?

Likely not.

The Twentieth Century was not without its own, modern-day, Moronis, many of whom were fathers who, with little fanfare beyond (or even within) their own families, built themselves, their families, their communities and their church — even the Kingdom of God — so that those who followed would benefit from their work.

These men were, of course, not perfect. And not all chose the paths suggested below. But many did labor earnestly and tirelessly in their service to their family and friends.

Many of those fathers, like Moroni, found themselves in far-off lands in mortal combat, defending themselves from bullets and bombs while protecting their families, preserving freedom and pursuing peace.

Not having been there, their children have no idea what it was like; the perils they faced, the odious tragedy they endured. And those fathers, bound to protect their families from all evil, are loathe to talk much, if at all, about it. For they knew that the only glory offered on the battlefield was the security that victory bought back home.

Many, too many, never returned home. Their lives were left with God. Their work continued in another realm. Their widows and fatherless families were left with mortality's greater challenges because of what these fathers had given.

Those who did return home did so with a greater — almost inspired — passion for building that which God would have them build.

And they worked.

Vocationally, their paths were varied. But, universally, they worked hard. They rose early. Their labors while on the clock were matched only by their labors — often late into the evening and certainly on weekends — at home. Their tools were electrical tape and typewriters, bricks and books, hammers and pencils, concrete and carbon paper.

Their home work was complemented by their Church work. They were Young Men leaders, home teachers, Sunday School presidents, clerks, bishops, high priest group leaders, stake presidents, mission presidents and executive secretaries.

As they worked, they ministered. And their families and neighbors were blessed.

Though immersed in professional, home and Church work, these fathers rested from their labors enough to play with their children. Maybe it was wrestling and football with the boys. Maybe it was scrambling eggs on Saturday morning. It could have been at home. But it might well have been miles away on an outing or vacation that, years later, cemented more memories than anyone could have ever imagined.

Playing was fun. But these dads worked at it. And it paid off.

With all that work, there was still time for their wives and sweethearts. While Mom labored equally as hard, you knew that, to Dad, working for — and with — her was just a little less laborious. Life might, at times, be tough, but with her it was palatable and precious.

When Adam left the Garden of Eden he was told that it would be by his own work that he survived. The righteous fathers who have followed understand just what that means.

May we, the offspring of those faithful men, "be like unto Moroni" and work equally hard as a fitting tribute to the sanctity of their lives.

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