Itâ€™s pretty obvious that the historian Mormon had a fairly strong case of hero worship for Captain Moroni. First, he named his son after him, second, major portions of his history are dedicated to Moroni, and third, he notes in a moment of commentary, that he believes if all men were like Moroni, â€œthe very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of menâ€ ( Alma 48:17 )
Moroni, however, was not a perfect man, and even with his profound love and admiration of Moroni, Mormon does not paint us a picture of a man on a pedestal. He gives us a religious leader at war who â€œbegan to doubt, because of the wickedness of the people, whether they should not fall into the hands of their brethren.â€ ( Alma 48:17 ) In other words, he doubted God was with him and his. This fact was probably important to Mormon, who felt he was in a very similar situation (and perhaps was the main source of his admiration for Moroni.) What is more interesting is Moroniâ€™s actions while in this state of doubt. He blamed this on others, and, as we all know, wrote a scathing rebuke to his leader, Pahoran. While he repented of this letter and went to Pahoranâ€™s aid quickly, what is most interesting to me in this letter is that he falsely evokes the name of revelation, saying
Ye know that ye do transgress the laws of God, and ye do know that ye do trample them under your feet. Behold, the Lord saith unto me: If those whom ye have appointed your governors do not repent of their sins and iniquities, ye shall go up to battle against them.
Moroni is claiming incorrectly that God has revealed to him his right to fight and usurp his leaders, based on his false belief that his leader is in the wrong. In actuality, his leader does not have â€œsins and iniquitiesâ€ he needs to repent of. I personally believe that Moroni did in fact believe he had a revelation at the time he wrote Pahoran, but was confusing his own feelings of anger and discouragement for divine injunction. He obviously quickly repented of this error.
And yet Mormon says this man, who mistakes his own passions for revelation is so great that we should all strive to be like him. And I agree. We should strive to be like Moroni, Warts and All. If someone as great as he was can make such a huge mistake, so can the rest of us accept mistakes we make in discerning the will of the Lord, and mistakes others around us make, whether it be an apostle or a primary teacher. We all are going to be wrong about revelations sometime, we need to accept that fact, and move forward with faith.
I love that we have this fallibility built into our religion, a way to accept every son or daughter of God as only imperfectly human, yet truly remarkable.