The author lives in Utah, USA.
During the last half of my senior year in high school, I had just a short few months before I would turn 18, officially become an adult, receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and be ordained an elder. I spent a good portion of my scripture study those days looking for an example of what a “man of God” is and how I could become one.
One of the best examples I found was a man called to lead the Nephite army during some of the most gruesome wars in his nation’s history with the declaration that his people fought “in memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” (Alma 46: 12). He was chief Captain Moroni. The leader about whom Mormon wrote that “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” (Alma 48: 17).
The example that Captain Moroni set was one “of a perfect understanding.” He “did not delight in [wronging others] …” but rather his “soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his … brethren from bondage.” And his “heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God.” He “did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people” and “was firm in the faith of Christ” (Alma 48: 11–13; emphasis added). All these characteristics of Captain Moroni described here are really attributes of true discipleship that can apply to all of us, both men and women.
I’ve been trying to follow Moroni’s example by serving others whenever the opportunities arise, even when it’s inconvenient. I try to not just help others but also avoid doing wrong to others in any measure if I can help it. I’ve also been studying the words of our modern prophets more. And I seek to work hard when opportunities come.
Captain Moroni set a high standard for what a man of God is. And being a young Melchizedek Priesthood holder, I often wonder how I will ever become a man of God who is just as strong and faithful as Captain Moroni was. Doing what I have already done has been a difficult struggle.
During the Sermon on the Mount and also to the Nephites after His Resurrection, our Savior Jesus Christ gave us instructions on how to do so. After teaching the Beatitudes and other aspects of discipleship, He said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Every man and woman of God is expected to become perfect—eventually. But we’re all human and are prone to sin. So to instill hope into us, the prophet Moroni taught that if we “come unto Christ, and [are] perfected in him, and deny [our]selves of all ungodliness, and love God with all [our] might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for [us], that by his grace [we] may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32). Our Heavenly Father planned for us being human, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t be men and women of God even with our imperfections. And I for one am grateful for that.
We can be men and women of God even though we still stumble and fall at times. All we have to do is do our best to live our lives in accordance with the gospel, and our Savior will help us the rest of the way to perfection.