The Second Epistle of Mormon to his son Moroni, which comprises the second to last chapter in the entire Book of Mormon, has things to "grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death." "But," continues Mormon, "may Christ lift thee up" (Moroni 9: 25).
The great military installation, the Tower of Sherrizah, has fallen to the enemy, and Nephite "men, women, and children" face execution, torture, deprivation--"no water, save a little"--and, finally, even abandonment in the Wasteland: leaving "them to wander whithersoever they can for food; and many old women do faint by the way and die." "Betwixt Sherrizah and me" lies a road of death; "but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death. . .and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever." Rest, for "I dwell no longer upon this horrible scene" ("Come out in judgment, O God!"), for even "betwixt Sherrizah and me" stands Christ "filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice" (Moroni 9: 7, 8, 15, 16, 17, 20, 25; Mosiah 15: 9).
We turn with a shudder from the Tower of Sherrizah, to the Nephites a tower of terror, and look to "the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power" (verse 26).
The Nephites driven from "every high tower" and "every fenced wall"--even every strong-walled Sharriruta--now desert a shattered world, a broken tower, their fall now complete, but "God is Exalted," for "the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day" (see Isaiah 2: 11, 15, 17). Sharriruta may well be the Aramaic equivalent of our Sherrizah, and signifies soundness, integrity, Festigkeit. But "the Lord alone shall be exalted": ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott. A Mighty Fortress is our God.
"We did not conquer" is the final word; yet "all things shall become subject unto him," even Christ--and that is the final word (Moroni 9:2, 26).
The very names of the Nephite fallen somehow attest, ironically attest, to the very same matter.
"And Archeantus has fallen by the sword, and also Luram and Emron; yea, and we have lost a great number of our choice men" (verse 2)--"we have lost." The name element Arche- clearly comes from the Greek (Hugh Nibley has explained the presence of Greek names in the Book of Mormon), and bespeaks the lost rulership, the lost command. Arche- also signifies the beginning, even Creation, but we are now at the end: "the end of all flesh is come."
Luram catches the eye too. The name signifies, attests "God is Exalted" and is to be found in its complete form in both Ugaritic, Amorite, and even Ammonite (Ugaritic: 'Ilrm, Ilu-rama; Ammonite: 'l-rm; Amorite: E-lu-ra-ma; Elu (God) Rama (On High; Exalted).
Even choice Luram has fallen, for "the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day."
James Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 205
For a latter-day instance of Moroni 9, I refer the reader to the strikingly similar accounts from Sirte, Libya in 2011 (articles on cnn.com). June 13, 2013: Fox News reports 6,500 children among the 93,000 killed in the Syrian Civil War.
Copyright 2011 by Val H. Sederholm