Elder Blackburn included the following synopsis of the Book of Mormon with his last letter. At first I thought it was too long to post to the blog, but it was so good, we decided to get out of the way and let you enjoy his inspiring words -
"I just finished up the Book of Mormon yesterday. Wow what a spiritual adventure, I was glued to the book. I can't believe how a book can be so amazing. It should be called the "The Tragedy of the Nephite Nation" It is so sad how they go through the pride cycle... They are humbled, they repent (due to the prophets showing them miracles and speaking plainly to them) then they become prosperous (wear costly apparel have all manner of gold, silver, and ore) then they forget the Lord and boast of themselves and want to establish a king...Then they separate themselves and become "weak like unto the Lamanites" (Helaman 4:24) then they fight and prophets preach and the cycle begins again. Through this cycle we meet many courageous and valiant men such as Captain Moroni who was appointed all the Nephite army at the age of 25! In Alma 48:17 we learn what kind of character he was, "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, 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; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." Wow...I want to be just like Moroni when I grow up! ha ha Then the story of the two thousand stripling warriors fighting many battles and "not one soul being lost"... "they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness"...Alma 57:21. So I learned if I want to become like the two thousand stripling warriors I must follow my commands exactly (obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles) Moroni, Lehi, and Teancum are what I call "super" chief captains. Then comes the Gadianton filth started by Kishkumen who murders Pahoran the second! Kishkumen flees the sight and joins Gadianton "who was exceedingly expert in many words, and also in his craft to carry on the secret work of murder and robbery" (Helaman 2:4) Then Nephi and Lehi, sons of Helaman, go and preach and bring many people to repentance and baptism. The Lamanites become so righteous they begin to preach unto the Nephites! (total role reversal right? ha) They both become friends and unite against the robbers who had become very powerful. (After Nephi cries on the garden tower and prophecies of the Chief Judge's murder and Samuel the Lamanite preaches to the wicked Nephites) Then Christ is born and mostly everyone believes and they defend against the scary robbers (3 Nephi 4:7) however the Nephites were brave (3 Nephi 4:10) They have peace but then become wicked and then tempests and storms tear down there cities and there is 3 days of complete and utter darkness. They hear Christ speaking to him, the father announces his son, and Jesus descends and teaches them his gospel and his doctrine. They enjoy two hundred years of peace until they become wicked again, so wicked that Mormon is not allowed to preach, he sadly leads the armies (at 16 years old! He is a lot like Moroni) and then refuses because they are so wicked and then leads them again to the biggest battle where 220,000 Nephites are destroyed and all but Moroni and 24 others (who are hunted down) are left. Moroni becomes the last Nephite and it is sad to read his words. You can't help but feel so sad for the Nephites... (He then abridges the plates of Ether which is another sad story) He writes about how the sacrament and ordaining should work and baptism and seals up the plates after his final testimony in Moroni ch.10. This book is true. Those events happened. They are the accounts of real people and their real interactions. Alright, now I'll climb down from my soap box and get to the details of the week prior."