In chapter 8, Moroni picks up the narrative and reports that his father, Mormon, has been killed along with all of the other Nephite people. As a result, he makes the sad statement that “I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people” (verse 3).
At the beginning of the Bible, after God had created one person, “God said, It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). So He created a second person. Although we typically use this verse in reference to marriage, it can also be applied generally to observe that people were not created with the intention that they would be totally alone in life.
Moroni gives a little insight as to what it might be like to be totally alone in the world, as He states that His only purpose in life is to complete the writing of the Nephite record (for the benefit of future generations) and “whither I go it mattereth not” (verse 4) and “how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not” (verse 5). How sad to be that alone such that it doesn’t matter where you go or how much longer you live.
For us today, we may occasionally have the opportunity to do things that affect future generations but, most of the time, our primary purposes in this life involve other people who are also still living this life. Once we have given our lives to the Lord — the most important thing to be accomplished in this life — God uses the remainder of our lives to affect other people. Whether it’s family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, people seeking the Lord, or whoever — we are here for other people. It’s not God’s intention for us to be alone in life.
Sadly, over the past few decades, there has been a disturbing trend in the direction of isolation from each other. Impressive technological innovations have made it less and less necessary to actually be in the company of other people. We can work from home, shop from home, eat out from home, attend church from home, etc. While these capabilities have proved invaluable during the coronavirus crisis (which is still ongoing as I write this), it does create a disturbing view of a world in which we may eventually never have to leave home for anything.
And now, due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the concept of “social distancing” has been created. While the concept of maintaining distance between people and not touching each other may slow the spread of this particular virus, my own fear is that this will become the new normal even after the crisis is past, that it will be the next step in the trend toward isolation from each other.
I’ve already heard that some people are saying they’ll never shake hands with anyone again. After developing the mindset that touching is bad and distancing is good and safe, will people be able to break through and touch each other again? I hope so — God created people to be socially close, not socially distant.
Imagine what a socially distant church would look like:
- Holy kiss replaced by a holy elbow bump
- Pews replaced by chairs six feet apart from each other
- Live sermons replaced by livestream viewing
- Surgical gloves required for anointing
- Curbside pickup of the Lord’s Supper
And the next step is that we don’t have church at all. Everyone participates remotely, and then we’re essentially alone. And you know what God said about being alone.
So, during this crisis, let’s observe the guidelines and be responsible and cooperative in the effort to defeat the virus. But when the crisis is over, we as the people of God need to be at the forefront of turning back the clock on what will otherwise be the next step in the trend toward total isolation. Let’s demonstrate that togetherness is good and touching is good. Distancing and being alone — not good.
As we go through this period of temporary isolation, let’s envision the day when we’ll be able to once again go to our church buildings. How exciting it will be to see each other again! I’m envisioning tears of joy and embracing all around. The day is coming — get excited and get ready to be a part of it!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.