Joseph Smith's mission in bringing forth the Book of Mormon was a complement to the mission of Mormon, who prepared the Nephite record to be hidden for centuries and then brought forth in this dispensation.
It seems fitting and appropriate, therefore, that a number of striking parallels can be drawn in the lives and characteristics of the two leaders.Both prophets were called in their youth to accomplish their missions. Both received direct revelation now given to the world as scripture. As well as being spiritual teachers, both men were military leaders over their people, Mormon over the Nephite armies and Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo Legion.
Mormon and Joseph Smith were both characterized by robust physical strength. Mormon described himself as being "large in stature" (Morm. 2:1), a factor in his being selected to lead the armies at age 15. In his leisure time, Joseph excelled in games requiring physical prowess. On occasion, he was able to fend off attackers intent on getting the plates from him.
Perhaps the most compelling parallel is the keen spiritual sensitivity that characterized Mormon and Joseph Smith from their youth through adulthood.
Ammaron, in delivering the stewardship of the Nephite records to Mormon, said, "I perceive that thou art a sober child and art quick to observe. . . ." (Morm. 1:2.) Mormon was about 10 years old at the time.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, then second counselor in the First Presidency, in his address at the General Women's Meeting of October 1983, referred to Ammaron's charge to Mormon:
"The book which we have today, this sacred and marvelous testament of Christ, resulted from Mormon's faithfulness in meeting that assignment," he said. "Never discount the importance of a 10-year-old."
President Marion G. Romney, then second counselor in the First Presidency, delivered similar counsel to young men at the priesthood session of April 1978 general conference: "It would seem to me that an Aaronic Priesthood bearer inclined to hesitate to perform the duties of his office because of his youth could take courage from the exploits of Mormon."
President Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve, in general conference earlier this month, commented on the spiritual-mindedness of the 14-year-old Joseph Smith: "How many of us, at 14 or 50, would search within our souls and search within holy writ to find answers to what the Apostle Paul called `the deep things of God'? (1 Cor. 2:10.)"
President Joseph F. Smith in Gospel Doctrine also commented about the character of young Joseph Smith. He wrote: "As early as the age of 8, he gave proof that besides being thoughtful, easily governed and of sweet and loving disposition, he possessed the foundation principles of good character - filial affection, patience, endurance, courage."
As a result of his spiritual sensitivity, 14-year-old Joseph Smith was personally visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ. (See Joseph Smith - History 1:15-20.)
Such a privilege was likely given to the young Mormon also. In A Companion to Your Study of The Book of Mormon, Daniel H. Ludlow cites Mormon's statement (from Morm. 1:15) that he was "visited of the Lord" at age 15. Ludlow concludes from that passage that Mormon evidently received a personal visitation by the Savior.