Mormon (pronounced /ˈmɔrmən/) is the narrator and namesake of the Book of Mormon. The book portrays him as a prophet-historian and a member of a tribe of indigenous Americans known as the Nephites. According to the academic consensus, excluding most Latter Day Saint scholars, the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction and therefore Mormon is a fictional character.
Latter Day Saints, on the other hand, generally view the Book of Mormon as an actual history, and therefore view Mormon as a real person. According to the book, Mormon engraved an abridgement of his people's history on golden plates, which were later ostensibly translated by Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. Based on the chronology of the book, the Saints believe that Mormon lived during the 4th century AD.
As a narrator in the text, Mormon presents himself as a redactor. He quotes and paraphrases other writers, collects and includes whole texts by other authors, contributes running commentary (with and without identifying himself), and also writes his own narratives. He writes about the process of making the book, both in terms of editing and redacting and also in terms of engraving the words on metal plates. He alludes to content that is left out of the book, and refers to a larger collection of records at his disposal.
The Book of Mormon states that Mormon was instructed by the prophet Ammaron where to find the records that had been passed down from their ancestors. It also claims that Mormon later abridged the near-millennium-long history of his ancestors, a more ancient people, and additional revelations into the Book of Mormon. Divisions of the book relating to Mormon's personal history are the Words of Mormon and the first seven chapters of the larger book. The book says that Mormon eventually passed all of the records on to his son Moroni.
According to Mormon's record in the Book of Mormon, he was born in about A.D. 311 and was named after his father. At about the age of ten, he was visited by Ammaron and given instructions on where to find the sacred engravings of the Nephite prophets and on what to engrave upon them. At the age of eleven, Mormon was taken to the land of Zarahemla by his father.
Mormon writes that at age fifteen he was visited by Jesus Christ.
At age fifteen (or "in his sixteenth year"), Mormon became the leader of the Nephite armies, and fought against the Lamanites in many battles thereafter.
Mormon went to the hill (called Shim) at about the age of 24, as instructed by Ammaron, to take and abridge the Nephite records.
In A.D. 362, Mormon writes that he "utterly refuse[d]...to be a commander and a leader" to the Nephites "because of their wickedness and abomination." However, about thirteen years later, Mormon decided to return as commander of the Nephite armies as they were being badly beaten by the Lamanites.
Upon returning, Mormon again led them in battle against the Lamanites until the entire destruction of the Nephite nation, which took place as a result of a huge battle fought between the two groups in 385. The prophet Moroni, Mormon's son to whom he delivered the Golden Plates, records that Mormon was killed by the Lamanites (presumably in A.D. 385 or shortly thereafter). As the last prophet and keeper of the record, Moroni is said to have become the angel or messenger who revealed the location of the Golden Plates to Joseph Smith in 1823.