We can love others even when they make dumb decisions and sin. While Mormon wishes the story was different, that his prayers would touch their hearts and bring about miracles, Mormon doesn't make that a condition of his leadership or love.Mormon 3:12-13
Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts. And a thrice have I delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, and they have repented not of their sins.
Here is Mormon setting a boundary based on his understanding of God's feeling towards this people.Mormon 3:14-15
And when they had sworn by all that had been forbidden them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they would go up unto their enemies to battle, and avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren, behold the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Vengeance is mine, and I will repay; and because this people repented not after I had delivered them, behold, they shall be cut off from the face of the earth.
I don't think we are ever told what changed God's mind and why Mormon felt compelled to come back. But when Mormon came back, he was "all in" for assisting his people. When he saw the inevitable, he wrote to the king of the Lamanites trying to set up the best place for battle. (Mormon 6:2).Mormon 5:1-2, 6-7
And it came to pass that I did go forth among the Nephites, and did repent of the oath which I had made that I would no more assist them; and they gave me command again of their armies, for they looked upon me as though I could deliver them from their afflictions. But behold, I was without hope, for I knew the judgments of the Lord which should come upon them; for they repented not of their iniquities, but did struggle for their lives without calling upon that Being who created them.
...and we did stand against them boldly; but it was all in vain, for so a great were their numbers that they did tread the people of the Nephites under their feet.
And it came to pass that we did again take to flight, and those whose flight was swifter than the Lamanites’ did escape, and those whose flight did not exceed the Lamanites’ were swept down and destroyed.
I see vast reservoirs of compassion and charity through Mormon's actions. There are many things I may not agree with Mormon with when he was summarizing the historical records - but he truly "laid down his life for his friends".Mormon 8:2-3
"And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed. And my father also was killed by them..."
If I were to create a headstone for his grave, this is what I would write:
"Mormon - Son of Mormon"
Christian * General * Historian * Loving Friend