How Moroni, and the Nephite majority, responded to the power-seekers and Lamanite aggressions
Motivations for fighting and other responses
- The Nephites (Ns) wanted to protect their liberties – their land, families, religion & civic freedoms (43: 9, 29 & 30)
- Ns knew that not stopping the Lamanites (Ls) would destroy these – and them.
- They wanted to protect the people of Ammon & their covenant/purity/freedom from sin.
- Fought for ‘a better cause’ (43:44 & 45), not power, anger or enmity, but freedom
- Believed their duty was to ‘resist iniquity’ (48:16)
- Believed in practical help from Heaven
How they went about it
- They prepared to defend the above against the Ls and other enemies:
- with armour
- spiritually (43:23 & 24) – sought counsel of prophet & God
- Caused all Ns who could to fight for their land
- Used scouts to learn enemies’ intentions
- Used every skill/tool possible to defend themselves
- Followed God’s counsel about what to fight for & how (43:46-47)
- Moroni inspired their hearts in this way – what they were fighting for – when Ns were afraid due to the strength of their enemy (43:48)
- Tried to be led by God – prayed for help and direction. Stood firm, due to this faith.
- Only fought until they had the upper hand. Offered enemy their lives if they made an oath to leave them alone.
- Stuck to this offer/promise by:
- letting those who agreed to this go
- fighting to the end with those who didn’t
- Responded to M’s call enthusiastically. It was truly what they wanted, but they needed a leader to rally to, and someone to clarify the situation for them.
- Ns were taught (always, not just at this time) to believe in God, trust His protection, and understood their role in having it (righteousness/faithfulness)
- Made previously weak places, where Ls had had success in past, strong (49)
- Prepared every city in borders by fortifying
- Considered what Ls might do, and prepared
- When a battle was imminent in this area (fortified cities), Ns created situation where Ls could only enter city by one small path, where the Ns could easily repel them. Ns had upper hand in every way – a position of strength due to their preparations.
- Didn’t stop making preparations when not actively fighting. Kept making and improving fortifications
- Lots of work
- Drove Ls who usually lived in wilderness borders of N lands, & army remnants, out, and built cities there instead.
- Foresaw danger of allowing any enemies to take land northward of them, and always acted to prevent or stop it happening
- N response was always:
- to prevent harm to their own people
- to give people – their enemies – the chance to choose life and peace
- Wars went on for so long – despite their faithfulness & efforts. Didn’t give up. (Moroni and their spiritual leaders were essential to helping maintain this, through encouragement, etc.). Kept fighting, because what they had to lose was so precious.
What Moroni did
- Reminded Ns of their liberties, and the necessity of defending them, and the danger Amalickiah posed (chapter 46)
- Prayed ‘mightily’ for the blessings of liberty, including the ’cause of the Christians’, to rest upon his people as long as they deserved & desired them.
- Spoke to the Ns’ consciences. The people listened and followed him. They covenanted to protect their land/civilisation and the liberties it afforded them.
- Specifically sent this call to action into places of dissension, to rally the people and put the real problem into focus: the bare truth. United them in what they could agree on – defending their land and liberty.
- Was angry with Amalickiah.
- Hoisted standard of liberty on every tower of Ns
- Contrast between Moroni & Amalickiah (and the other evil men who wanted to rule): chapter 48. Strong, intelligent, faithful, loved liberty, patriotic, humble before God, diligent and hard-working, spiritually strong/religious, passionate for right, sensible and precautionary, didn’t love or seek for power – genuinely wanted freedom & happiness for his people and nation.
- Prepared minds of the people to be faithful to God (duty, religion, faith).
- Strengthened the cities enormously – multiple lines of defense
- At all times, acted decisively for freedom and against unrighteous dominion/forces which would threaten or destroy it.
- Didn’t act rashly, either – understood consequences and dangers of people’s actions, political/social movements, and military encounters or events.
- Had good people to rely on (other army leaders).
- Nephite spiritual/religious leaders were also vital to the strength of the nation. Did their work among the people while Moroni did his. Both approaches were needed for victory.
- With the king-men, Pahoran didn’t let them change the law, because what they wanted went against the democratic principles of the land.
Specific responses to king-men of Alma 51
- Pahoran refused their petitions because (A) they were only a part of the people. When system of judges was established, the law was made that only a majority voice of the people could make changes and decisions. (B) Their petition was to bring back kings, which went against the very system of democracy that everyone had chosen.
- Moroni got the vote of the people to act decisively against the king-men. They acted through the democratic system.
Thoughts on this:
- Why was Moroni so angry?
- Why was such decisive action allowed, or agreed upon by all?
The king-men threatened the freedom of the Nephite people, and the very foundation of their civilisation as it was at this time. The Ns needed to defend that freedom and civilisation against their enemies (L and N dissenters’ armies), and needed to take care of this problem to do that effectively.
Moroni was also angry because they were fighting, with their lives and all their effort, to prevent their freedoms being overthrown by Ls and dissenters. And here some Nephites themselves were (again) trying to do the same thing those enemies were.
All of these responses provide important, and often directly-relevant, lessons for our time. How should we respond to agressions from countries which seek to destroy the freedoms we have, which they don’t value? Who should we choose as leaders in these times? Why don’t the ‘quiet majority’ in our time act against groups and individuals who manipulate facts, spread untruths and push changes which tear at the foundations of liberty we’ve long enjoyed? How can that majority, like the Nephites, be reminded of what’s at stake, and motivated to act to defend it? What dissensions exist in our lands, and how should they be dealt with? How do we defend our liberties and prepare for war of all kinds against them – including the war of words or concepts currently going on? Why does it matter that we do this? What are we fighting for, or what should we be fighting for? Who do we follow?
I believe these chapters were included not only to provide spiritual guidance for all times, but to answer these very questions at this very time. May we find the answers within them, and be guided in upholding our own liberty – of our selves, our families, our communities and nations, and our religion.
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