This week we are studying the story of the righteous Nephite leader, Captain Moroni, and the wicked Lamanite leader, Zerahemnah, who "stirred up his people to anger” against the Nephites, which resulted in a very bloody war.
I love this story! Not just because Captain Moroni is the star of it, (one of the great heroes of the Book of Mormon and Mormon’s hero, which is why he named his son after him), but because it has such a powerful message for our day.
First—notice what the two sides are fighting for.
1. To eliminate the religion of the Nephites
2. To put the Nephites in bondage and exercise power and authority over them by stripping them of their rights.
1. Their freedoms/rights
2. Their religion
3. Their families
It is easy to see the parallel with our lives today. We too are fighting a spiritual war for our freedoms, our right to worship and the protection of our families. However, it is no longer just a spiritual battle; it has also become a political one as judges and politicians try to destroy the family and strip us of our rights of worship.
With that in mind, it is interesting to see how Captain Moroni fought this battle for freedom and how we might apply what he did to our own lives. (Alma 43)
They made armor and weapons of war.
The Nephites wore breastplates, arm shields, helmets, and thick clothing. They also had many weapons of war. The Lamanites, on the other hand, wore loin cloths. Now, I wouldn’t want to wear a loin cloth anywhere, ever, but especially going into a war. It wouldn’t take much to cause great physical damage if that is all I had protecting me. And realizing their disadvantage, the Lamanites ran when they saw the Nephites coming.
So what does that teach me? Well, that in a war I want to arm myself and my children the best I can. I want to be sure every morning we walk out the door we are wearing our spiritual armor and carrying our swords and shields. I want to be sure we are reading our scriptures, saying our prayers, having family night and keeping our covenants.
But it also teaches me that Satan’s forces are naked in comparison and that a righteous person is more powerful than a wicked one.
They asked the prophet for direction
When the Lamanites ran, Moroni did not know where they went. He could not see the enemy, so he turned to Alma, the prophet at the time, and asked for help. Alma asked the Lord and came back and told Moroni where the enemy was and where he would strike.
Now the lesson from this is an easy one. The prophet knows where Satan is hiding. He knows where he will strike. He knows that pornography, and immorality are the enemy and they are hiding behind the internet, cell phones and early dating. He knows debt can lead to bondage and many laws currently being instituted will lead to the destruction of the family. If we heed his counsel he can help us avoid being attacked. And if we are attacked, he helps us have the tools to fight back.
They fortified their weakest areas.
Any general will want to attack you where you are your weakest, and Satan is no inexperienced general. Why do we have seminary every day, mutual, stake/regional youth dances, church on Sunday? We have them to protect the youth while they are young and inexperienced in fighting evil. What are the weakest areas of our lives? What can we do to fortify them?
They united in faith.
This is part of the story I found the most interesting. The Nephites are far outnumbered by the Lamanites and at one point are about to give up and accept defeat. Moroni rallies his troops by reminding them why they are fighting. The story then says they cried out “in one voice” in prayer to God. At that moment the battle changed. Instead of being on the verge of destruction they pressed forward, armed with courage and faith and in the end they won the battle.
How many battles are easier to fight when we all are united in our defense and call upon the Lord for help? How does being united with the Lord as parents help in our parenting? How does being united with those we serve help in our church calling? We all know that any project you undertake will go much more smoothly if everyone working on the project shares the vision and equally contributes. How much better can we be at fighting evil if we all stand strong together. And how much better even still, if we are on the side of the Lord.
And that reminds me of the theme for the youth this year, “Be Strong and of Good Courage.” This story demonstrates the importance of the theme. We are fighting this battle against evil and only as we bravely stand together, united in purpose, and on God’s side, will we conquer the enemy.
Such wonderful lessons all from one small chapter!
One more reason . . . I love the Book of Mormon!