Battle of Two Opposing Views – Alma 44:1-24

What is the purpose of this chapter, other than telling an interesting story regarding how Moroni defeated the army of Zarahemnah? The original record did not have chapter divisions, so this is essentially part two to the story.

1 And it came to pass that they did stop and withdrew a pace from them. And Moroni said unto Zerahemnah: Behold, Zerahemnah, that we do not desire to be men of blood. Ye know that ye are in our hands, yet we do not desire to slay you.

2 Behold, we have not come out to battle against you that we might shed your blood for power; neither do we desire to bring any one to the yoke of bondage. But this is the very cause for which ye have come against us; yea, and ye are angry with us because of our religion.

3 But now, ye behold that the Lord is with us; and ye behold that he has delivered you into our hands. And now I would that ye should understand that this is done unto us because of our religion and our faith in Christ. And now ye see that ye cannot destroy this our faith.

4 Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.

My first thought when reading these verses was the great faith of Moroni. Also, how much of a contrast this is to our country today. Would any United States general make such a declaration to a leader of a conquered enemy? Only a country who has an allegiance to God would declare such a thing. America was founded upon Judeo-Christian beliefs, but today such things are relegated to traditional protocols which have little meaning in Washington and across the country.

5 And now, Zerahemnah, I command you, in the name of that all-powerful God, who has strengthened our arms that we have gained power over you, by our faith, by our religion, and by our rites of worship, and by our church, and by the sacred support which we owe to our wives and our children, by that liberty which binds us to our lands and our country; yea, and also by the maintenance of the sacred word of God, to which we owe all our happiness; and by all that is most dear unto us—

6 Yea, and this is not all; I command you by all the desires which ye have for life, that ye deliver up your weapons of war unto us, and we will seek not your blood, but we will spare your lives, if ye will go your way and come not again to war against us.

7 And now, if ye do not this, behold, ye are in our hands, and I will command my men that they shall fall upon you, and inflict the wounds of death in your bodies, that ye may become extinct; and then we will see who shall have power over this people; yea, we will see who shall be brought into bondage.

8 And now it came to pass that when Zerahemnah had heard these sayings he came forth and delivered up his sword and his cimeter, and his bow into the hands of Moroni, and said unto him: Behold, here are our weapons of war; we will deliver them up unto you, but we will not suffer ourselves to take an oath unto you, which we know that we shall break, and also our children; but take our weapons of war, and suffer that we may depart into the wilderness; otherwise we will retain our swords, and we will perish or conquer.

This is how our soldiers should deal with captured soldiers of ISIS and those who seek the blood of Americans. If they are willing to make an oath upon the name of their God that they will not take up arms against the United States again, we will release them. If not, they will be executed. Such terms would not be allowed under the Geneva Conventions for today’s treatment of prisoners of war.

9 Behold, we are not of your faith; we do not believe that it is God that has delivered us into your hands; but we believe that it is your cunning that has preserved you from our swords. Behold, it is your breastplates and your shields that have preserved you. [This is true, yet such inspiration came from the Lord. It is common for people to dismiss good ideas and results as our own ingenuity, when often they come from a source above ourselves.]

10 And now when Zerahemnah had made an end of speaking these words, Moroni returned the sword and the weapons of war, which he had received, unto Zerahemnah, saying: Behold, we will end the conflict.

Zarahemnah was a man seeking power amongst his people, a man of war, filled with hate against those who worshipped Christ. Today, many hate Christians because they hold a view that embraces the freedom of self at the expense of others. No accountability for ones’ actions, whether it be the murder of the unborn and late birth abortion, the stealing of resources through unjust laws, how we enforce taxes and immigration, and the unbalanced treatment of minority groups with special treatment under the law.

The Lamanites were a political opposition to those who sought equity and freedom according to God’s law. The United States today suffers from the same division, as we similarly live in a society divided by Nephites and Lamanites.

11 Now I cannot recall the words which I have spoken, therefore as the Lord liveth, ye shall not depart except ye depart with an oath that ye will not return again against us to war. Now as ye are in our hands we will spill your blood upon the ground, or ye shall submit to the conditions which I have proposed.

12 And now when Moroni had said these words, Zerahemnah retained his sword, and he was angry with Moroni, and he rushed forward that he might slay Moroni; but as he raised his sword, behold, one of Moroni’s soldiers smote it even to the earth, and it broke by the hilt; and he also smote Zerahemnah that he took off his scalp and it fell to the earth. And Zerahemnah withdrew from before them into the midst of his soldiers. [This is one of the most dramatic scenes in the Book of Mormon from a story point of view. The kind of narrative that great movies are made. To remove the scalp of an enemy is a symbol of domination and humiliation.] 

13 And it came to pass that the soldier who stood by, who smote off the scalp of Zerahemnah, took up the scalp from off the ground by the hair, and laid it upon the point of his sword, and stretched it forth unto them, saying unto them with a loud voice:

14 Even as this scalp has fallen to the earth, which is the scalp of your chief, so shall ye fall to the earth except ye will deliver up your weapons of war and depart with a covenant of peace.

15 Now there were many, when they heard these words and saw the scalp which was upon the sword, that were struck with fear; and many came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni, and entered into a covenant of peace. And as many as entered into a covenant they suffered to depart into the wilderness.

16 Now it came to pass that Zerahemnah was exceedingly wroth, and he did stir up the remainder of his soldiers to anger, to contend more powerfully against the Nephites.

17 And now Moroni was angry, because of the stubbornness of the Lamanites; therefore he commanded his people that they should fall upon them and slay them. And it came to pass that they began to slay them; yea, and the Lamanites did contend with their swords and their might.

18 But behold, their naked skins and their bare heads were exposed to the sharp swords of the Nephites; yea, behold they were pierced and smitten, yea, and did fall exceedingly fast before the swords of the Nephites; and they began to be swept down, even as the soldier of Moroni had prophesied.

19 Now Zerahemnah, when he saw that they were all about to be destroyed, cried mightily unto Moroni, promising that he would covenant and also his people with them, if they would spare the remainder of their lives, that they never would come to war again against them.

20 And it came to pass that Moroni caused that the work of death should cease again among the people. And he took the weapons of war from the Lamanites; and after they had entered into a covenant with him of peace they were suffered to depart into the wilderness.

A great act of mercy for an army set upon their destruction.

21 Now the number of their dead was not numbered because of the greatness of the number; yea, the number of their dead was exceedingly great, both on the Nephites and on the Lamanites.

22 And it came to pass that they did cast their dead into the waters of Sidon, and they have gone forth and are buried in the depths of the sea.

23 And the armies of the Nephites, or of Moroni, returned and came to their houses and their lands.

24 And thus ended the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. And thus ended the record of Alma, which was written upon the plates of Nephi.

War is a sad reality of the world in which we live. There will come a time when the peace that this country enjoys will be swept away by the suffering of war and famine. How did Moroni deal with these challenges? He sought out help from a servant of God he trusted. The army prayed mightily for God to deliver them. For us, the greatest protection will be our access to revelation, like Alma, to know where to go and how to protect ourselves. 

As the United States continue to divide itself according to fundamental beliefs regarding the rule of law, government, sovereignty, individual rights, life, and liberty, the divide will grow until the hate between the two will lead to great violence.

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4 Responses to Battle of Two Opposing Views – Alma 44:1-24

  1. S Silver says:

    Vs 4: “…and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.”

    Is this generally true of the Lord? I know some are martyred but does the Lord tend to prefer that we live long lives upon the earth? [When the Lord speaks it is always spiritual, which means He is looking at the bigger picture. To be destroyed is to have a permanent separation from God. PR]

    Liked by 2 people

  2. S Silver says:

    “There will come a time when the peace that this country enjoys will be swept away by the suffering of war and famine.”

    If you can tell us, which have you seen occur first, the war or the famine? [They seem to coincide. PR]

    Like

  3. Karla says:

    “and he also smote Zerahemnah that he took off his scalp and it fell to the earth. And Zerahemnah withdrew from before them into the midst of his soldiers…To remove the scalp of an enemy is a symbol of domination and humiliation.]” I was wondering if for some reason this experience inspired others to remove the scalps of their enemies as a symbol of domination? or trophy kind of thing, And it got past down through generations, and perhaps that’s why Native American tribes did practice back in the days. Or there could be no connection whatsoever. [That I do not know. PR]

    Like

  4. S Silver says:

    Have the first stages of the coming famine begun now? [What is now is unrelated to the famine coming. PR]

    Liked by 4 people

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