Studying the scriptures today in Alma 48, I was struck with the following
who desperately wanted peace,
spent most of his days
At first this sounds like a cruel irony of life—to buckle down and suck it up, and when life gets hard, you just have to get harder.
But thinking that way is far too simple, and actually counterfeit.
And, perhaps, robs Moroni of perhaps his greatest personal joy to think of him only as a war captain.
The purpose of your life is not to work ‘hard’ at endless wars with yourself and your ‘enemies’ (bills and debt can feel like enemies), but to DO GOOD WORK, and learn to do good things well. Things that matter and make meaning. Things that bring liberty and joy and lighten others’ burdens.
Things that make peace.
We learn from Alma 48:14-16 these things:
“Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives.
“And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger;
“And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lord would deliver them; and this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity.”Alma 48:14-16
Reading this, I am impressed with three key things about Moroni I didn’t see before:
- He had so much faith that he could prepare his people for battle, including defenses and armor, but pray fervently they would never have to use it.
- He had the faith, and taught his people, that the Lord would tell them what to do if an enemy came upon them—to flee or to fight—and that He would support them as long as they were obedient.
- He had the great joy in the peace that came from preserving his people and keeping the commandments of God.
This, not his war prowess, is what leads Mormon in the next verse to declare that if all men had been and ever would be like unto Moroni, the very powers of hell would be shaken. Not because he was a great war chief, but because he was an architect and defender of great peace and great faithfulness.
I have thought and heard others say how they hope to meet Captain Moroni in heaven someday and ask him all about the wars he fought.
That would, indeed, be interesting. I have thought often about his battles and strategy. Others have taken the accounts of battles and tried to map them to present-day geographies (source) which, even if these geolocations are mere speculation bring these things stories to life.
Yet, this morning, I am prompted to think that, if Moroni were asked, perhaps he would share a thing or two, maybe about Teancum’s army and their special-forces-level bravery, or the eternal bonds of loyalty forged by the Stripling Warriors, but then add on with a grandfatherly twinkle in his eye, “Now, could I tell you something I am even more proud of? Let me tell you about the wars I didn’t fight because of the peace I found…”
And, no wonder, centuries later, Mormon, a young man also asked to lead his people to war, and who knew his son would likely be asked to do the same, would look back over the centuries of his people’s history, and choose to name his son after Moroni—perhaps not because of his war prowess, but his peace prowess.
And Thus, We See:
What are you doing today to work at defending your internal peace? Setting up protections. Defenses against the enemies of mind, money and time?
- What can you do to build your faith 1% more today than it was yesterday?
- Could you do something uncomfortable but good?
- Could you not do something comfortable, but that you know will eventually rob you of your peace?
And most of all, will you ask the Lord if you should flee or you should fight when the hard things come, and then follow his lead?
It seems this willingness to prepare for the worst, act with faith in the best, and continually seek the Lord in everything you should do — and then follow him — is one way we can Let God Prevail in our lives.