The last portions of the Book of Alma describe a very difficult time for the Nephites. Though Alma and the sons of Mosiah enjoyed success preaching the gospel, helping the Lamanites learn the truths of Christ, and people in various Nephite cities return to the covenant path, they also experienced frustrations.
The Zoramites joined with the Lamanites and stirred up their new brethren to anger against the Nephites, and before long, an army marched north.
The sight of the armor and equipment of the Nephite armies was enough to repel the Lamanite army without fighting, in spite of their vastly superior numbers.
Despite the rhetoric offered by Zarahemna, the Lamanites were not looking to fight the Nephite army… they were looking for weakness.
Hoping to find another angle, they thought they would attack a different city: one weak and unprepared for their arrival.
Moroni’s strategy for dealing with this weakness carries an important model to emulate – he sought the counsel of the prophet. Rather than spreading himself thin, he used the direction of the High Priest to learn exactly where the Lamanites would be.
Instead of spreading your efforts across many good tasks, the counsel of prophets can help you learn the most important ways that you can prepare for success.
Of course, Zarahemnah probably did not consider himself a servant of evil… but evil was happy to use him nonetheless – and it is the same force of evil that is constantly searching for weakness.
The next tool that evil found was not a large army from a different nation, but a political movement from within. Amalickiah fought against the preaching of Helaman and started his own effort to seize power. He was not only large and powerful, but Amalickiah was also persuasive and employed flattery to convince others to join him.
Moroni’s defense against this weakness was not to passively allow Amalickiah to go unchallenged but to create a title of liberty, representing the cause that inspired his efforts. His courage was not limited to the field of battle, but he labored to win the hearts and minds of his countrymen.
While Moroni was successful in stopping Amalickiah’s initial efforts, he escaped. Using lies, treachery, and murder, Amalickiah eventually captured the throne of the Lamanites and came back to impose his will on his former countrymen. The price to resist this offense ended up being much greater, and several cities were lost before Amalickiah was defeated by Teancum’s javelin.
This story again applies to us. The same enemy that searched for weaknesses to exploit among the Nephites is searching for weaknesses to exploit among Latter-day Saints. Resisting these efforts is possible, but it is not free. It requires a great amount of work, and sometimes, even employing our best efforts will result in loss and pain.
Ultimately, the same deliverer who aided the Nephites in their peril can come to your aid. His name is Jesus Christ, and he invites you, as he invited the Nephites of old, to overcome your weaknesses and prepare for his coming.
- Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020, August 3-9.
- “Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ” -Elder Dallin H. Oaks, October 2015
- “To Be Healed” -Elder Richard G. Scott, April 1994
- “Building Your Tabernacle” -President Gordon B. Hinckley, October 1992