Lessons from the war chapters

For many readers, their least favorite part of the Book of Mormon is the “war chapters.” They think the war chapters are dry and not applicable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s a collection of articles about the war chapters and how the lessons they teach can have a huge impact in our lives.


Trials that harden, trials that soften

2020 wasn’t the dumpster fire everyone makes it out to be, but it has been a roller coaster year. COVID, lockdowns and their religious liberty concerns, and the most contentious election of my lifetime.

Thankfully, my ward has been less affected than many. Very few members got sick and no one died. Most members were able to work remotely. Our state eased restrictions earlier than others, allowing...

A prison built with our own hands

The battle was fierce, but also short and decisive– despite a huge loss of men and a painful personal wound, Captain Moroni’s had thrown “one of the greatest of the armies of the Lamanites” into complete disarray. But Moroni “did not delight in bloodshed;” when he saw that his enemies were beaten, he offered them terms of surrender. The Lamanite army accepted his terms and the prisoners were marched to...

Why the best part of the Book of Mormon is so short

“The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after His resurrection.” This marvelous event was followed by 300 years of idyllic peace. Of those righteous Nephites, the Lord proclaims that none were lost. The closest thing they had to a fight was a disagreement about what to name the Church. Every time I read through those...

The most important battle never fought

A previous post discussed how a rebel coalition of Lamanite soldiers combined together to stand valiantly against commands of the wicked king to go to war against the Lamanites. The rebellion could have been the turning point for the whole Lamanite nation. And they had every advantage:

  1. They had the numbers (the majority)
  2. They had the weapons
  3. They had the mountain
  4. They had the warning and foreknowledge
  5. They...

Sacrificing cities

Amalickiah was not successful in his first military campaign against the Nephites. His captains tried to attack the city of Ammonihah but found it so heavily fortified that it would have been suicide. So they headed to the city of Noah and swore an oath to take it or die trying. But that one was even more heavily fortified. So, they went the “die trying” route.

During the few years...

Something's missing

I’m in the middle of the saddest part of the Book of Mormon. Throughout the latter half of 3 Nephi, Christ ushers in a period of peace and national righteousness that gives us modern readers a little preview of the Millenium. Then, 3 Nephi ends, and by the end of the very next chapter, the Nephites are largely corrupt and ripe for their final destruction. No gradual decline this time–...

Satan can't hit a moving target

I don’t know why the war chapters get such a bad rap. I hear people complain about them all the time, lumping them right up there with the genealogy and “compare Isaiah” chapters. I don’t think that’s really fair. I love the war chapters. Chapter after chapter of doctrinal exposition gets kind of overwhelming (and or boring) after a while and I start to wish I could just read a...

When God redirects us

A Tale of Two Covenants

I am constantly amazed at the people of Ammon. These remarkable converts who “never did fall away” are wonderful examples of quiet, determined, humble discipleship. When the Lamanite armies came to exterminate them, they did what no one expected

A New Years Resolution from Captain Moroni

It’s New Years time again. That introspective time where we reflect over the past year and resolve that this year we are surely, most definitely going to start that novel, get that promotion, pay off that credit card, and lose that gut. Oh yeah, and world peace.

Like everyone else, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do this year. But more importantly, what I want to become this...

Getting out of a thoughtless stupor

The thoughtless stupor

It was 62 BC. The Nephites were locked in heated battle against the Lamanites (but really, more so against other Nephites who had rebelled). Unfortunately, although there were many miracles, the war overall was not going too well for the Nephites. Short on men, bereft of supplies, and low on confidence, the Nephites waited for the government to send them aid. But years passed, and little...

Spiritual poison

Another war chapter post today. Enjoy!

Historical Background

It was 62-63 BC. Captain Moroni had received a letter from the evil Ammoron, offering to exchange prisoners. But Moroni rejected Ammoron’s offer, deciding instead to try and take his prisoners back by force. He found some Lamanite descendants among his army and sent them to the Lamanite soldiers who were guarding the city where the Nephite prisoners were kept. This...

For the fathers who aren't there

We all know the story of the stripling warriors. “They had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.” They bore their testimony to the prophet Helaman that “we do not doubt our mothers knew it.” The story of those 2000 young men is a powerful testimony of the impact of righteous women on the rising generation. You almost definitely heard...

Easier to maintain than to fix

When I was a teenager, my household chore was the burdensome task of cleaning the “tile area” of the house. This included the entire kitchen, the dishes, the bar area, the dining room, the table, and setting/clearing meals. The rule was that my chores were to be completed to perfection every morning before I left for seminary and school. My mother would inspect them in the morning when she woke...

When you have every advantage

These are a few of my thoughts as I read the story of Lehonti’s people in Alma 47.

Historical background

After failing to be elected king over the Nephites, the evil Amalickiah deserted over to the Lamanites. He immediately gained a position of prominence and trust at the Lamanite king’s side, then quickly convinced the king that they should all go to war with the Nephites. Fortunately, some...

Work changed the Lamanites

My previous post was inspired by Alma 53:5. This one is, too. Specifically this part of the verse:

Now Moroni was compelled to cause the Lamanites to labor, because it was easy to guard them while at their labor.

To us this may seem like no big deal. After all, in our modern day the Geneva Convention makes clear that this is perfectly fine as long...

Planting Standards

We’re all familiar with the story of the title of liberty:

And it came to pass also, that he caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land, which was possessed by the Nephites; and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites.

Alma 46:36

The other night when I read this verse, I was impressed...

Liberty which binds us

Yet another post about the battle of Captain Moroni v. Zerahemnah and friends. I can’t seem to get out of these two chapters. I’m beginning to think I should have called this blog “Power in Alma 44.” Anyways, here’s the verse that caught my attention:

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...

Finding the Atonement in a war chapter

I know most readers usually breeze through the war chapters, but there is a lot we can learn from them. For example, just the other day I found some really powerful lessons on the Atonement in Alma 44– the second chapter of Moroni’s battle with Zerahemnah and the Lamanites. First, let’s recap what’s going on:

To which we owe all our happiness

In a previous post, I talk about how one’s word was paramount to the Nephites, using the battle of Moroni v Zerahemnah in Alma 44 as an example. This posts also covers a lesson I’ve picked up from that battle.

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