Amalickiah is the leader of the rebellious segment of the people who refuse to listen to the prophet. He’s stirred them up to anger so they want to slay their brethren. (2)
Let’s pause for a moment. How can we compare this verse to modern day?
Do we ever let anger carry us away?
Does our frustration over politics or social injustices or whatever make us want to figuratively “slay” our friends, family, or strangers who don’t agree with us?
There are many ways to slay someone: hateful words, contentious comments online or in person, looking down on others and making them feel stupid or evil because of what they believe. Many public figures make it seem courageous and bold to “slay” their opponents on a daily basis.
But this is not right. EVER! Anger that leads to hurting other people (even with our words) is a devilish tactic and never brings about good.
Now, back to Amalickiah.
He’s desirous to be a king, and his supporters are many of the lower judges in the land who “were seeking for power.” (4) Despite the work of the high priests—Helaman and his brethren—Amalickiah’s group gains power (even among the Church members!) and causes lots of strife.
Does this happen today, where the Church works hard to spread unity and peace, but the devil’s followers seem to be winning with their flattering and appealing words that lead even good people to join in the hate campaign in public?
I honestly believe that studying the Book of Mormon can help us not be deceived by wicked men and agendas. It helps us see clearly, because the Spirit of God is with us when we read this book.
Because the good people of the Church were deceived by this wicked man, “…the affairs of the people of Nephi [were] exceedingly precarious and dangerous, not withstanding their great victory which they had had over the Lamanites, and their great rejoicings which they had had because of their deliverance by the hand of the Lord.” (7)
The world can be very precarious, but it doesn’t have to fill us with fear. God has given us a living prophet and a Church and His words to guide us through the craziness safely. And His way is never one of hate.
To win a war, we must know our enemy.
Satan will do everything in his power—and his power is nothing to laugh at—to destroy us and stop our eternal progression. He wants us to be miserable like he is, so he will jab at our weak spots and flatter our vanity and lead us slowly away from the path of God.
We must be diligent in keeping the commandments of God and keeping our covenants with Him. We must stand honest and true at all times and in all places, and in all things. We must pray with true intent, and study the scriptures to hear God’s whisperings. We must put on the whole armor of God and take up the sword of the Spirit to cut through the lies and flatterings of Satan.
Amalickiah is just one man, but he brings about a lot of wickedness. In contrast, Moroni did so much good. This shows how powerful one man or woman can be—for good or evil. Amalickiah turned the people to wickedness and chiseled at the “foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake.” (10)
When Moroni discovers what dissensions Amalickiah is stirring up, “he was angry with [him].” (11) Anger, if not contained, usually stirs up evil, but Moroni used his anger to stir the people up to make a covenant with their God. He used anger righteously.
And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.”Alma 46:12
He puts on all his armor, takes the pole with the garment on it “(and he called it the title of liberty),” and he bows down to pray “and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land.” (13)
He then names this land and the land southward “A chosen land, and the land of liberty.” (17) He trust God implicitly and states:
…Surely God shall not suffer that we, who are despised because we take upon us the name of Christ, shall be trodden down and destroyed, until we bring it upon us by our own transgressions.”Alma 46:18
Now, Moroni travels throughout the land, waving his title of liberty and crying with a loud voice:
Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the lord God may bless them.”Alma 46:20
He’s calling them out, and making them take a stand. Will they stand for freedom and faith, or will they slink away to Amalickiah’s kingmen?
Am I willing to take a stand, even an unpopular one, for righteousness’ sake?
People run out, with their armor on (which I think is significant) to stand with him. I love that. They have their armor on, prepared to fight for what’s right. God will fight our battles alongside us, but we must be prepared to do all we can to preserve our freedoms.
They rent their garments, making a covenant that if they “fall into transgression, and be ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ, the Lord should rend them even as they had rent their garments.” (21)
Taking upon us the name of Christ is one of our baptismal covenants. It is vitally important. Do we take this covenant seriously enough? Are we ready to run out to meet the Lord, to do whatever He calls us to do?
After they rend their garments and throw them at Moroni’s feet, he reminds them of their heritage. They are a branch of “Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain.” (23) He likens the scriptures to their day. And we should do the same.
He urges them with all the energy of his soul to “stand fast in the faith of Christ.” (27)
Moroni gathers a large number of people. When Amalickiah sees that he won’t “gain the point” (29) he flees with his followers. Moroni knows what dissenters do—they run to the Lamanites and stir them up against their brethren.
Moroni is determined to head them off, so Amalickiah can’t obtain his wicked designs. Moroni does head off the evil army, but Amalickiah and a few of his men still escape.
Moroni extracts a promise from the prisoners that they will take upon them the cause of freedom. Those who don’t make this covenant are put to death (35). There are only a few who don’t take this covenant upon them.
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
What am I doing to plant the standard of liberty in my own heart? In the heart of my family? In the heart of my community? In the heart of my nation? In the heart of the world?
Come Follow Me manual – Book of Mormon 2020