Moroni makes the prisoners bury their own dead, keeping them busy so they don’t cause trouble. He puts Lehi in charge of Mulek, which they’ve just retaken. Lehi is a man like unto Moroni—good friends, honorable men, beloved by each other and by the people. When the prisoners finish with burying the dead, Teancum puts them to work digging another fortification around Bountiful. When this city is strengthened with tall walls and ditches about it, he imprisons the enemy prisoners in this fortified city, “within a wall which they had caused them to build with their own hands. Now Moroni was compelled to cause the Lamanites to labor, because it was easy to guard them while at their labor.” (5)
When we know our weaknesses that have led us into destructive temptation and sin in the past, we should build some type of walls around these vulnerabilities, to keep them from hurting us or leading us into temptation again. Maybe our walls consist of taking ourselves out of certain situations that bring out anger or contention in us (social media comes to mind). Maybe our walls are actual blocks against YouTube or other apps on our phone that tempt us to watch inappropriate things that might imprison us in pornography. Maybe our walls keep out certain acquaintances that bring negativity and hate into our life. Maybe our walls separate us from dangerous philosophies in the world that can harm our family. Maybe we put media block walls on our computers, phones, or TVs so that the enemy can’t get into our lives and homes.
If we know what our weak spots are, we can use the very things that empower temptation in the first place to build walls around the temptations that can imprison us, if we don’t keep them out of our life.
Moroni has just had a huge victory, but in the other part of the land by the west sea, because of “dissensions” among the Nephites, the Lamanites obtain possession of many more lands.
And thus because of iniquity amongst themselves, yea, because of dissensions and intrigue among themselves they were placed in the most dangerous circumstances.”Alma 53:9
We have to stand firm in the faith, and let no intrigue, contention, or dissension enter our lives. These negative things make us susceptible to the enemy of righteousness. When we bicker among ourselves and fight and put each other down, we put ourselves in dangerous circumstances, allowing the devil to enter into our life and bring us into bondage.
Importance of Covenants
In another part of the land, the people of Ammon—the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, who once were Lamanites but converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and were driven out of their lands by those who were their brethren—see all the danger and tribulations of the Nephites and want to help. They had taken an oath upon conversion that they would never take up weapons again to slay their brethren, fearing that they would fall back to their wicked, bloodthirsty ways if they did. They had built walls in their lives to protect themselves from being tempted back into sin.
Now, in these dangerous circumstances, they are willing to take up arms to help their Nephite brothers, which would mean breaking their covenant with God. Helaman persuades them not to break their oath. Covenants with God are too important and he fears that if they break theirs, “they should lose their souls.” (15)
Am I careful about keeping my oaths and covenants with God? Or do I get casual or lax with them?
The walls they built in their lives to protect them from sin—a covenant with God—kept their spirits safe. Helaman believes they and the whole Nephite nation will be blessed in the end if these people stay true to the covenants they have made, instead of breaking down their protective walls.
Young, Faithful Recruits
When we are faithful and do not break down our spiritual walls of safety, the Lord will open up a way to be delivered. The sons of the Ammonites have not taken the oath their parents took. They did not grow up fighting battles and had no weapons to bury, as their parents did. Therefore, two thousand of these young boys pledge themselves to the Nephite cause, to fight for liberty.
And they entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage.”Alma 53:17
What do I do to protect my freedom, my liberty, my family, myself from Satan’s advances? Am I willing to fight to the death, or do I easily give up and think he’s won the battle and there’s no use fighting?
The people of Ammon had been cast out from the Lamanites—refugees. The Nephites took them in and protected them from their common enemy. Now, these boys have become men and are willing to fight for the people they have come to think of as their own. Their parents had brought them up in faith, as the following verses show their inner strength.
And now behold, as they never had hitherto been a disadvantage to the Nephites, they became now at this period of time also a great support; for they took their weapons of war, and they would that Helaman should be their leader.
And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.”Alma 53:19-21
What are we teaching the rising generation we are responsible for?
- Are we teaching them to be courageous and stand up for truth, no matter if it makes them a laughingstock to the world?
- Are we teaching them to be strong and active in their lives, so they aren’t couch potatoes?
- Are we teaching them to be responsible and honorable?
- Are we teaching them the value of honesty and soberness?
- Are we teaching them to keep God’s commandments so they trust Him more and more in every aspect of their lives?
- Are we teaching them to walk uprightly before God, and pay no heed to the mocking of the world?
These stripling (young) warriors are ready to go into battle for their freedoms and their very lives. And we will see soon that God protects them. These boys (and their parents) had raised the bar, living at a very high spiritual level of commitment, which always brings God’s power into one’s life.
Are we and our children similarly prepared for the battle between right and wrong still going on today?
We can be if we carefully look at our lives and see what walls of safety we need to build to protect us from things that easily tempt us. We can be if we keep covenants with God with increasing precision and devotion. We can be if we give our lives and wills over to Jesus Christ by trusting Him implicitly.