Moroni is ticked off by Ammoron’s letter because he knows he “had a perfect knowledge of his fraud; yea, he knew that Ammoron knew that it was not a just cause that had caused him to wage a war against the people of Nephi.” (1)
He refuses to trade prisoners because he doesn’t want Ammoron to have any more power than he already does.
To liken this to our day, we need to not compromise with evil, but stand firm in the faith of Jesus Christ, in His just cause.
Moroni looks for a man among his people who can fit among the Lamanites. They find one of Amalickiah’s servants, named Laman. He tricks the Lamanites by taking wine and saying he escaped and stole it from the Nephites.
Don’t delight in hurting others
Once the guards are all drunk, Moroni throws in weapons and arms his people who are being held prisoner within the city. He could have just killed all the guards, but he “did not delight in murder or bloodshed, but he delighted in the saving of his people from destruction.” (19)
This can be likened today in how we treat those we consider our enemy—maybe political opponents, neighbors who rub us wrong, or family members who tear us down. When we stand for what’s right, it can be easy to cross a line where we intentionally hurt those we consider our enemy. Because they’ve hurt or offended us, it seems justified. Maybe we put them down in an online post or comment. Maybe we throw the neighbor’s dog’s poop back into their yard, in spite for letting their dog use our yard as their toilet. Maybe we gossip about a family member or acquaintance and poison others’ thoughts against them.
These type of vindictive or spiteful actions are the same as if Moroni had gone in and murdered the drunken guards, instead of giving them a chance to live. Jesus Christ told us to love our enemies, do good to those that persecute us, and pray for them who despitefully use us. In defending what’s right, let us not spiritually or mentally murder our enemies. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and chances to change, because we love them, as our Savior has taught us to do.
Power from within to break chains
Moroni armed those within the city, as well as his soldiers without.
We must arm ourselves from within to fight evil most effectively. Faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance. When we are prisoners to sin and the devil, the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ can arm us within, so we are enabled to fight our way out and be spiritually free again.
Am I taking advantage of this infinite power available through Jesus Christ to escape sin’s chains and blinders?
In the morning, the drunken Lamanites awake to find themselves surrounded by Moroni’s army without, and their prisoners armed within. They surrender and deliver themselves up prisoners, and Moroni’s army is strengthened by this stratagem.
Never stop strengthening
Now they begin the strengthening process again, having their prisoners build up their fortifications so their cities are strong. Moroni teaches how important it is to never get lax in this spiritual battle we are in today. We can’t reach a certain point or take upon us a certain number of covenants with God, and think we are safe from the devil. We must never stop arming ourselves and building layers of spiritual protection around our own faith and our families.
And it came to pass that the Nephites began again to be victorious, and to reclaim their rights and their privileges.”Alma 55:28
When we keep strengthening our families and our own testimonies, God will help us be victorious spiritually. We will gain ground we might have lost to the devil in the past and we will shore up weak spots that he can use to tear us down.
The Lamanites keep trying to destroy them through stratagems as well, “But behold, the Nephites were not slow to remember the Lord their God in this their time of affliction.” (31)
They aren’t taken unawares by the Lamanites tricks and ploys—their snares—because they know their enemy and have prepared themselves, strengthened their cities. Most importantly, they are relying upon God.
- Am I continually watching to see places where the enemy of righteousness will attack me and my family?
- Am I preparing and strengthening these areas in my life to withstand his constant bombardment of evil?
- Do I rely on God wholeheartedly? Are there weak spots in my faith I could strengthen?