26 JAN 15
After the Holy Order of God by which they were called. (Alma 43:2)
That title is very interesting. It seems very similar to names given to the Melchizedek priesthood in ancient times. I think this is just another indicator of how the Nephites operated under having the Melchizedek priesthood and not limited to just the Aaronic as the Israelites were at this time.
Some basic characteristics of Moroni. (Alma 43:16-20)
I forgot how young Captain Moroni was. I always picture him as a man in his 40’s. More seasoned in years but more physically able. I was 25 and a Sergeant/Staff Sergeant during my first deployment in Iraq. While I took on a lot of responsibility I can’t fathom being essentially the Commander in Chief of the military. That would be insane. I also like the mentioning of protective clothing and armor in this section. After returning from Iraq I took my equipment to a few seminaries (by request) and gave a speech on wearing the full Armor of God.
“defend their lands and their country their rights and their liberties” (Alma 43:26)
These are some of the honorable reasons to go to war for. I think this gets repeated a few times. It must be important as a principle then.
“defend them by stratagem” (Alma 43:30)
I like the use of strategy in these war chapters. While being saved in amazing devine ways is great, also having wisdom given for strategy is a great thing. Having it all work to plan exactly just shows it’s divine. Nothing ever goes to plan like that.
“defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion“ (Alma 43:47)
This repetition of words has shown up again. It has to be important and essentially for reasons we would need to shed blood.
27 JAN 15
First reference to scalping. (Alma 44:14)
This makes me wonder if this was an event that already took place or if later native americans picked up the tradition later.
Alma prophecy? (Alma 44:7,18)
It seems a soldier of Moroni prophesied the Lamanites being decimated. This is an interesting bit from someone that’s not a prophet.
This land will be cursed for those that do wickedly. (Alma 45:16)
This is one of those times that I wonder if we are ripening for destruction. Not the church but the nation. It seems value’s are crumbling around us and what’s wicked is valued. How far does this country have to go before it’s considered fully ripened. I remember one seventy in a particularly bad area for missionary work saying that, “if it weren’t for the saints in the area, this city would be destroyed as Sodom and Gomorrah”. I’m not sure if that seventy had leave of the brethren to say that or it was a personal opinion but it was a sobering moment for us there.
The “Title of Liberty”. (Alma 46:12).
The reasons he write on the title of liberty are: freedom of belief and religion, freedom in general, peace and lives of family. Those are all very honorable things to go to war for. It gives us a look into the type of man Captain Moroni was.
28 JAN 15
Lamanite second in command takes charge. (Alma 47:17)
This sounds similar to the order of succession that our government has.
Raised hand as a token of peace. (Alma 47:23)
This sounds like a variation of a hand salute to me. In the military we were told of the ancient origin of this custom. I could see how it would have divergent paths of becoming a custom.
Ancient propaganda. (Alma 48:1)
It’s good to know that propaganda and yellow journalism isn’t something new. Even in ancient times it existed.
Made weak strong. (Alma 48:9)
I love how Moroni deployed his largest bodies of troops to his weakest fortifications. That’s some great messing with the Intel that the Lamanites had. In addition we see that the Nephites practiced good OPSEC as the Lamanites didn’t find out about these troop movements.
If we look further ahead at (Alma 48:11) we get even more of an insight when we are told that while he was a man of war he “did not delight in bloodshed”. While in the Army most of the people I knew didn’t love bloodshed, there were a few that I ran into that it was a good thing they had that as an outlet. It was a bit disturbing but let’s get back to Captain Moroni, he was a much better example in that area. He was so righteous “that if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men” (Alma 48:17). Captain Moroni is one of my heroes. He’s a much better hero than many of the movie stars and athletes that are the heroes of people today. I wish more people would strive to be like him.
29 JAN 15
The Ammonites give their covenant. (Alma 53:11)
This was amazing to see the healing that went on with this group of Lamanites and closing the rift with the Nephites.
The Ammonite sons (Alma 53:17)
Luckily there was 2,000 young men who had not taken the oath of their parents. The Lord plans ahead in ways we can’t fathom.
Moroni did not delight in bloodshed (Alma 55:19)
I’ve met a few soldiers that did. That was pretty disturbing. They enjoyed being on gun trucks in Iraq and “using force by fire” to get cars of the road or destroyed. Most other gunners weren’t so gleeful about doing that duty.
In Alma 56 and Alma 57 we read about Helaman and his 2,000 stripling warriors. The story reminds me in small ways of when I have worked with young men and have seen the faith they have acted with at times. They tell us in Alma 56:47 how they had faith in the words of their mothers and if that “if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.” I have seen young men in different times of their lives tell me of experiences when they were in spiritual peril. They told me that they remembered the what they were taught in their family and how the Lord would help them overcome the obstacle they faced. In small ways I was reminded of the bravery of these young men.
I’m also reminded of other young men which were brought up well from their families. In Alma 57:19-21 were are told more about the work ethic and obedience of these young men. When Helaman says “they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness” in reminds me of some young men that I have worked with in the past that also obeyed and performed every duty above and beyond. While many of the young men I have worked with have been the more rebellious sort, I was blessed to see a few who I think that had the same spirit instilled in them as the 2,000 from their families.
30 JAN 15
Pahoran gets rebuked by Moroni. (Alma 60:6)
Ouch! these are some harsh words. Moroni will later take these words back but I would not want to be on the receiving end. I am reminded of some of the letters of George Washington to the Continental Congress with this.
Teancum (Alma 62:34-36)
We don’t hear too much of Teancum but what we do know is that he is hard core. I like to compare Moroni and Teancum. They were both officers, just with different leadership styles and talents. Moroni had a great deal of charisma and foresight that he used to inspire other leaders. Teancum was the type of officer that would join in the work with his men and not send anyone on a mission he wouldn’t go on. When he made a mission with high chances, there was no one he could send with good conscience except himself. I’d also say Teancum would have also been one of those leaders with several tabs on his shoulder (Special Forces, Ranger, Airborne).
Hagoth (Alma 63:5-8)
Where did he go? I heard many speculation pieces on it but I finally ran across a reference to confirm. President Joseph F. Smith said, “I would like to say to you brethren and sisters…you are some of Hagoth’s people, and there is NO PERHAPS about it!” (Cole and Jensen, p. 388.)
Who is Paul Darr?
Paul Darr has lived in California, Oregon, Colorado, and currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. Paul is also an Army Veteran, who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. On the political spectrum Paul is a Libertarian that advocates fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. Paul is currently employed as a Systems Administrator and is a father of a handsome boy and beautiful daughter. In his free time Paul enjoys reading, using and modifying open source software, gaming, and several other geeky pursuits.