Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alma - Chapter 43

And so begin the war chapters.  As a boy, I loved these above all others.  Intrigue, high adventure, strategy and heroism inspired me and enlivened my reading.  Captain Moroni became a hero who has stood the test of my time as well as his own.  I admire his brilliance, goodness, courage and compassion.  He's the all around quintessential hero in my book.  Being charismatic and genuinely good at the same time are rare qualities, ones I'd like to see among the heroes of our day and age.  Qualities Captain Moroni had in abundance!

In this chapter, after seeking God's assistance and receiving it, Moroni and his armies prevailed against a much more numerous enemy.  And after gaining the advantage the last verse tells us Moroni called for the bloodshed to stop.  That one little verse says volumes about Moroni and his character.  He never lost track of his objective; which was to defend his people and their lives, religion and liberty.  Needless slaughter may have reduced the enemy to far fewer threats, but he'd already learned that the greatest threat to any society including his own came from within.  Allowing his soldiers to needlessly slaughter the enemy would have damaged their souls, hardened their hearts, riddled them with guilt and created the very threat he feared the most - dissension among his own people.  First dissension from their faith, then their religion, then their nation, only creating more enemies.  The very army he was fighting was led and fed with fury by such dissenters.  Allowing his soldiers to show compassion toward their enemies had the opposite effect and as we later will learn, even brought enemies over to their side.

When self defense crosses over to revenge, hearts cross over too, to a dark, empty place devoid of the Spirit.    The Book of Mormon is replete with examples of the ill effects of this.  Clearly, Moroni knew that while annihilating the enemy might prove and immediate advantage, it would bring utter devastation in the long run.  Fast forward to the end of the book and see for yourself.

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