Alma 44

Alma 44:1 we do not desire to be men of blood

By stopping the violence when the enemy was completely vulnerable, we see the mercy and magnanimity of Moroni's soul. Although Moroni was an expert in inflicting death, he did not enjoy it. He had a peaceful disposition and repeatedly renounced the violence of war. Moroni understood that it is difficult to be "men of God" and "men of blood" at the same time. This problem plagued king David, who was renowned for his military conquests. David lamented, 'I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood' (1 Chron 28:2-3). The privilege of building a temple was taken from David and given to Solomon because it would be improper for a "man of blood" to build a house of God.

Hugh Nibley

"Here was Moroni's chance to settle the Lamanite problem once and for all on the spot; a vastly superior force had entered and ravaged a large part of his country, bent on subduing it entirely, and now he had them, as he says, completely in his power. Well might he have said, 'Kill or be killed. It is either you or us!' and finished them off. But instead of that type of total victory he did not even ask for unconditional surrender...All he asked of his bloodthirsty foe was that they deliver up their weapons and promise not to fight the Nephites anymore; then they could go their way in peace without reprisals, punishment, hostages, or guarantees (Alma 44:6)." (Since Cumorah, p. 298)

Alma 44:2 ye are angry with us because of our religion

It is a continual source of amazement that a religion which espouses love, peace, and good-will toward men would, in fact, engender so much animosity. This alone is one of the great witnesses of the reality of Satan. He is the source of this undeserved and unrequited anger and instills it carefully and methodically from generation to generation.

Neal A. Maxwell

"Lest we think that the lot of a disciple is likely to be one in which he comes calmly to the cross and then carries it lightly to his own Calvary, there are the sober words of Moroni, whose efforts to bring about peace illuminated the basic and deep differences between the Lamanites and Nephites so clearly and with such pathos that Moroni finally exclaimed; 'Ye are angry with us because of our religion.' It is a reminder of John's words: 'Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.'" (For the Power is in Them, p. 42)

Brigham Young

"The [sectarian] priests are angry because they are afraid that their religion is nothing but a sandy foundation fabric; and whenever they meditate upon the subject and humble themselves, and the Spirit of the Lord finds its way to their hearts and convicts them, the truth then is made manifest before them, and they begin to learn the falsity of their systems; and when that spirit leaves them, they become angry. 'Mormonism' is declared to be true by hosts of witnesses, and this makes the priests angry; for this Gospel bears its own weight and testimony, and they know not how to gainsay it. True, I have aimed to point out their errors; but it is not you or me that they are opposed to, although they throw their darts at us: but it is the spirit of conviction that goes with the report of this work; for wherever it goes it strikes conviction to the heart, and that is what disturbs the priests and the people." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 75)

Alma 44:3 ye cannot destroy this our faith

John Taylor

"Many have got angry with us, but that is nothing new; the wicked have always shown anger when the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been upon the earth.

"Many have tried to stay the progress of the work of God, but it has continued to roll on in spite of all the opposition with which it has had to contend. The prophet saw a little stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and it continued to roll and smote the feet of the image made of clay, brass, silver, gold, and iron, and it became as the chaff of the summer threshing floor; but the little stone grew and increased until it became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

"It will be so with this stone which God has hewn out in these last days; and though men may combine to stay its progress and may set themselves in array against the Lord and His anointed, yet He will come out of His hiding place and will vex such people and nations, and He will overturn and overturn until Truth shall prevail the wide world over, and until His kingdom shall reach from the rivers to the ends of the earth; until all men shall bow to the sceptre of Immanuel; until the wicked shall be rooted from the earth, and His kingdom shall be established and given to His Saints to possess for ever and ever." (Journal of Discourses, 13:19)

Alma 44:7 ye are in our hands

Heber C. Kimball

"Brethren and sisters, do not be the aggressors, always act on the defensive...remember what you read in the Book of Mormon, where Alma tells his son not to be the aggressor; also what Moroni said to Zerahemnah, '...we will spare your lives, if ye will go your way, and come not again to war against us. And now, if we do not this, behold, ye are in our hands, and I will command my men that they shall fall upon you, and inflict the wounds of death in your bodies, that ye may become extinct; and then we will see who shall have power over this people; yea, we will see who shall be brought into .'

"That shows the mercy and compassion of our God; although his enemies are in his hands, he will have mercy upon them... Just look at it, and see what kind of a God we are serving." (Journal of Discourses, 4:180)

Alma 44:8 we will not suffer ourselves to take an oath...which we know that we shall break

Zarahemnah was a wicked man. He was an apostate from the truth who desired power and dominion. Why then would he be so concerned about breaking an oath? Couldn't he simply make an oath to Moroni and then break it as soon as he and his troops were safe in the Lamanite wilderness? In this instance, we see the importance of oath-making and oath-keeping among the ancients. The same strict adherence to an oath can be seen in the behavior of Old World societies (Judges 11:30-40, Josh 9:3-21, 1 Sam 14). This, in part, prompted the Savior to teach the wicked that they should not take oaths, saying, Swear not at all...But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay (Matt 5:34,37).

In truth, oaths are to be taken in holy and sacred situations-to bind one to a covenant made not with man, but with God. Herein lies the irony, for the wicked Zarahemnah would not dare to make an oath which he might someday break, yet thousands of latter-day "saints" go to the temple and make oaths and covenants which they subsequently break with little or no remorse. Apparently, many do not take their covenants very seriously. But if the wicked Zarahemnah was concerned about breaking oaths made with a man, how much more should we be concerned about breaking sacred oaths made with God?

James A. Cullimore

"Some of the facts that come to our attention in the line of our duty make me wonder if we take as seriously as we should the covenants we have made as members of the Church: The covenants made in baptism...Promises made to our spouse and unto the Lord as we enter into the marriage covenant...All covenants made in the temple...Promises made to our bishop and stake president, branch president or mission president as we accept assignments to offices in the Church...The oath and covenant of the priesthood. The obligations we accept as we are ordained to the priesthood and act in its offices.

"The Lord expects us to be obedient to our covenants. Great blessings are promised us as we are obedient, both temporal and spiritual, the greatest of which is eternal life. (D&C 59:23.) Likewise, condemnation follows disobedience. The Lord expects us to be strong and conquering as we exercise our agency." (Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 88)

Alma 44:9 we do not believe that it is God that has delivered us into your hands

Henry B. Eyring

'You can best understand how the 'thus we see' passages work by looking at an example in which one person could see and one could not. You remember the time: Captain Moroni had an army cornered. He could have slaughtered them, but instead he offered them freedom and their lives if they would surrender their arms and take an oath of peace. Here is what he said: (quotes Alma 44:4-6.)

"Now, Zerahemnah had solid evidence for the proposition that something beyond human power had him where he faced annihilation. But did he see what Moroni saw, looking at the same set of facts? You remember his response: 'We are not of your faith; we do not believe that it is God that has delivered us into your hands; but we believe that it is your cunning that has preserved you from our swords. Behold, it is your breastplates and your shields that have preserved you.' (Alma 44:9.)

"He could not see the true connection, because his heart was not soft enough, not changed enough, that the Holy Ghost could show it to him." (To Draw Closer to God, p. 148 - 149)

Alma 44:11 ye shall not depart except ye depart with an oath

"Captain Moroni was steeped in covenant theology.  The word 'covenant' or its derivatives appear 26 times in the Book of Alma chapters dealing with Moroni (Alma 43-62), while they appear only three other times in the rest of the book. 'Covenant' appears seven times in Alma 46 and five times in Alma 44, a frequency surpassed only by the Lord's discourse in 3 Nephi 20, where the term or a derivative appears ten times.  Additionally, the term 'oath' appears twelve times in the Captain Moroni chapters, while it doesn't appear at all elsewhere in the Book of Alma.  The closest match is in the book of Mosiah, where it appears nine times.  Clearly, realizing Moroni's fundamental grounding in and adherence to covenants is necessary to understand him.  Indeed, his words and his actions can only be understood in the light of ancient covenant theology." (Thomas R. Valletta, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, Alma, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 230)

Alma 44:12 one of Moroni's soldiers...smote Zerahemnah that he took off his scalp

"The question might be raised as to whether or not the 'scalping' of the Lamanite leader, Zerahemnah, might have led to the scalping tradition of the American Indian. (Alma 44:12-14.) However, recent evidence would seem to indicate the American Indian did not have a scalping tradition until after the coming of the white man -- that is, until the seventeenth century A.D. Apparently it was the white man who started the scalping custom, when some of the early colonists offered money for the scalps or hair of dead Indians. In order to get even with the evil white men who killed Indians just for their scalps (in much the same way as they would kill a buffalo for its hide), the Indians started to kill and scalp the whites in return." (Daniel Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 232)