Alma 59

Alma 59:4-5 the remainder of those possessions and cities which the Lamanites had taken

As we return to events on the eastern front, it is easy to get confused about the general course of events. In contrast to Helaman's miraculous success on the western front, Moroni has been struggling in the East. It has been a full five years since the Lamanites had taken the eastern cities of Moroni, Lehi, Morianton, Omner, Gid, and Mulek (Alma 51:26). For the last three years, Moroni had been in direct command of the eastern forces and had only been able to recapture the cities of Mulek and Gid (see Alma 52:26; 55:24). The remainder of those possessions and cities which the Lamanites had taken includes the cities of Moroni, Lehi, Morianton, and Omner. Last we read, Moroni's plans were to attack the city of Morianton (Alma 55:34-35). But before Moroni could execute his plan, the Nephites lose another city-Nephihah.

Hugh Nibley

"Moroni...turned to the execution of an ambitious plan he had been working on, a grand stratagem to regain all the Nephite cities (Alma 59:4). It was never put into operation, however, because the Lamanites beat Moroni to the punch with a massive attack on the people of Nephihah, whose survivors came streaming to Moroni's camp (Alma 59:5-8). It seems that Moroni had made a serious mistake in overestimating the defensive strength of Nephihah (Alma 59:9); his grand design collapsed and he was greatly out of sorts, blaming the failure of the operation onto 'the wickedness of the people' while his staff stood around nodding agreement, and berating the indifference of the government, with which he was very angry (Alma 59:11-13)." (Since Cumorah, p. 322)

Alma 59:11 Moroni...began to doubt, because of the wickedness of the people

Moroni was a man of great faith. Yet, when the city of Nephihah was lost, he began to doubt. We are reminded of the prayers of Mormon, who wrote, my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts (Mormon 3:12). In both of these instances, faith was weakened by the wickedness of others. Great faith is that belief that anything is possible with the help of the Lord. Indeed, this is the promise of the Lord to us individually, all things are possible to him that believeth (Mark 9:23). When our individual abilities are inadequate, the Lord is possible to make up the difference in all situations.

However, when we are concerned for the welfare of others, our faith cannot be limitless. We can pray for the wicked to repent, but it won't always happen. We can struggle to win the souls of men, but not every battle is won. This is because the Lord can control everything in the Universe, but He cannot interfere with man's use of agency. When Moroni began to doubt and Mormon prayed without faith, it was because they understood that the Lord can control everything but man's will-his inalienable right to do wrong.

Alma 59:13 Moroni was angry...because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country

"[An investigator recounts her feelings while first reading the Book of Mormon] When finally, three years later, until late in the evening I read the very Book of Mormon those earlier missionaries had left, I was literally transported in the spirit. I felt elevated with a brightness around me and in my mind that must be experienced to be understood...Captain Moroni of 70 B.C. was a great missionary in A.D. 1962. Reading about him, I felt great joy in the confirmation of my activities in relation to the defense of freedom for which I had been maligned so often. I felt that he was fighting the same battle we were. I still thrill over his words: '...Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country.' (Alma 59:13.) So was I, in the modern context! 'Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you? Yea, while they are murdering thousands of your brethren [and suppose] because of the exceeding goodness of God, ye could do nothing and he would deliver you? Behold, if ye have supposed this, ye have supposed in vain.' (Alma 60:7, 11.)." (Janice Le Tellier in No More Strangers by Hartman Rector, Jr. and Connie Rector, 3: 79.)