Alma 60

Alma 60:4 were this all we had suffered we would not murmur

"Helaman was of a similar spirit [as Moroni]. Needing reinforcements too, he tries to think of all the possible reasons why he hasn't received them-maybe Moroni has been unsuccessful and needs all the troops, or maybe there is some faction in the government-and adds that if Moroni needs the troops, then he (Helaman) doesn't want to murmur. How different their spirits are from those of Laman and Lemuel and the Israelites.

"Why are good people reluctant to murmur? Perhaps part of the answer can be inferred from King Mosiah's instructions to his people: 'And many more things did king Mosiah write unto them, unfolding unto them all the trials and troubles of a righteous king, yea, all the travails of soul for their people, and also all the murmurings of the people to their king; and he explained it all unto them. And he told them that these things ought not to be; but that the burden should come upon all the people, that every man might bear his part.' (Mosiah 29:33-34.) What this tells me is that irresponsibility goes hand in hand with murmuring. It is easier to complain about the government, about the Church, about one's spouse or children, than to help bear the responsibility for them. Responsible people look to themselves before complaining." (Dennis and Sandra Packard, Feasting upon the Word, p. 221)

Alma 60:12 there are many who have fallen by the sword; and behold it is to your condemnation

Heber J. Grant

"If, harkening to that call [to serve one's country] and obeying those in command over them, they shall take the lives of those who fight against them, that will not make them murderers, nor subject them to the penalty that God has prescribed for those who kill...For it would be a cruel God that would punish His children as moral sinners for acts done by them as the innocent instrumentalities of a sovereign whom He had told them to obey and whose will they were powerless to resist...In this terrible war now waging, thousands of our righteous young men in all parts of the world and in many countries are subject to a call into the military service of their own countries...That in their work of destruction they will be striking at their brethren will not be held against them. That sin, as Moroni of old said, is to the condemnation of those who 'sit in their places of power in a state of thoughtless stupor,' those rulers in the world who in a frenzy of hate and lust for unrighteous power and dominion over their fellow men, have put into motion eternal forces they do not comprehend and cannot control. God, in His own due time, will pass sentence upon them." (Message of the First Presidency, Conference Report, Apr. 1942, pp. 92-96 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 356)

Alma 60:13 the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked

Hugh Nibley

"I went on a mission quite shortly after World War I, of all times, in German towns, and everybody had the same story. Nobody would believe anything. They wouldn't accept religion because God would not allow that [the atrocities of war] to happen. Their sons were in the war. Where I stayed first, Mrs. Bauer had a seventeen-year-old boy who was killed in the war. She said, 'Why? What was he guilty of? Why should God [punish him]?' They said, 'There is no God; he would never allow that sort of thing.' Would he allow the holocaust? Would he allow the fire raids and things like that of World War II? Well, it is not God who is being tested here. It is men who are being tested here. We say he has failed to pass our test. We are not giving tests to him." (Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 2:345)

"In a remarkable letter to Pahoran, governor of the Nephite lands, the prophet-general, Moroni, gives answer to a question every soldier's mother is asking: 'Will God permit a righteous boy to be slain on the field of battle?' Some of the Nephite parents must have been asking the same question...Why does a just God permit the innocent to be slain?

"Again the Book of Mormon gives answer. God will not take away from men their free agency. Men may abuse their free agency. They may in its exercise become carnal, sensual, and devilish. They may make war on their neighbors and put the innocent to death, but interfere with that free agency and the whole purpose of life is frustrated, and progress is ended...During the missionary work of Alma and Amulek in the land of Ammonihah, they were arrested and forced to witness the burning of those whom they had converted:

   'And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.

   But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand, for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.' (Alma 14:10-11.)

"Alma's answer goes to the heart of the problem. God will not interfere with the free agency of his children that his judgments may be just, nor can we expect him to stop wars and evil in our day for the same reason." (William E. Berrett, A Book of Mormon Treasury: Selections from the Pages of the Improvement Era, p. 281-2)

Alma 60:13 they do enter into the rest of the Lord

Harold B. Lee

"Those of you who have lived a righteous life and die without having become the servants of sin, or who have truly repented of your sins, will enter into the 'rest of the Lord,' which rest 'is the fulness of the glory of the Lord.' (Doc. and Cov. 84:24.) To you whose lives may be taken in war and to you who may mourn the loss of loved ones so taken, may I bring you again the comfort of the words of Moroni, the captain of the guard: 'For the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord.' (Alma 60:13.)

"Yes, 'if you will take death and sin out of this earth, I will take my heaven here and start in tomorrow morning.' Such was the remark of a young man who was asked where heaven was located. How true are his words! Here upon this earth, when it is cleansed from unrighteousness, will be the eternal abode of you who are judged worthy of celestial glory. Here you may dwell without sin and without death with the redeemed of your Father's house and your posterity throughout eternity.

"Youth of today, strive with all the strength at your command to live worthy to inherit this better day. In the years to come as you walk in the cities of the honored dead to revere their memories, may each one of you be sobered by a realization of the final state of man when each of you shall take his chamber 'in the silent halls of death.'

"May you be guided to live each day as though it were your last on earth and be prepared for such a passing into the presence of 'that God who gave you life.'" (Decisions for Successful Living, p. 187)

Harold B. Lee

"It is my conviction that the present devastating scourge of war in which hundreds of thousands are being slain, many of whom are no more responsible for the causes of the war than are our own boys, is making necessary an increase of missionary activity in the spirit world and that many of our boys who bear the Holy Priesthood and are worthy to do so will be called to that missionary service after they have departed this life." (Conference Report, October 1942, p. 73)

Alma 60:18 We know not but what ye are also traitors to your country

Hugh Nibley

"It was, to say the least, not the most tactful letter in the world, but Moroni's patience was worn out. Also, it turned out, he was right-on every point but one. And that point was an important one: he had accused the wrong man. Aside from that, he had the situation correctly sized up-his long experience with the king-men had not been for nothing." (Since Cumorah, p. 325.)

Alma 60:23 God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first

"As I read the scriptures, I often reflect upon the chilling implications of what the Apostle Peter meant when he said, 'Judgment must begin at the house of God.' (1 Pet. 4:17.) In our own day, the Lord has said, 'Vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth. ... And upon my house shall it begin.' (D&C 112:24-25; italics added.) What kind of judgments does the Lord have in mind? Why do the scriptures say that the cleansing will begin with the Church, rather than with the wicked?

"The scriptures reveal that the Lord will save his greatest wrath and condemnation for those who outwardly appear religious but who are actually full of evil within. Speaking to Jewish religious leaders, the Savior said, 'Cleanse first that which is within the cup. ... Ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.' (Matt. 23:26-27.) Similarly, the great Book of Mormon leader, Moroni, wrote, 'God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first.' (Alma 60:23.)

"President Ezra Taft Benson left little room for doubt that these warnings apply to us. He declared, 'All is not well in Zion. ... We must cleanse the inner vessel, beginning first with ourselves, then with our families, and finally with the Church.' (Ensign, May 1986, p. 4.)

"There are two methods of cleansing the inner vessel. The first is repentance. But if we do not repent, the Lord will invoke the second method of cleansing-from without. One way or another, the vessel will be cleansed." (Larry Tippetts, Ensign, Oct. 1992, p. 21)

Alma 60:33 If...your governors do not shall go up to battle against them

Moroni had threatened Pahoran with a military coup. History is replete with generals using their military power to establish a new regime. However, with Moroni's threat, there are some significant differences. First, Moroni was not trying to establish a new regime. He was trying to re-establish the old democracy. Second, Moroni was not interested in his own political career, as he said, I seek not for power, but to pull it down (v. 36). Third, Moroni had a divine mandate, according to his stewardship, to cleanse the inner vessel with force. Hereby, we see that the Lord recognized Moroni's calling as the preserver of the Nephite nation and gave him specific instructions to keep the nation from falling apart from the inside out.

Alma 60:36 I seek not for power, but to pull it down

Harold B. Lee

"The gospel of Christ is a gospel of love and peace, of patience and long suffering, of forbearance and forgiveness, of kindness and good deeds, of charity and brotherly love. Greed, avarice, base ambition, thirst for power, and unrighteous dominion over our fellow men, can have no place in the hearts of Latter-day Saints nor of God-fearing men everywhere. We of the Church must lead the life prescribed in the saying of the ancient prophet-warrior:  I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country. (Alma 60:36)" (Conference Report, April 1942, p. 90)