Account of Helaman of wars and dissensions
of the people of nephi which he kept in his days.
abridged ca. 373 ad
And now it came to pass in the commencement of the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, that Helaman went forth among the people to declare the word unto them. For behold, because of their wars with the Lamanites and the many little dissensions and disturbances which had been among the people, it became expedient that the word of God should be declared among them, yea, and that a regulation should be made throughout the church.
Therefore, Helaman and his brethren went forth to establish the church again in all the land, yea, in every city throughout all the land which was possessed by the people of Nephi. And it came to pass that they did appoint priests and teachers throughout all the land, over all the churches. And now it came to pass that after Helaman and his brethren had appointed priests and teachers over the churches that there arose a dissension among them, and they would not give heed to the words of Helaman and his brethren. But they grew proud, being lifted up in their hearts, because of their exceedingly great riches. Therefore they grew rich in their own eyes, and would not give heed to their words, to walk uprightly before God.
And it came to pass that as many as would not hearken to the words of Helaman and his brethren were gathered together against their brethren. And now behold, they were exceedingly wroth, insomuch that they were determined to slay them. Now the leader of those who were wroth against their brethren was a large and a strong man. And his name was Amalickiah. And Amalickiah was desirous to be a king; and those people who were wroth were also desirous that he should be their king. And they were the greater part of them the lower judges of the land, and they were seeking for power. And they had been led by the flatteries of Amalickiah, that if they would support him and establish him to be their king, that he would make them rulers over the people. Thus they were led away by Amalickiah to dissensions, notwithstanding the preaching of Helaman and his brethren, yea, notwithstanding their exceedingly great care over the church, for they were high priests over the church.
And there were many in the church who believed in the flattering words of Amalickiah, therefore they dissented even from the church. And thus were the affairs of the people of Nephi exceedingly precarious and dangerous, notwithstanding their great victory which they had had over the Lamanites, and their great rejoicings which they had had because of their deliverance by the hand of the Lord. Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their god, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one! Yea, and we also see the great wickedness one very wicked man can cause to take place among the children of men. Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly. Yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake.
And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah. And it came to pass that he rent his coat. And he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it
In memory of our god, our religion, and freedom
And our peace, our wives, and our children
And he fastened it upon the end of a pole. And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins. And he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, and he called it the Title of Liberty. And he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his god for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land. For thus were all the true believers of Christ, who belonged to the Church of God, called by those who did not belong to the church. And those who did belong to the church were faithful. Yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come. And therefore, at this time, Moroni prayed that the cause of the Christians, and the freedom of the land might be favored.
And it came to pass that when he had poured out his soul to God, he named all the land which was south of the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and on the south, A chosen land and the land of liberty. And he said:
Surely God shall not suffer that we, who are
Despised because we take upon us the name of Christ,
Shall be trodden down and destroyed,
Until we bring it upon us, by our own transgressions.
And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part, and crying with a loud voice, saying:
Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land!
Let them come forth in the strength of the Lord!
And enter into a covenant!
That they will maintain their rights, and their religion,
That the Lord God may bless them!
And it came to pass that when Moroni had proclaimed these words, behold, the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token, or as a covenant, that they would not forsake the Lord their god. Or, in other words, if they should transgress the commandments of God, or fall into transgression, and be ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ, the Lord should rend them even as they had rent their garments. Now this was the covenant which they made, and they cast their garments at the feet of Moroni, saying:
We covenant with our god, that we shall be destroyed,
Even as our brethren in the land northward,
If we shall fall into transgression!
Yea, he may cast us at the feet of our enemies,
Even as we have cast our garments at thy feet
To be trodden under foot,
If we shall fall into transgression.
Moroni said unto them:
Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob!
Yea, we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph,
Whose coat was rent by his brethren
Into many pieces, yea, and now behold,
Let us remember to keep the commandments of God,
Or our garments shall be rent by our brethren,
And we be cast into prison,
Or be sold or be slain.
Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph!
Yea, let us remember the words of Jacob,
Before his death, for behold, he saw that a part of the remnant
Of the coat of Joseph was preserved and had not decayed.
And he said: Even as this remnant of garment
Of my son hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed
Of my son be preserved by the hand of God,
And be taken unto himself, while the remainder of the seed
Of Joseph shall perish, even as the remnant of his garment.17Jacob here foretells the daughters of Asenath being taken without death to dwell amid the light in heaven, and of the sons of Joseph who with their seed will die as all men are fated to do. This distinction is somewhat more obscure in the blessing given by Lehi to his own son Joseph, but nonetheless can be shown in the branch broken off and raised to the House of Israel, and the other recovered from captivity and darkness. Such an interpretation allows one to guess at the realm of the lost House of Israel.
Now behold, this giveth my soul sorrow!
Nevertheless, my soul hath joy in my son,
Because of that part of his seed which shall be taken unto God.
Now behold, this was the language of Jacob.
And now who knoweth but what the remnant of the seed
Of Joseph, which shall perish as his garment,
Are those who have dissented from us? Yea,
And even it shall be ourselves if we do not stand
Fast in the faith of Christ.
And now it came to pass that when Moroni had said these words he went forth, and also sent forth in all the parts of the land where there were dissensions, and gathered together all the people who were desirous to maintain their liberty, to stand against Amalickiah and those who had dissented, who were called Amalickiahites. And it came to pass that when Amalickiah saw that the people of Moroni were more numerous than the Amalickiahites — and he also saw that his people were doubtful concerning the justice of the cause in which they had undertaken — therefore, fearing that he should not gain the point, he took those of his people who would and departed into the land of Nephi.
Now Moroni thought it was not expedient that the Lamanites should have any more strength. Therefore he thought to cut off the people of Amalickiah, or to take them and bring them back, and put Amalickiah to death. Yea, for he knew that he would stir up the Lamanites to anger against them, and cause them to come to battle against them. And this he knew that Amalickiah would do that he might obtain his purposes. Therefore Moroni thought it was expedient that he should take his armies, who had gathered themselves together, and armed themselves, and entered into a covenant to keep the peace. And it came to pass that he took his army and marched out with his tents into the wilderness, to cut off the course of Amalickiah in the wilderness.
And it came to pass that he did according to his desires, and marched forth into the wilderness, and headed the armies of Amalickiah.
And it came to pass that Amalickiah fled with a small number of his men, and the remainder were delivered up into the hands of Moroni and were taken back into the land of Zarahemla. Now, Moroni being a man who was appointed by the chief judges and the voice of the people, therefore he had power according to his will with the armies of the Nephites, to establish and to exercise authority over them. And it came to pass that whomsoever of the Amalickiahites that would not enter into a covenant to support the cause of freedom, that they might maintain a free government, he caused to be put to death. And there were but few who denied the covenant of freedom.
And it came to pass also, that he caused the Title of Liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land, which was possessed by the Nephites. And thus Moroni planted the Standard of Liberty among the Nephites. And they began to have peace again in the land; and thus they did maintain peace in the land until nearly the end of the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges. And Helaman and the high priests did also maintain order in the church. Yea, even for the space of four years did they have much peace and rejoicing in the church.
And it came to pass that there were many who died, firmly believing that their souls were redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ; thus they went out of the world rejoicing. And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land — but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate. But there were many who died with old age. And those who died in the faith of Christ are happy in him, as we must needs suppose.
Now we will return in our record to Amalickiah and those who had fled with him into the wilderness. For, behold, he had taken those who went with him, and went up in the land of Nephi among the Lamanites, and did stir up the Lamanites to anger against the people of Nephi, insomuch that the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation throughout all his land, among all his people, that they should gather themselves together again to go to battle against the Nephites. And it came to pass that when the proclamation had gone forth among them they were exceedingly afraid. Yea, they feared to displease the king, and they also feared to go to battle against the Nephites lest they should lose their lives. And it came to pass that they would not, or the more part of them would not, obey the commandments of the king. And now it came to pass that the king was wroth because of their disobedience. Therefore he gave Amalickiah the command of that part of his army which was obedient unto his commands, and commanded him that he should go forth and compel them to arms.
Now behold, this was the desire of Amalickiah, for he being a very subtle man to do evil: therefore he laid the plan in his heart to dethrone the king of the Lamanites. And now he had got the command of those parts of the Lamanites who were in favor of the king.
And he sought to gain favor of those who were not obedient. Therefore he went forward to the place which was called Onidah, for thither had all the Lamanites fled. For they discovered the army coming and, supposing that they were coming to destroy them, therefore they fled to Onidah to the place of arms. And they had appointed a man to be a king and a leader over them, being fixed in their minds with a determined resolution that they would not be subjected to go against the Nephites. And it came to pass that they had gathered themselves together upon the top of the mount which was called Antipas, in preparation to battle.
Now it was not Amalickiah’s intention to give them battle according to the commandments of the king. But behold, it was his intention to gain favor with the armies of the Lamanites, that he might place himself at their head and dethrone the king and take possession of the kingdom. And behold, it came to pass that he caused his army to pitch their tents in the valley which was near the Mount Antipas. And it came to pass that when it was night he sent a secret embassy into the Mount Antipas, desiring that the leader of those who were upon the mount, whose name was Lehonti, that he should come down to the foot of the mount, for he desired to speak with him.
And it came to pass that when Lehonti received the message he durst not go down to the foot of the mount. And it came to pass that Amalickiah sent again the second time, desiring him to come down. And it came to pass that Lehonti would not. And he sent again the third time. And it came to pass that when Amalickiah found that he could not get Lehonti to come down off from the mount, he went up into the mount, nearly to Lehonti’s camp. And he sent again the fourth time his message unto Lehonti, desiring that he would come down, and that he would bring his guards with him. And it came to pass that when Lehonti had come down with his guards to Amalickiah, that Amalickiah desired him to come down with his army in the night-time, and surround those men in their camps over whom the king had given him command, and that he would deliver them up into Lehonti’s hands, if he would make him, Amalickiah, a second leader over the whole army.
And it came to pass that Lehonti came down with his men and surrounded the men of Amalickiah, so that before they awoke at the dawn of day they were surrounded by the armies of Lehonti. And it came to pass that when they saw that they were surrounded, they plead with Amalickiah that he would suffer them to fall in with their brethren, that they might not be destroyed. Now this was the very thing which Amalickiah desired. And it came to pass that he delivered his men, contrary to the commands of the king. Now this was the thing that Amalickiah desired, that he might accomplish his designs in dethroning the king.
Now it was the custom among the Lamanites, if their chief leader was killed, to appoint the second leader to be their chief leader. And it came to pass that Amalickiah caused that one of his servants should administer poison by degrees to Lehonti, that he died. Now, when Lehonti was dead, the Lamanites appointed Amalickiah to be their leader and their chief commander. And it came to pass that Amalickiah marched with his armies — for he had gained his desires — to the land of Nephi, to the city of Nephi which was the chief city. And the king came out to meet him with his guards, for he supposed that Amalickiah had fulfilled his commands, and that Amalickiah had gathered together so great an army to go against the Nephites to battle. But behold, as the king came out to meet him Amalickiah caused that his servants should go forth to meet the king. And they went and bowed themselves before the king, as if to reverence him because of his greatness.
And it came to pass that the king put forth his hand to raise them, as was the custom with the Lamanites, as a token of peace, which custom they had taken from the Nephites. And it came to pass that when he had raised the first from the ground, behold he stabbed the king to the heart, and he fell to the earth. Now the servants of the king fled! And the servants of Amalickiah raised a cry, saying:
Behold, the servants of the king have stabbed him to the heart!
And he has fallen and they have fled! Behold, come and see!
And it came to pass that Amalickiah commanded that his armies should march forth and see what had happened to the king. And when they had come to the spot, and found the king lying in his gore, Amalickiah pretended to be wroth, and said:
Whosoever loved the king, let him go forth, and
Pursue his servants that they may be slain!
And it came to pass that all they who loved the king, when they heard these words, came forth and pursued after the servants of the king. Now when the servants of the king saw an army pursuing after them, they were frightened again, and fled into the wilderness, and came over into the land of Zarahemla and joined the people of Ammon. And the army which pursued after them returned, having pursued after them in vain.
And thus Amalickiah, by his fraud, gained the hearts of the people. And it came to pass on the morrow he entered the city Nephi with his armies, and took possession of the city. And now it came to pass that the queen, when she had heard that the king was slain — for Amalickiah had sent an embassy to the queen informing her that the king had been slain by his servants, that he had pursued them with his army, but it was in vain, and they had made their escape. Therefore, when the queen had received this message she sent unto Amalickiah, desiring him that he would spare the people of the city. And she also desired him that he should come in unto her. And she also desired him that he should bring witnesses with him to testify concerning the death of the king.
And it came to pass that Amalickiah took the same servant that slew the king, and all them who were with him, and went in unto the queen, unto the place where she sat. And they all testified unto her that the king was slain by his own servants. And they said also: They have fled. Does not this testify against them?
And thus they satisfied the queen concerning the death of the king. And it came to pass that Amalickiah sought the favor of the queen, and took her unto him to wife. And thus by his fraud, and by the assistance of his cunning servants, he obtained the kingdom. Yea, he was acknowledged king throughout all the land, among all the people of the Lamanites, who were composed of the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites, and all the dissenters of the Nephites, from the reign of Nephi down to the present time. Now these dissenters, having the same instruction and the same information of the Nephites, yea, having been instructed in the same knowledge of the Lord, nevertheless, it is strange to relate: not long after their dissensions they became more hardened and impenitent; and more wild, wicked and ferocious than the Lamanites, drinking in with the traditions of the Lamanites; giving way to indolence, and all manner of lasciviousness; yea, entirely forgetting the Lord their god.
And now it came to pass that, as soon as Amalickiah had obtained the kingdom he began to inspire the hearts of the Lamanites against the people of Nephi. Yea, he did appoint men to speak unto the Lamanites from their towers, against the Nephites. And thus he did inspire their hearts against the Nephites, insomuch that in the latter end of the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges, he having accomplished his designs thus far, yea, having been made king over the Lamanites, he sought also to reign over all the land, yea, and all the people who were in the land, the Nephites as well as the Lamanites. Therefore he had accomplished his design, for he had hardened the hearts of the Lamanites and blinded their minds, and stirred them up to anger, insomuch that he had gathered together a numerous host to go to battle against the Nephites. For he was determined, because of the greatness of the number of his people, to overpower the Nephites and to bring them into bondage. And thus he did appoint chief captains of the Zoramites, they being the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites, and their places of resort, and the weakest parts of their cities. Therefore he appointed them to be chief captains over his armies. And it came to pass that they took their camp, and moved forth toward the land of Zarahemla in the wilderness.
Now it came to pass that while Amalickiah had thus been obtaining power by fraud and deceit, Moroni, on the other hand, had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their god. Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort. Throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands, yea, all round about the land. And in their weakest fortifications he did place the greater number of men. And thus he did fortify and strengthen the land which was possessed by the Nephites. And thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their god, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians.
And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man!
He was a man of a perfect understanding!
Yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed,
A man whose soul did joy in the liberty and
The freedom of his country, and his brethren
From bondage and slavery. Yea, a man whose heart did swell
With thanksgiving to his god,
For the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed
Upon his people. A man who did labor exceedingly
For the welfare and safety of his people. Yea,
And he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ,
And he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights,
And his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood!
Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary. Yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives. And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land. Yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger. And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lord would deliver them. And this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it: not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity. Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, 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. Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God.
Now behold, Helaman and his brethren were no less serviceable unto the people than was Moroni. For they did preach the word of God, and they did baptize unto repentance all men whosoever would hearken unto their words. And thus they went forth, and the people did humble themselves because of their words, insomuch that they were highly favored of the Lord, and thus they were free from wars and contentions among themselves, yea, even for the space of four years. But, as I have said, in the latter end of the nineteenth year, yea, notwithstanding their peace amongst themselves, they were compelled reluctantly to contend with their brethren, the Lamanites. Yea, and in fine, their wars never did cease for the space of many years with the Lamanites, notwithstanding their much reluctance.
Now, they were sorry to take up arms against the Lamanites, because they did not delight in the shedding of blood. Yea, and this was not all: they were sorry to be the means of sending so many of their brethren out of this world into an eternal world, unprepared to meet their god. Nevertheless, they could not suffer to lay down their lives, that their wives and their children should be massacred by the barbarous cruelty of those who were once their brethren, yea, and had dissented from their church, and had left them and had gone to destroy them by joining the Lamanites. Yea, they could not bear that their brethren should rejoice over the blood of the Nephites, so long as there were any who should keep the commandments of God, for the promise of the Lord was, if they should keep his commandments they should prosper in the land.
And now it came to pass in the eleventh month of the nineteenth year, on the tenth day of the month, the armies of the Lamanites were seen approaching towards the land of Ammonihah. And behold, the city had been rebuilt, and Moroni had stationed an army by the borders of the city, and they had cast up dirt round about to shield them from the arrows and the stones of the Lamanites. For behold, they fought with stones and with arrows. Behold, I said that the city of Ammonihah had been rebuilt. I say unto you, yea, that it was in part rebuilt. And because the Lamanites had destroyed it once because of the iniquity of the people, they supposed that it would again become an easy prey for them. But behold, how great was their disappointment! For behold, the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect, neither could they come upon them save it was by their place of entrance.
Now at this time the chief captains of the Lamanites were astonished exceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places of security. Now the leaders of the Lamanites had supposed, because of the greatness of their numbers, yea, they supposed that they should be privileged to come upon them as they had hitherto done. Yea, and they had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates. And they had also prepared themselves with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness. And being thus prepared they supposed that they should easily overpower and subject their brethren to the yoke of bondage, or slay and massacre them according to their pleasure. But behold, to their uttermost astonishment, they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi. Now they were prepared for the Lamanites, to battle after the manner of the instructions of Moroni.
And it came to pass that the Lamanites, or the Amalickiahites, were exceedingly astonished at their manner of preparation for war. Now, if King Amalickiah had come down out of the land of Nephi, at the head of his army, perhaps he would have caused the Lamanites to have attacked the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah. For behold, he did care not for the blood of his people. But behold, Amalickiah did not come down himself to battle. And behold, his chief captains durst not attack the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah, for Moroni had altered the management of affairs among the Nephites, insomuch that the Lamanites were disappointed in their places of retreat and they could not come upon them. Therefore they retreated into the wilderness, and took their camp and marched towards the land of Noah, supposing that to be the next best place for them to come against the Nephites. For they knew not that Moroni had fortified, or had built forts of security, for every city in all the land round about; therefore, they marched forward to the land of Noah with a firm determination; yea, their chief captains came forward and took an oath that they would destroy the people of that city.
But behold, to their astonishment, the city of Noah, which had hitherto been a weak place, had now, by the means of Moroni, become strong, yea, even to exceed the strength of the city Ammonihah. And now, behold, this was wisdom in Moroni. For he had supposed that they would be frightened at the city Ammonihah. And as the city of Noah had hitherto been the weakest part of the land, therefore they would march thither to battle. And thus it was according to his desires. And behold, Moroni had appointed Lehi to be chief captain over the men of that city. And it was that same Lehi who fought with the Lamanites in the valley on the east of the river Sidon. And now behold it came to pass, that when the Lamanites had found that Lehi commanded the city they were again disappointed, for they feared Lehi exceedingly.
Nevertheless their chief captains had sworn with an oath to attack the city. Therefore, they brought up their armies. Now behold, the Lamanites could not get into their forts of security by any other way save by the entrance, because of the highness of the bank which had been thrown up, and the depth of the ditch which had been dug round about, save it were by the entrance. And thus were the Nephites prepared to destroy all such as should attempt to climb up to enter the fort by any other way, by casting over stones and arrows at them. Thus they were prepared, yea, a body of their strongest men, with their swords and their slings, to smite down all who should attempt to come into their place of security by the place of entrance. And thus were they prepared to defend themselves against the Lamanites.
And it came to pass that the captains of the Lamanites brought up their armies before the place of entrance, and began to contend with the Nephites, to get into their place of security. But behold, they were driven back from time to time, insomuch that they were slain with an immense slaughter. Now when they found that they could not obtain power over the Nephites by the pass, they began to dig down their banks of earth that they might obtain a pass to their armies, that they might have an equal chance to fight. But behold, in these attempts they were swept off by the stones and arrows which were thrown at them. And instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies. Thus the Nephites had all power over their enemies. And thus the Lamanites did attempt to destroy the Nephites until their chief captains were all slain. Yea, and more than a thousand of the Lamanites were slain. While, on the other hand, there was not a single soul of the Nephites which was slain. There were about fifty who were wounded, who had been exposed to the arrows of the Lamanites through the pass, but they were shielded by their shields, and their breastplates, and their head-plates, insomuch that their wounds were upon their legs, many of which were very severe.
And it came to pass, that when the Lamanites saw that their chief captains were all slain they fled into the wilderness. And it came to pass that they returned to the land of Nephi, to inform their king, Amalickiah, who was a Nephite by birth, concerning their great loss. And it came to pass that he was exceedingly angry with his people, because he had not obtained his desire over the Nephites. He had not subjected them to the yoke of bondage. Yea, he was exceedingly wroth, and he did curse God, and also Moroni, swearing with an oath that he would drink his blood! And this because Moroni had kept the commandments of God in preparing for the safety of his people.
And it came to pass, that on the other hand, the people of Nephi did thank the Lord their god, because of his matchless power in delivering them from the hands of their enemies. And thus ended the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. Yea, and there was continual peace among them, and exceedingly great prosperity in the church because of their heed and diligence which they gave unto the word of God, which was declared unto them by Helaman, and Shiblon, and Corianton, and Ammon and his brethren, yea, and by all those who had been ordained by the Holy Order of God, being baptized unto repentance, and sent forth to preach among the people.
And now it came to pass that Moroni did not stop making preparations for war, or to defend his people against the Lamanites. For he caused that his armies should commence in the commencement of the twentieth year of the reign of the judges, that they should commence in digging up heaps of earth round about all the cities, throughout all the land which was possessed by the Nephites. And upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man, round about the cities. And he caused that upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets built upon the timbers round about, and they were strong and high. And he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets, and he caused places of security to be built upon those towers, that the stones and the arrows of the Lamanites could not hurt them. And they were prepared that they could cast stones from the top thereof, according to their pleasure and their strength, and slay him who should attempt to approach near the walls of the city. Thus Moroni did prepare strongholds against the coming of their enemies, round about every city in all the land.
And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his armies should go forth into the east wilderness. Yea, and they went forth and drove all the Lamanites who were in the east wilderness into their own lands, which were south of the land of Zarahemla. And the land of Nephi did run in a straight course from the east sea to the west. And it came to pass that when Moroni had driven all the Lamanites out of the east wilderness, which was north of the lands of their own possessions, he caused that the inhabitants who were in the land of Zarahemla and in the land round about should go forth into the east wilderness, even to the borders by the seashore, and possess the land. And he also placed armies on the south, in the borders of their possessions, and caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies. And thus he cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness, yea, and also on the west, fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites, between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi, from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon. The Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful, according to their pleasure.
Thus Moroni, with his armies, which did increase daily because of the assurance of protection which his works did bring forth unto them, did seek to cut off the strength and the power of the Lamanites from off the lands of their possessions, that they should have no power upon the lands of their possession. And it came to pass that the Nephites began the foundation of a city, and they called the name of the city Moroni. And it was by the east sea. And it was on the south by the line of the possessions of the Lamanites. And they also began a foundation for a city between the city of Moroni and the city of Aaron, joining the borders of Aaron and Moroni. And they called the name of the city, or the land, Nephihah. And they also began in that same year to build many cities on the north, one in a particular manner which they called Lehi which was in the north by the borders of the seashore. And thus ended the twentieth year.
And in these prosperous circumstances were the people of Nephi in the commencement of the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. And they did prosper exceedingly and they became exceedingly rich. Yea, and they did multiply and wax strong in the land. And thus we see how merciful and just are all the dealings of the Lord, to the fulfilling of all his words unto the children of men. Yea, we can behold that his words are verified, even at this time, which he spake unto Lehi, saying:
Blessed art thou and thy children! And they shall be blessed,
Inasmuch as they shall keep my commandments
They shall prosper in the land.
But remember, inasmuch as they will not keep
My commandments, they shall be cut off
From the presence of the Lord.
And we see that these promises have been verified to the people of Nephi. For it has been their quarrelings and their contentions, yea, their murderings, and their plunderings, their idolatry, their whoredoms, and their abominations, which were among themselves, which brought upon them their wars and their destructions. And those who were faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord were delivered at all times, whilst thousands of their wicked brethren have been consigned to bondage, or to perish by the sword, or to dwindle in unbelief, and mingle with the Lamanites. But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni! Yea, even at this time, in the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges.
And it came to pass that the twenty and second year of the reign of the judges also ended in peace. Yea, and also the twenty and third year. And it came to pass that in the commencement of the twenty and fourth year of the reign of the judges, there would also have been peace among the people of Nephi had it not been for a contention which took place among them concerning the land of Lehi, and the land of Morianton, which joined upon the borders of Lehi: both of which were on the borders by the seashore.
For behold, the people who possessed the land of Morianton did claim a part of the land of Lehi. Therefore there began to be a warm contention between them, insomuch that the people of Morianton took up arms against their brethren, and they were determined by the sword to slay them. But behold, the people who possessed the land of Lehi fled to the camp of Moroni, and appealed unto him for assistance. For behold they were not in the wrong. And it came to pass that when the people of Morianton, who were led by a man whose name was Morianton, found that the people of Lehi had fled to the camp of Moroni, they were exceedingly fearful lest the army of Moroni should come upon them and destroy them. Therefore, Morianton put it into their hearts that they should flee to the land which was northward, which was covered with large bodies of water, and take possession of the land which was northward. And behold, they would have carried this plan into effect: which would have been a cause to have been lamented. But behold, Morianton being a man of much passion, therefore he was angry with one of his maid servants, and he fell upon her and beat her much. And it came to pass that she fled, and came over to the camp of Moroni, and told Moroni all things concerning the matter, and also concerning their intentions to flee into the land northward.
Now behold, the people who were in the land Bountiful, or rather Moroni, feared that they would hearken to the words of Morianton and unite with his people, and thus he would obtain possession of those parts of the land, which would lay a foundation for serious consequences among the people of Nephi, yea, which consequences would lead to the overthrow of their liberty. Therefore Moroni sent an army, with their camp, to head the people of Morianton, to stop their flight into the land northward. And it came to pass that they did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation. And there they did head them, by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east.
And it came to pass that the army which was sent by Moroni, which was led by a man whose name was Teancum, did meet the people of Morianton. And so stubborn were the people of Morianton — being inspired by his wickedness and his flattering words — that a battle commenced between them, in the which Teancum did slay Morianton and defeat his army, and took them prisoners, and returned to the camp of Moroni. And thus ended the twenty and fourth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. And thus were the people of Morianton brought back. And upon their covenanting to keep the peace they were restored to the land of Morianton, and a union took place between them and the people of Lehi. And they were also restored to their lands.
And it came to pass that in the same year that the people of Nephi had peace restored unto them, that Nephihah, the second chief judge, died, having filled the judgment-seat with perfect uprightness before God. Nevertheless, he had refused Alma to take possession of those records and those things which were esteemed by Alma and his fathers to be most sacred. Therefore Alma had conferred them upon his son, Helaman. Behold, it came to pass that the son of Nephihah was appointed to fill the judgment-seat, in the stead of his father. Yea, he was appointed chief judge and governor over the people, with an oath and sacred ordinance:
To judge righteously; and to keep the peace
And the freedom of the people; and to grant unto them
Their sacred privileges to worship the Lord their god;
Yea, to support and maintain the cause of God all his days;
And to bring the wicked to justice according to their crime.
Now behold, his name was Pahoran. And Pahoran did fill the seat of his father, and did commence his reign in the end of the twenty and fourth year, over the people of Nephi.
And now it came to pass in the commencement of the twenty and fifth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi — they having established peace between the people of Lehi and the people of Morianton concerning their lands, and having commenced the twenty and fifth year in peace — nevertheless, they did not long maintain an entire peace in the land, for there began to be a contention among the people concerning the chief judge Pahoran. For behold, there were a part of the people who desired that a few particular points of the law should be altered. But behold, Pahoran would not alter nor suffer the law to be altered. Therefore, he did not hearken to those who had sent in their voices with their petitions concerning the altering of the law. Therefore, those who were desirous that the law should be altered were angry with him, and desired that he should no longer be chief judge over the land. Therefore there arose a warm dispute concerning the matter, but not unto bloodshed.
And it came to pass that those who were desirous that Pahoran should be dethroned from the judgment-seat were called King-men, for they were desirous that the law should be altered in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land.
And those who were desirous that Pahoran should remain chief judge over the land took upon them the name of Freemen.
And thus was the division among them, for the freemen had sworn or covenanted to maintain their rights and the privileges of their religion by a free government. And it came to pass that this matter of their contention was settled by the voice of the people. And it came to pass that the voice of the people came in favor of the Freemen, and Pahoran retained the judgment-seat, which caused much rejoicing among the brethren of Pahoran and also many of the people of liberty, who also put the King-men to silence, that they durst not oppose but were obliged to maintain the cause of freedom. Now those who were in favor of kings were those of high birth, and they sought to be kings. And they were supported by those who sought power and authority over the people.
But behold, this was a critical time for such contentions to be among the people of Nephi. For behold, Amalickiah had again stirred up the hearts of the people of the Lamanites against the people of the Nephites. And he was gathering together soldiers from all parts of his land, and arming them, and preparing for war with all diligence: for he had sworn to drink the blood of Moroni. But behold, we shall see that his promise which he made was rash. Nevertheless, he did prepare himself and his armies to come to battle against the Nephites.
Now his armies were not so great as they had hitherto been, because of the many thousands who had been slain by the hand of the Nephites. But notwithstanding their great loss, Amalickiah had gathered together a wonderfully great army, insomuch that he feared not to come down to the land of Zarahemla. Yea, even Amalickiah did himself come down, at the head of the Lamanites. And it was in the twenty and fifth year of the reign of the judges. And it was at the same time that they had begun to settle the affairs of their contentions concerning the chief judge, Pahoran. And it came to pass that when the men who were called King-men had heard that the Lamanites were coming down to battle against them, they were glad in their hearts. And they refused to take up arms, for they were so wroth with the chief judge, and also with the people of liberty, that they would not take up arms to defend their country.
And it came to pass that when Moroni saw this, and also saw that the Lamanites were coming into the borders of the land, he was exceedingly wroth because of the stubbornness of those people whom he had labored with so much diligence to preserve. Yea, he was exceedingly wroth! His soul was filled with anger against them. And it came to pass that he sent a petition, with the voice of the people, unto the governor of the land, desiring that he should read it, and give him, Moroni, power to compel those dissenters to defend their country or to put them to death.
For it was his first care to put an end to such contentions and dissensions among the people. For behold, this had been hitherto a cause of all their destruction. And it came to pass that it was granted according to the voice of the people. And it came to pass that Moroni commanded that his army should go against those king-men, to pull down their pride and their nobility and level them with the earth, or they should take up arms and support the cause of liberty. And it came to pass that the armies did march forth against them; and they did pull down their pride and their nobility, insomuch that as they did lift their weapons of war to fight against the men of Moroni they were hewn down and leveled to the earth. And it came to pass that there were four thousand of those dissenters who were hewn down by the sword. And those of their leaders who were not slain in battle were taken and cast into prison, for there was no time for their trials at this period.
And the remainder of those dissenters, rather than be smitten down to the earth by the sword, yielded to the standard of liberty, and were compelled to hoist the Title of Liberty upon their towers, and in their cities, and to take up arms in defense of their country. And thus Moroni put an end to those king-men, that there were not any known by the appellation of king-men. And thus he put an end to the stubbornness and the pride of those people who professed the blood of nobility. But they were brought down to humble themselves like unto their brethren, and to fight valiantly for their freedom from bondage.
Behold, it came to pass that while Moroni was thus breaking down the wars and contentions among his own people, and subjecting them to peace and civilization, and making regulations to prepare for war against the Lamanites, behold, the Lamanites had come into the land of Moroni, which was in the borders by the seashore. And it came to pass that the Nephites were not sufficiently strong in the city of Moroni. Therefore Amalickiah did drive them, slaying many. And it came to pass that Amalickiah took possession of the city, yea, possession of all their fortifications. And those who fled out of the city of Moroni came to the city of Nephihah. And also the people of the city of Lehi gathered themselves together, and made preparations and were ready to receive the Lamanites to battle. But it came to pass that Amalickiah would not suffer the Lamanites to go against the city of Nephihah to battle, but kept them down by the seashore, leaving men in every city to maintain and defend it. And thus he went on, taking possession of many cities, the city of Nephihah, and the city of Lehi, and the city of Morianton, and the city of Omner, and the city of Gid, and the city of Mulek, all of which were on the east borders by the seashore. And thus had the Lamanites obtained, by the cunning of Amalickiah, so many cities, by their numberless hosts, all of which were strongly fortified after the manner of the fortifications of Moroni: all of which afforded strongholds for the Lamanites.
And it came to pass that they marched to the borders of the land Bountiful, driving the Nephites before them and slaying many. But it came to pass that they were met by Teancum who had slain Morianton and had headed his people in his flight. And it came to pass that he headed Amalickiah also, as he was marching forth with his numerous army that he might take possession of the land Bountiful, and also the land northward. But behold he met with a disappointment by being repulsed by Teancum and his men, for they were great warriors! For every man of Teancum did exceed the Lamanites in their strength and in their skill of war, insomuch that they did gain advantage over the Lamanites. And it came to pass that they did harass them, insomuch that they did slay them even until it was dark.
And it came to pass that Teancum and his men did pitch their tents in the borders of the land Bountiful. And Amalickiah did pitch his tents in the borders on the beach by the seashore, and after this manner were they driven. And it came to pass that when the night had come, Teancum and his servant stole forth and went out by night, and went into the camp of Amalickiah. And behold, sleep had overpowered them because of their much fatigue, which was caused by the labors and heat of the day. And it came to pass that Teancum stole privily into the tent of the king, and put a javelin to his heart! And he did cause the death of the king immediately that he did not awake his servants.
And he returned again privily to his own camp, and behold, his men were asleep, and he awoke them and told them all the things that he had done. And he caused that his armies should stand in readiness, lest the Lamanites had awakened and should come upon them. And thus endeth the twenty and fifth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. And thus endeth the days of Amalickiah.
And now, it came to pass in the twenty and sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, behold, when the Lamanites awoke on the first morning of the first month, behold, they found Amalickiah was dead in his own tent. And they also saw that Teancum was ready to give them battle on that day. And now, when the Lamanites saw this they were affrighted! And they abandoned their design in marching into the land northward, and retreated with all their army into the city of Mulek, and sought protection in their fortifications.
And it came to pass that the brother of Amalickiah was appointed king over the people. And his name was Ammoron. Thus King Ammoron, the brother of King Amalickiah, was appointed to reign in his stead. And it came to pass that he did command that his people should maintain those cities, which they had taken by the shedding of blood. For they had not taken any cities save they had lost much blood. And now, Teancum saw that the Lamanites were determined to maintain those cities which they had taken, and those parts of the land which they had obtained possession of; and also seeing the enormity of their number, Teancum thought it was not expedient that he should attempt to attack them in their forts. But he kept his men round about, as if making preparations for war. Yea, and truly he was preparing to defend himself against them, by casting up walls round about and preparing places of resort.
And it came to pass that he kept thus preparing for war until Moroni had sent a large number of men to strengthen his army. And Moroni also sent orders unto him that he should retain all the prisoners who fell into his hands. For as the Lamanites had taken many prisoners, that he should retain all the prisoners of the Lamanites as a ransom for those whom the Lamanites had taken. And he also sent orders unto him that he should fortify the land Bountiful, and secure the narrow pass which led into the land northward, lest the Lamanites should obtain that point and should have power to harass them on every side. And Moroni also sent unto him, desiring him that he would be faithful in maintaining that quarter of the land, and that he would seek every opportunity to scourge the Lamanites in that quarter, as much as was in his power, that perhaps he might take again by stratagem or some other way those cities which had been taken out of their hands. And that he also would fortify and strengthen the cities round about, which had not fallen into the hands of the Lamanites.
And he also said unto him:
I would come unto you, but behold,
The Lamanites are upon us in the borders of the land
By the west sea. And behold, I go against them,
Therefore I cannot come unto you.
Now, the king, Ammoron, had departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and had made known unto the queen concerning the death of his brother, and had gathered together a large number of men, and had marched forth against the Nephites on the borders by the west sea.
And thus he was endeavoring to harass the Nephites, and to draw away a part of their forces to that part of the land, while he had commanded those whom he had left to possess the cities which he had taken, that they should also harass the Nephites on the borders by the east sea, and should take possession of their lands as much as it was in their power, according to the power of their armies. And thus were the Nephites in those dangerous circumstances in the ending of the twenty and sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
But behold, it came to pass in the twenty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, that Teancum, by the command of Moroni — who had established armies to protect the south and the west borders of the land, and had begun his march towards the land Bountiful, that he might assist Teancum with his men in retaking the cities which they had lost — and it came to pass that Teancum had received orders to make an attack upon the city of Mulek, and retake it if it were possible. And it came to pass that Teancum made preparations to make an attack upon the city of Mulek, and march forth with his army against the Lamanites. But he saw that it was impossible that he could overpower them while they were in their fortifications. Therefore he abandoned his designs and returned again to the city Bountiful, to wait for the coming of Moroni, that he might receive strength to his army.
And it came to pass that Moroni did arrive with his army at the land of Bountiful, in the latter end of the twenty and seventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. And in the commencement of the twenty and eighth year, Moroni and Teancum and many of the chief captains held a council of war — what they should do to cause the Lamanites to come out against them to battle. Or that they might by some means flatter them out of their strongholds, that they might gain advantage over them and take again the city of Mulek.
And it came to pass they sent embassies to the army of the Lamanites, which protected the city of Mulek, to their leader, whose name was Jacob, desiring him that he would come out with his armies to meet them upon the plains between the two cities. But behold, Jacob, who was a Zoramite, would not come out with his army to meet them upon the plains. And it came to pass that Moroni, having no hopes of meeting them upon fair grounds, therefore, he resolved upon a plan that he might decoy the Lamanites out of their strongholds.
Therefore he caused that Teancum should take a small number of men and march down near the seashore. And Moroni and his army, by night, marched in the wilderness, on the west of the city Mulek. And thus, on the morrow, when the guards of the Lamanites had discovered Teancum, they ran and told it unto Jacob, their leader. And it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites did march forth against Teancum, supposing by their numbers to overpower Teancum because of the smallness of his numbers. And as Teancum saw the armies of the Lamanites coming out against him he began to retreat down by the seashore, northward. And it came to pass that when the Lamanites saw that he began to flee, they took courage and pursued them with vigor. And while Teancum was thus leading away the Lamanites who were pursuing them in vain, behold, Moroni commanded that a part of his army who were with him should march forth into the city, and take possession of it. And thus they did, and slew all those who had been left to protect the city, yea, all those who would not yield up their weapons of war. And thus Moroni had obtained possession of the city Mulek with a part of his army, while he marched with the remainder to meet the Lamanites when they should return from the pursuit of Teancum.
And it came to pass that the Lamanites did pursue Teancum until they came near the city Bountiful, and then they were met by Lehi and a small army, which had been left to protect the city Bountiful. And now behold, when the chief captains of the Lamanites had beheld Lehi with his army coming against them, they fled in much confusion, lest perhaps they should not obtain the city Mulek before Lehi should overtake them. For they were wearied because of their march, and the men of Lehi were fresh. Now the Lamanites did not know that Moroni had been in their rear with his army. And all they feared was Lehi and his men. Now Lehi was not desirous to overtake them till they should meet Moroni and his army.
And it came to pass that before the Lamanites had retreated far they were surrounded by the Nephites, by the men of Moroni on one hand, and the men of Lehi on the other, all of whom were fresh and full of strength. But the Lamanites were wearied because of their long march. And Moroni commanded his men that they should fall upon them until they had given up their weapons of war. And it came to pass that Jacob, being their leader, being also a Zoramite, and having an unconquerable spirit, he led the Lamanites forth to battle with exceeding fury against Moroni. Moroni being in their course of march, therefore Jacob was determined to slay them and cut his way through to the city of Mulek. But behold, Moroni and his men were more powerful. Therefore they did not give way before the Lamanites.
And it came to pass that they fought on both hands with exceeding fury! And there were many slain on both sides. Yea, and Moroni was wounded and Jacob was killed. And Lehi pressed upon their rear with such fury with his strong men, that the Lamanites in the rear delivered up their weapons of war. And the remainder of them, being much confused, knew not whither to go or to strike. Now Moroni seeing their confusion, he said unto them: If ye will bring forth your weapons of war and deliver them up, behold we will forbear shedding your blood.
And it came to pass that when the Lamanites had heard these words, their chief captains, all those who were not slain, came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni, and also commanded their men that they should do the same. But behold, there were many that would not. And those who would not deliver up their swords were taken and bound, and their weapons of war were taken from them, and they were compelled to march with their brethren forth into the land Bountiful. And now the number of prisoners who were taken exceeded more than the number of those who had been slain, yea, more than those who had been slain on both sides.
And it came to pass that they did set guards over the prisoners of the Lamanites, and did compel them to go forth and bury their dead, yea, and also the dead of the Nephites who were slain. And Moroni placed men over them to guard them while they should perform their labors. And Moroni went to the city of Mulek with Lehi, and took command of the city and gave it unto Lehi. Now behold, this Lehi was a man who had been with Moroni in the more part of all his battles. And he was a man like unto Moroni, and they rejoiced in each other’s safety. Yea, they were beloved by each other, and also beloved by all the people of Nephi.
And it came to pass that after the Lamanites had finished burying their dead and also the dead of the Nephites, they were marched back into the land Bountiful. And Teancum, by the orders of Moroni, caused that they should commence laboring in digging a ditch round about the land, or the city, Bountiful. And he caused that they should build a breastwork of timbers upon the inner bank of the ditch. And they cast up dirt out of the ditch against the breastwork of timbers. And thus they did cause the Lamanites to labor until they had encircled the city of Bountiful round about with a strong wall of timbers and earth, to an exceeding height. And this city became an exceeding stronghold ever after. And in this city they did guard the prisoners of the Lamanites. Yea, even within a wall which they had caused them to build with their own hands! Now Moroni was compelled to cause the Lamanites to labor, because it was easy to guard them while at their labor. And he desired all his forces when he should make an attack upon the Lamanites. And it came to pass that Moroni had thus gained a victory over one of the greatest of the armies of the Lamanites, and had obtained possession of the city of Mulek, which was one of the strongest holds of the Lamanites in the land of Nephi! And thus he had also built a stronghold to retain his prisoners.
And it came to pass that he did no more attempt a battle with the Lamanites in that year, but he did employ his men in preparing for war, yea, and in making fortifications to guard against the Lamanites, yea, and also delivering their women and their children from famine and affliction, and providing food for their armies. And now it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites, on the west sea, south, while in the absence of Moroni on account of some intrigue amongst the Nephites, which caused dissensions amongst them, had gained some ground over the Nephites, yea, insomuch that they had obtained possession of a number of their cities in that part of the land. And thus because of iniquity amongst themselves, yea, because of dissensions and intrigue among themselves they were placed in the most dangerous circumstances.
And now behold, I have somewhat to say concerning the people of Ammon, who, in the beginning, were Lamanites. But by Ammon and his brethren, or rather by the power and word of God, they had been converted unto the Lord. And they had been brought down into the land of Zarahemla, and had ever since been protected by the Nephites. And because of their oath they had been kept from taking up arms against their brethren; for they had taken an oath that they never would shed blood more. And according to their oath, they would have perished. Yea, they would have suffered themselves to have fallen into the hands of their brethren, had it not been for the pity and the exceeding love which Ammon and his brethren had had for them. And for this cause they were brought down into the land of Zarahemla. And they ever had been protected by the Nephites. But it came to pass that when they saw the danger, and the many afflictions and tribulations which the Nephites bore for them, they were moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defense of their country. But behold, as they were about to take their weapons of war, they were overpowered by the persuasions of Helaman and his brethren, for they were about to break the oath which they had made.
And Helaman feared lest by so doing they should lose their souls! Therefore all those who had entered into this covenant were compelled to behold their brethren wade through their afflictions, in their dangerous circumstances at this time. But behold, it came to pass they had many sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies. Therefore they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites. And they entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives. Yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage. Now behold, there were two thousand of those young men, who entered into this covenant and took their weapons of war to defend their country. And now behold, as they never had hitherto been a disadvantage to the Nephites, they became now at this period of time also a great support. For they took their weapons of war, and they would that Helaman should be their leader. And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all — they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him. And now it came to pass that Helaman did march at the head of his two thousand stripling soldiers, to the support of the people in the borders of the land on the south by the west sea. And thus ended the twenty and eighth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
And now it came to pass in the commencement of the twenty and ninth year of the judges, that Ammoron sent unto Moroni desiring that he would exchange prisoners. And it came to pass that Moroni felt to rejoice exceedingly at this request, for he desired the provisions which were imparted for the support of the Lamanite prisoners for the support of his own people. And he also desired his own people for the strengthening of his army. Now the Lamanites had taken many women and children, and there was not a woman nor a child among all the prisoners of Moroni, or the prisoners whom Moroni had taken. Therefore Moroni resolved upon a stratagem to obtain as many prisoners of the Nephites from the Lamanites as it were possible. Therefore he wrote an epistle, and sent it by the servant of Ammoron, the same who had brought an epistle to Moroni. Now these are the words which he wrote unto Ammoron, saying:
Behold Ammoron, I have written unto you somewhat concerning this war which ye have waged against my people, or rather which thy brother hath waged against them, and which ye are still determined to carry on after his death.
Behold, I would tell you somewhat concerning the justice of God, and the sword of his almighty wrath, which doth hang over you except ye repent and withdraw your armies into your own lands, or the land of your possessions, which is the land of Nephi. Yea, I would tell you these things if ye were capable of hearkening unto them. Yea, I would tell you concerning that awful hell that awaits to receive such murderers as thou and thy brother have been, except ye repent and withdraw your murderous purposes, and return with your armies to your own lands. But as ye have once rejected these things, and have fought against the people of the Lord, even so I may expect you will do it again.
And now behold, we are prepared to receive you! Yea, and except you withdraw your purposes, behold, ye will pull down the wrath of that God whom you have rejected upon you, even to your utter destruction. But, as the Lord liveth, our armies shall come upon you except ye withdraw, and ye shall soon be visited with death, for we will retain our cities and our lands. Yea, and we will maintain our religion and the cause of our god.
But behold, it supposeth me that I talk to you concerning these things in vain. Or it supposeth me that thou art a child of hell. Therefore I will close my epistle by telling you that I will not exchange prisoners, save it be on conditions that ye will deliver up a man and his wife and his children, for one prisoner. If this be the case that ye will do it, I will exchange.
And behold, if ye do not this, I will come against you with my armies! Yea, even I will arm my women and my children, and I will come against you, and I will follow you even into your own land, which is the land of our first inheritance. Yea, and it shall be blood for blood, yea, life for life! And I will give you battle even until you are destroyed from off the face of the earth. Behold, I am in my anger, and also my people! Ye have sought to murder us, and we have only sought to defend ourselves. But behold, if ye seek to destroy us more we will seek to destroy you. Yea, and we will seek our land, the land of our first inheritance.
Now I close my epistle. I am Moroni!
I am a leader of the people of the Nephites.
Now it came to pass that Ammoron, when he had received this epistle, was angry. And he wrote another epistle unto Moroni, and these are the words which he wrote, saying:
I am Ammoron, the king of the Lamanites!
I am the brother of Amalickiah whom ye have murdered. Behold, I will avenge his blood upon you, yea, and I will come upon you with my armies for I fear not your threatenings. For behold, your fathers did wrong their brethren, insomuch that they did rob them of their right to the government when it rightly belonged unto them.
And now behold, if ye will lay down your arms, and subject yourselves to be governed by those to whom the government doth rightly belong, then will I cause that my people shall lay down their weapons and shall be at war no more. Behold, ye have breathed out many threatenings against me and my people. But behold, we fear not your threatenings. Nevertheless, I will grant to exchange prisoners according to your request, gladly, that I may preserve my food for my men of war. And we will wage a war which shall be eternal, either to the subjecting the Nephites to our authority or to their eternal extinction.
And as concerning that God whom ye say we have rejected, behold, we know not such a being. Neither do ye. But if it so be that there is such a being, we know not but that he hath made us as well as you. And if it so be that there is a devil and a hell, behold will he not send you there to dwell with my brother whom ye have murdered, whom ye have hinted that he hath gone to such a place? But behold these things matter not.
I am Ammoron, and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem. And behold now, I am a bold Lamanite! Behold, this war hath been waged to avenge their wrongs, and to maintain and to obtain their rights to the government. And I close my epistle to Moroni.
Now it came to pass that when Moroni had received this epistle he was more angry, because he knew that Ammoron had a perfect knowledge of his fraud. Yea, he knew that Ammoron knew that it was not a just cause that had caused him to wage a war against the people of Nephi. And he said:
Behold, I will not exchange prisoners with Ammoron
Save he will withdraw his purpose, as I have stated
In my epistle. For I will not grant unto him that he shall
Have any more power than what he hath got.
Behold, I know the place where the Lamanites do guard my people
Whom they have taken prisoners. And as Ammoron would not
Grant unto me mine epistle, behold, I will give unto him
According to my words, yea, I will seek death among them
Until they shall sue for peace.
And now it came to pass that when Moroni had said these words, he caused that a search should be made among his men, that perhaps he might find a man who was a descendant of Laman among them. And it came to pass that they found one, whose name was Laman.
And he was one of the servants of the king who was murdered by Amalickiah. Now Moroni caused that Laman and a small number of his men should go forth unto the guards who were over the Nephites. Now the Nephites were guarded in the city of Gid. Therefore Moroni appointed Laman and caused that a small number of men should go with him. And when it was evening Laman went to the guards who were over the Nephites, and behold, they saw him coming and they hailed him. But he saith unto them:
Fear not! Behold, I am a Lamanite.
Behold, we have escaped from the Nephites, and they sleep!
And behold we have taken of their wine and brought with us.
Now when the Lamanites heard these words they received him with joy; and they said unto him: Give us of your wine, that we may drink. We are glad that ye have thus taken wine with you for we are weary.
But Laman said unto them: Let us keep of our wine till we go against the Nephites to battle. But this saying only made them more desirous to drink of the wine. For, said they:
We are weary, therefore let us take of the wine, and by and by
We shall receive wine for our rations, which will strengthen
Us to go against the Nephites.
And Laman said unto them: You may do according to your desires.
And it came to pass that they did take of the wine freely. And it was pleasant to their taste, therefore they took of it more freely. And it was strong, having been prepared in its strength. And it came to pass they did drink and were merry, and by and by they were all drunken. And now when Laman and his men saw that they were all drunken, and were in a deep sleep, they returned to Moroni and told him all the things that had happened.
And now this was according to the design of Moroni. And Moroni had prepared his men with weapons of war. And he went to the city Gid, while the Lamanites were in a deep sleep and drunken, and cast in weapons of war unto the prisoners, insomuch that they were all armed. Yea, even to their women, and all those of their children, as many as were able to use a weapon of war, when Moroni had armed all those prisoners. And all those things were done in a profound silence. But had they awakened the Lamanites, behold they were drunken and the Nephites could have slain them. But behold, this was not the desire of Moroni. He did not delight in murder or bloodshed, but he delighted in the saving of his people from destruction. And for this cause he might not bring upon him injustice, he would not fall upon the Lamanites and destroy them in their drunkenness. But he had obtained his desires: for he had armed those prisoners of the Nephites who were within the wall of the city, and had given them power to gain possession of those parts which were within the walls. And then he caused the men who were with him to withdraw a pace from them, and surround the armies of the Lamanites.
Now behold this was done in the night-time, so that when the Lamanites awoke in the morning they beheld that they were surrounded by the Nephites without, and that their prisoners were armed within. And thus they saw that the Nephites had power over them. And in these circumstances they found that it was not expedient that they should fight with the Nephites. Therefore their chief captains demanded their weapons of war, and they brought them forth and cast them at the feet of the Nephites, pleading for mercy. Now behold, this was the desire of Moroni. He took them prisoners of war, and took possession of the city, and caused that all the prisoners should be liberated, who were Nephites. And they did join the army of Moroni, and were a great strength to his army. And it came to pass that he did cause the Lamanites, whom he had taken prisoners, that they should commence a labor in strengthening the fortifications round about the city Gid. And it came to pass that when he had fortified the city Gid, according to his desires, he caused that his prisoners should be taken to the city Bountiful. And he also guarded that city with an exceedingly strong force.
And it came to pass that they did, notwithstanding all the intrigues of the Lamanites, keep and protect all the prisoners whom they had taken, and also maintain all the ground and the advantage which they had retaken. And it came to pass that the Nephites began again to be victorious, and to reclaim their rights and their privileges. Many times did the Lamanites attempt to encircle them about by night, but in these attempts they did lose many prisoners. And many times did they attempt to administer of their wine to the Nephites, that they might destroy them with poison or with drunkenness. But behold, the Nephites were not slow to remember the Lord their god in this their time of affliction. They could not be taken in their snares! Yea, they would not partake of their wine, save they had first given to some of the Lamanite prisoners. And they were thus cautious that no poison should be administered among them: for if their wine would poison a Lamanite, it would also poison a Nephite. And thus they did try all their liquors. And now it came to pass that it was expedient for Moroni to make preparations to attack the city Morianton. For behold, the Lamanites had, by their labors, fortified the city Morianton until it had become an exceeding stronghold. And they were continually bringing new forces into that city, and also new supplies of provisions. And thus ended the twenty and ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
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