Letters of Moroni and Pahoran
composed ca. 60 bc
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, after Moroni had received and had read Helaman’s epistle, he was exceedingly rejoiced because of the welfare, yea, the exceeding success which Helaman had had, in obtaining those lands which were lost. Yea, and he did make it known unto all his people, in all the land round about in that part where he was, that they might rejoice also.
And it came to pass that he immediately sent an epistle to Pahoran, desiring that he should cause men to be gathered together to strengthen Helaman, or the armies of Helaman, insomuch that he might with ease maintain that part of the land which he had been so miraculously prospered in regaining. And it came to pass when Moroni had sent this epistle to the land of Zarahemla, he began again to lay a plan that he might obtain the remainder of those possessions and cities which the Lamanites had taken from them. And it came to pass that while Moroni was thus making preparations to go against the Lamanites to battle, behold, the people of Nephihah who were gathered together from the city of Moroni and the city of Lehi and the city of Morianton were attacked by the Lamanites. Yea, even those who had been compelled to flee from the land of Manti and from the land round about had come over and joined the Lamanites in this part of the land. And thus being exceedingly numerous, yea, and receiving strength from day to day by the command of Ammoron they came forth against the people of Nephihah and they did begin to slay them with an exceedingly great slaughter.
And their armies were so numerous that the remainder of the people of Nephihah were obliged to flee before them; and they came even and joined the army of Moroni. And now as Moroni had supposed that there should be men sent to the city of Nephihah to the assistance of the people to maintain that city, and knowing that it was easier to keep the city from falling into the hands of the Lamanites than to retake it from them, he supposed that they would easily maintain that city. Therefore he retained all his force to maintain those places which he had recovered. And now, when Moroni saw that the city of Nephihah was lost he was exceedingly sorrowful, and began to doubt because of the wickedness of the people, whether they should not fall into the hands of their brethren. Now this was the case with all his chief captains. They doubted and marveled also because of the wickedness of the people, and this because of the success of the Lamanites over them. And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country.
And it came to pass that he wrote again to the governor of the land, who was Pahoran, and these are the words which he wrote, saying:
Behold, I direct mine epistle to Pahoran in the city of Zarahemla, who is the chief judge and the governor over the land, and also to all those who have been chosen by this people to govern and manage the affairs of this war.
For behold, I have somewhat to say unto them by the way of condemnation. For behold, ye yourselves know that ye have been appointed to gather together men and arm them with swords and with scimitars, and all manner of weapons of war of every kind, and send forth against the Lamanites in whatsoever parts they should come into our land. And now behold, I say unto you that myself and also my men, and also Helaman and his men, have suffered exceedingly great sufferings! Yea, even hunger, thirst, and fatigue, and all manner of afflictions of every kind. But behold, were this all we had suffered we would not murmur nor complain. But behold, great has been the slaughter among our people. Yea, thousands have fallen by the sword, while it might have otherwise been if ye had rendered unto our armies sufficient strength and succor for them. Yea, great has been your neglect towards us. And now behold, we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect. Yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state.
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? Yea, even they who have looked up to you for protection, yea, have placed you in a situation that ye might have succored them, yea, ye might have sent armies unto them, to have strengthened them, and have saved thousands of them from falling by the sword. But behold, this is not all — ye have withheld your provisions from them, insomuch that many have fought and bled out their lives because of their great desires which they had for the welfare of this people. Yea, and this they have done when they were about to perish with hunger because of your exceedingly great neglect towards them.
And now, my beloved brethren — for ye ought to be beloved — yea, and ye ought to have stirred yourselves more diligently for the welfare and the freedom of this people — but behold, ye have neglected them insomuch that the blood of thousands shall come upon your heads for vengeance! Yea, for known unto God were all their cries, and all their sufferings. Behold, could ye suppose that ye could sit upon your thrones, and 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. Do ye suppose that because so many of your brethren have been killed it is because of their wickedness? I say unto you, if ye have supposed this, ye have supposed in vain. For I say unto you, there are many who have fallen by the sword; and behold it is to your condemnation. 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 their god.
And now behold, I say unto you, I fear exceedingly that the judgments of God will come upon this people, because of their exceeding slothfulness, yea, even the slothfulness of our government, and their exceedingly great neglect towards their brethren, yea, towards those who have been slain. For were it not for the wickedness which first commenced at our head, we could have withstood our enemies that they could have gained no power over us. Yea, had it not been for the war which broke out among ourselves!
Yea, were it not for these king-men, who caused so much bloodshed among ourselves! Yea, at the time we were contending among ourselves, if we had united our strength as we hitherto have done.
Yea, had it not been for the desire of power and authority which those king-men had over us. Had they been true to the cause of our freedom, and united with us, and gone forth against our enemies, instead of taking up their swords against us, which was the cause of so much bloodshed among ourselves.
Yea, if we had gone forth against them in the strength of the Lord, we should have dispersed our enemies, for it would have been done, according to the fulfilling of his word.
But behold, now the Lamanites are coming upon us, taking possession of our lands and they are murdering our people with the sword, yea, our women and our children, and also carrying them away captive, causing them that they should suffer all manner of afflictions, and this because of the great wickedness of those who are seeking for power and authority, yea, even those king-men. But why should I say much concerning this matter? For we know not but what ye yourselves are seeking for authority.
We know not but what ye are also traitors to your country!
Or is it that ye have neglected us because ye are in the heart of our country and ye are surrounded by security, that ye do not cause food to be sent unto us and also men to strengthen our armies? Have ye forgotten the commandments of the Lord your god? Yea, have ye forgotten the captivity of our fathers? Have ye forgotten the many times we have been delivered out of the hands of our enemies? Or do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us? Yea, will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands who do also sit in idleness, while there are thousands round about in the borders of the land who are falling by the sword, yea, wounded and bleeding? Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.
And now, except ye do repent of that which ye have done, and begin to be up and doing, and send forth food and men unto us, and also unto Helaman that he may support those parts of our country which he has regained, and that we may also recover the remainder of our possessions in these parts, behold it will be expedient that we contend no more with the Lamanites until we have first cleansed our inward vessel, yea, even the great head of our government. And except ye grant mine epistle and come out and show unto me a true spirit of freedom, and strive to strengthen and fortify our armies, and grant unto them food for their support, behold I will leave a part of my freemen to maintain this part of our land and I will leave the strength and the blessings of God upon them, that none other power can operate against them. And this because of their exceeding faith and their patience in their tribulations. And I will come unto you and if there be any among you that has a desire for freedom, yea, if there be even a spark of freedom remaining, behold I will stir up insurrections among you, even until those who have desires to usurp power and authority shall become extinct!
Yea, behold I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my god whom I fear. And it is according to his commandments that I do take my sword to defend the cause of my country, and it is because of your iniquity that we have suffered so much loss. Behold it is time, yea, the time is now at hand, that except ye do bestir yourselves in the defense of your country and your little ones, the sword of justice doth hang over you! Yea, and it shall fall upon you and visit you even to your utter destruction.
Behold, I wait for assistance from you; and, except ye do administer unto our relief, behold, I come unto you, even in the land of Zarahemla, and smite you with the sword, insomuch that ye can have no more power to impede the progress of this people in the cause of our freedom. For behold, the Lord will not suffer that ye shall live and wax strong in your iniquities to destroy his righteous people. Behold, can you suppose that the Lord will spare you and come out in judgment against the Lamanites? When it is the tradition of their fathers that has caused their hatred, yea, and it has been redoubled by those who have dissented from us, while your iniquity is for the cause of your love of glory and the vain things of the world?
Ye know that ye do transgress the laws of God, and ye do know that ye do trample them under your feet. Behold, the Lord saith unto me:
If those whom ye have appointed your governors
Do not repent of their sins and iniquities,
Ye shall go up to battle against them.
And now behold, I, Moroni, am constrained according to the covenant which I have made to keep the commandments of my god. Therefore I would that ye should adhere to the word of God and send speedily unto me of your provisions and of your men, and also to Helaman. And behold, if ye will not do this I come unto you speedily. For behold, God will not suffer that we should perish with hunger. Therefore he will give unto us of your food, even if it must be by the sword. Now see that ye fulfill the word of God.
Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain.
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. And thus I close mine epistle.
Behold, now it came to pass that soon after Moroni had sent his epistle unto the chief governor, he received an epistle from Pahoran the chief governor. And these are the words which he received:
I, Pahoran, who am the chief governor of this land, do send these words unto Moroni, the chief captain over the army.
Behold, I say unto you, Moroni, that I do not joy in your great afflictions, yea, it grieves my soul. But behold, there are those who do joy in your afflictions, yea, insomuch that they have risen up in rebellion against me, and also those of my people who are freemen, yea, and those who have risen up are exceedingly numerous. And it is those who have sought to take away the judgment-seat from me that have been the cause of this great iniquity. For they have used great flattery and they have led away the hearts of many people, which will be the cause of sore affliction among us. They have withheld our provisions and have daunted our freemen that they have not come unto you. And behold, they have driven me out before them, and I have fled to the land of Gideon with as many men as it were possible that I could get.
And behold, I have sent a proclamation throughout this part of the land. And behold, they are flocking to us daily, to their arms, in the defense of their country and their freedom, and to avenge our wrongs. And they have come unto us, insomuch that those who have risen up in rebellion against us are set at defiance, yea, insomuch that they do fear us and durst not come out against us to battle. They have got possession of the land, or the city of Zarahemla; they have appointed a king over them and he hath written unto the king of the Lamanites, in the which he hath joined an alliance with him. In the which alliance he hath agreed to maintain the city of Zarahemla, which maintenance he supposeth will enable the Lamanites to conquer the remainder of the land, and he shall be placed king over this people when they shall be conquered under the Lamanites.
And now, in your epistle you have censured me, but it mattereth not. I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart. I, Pahoran, do not seek for power, save only to retain my judgment-seat that I may preserve the rights and the liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free. And now, behold, we will resist wickedness even unto bloodshed. We would not shed the blood of the Lamanites, if they would stay in their own land. We would not shed the blood of our brethren, if they would not rise up in rebellion and take the sword against us. We would subject ourselves to the yoke of bondage if it were requisite with the justice of God, or if he should command us so to do. But behold he doth not command us that we shall subject ourselves to our enemies, but that we should put our trust in him, and he will deliver us.
Therefore, my beloved brother, Moroni, let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words, yea, such as rebellions and dissensions, let us resist them with our swords that we may retain our freedom, that we may rejoice in the great privilege of our church, and in the cause of our redeemer and our god!
Therefore, come unto me speedily with a few of your men, and leave the remainder in the charge of Lehi and Teancum. Give unto them power to conduct the war in that part of the land, according to the spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in them. Behold I have sent a few provisions unto them, that they may not perish until ye can come unto me. Gather together whatsoever force ye can upon your march hither, and we will go speedily against those dissenters, in the strength of our god according to the faith which is in us. And we will take possession of the city of Zarahemla, that we may obtain more food to send forth unto Lehi and Teancum. Yea, we will go forth against them in the strength of the Lord and we will put an end to this great iniquity.
And now, Moroni, I do joy in receiving your epistle!
For I was somewhat worried concerning what we should do, whether it should be just in us to go against our brethren. But ye have said, except they repent the Lord hath commanded you that ye should go against them. See that ye strengthen Lehi and Teancum in the Lord. Tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them, yea, and also all those who stand fast in that liberty wherewith God hath made them free.
And now I close mine epistle to my beloved brother, Moroni.