A Lesson from Mulek

I love the lesson of the need for unity we find in the story of Alma 52. In the 25th year of the reign of the judges the Lamanites had captured many of the Nephite cities on the eastern sea under the direction of Amalickiah. They were stopped, though, by Teancum, and this daring Nephite leader snuck into the camp of the Lamanites on the last day of the year and killed the wicked Nephite king who had been the cause of the whole war. Unfortunately this didn’t end the war, but Ammoron took command in the 26th year and the Lamanites retreated and sought to preserve the cities they had taken. Ammoron then sought to divide the Nephites by attacking them elsewhere on the western sea, “endeavoring to harass the Nephites, and to draw away a part of their forces to that part of the land” (v13). This caused the Nephites to be spread out in multiple battles with Moroni and Helaman on the west and Teancum on the east. Teancum continued preparing to go against the Lamanites in his quarter, and Moroni sent orders to him to “make an attack upon the city of Mulek, and retake it if it were possible” (v16). Teancum tried to do this with his army alone but he was unsuccessful: “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” (v17). He simply could not do it with his small army alone.

                About two years after the death of Amalickiah Moroni was finally able arrive on the eastern front to help Teancum. The way that the Nephite leaders then worked together is a compelling example of the power of unity. First, “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” (v29). They counseled together and came up with a plan on how they could use their forces to recapture the city of Mulek. Teancum had not been able to do it alone, but with Moroni, Teancum, and Lehi together they developed a brilliant strategy to retake the city. Each Nephite captain was a critical part of the plan: Teancum and his army led away a large portion of the Lamanite army to the north where the Lamanites met up with Lehi and his army who were fresh and ready for them at Bountiful. A part of Moroni’s army went in and took Mulek while the Lamanites were chasing Teancum, and then he came up north to meet the Lamanites in the rear. This way they retook the city, surrounded the Lamanites, and finally defeated them in battle. All three groups were needed to successfully execute the military campaign, and perhaps the most important ingredient was the love that these leaders had for each other: “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” (Alma 53:2). Surely their example is relevant to us in the church or in our families as we seek to tackle challenging problems. Like Teancum we often cannot solve difficult issues alone, but as we counsel together and are united in our plans with love, with everyone doing their part, the Lord can work miracles.     

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The little-known Nephite writer Chemish left us one verse in the Book of Mormon (Omni 1:9) with no profound testimony given or great doctrine expounded. But in his short paragraph the verb "write" appears five times in one of its forms, and he witnessed simply of his brother's words and the Nephite need to write: "After this manner we keep the records, for it is according to the commandments of our fathers." So after the manner of Chemish I venture to keep my own record here of my journey through the scriptures. My hope is that it will encourage any who pass this way to spend more of their own time with the word of God.

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