“That They Might Preserve Their Rights and Their Privileges, Yea, and Also Their Liberty”

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

War is the result of wickedness. This was the case premortally in the war in heaven (see Revelation 12:7). Satan and his followers rebelled against God and followed their own will, contrary to Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness, which was based on freedom of choice and righteousness. On earth there is opposition in all things, with trials and tribulations of life that do not always result in full-scale war and the shedding of blood; however, when people ripen in iniquity, there will always be wars fought out of greed and the lust for power. The Nephites go to war to protect their families and their liberty (see Alma 43:9; compare Alma 46:10). The wars described in the Book of Mormon are manifestations of the patterns of wickedness among men. When we become full of iniquity and all manner of evil, we become subject to the devil, who seeks to make all mankind miserable like unto himself. We become vain, ambitious, greedy, contentious, proud, and committed to seek power at every opportunity. This leads to contention, mayhem, and bloodshed.

Likewise, within our own little spheres of operation—a microcosm of the broader contours of life—we are continually at war with Satan. We become an enemy to God and His righteousness if we yield to the devil’s temptations and come out in open rebellion against God (see Mosiah 2:37–38). The wars of the Book of Mormon teach us great truths concerning the ongoing battle for the souls of men on the stage of wickedness—wars which lead at times to the destruction of entire nations. Like the Nephites at the time of Alma and Moroni, we strive to preserve our homes, our families, our rights, and our freedom to worship God. The Nephites know that the Lamanites, should they prevail, will destroy those who worship God. We know that the forces of evil, should they prevail in our day, will destroy those who stand for truth. We have the inalienable right to fight for freedom (see D&C 134:2–4). We are duty bound to seek and protect the rights and properties of individuals.

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2