“His Name Was Moroni”

Bryan Richards

Of all the history that he abridged, we find that Mormon identified most strongly with Captain Moroni (the Book of Mormon never refers to him as a “general”). Both had been chief captains at a young age. Both led armies which were outnumbered and impeded by the wickedness of the people. Both were men of God. Apparently, Mormon so loved this great man, that he named his son after him. Later, Mormon says of captain Moroni, he ’was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding…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’ (Alma 48:11,17).

Maybe one of the other reasons why Mormon spent so much time discussing these Nephite wars was because he wanted us to be acquainted with the power and personality of this man, for if we were all like him, we would quickly win our war against evil. Hermann Melville, in his classic, Moby Dick, spends over 500 pages in a character study of a revengeful sea captain. In the last chapters of Alma, Mormon spends only 53 pages in a character study of a righteous chief captain. We must be thankful to Mormon for including this detail, for without it, we could never become as Moroni—mighty and unshakable in the face of the devil and his angels.

Hugh Nibley

“At this moment the twenty-five-year-old Moroni appears on the scene, a military genius if there ever was one. He introduced improvements in armor to make his people far more than a match, man for man, for the enemy (Alma 43:19-21); he arranged the Jershon defense zone (Alma 43:22), and being on the defensive and greatly outnumbered, was particularly diligent in keeping a sharp lookout on all enemy movements, at the same time inquiring of the holy prophet Alma (after what is now known to have been an ancient custom in Israel) regarding the enemy’s plan of battle, ‘whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites’ (Alma 43:23). On the other hand, the Lamanite campaign was directed by Amalekite and Zoramite officers, whose knowledge of Nephite military secrets and methods would have given them an enormous advantage over any commander but Moroni.” (Since Cumorah, p. 298)