Moroni's Soldier

Defender of Moroni, scalper of Zerahemnah

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Moroni's Soldier

Moroni was only twenty-five years old when he became supreme commander of the Nephite forces around 74 BC. In one of his initial engagements with the Lamanites, Moroni secured a decisive advantage over the enemy because of his superior armaments and positioning. Moroni spoke to Zerahemnah, commander of the surrounded Lamanite army, saying, “But now, ye behold that the Lord is with us; and ye behold that he has delivered you into our hands. And now I would that ye should understand that this is done unto us because of our religion and our faith in Christ. And now ye see that ye cannot destroy this our faith”. Moroni then offered a truce to the Lamanites, provided they would give up their weapons and swear an oath of peace. Zerahemnah was willing to relinquish his weapons but refused to swear an oath. “Behold, here are our weapons of war; we will deliver them up unto you, but we will not suffer ourselves to take an oath unto you, which we know that we shall break, and also our children; but take our weapons of war, and suffer that we may depart into the wilderness; otherwise we will retain our swords, and we will perish or conquer”.

At that point, Moroni issued an ultimatum: swear an oath of peace or die. Zerahemnah then took his sword and rushed upon Moroni to kill him. However,

as he [Zarahemnah] raised his sword, behold, one of Moroni’s soldiers smote it even to the earth, and it broke by the hilt; and he also smote Zerahemnah that he took off his scalp and it fell to the earth. And Zerahemnah withdrew from before them into the midst of his soldiers.
And it came to pass that the soldier who stood by, who smote off the scalp of Zerahemnah, took up the scalp from off the ground by the hair, and laid it upon the point of his sword, and stretched it forth unto them, saying unto them with a loud voice:
Even as this scalp has fallen to the earth, which is the scalp of your chief, so shall ye fall to the earth except ye will deliver up your weapons of war and depart with a covenant of peace.

Many of the Lamanites then surrendered their weapons and made a covenant of peace, allowing them to retreat into the wilderness. The rest were prompted to action by their furious leader, who charged forward to do battle. Moroni’s forces responded and began to overpower the poorly equipped enemy, whereupon Zerahemnah surrendered and swore an oath of peace. Moroni gave the order to stand down, disarmed the enemy, and sent them back into the wilderness (see Alma 43–44).

(Source: Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen, Book of Mormon Who’s Who)

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