Alma 49-51 Adapt or Perish

Alma 49-51 illustrate how Moroni continually adapted to circumstances as he fought with the Lamanites. His army was the first to the battle with armor, as Zerahemnah stated:

We are not of your faith; we do not believe that it is God that has delivered us into your hands; but we believe that it is … your breastplates and your shields that have preserved you” (Alma 43:9).

The next time the Lamanites come to battle, they were also prepared with armor for their armies:

The leaders of the Lamanites… had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates; and … with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness” (Alma 49:6).

World War 1

World War 1

Moroni was ready for them. He had rebuilt his weak areas, and made them strong (Alma 49:1-4). Not only had he strengthened his weaker areas, he had built “forts of security” for every city “in all the land round about” (Alma 49:13). He was prepared for the Lamanites when they came for his people. One can imagine the workers wondering why they were building an embankment around their cities when they were successful in their previous battles. Imagine the surprise of the Nephites when they saw the Lamanites coming at them, prepared with armor!

Moroni was one step ahead of the enemy. Because of his preparation, and the righteousness of the Nephites, “not a single soul of the Nephites was slain” in the battles described in Alma 49 (Alma 49:23).

In the next chapter we read that Moroni commenced “digging up heaps of earth round about all the cities” and “caused that there should be timbers” and “pickets” around his cities (Alma 50:2-3). He instructed his men to build towers where his men could defend themselves (Alma 50:4). He was always innovating: “Moroni did not stop making preparations for war, or to defend his people… digging up heaps of earth round about all the cities…” (Alma 50:1).

How does this apply?

World War 2

World War 2

As teachers of the gospel, it is imperative that we continually improve. It is always good to look for ways to make the principles in the scriptures come alive for our students. When we have stopped adapting, we are stagnating.

President Packer said:

The world is spiraling downward at an ever-quickening pace.  I am sorry to tell you that it will not get better.  It is my purpose to charge each of you as teachers with the responsibility – to put you on alert.  These are days of great spiritual danger for our youth.

I know of nothing in the history of the Church or in history of the world to compare with our present circumstances.  Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now. 1

President Eyring stated:

The world in which our students choose spiritual life or death is changing rapidly…The spiritual strength sufficient for our youth to stand firm just a few years ago will soon not be enough.  Many of them are remarkable in their spiritual maturity and in their faith.  But even the best of them are sorely tested.  And the testing will become more severe. 2

A good question to ask students is, “What small changes could you make in things that you do often that would be a protection to you as make your way through your life? What things are you currently doing to protect yourself from evil?”

Modern Equipment

Modern Equipment

As students reflect on these questions, the Spirit will guide them to make the necessary adaptations that fit their specific circumstances. I like to share things that I am doing in my family and in my life that work for me, but it is important for my students to know that these are ways that I have found to apply this principle. My application will not work for everyone. As students come up with their own ways of applying this principle, they will live it because it is theirs. They own it. It becomes part of them, and they are empowered to be a force for good in an ever increasing wicked world.


1. President Packer, The One Pure Defense, 6 February 2004.

2. Presient Eyring, We Must Raise Our Sights, 14 August, 2001.

About LDS Scripture Teachings

I write about ways scripture applies in our lives:
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