Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Moroni I - Helaman's Report

Helaman's Report

While making preparations to attack the city of Morianton, which the Lamanites were continually fortifying, Moroni received an epistle from Helaman. Helaman recounted to Moroni the great and wondrous exploits of the 2,000 stripling warriors who had been working in coordination with the Nephite forces under Antipus, Gid and Teomner. Helaman reported that he had joined his warriors with the army of Antipus which had been severely reduced, both in strength and morale. Antipus' army had been fighting by day and building fortifications by night and "had suffered great afflictions of every kind." Alma 56:16. Antipus and his weary men had "determined to conquer in this place or die." Alma 56:17. Thus the arrival of Helaman's warriors greatly buoyed the spirits of Antipus' troops. Seeing the arrival of Nephite reinforcements, Ammoron ordered his armies to cease the attacks upon Antipus in order to assure that they would maintain the cities which they had taken. Initially, Antipus and Helaman benefited from this respite, "[a]nd thus we were favored of the Lord; for had they come upon us in this our weakness they might have perhaps destroyed our little army." Alma 56:19. After sufficiently preparing their defenses, Helaman and Antipus hoped that the Lamanites would attack the fortifications. However, the Lamanites neither attacked Antipus nor attempted to pass by in order to attack the cities to the north.

During this stalemate, provisions arrived from the fathers of Helaman's two thousand sons and an additional two thousand men came from Zarahemla. The Lamanites became alarmed at the stream of supplies and men coming to Antipus and began to make sorties against the supply lines. In order to capitalize upon the Lamanites' fears, Antipus dispatched Helaman and his two thousand from the stronghold as if they were taking provisions to a neighboring city. Helaman marched near the seashore by the city of Antiparah which housed the largest of the Lamanite armies. As anticipated, the Lamanite army left the city to pursue Helaman. Antipus detached a force to garrison the stronghold and then followed after the Lamanites. For nearly three days the three bodies marched in pursuit of one another. Finally, the Lamanite force turned to give battle to Antipus. In turn, Helaman's courageous two thousand who "did not fear death" and who "did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives" and who had been taught "that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them," (Alma 56:47) marched back to attack the Lamanites and rescue the weary army of Antipus. Although Antipus was killed in the fighting, the Lamanite army at last surrendered. Helaman sent the prisoners under guard to Zarahemla and returned with his faithful young warriors to the city of Judea.

When we contemplate risky ventures, offers of something for nothing, or borrowing money at high rates of interest, we might consider the fate of the Lamanites who pursued Helaman's young warriors and who in turn became the pursued. The army in the city of Antiparah was the strongest of the Lamanite armies in the area. Therefore, this particular army had the least to fear from attack within the protections of the city. Nevertheless, reinforcements and supplies had been arriving to the enemy. When the apparent opportunity to capture or destroy an enemy force and seize valuable provisions arose, the risk seemed slight and the gain appeared great; Helaman had offered them something for nothing. In our own lives, easy financing, get-rich quick schemes, and other apparent opportunities routinely compete for our attention. The Lamanites at Antiparah mortgaged the home to pursue the opportunity. They left their sure safety only to find that the "opportunity" had fled. As the Lamanites pursued the opportunity, the hidden factors and unseen consequences, Antipus' army, began to gain on the Lamanites. When the Lamanites finally turned to face the consequences, the former opportunity turned against them as well. Loan repayment, interest, finance charges, percentage payments to investors, are all some of the consequences and unseen factors which will drive us like Antipus' army. The money and effort expended in chasing the opportunity that never-really-was then turns against us like Helaman's warriors to our disadvantage and destruction. Better intelligence would have led the Lamanites to attack while the Nephites were weak and demoralized, or to avoid the bait so efficiently presented. In our own lives, we must seek the Lord's guidance, study and learn or employ trustworthy individuals who have studied and learned, before we leap for apparent opportunities.

Helaman also reported to Moroni concerning his receipt of an offer from Ammoron to trade the city of Antiparah for the prisoners which Helaman had taken. Helaman rejected Ammoron's offer and nevertheless gained the city of Antiparah without a fight when the Lamanites fled from that city.

Additional reinforcements arrived to strengthen Helaman's army. Helaman used his strong force to lay siege to the city of Cumeni, intercepting the Lamanites' provisions and forcing the garrison to surrender. However, the number of prisoners proved to be too large and unruly for Helaman's men to manage. Helaman attempted to send the prisoners to Zarahemla but an attack by Ammoron's forces frustrated the move. On the way to Zarahemla, the prisoner escort which consisted of Helaman's two thousand sons under the command of Gid encountered spies for the Nephite armies. The spies informed the escort that Ammoron was mounting an attack on Cumeni. The Lamanite prisoners overheard the report and broke free. Helaman's two thousand sons hurried back to Cumeni and arrived in time to prevent the army's defeat. As the rest of the army was about to give way, the two thousand stood firm and "did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them." Alma 57:21. Although a thousand Nephites were slain and every one of Helaman's two thousand sons received wounds in the violent conflict, by their faith in the miraculous power of the Lord, not a single one of the two thousand was slain.

Helaman next reported how he worked with Gid and Teomner to take the city of Manti. Their armies were too small to assault the city and the Lamanites refused to be lured away from the fortifications. Helaman and the Nephite armies had suffered from diminishing rations for many months. Supplies did finally arrive with an escort of two thousand reinforcements. Nevertheless, that force was still insufficient to contend with the "innumerable" foe. Therefore, the Nephites did "pour out [their] souls in prayer to God" for deliverance and strength to retake and retain their cities, lands and possessions. Alma 58:10. The Lord assured them that he would deliver them. They then set out with renewed determination in the cause of liberty. They went forth in all their might and encamped at the edge of the wilderness near the city of Manti. The Lamanites saw that the Nephite army was not numerous and prepared to go forth against the Nephites to prevent the Nephites from blocking the flow of Lamanite supplies. When Helaman saw that the Lamanites would come forth to battle, he sent Gid and Teomner with small forces to conceal themselves in the wilderness. When the Lamanites attacked, Helaman lead his men in retreat into the wilderness with the Lamanites in pursuit. Gid and Teomner's forces then cut off the Lamanites from the city and fell upon the tiny garrison left to guard the city. Helaman continued his flight until the pursuing Lamanites began to fear that they were being led back to Zarahemla. The Lamanites broke off the chase and turned back. While the Lamanites slept for the night, Helaman guided his army around to Manti by another route. Helaman thereby gained Manti without the loss of blood. The Lamanites, stymied in their attempt to destroy Helaman and finding the city lost, carried off many women and children as they fled into the wilderness.

Helaman reported that they had thus retaken all of the cities lost to the Lamanites so that all who were able were returning to their homes. Yet, Helaman worried that his armies were insufficient to maintain all of the cities and no support from the government seemed to be forthcoming. Helaman speculated that perhaps Moroni's efforts had required all of the support and reinforcements available, or that some faction in the government was sabotaging the war effort.

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