As I was reading the Book of Mormon this fall, it struck me that during the Lamanite aggression of Captain Moroni’s time, it was the first time they had walled and barricaded their cities. (Read his preparations in Alma 50). They dug around the cities and heaped up big mounds of earth, then they built timber walls on top of the mounds, and then on top of the timber, he put pickets. He also built forts for his armies to be safe in.
He’s definitely brilliant. But think about it. This is in approximately 70 BC. Nephi and Lehi left Jerusalem in 600 BC. For over 500 years, there had been Lamanite-Nephite wars, battles and massacres. This is the first time (it seems, there are some big gaps in the record), that they have actively barricaded against the enemy. Before this, they were always sitting ducks with open fields and wilderness as a border. I’m sure they did the best they could, and the Lord protected them often– but they were vulnerable and helpless for centuries. Once they actively worked to assure their own safety, it brought peace and joy and happiness to the people. They felt safe. They were willing to serve in the army, because they trusted Moroni and his protections.
It says in Alma 50: 23 “ But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni, yea, even at this time, in the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges.”
It made me think of how many generations we have had in the Church who have fallen prey to the aggressions of Satan. We cite that we must be “in the world but not of the world” and so we let the world into our homes in insane ways. We are a little bipolar about our spiritual lives–we pray for the Spirit, then turn on the radio to the latest hits. Then we do our ministering assignments, and come home and crash in front of our favorite shows. The new picture of the temple we bought goes on the wall in a playroom and the TV remains the focal point of our house. We go back and forth from inviting the Spirit to repelling Him in our homes.
At some point, we have to be like Captain Moroni and say “Get OUT, Satan!” We must barricade our homes from his influence, and not allow him to sweep in and pick off our children (or us!). We can eliminate his presence when we are very, very careful about the media we allow in the home. What posters are hanging on our bedroom walls? How is our language? Not just free of obscenities and profanities, but also uplifting, faithful and kind. He can get in anywhere he sees an opening. We have to build up our walls ahead of him–and don’t create tunnels for him to come right in to the middle.
One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Nephi 22:26
And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.
This scripture puts it in our hands! Satan can have no power because of the righteousness of the people. We don’t let him in.
So be like Captain Moroni, build walls high and strong around your home. Throw away your TV, if you need to. Filter the sleeze out of your internet connections. Make strict and firm rules about screentime. Find a Pandora station that is uplifting and beautiful. Create armor for your kids and your self with daily scripture and prayer together. If we pay attention to our own sensitivity to the Spirit, we can easily find when and where He leaves us. Then eliminate those things– We don’t need them. They aren’t worth the casualties.