CLICK HERE to read Alma 43.
Having spoken and taught each son, Alma takes them now on a family mission (verse 1). They “preached the word, and the truth, according to the spirit of prophecy and revelation; and they preached after the holy order of God by which they were called” (the Priesthood) (verse 2).
In the meantime, the wars between the Nephites (believers) and the Lamanites (non-believers) continue (verses 3-4). Zerahemnah was the leader of the Lamanites (verse 6), and he tried to spread his hatred of the believers amongst the people (verse 7). He wanted to stir up the people so that he could gain power over them, so that he could bring the believers into bondage under him (verse 8).
The believers, however, only wanted to support their lands and houses and families, and to protect their “rights and their privileges, yea, and also their liberty, that they might worship God according to their desires” (verse 9). They remembered the stories of their ancestors, and knew that the Lamanites would kill anyone who tried to “worship God in spirit and in truth” (verse 10). They knew the Lamanites hated their fellow believers in the land of Ammon, and that they also would be destroyed if the Lamanites won (verses 11-13). Their captain was Moroni (verse 16), who was only 25 years old (verse 17).
Thus far, the Lamanites (non-believers) are the descendents of Laman and Lemuel (see 1 Nephi 3) or followers of the false priesthood of the bad king Noah (see Mosiah 11) (verse 13). There were as many of them as there were of Nephites (believers) (verse 14), and both sides prepare to meet for battle (verse 15), with the Lamanite leader, Zerahemnah, against the Nephite captain, Moroni. The Lamanites were prepared with swords and weapons (verse 18), and the Nephites were prepared with helmets and breastplates and thick clothing (verse 19). Since Zerahemnah and his Lamanites had nothing like that, and were nearly naked (verse 20), they were afraid of Moroni and the Nephites (verse 21).
So instead of fighting the Nephites, the Lamanites ran away from the battle, and headed towards another town (Manti) to try to take it by surprise (verse 22). But Moroni, who knew the prophecies and followed the prophet, and believed the Lord would deliver them, asked the prophet what they should do (verse 23). Alma prayed to get instruction for the people, and the Lord revealed to them the plans of the Lamanites trying to do a sneak attack from behind (verse 24). Moroni believed the prophet, and headed towards Manti to prepare for battle (verses 25-28).
Moroni understood that the Lamanites were out to destroy (verse 29), even though the Nephites only wanted “to preserve their lands, and their liberty, and their church” (verse 30). It was not sin to defend themselves or their freedom to worship, and so he sent out spies to find out where the Lamanites were going to go next and moved his armies accordingly (verses 31-33). He concealed his armies, and the Lamanites walked right into the trap (verses 34-35). This time the Lamanites could not run away from battle (verse 26).
It was a “dreadful” battle, with many Lamanites being killed “almost at every stroke” (verse 37). However, the Nephites lost few soldiers, because their bodies were so well protected (verse 38). The Lamanites became frightened (again), and tried to run away (again) (verses 39-40), but the armies of Moroni caught them and continued the battle (verses 41-42). Finally, the Lamanites fought hard with strength and courage (verse 43), like dragons (verse 44), but “the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church” (verse 45), and this was “the duty which they owed to their God” (verses 46-47).
“And it came to pass that when the men of Moroni (Nephites, believers) saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites (non-believers), they were about to shrink and flee from them…” (verse 48). But they did not run away as the Lamanites had done, and instead remembered their reason for fighting: their homes, their families, their liberty, their worship, and their freedom from bondage (verse 48). “And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanites, and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage” (verse 49). This strengthened them “to stand against the Lamanites with power”, and the Lamanites began to run away again (verses 50-51).
Once the armies of Moroni had surrounded them (verse 52), and the Lamanites were truly afraid because they knew they were surrounded (verse 53), then Moroni commanded his armies to stop fighting (verse 54).
We see in the next chapter how Moroni offers them the choices of making peace or being destroyed.