CLICK HERE to read Alma 61.
In the last chapter, Moroni wrote to the chief governor, Pahoran, pleading for help and asking why it had not yet been sent (verse 1). This chapter is Pahoran’s reply to Moroni, explaining his circumstances and his grief about the suffering of his people (verse 2).
Pahoran explains that there was a rebellion amongst his people (verse 3), and these rebels are withholding the provisions (verse 4). He himself has been driven out of the land (verse 5), though he has sent out warnings to the people and “they are flocking to us daily… in the defense of their country and their freedom, and to avenge our wrongs” (verse 6). So many have come to support him that the rebels do not dare to engage in battle (verse 7), even though they have established their own king (verse 8).
Pahoran honestly explains how Moroni’s letter stung, hurting his heart both for his people and for Moroni thinking he would not care for his people. But he does not get angry at Moroni, and he carefully explains what has happened, including that he has maintained his testimony:
My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free (verse 9).
Pahoron says that if the Lamanites would just leave them alone, they would not fight them (verse 10), and that they would not kill them even if they rebelled and attacked (verse 11). He says they would submit to bondage if that is what God required or commanded (verse 12), but that God has not commanded it; rather, God has commanded them to trust Him to deliver them (verse 13).
So he strengthens Moroni, nourishing him in the very spiritual way Moroni needed: let us resist evil.
Moroni knows this. It’s not that Moroni doesn’t know. It’s that Moroni needs strengthening.
It’s that Moroni needs nourishing.
That’s what home teaching and visiting teaching and priesthood leaders are all about: nourishing.
Moroni doesn’t need to be told what to do because he is naughty. He doesn’t need to be fussed over or worried about or petted. He isn’t falling away, and isn’t involved in any big sins. He just needs nourishing, and its the simple things that nourish us, line upon line. We all need constant nourishment. We all covenant to receive constant nourishment (both physically and spiritually), and to give constant nourishment.
It is this nourishment that establishes Zion.
So the message seems simple: let us resist evil.
And Moroni already knows its truth.
It is simple, basic, review material for him.
But he needs to be “fed”, and this feeds him.
He is doing the right thing, and with this simple nourishment, can keep doing the right thing.
Without that nourishment, it is much harder to keep doing the right thing.
When we fail to give that nourishment, we fail to establish Zion.
But when we give nourishment, and receive nourishment, then we “rejoice in the great privilege of our church, and in the cause of our Redeemer and our God” (verse 14).
This is what Pahoran gives Moroni: nourishment. He also gives him counsel, tell him what to do next and who to leave in charge (verse 15). We all need practical advice along the way, even if we know how to behave or what we are supposed to be doing. Sometimes we even know the practical stuff, but still just need the power that comes from priesthood blessings.
So Pahoran tells Moroni that he has sent a few provisions to some (verse 16), and that Moroni should take a few of his armies to meet them and fight against the rebels “in the strength of our God according to the faith which is in us” (verse 17). Conquering the rebels will free up their armies and deliver the provisions the people need so badly, putting “an end to this great iniquity” (verse 18).
Then Pahoran adds something interesting: he tells Moroni that he found joy in Moroni’s letter, and that it helped him make a plan (verse 19).
So here we have the guy who is the leader (Pahoran), thanking one of his people (Moroni) for helping him (Pahoran) make the plan that he (Pahoran) just gave to Moroni. It seems ironic, except it is the unity, the mutual edification, that opens the way for peace and strengthening so that revelation can come.
Then, Pahoran counsels Moroni to do the same: just as he has now received nourishment, go and nourish others. He must go “tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them” (verse 21).
This is how Pahoran closes his letter in love and appreciation.
Sometimes that’s all we need, is a little love and appreciation.