Monday, July 16, 2007

Helaman 1

The Sons of Pahoran

After Pahoran's death, three of his sons contended for the judgment seat. Pahoran was elected to be the leader. Pacumeni chose accept the voice of the people and the rule of law. Paanchi, on the other hand, desired power so much that he was willing to start a rebellion to get his wish. As he was about to start the rebellion, he was taken and executed by the voice of the people. Perhaps, after the Nephites had seen what Amalickiah had done when he failed to become the Nephite king, supposed it was better to take out Paanchi while they had the chance … before he could dissent to the Lamanites and begin another bloody war.

After Paanchi was executed, his followers devised a sinister plan to murder Pahoran. They sent Kishkuman to do the dirty work. Once Pahoran was murder, Pacumeni was appointed to be the leader.

The Beginning of the End

For me, the Book of Mormon takes a much darker tone from Helaman to the coming of Christ. In the days of Alma and Moroni, the Nephites' history, although mired in war, seemed glorious. But with the introduction of Kishkuman and later the Gadianton robbers, the Nephites' civilization becomes marked for death. Indeed the Gadianton Robbers are weeded out before Christ arrived, but they later return because these secret oaths and combinations were originally introduced by Kishkuman.

Coriantumr vs. Moronihah

Coriantumr was a descendent of Zarahemla. He was known for his strength and wisdom. (Helaman 1:16) This Coriantumr is not to be confused with the Coriantumr who fought Shiz in the last battle of the Jaradites.

Because of all the intrigues and contentions in the Nephite government, Coriantumr and his army were able to capture the capitol of the Nephites … Zarahemla. Moronihah had supposed that the Lamanites would attack outlying cities before attacking Zarahemla, so he employed most of the armies on the borders, leaving Zarahemla unguarded. Once he seized and secured Zarahemla, Coriantumr continued northward in hopes of capturing those lands. By doing this, he plunged his army right in the middle of all the Nephites. This was Coriantumr's fatal mistake.

Moronihah's mistake was thinking inside the box. He did not look at the strategy with cold eyes. He relied too much on historical data and planned according to what had happened in the past and not what could happen. But he quickly rallied the troops and sent Lehi to head Coriantumr off before he reached Bountiful. Then Moronihah pursued Coriantumr and cut off his escape.

The Lamanites had no where to run and Coriantumr was killed.

Personal Application

For me, I can apply Moronihah's failed strategy to my personal life. Moronihah failed to focus on keeping the core safe. Indeed he should have kept the outlying cities safe, but he should never have risked leaving Zarahemla unprotected. He lost focus about what really mattered. How often do we begin to focus on things that are less important than the most important things? For example, do we focus too much on work and providing temporally for our family that we focus less on strengthening our families' testimonies? We can virtually apply this principal anywhere in our life. The key point is that we need to set our priorities straight and then keep our focus on them. Once our focus begins to drift, we are open and prone to temptations and being led by a flaxen cord.

Elder Oakes gave a wonderful talk several years ago, on focus and priorities. He said, " how much time does a family allocate to learning the gospel by scripture study and parental teachings, in contrast to the time family members spend viewing sports contests, talk shows, or soap operas? I believe many of us are overnourished on entertainment junk food and undernourished on the bread of life.

"In terms of priorities for each major decision (such as education, occupation, place of residence, marriage, or childbearing), we should ask ourselves, what will be the eternal impact of this decision? Some decisions that seem desirable for mortality have unacceptable risks for eternity. In all such choices we need to have inspired priorities and apply them in ways that will bring eternal blessings to us and to our family members." (Dallin H. Oaks, “Focus and Priorities,” Ensign, May 2001, 82)

For me, the core priorities in my life are daily prayer and scripture study with weekly church meetings and Family Home Evening. If I can keep my focus on these things, then everything else should fall into place.

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