I was reading Mosiah chapter 19 today and came across and interesting situation.
Remember this guy, King Noah:
Yeah, he’s like the Jabba the Hut of the Book of Mormon, but according to Arnold Freiburg instead of having Princess Leah on a chain he had these leopards.
Anyway, King Noah was glutinous and encouraged his people to commit sin and all kinds of whoredoms and he was also a drunk (for full juicy details see Mosiah 11)
In chapter 19 the Lamanite army attacked them. King Noah's people were pretty much helpless because there was no army. I guess they were all too busy working at the wine press.
Look at what King Noah asks his men to do:
19: 9 And the king commanded the people that they should flee before the Lamanites, and he himself did go before them, and they did flee into the wilderness, with their women and their children.
19:10 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did pursue them, and did overtake them, and began to slay them.
19:11 Now it came to pass that the king commanded them that all the men should leave their wives and their children, and flee before the Lamanites.
19:12 Now there were many that would not leave them, but had rather stay and perish with them. And the rest left their wives and their children and fled.
In this moment of crisis all the men of this tiny kingdom were divided in to two groups.
Those who would leave their wives and children and those who would rather die then abandon their families at what they thought was the end of their lives.
It’s interesting to think about what these family relationships were like on a day to day basis. What was the relationship between the man and his children who decided to leave his kids and save himself while the enemy slaughtered them? How strong was the marriage of the man who outran his wife and left her in the hands of the warriors from the enemy kingdom?
I can guarantee that he was not leading out in family prayer, home evening, and scripture study. Was he supporting his family spiritually, financially, and protecting them physically or did he follow the king in his example of being a drunk that chased after harlots and expected other people and government taxes to take care of him? (see Mosiah 11:3-6 to learn about this welfare program.)
What about the men who stayed? They would rather die then return and see the slaughtered bodies of the ones they love most. Family was the most precious thing they had.
This story does have a happy ending (sort of, It’s hard to say “happy ending” because the Book of Mormon would be considered a tragedy since everyone dies at the end. Sorry for the spoiler.)
The Lamanites come into this town full of beautiful women and children. “And it came to pass that the Lamanites had compassion on them, for they were charmed with the beauty of their women.” (Mosiah 19:14)
The men who ran away had a change of heart, or rather, they were inwardly tortured by guilt and the images of their slaughtered families.
19: 19 “Now they had sworn in their hearts that they would return to the land of Nephi, and if their wives and their children were slain, and also those that had tarried with them, that they would seek revenge, and also perish with them.”
Then King Noah gets in the way again, but this time it backfires.
19:20 And the king commanded them that they should not return; and they were angry with the king, and caused that he should suffer, even unto death by fire.
So they went back after their bonfire, but can you imagine being one of those guys and trying to ask for forgiveness? Talk about sleeping the doghouse for the next decade.
In a moment of truth, in a moment of crisis, when it really comes down to life and death, what kind of man are you?