Addiction Recovery Training: Learning from the Nephites in the war chapters: Alma 43-50

Another of my students has really nailed some important parts of the battle by tapping into some concepts from the Book of Mormon.  Check it out…

These are some of the most fantastic chapters of all holy writ on the realities of the battle with Satan and all his forces. I truly believe that direct parallels and lessons can be learned from these chapters.

If we think for a moment of the most critical times in all the earth’s mortal duration, the last days before the coming of Christ and the completion of his work on this sphere, strike me as being those critical times. The priesthood abounds unlike it hereto for existed. The church is growing in strength. The world is growing in iniquity. God knowing the calamities that must befall the earth, came to the earth and also sent angels, to restore His truths and also His priesthood (D&C 1:17). Through the ordinances of his gospel is godliness made manifest.

I build up to the purpose of the Book of Mormon and how it impacts the priesthood holders of these the last days. Mormon did not compile the Book of Mormon for his day. It was to accompany the restoration. It was to stand as a witness of the Lord’s great and marvelous work before the end of all things. It was to be a manual, a guide, a modern-day liahona for our generation. We are to “like all scripture unto ourselves.”

When I think of the strength of the choice spirits that have come to the earth at this time, and I think of myself, of Maurice, of you who battle as I do, we have to realize the frustration and determination of the devil. He is going to lose. He will not reign on this earth. He will be bound and then cast out forever. The devil has nothing. NOTHING.

But in his unalterable, miserable conclusion, he and all of his cunning forces want to destroy the children of God. Men and women. The women are born with a certain aptitude for spirituality and love, as we already know. He, therefore, focuses much of his strength against the men. If he destroys us then he can destroy the women. He is smart enough to realize that a straight fight may not be possible against so powerful of a generation. It works on the rest of the world but not against the chosen few who have been trained as toddlers, youth, young men by mothers and fathers, priesthood leaders, bishops, seminary and institute teachers, and therapists.

As Maurice often relates the story of the nerdy Lamanite who brilliantly comes up with the idea to neurologically poison the Nephites in order to attack them. Great plan! Now instead of grabbing their swords the Nephites will be so doped and drugged that they won’t even know why they are fighting. Their wives, children, and mothers will be utterly confused as to why the men are doing nothing!! Everyone gets massacred!

When chemicals wear off the Nephites are left in shambles! The walls have been knocked down. Many causalities of their precious loved ones. How can this be! And here come the Lamanites again! Even without the chemicals, the Nephites now stand there with no city walls, no swords (those are lost), no armor (they just woke up without it), and no strategic plan. They are defeated again! How frustrating. Satan is a coward. He likes this situation much better. This is a much easier fight. He doesn’t like getting beat. He is a sore loser.

What can they do? What can we do?

I finally come to why I now understand the purpose of the war chapters. Mormon knew that in the last days, Satan would use the same basics of warfare but in new forms. God allowed internet and mass media to be invented and brought to the earth. It was required to disseminate the restored gospel at a rate needed to reach the whole earth. Satan has taken great advantage of this as well to reach his targeted enemies as well. Satan has discovered that a new form of poison that worked for the Lamanites could now be used on the earth’s choice generation of priesthood holders. He uses the deviant neurochemicals induced by pornography. He uses the innate chemicals within us that God intended to be used sacredly within marriage for love and creation of mortal bodies. He warps them. He does so effectively!! It can be accessed at any time, any where. It can get inside the home, the school, the car, any secluded place. Hundreds of bishops and stake presidents now realize that these misuses of natural powers and feelings, that the formation of sexual addictions, are rampantly crippling the hearts and minds of the priesthood holders. Satan is blowing holes in our defenses. He attacks when we are “out of whack”, “drugged”, “turned on”, however you want to say it. Brilliant!! He fuels the industry! Hollywood is doing great work for him!! The media is getting better every day for him!

This is as real a battle as the Lamanites coming to attack the Nephites. The Nephites were reluctant to fight. They didn’t want these battles. But the battles were to come. We don’t want these battles. We want to have good lives! We want to go on missions for Christ and convert thousands! We want happy, joy filled marriages to beautiful, loving girls!!

But for one reason or another, we are in this war. There is no denying it. It is upon us. Some of us, including me, have fight hundreds of battles and, including me, have lost a vast majority of them. We feel outnumbered. We feel hopeless. We are tired. We are tired of rebuilding our walls. We are worn out from rebuilding our cities every single day. We prepare, we train as to the strength of men but with this new drug, the evil forces whoop on us. We figure that bondage to Satan might just be easier. For one, he would not have to attack us. But, we are left to realize that under his bondage, he continues to beat us up and strip us of any worth or hope. We realize that his bondage is far worse. He is a sick man. I don’t know why he likes it. I don’t know what made our brethren in the premortal world buy into his “new plan.”

These are the realities. But we now come to some other realities, realities that are more important. I want to focus on these. First and foremost, God and Jesus Christ, father and son, did not send us to this earth to lose. They are infinitely wise. They knew that such battles, such training, such struggle were necessary. It is divine law that we be trialed. How else could we inherit the highest level of the celestial kingdom? There was no other way. But the good news, the gospel news, is that we can do it!! The good news is that we are not hopeless!! We are more powerful than we can ever imagine!! Can Satan and all his delinquents actually beat Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?? Are you kidding??? All Jesus needs to say is “get thee hence” and Satan is out! Satan has nothing on the priesthood. He has nothing!

That is why God gave us the priesthood. That is why he gives us the gift of the Holy Ghost. That is why he gave us bodies. Those 3 things are enough to defeat Satan and all his forces.

The Nephites understood that at well. They knew that man for man, toe to toe, they couldn’t beat the devil! Without spiritual insight, it is like trying to box Mike Tyson with a blind fold on. (see the first part of the green book).

So now, finally, let us discuss how they gave the Lamanites battle. They us extract out of these war chapters how it is that we can consistently win against our barbarous brethren.

1. The Nephites had to understand their purpose, their “design”. This is what Maurice gets at when he asks, WHY DO YOU FIGHT?

We must have a reason. This must be determined when we are under the spirit and in a solid state of mind. If the Nephites were to answer that while under drugs and getting sliced by Lamanite swords, or while they are frustratingly repairing a wall, they might say, “I hate these Lamanites, why do we even fight them?? I don’t even care anymore. What’s the point of building this stupid wall? My life sucks. I am worthless. Arg. Arg arg sdfieniafdifeeiyeoqn sda idsfn……” Something like that.

The scriptures tell us why they fight. In fact, it is repeated several times.

Alma 43:9, 26, 30, 45, 47, 49 Alma 44:4, 5 *Alma 46:12 Alma 48:10, 11-13,15, 16, 24, 25


The title of liberty sums it up: “…In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.”

In Alma 43:9 “ And now the design of the Nephites was to 1) support their lands, and their houses, and their wives, and their children, 2) that they might preserve them from the hands of their enemies; 3) and also that they might preserve their rights and their privileges, yea, and also their liberty, that they might worship God according to their desires.”

For freedom!! For liberty!! For peace!! For the gospel!! For our beautiful wives!! For our children!!

Wait, some of us don’t have a wife and kids. Some of us have been disasters with dating nice girls because we are addicts. Some of us don’t really know what peace is because we grew up in homes full of contention. Yes, this may have been the case. That is why you need a clear mind and be rooted in true realities when deciding “why you fight.”

Here is another reality. God has stated that the greatest happiness, joy, and peace we can attain in mortality is through keeping his commandments. He has commanded that we live according to freedom, peace, and liberty. He has also commanded us to be married in the temple and to raise children. It is going to happen some day. We want good, happy, strong marriages. We want that because it is possible. “But my parents fought and hated each other!” “my parents are divorced” “marriage stinks” The divine truth is: marriage is wonderful and the greatest expression of love on this earth and raising children under God is the greatest success any man could want.

Whether we currently believe it or not, we must fight for this same goals as did the Nephites.

Another good scripture is this, referring to Moroni:

Alma 48:16 “….and this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it: not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yes, and resisting iniquity.”

There are some other reasons why we must fight and battle, simply because we glory in God and in his commandments. We are men of the priesthood. We want to do good. We love a good service project. We want to serve missions. We want to preserve the other members and convert nonmembers.


Once at the beginning is not good enough. I answer Maurice’s 7:20 am text every day. I also write on a 3X5 card every morning why I fight. On the back of the card I write how Satan will attack and how I will defeat him. We will discuss that here after.

In a prayer, on a card, in your mind, in a text, whatever, KNOW WHY YOU FIGHT!! If you don’t have the spirit or a clear mind, do not think! This must be decided when you have the spirit. I often read scriptures, pray, BEFORE I decide why it is I fight. After I read war chapters, I am perfectly reminded of why I fight. This “why I fight” will be strong in your mind all day. If you run into a moment where you have dropped to a level 3 or level 4 battle, trying to remember why you don’t want to look and garbage and act out, the “why I fight” will come to mind. With more training, the “why I fight” will be so much at the fore front of your mind that Satan won’t be able to tempt you past the feeling level. There will be no bad thoughts to take the stage of your mind because you are only thinking about why you fight and how you are going to build the kingdom of God.

2) The Preparation

It is implied while reading some of these chapters that some of the Nephite cities didn’t fare so well in previous battles. Some were full of weak places and didn’t have too good of defenses. After you have a strong “why I fight” it would be downright stupid to stop there. The Nephites with clear and strong minds but no defenses would still get swept down by the numerous Lamanites.

Early on in Alma 43, Moroni realizes that in order to be ready for these attacks, the Nephites needed to be sufficiently prepared.

Verse 30 explains this, “and he also knowing that it was the only desire of the Nephites to preserve their lands, and their liberty, and their church, therefore he thought it no sin that he should defend them by stratagem; therefore, he found by his spies which course the Lamanites were to take.”

Moroni knew that the Nephites had a strong “why I fight,” so he decided to have some strategic plan in place. Let’s be honest, Satan is a coward and a dirty fighter. He has his schemes and tricks, why can’t we have some too??

But jumping back to verse 23, the Nephites do something VERY important. Often, once we have our determination, we like to make our own plans and strategies. Since we are so full of confidence, we think we can come up with things really clever plans to beat Satan. I have 3-4 journals full of notes on how I am going to beat Satan with my superb intellect. I have also lost many battles that way.

Not that we are incapable and unintelligent, but there is a better way.

“but it came to pass, as soon as they had departed into the wilderness Moroni sent spies into the wilderness to watch their camp; and Moroni, also, knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him, desiring him that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites.”

Other topics to cover as per the war chapters

//putting armor of God; breastplates, shields, weapons

//border patrol – always having spies, BP set up, especially while building the city

//building up the city walls

//analyzing lost battles, determining where they breached the defenses or how they drugged us

Last, even with our new and improved cities and determined, watchful border partrol, sometimes it is still very tiring. Sometimes we look down and realize that our armor is pretty banged up, maybe rusty. Perhaps we built our walls a little poorly and they are crumbling. Maybe we think to ourselves, “Golly, where do I get some upgrades? I still have 4 more cities to revamp and rebuild, the Lamanites are coming. There is just not adequate time. There is too much work to do.”

This is where we have to be humble enough to realize that we can’t do these huge wars alone. It just isn’t possible. Some of us aren’t as hardcore and as awesome as Moroni yet. Some of us need a lot of coach and training from others. That is okay. For now. We have to start some place. We have to sometimes rely on those who are more trained and stronger. That is okay, too. I can’t make it a day without God on my side. Jesus Christ himself is out repairing my city walls, he is out there reminding me why I fight and getting me pumped up for battle. He is out there sharpening my swords and making my men more arrows to shoot. He is out there showing us better techniques in our combat skills. He is out there to slice 10 Lamanites in a single blow when I am on the ground fainting because of the loss of blood. He is there to cheer me up after the Lamanites punched a hole in one of my walls and killed a few of our precious women. He is out there wrapping my battle wounds and giving me special ointments and medicines.

I also have a Moroni, who sits with me in counsel, who trains me on what is real and what is not. He counsels me because he has fought for many years and has learned some great strategies. He reminds me of the fight and how to prepare. He continually reminds me not to rely on him alone but on God who is the true source of all power.

I also have my fellow comrads who are willing to help train me and work on my walls. There was no way that the Nephite cities could be repaired in time. I know for a fact that Moroni had every single man and woman working and toiling day and day out to have the walls strong and the armor inpenetrable.

I also know that there were times when the people may not have liked the system or the war. You can read about Morianton and Pahoran in chapters 50, 51. Sometimes there are people in our lives who are not pleased with us or they don’t agree with this war. They think it is not happening and that we just need to “get better” without any work. Sometimes we have to battle others or ourselves from within. I can attest that sometimes these are the harder battles to fight. I can hate Satan. I can fight to the death with him. But sometimes people in our lives are not supportive of our behaviors. We have to cling to why we fight and trust God that He will still give us victory.

I bear my testimony that the battle is real. I testify that we come from another realm and that we are sojourners on earth. I testify that God is very real. He is our infinite father. We are here to overcome evil and attain to the highest glories of intelligence. I know that Jesus Christ was sent to this earth to provide us with hope and to help fight our battles. I know that he allows us to struggle because it makes us strong and well trained for future attacks. I know that we can be healed of anything because he promised it and he does not lie. I know we can beat this horrible addiction even though the battles and wars may last for years. We must still fight and train. It is all worth it in the end!

K. D.

About Maurice W. Harker, LPC

Director of Life Changing Services, Director of Sons of Helaman, Facilitator of the WORTH group, Consultant for the Daughters of Light program.