"I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle. And it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites did grant unto me the thing which I desired." [Mormon 6:2-3]
The king of the Lamanites at this time felt confident that his armies could defeat Mormon. How could he not? Mormon’s disadvantage, besides the Nephites rejecting all things holy, came from the constant defectors to the Lamanite armies who gave up every tactical strategy once they deserted, possibly. The record does not go into detail about those who left or the multiple reasons the Nephites lost. Mormon contributed every defeat to the spiritual decadence of his people: yet, he strove with them. He boldly called them to arms as he spent almost a year preparing his armies in the south for the campaigns that followed.
contract with God
Fifth-century life proved difficult for Mormon, a man who believed in Jesus Christ who also commanded a powerful military until his life ended at the hands of his enemies. His record became The Book of Mormon.
Why did the Nephite nation start to decline when it appeared it tactically had the advantage in the land of Desolation? The answer rests in the words Mormon records. Mormon 4:4 in The Book of Mormon, states that "it was because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites that they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them."
At odds with Mormon, the downfall of the Nephite nation came because it committed an act of aggression for the first time in almost a thousand years of existence!
Nullifying their contract with God, which hung by a thread, this final thread, the Nephites took it upon themselves to attack the Lamanites out of vengeance. Not only did this nation forswear itself and commit unholy acts, but also it dared to enforce its sins by attacking an enemy that was no more wicked than was it! Until that point, the Nephites were still innocent of aggression. The Nephites, by doing this thing without sanction from the Lord, cast the last tie to God off saying, "We don't need God. We will avenge our dead and revile God’s prophets!"
Formula For A Winning Military
Mormon gives the formula for a winning military in the 43rd chapter of the book of Alma. During that time in 74 B.C., Captain Moroni headed the armies of Nephi against a different group of Lamanites who fought for Monarchy and power. Nephites fought for their families, liberty, and religion--they were also not the aggressors. Alma 43:46 states, “they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies.”
God decreed the Nephites should not suffer themselves to be slain if they are not guilty of the first and second offenses committed against them. Mormon recorded it as a witness! God DID NOT instruct the Nephites to attack the Lamanites after two offenses but to DEFEND their lands. Unlike the Canaanites in the old country whom God told the Israelites to destroy, the Lamanites were not to be destroyed because of the blessing that was placed upon them by God that they should remain.
When the Nephites decided to attack the Lamanites, it weakened their position not only physically, by decimating their armies, but putting them at odds with the decree of God He gave through Father Lehi in 2nd Nephi 4 that his seed shall not utterly be destroyed. Not that the Nephites would have destroyed the seed of Lehi if they had stood triumphant against the Lamanites since the Nephites also were of the seed of Lehi.