Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hard Things First

I was reading today in Alma 52 about how Captain Moroni took back the city of Mulek by strategem.

Afterward, in Alma 53:6, it says this:
And it came to pass that Moroni had thus gained a victory over one of the greatest of the armies of the Lamanites, and had obtained possession of the city of Mulek, which was one of the strongest holds of the Lamanites in the land of Nephi...
I remembered that the city of Mulek was the first city Captain Moroni worked to regain after it had been lost to Amalickiah. And we find out that it was one of the strongest fortified and had one of the largest Lamanite armies in it.

He went for one of the biggest challenges first instead of saving it for last. That really says something about Moroni's character. He was about solving the big problems. He had the determination to face it head-on. He had a lot of help in doing it, but a big and tricky objective was the one he went for first. I wonder what would happen if I made that trait part of my character too? What might I accomplish?

What keeps us from working on the hardest things first? There are probably several reasons. First, we're a little scared. Second, we don’t know how long it will take or how much effort we will have to put in to it, and we probably worry that once we work on that big thing we won’t have time for anything else. Or maybe the task is so nebulous and fuzzy in scope that we are not excited about taking the extra time to look at it and corral it into something more defined.

I really like the way that Captain Moroni approached the challenge of retaking Mulek. He came up with a plan with the help of his staff and took a tag-team approach with each army playing its part. He split the operation into stages—the lure stage, a wild goose chase stage (with a simultaneous city-taking stage) and a fatigue-and-trap stage.

Even if we have a big job to do, we can still make it manageable by breaking it up into stages. And why not pray too to ask Heavenly Father to help?


Morgan Deane said...

Great comment Michaela. There is actually some military theory that advises an attack on the strongest threat. It goes to show that military theory and spiritual principles in the Book of Mormon go both ways. In other words you can take a military principle like, "hold the high ground", and make a good spiritual principle as well.

I've never met anybody else that noticed the concept you explained. Give me more!

Michaela Stephens said...

You mean that is an actual military theory? Wow! That's so cool!

Really, you are too kind. I bet that you could also find things just as good if not better in the war chapters. One of the things I do in my scripture study that helps me find some of the things I find is spending time thinking about why something has been included. Sometimes the purpose of inclusion is not immediately apparent, so I have to think about it for a while. I also try to notice things that don't make sense and then try to explain to myself why it doesn't make sense. Frequently there is a deeper principle at work. I also try to figure out WHY people do the things they do in the scripture stories and what beliefs are driving them. I try to see if I can come up with some circumstantial factors that might be influencing the course of the story.

I'd love to give you more of what you want, but I can't really control what I find.