Friday, August 19, 2016

Who Were the Zoramites?

This morning I was reading Alma 48. I was intrigued when I read this:

And thus he [Amalickiah] did appoint chief captains of the Zoramites, they being the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites, and their places of resort, and the weakest parts of their cities; therefore he appointed them to be chief captains over his armies. (Alma 48:5)
Why would the Zoramites be most familiar with these things? Well, maybe because they were the most-recent dissenters from the Nephites, but maybe there's more.

The Zoramites came from Antionum "which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites" (Alma 31:3). And the land of Jershon itself was "south of the land of Bountiful" (Alma 27:22), and "between the land Jershon and the land Nephi" (Alma 27:23) was stationed...the Nephite army.

Is it possible that the Zoramites were members of the army?

When I thought of this, I realized it answers one of the nagging questions I've always had, which is: was Captain Moroni really such a great military leader? I mean, Mormon's got a Level-5 man-crush on the guy, obviously (named his son after him and all, and the whole "if all men had been and were and ever would be" bit), and Mormon's a battle-hardened general himself, but in the past when I read the war chapters of Alma, I went away thinking Captain Moroni was more George B. McClellan than Ulysses S. Grant. All the previous Nephite generals met the Lamanite armies and won. Only Moroni manages to turn the thing into an existential crisis with three fronts (the east where he is in command, the west under Helaman, and the resistance led by Nephihah [NB: Actually Pahoran. Sorry. -ARS] against the Fifth Column in Zarahemla) that requires child warriors to succeed. But if Moroni is fighting against mutinous military leaders, it really is a marvelous victory he manages.

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