I've been interested recently in reading some of the antichrist stories in the Book of Mormon. I understand the way things work now, with people distorting the truth in our day, but I wonder what it was like for people thousands of years ago, plus it's kinda fun looking at it from an outsiders perspective. Sometimes it helps you learn more.
So I was reading in Jacob 7 about Sherem. Sherem came about when Nephi and his family came to the Americas, and it's Jacob, Nephi's brother, who gets involved with him. As I read this account this time, I realized that the people of Nephi must have been a small group - still immediate and just barely extended family. So maybe there were only dozens of people? I mean, I can't imagine there were over a hundred, especially with Laman and Lemuel branching off on their own. Anyway, Sherem contends with Jacob, Jacob, the prophet, wins (shocking), the people that Sherem led astray were brought back and "hearkened no more unto the words of this wicked man" (v. 23).
THEN the scriptures say that the people were motivated to "reclaim and restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth," (v.24) meaning they wanted to convert them/do missionary work, but verse 24 goes on to say, "but it all was vain, for they delighted in wars and bloodshed, and they had an eternal hatred against us, their brethren. And they sought by the power of their arms to destroy us continually."
and verse 25: "Wherefore the people of Nephi did fortify against them with their arms, and with all their might, trusting in the God and rock of their salvation; wherefore, they became, as yet, conquerors of their enemies."
Reading that before, I took the meaning to be that the people of Nephi were prepared in case something happened - they would be ready to go! And just by being ready, they were conquerors of their enemies. Now, typing it out, I can see that there still could have been altercations and it wasn't simply their preparedness but their might that saved them. But even still - what good is our might without readiness? It just struck me, the importance of being prepared, both physically and spiritually. I'm sure the Lamanites didn't send out memos when they were coming to attack; neither does Satan warn us when he will attack us spiritually. Under this light, being ready takes high priority. When we have the gospel in our hearts, or faith in our actions, we can stand up to whatever comes our way.
I'd love to hear any thought anyone has in response to this! I'll try to reply too.