Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Don't Leave Your Strongholds!

My husband Joe is a map guy.  He was a cartographer for the National Guard many years ago.  I've always thought maps were boring.  We've been married for 25 years.  I've been told that when you've been together with the same person for a long time you begin to take on the other person's traits; you start to think alike, dress alike, and in some cases, look alike!  To be honest, I have been startled a few times when we've come out of our closets wearing the same colored clothes!  Well, he's rubbed off on me in many ways. In reading the Book of Mormon this year, I have been enamored with this map!  I have followed the Nephites and Lamanites meticulously through this map since Nephi's ship landed on the Promised Land.  Absolutely fascinating!!! 

This whole week, my class is presenting the war chapters in the Book of Mormon.  One student per chapter.  Today, I was very intrigued with Hailey's chapter, Alma 52.  When you watch the movement on the map, it brings the story to life.  I have a large black and white copy of a map, like the one above, against the chalk board in my class.   I have two colors of sets of magnets; one color for the Nephites and one color for the Lamanites.    I place them on the map according to where we are in the scriptures and they move around as the storyline progresses.

In Alma 52, Moroni has a plan to get the Lamanites to release control of the city of Mulek, a Nephite city that they wanted to reclaim.  The Lamanites had fortified the city well so there was no way Moroni was going to get in, thus Moroni's plan in verse 21........  "And it came to pass that Moroni, having no hopes of meeting them upon fair grounds, therefore, he resolved upon a plan that he might adecoy the Lamanites out of their strongholds."    He commands Teancum to take a small number of his men and march past Mulek so the Lamanites would see them.  The Lamanites pursue them as they travel north towards Bountiful, where Lehi's army is waiting. Meanwhile, back at Mulek, the Lamanites have left the city "exposed and vulnerable", which is when Moroni swoops in and takes possession of it.   The Lamanites left their stronghold.

Teancum continues to lure the Lamanites into the hands of a fresh Nephite army led by Lehi who were left to protect Bountiful.  Moroni is in pursuit of the Lamanites from behind. The Lamanites find themselves surrounded by the Nephite forces on both sides.  Many Nephites and Lamanites are killed in the battle, but most of the Lamanites lay down their weapons of war and concede to be prisoners of the Nephites. 

  As demonstrated in the scriptures, letting go of your stronghold even just once could result in the adversary attacking you when you're least expecting it, making yourself vulnerable to losing control and falling into temptation.  It only takes once.    I asked my class what they considered to be their strongholds.  The first thing I heard was friends.   Next they mentioned listening to uplifing music and lyrics, keeping the law of chastity and not putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation that you can't get out of.  Sticking to the Word of Wisdom, only owning and wearing modest clothing, being loyal to your family,  and keeping away from movies that chase away the SpiritI liked this last comment because it's not enough to stay away from only rated R movies.  There are some PG-13 movies that offend the Spirit, and we have to remember that these are the world's (not the Lord's) ratings on movies. 

The charting of the Lamanites and Nephites on the map that we did today simply illustrated how the Lamanites had their weakness exposed.  Their focus was on power, physical strength, and bringing the Nephites into bondage.   They took action without thinking, and didn't realize that their adversary had designed for them to fall into temptation all along.   The map showed that the Lamanites were surrounded by the adversary who took advantage of them at their weakest moment. Had they stayed back in Mulek within their fortifications, there would have been no way for the Nephites to overtake the city. 

This time through the Book of Mormon has been magical for me (and hopefully for my class).  Because I'm a visual learner (thus all the pretty pictures in my blog), my depth of understanding has increased tremendously through following this map.  I'll never admit to Joe that maps are extremely interesting!  I'm trying to avoid the "I told you so".  The day I do admit that to him will be the day he agrees to sit and knit with me. 


  1. I predict it will one day happen! Travis knits with Ana sometimes! I love all of the pictures in your blog! You are a great teacher! I was wondering if you were having the students do the chapters like Sister Jaeger! Great Idea! I love, love, love, the war chapters- they have amazing lessons in them!

  2. Thank you for the beautiful map. I've been wanting to do this type of "tracking" in my personal study and with my family and your map is just what we need.