6 Behold, I would tell you somewhat concerning the justice of God, and the sword of his almighty wrath, which doth hang over you except ye repent and withdraw your armies into your own lands, or the land of your possessions, which is the land of Nephi.
Captain Moroni was not a diplomat. He was
a righteous military leader and a man of integrity. But I’m not convinced that the art of negotiation was at the top of his list of core skills. My first thought on reading his epistle to Ammoron today was, “How did he think this letter would be received? He didn’t actually believe that Ammoron would respond favorably to such an abrasive message, did he?” Then I considered his letter to Pahoran in Alma 60
, which is equally direct, and I remembered that Pahoran not only received Moroni’s words graciously but took courage and inspiration from them (see Alma 61:19-20
). Sometimes, courageous words of truth are just what the people around us need to fortify their faith and commitment.
In all likelihood, Moroni didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about how his letter would be received; he simply spoke the truth. His words may not have persuaded Ammoron, but they might have inspired his own people and reminded them of the cause they were fighting for. Regardless of the outcome, he was demonstrating the integrity and courage which Mormon admired so much. Moroni valued truth and honesty above all.
There is obviously a place for diplomacy in this world and in our lives. But we ought to be careful that in our attempts to “smooth things over” and be civil we don’t compromise our values or distort our own clear sense of right and wrong. As Dallin H. Oaks taught;
Even as we seek to be meek and to avoid contention, we must not compromise or dilute our commitment to the truths we understand. We must not surrender our positions or our values. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the covenants we have made inevitably cast us as combatants in the eternal contest between truth and error. There is no middle ground in that contest (“Loving Others and Living with Differences,” General Conference, October 2014).
Today, I will follow Moroni’s example of integrity and courage. I will maintain my commitment to righteousness. I will worry less about how my words will be received by others and will focus on ensuring that I am defending the truth.