With all that I've noticed about making covenants this time around, I can't help but notice that this chapter has some very interesting words.
I really do wonder where the line is with covenants we make. In the days of the Book of Mormon, people would rather die than lie or break a covenant. This is made abundantly clear with the ealier wars with Zarahemnah, and with the Lamanites letting 1000+ of their warriors die, after ignorantly saying (and evidently covenanting
) that they would fight at the next city no matter what, while they were travelling toward the city of Noah... and these are the wicked
people. I'm sure the righteous people took their covenants even more seriously. So, with that said, what about today?
By today's standards, even righteous people I know make and break covenants all the time. They lie, and are lazy, and even the best people I personally know really don't consider a white lie all that bad. When people say they'll be somewhere to help someone at a specific time, and they don't show up - people just don't care that much... It's almost expected that when people talk, they're lying.
So, you might be thinking right now, "The oaths and covenants made by the people back then were done officially, and it was way more important back then", or something like that... But I really don't know if that's the case.
In this post
, I argue the case that Zarahemnah, when faced with death, would rather let his armies die than tell a lie to his enemy. That was in the heat of battle, too.... with someone he HATED! Think about it. Imagine you're in a fight with your worst enemy, who you would kill, should you be given the chance. You are using not only all YOUR faculties to kill him, but you've got a band of friends which are actively doing the same. When faced with the opportunity to tell a lie, and gain an advantage, would you?
Seems to me that in this case, almost every person I personally know would do so, including myself (being totally honest).
So.. Where's the line? Today, we have no problem lying and enjoying ourselves doing so, and back then, people would rather let their worst enemy kill them than tell a simple lie.
So, back to this chapter... In verses 7 and 8, Helaman declares to Moroni that he would rather have the people of Ammon stay warm in their homes while battles rage on all around them, even when they're willing to help out - all because of the covenant they made to not fight anymore. I can't help but think that the covenant they made was a little naive. Captain Moroni is claimed to be one of the most righteous people in the Book of Mormon, and he spends most of his life fighting. I guess that is where the question comes in.... where's the line?
We obviously should honor word and "make our word our bond", but when it comes to honoring something you said when you didn't know any better, is it better to honor your word, and let your brethren die because of it? Or is it better to go back on your word and help your country survive?
I guess I'm nit-picking pretty crazily right now, but I guess it's just a pet-peeve of mine, and the more I read about covenants, the more obvious it becomes of the dichotomy between our times and theirs.
I also can't help but bring to mind the fact that God never changes - and I wonder what He thinks of this.
I'll write more about the rest of this chapter later.