Friday, September 11, 2020

Moroni’s Fortified Resorts

In the First century BC, when wars with the Lamanites intensified Moroni, at the age of 25, was named Chief Captain over all the Nephite armies (Alma 43:17). The genius of this young leader became quickly evident with his equipping his army with personal armor that “shielded the more vital parts of the body” (Alma 43:38), including breastplates and shields. This scared the Lamanites (Alma 43:21),who retreated from the battlefield, unwilling to fight the Nephites.

At this time, Nephite cities were individual settlements, with limited defenses. Moroni changed the management of war by building earthworks around his army and stone walls around the cities and the borders of the land (Alma 48:8). Moroni placed some of his army in each city, and larger numbers in cities whose defenses were the weakest (Alma 48:7).

After Moroni had driven the Lamanites out of the east wilderness he turned his attention to the border-lands to the south where the narrow strip of wilderness separated the Nephites and the Lamanites, …and thus he cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness (Alma 22:27).

“He had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort”
Alma 48:8


During the lengthy fighting between the Lamanites and Nephites in the last century B.C., when Lamanite armies continued to come into the Land of Zarahemla and attack outlying settlements and cities, especially along the coastal area of the Sea East, Moroni built resorts, or small forts. In addition, the southern border of the land, that strip of wilderness between the Nephites and the Lamanites, was unguarded by the Nephites and Moroni “placed armies on the south, in the borders of their possessions, and caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies” (Alma 50:10). In addition, Moroni drove the Lamanites out of the west wilderness and fortified the line between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi (Alma 50:11).

Thus Moroni, with his armies increasing daily sought to cut off the strength and the power of the Lamanites from Nephite lands that the Lamanites should have no power upon the Nephite lands” (Alma 50:12).

These resorts or small forts held small detachments of soldiers charged with overlooking routes into the cities or region around them and to warn of Lamanite movements and apparent eventual attacks. As an example, we find this in: “And now it came to pass in the eleventh month of the nineteenth year, on the tenth day of the month, the armies of the Lamanites were seen approaching towards the land of Ammonihah” (Alma 49:1, emphasis added). Before these outposts were built, the result was much different: “In the thirteenth year of my reign in the land of Nephi, away on the south of the land of Shilom, when my people were watering and feeding their flocks, and tilling their lands, a numerous host of Lamanites came upon them and began to slay them, and to take off their flocks, and the corn of their fields” (Mosiah 9:14).

A small Nephite resort or outpost at the top of a hill overlooking the river and valley below


These resorts were typically stationed at a distance from the main force or formation of the army, usually in a remote or sparsely populated location, often positioned on a hill or mountain to afford the best view of the surrounding area. Since the area of the narrow strip of wilderness was full of canyons, mountains, or passes, these resorts were positioned in strategic areas to warn of approaching Lamanite surprise attacks as they came into Nephite lands.

In modern times, before radar, satellite cameras, and aerial reconnaissance, these military outposts or advanced guard stations were essential to warn of enemy surprise or sneak attacks.

The word “resort” means a place where someone can turn for assistance, or a place where someone can fall back, have recourse, or resort. In times of military need, small forts, called resorts, were placed around a vulnerable area so that people could find temporary safety. In the case of outposts, this safety was at least in the form of a small military unit stationed there that could render aid in the case of a small disturbance. The saying, in the “last resort” meant a place where the last warning could be expected in the case of attack.

When Amalickiah defected over to the Lamanites and stole the kingship, he sought to destroy the Nephites in an all-out war. He “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). That is these defector Zoramites, having lived as Nephites, knew where these resort outposts were located and therefore would be able to guide the Lamanite armies into Nephite lands without being observed by the Nephite lookouts.

Hilltop resorts or forward lookout outposts are scattered all over the hills and mountains of Peru that were staffed by small military units assigned to monitor the passes and trails into the Land of Zarahemla


Building such small forts or resorts along the northern edge of the narrow strip of wilderness separating the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla and was built by a large segment of Moroni’s army. As Mormon wrote: “He kept his men round about, as if making preparations for war; yea, and truly he was preparing to defend himself against them, by casting up walls round about and preparing places of resort” (Alma 52:6).

Such posts are typically manned by small contingencies and are at all times connected through ongoing patrols in their region and the force headquarters in the interior of the country for their day-to-day functioning, passing on intelligence and for requesting supplies and any needed reinforcements in emergencies. These outposts, where possible, are built on strategic locations which are usually elevated at the highest points in the local terrain and ideally on hilltops and mountains overlooking transportation corridors.

Such small resorts or outposts are scatter all over Peru suggesting a match with the Land of Promise


Mormon describes on three occasions the “resorts” that Moroni had the Nephites build. These areas of resort were not meant to be forts of last resort against a large attacking enemy because of their size and initial purpose. However, with well defended positions a small force could hold off a small force of attackers, thus protecting the civilians who had flocked to the resort for protection.

Obviously, these resorts were extremely important to the Nephite safety, and should be found scattered around the Land of Promise, especially guarding well-travelled paths and roads that led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place (3 Nephi 6:8).

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