Book Review: To Defend Them By Stratagem, Fortify Yourself with Book of Mormon War Tactics, by Michaela Stephens
While there are deep scholarly looks at the battles in the Book of
Mormon (e.g.; Warfare in the Book of Mormon, by Hamblin and Ricks), this
is perhaps the first book I’ve read that examines the war chapters in
order to assist us in our daily battle against sin and temptation.
The book contains about 40 short chapters, each looking at events
involved in the various wars, including preparation for war, strategies
for winning war, and reasons each side had for war. Chapter headings
include: King Benjamin’s Nearly Invisible Battles, Clash of the
Worldviews, King Noah’s Paranoid Panic Mode, The Back-story to Captain
Moroni’s Meteoric Rise, Hard Things First, A Type of Christ – Frees the
Prisoners of Gid, Coriantumr’s Blitzkrieg, and too many more to mention
Stephens gives an honest assessment of issues surrounding each event
and sub-event involved in the conflicts discussed. Because the Book of
Mormon is fairly brief in its discussions of these events, the author
often extrapolates from the evidence available, what she believes leads
to various people being who they are, and how events unfold.
For example, she discusses the meteoric rise of Captain Moroni as
captain over the Nephite armies at the young age of 25. She looks at how
he could have been prepared for such a responsibility, by looking at
the available evidence. She notes that there were three major battles
during Moroni’s lifetime previous to his taking command of the army.
Each of these conflicts affected him in different ways, and prepared
him. Lehi was leading an army in battle when Moroni was about 17,
motivating Moroni to use Lehi as one of his chief military leaders. They
would become great friends. Was Moroni a soldier under Lehi in an
earlier battle? We know that an earlier general sought Alma’s prophetic
guidance in finding where the Lamanite army took prisoners, and this is
something Moroni would also do – something Stephens points out to us,
showing us levels of depth in the scripture that many of us would miss
In fact, while tying the ancient strategies to modern methods to
overcome the world is an important strategy for us today, Stephens’
strength in the book often comes forth from her extrapolation. I feel I
understand King Noah, Captain Moroni, and many others better, thanks to
her suggesting important links and ties.
Her last chapter is definitely a classic for today. It is entitled:
Book of Mormon War Chapters as a Crash Course in Strategy for Combating
Pornography. This chapter is a bit longer than the others, but gives a
solid foundation for declaring war on pornographic addiction.
For me, this was a fun book to read. I often review scholarly books
that are loaded with information, but require effort to remain awake.
However, this book provided a good balance between learning and
readability. This book provides a wealth of information, while moving
briskly along. While in some chapters, she may rush a little through
tying the ancient methods to our day today, Stephens’ close look at
personalities, covenants, faith, strategies, and the chaos of war, opens
doors for us to discover anew how to use the Book of Mormon in our
Available at Amazon.com