The Unwritten Debates in Moroni1’s Letter


The Unwritten Debates in Moroni1’s Letter

Publication Type

Journal Article

Year of Publication



Deane, Morgan (Primary)





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Bibliographic Citation

Deane, Morgan. "The Unwritten Debates in Moroni1’s Letter", Vol. 61. 2024:135–150.


Moroni1’s letter in Alma 60 is not simply an angry and intemperate screed against the government; it also responds to arguments about just tactics (what modern readers would call ethics) taking place among Nephite leaders at this time. Moroni1’s letter argues for his preferred strategies of active defense and ambush, while interpreting defeat as a failure of leaders. His rhetorical strategy is particularly noteworthy for associating his Nephite opponents’ hopeful trust in the Lord with the passive resistance of the king-men, and shifting blame for defeat away from his strategies and onto his political opponents. Overall, Moroni1’s arguments exemplify sophistication and debate within Nephite thought.

Editor’s Note: This paper is adapted from chapters 4–6 of Morgan Deane, To Stop a Slaughter: The Book of Mormon and the Just War Tradition (self-published, Venice Press, forthcoming, 2024).

War Chapters
Captain Moroni
Pahoran (Chief Judge)
Just-War Ethics

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