“5 Lesser-Known Heroes in the Book of Mormon,” New Era, October 2017
Most Church members have heard a lot about Nephi, Alma, Captain Moroni, and other major Book of Mormon figures. We know their stories and why we ought to follow their examples.
But there are other people in the Book of Mormon—some named, some unnamed, and some completely invisible—who also have some important lessons to teach us. Here are five of these lesser-known heroes.
Like Laman and Lemuel, Sam was an older brother to Nephi (see 1 Nephi 2:5). But unlike Laman and Lemuel, Sam didn’t harden his heart and murmur. When Nephi told him about his revelations from the Lord, he believed Nephi (see 1 Nephi 2:17). He was described as “just and holy” (Alma 3:6), and he and his descendants were given the same blessing as Nephi (see 2 Nephi 4:11).
Belief is a choice, as well as a gift (see D&C 46:14).
Blessings come to those who believe.
At one point during Ammon’s preaching to King Lamoni, he and everyone in the king’s house had fallen to the earth, overcome by the power of God. Everyone, that is, except Abish (see Alma 19:16). She was a woman who had been converted to the Lord years earlier but had kept it a secret. When she saw what had happened, though, she immediately saw it as her opportunity to help her people believe in the Lord, so “she ran forth from house to house” (Alma 19:17) to get them to come and see.
But it didn’t go according to plan. When she got back, people were fighting over what it all meant and what to do. Abish, in tears, couldn’t think of anything else to do except to try and lift the queen up from the floor. It worked. The queen got up and testified of Jesus Christ. Then the king and everyone else eventually got up, and many of them testified of their experiences and the change that had taken place in them (see Alma 19:18–34).
As a result, “many … did believe in their words [and] were baptized; and they became a righteous people” (Alma 19:35). This was the beginning of the Lord’s work among the Lamanites, which eventually led to the conversion of thousands.
When the opportunity to share the gospel presents itself, seize it.
Trust in the Lord and act in faith—even when there seems to be opposition.
We all have a role to play in the Lord’s work.
When the sons of Mosiah helped convert thousands of the Lamanites, there were two groups of ex-Nephites who didn’t go along: the Amalekites and Amulonites. None of the Amulonites were converted. And none of the Amalekites were converted—“save only one” (Alma 23:14). We don’t know this person’s name or anything else about him or her. But what’s impressive is the fact that this person was willing to open his or her heart to the gospel in spite of tradition, peer pressure, and cultural bias.
Dare to stand alone.
Every soul is of great worth.
The honest in heart can be found anywhere—even in the least likely of places.
Shiblon was a son of Alma. Compared to his brothers, he has very few verses about him in the Book of Mormon. (Of course, that’s not entirely bad, since his brother Corianton got more attention because of his sins and doubts [see Alma 39–42].) Like Corianton, Shiblon was a missionary among the Zoramites (see Alma 31:7). But unlike Corianton, Shiblon was praised by his father for being steady, faithful, diligent, and patient (see Alma 38:2–3). He was later ordained to teach the people (see Alma 49:30) and eventually was entrusted with the records and other sacred objects (see Alma 63:1–2). Not much more is recorded about him except that “he was a just man, and he did walk uprightly before God; and he did observe to do good continually, to keep the commandments of the Lord his God” (Alma 63:2).
Fame and attention don’t matter much.
It may not be flashy, but being steady, faithful, and diligent earns us the trust of God and His servants.
The war wasn’t going as well as Captain Moroni would have liked. The Nephites needed more troops and supplies. But they weren’t coming. So he sent a strongly worded message to the chief judge, Pahoran. The delivery of this message, as well as Pahoran’s gracious reply, likely saved the Nephites from defeat (see Alma 60–62). But delivering those messages may have been rather difficult and dangerous.
Unbeknownst to Moroni and his messenger, Pahoran was no longer in the capital. He had been driven out by an uprising and was in the land of Gideon to the east. The people who had taken over the capital wouldn’t have wanted Moroni’s messenger to deliver his message. We don’t know when or how the messenger found all of this out, but it certainly would have complicated his task. Who knows? He may have even had to employ some spy skills so that he wouldn’t be found out.
Whatever the case may be, Captain Moroni’s messenger carried out his mission diligently and helped bring about victory for the Nephites, who were fighting for their families, their freedom, and their faith.
Do your duty.
Don’t give up just because things are harder than you planned.
Simply doing your duty diligently—being in the right place at the right time and trying to do the right thing—can bring about great things.