I understand that we can learn much from the chapters on war but why is so much included when the Saviors teachings are so peaceable?
Much of what the Savior taught was peaceful, yes, but not all of it. If you are wondering what I mean, I suggest reading the New Testament again, with Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. Talmage has some wonderful explanations of the scripture that are very helpful.
I believe the thing to keep in mind here, Linda, is that while the Lord is a God of love and peace, WE live in a fallen world. Satan has a lot of influence over this world and he brings with him blood and horror. Though we don’t like to think about it for some war, genocide, murder, suicide, rape, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and bullying are part of their mortal experience. I believe the war chapters can give some wisdom on how to face these challenges, to others these chapters may give strength through the examples of how righteous men of old faced difficult challenges.
As part of living in a fallen world, we are all sinners. As sinners, we can all receive comfort and hope from a message in the war chapters. This message is pointed out in a BYU Speech called “Recognizing the Lord and His Healing Influence in the Book of Mormon and in Our Own Lives“, Ronald E. Terry:
“Buried in the war chapters in the book of Alma, there is a wonderful lesson about the healing influence of the Savior. At one point the sons of King Mosiah are described as being “the very vilest of sinners,” but “the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them” (Mosiah 28:4). After their change-of-heart experience, they asked to go “impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites. . . . For they could not bear that any human soul should perish” (Mosiah 28:1, 3). Later in the record, Mormon described the great general Moroni: “If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever” (Alma 48:17). Mormon obviously had some tender feelings for this man and probably even named his own son after him. But Mormon, wanting to teach an important lesson, added these words in the next verse:
“Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God. [Alma 48:18]
The sons of Mosiah went from being “the very vilest of sinners” to being men like Moroni and “men of God.” This was only possible because of the Atonement and the life-changing, healing influence it has on the children of men.
All of us will feel the pain of sin and transgression in our lives. The Savior’s act of redemption can take away that pain. I have witnessed this marvelous experience as individuals have accepted the Lord, repented, asked His forgiveness, and then felt the tremendous burden of guilt be washed away.”
So you see, Linda, even the war chapters lend to the purpose of the Book of Mormon which is to testify of Christ and show us the way to follow Him.