The ancient Nephites received commandments of God concerning matters of war and self defense. For example, they were to keep and bear arms, to never give the first offense or invade the Lamanites and to defend themselves even if it meant spilling blood. According to my understanding they were also commanded to organize themselves into militias and were given, by revelation, the form it was to take.
1-2, 1-5, 1-2, 1-5, etc.
The pattern began with a captain who presided over two others. Each of those two presided over five others. Each of those five presided over two others. And so on and so forth, the pattern repeating until the final five militiamen were reached. There is a very obvious association with the human body since we have 1 body, 2 hands and 5 fingers, which together form a fist, but I won’t go into the hidden meanings of the pattern and will just stick to unveiling the pattern itself.
A presidency of three
The 1-2 pattern form a presidency of three. The high captain is the president and the two lower captains are the councilors.
A quorum of thirteen
The 1-2 pattern added to the 1-5 pattern form a quorum of thirteen. This is because each of the two lower captains preside over five men. (1+2+5+5=13.) There are four (4) such hierarchical quorums in the ancient pattern.
Captains, higher captains and chief captains
Captains presided over companies of men. Those with the captain designation presided over companies of ten men and two councilors, and also over five men. Those with the high captain designation presided over companies of 50 or 100 or 500 men. Those with the chief captain designation presided over companies of 1000 or 5000 or 10,000 men.
10,000 was the upper limit
An army (militia) maxed out at 10,000 men. There could be multiple maxed out militias coordinating their efforts under the leadership of a single chief captain, but they were all considered separate militias under separate chief captains. The Nephites were forbidden to consolidate their militias into a single military force as the Lamanites often did. This military decentralization made it more difficult for would-be tyrants to use military force to take control of the Nephite nation, which is one reason why Nephite traitors often joined the Lamanites, inciting them to wage war against the Nephites.
Company numbers and their captains
1 chief captain over 10,000 men,
2 chief captains over 5000 men each,
10 chief captains over 1000 men each,
20 high captains over 500 men each,
100 high captains over 100 men each,
200 high captains over 50 men each,
1000 captains over 10 men each,
2000 captains over 5 men each.
In all, there were 3333 separate captains in every army of 10,000 men.
Four war councils were held, from top to bottom. First, the top three captains would convene as a war quorum of 13 (the captains of 10,000 and 5000 and 1000 companies.) After formulating their plans, they would adjourn and each captain of 1000 would convene the captains of 500 and 100 below him into a war council/quorum of 13, giving the details of the war plan. The same would repeat with a quorum of 13 for the captains of 100 and 50 and 10. Finally, the last quorum of 13 (the captain of 10, his two councilors and the 10 soldiers) would convene and receive its instructions. In this way, information could be quickly transmitted in an orderly fashion from top to bottom, and also from bottom to top, through captain to high captain to chief captain relays.
The pattern begins with a company of 10 men presided over by a presidency of 3 men, or 13 men total, forming a quorum. Now, that may sound Satanic, but it’s not. Gospel quorums of peace are formed with 12 men, while gospel quorums of war are formed with 13 men. This is the reason why the devil has his earthly quorums as 13 men. He is imitating the gospel war quorums. He is, after all, all about waging war.
Once 13 men have decided to form themselves into a militia, they need to select three men to preside. One man will preside over 5 of their number and these five will report directly to him. Another man will preside over another five of their number, again with them reporting directly to him. The 13th man will preside over the two presidents. These three presidents are all called captains.
Once five such quorums are formed, a separate man needs to be designated a high captain of 50. The five captains of 10 report directly to the high captain of 50.
Once there are two high captains of 50, a separate man needs to be designated as a high captain of 100, to whom the two captains of 50 report. Once there are five high captains of 100, then a high captain of 500 is chosen and so on and so forth, until 10,000 men and 3333 captains are in the militia.
Exceptions to the rule: companies of 20 and 300
26 men are needed for two companies of 10. If only 25 (or less) men are available a combined company of 20 may be formed. This would consist of 20 men (5+5+5+5), 4 captain “councilors” (1+1+1+1) and 1 presiding captain. The Lord allowed this because of death on the battlefield and other more natural population factors.
If 500 men cannot be obtained, or if a force is reduced by battlefield deaths, a company of 300, with a captain of 300 (instead of 500) may be formed.
Neither of these company numbers are according to the ideal divine pattern, so if men are subsequently added to the militia the companies of 20 should split into two companies of 10 and the companies of 300 should expand into companies of 500.
For citizen or tribal militias
The above pattern was extrapolated from the scriptures, specifically from the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. It may be used to organize either citizen or tribal militias. A person, of course, may organize a militia however he sees fit, using non-scriptural patterns, but may I suggest that the all-knowing, all-wise Lord of Hosts knows a thing or two more about warfare than all our best generals combined? Consider that the divinely revealed organization of the Nephite armies may have also played a part in them always defeating the more numerous Lamanites. That being true, the Lord’s way of militia organization as found in the scriptures should not be taken lightly.