The divine pattern of citizen militias

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

There was:

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.

War councils

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.

Building militias

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.

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  1. 1. Although I published the above post publicly, it really is a private post which I wrote with me alone in mind. This is the reason why there are no scriptural references in it. I searched the scriptures before I wrote the post and saw no need to document the sources I drew from. My sole purpose was to lay the pattern out. I made it a public post because new concepts I had never thought of came out as I was writing it.

    2. This was published on the Prison Planet web site today: Why The Elite Would Lose a Civil War. I thought the entire article was excellent and truthful, except for the final two paragraphs, which spoke on secession. Apart from all of the excellent reasons reviewed in the article, there also might be dissension in the ranks, siding with the people, as well as other reasons I won’t go into here.

    Citizen militias, should they be established according to the above pattern, would be the greatest deterrent to tyranny. A maxed out militia (10,000 men) in any given city of millions is a formidable army and is designed to contend with, and defeat, a much larger force. Dealing with a disorganized, armed citizenry is one thing, dealing with an organized, coordinated, armed citizen militia is another thing altogether.

  2. I’m glad you posted this. I had never given much thought to the way the nephite armies were organized.

  3. More on exceptions

    A company of 20 breaks up the pattern of “1-5, 1-2, 1-5” and makes it “1-5, 1-4, 1-5.” The council of 13 that happens with a company of 10 becomes a council of 25, or the presiding captain could just convene two councils with half the company in each council and him attending each one as the 13th member.

    A company of 300 causes “1-2, 1-5, 1-2” to be “1-2, 1-3, 1-2.”

    Ancient leadership

    Captains were real leaders. They literally led their companies into battle. They didn’t send them into battle. This is why we read of Lamanites attacking Nephite strongholds until their chief captains were all killed. The captains were the first ones killed, not the last. Only the most valiant of warriors (or most filled with hate and anger) were selected as captains. They inspired the rest to greater action with their bravery (or stupidity.)

    Other items

    The Nephites are always spoken as having plural armies. The chief commanding captain was appointed over all the armies (always stated as a plurality) of the Nephites. This chiefest of the chief captains was himself a chief captain over a Nephite militia (possibly maxed out at 10,000 men.) Therefore, he had his own army that he presided over, as well directing the war affairs of the other armies. A chief captain over all the armies of the Nephites was appointed during times of national need for coordinated defense. For localized attacks, the local militia handled it.

    To give some examples of these principles, Zoram was appointed as chief captain over the armies and he coordinated the actions of his army and the armies of his two sons to get the Nephite prisoners back from the Lamanites. Moroni had his own army, yet also coordinated the efforts of the armies of Teancum, Lehi and the other chief captains. Moronihah repelled the Lamanite invasion using his army alone, since it was the local militia that was attacked.

  4. The church is prophesied to be “terrible as an army with banners.” The organization of the church into militias will surely be a necessary step in the direction of the fulfillment of this prophecy.

    The pattern set forth in the post allows certain advantages and options, creating a flexible structure that can rapidly adapt to circumstances. Without going into every detail (for my Dvorak typing speed is not yet up to par), I will briefly list a few of these advantages.

    The pattern is a true confederation, so the most basic unit is, for all intents and purposes, independent. Defeating the militia, then, would require defeating every last unit.

    I’m going to call a captain of five, a “fist captain,” and the five men serving under him, “fingermen,” because they are patterned after the fingers of a hand, which, when curled together, strike as one, like a fist. The fist captain is patterned after the arm, which directs the fist. A fist captain and his fingermen is the most basic unit of this militia pattern.

    But we have two arms, do we not? And when we fight, do we not fight with both our arms and both our fists? And so the pattern calls for two fist captains and two sets of fingermen, representing two arms and fists, with an “arm captain” set above the two fist captains. The arm captain is the head of this body, directing the two arms, which in turn direct the two fists.

    The arm captain, the two fist captains and the two sets of fingermen make up the fundamental war council of 13 and militia company of 10 fingermen (presided over by a presidency of three captains.) This most basic of companies is totally independent, yet confederated with other like militias.

    The arrangement allows for dynamic and instantaneous warfare responses which can rapidly adapt to the circumstances in real time. Each captain serves as a point man, directing attacks to specific targets. What and when a fist captain attacks, his fingermen attack, increasing the likelihood of a kill. The entire company can perform simultaneous attacks in this way by using the arm captain as the point man. What and when he attacks, his fist captains also attack, and their fingermen follow suit. In this way, the company acts as a double fist delivering a single blow.

    But the company can also function as two fists delivering two simultaneous or alternating blows from different directions to the same target or to different targets. Or each fingerman can be assigned by his fist captain a separate target or duty. The options are endless and can be applied at a moment’s notice. The same striking options and principles that are available to an arm or fist captain, also apply to higher and chief captains. The only difference is that greater numbers of men can be added to a strike force the higher up a captain is.

    Sometimes in war large numbers of men are needed, hence the confederation. But at other times, a small, tight-knit group is required. Fist captains and their fingermen can be assigned specialized tasks, such as espionage, guarding, sabotage or anything else that requires a small, effective unit.

    By using a vertical, immediate replacement standard in conjunction with seniority ranking by time served and immediate rank adjustment upon replacement, death or injury on the battlefield pose no re-grouping problems. A vertical replacement example: an arm captain dies during battle and one of the two fist captains below him immediately replaces him as the new arm captain. Which fist captain becomes the replacement? The one who served the longest as a fist captain has the seniority. So, the fist captains are numbered, 1st fist captain and 2nd fist captain, according to time served. The captain designated “1st captain” always becomes the replacement. One of the five fingermen that served under him becomes the new fist captain, again according to time served. So, fingermen are numbered, too (1 to 5.) The #1 fingerman becomes the new fist captain (of now four fingermen.) These replacements are accompanied by rank adjustments, so the new fist captain becomes the #2 fist captain and the former #2 fist captain now is the #1 fist captain, since he has been a captain longest.

    The same rank adjustment occurs for the arm captains, who now have a new arm captain joining their ranks. The new arm captain becomes last in seniority and the other arm captains have their seniority adjusted, depending on what number the slain captain was.

    Seniority in this pattern is only used for replacement. It has no other function, nor comes with any additional responsibility or authority.

    By using such a replacement strategy, battlefield deaths or incapacitation cannot throw a militia into disarray. The militia simply reforms itself on the spot and continues on with the battle. Targeting militia leaders thus becomes ineffective because leaders are spontaneously generated (replaced.)

    Companies, then, that are given primary, secondary and tertiary targets, can accomplish their goals even if they lose leaders in the process. And because of the independent nature of the companies, if they fulfill their objectives but are subsequently cut off from the rest of the militia, they merely go back to functioning as an independent militia until communication is again established and they can act in coordination with the others, as a confederation.

  5. Militia-building can get tricky as more people are added. If a company or council is full, where do you put another man who desires to join? Although it is possible to build from the bottom up, it is actually must easier to build from the top down. Each new man would simply be added to the next open slot, according to the pattern:

    b – c
    (d,f,h,j,l) – (e,g,i,k,m)
    (n,x).(o,y).(p,z).(q,A).(r,B) – (s,C).(t,D).(u,E).(v,F).(w,G)

    Initially, just getting the men into the proper company and council formation is the important thing, regardless of who ends up in the leadership positions. Later, the militia can switch things around, putting those with leadership qualifications as captains. Perhaps that can be determined by testing, volunteering, voting or whatever. (I polled a couple of people yesterday about what should be the qualifications for militia leadership and I got all kinds of answers, from fighting skills to strategic skills to bravery to militia experience. Everyone had a different idea as to what was the most important quality for a leader.)

    New recruits can be assigned to a council of 13. There are 1111 total councils of 13 in a militia of 10,000 fingermen. There are four levels of councils:

    1 council on level 1
    10 councils on level 2
    100 councils on level 3
    1000 councils on level 4 (the fingermen level)

    None of this stuff is set in stone, of course, and there are many ways to incorporate the scriptural patterns into a modern militia. But unless these issues are addressed with forethought, chaos and confusion results.

    For example, I asked some people a hypothetical question: A group of men approach you and ask you to form them into a militia. How do you do it? The first answers were “I don’t know,” but after some thought, a leader with an indeterminate (and growing) number of men under him was the chosen format, each with a different idea of how many men should be in a company. New recruits were simply placed in the expanding company and there were lots of ideas of giving everyone a rank, trying to pattern the militia after the U.S. military. No one had any idea of how to organize a second company, what the number restrictions ought to be, how one company would relate to another, etc.

    In short, should the need arise for a neighborhood to take up arms and form itself into an organized militia in a matter of hours or even in a day, they wouldn’t be able to do it. Unless people think on these things beforehand and have a plan in place, the idea of an instantly forming militia is a pipe dream. But by using the repeating pattern of 1-2 and 1-5, ten thousand armed men can come to you and you’d be able to rapidly organize them into councils and companies.

  6. I came across something today that made me wonder if the term “watch over the church” encompassed both the spiritual and temporal salvation of the church. In other words, whether the duty to watch over the church, which is given to the priesthood offices of the church, was also intended to be a directive to protect the church from physical harm through the use of organized self defense. In particular, it seemed to me that the office of deacon may have been designed by the Lord to be primarily a standing militia (guarding the flock against all physical harm), and secondarily a spiritual militia (by helping the teachers in their duties, whereby the flock is guarded against spiritual harm), whereas the office of a teacher was primarily a standing spiritual office and secondarily a militia. All other priesthood offices of the church are commanded to travel, whereas teachers and deacons are to be standing ministers, so it appeared to me that teachers and deacons were designed to be the church’s first line of self-defense. Nevertheless, a deacon defender wasn’t to be a purely secular position, but was to be a spiritually empowered warrior.

    Now, the above didn’t come by way of revelation. It’s just a thought I had today as I pondered about the term “watch over the church.” Nonetheless, if this thought is correct, and assuming that this is at least part of the vision of the office of a deacon, a new thought says that in case of physical conflict, the deacons would be the ones to take charge and lead the way, not the teachers, priests or other offices of the local church. In other words, in cases of physical confrontation, the other offices would submit to the authority of the deacons, taking orders from them, because the deacons have defense of the local church as their primary responsibility. But who knows whether these thoughts are right? Perhaps in some future time, under a different set of circumstances, during a time of conflict and war, perhaps a council of Spirit-filled, righteous deacons watching over a flock of Spirit-filled, righteous saints will reveal that these thoughts are true.

    Note: my dictionary defines “watch over” as “to be cautiously observant of; to inspect; to superintend and guard“. It is the guarding part that points my mind to the idea of deacons for defense.

  7. Here is what got me thinking along the topic of the above comment: Deacons for Defense and Justice

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