Alma 56

Alma 56

What’s happening?  The next generation of the people of Ammon are going to go to war with the prophet.

Why does it matter?  There will be miracles and help from heaven because of faith and covenant keeping.

Between the lines: We see the new, righteous traditions taught to the stripling warriors shape how they react during the atrocities of war.

Quote of the day: “ The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.” ~ JB Beck, 2007, Mothers Who Know

56:5 What’s important to remember about going to war for your country? See D&C 98:16

56:6-8 Why didn’t the prophet Helaman want the people of Ammon to break their covenant not to take up arms?

56:16-19 What are some things we can learn from Antipus and his men to do when we’re discouraged?

56:27 We hear about the stripling warriors’ mothers, but what do we learn in this verse about their fathers? 

“Under the direction of their prophet-leader, these young men took their fathers’ place in defense of their families and homes. The events surrounding this critical decision demonstrate how the Atonement of Jesus Christ brings personal strength to the lives of the children of God. Consider the tender feelings of those fathers. How must they have felt to know that the rebellious actions of their past prevented them from protecting their wives and children at that moment of need? Knowing personally of the atrocities their sons would now face, they must have privately wept. Fathers, not children, are supposed to protect their families! Their sorrows must have been intense.” ~ RG Scott, 2013, Personal Strength Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ

56:38-40 In what ways are the actions of the Nephite armies symbolic of our need to avoid temptation and sin during the current war on sin? See also D&C 76:29.

56:44-46 Why is courage a necessary trait in the faithful?

“Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed: the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions do determine destiny. The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be. The battlefields of war witness acts of courage. Some are printed on pages of books or contained on rolls of film, while others are indelibly impressed on the human heart.” ~ TS Monson, 1986, Courage Counts

56:47-48 Why are the actions and words of these young warriors a great tribute to their mothers? Do you think their mothers would have been proud of them?

“May each of us treasure this truth: One cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.” ~ TS Monson, 1998, “Behold Thy Mother”

56:56 Why do you think Helaman and his warriors gave credit to God for their strength and preservation? For another example they would have learned in their history, read Mosiah 8:16.

Alma 55

Alma 55

What’s happening?  Moroni devises a plan to get Nephite prisoners back from the Lamanite troops.

Why does it matter?  Moroni uses strategy rather than playing into Ammoron’s hands.

Between the lines: The Nephites are successful because they consult the Lord in their plans and thank Him afterwards when it works.

Quote of the day: An echo from the people’s history is reflected in Alma 55:31:  “Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words” (1 Ne. 17:45).

55:5 Who was Laman? See Alma 47:20-29. What was asked of him?

“Laman would have had valid reasons to refuse to set Moroni’s plan in motion. Not only did Laman take an enormous risk by posing as an escaped Lamanite prisoner, but what if the Lamanite guards had recognized him? Laman was a wanted man—he had been suspected unfairly of murdering a former Lamanite king. Despite the danger, Laman decided to be the one to tackle the challenge. We’ll all have challenges where we have to take on a responsibility even if we’re not sure we’ll succeed—fulfilling a Church calling, volunteering to help someone in need, accepting the prophet’s call for priesthood holders to prepare to serve a mission. We can be the ones to step up to the plate, even when the obstacles ahead seem insurmountable…. We will have heavenly assistance to help us succeed in Heavenly Father’s work.” ~ A Hagman, 2013, Be the One

55:10-17 How did Moroni’s plan to free the people held prisoner by the Lamanite troops work?

55:18-19 What more do these verses tell us about Moroni?

“Grounded in the faith of Jesus Christ, Captain Moroni defended his people, their rights, and their religion. He sustained the Nephite tradition to never give offense and to raise the sword only against aggressive enemies after having approached the Lord in fervent prayer for his help and guidance. Under such gospel-principled leadership, the Nephites experienced happiness.” ~ R. Jenkins, 2009, “Peaceable Followers of Christ” in Days of War and Contention

55:27-30 What happened when the Nephites began to regain lost territory?

55:31 Why do you think the Lord blesses those “not slow to remember” Him?

“Find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies. You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done.” ~  HB Eyring, 2007, O Remember, Remember

Alma 54

Alma 54

What’s happening?  Moroni is negotiating an exchange of prisoners.

Why does it matter?  Ammoron seems to not value human life, instead is fixed on perceived ancestral wrongs. Moroni wants to negotiate the return of whole families while Ammoron wants to take advantage.

Between the lines: Sometimes strong words are needed when they are true and for a righteous cause.

Quote of the day: “The great need in the world today is applied religion…. The roots of the causes of war lie deeply bedded in vanity, selfishness, unjust commercialism, unrighteousness, and other things contrary to the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” ~ DO McKay, Pathway to Happiness

54:4-14 When is it appropriate to use strong words like Moroni did to Ammoron?

“In a letter to Ammoron, a warmongering chief of the Lamanites, we catch more of the spirit of this great man. As President Lee would have said, he wasn’t a shrinking violet. There was no misunderstanding his message. It wasn’t watered down or diluted.” ~ VJ Featherstone, 1975, But Watchman, What of the Night?

54:15-24 What was Ammoron’s reaction to Moroni’s letter? Did some good come out of it?

Alma 53

Alma 53

What’s happening?  Nephites are fortifying their lands. The prophet recruits the Ammonite sons.

Why does it matter?  These are very real activities that would occur during intermittent peace and siege.

Between the lines: We can learn a lot about covenant keeping and preparation from this chapter.

Quote of the day: “In approximately 64 B.C., the Nephite nation was living in extremely perilous times. Because of iniquity, dissensions, and intrigue, they found themselves in the most dangerous of circumstances. The government teetered on the brink of collapse. The war with the Lamanite nation had been ongoing for years. Nephite dissidents were leaving to join forces with the enemy. Many Nephite cities had been attacked and captured. In the midst of this dangerous and chaotic situation, righteous men were sought after to lead the Nephite armies—men like Moroni and Helaman. These Nephite leaders understood that their nation’s ability to defend itself was in direct proportion to their obedience to the Lord. They constantly struggled to motivate the population to remember the Lord and keep His commandments. At this very critical point in time, after many Nephite cities had been lost and the balance of power seemed to be shifting towards the Lamanites, a miraculous thing took place. A group of people, once Lamanites, now known as Ammonites because they were converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ through the teachings of Ammon, came forward desirous to take up arms in the defense of their newly inherited land, country, and way of life. The fathers of these Ammonite families had previously made an oath to the Lord never to take up arms again. Helaman, the Nephite prophet, counseled these men to keep their promise to the Lord.” ~ RJ Maynes, 2004, Keeping Our Covenants

53:4-5 What are spiritual fortifications we can build today?”Be like Captain Moroni of old; set up “fortifications” to strengthen your places of weakness. Instead of building walls of “timbers and dirt” to protect a vulnerable city, build “fortifications” in the form of personal ground rules to protect your priceless virtue.” ~ DE Sorenson, 2001, You Can’t Pet a Rattlesnake

53:7 What tasks did the Nephites accomplish between battles when they had some moments of peace?

53:10-13 Why did the people of Ammon almost break their oath to not take up arms?

“The people of Ammon were at a critical moment of their spiritual lives. They had been true to their covenant never to take up arms. But they understood that fathers are responsible to provide protection to their families.6 That need seemed great enough to merit consideration of breaking their covenant. Their wise priesthood leader, Helaman, knew that breaking a covenant with the Lord is never justified.” ~ RG Scott, 2013, Personal Strength Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ

53:14-16 Why was it a big deal for the people of Ammon to keep their oath?

“As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have also taken upon ourselves sacred obligations. We have done this in the waters of baptism and in the temples of the Lord. We call these obligations covenants. Covenants are promises we make to the Lord. They are extremely sacred in nature. The most important thing we can do in this life is to keep the promises or covenants we have made with the Lord. When we keep our promises to the Lord, He allows us to progress spiritually.” ~ RJ Maynes, 2002, Keeping Our Covenants

53:17 What are some similarities and differences between the covenants the sons of Helaman made and the covenants their parents made?

53:19-21 What set these young men apart from others?

“What we need now is the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the Church. We need worthy, qualified, spiritually energized missionaries who, like Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors, are ‘exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity’ and who are ‘true at all times in whatsoever thing they [are] entrusted’. Listen to those words, my young brethren: valiant, courage, strength, active, true. We don’t need spiritually weak and sem-icommitted young men. We don’t need you to just fill a position; we need your whole heart and soul. We need vibrant, thinking, passionate missionaries who know how to listen to and respond to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. This isn’t a time for spiritual weaklings.” ~ MR Ballard, 2002, The Greatest Generation of Missionaries

Alma 52

Alma 52

What’s happening?  Amalickiah is killed but the war is still going on.

Why does it matter?  The Nephites are only winning because of faithfulness and ingenious tactical maneuvers.

Between the lines: Moroni and his leaders are clever men, but especially because they follow revelation from the Lord.

Quote of the day: “Truly he was preparing to defend himself against them, by casting up walls round about and preparing places of resort.” ~ Alma 52:6

52:3 Who was Ammoron?

52:16-17 What can we learn from Teancum’s example and actions?

“In many ways, Teancum was a heroic extension of Moroni’s own quickness, decisiveness, and boldness. Teancum’s personal courage went almost to the point of recklessness, in a way that appeals to our sense of adventure even while we recognize the dangers…. Teancum was not Moroni’s only chief captain; the record also mentions Antipus, Gid, Helaman, and Lehi and refers to numerous others. But Teancum, Helaman, and Lehi are singled out for special mention. Mormon, who knew what loyalty tested in battle meant, reveals a great deal in what he tells us of Moroni’s relationships with his chief captains. In any military society, the brutalities of war can unite men in a kind of competition of escalating toughness, competency in killing, and callousness to sensitive feelings. Instead, we see in Moroni and his chief captains an exceptional and exemplary masculine relationship based partly on shared skills and shared dangers but also on a loving friendship and a righteous desire for liberty and peace. All of these men were courageous in defense of liberty.” ~ E England, 1977, Moroni and His Captains: Men of Peace in a Time of War

52:1, 5-26 What are some tactics the Nephite troops used to fight their enemies?

52:27-28 Why do you think the Lamanite armies were afraid and confused?

52:32-39 What are some differences between Captain Moroni and the Zoramite military leaders?

Alma 51

Alma 51

What’s happening? Rebellion is happening internally.

Why does it matter?  We see many of the same things happening in countries today, just with different names and circumstances.

Between the lines: It’s a downward slide when 

Quote of the day: “Mormon showed, but his account, that wickedness brought dissent, and dissent brought the threat of destruction from outside forces. The only way that the Nephites could stay free was to stay righteous.” ~ Garrett, Inspired by a Better Cause

51:5 Who were the “king-men”?

51:6 Who were the “freemen”?

51:7-9 In what ways does religious freedom impact communities as a whole?

“As we walk the path of spiritual liberty in these last days, we must understand that the faithful use of our agency depends upon our having religious freedom. We already know that Satan does not want this freedom to be ours. He attempted to destroy moral agency in heaven, and now on earth he is fiercely undermining, opposing, and spreading confusion about religious freedom—what it is and why it is essential to our spiritual life and our very salvation.” ~ RD Hales, 2015, Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom

Alma 50

Alma 50

What’s happening?  More wars and rebellions are happening, both from the Lamanites and among the Nephites themselves.

Why does it matter?  More righteous leaders are raised up to stop new, wicked men seeking personal gain.

Between the lines: In this chapter we learn that even during times of war and internal rebellion, the Nephites were a happy people.

Quote of the day: “Covenant keeping is essential for true happiness.” ~ LK Burton, 2013, Power, Joy, and Love of Covenant Keeping

50:22-23 Why do you think the Nephites were happy even though they were at war?

“Our loving Heavenly Father knows that choosing to develop a spirit of gratitude will bring us true joy and great happiness…. We can choose to be grateful, no matter what. This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer.” ~ DF Uchtdorf, 2014, Grateful in Any Circumstance 

50:25-34 Why did Moroni feel he had to address Morianton’s contention and rebellion? 

“War and conflict are the result of wickedness; peace is the product of righteousness…. The blessings of the gospel are universal, and so is the formula for peace: keep the commandments of God.” ~ DH Oaks, 2019 Christmas Devotional

50:35 Who is Teancum? 

“One courageous Nephite leader, Teancum, stood up against Amalickiah. An officer in General Moroni’s army, Teancum had already defeated another Nephite dissenter named Morianton, who had tried to claim the land of Lehi from its inhabitants.” ~ JM Choate, 1988, Scriptural Giants: Teancum, Fighter for Freedom

Alma 49

Alma 49

What’s happening?  The Lamanites attack two Nephite cities.

Why does it matter?  All the Nephites’ preparations are going to pay off while the Lamanites are going to make promises they can’t keep.

Between the lines: The Lamanites swore an oath to destroy the city of Noah without knowing the current conditions there. They also swore the oath to a man who didn’t care about their welfare. This is a good reminder to make promises to those we can trust and in the right circumstances.

Quote of the day: “It is clear… that there are times and circumstances when nations are justified, in fact have an obligation, to fight for family, for liberty, and against tyranny, threat, and oppression.” ~ GB Hinckley, 2003, War and Peace

49:7-9 How is being prepared for battle symbolic of being prepared for daily challenges in this life? See also 1 Peter 5:8, D&C 76:29, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

“The war that began in heaven continues to this day. In fact, the battle is heating up as the Saints prepare for the return of the Savior.” ~ LR Lawrence, 2017, The War Goes On

49:13-14 How did a little earlier preparation make a big difference for the people in the land of Noah?

49:16-17 Who was Lehi? See also Alma 53:2.

49:25-28 How did Amalickiah react to the results of the battle and how did the people of Nephi?

49:30 What do we learn about the formerly wayward Corianton here? How does that give us hope as humans who need to repent? 

Alma 48

Alma 48

What’s happening?  Preparation for war is happening on both sides.

Why does it matter?  War becomes a study of good and bad examples–it brings out the best and worst in people.

Between the lines: Think about the differences between Amalickiah and the Zoramite leaders versus Captain Moroni and Helaman.

Quote of the day: “When we build a fortress of spiritual strength, we can shun the advances of the adversary, turn our backs on him, and feel the peace of the Spirit. We can follow the example of our Lord and Savior, who, when tempted in the wilderness, said, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan.’ We each have to learn by the experiences of life how to do that. Such righteous purpose is well described in the Book of Mormon when Captain Moroni prepared the Nephites to face attacks from a deceitful, bloodthirsty, power-hungry Amalickiah. Moroni constructed fortresses to protect the Nephites ‘that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians.’ Moroni ‘was firm in the faith of Christ’ and was faithful ‘in keeping the commandments of God … and resisting iniquity.’ When the Lamanites came to battle, they were astonished by the Nephites’ preparation, and they were defeated. The Nephites thanked ‘the Lord their God, because of his matchless power in delivering them from the hands of their enemies.’ They had built fortresses for protection on the outside, and they had built faith in the Lord Jesus Christ on the inside—deep in their souls.” ~ RA Rasband, 2019, Build a Fortress of Spirituality and Protection

48:1-3 How did Amalickiah convince the Lamanites to fight?

48:5 Why did Amalickiah chose the Zoramites to be the commanders in his armies?

48:7 What was a difference in the way Amalickiah led versus Moroni?

48:8-10 What preparations against attacks did the Nephites make? When is it appropriate to prepare for war?

“We are a people of peace. We are followers of the Christ who was and is the Prince of Peace. But there are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilizations, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty.” ~ GB Hinckley, 2001, Times in Which We Live

48:11-13,16-18 What do we learn about Moroni in these verses? 

48:18 What do we learn about Helaman and his brothers? 

“Even though Helaman was not as noticeable or conspicuous as Moroni, he was as serviceable; that is, he was as helpful or useful as Moroni…. Not all of us are going to be like Moroni, catching the acclaim of our colleagues all day every day. Most of us will be quiet, relatively unknown folks who come and go and do our work without fanfare. To those of you who may find that lonely or frightening or just unspectacular, I say, you are ‘no less serviceable’ than the most spectacular of your associates. You, too, are part of God’s army.” ~ HW Hunter, 1991, No Less Serviceable

Alma 47

Alma 47

What’s happening?  Amalickiah runs away to the Lamanites and ends up leading their armies.

Why does it matter?  Amalickiah seems to very easily take over the Lamanites after trying so hard and failing to do the same with the Nephites previously. The Lamanites don’t have men like Captain Moroni to stand in Amalickiah’s way and now it’s going to cause trouble for both nations.

Between the lines: Don’t ever come down from high places of security, especially spiritually speaking.

Quote of the day: “Lehonti in the Book of Mormon was well positioned on the top of a mountain. He and those he led were “fixed in their minds with a determined resolution” that they would not come down from the mount. It only took the deceitful Amalickiah four tries, each one more bold than the previous, to get Lehonti to “come down off from the mount.” And then having embraced Amalickiah’s false promises, Lehonti was “poison[ed] by degrees” until he died. Not just poisoned, but “by degrees.” Could it be that this may be happening today? Could it be that first we tolerate, then accept, and eventually embrace the vice that surrounds us? Could it be that we have been deceived by false role models and persuasive media messages that cause us to forget our divine identity? Are we too being poisoned by degrees?” ~ ES Dalton, 2008, A Return to Virtue

47:1-13 How many times did Lehonti have to be asked to come and meet Amlickiah? What does this suggest?

47:7-16 What are some spiritual high grounds we shouldn’t leave?

“In the Book of Mormon, we read about Lehonti and his men camped upon a mount. The traitorous Amalickiah urged Lehonti to “come down” and meet him in the valley. But when Lehonti left the high ground, he was poisoned “by degrees” until he died, and his army fell into Amalickiah’s hands. By arguments and accusations, some people bait us to leave the high ground. The high ground is where the light is. It’s where we see the first light of morning and the last light in the evening. It is the safe ground. It is true and where knowledge is. Sometimes others want us to come down off the high ground and join them in a theological scrum in the mud. These few contentious individuals are set on picking religious fights, online or in person. We are always better staying on the higher ground of mutual respect and love.” ~ RD Hales, 2008. Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship

47:18 What are some evil habits that can happen by degrees? On the flip side, what are some good habits possible to build by degrees? Compare also Nehemiah 6.

47:36 What are some consequences of rebellion we see here?