Alma 52 – Ammaron takes over as Lamanite King. Teancum, Moroni and Lehi defeat the Lamanites in a fight for Mulek.
After Amalackiah’s death, his brother Ammoron took command of the Lamanite armies. Moroni gave Teancum instructions to continue to fortify and protect the northern portion of the land Bountiful and retake any Nephite cities then occupied by the Lamanites. Remember that in chapter 51 that Amalickiah took over many Nephite lands during the king-men rebellion.
VS5-7 – Teancum assessed the situation and thought it would not be in his army’s best interest to attack the Lamanites near Bountiful. Instead, he prepared to defend his army in war.
VS10 – Moroni told Teancum to be faithful in maintaining the land – to take back cities the Lamanites took and to fortify the cities they hadn’t taken so they couldn’t take them. Scourge means to drive out.
Q – What may need to be “scourged,” or driven, from our own lives to help us be more spiritually secure?
VS13 – Ammaron endeavored to “harass” the Nephites. This means to exhaust enemy with repeated attacks.
VS15-17 – Teancum had orders to take the city Mulek if possible. He decided it would be impossible to overpower the Lamanites while they were in their fortifications, so he decided to wait for Moroni to strengthen his army.
- Teancum knew that when the enemy was in his stronghold, it would be hard to defeat him. From this experience, we can learn this principle: If we avoid the adversary’s strongholds, we are more able to avoid and resist temptation.
- What are some places that might be considered strongholds of the adversary? (These are places or situations where you might be influenced to sin if you went there—for example, a party where people are drinking alcohol or watching an inappropriate movie.)
VS19 – Moroni, Teancum and other chief captains held a council of war to figure out how to get the Lamanites to fight so they could take Mulek back.
- In what ways might a family council or a Church council be similar to a “council of war”? How can such councils strengthen us in our battles against the adversary?
VS31 – The Nephites were fresh and full of strength. How can we be this way so we can withstand the adversary?
Alma 53 – The Nephites took many Lamanite prisoners and sent them to work on fortifying the city of Bountiful. However, the Lamanites continued to have success in other regions because of dissensions among the Nephites.
VS2 – Lehi was like Moroni – they rejoiced in each other’s safety and were beloved by each other and all people of Nephi.
VS9 – Times were dangerous for the Nephites because of iniquity and dissensions among themselves.
- What are some ways people place themselves in circumstances that are spiritually dangerous?
- Invite students to reflect on physical places, social settings, or situations involving the use of technology (such as the Internet) that they feel may lead to dangerous circumstances in their lives.
- Hugh Nibley – “So it was a blessing to the Nephites after all to have the Lamanites on their doorstep to ‘stir them up to remembrance’—‘Happy is the man whom God correcteth’ (Job 5:17). No matter how wicked and ferocious and depraved the Lamanites might be (and they were that!), no matter by how much they outnumbered the Nephites, darkly closing in on all sides, no matter how insidiously they spied and intrigued and infiltrated and hatched their diabolical plots and breathed their bloody threats and pushed their formidable preparations for all-out war, they were not the Nephite problem. They were merely kept there to remind the Nephites of their real problem, which was to walk uprightly before the Lord” (Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, 2nd ed. , 339–40).
VS10-18 – The people of Ammon had previously made an oath to never fight with the sword again. They had been protected by the Nephites who had much love for them. When the people of Ammon saw the danger he Nephites were in, they offered to take up arms. Helaman would not allow them to break their oath for fear they would lose their souls. The sons of these people (2000), who had not made that covenant, gathered themselves and made and oath to fight for the liberty of the Nephites (read vs 17)
- Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared how we gain power through keeping our covenants: “Sometimes we are tempted to let our lives be governed more by convenience than by covenant. It is not always convenient to live gospel standards and stand up for truth and testify of the Restoration. … But there is no spiritual power in living by convenience. The power comes as we keep our covenants” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1999, 113; or Ensign, May 1999, 86).
- President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained that keeping covenants keeps us safe: “Keep your covenants and you will be safe. Break them and you will not. … We are not free to break our covenants and escape the consequences” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 107–8; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 84).
- What are some covenants we have made? What are blessings we receive if we keep them?
- D&C 82:10 – I, the Lord, am abound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no bpromise.
VS 20-21 – (read)
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles discussed what it means to be true at all times: “That word true implies commitment, integrity, endurance, and courage. It reminds us of the Book of Mormon’s description of the 2,000 young warriors. In the spirit of that description I say to our returned missionaries—men and women who have made covenants to serve the Lord and who have already served Him in the great work of proclaiming the gospel and perfecting the Saints—are you being true to the faith? Do you have the faith and continuing commitment to demonstrate the principles of the gospel in your own lives, consistently? You have served well, but do you, like the pioneers, have the courage and the consistency to be true to the faith and to endure to the end?” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 101–2; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 73; italics added).
- President George Albert Smith shares wise counsel given by his grandfather George A. Smith: “My grandfather used to say to his family, ‘There is a line of demarcation well defined between the Lord’s territory and the devil’s territory. If you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line you will be under his influence and will have no desire to do wrong; but if you cross to the devil’s side of that line one inch you are in the tempter’s power and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly because you will have lost the Spirit of the Lord.’ “When I have been tempted sometimes to do a certain thing, I have asked myself, ‘Which side of the line am I on?’ If I determined to be on the safe side, the Lord’s side, I would do the right thing every time. So when temptation comes think prayerfully about your problem and the influence of the Lord will aid you to decide wisely. There is safety for us only on the Lord’s side of the line” (“A Faith Founded upon Truth,” Deseret News, June 17, 1944, Church section, 9).
Q – What danger might there be in trying to live on the Lord’s side but as close to the line as possible? What helps you stay far away from the line?
- Being good examples in military service: In modern times, the First Presidency has given the following counsel to Church members in military service: “To our young men who go into service, no matter whom they serve or where, we say live clean, keep the commandments of the Lord, pray to Him constantly to preserve you in truth and righteousness, live as you pray, and then whatever betides you the Lord will be with you and nothing will happen to you that will not be to the honor and glory of God and to your salvation and exaltation. There will come into your hearts from the living of the pure life you pray for, a joy that will pass your powers of expression or understanding. The Lord will be always near you; He will comfort you; you will feel His presence in the hour of your greatest tribulation; He will guard and protect you to the full extent that accords with His all-wise purpose. Then, when the conflict is over and you return to your homes, having lived the righteous life, how great will be your happiness—whether you be of the victors or of the vanquished—that you have lived as the Lord commanded. You will return so disciplined in righteousness that thereafter all Satan’s wiles and stratagems will leave you untouched. Your faith and testimony will be strong beyond breaking. You will be looked up to and revered as having passed through the fiery furnace of trial and temptation and come forth unharmed. Your brethren will look to you for counsel, support, and guidance. You will be the anchors to which thereafter the youth of Zion will moor their faith in man” (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., and David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Apr. 1942, 96).
- Think of a time when you were trusted to do something that seemed difficult. What did you do to show that you were worthy of that trust?
Alma 54 – Moroni and Ammaron write to each other regarding exchanging prisoners.
Q -How were Captain Moroni’s motives for exchanging prisoners different from Ammoron’s?
VS2-14 – Moroni’s intentions and letter – He was so happy Ammaron wanted to exchange prisoners. He wanted to support his people with provisions and strengthen his army. Moroni did not take any women and children as prisoners, but the Lamanites had. Moroni spoke to Ammaron about the wrath of God upon them unless they repent and return the prisoners. He asked for one woman, man and child to every man of the Lamanites. He said if this did not happen, he would destroy the Lamanites and take back all the lands they took.
VS15-24 –Ammaron’s response – Ammaron responded angrily and said he was not afraid. He told Moroni to lay down his arms and let the Lamanites take over the government; if he does that, the war will end and the prisoners will be exchanged. He talked about how he did not believe in Hell or God, but if there was a Hell, Moroni should be there too for murdering his brother.
Q – VS18-20 – How does Ammaron’s response reflect Satan’s motives in his warfare against us?
Alma 55 – Moroni refuses to exchange prisoners with Ammoron and retakes the city of Gid.
VS1-2 (read) – When Moroni received this letter, he knew that Ammoron was lying. Ammoron knew that the Lamanites did not have a righteous reason for fighting the Nephites. Moroni said that he would not exchange prisoners and give the Lamanites more strength. He would find a way to rescue the Nephite prisoners without trading for them.
Q – What can we learn from Moroni’s response to Ammoron? As we stand firm for what is right, we can prevent evil influences from gaining power over us.
- Joseph Smith said: “Satan cannot seduce us by his enticements unless we in our hearts consent and yield” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 213).
- Joseph Smith also said: “The devil has no power over us only as we permit him” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 214).
VS3-24 – The rescue of the Nephite prisoners in Gid.
VS3-15 – Moroni found a descendant of Laman names Laman to trick the Lamanites. He and a few men offered wine to the Lamanites, saying they were escaped prisoners and stole the wine from the Nephites. Through reverse psychology, Laman persuaded the Lamanites to drink much wine, so much they fell asleep drunken.
Q- How can we apply the Lamanites’ behavior to our own way of life?
VS16-24 –Moroni armed the Nephite prisoners with weapons, and had his army surround the Lamanites. When they awoke, they were afraid and knew they couldn’t beat the Nephites, so they surrendered their weapons. Moroni took them as prisoners, took possession of the city of Gid, got his own people back, and added to his army.
Q – How might we apply Moroni’s example of not delighting in bloodshed? For example, how might we apply Moroni’s example to the things we read and watch or to the games we play?
VS31 – If we remember the Lord, Satan will not be able to tempt us and bring us down.
VS32 – All men are equal and created in the image of God.