After failing three times to free themselves from Lamanite bondage, Limhi’s people finally turned to the Lord to deliver them. Subsequently, Ammon and his brethren arrived in the land of Lehi-Nephi. After covenanting to serve the Lord, Limhi’s people escaped from Lamanite bondage, and Ammon led them to Zarahemla.
Suggestions for Teaching
After Limhi’s people revolt against the Lamanites and are beaten three times, they humble themselves before the Lord and begin to prosper
Write the words captivity and deliverance on the board.
What images come to mind when you think of these words?
What emotions do you think of in connection with these words?
What might these words have to do with the plan of salvation?
Explain that Mosiah 21–24 contains the accounts of two groups of people who were in captivity to Lamanite forces and were ultimately delivered by the Lord. In Mosiah 21–22, we read of Limhi and his people, who became captive as a result of their iniquities. Their physical captivity mirrored the spiritual captivity they experienced because of their sins. The account of the second group, in Mosiah 23–24, will be covered in the next lesson. It tells of Alma’s people, who experienced captivity and affliction after they were baptized. Both accounts teach important truths about the Lord’s power to deliver us from sin and afflictions. Encourage students to think about the Lord’s power to deliver us from sin as they study the captivity and deliverance of the people in Mosiah 21–22.
Invite students to read Mosiah 21:2–6 silently. Ask them to identify words and phrases that describe what Limhi and his people were experiencing and how they felt about it. To emphasize the difficulty Limhi’s people faced, you may want to encourage students to mark the phrase “there was no way that they could deliver themselves” in Mosiah 21:5.
What details in Mosiah 21:6 suggest that the people had not yet humbled themselves and turned to the Lord?
What solution did Limhi’s people propose to find relief from their afflictions?
Summarize Mosiah 21:7–12 by telling students that Limhi’s people went to battle three times to deliver themselves from the Lamanites, but they were defeated and suffered great losses each time.
What are some ways the people could have reacted after their third unsuccessful attempt to deliver themselves?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 21:13–16 to learn how the people responded. Consider asking some or all of the following questions:
How did the people change after their third defeat?
According to Mosiah 21:15, why was the Lord slow to hear their prayers?
In Mosiah 11:23–25, what had Abinadi told the people they would need to do before the Lord would hear their prayers for deliverance?
Even though the people were not immediately delivered from captivity, how did the Lord bless them as they began to repent? (As students respond, consider encouraging them to mark the phrase “prosper by degrees” in Mosiah 21:16.)
What does this teach about what the Lord will do when people humble themselves, begin to repent, and call on Him for help?
Summarize Mosiah 21:16–22 by explaining that during the remaining time that Limhi’s people were in bondage, the Lord prospered them so that they did not go hungry. There was also “no more disturbance between the Lamanites and the people of Limhi” (Mosiah 21:22).
Invite students to state principles they have learned from the account of Limhi’s people. Though students may share different principles, make sure they understand that when we humble ourselves, call upon the Lord, and repent of our sins, He will hear our prayers and ease the burden of our sins in His own time. (You might want to write this principle on the board. You might also want to invite students to write it in their scriptures next to Mosiah 21:15–16 or in their scripture study journals or class notebooks.)
How do you think we might benefit from having to wait for the Lord to deliver us from the burden of our sins?
To help students apply what they have learned, give them a few moments to ponder the following questions and write responses in their scripture study journals. (You might want to write the questions on the board.)
What are you doing to seek the Lord’s power of deliverance from your sins?
In what ways have you been “prospered by degrees” when you have sought the Lord’s help?
Limhi, Ammon, and Gideon work together to help the people escape from bondage and return to Zarahemla
Note: You may want to remind students that Mosiah 7 and 8 include the account of Ammon and his brethren finding King Limhi and his people. The next 14 chapters, Mosiah 9–22, recount the history of Limhi’s people, beginning about 80 years before Ammon found them. This history ends with a retelling of some of the events that are covered in previous chapters. For this reason, much of the content of Mosiah 21:23–30 was covered in the lessons on Mosiah 7–8 and Mosiah 18. To help students remember the events recorded in Mosiah 21:23–30, it may be helpful to briefly review the overview of journeys in Mosiah 7–24 in the appendix at the end of this manual.
Remind students that Limhi’s people recognized that their afflictions had come because they had rejected the Lord’s invitation to repent (see Mosiah 12:1–2; 20:21). With this acknowledgment of their sins, Limhi’s people began the process of repentance and conversion. Share the following definition of repentance:
“[Repentance] is essential to your happiness in this life and throughout eternity. Repentance is much more than just acknowledging wrongdoings. It is a change of mind and heart. … It includes turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness. It is motivated by love for God and the sincere desire to obey His commandments” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 132).
Invite students to read Mosiah 21:32–35 silently. Have them identify words and phrases that indicate that Limhi and his people had repented and turned their hearts to the Lord. You might want to suggest that they mark these words and phrases. Invite a few students to share what they have found. (Their answers should include that Limhi and many of his people had entered into a covenant to serve God and keep His commandments, that they desired to be baptized, and that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts.)
The following activity will help students see that the Lord helped Limhi’s people to escape bondage as they honored their covenant to serve Him and keep His commandments. Write the following questions and scripture references on the board before class:
Divide students into three groups. Have each group prepare to answer one of the questions on the board by studying the accompanying scripture passages. After a few minutes, invite one student from each group to report the answers they have prepared. This would also be a good time to have students add “Limhi’s people escape” to their diagrams of the overview of journeys in Mosiah 7–24. (For the complete diagram, see the appendix at the end of this manual.) You might also want to have students refer to the Book of Mormon bookmark to identify what would eventually happen to Limhi’s people (see Mosiah 22:13–14).
Point out that while we may not need to seek deliverance from physical bondage as Limhi’s people did, we all need deliverance from sin.
What have you learned from Mosiah 21–22 that would give encouragement to anyone who needed to experience the Lord’s power to deliver us from sin?
Conclude by bearing your testimony of the Lord’s power to deliver us from sin. Emphasize that when we humble ourselves, call upon the Lord, and repent of our sins, He will hear our prayers and ease the burden of our sins in His own time.
Commentary and Background Information
Mosiah 21:15, 29–30. The suffering that comes from sin can serve a purpose
When we sin and refuse to repent, like the people of King Limhi, we bring upon ourselves additional pain—sometimes physical and always spiritual. Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy explained how pain can be a necessary part of our spiritual healing and growth:
“Pain is a gauge of the healing process. It often teaches us patience. …
“Elder Orson F. Whitney wrote: ‘No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.’
“Similarly, Elder Robert D. Hales has said:
“‘Pain brings you to a humility that allows you to ponder. It is an experience I am grateful to have endured. …
“‘I learned that the physical pain and the healing of the body … are remarkably similar to the spiritual pain and the healing of the soul in the process of repentance’” (“The Atonement Covers All Pain,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 15).
Mosiah 21:15–16. What are your attitudes during afflictions?
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught about attitudes we should strive to avoid and attitudes we should strive to develop during our afflictions:
“The Lord will give relief with divine power when you seek deliverance in humility and faith in Jesus Christ.
“Don’t say, ‘No one understands me; I can’t sort it out, or get the help I need.’ Those comments are self-defeating. No one can help you without faith and effort on your part. Your personal growth requires that. Don’t look for a life virtually free from discomfort, pain, pressure, challenge, or grief, for those are the tools a loving Father uses to stimulate our personal growth and understanding. As the scriptures repeatedly affirm, you will be helped as you exercise faith in Jesus Christ. … Faith in Christ means we trust Him; we trust His teachings. That leads to hope, and hope brings charity, the pure love of Christ—that peaceful feeling that comes when we sense His concern, His love, and His capacity to cure us or to ease our burdens with His healing power” (“To Be Healed,” Ensign, May 1994, 8).