Because this lesson covers 19 chapters of the book of Alma, you will not be able to teach or emphasize all of the historical context and all of the doctrines and principles students learned throughout the week. The following teaching suggestions give students an opportunity to apply the truths they learned from studying the Nephite battles to the battles in their own lives. Prayerfully study the scriptures for this lesson so you can be inspired to emphasize the truths that students need to focus on during class.
Write the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson on the board before class. (This statement comes from “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7.)
Ask students to name some wars that have been fought by the country in which they live. Then ask them to name some challenges people may face during a war.
Why might it be difficult to be a disciple of Jesus Christ during a war?
Invite students to think about the wars they studied about during the past week, as recorded in Alma 45–63. You may want to encourage them to quickly review some of the chapter summaries for Alma 45–63. Invite them to name some challenges the Nephites faced during their wars.
Remind students that even if we never fight in a physical war, we are all engaged in a spiritual war. Invite a student to read the following statement by President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, who described the spiritual war in which we are currently engaged. You may want to provide a copy for each student.
“You are enlisted in the Lord’s army in the last dispensation. This is not a time of peace. That has been so since Satan arrayed his forces against our Heavenly Father’s plan in the premortal existence. We don’t know the details of the combat then. But we know one result. Satan and his followers were cast down into the earth. And since the creation of Adam and Eve, the conflict has continued. We have seen it intensify. And the scriptures suggest that the war will become more violent and the spiritual casualties on the Lord’s side will mount” (Henry B. Eyring, “Man Down!” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 63).
Refer students to the statement by President Benson on the board. Tell them that whether we are talking about physical war or spiritual war, the statement is true. Explain that studying the lives of disciples of Jesus Christ who lived during the wars in Book of Mormon times can help us develop qualities that will be important in our own spiritual battles.
Give each student a copy of the following handout. They should each choose one of the individuals or groups to study. Try to have at least one student study each person or group.
Invite as many students as possible to share what they learned with the class. You may want to ask students to write the gospel principles they learned on the board.
Consider asking the following questions to help students apply what they learned from their study of Alma 45–63:
Think about the qualities of a disciple of Jesus Christ that you saw in the people who lived during the wars with the Lamanites. Which of these qualities would you most like to develop in your life? Why?
What are some spiritual battles that we face today? How can the examples of these disciples of the Savior help you have faith and courage as you face similar battles?
You may want to share one of your favorite passages from Alma 45–63. Testify that the principles we learn from these chapters can help us be true disciples of Jesus Christ during the spiritual warfare of the last days.
Tell students that the first chapter of Helaman records the death of three chief judges. Tell them they will find answers to the following questions: How did the judges die? What miracle happened to Nephi and Lehi when they were in prison? Whose voice did they hear? Tell students that the prophet Nephi was able to solve a murder through the power of prophecy.