Lesson 101: Alma 47–48

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Amalickiah helped convince the Lamanite king to command his people to go to war against the Nephites. Most of the Lamanites who were called to battle refused to fight the Nephites and appointed Lehonti as their leader. After being commanded by the king to lead the obedient soldiers to compel their brethren to arms, Amalickiah used treachery, intrigue, and murder to take control of the entire army and then to become king of the Lamanites. Meanwhile, Captain Moroni helped the Nephites fortify themselves against the attacks of their enemies so they could maintain their liberty and freedom of worship.

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 47

By fraud, Amalickiah becomes king of the Lamanites

Display or write on the board the following statement by President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973). (This statement comes from Conference Report, Oct. 1949, 56.)

“There are carefully charted on the maps of the opposition the weak spots in every one of us. They are known to the forces of evil” (President Harold B. Lee).

Invite a student to read President Lee’s statement aloud. Then ask the class the following questions:

  • What stands out to you in this statement?

  • Who do you think are the “forces of evil” President Lee was referring to? (Satan and his followers.)

  • Why do you think it is important to know that Satan is aware of our personal weaknesses?

Remind students that a wicked Nephite named Amalickiah went to live among the Lamanites (see Alma 46). Explain that in Alma 47–48 we learn more about Amalickiah. Many of the tactics Amalickiah used to gain power and to harm others are similar to the tactics Satan uses to try to gain power over us and to harm us. As students study these chapters today, invite them to look for truths that can help them overcome Satan’s efforts to harm them.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 47:1–4. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Amalickiah did to gain influence and power among the Lamanites.

  • What did Amalickiah do to gain influence and power among the Lamanites?

  • What characteristics of Amalickiah are similar to those of the devil?

Summarize Alma 47:5–6 by explaining that the disobedient faction of the Lamanites, led by a man named Lehonti, refused to fight the Nephites and fled from the Lamanite king’s army.

Invite a student to read Alma 47:7–9 aloud. As the student reads, draw the following diagram on the board, adding to it as the associated parts of the diagram are read from the scriptures.

Amalickiah and Lehonti mountain diagram
  • Why do you think Lehonti’s army gathered at the top of a mountain?

  • What advantage does an army have if it is on higher ground than its enemy?

  • According to verse 8, what was Amalickiah’s intention?

Invite a student to read Alma 47:10–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Amalickiah wanted Lehonti to do.

  • What did Amalickiah want Lehonti to do?

  • Why might it have been unwise to come down to the foot of the mountain to meet with Amalickiah?

Invite a student to read Alma 47:12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Amalickiah did differently the fourth time he tried to entice Lehonti to meet with him.

  • How was Amalickiah’s approach different this time? (Invite a student to add arrows to the diagram on the board to reflect Amalickiah going nearly to the top of the mountain, as well as his request that Lehonti come down just a little.)

  • Why might these conditions have seemed safer to Lehonti?

  • If you had been in Lehonti’s position, how would you have responded to Amalickiah’s request? Why?

Invite a student to read Alma 47:13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Amalickiah proposed to Lehonti.

  • What did Amalickiah propose?

  • What are some reasons why Lehonti might have considered accepting this plan?

Invite a student to read Alma 47:14–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Lehonti and Amalickiah did next.

  • What did Lehonti and Amalickiah do? (After students respond, consider erasing the figure of Lehonti at the top of the mountain and drawing him at the bottom next to Amalickiah.)

  • How do you think Lehonti might have felt at this point about agreeing to Amalickiah’s plan?

Invite a student to read Alma 47:17–19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Amalickiah did next.

  • How did Amalickiah become the leader of the Lamanite army?

  • In what ways were Amalickiah’s tactics similar to the tactics Satan uses to destroy us? (Possible answers include that Satan is persistent, deceptive, cunning, and ruthless. Just as Amalickiah persuaded Lehonti to come down the mountain a little way before persuading him to come down all the way, Satan may seek to persuade us to gradually lower our standards and place ourselves in circumstances that make us vulnerable to his attacks. Consider inviting students to mark the phrase “come down” wherever it appears in verses 10–13.)

  • When do you think Lehonti made his first mistake in dealing with Amalickiah?

  • What principles can we learn from this account about the danger of giving in to Satan’s temptations, even a little? (Students may identify several principles, including the following: If we give in to Satan’s temptations even a little, we give him power to harm us. Invite students to consider writing this principle in their scriptures next to Alma 47:12–13.)

Invite students to review Alma 47:18, looking for how Amalickiah’s servant poisoned Lehonti.

  • How did Amalickiah’s servant poison Lehonti?

  • Why do you think Amalickiah directed his servant to poison Lehonti “by degrees” (or little by little over a period of time) rather than kill him immediately?

  • What can verse 18 teach us about how Satan might try to harm us? (Help students identify the following truth: Satan seeks to poison us by degrees. Invite students to consider writing this truth next to verse 18.)

  • What are some examples of ways Satan seeks to poison us by degrees?

  • How might you be able to recognize if you are being spiritually poisoned by degrees?

Invite students to ponder ways in which Satan may be tempting them to lower their standards even a little or ways in which he may be seeking to poison them by degrees. Encourage them to faithfully live the commandments and standards the Lord has given them so they can avoid the harm Satan desires to inflict upon them.

Summarize Alma 47:20–36 by explaining that Amalickiah continued to deceive and murder until he became the king of the Lamanites.

Alma 48

Captain Moroni inspires the Nephites to be prepared and faithful

Summarize Alma 48:1–6 by explaining that soon after becoming king of the Lamanites, Amalickiah convinced the Lamanites to go to war against the Nephites.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 48:7–10. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Moroni was doing while Amalickiah was seeking power among the Lamanites.

  • What was Moroni doing while Amalickiah was seeking power among the Lamanites?

  • According to verse 9, which places in particular did Moroni seek to strengthen?

  • What principle can we learn from verse 9 about fortifying ourselves against Satan’s attacks? (Students may identify a principle such as the following: We can fortify ourselves against Satan’s attacks by recognizing our weaknesses and improving in those areas. See also Ether 12:27.)

Divide students into groups of two or three. Ask students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 48:11–17 in their groups, looking for attributes of Captain Moroni that protected him from the power of Satan. Invite students to consider marking what they find.

  • Which of Captain Moroni’s attributes stands out to you the most? (As students respond, you might ask them to explain why those particular attributes stood out to them.)

  • How would you summarize the differences between Captain Moroni and Amalickiah?

  • According to verse 17, what would happen if everyone “had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni”?

  • What principle can we learn from these verses about how we can be protected from the devil’s power? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: If we are firm in the faith of Jesus Christ, then the devil will have no power over our hearts. Invite students to consider marking the phrases in verses 13 and 17 that teach this principle.)

Explain that even when we are firm in the faith of Jesus Christ, we may still be tempted to do wrong. However, we can choose to resist those temptations.

  • How do you think youth today can be firm in the faith of Jesus Christ, like Captain Moroni?

Invite students to read Alma 48:18–19 silently, looking for examples of other individuals who were firm in the faith of Jesus Christ. Ask students to report what they find.

  • Whom do you know who is firm in the faith of Jesus Christ? (As students respond, ask them to explain how they believe that person’s faith protects him or her from Satan’s power.)

Share your testimony that the firmer we are in the faith of Jesus Christ, the less power the devil will have over our hearts. Invite students to write in their class notebooks or study journals something they will do to become firmer in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Summarize Alma 48:20–25 by explaining that as the Nephites obeyed the counsel of Helaman and his brothers, they were free from contention among themselves. When the Lamanites came to war, the Nephites were reluctant to take up their weapons against them but did so in order to defend their families.

Commentary and Background Information

Alma 48:19. “No less serviceable”

President Howard W. Hunter (1907–1995) explained what Mormon meant when he wrote that Helaman was “no less serviceable unto the people than was Moroni”:

President Howard W. Hunter

“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’ [Alma 48:19] than the most spectacular of your associates. You, too, are part of God’s army.

“Consider, for example, the profound service a mother or father gives in the quiet anonymity of a worthy Latter-day Saint home. Think of the Gospel Doctrine teachers and Primary choristers and Scoutmasters and Relief Society visiting teachers who serve and bless millions but whose names will never be publicly applauded or featured in the nation’s media.

“Tens of thousands of unseen people make possible our opportunities and happiness every day. As the scriptures state, they are ‘no less serviceable’ than those whose lives are on the front pages of newspapers.

“The limelight of history and contemporary attention so often focuses on the one rather than on the many” (Howard W. Hunter, “No Less Serviceable,” Ensign, Apr. 1992, 64).

Supplemental Teaching Idea

Alma 47:1–19. Don’t leave higher ground

Explain that one way Satan may try to entice us to lower our standards is in the way we discuss the gospel with friends and acquaintances. More and more is being written positively and negatively about the Church, online and in print. People who are honestly seeking the truth will naturally ask questions or even initiate discussions about the gospel. However, others intend only to argue for the sake of argument or to undermine faith.

  • Have you ever had an experience in which someone in person or online found out you were a member of the Church and then tried to entice you into an argument?

After students share their experiences, read the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Robert D. Hales

“Some may try to provoke us and engage us in argument. 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 (see Alma 47). 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” (Robert D. Hales, “Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 74).