At this point in the war with the Lamanites, the Nephites had lost many cities because of contention among themselves. Moroni, Teancum, and Lehi captured the city Mulek and defeated one of the largest armies of the Lamanites. Moroni refused the request of Ammoron, the Lamanite leader, to exchange prisoners and implemented a plan to free the Nephite prisoners without bloodshed.
Before class, write the following question on the board: What are some examples of circumstances that can be spiritually dangerous to us?
Begin the lesson by reading the question aloud and inviting students to respond to it. List their answers on the board. (Students may mention circumstances in which youth are commonly tempted to break God’s commandments, such as while attending inappropriate parties or using devices that allow unfiltered access to the internet.)
As students study Alma 52–55 today, invite them to look for principles that can help them remain spiritually safe in spite of the many spiritually dangerous circumstances that surround them.
Remind students that while Moroni was putting down the rebellion of the king-men, the Lamanites took over many fortified Nephite cities (see Alma 51:26).
Summarize Alma 52:1–15 by explaining that after the Lamanites found Amalickiah dead in his tent, they retreated to the city of Mulek, one of their strongholds. Amalickiah’s brother Ammoron became king and ordered the Lamanites to maintain the cities they had conquered. Moroni instructed Teancum to retain the prisoners his army captured. He also ordered Teancum to fortify Bountiful and other Nephite-controlled cities in that part of the land.
Invite a student to read Alma 52:16–17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the orders Teancum received and what he decided to do.
What orders did Teancum receive? What did he decide to do?
Why do you think it was wise for Teancum to abandon his plans to attack Mulek? (Invite students to consider marking the following phrase in verse 17: “It was impossible that he could overpower them while they were in their fortifications.”)
Point out that we can liken the city of Mulek, which was occupied and well fortified by the Nephites’ enemies, to places or circumstances today in which Satan has a powerful influence. You may want to refer to the spiritually dangerous circumstances written on the board.
What principle can we learn from Teancum’s recognition of the dangers in Mulek and his decision to avoid those dangers? (Help students identify a principle such as the following: If we recognize and avoid circumstances in which the adversary may have an advantage over us, we can remain spiritually safe. Write this principle on the board.)
What can we do to recognize circumstances in which the adversary may have an advantage over us? (Answers may include listening to the Spirit and the teachings of prophets.)
Read aloud or display the following questions, and invite students to write their answers to them in their class notebooks or study journals.
What is an experience you have had in which you were able to avoid spiritually dangerous circumstances because you recognized the danger that existed?
How were you blessed because of your actions?
Invite a few students who are willing to share their responses to these questions to do so. You may also want to share an experience.
Encourage students to recognize and avoid circumstances in which the adversary may have an advantage over them.
Summarize Alma 52:18–40 and Alma 53:1–7 by explaining that the Nephites lured the Lamanite soldiers out of Mulek and retook the city. They also took many Lamanite prisoners and sent them to work on fortifying the city of Bountiful.
Why had the Lamanites been able to capture additional Nephite cities? (You may want to explain that in this context the word intrigue refers to secret or deceptive plans and that dissensions refers to disagreements and divisions.)
Why do you think divisions among the Nephites caused them to be “placed in the most dangerous circumstances” (verse 9)?
What principle can we learn from these verses that can relate to us as members of the Lord’s Church today? (Help students identify a principle such as the following: If we as members of the Lord’s Church allow ourselves to become divided, then we place ourselves in dangerous circumstances. Write this principle on the board.)
Write the following groups on the board or on slips of paper: Priesthood Quorums, Young Women Classes, Wards or Branches, and Families. Divide the class into pairs or small groups, and assign each of them one of the listed groups. Give each group a few minutes to answer the following questions (consider writing these questions on the board or on slips of paper).
What are some things that could potentially divide this group?
What are some dangerous circumstances that the members of this group might experience if they are divided and not united?
After sufficient time, discuss the answers to these questions as a class. Encourage students to think of what they can do to prevent division in their own classes, quorums, and families.
Summarize the remainder of Alma 53 by explaining that 2,000 sons of the people of Ammon joined the Nephite armies and were led by Helaman.
Note: In the next lesson, students will learn more about Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors mentioned in Alma 53:16–23.
Explain that Alma 54 is a record of the letters sent between Ammoron (the Lamanite king) and Captain Moroni. Prior to this, the Lamanites and the Nephites had secured many prisoners of war. This chapter records Moroni’s response to Ammoron’s request that the Lamanites and Nephites exchange prisoners. In his epistle, Moroni said he would not exchange prisoners unless Ammoron delivered up one Nephite family in exchange for one Lamanite prisoner. Ammoron wrote back to accept Moroni’s proposal to exchange prisoners, though he refused to abandon his wicked purpose in fighting the Nephites.
Explain that in Alma 55 we learn that because Ammoron would not abandon his wicked purpose, Captain Moroni refused to exchange prisoners. Instead, he freed the Nephite prisoners in the city of Gid by stratagem (a method used in war to outwit an enemy). Moroni was able to use a Nephite soldier of Lamanite heritage to cause the Lamanite soldiers guarding the Nephite prisoners to become drunk. While the Lamanites were drunk and in a deep sleep, Moroni armed the prisoners within the city. Then, rather than ordering that the Lamanites be killed, he had his army surround them.
Write the following statement on the board:
Why do you think Moroni did not order his soldiers to attack and kill the Lamanites while they were drunk and asleep?
Invite a student to read Alma 55:18–19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what we learn about Moroni from these verses. Ask students to report what they find.
Based on the description of Moroni in verse 19, how would you complete the statement on the board to form a principle? (After students respond, complete the statement on the board so that it reads as follows: We are not to delight in murder or bloodshed; rather, we are to delight in saving people from destruction.)
How might we liken Moroni’s example of not delighting in bloodshed to the things we read and watch or to the games we play?
As part of this discussion, you may want to invite a student to read aloud the following statement from For the Strength of Youth:
“Choose wisely when using media, because whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Select only media that uplifts you.
“… Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 11).
According to this statement, why is it important to not participate in entertainment that glorifies murder and bloodshed?
Rather than participating in entertainment that glorifies murder and bloodshed, what can we do to delight in saving people from destruction? (Answers could include participating in missionary, family history, and temple work.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what helped a young man learn to delight in saving people.
“In the Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission the youth were invited to each index 2,000 names and then qualify at least one name from their own families for temple ordinances. Those who accomplished this goal were invited to go on a long journey to the new Kyiv Ukraine Temple. One young man shared his experience: ‘I was spending a lot of time playing computer games. When I started indexing, I didn’t have time to play games. At first I thought, “Oh no! How can that be!” When this project was over, I even lost interest in gaming. … Genealogical work is something that we can do here on earth, and it will remain in heaven’” (Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 94).
Why do you think participating in family history work helped this young man to delight in saving others?
What experiences have you had as you have participated in the work of saving others?
Summarize Alma 55:20–35 by explaining that the Lamanites in the city of Gid surrendered and the Nephites who had been imprisoned joined Moroni’s army.
Conclude by testifying of the truths you have discussed in class today. Invite students to contemplate the following question:
What do you feel the Lord wanted you to learn in today’s lesson that will help you be faithful as you battle against the adversary?
Consider giving students time to write in their class notebooks or study journals about what they will do based on what they have learned today.