Helaman and Captain Moroni fought the Lamanites in different parts of the land. Helaman sent a letter to Moroni describing his army’s battles with the Lamanites and expressing his confidence in the faith of 2,060 stripling warriors who had joined his army. Helaman also described what his army did to win battles and to receive hope and strength during their afflictions.
Display the picture Two Thousand Young Warriors (Gospel Art Book , no. 80; see also lds.org/media-library). Ask students to explain what they know about the young men portrayed in the picture.
Explain that in Alma 53 we learn that 2,000 sons of the people of Ammon volunteered to fight against the Lamanites. These soldiers are often referred to as the 2,000 stripling warriors. (You may need to explain that the word stripling refers to a young man.) The parents of these young men had covenanted never to take up arms again. The young men, who were not bound by the same covenant, volunteered to defend their parents and other Nephites when they were threatened by a Lamanite army.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 53:19–21. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that describe these young men. Invite several students to come to the board and write the words and phrases they have found. Ask them to explain how these attributes might have strengthened the Nephite armies.
Explain that Alma 56–58 contains an epistle, or letter, that Helaman wrote to Captain Moroni during a difficult period in the war. In this letter, Helaman described how the stripling warriors provided crucial help to the Nephites in their battles against the Lamanites. Invite students to look for principles as they study these chapters that can help them prevail in their battles against evil.
Note: As you discuss Alma 56–58, you may want to show students the map titled “Possible Book of Mormon Sites in Relation to Each Other” in the appendix of this manual, pointing out the various cities as they are mentioned in the scriptures.
Summarize Alma 56:1–44 by explaining that Helaman led the 2,000 stripling warriors to the city of Judea to assist a Nephite army led by Antipus. The Lamanites had captured several Nephite cities and had greatly reduced Antipus’s army. Antipus rejoiced when Helaman and his soldiers arrived to help. Antipus used Helaman and his 2,000 warriors as a decoy to draw the strongest army of the Lamanites out of the city of Antiparah. Most of the Lamanite army left Antiparah to pursue Helaman’s army, giving Antipus’s army the opportunity to follow and attack them from behind. When the Lamanite army halted their pursuit of Helaman’s army, Helaman could not tell whether the Lamanite army was trying to lure his warriors into a trap or if the army of Antipus had engaged the Lamanites in battle at their rear. Helaman and his young soldiers had to decide whether to continue fleeing or attack the Lamanites.
What are some reasons Helaman and his army might have hesitated to turn back and attack the Lamanites?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 56:44–48. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the 2,000 stripling warriors responded when Helaman asked if they would go and fight the Lamanites. Invite students to report what they find.
What did these young men not doubt? (That God would deliver them.)
Why did they not doubt that God would deliver them? (Invite students to consider marking the following phrase in verse 47 of their scriptures: “they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.”
What principle can we learn from verse 47 about how parents can bless their children? (Using their own words, students may identify a principle such as the following: Righteous mothers can bless their children by teaching them to trust in God.)
What are some ways that mothers today can teach their children to trust in God?
Consider inviting students to share experiences of how their mothers (or other righteous family members or role models) have taught them to trust in God and how they have been blessed as a result. You may also want to share an experience.
Point out that we can learn another principle from Alma 56:47–48 based on the stripling warriors’ response to their mothers’ teachings to act in faith and not doubt. Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we act in faith and do not doubt, then …
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 56:49–56. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how God blessed Helaman’s warriors because of their faith.
How were Helaman’s warriors blessed?
Point out that God will not always preserve the lives of the faithful, but He will always bless them.
Based on verse 56, how might we finish the statement on the board? (After students respond, complete the statement on the board so that it conveys the following principle: If we act in faith and do not doubt, then we will receive strength from God.)
What are some situations today in which the youth of the Church can choose to act in faith rather than doubt God or their testimonies of the gospel?
What are some ways God may strengthen us as we choose to act in faith in these situations?
When have you or someone you know acted in faith and received strength from God in a difficult situation?
Explain that Alma 57 is a continuation of Helaman’s letter to Captain Moroni. It begins with an account of the Nephites taking back the cities of Antiparah and Cumeni from the Lamanites. During this time, Helaman received 6,000 men to reinforce his army, along with 60 more sons of the people of Ammon. Subsequently, the Lamanites attacked the Nephites and were about to overpower them. (See Alma 57:1–18.)
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 57:19–22. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Helaman’s stripling warriors affected the outcome of this battle.
How did the stripling warriors affect the outcome of this battle?
Why were they able to have this effect?
Invite students to consider marking the phrase “they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness” in Alma 57:21.
What do you think this phrase means?
What do you think would have happened if Helaman’s warriors had only performed some of his commands with exactness, rather than “every word”?
Invite a student to read Alma 57:23–27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the sons of Helaman were blessed for their exact obedience and their faith.
How did God bless the stripling warriors?
Point out that Helaman’s soldiers “put their trust in God continually” (verse 27). Invite students to consider marking this phrase in their scriptures.
What principles can we learn from the example of the stripling warriors as recorded in Alma 57:19–27? (Students may identify several principles, including the following: If we obey the commands of God with exactness and put our trust in Him continually, then He will bless us by His marvelous power.)
How might God bless us today in our battle against Satan if we obey all His commands with exactness and put our trust in Him continually?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“[You] will encounter people who pick which commandments they will keep and ignore others that they choose to break. I call this the cafeteria approach to obedience. This practice of picking and choosing will not work. It will lead to misery. To prepare to meet God, one keeps all of His commandments. …
Ask students to reflect on a time when they or someone they know obeyed with exactness in a difficult situation at school, at home, or in a social setting. Invite a few students to share their experiences. Ask them how the Lord helped them in the situation.
Give students time to write in their class notebooks or study journals about what they will do to better obey God’s commands “with exactness” (Alma 57:21) and “put their trust in God continually” (Alma 57:27).
Explain that Alma 58 contains the end of Helaman’s epistle to Moroni. Helaman related how the Nephite armies encountered difficult circumstances that complicated the adverse conditions they already faced.
Summarize Alma 58:1–5 by explaining that the Nephites desired to retake the city of Manti but were so greatly outnumbered that they decided to wait for reinforcements and supplies from Zarahemla.
Divide students into pairs. Invite students to read Alma 58:6–12 aloud with their partners, looking for answers to the following questions. (Write the questions on the board before class.)
After sufficient time, ask students to report to the class their answers to the questions on the board. Invite students to summarize a truth they have learned from Alma 58:10–12. (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: If we turn to God in times of difficulty, then we can receive divine assurance and peace that can strengthen our faith and give us hope.)
What are some ways we can turn to God in times of difficulty?
When has God blessed you with peace and assurance as you turned to Him during a difficult experience?
Invite a student to read Alma 58:39–40 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Helaman described his soldiers at the end of his letter. Invite a few students to explain what most stands out to them about the stripling warriors.
Conclude by encouraging the class to follow the example of the stripling warriors by applying the principles discussed today.