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.
Invite students to imagine that a friend recently confided in them that he struggles to keep his thoughts clean. He genuinely wants to overcome his impure thoughts, but no matter how hard he tries, he cannot seem to stop thinking these impure thoughts. He says he feels like a prisoner to this sinful habit.
What might you say to this friend that could help him?
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 even after they had repented and 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 a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 21:2–6. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that describe what Limhi and his people were experiencing and how they felt about it.
What words or phrases describe what Limhi and his people were experiencing?
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?
Invite students to consider marking the phrase “there was no way that they could deliver themselves” in Mosiah 21:5. Point out that this phrase can also describe our bondage to sin.
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.
How might we try to deliver ourselves from our own sins? (We may try to stop sinning or to undo our wrongs by doing good things.)
Even if we stop committing a particular sin, why can we not fully deliver ourselves from our sins? (Although we may have stopped committing a particular sin, the law of justice requires that we receive the consequences for that sin. Because the Savior took the consequences of our sins upon Himself during His Atonement, it is only through Him that we can be fully delivered from our sins and receive God’s forgiveness. Therefore, to be forgiven we must exercise faith in Jesus Christ and fully repent, which requires more than forsaking our sins.)
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 21:13–16. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the people responded after their third defeat. 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?
Even though the people were not immediately delivered from captivity, how did the Lord bless them as they began to repent? (As students respond, invite them to consider marking the phrase “prosper by degrees” in Mosiah 21:16. Explain that this means to prosper gradually.)
What principle can we learn from this passage about what God will do when we humble ourselves, call on Him for help, and repent of our sins? (Help students identify the following principle: When we humble ourselves, call upon God, and repent of our sins, He will hear our prayers and ease the burden of our sins in His own time. Write this principle on the board. Invite students to consider writing it in their scriptures next to Mosiah 21:14–16.)
How do you think we might benefit from having to wait for the Lord to deliver us from the burden of our sins?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for why the Lord may require us to go through a process of repentance that takes time.
“Repentance means striving to change. It would mock the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for us to expect that He should transform us into angelic beings with no real effort on our part. Rather, we seek His grace to complement and reward our most diligent efforts (see 2 Nephi 25:23). … Real repentance, real change may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy in such striving. Divine forgiveness and healing flow quite naturally to such a soul” (D. Todd Christofferson, “The Divine Gift of Repentance,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 39).
How can Elder Christofferson’s statement help us understand why repentance often takes time and effort?
Explain that although God will always deliver us from spiritual bondage when we repent of our sins, He may sometimes choose to not deliver us from physical or other types of bondage during our mortal lives. However, if we remain faithful to Him and endure to the end, He will ultimately deliver us from all types of bondage.
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).
Note: 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 (including the arrival of Ammon and his brethren among Limhi’s people and the discovery of the Jaredite ruins and records), it may be helpful to briefly review the diagram “Overview of Journeys in Mosiah 7–24,” which is located 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.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 21:32–35. Ask the class to follow along, looking for 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 consider marking these words and phrases. Invite a few students to report what they have found.
Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we turn to the Lord, repent of our sins, and ________________________, then He will deliver us from our sins.
According to these verses, what did Limhi’s people do to be delivered? (After students respond, complete the statement on the board so that it conveys the following principle: If we turn to the Lord, repent of our sins, and put forth the effort the Lord requires of us, then He will deliver us from our sins.)
Why do you think it is important for us to put forth effort as we seek the Lord’s power of deliverance from our sins?
Summarize Mosiah 22:10–16 by explaining that Limhi’s people followed Gideon’s plan, escaped into the wilderness, and traveled to Zarahemla in safety. A Lamanite army that pursued them became lost in the wilderness. Alma later exhorted Limhi and his people to “remember that it was the Lord that did deliver them” (Mosiah 25:16). It was only after Limhi and his people prayed for deliverance that Ammon and his brethren found them and led them to Zarahemla.
Remind students of the example of the young man who desires to overcome his habit of entertaining impure thoughts.
How can the principles in Mosiah 21–22 help this young man escape the bondage of impure thoughts?
Share your testimony of the Lord’s power to deliver us from sin. Emphasize that when we humble ourselves, call upon God, keep the commandments, and repent of our sins, He will hear our prayers and ease the burden of our sins in His own time.
To help students apply what they have learned to their own lives, give them a few moments to ponder the following questions and write responses to them in their class notebooks or study journals. (You might want to write the questions on the board.)
What will you do to seek the Lord’s power of deliverance from your sins? What have you learned from Mosiah 21–22 that will help you as you do these things?