Lesson 108: Helaman 5

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2012


Introduction

The Nephites continued in wickedness until the majority of them chose wickedness over righteousness. Nephi and Lehi devoted themselves to preaching the word of God. Their father, Helaman, had taught them to remember their Redeemer and to make Him the foundation of their lives. After teaching the Nephites, Nephi and Lehi preached to the Lamanites, who cast them into prison. The Lord miraculously delivered them, and the majority of the Lamanites repented and converted to the gospel.

Suggestions for Teaching

Helaman 5:1–13

Helaman counsels his sons to keep the commandments of God, to preach the gospel, and to remember the redeeming power of Jesus Christ

Before class, prepare six strips of paper to display. The first one should have your name written on it. The other five should contain the following words and phrases: Parents, The Atonement of Jesus Christ, Prophets, Repentance leads to salvation, and Keep the commandments.

Give each student a small piece of paper. Explain that you are going to briefly show them six strips of paper with words written on them. Then they will write, from memory, those words. Show students one strip of paper at a time.

Ask students to write the words they remember. Then show the six strips of paper again. Ask:

  • Was it easy or hard to remember these words and phrases?

  • What difference do you think it made that you were told in advance that you needed to remember what was on the paper strips?

Ask a student to read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball. Invite the class to listen for what he said about the importance of remembering the gospel teachings we have received:

“When you look in the dictionary for the most important word, do you know what it is? It could be remember. Because all of you have made covenants—you know what to do and you know how to do it—our greatest need is to remember” (“Circles of Exaltation” [address to CES religious educators, June 28, 1968], 5, si.lds.org).

Explain to the class that today they will learn about two people who made a difference in the lives of thousands of others because they remembered and acted on certain truths. Encourage students to ponder during today’s lesson what they think the Lord wants them to remember.

Summarize Helaman 5:1–4. Explain that because of the wickedness of the people, Nephi resigned as chief judge so he and his brother Lehi could devote themselves to preaching the word of God.

President Kimball

Write the following scripture references on the board. (Do not include the words in parentheses.)

Helaman 5:5–7 (Keep the commandments; remember the righteous examples of ancestors.)

Helaman 5:9–11 (Remember the Atonement of Christ; remember that we cannot be saved in our sins but that we can be saved from our sins through repentance and the power of the Atonement.)

Helaman 5:12 (Remember that Jesus Christ must be our foundation.)

Invite students to scan the verses listed on the board, looking for the word remember. You might want to suggest that they mark each instance of this word. Then give students a few minutes to read these passages silently, looking for what Helaman wanted his sons to remember. Invite students to report what they have found. You might want to write their responses on the board next to the corresponding scripture references.

To help students analyze and understand these verses, ask the following questions:

  • How can remembering the righteous examples of others help you choose to “do that which is good”?

  • What do you do to remember the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Write the following statement on the board: If we … , Satan will have no power over us.

Invite a student to read Helaman 5:12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a way they can complete the statement on the board. Though students may use different words, be sure they express that if we build our foundation on Jesus Christ, Satan will have no power over us. You may want to invite students to mark phrases in Helaman 5:12 that express this principle. Point out that Helaman 5:12 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to suggest that students mark this passage in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily.

To help students understand the principle taught in this verse, build a small tower or house out of objects (such as blocks or books), and ask questions such as the following:

  • Why is it essential that a building have a firm foundation?

  • What do you think it means to build our foundation on Jesus Christ?

  • What promises are made to those who build their foundation on the “rock of our Redeemer”?

  • What can we do to build our foundation on the rock of Jesus Christ? (You may want to ask students how the truths taught in Helaman 5:6–11 are examples of ways we can build our foundation on Jesus Christ.)

You might want to point out that building upon the foundation of the Savior will not prevent Satan’s attacks, but it will give us strength to overcome them.

  • When have you been able to withstand temptation or endure trials because your foundation was built on Jesus Christ?

Testify of the strength you have received because you have built your foundation on the rock of Jesus Christ. Give students time to write in notebooks or scripture study journals about one way they will more diligently strive to build their foundation on the rock of their Redeemer.

Helaman 5:14–52

The Lord protects Nephi and Lehi in prison, and many Lamanites are converted

Summarize Helaman 5:14–19 by explaining that Nephi and Lehi preached the gospel with great power among the Nephites and the Lamanites. As a result, many Nephite dissenters returned to the faith. In Zarahemla and surrounding areas, 8,000 Lamanites were baptized.

time line

Copy the following chart on the board. Divide the class into in pairs, and ask each pair to copy the chart on a piece of paper. Ask the pairs to work together to read the passages listed in the chart and then draw a simple picture or write a brief summary of what each passage describes. (As students copy the chart, encourage them to leave enough room under each scripture reference for their pictures or summaries.)

After sufficient time, invite students to briefly show and explain their pictures or summaries to another pair of students. To help students deepen their understanding of these verses, ask the following questions:

  • When the Lamanites were overshadowed by darkness, what did the voice urge them to do? (See Helaman 5:29, 32.)

  • How does Helaman 5:30 describe the voice?

  • When have you felt or heard the whisperings of the “still voice of perfect mildness”?

  • What did Aminadab teach his brethren to do in order to disperse the darkness? (See Helaman 5:41.)

  • What happened when the Lamanites obeyed Aminadab’s counsel and exercised faith in Christ? (See Helaman 5:43–44.)

Invite students to read Helaman 5:44–47 silently, looking for words that describe some results of repentance.

  • From these verses, what do you learn about repentance? (Help students identify the following truth: When we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and repent of our sins, the Holy Ghost will fill our hearts with peace and joy.)

Summarize Helaman 5:48–52 by explaining that the Lamanites and Nephite dissenters who experienced this miracle went forth and ministered to the people, and “the more part of the Lamanites” converted to the gospel.

Encourage students to consider whether they currently feel peace and joy in their lives. If they do not, invite them to ponder what they can do to build their foundation on Jesus Christ and dispel the clouds of darkness from around them.

Scripture Mastery—Helaman 5:12

Invite students to read Helaman 5:12. To help them memorize this verse, give them a blank sheet of paper. Have them write the verse on the paper using only pictures and single letters. For words that suggest images (such as rock, foundation, wind, hail, and storm), have them draw simple pictures. For words that do not suggest images (such as now and my), have them write the first letters of the words. Invite students to practice reciting the verse using only the pictures and letters they have drawn and written. You could also invite them to exchange papers with each other and recite the verse using the reminders their classmates have drawn and written. Encourage students to take their papers home and place them where they will see them often so they can work on memorizing this passage.

Note: Because of the length of today’s lesson, you may want to use this activity on another day, when you have more time.

Commentary and Background Information

Helaman 5:12. How can we withstand the “mighty winds” of the adversary?

President Spencer W. Kimball taught that we must cling to the gospel of Jesus Christ when the adversary unleashes his forces against us:

“We, too, are faced with powerful, destructive forces unleashed by the adversary. Waves of sin, wickedness, immorality, degradation, tyranny, deceitfulness, conspiracy, and dishonesty threaten all of us. They come with great power and speed and will destroy us if we are not watchful.

“But a warning is sounded for us. It behooves us to be alert and to listen and flee from the evil for our eternal lives. Without help we cannot stand against it. We must flee to high ground or cling fast to that which can keep us from being swept away. That to which we must cling for safety is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our protection from whatever force the evil one can muster. An inspired Book of Mormon prophet counseled his people: ‘Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo’ (Hel. 5:12)” (“Hold Fast to the Iron Rod,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 6).