Captain Moroni continued to help his people defend themselves by fortifying their cities. The Nephites were successful against the Lamanites until rebellion and wickedness began to weaken them. Despite Moroni’s efforts to unite and defend the people, the Nephites lost many cities because of contention among themselves. Eventually, Moroni, Teancum, and Lehi recaptured the city of Mulek and defeated one of the largest Lamanite armies. Ammoron, the wicked leader of the Lamanites, attempted to negotiate an exchange of prisoners, but Moroni freed the Nephite prisoners without bloodshed. Moroni stood firm and did not compromise with Ammoron and his followers.
Think of a time in your life when you struggled to overcome a challenge, such as a temptation, a health problem, a problem at school, or a relationship problem with friends or family members. Did you wish you had greater spiritual strength at that time?
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency said: “As the forces [of sin] around us increase in intensity, whatever spiritual strength was once sufficient will not be enough. And whatever growth in spiritual strength we once thought was possible, greater growth will be made available to us. Both the need for spiritual strength and the opportunity to acquire it will increase at rates which we underestimate at our peril” (“Always,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 9).
The preparations the Nephites made for their battles can help us learn this truth: If we prepare ourselves spiritually, we can overcome the challenges of life.
The Nephites built fortifications that gave them strength in a time of great difficulty. We can follow their example by building our spiritual strength now so that we will have the strength we need in a time of difficulty. Spiritual strength is built most effectively by consistent, daily efforts. We become spiritually strong through such things as regular scripture study, prayer, attending Church meetings, fulfilling our callings, expressing gratitude to God, serving others, and listening to and heeding the counsel of our Church leaders.
Complete the following statements in your scripture study journal:
I can build greater spiritual strength by (list some things you can do).
I will more consistently do (choose one item from the list you just made) ____________________ each day to build my spiritual strength.
Read Alma 50:19–23, and look for how the Lord blessed the Nephites who were faithful to Him despite the difficult circumstances of their day. You may want to write this principle near these verses: Faithfulness to God brings blessings, even amid turmoil. Look at Alma 50:21 to see what Mormon said caused the Nephites to lose these blessings.
During the time that Captain Moroni was leading the Nephites in their battles against the Lamanites, Pahoran became the chief judge of the Nephites. He was a righteous man, and he worked to establish peace in the land. However, a group of Nephites desired to change the Nephite laws so they would be ruled by a king, not a system of judges. The matter was put to a vote, and the people voted to keep their system of judges. However, the “king-men” would not support the voice of the people and refused to fight with the other Nephites when the Lamanites came to battle. Moroni had to lead his armies against the king-men to force them to join the Nephites. This greatly weakened the Nephites in their battles against the Lamanites (see Alma 51:1–21).
Read Alma 51:22–27, and look for evidence that the Lamanites were able to gain power over the Nephites because of the contention with the king-men. Think about this principle: Division and contention destroy peace.
Read Alma 50:39–40 and Alma 51:22, and notice how diligently Pahoran and Captain Moroni sought to establish peace among their people. Think about a time in your life when you have seen contention, whether among friends, family members, school associates, or others. Also think about the characteristics of someone who strives to establish peace. Write in your scripture study journal about the characteristics a peacemaker might have.
As recorded in Alma 51:33–34, Amalackiah was killed by Teancum, one of the Nephites’ greatest military leaders. After Amalackiah’s death, his brother Ammoron took command of the Lamanite armies. Moroni gave Teancum instructions to continue to fortify and protect the northern portion of the land Bountiful and retake any Nephite cities then occupied by the Lamanites, if possible (see Alma 52:1–10). Read Alma 52:15–17, and look for why Teancum decided not to attack the city of Mulek.
Teancum knew that when the enemy was in his stronghold, it would be hard to defeat him. From this experience, we can learn this principle: If we avoid the adversary’s strongholds, we are more able to avoid and resist temptation.
What are some places that might be considered strongholds of the adversary? (These are places or situations where you might be influenced to sin if you went there—for example, a party where people are drinking alcohol or watching an inappropriate movie.) Write in your scripture study journal a few such places. Also write why you think you should avoid going to these places.
This was a difficult time for the Nephites because the Lamanites had captured many Nephite cities while the Nephites were fighting the king-men. The Lamanites were using those cities as strongholds, so it was hard for the Nephites to retake them. Moroni developed a plan to get the Lamanites out of the city of Mulek so that the Nephites could have the city again. Read Alma 52:21–26 to see what Moroni and Teancum did.
Write in your scripture study journal what Moroni and Teancum did to capture the city of Mulek (see Alma 52:21–26). Also write what you think about Moroni as a general. In what ways was he a good general for the Nephites?
Throughout the war between the Lamanites and the Nephites, both sides had captured many prisoners of war. The Lamanite leader Ammoron sent a letter to Moroni, proposing that the two sides exchange their prisoners. Moroni was happy to exchange prisoners so that the captured Nephites could be returned and so that his armies would not have to feed and care for their Lamanite prisoners. (See Alma 54:1–2.)
However, as he and Ammoron exchanged letters, Ammoron wrote demanding that the Nephites surrender and let the Lamanites govern them. He said that the Nephites were murderers and that the Lamanites were justified in fighting them. He also declared that there was no God. (See Alma 54:16–24.)
When Moroni received this letter, he knew that Ammoron was lying. Ammoron knew that the Lamanites did not have a righteous reason for fighting the Nephites. Moroni said that he would not exchange prisoners and give the Lamanites more strength. He would find a way to rescue the Nephite prisoners without trading for them. (See Alma 55:1–2.)
Read Alma 55:3–24 to find out what Moroni did to rescue the Nephite prisoners.
When Moroni refused to give in to Ammoron’s demands and found a way to rescue the Nephite prisoners, he prevented the Lamanites from gaining a great advantage over the Nephites and instead gained great advantages for the Nephites. One truth we can learn from Moroni’s example is this: If we trust the Lord and obey Him with exactness, He will support us in our struggles.
The story found in Alma 55:3–24 is a very exciting story of rescue. Think of a family member or friend who would enjoy hearing this story, and find a time to tell the story to this person. You may also want to share with this person the bold principle in the paragraph above and explain how Moroni is an example of this principle.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Alma 50–52; 54–55 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: