Unit 21: Day 3, Alma 53, 56–58

Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, (2012), 212–14


Introduction

Helaman and Captain Moroni fought the Lamanites in different parts of the land. Helaman sent a letter to Moroni describing his armies’ battles with the Lamanites and expressing his confidence and satisfaction in the great faith of the 2,060 stripling warriors. Because of the faith and courage of these Nephite warriors, the Lord helped them win battles and blessed them with assurance and hope during their times of affliction.

Alma 53; 56

The armies of Antipus and Helaman defeat the strongest army of the Lamanites

While Captain Moroni fought the Lamanites in one part of the land, Helaman led his army in another part of the land. Included in his army were 2,000 young sons of the people of Ammon. The parents of these young men had made a covenant never to take up arms against their enemies again, but their sons had not made the covenant, so they could help the Nephite armies (see Alma 53:10–18).

  1. journal icon1.

    Draw the following diagram in your scripture study journal. Read Alma 53:18–21, and look for phrases describing the traits the 2,000 young men had developed before their military service. List the phrases you discover under the heading “Traits developed before battle.” You might want to mark these phrases in your scriptures.

stick figure

Antipus, a Nephite military leader, was greatly outnumbered by the Lamanite enemy as he and his army defended their part of the land. Antipus rejoiced when Helaman brought the 2,000 young warriors to help him (see Alma 56:9–10).

In their first battle against the enemy, the 2,000 young warriors led away the strongest army of the Lamanites, and the Nephite commander Antipus ordered his army to pursue the Lamanite army from behind. The army of Antipus caught up with the Lamanite army, who stopped to fight them. The stripling warriors, who had continued forward, noticed that the Lamanites had stopped pursuing them. They did not know if the Lamanites had halted to trick them into returning so they could be destroyed or if the Lamanites had stopped because Antipus’s army had caught them from behind. Therefore, Helaman did not know if they should turn back and attack the Lamanites. (See Alma 56:29–43.)

Read Alma 56:43–48, and look for phrases describing traits these young men demonstrated at a critical time during battle. List what you found in your scripture study journal under the heading “Traits demonstrated during battle.” You might also choose to mark these phrases in your scriptures.

Study Alma 56:49, 54–56 to see what happened when the 2,000 young warriors returned to battle the Lamanites. Look for phrases that illustrate this truth: When we act in faith, we can receive strength from God.

  1. journal icon2.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      How can developing the traits of the stripling warriors help you act in faith when you face challenging situations?

    2. b.

      Describe a time when you (or someone you know) acted in faith and received strength from God to successfully handle a difficult situation.

Alma 57

Helaman’s army retakes the cities of Antiparah and Cumeni

Two Thousand Stripling Warriors

Helaman and his army were able to take the cities Antiparah and Cumeni from the Lamanites. During this time, Helaman received reinforcements to his army. Thousands of warriors from the land of Zarahemla joined the army, as did 60 more sons of the people of Ammon (see Alma 57:1–12).

Soon after Helaman’s army captured the city of Cumeni, the Lamanites attacked them again. Helaman’s army faced a great struggle, in which the 2,060 stripling warriors were a great strength to the entire army. Read Alma 57:19–21 to discover some traits the stripling warriors exhibited in this battle. You may want to add these traits to the list of “Traits demonstrated during battle” in your scripture study journal and mark them in your scriptures.

  1. journal icon3.

    One of the defining characteristics of the stripling warriors was that they obeyed “with exactness” (Alma 57:21). Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      What do you think it means to obey a commandment “with exactness”?

    2. b.

      How do you think obeying their commander’s words with exactness helped the stripling warriors win their battle?

    3. c.

      How would obeying the Lord’s commandments with exactness help you in the spiritual battles you have in life?

Consider writing the following principle in your scriptures or in your scripture study journal: As we obey the Lord with exactness, He will strengthen us in the battles we have in life. Read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who explained why obeying God’s commandments “with exactness” is so important:

“[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. It takes faith to obey them, and keeping His commandments will strengthen that faith.

“Obedience allows God’s blessings to flow without constraint. He will bless His obedient children with freedom from bondage and misery. And he will bless them with more light.

“… Obedience to the commandments of God will provide physical and spiritual protection” (“Face the Future with Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 34–35).

Read Alma 57:25–27, looking for some reasons why the Lord extended His power to protect the stripling warriors. What impresses you the most about the stripling warriors in these verses?

Even when we are righteous, God will not always protect us from difficulty. Even though the stripling warriors were preserved from death, all of them were wounded (see Alma 57:25), and many other righteous Nephites were killed (see Alma 57:26). However, God will always strengthen us during times of difficulty and bless us with the things we need. Ultimately, He will give eternal blessings to all who obey His commandments.

Alma 58

Nephite armies wait for provisions and then retake the city of Manti

young man leaning against locker

In addition to the battles they fought with the Lamanites, Helaman’s army faced another form of adversity. Their battles were being fought some distance from Zarahemla, which was the center of the Nephite government. Helaman’s army had won some very difficult battles, but they did not receive the food, supplies, and additional soldiers they needed from the government. They did not know why the government was not supporting them. (See Alma 58:7–9.)

  1. journal icon4.

    Read Alma 58:10–12, and answer the following questions:

    1. a.

      What did the Nephites do when they faced this difficult situation?

    2. b.

      How did the Lord respond to their sincere pleadings and prayers?

    3. c.

      According to Alma 58:12, how did the Lord’s assurances help Helaman and his army?

Write the following principle in your scriptures or scripture study journal: If we turn to God in times of difficulty, we can receive divine assurance that can strengthen our faith and give us hope.

Despite the weakness of his army, Helaman and his men were able to capture the city of Manti (see Alma 58:13–41). Helaman attributed all the army’s successes to the help of the Lord (see Alma 58:37).

Helaman continued to marvel at the success of the stripling warriors. Study Alma 58:39–40, and look for words and phrases that show the ways in which the stripling warriors were valiant during difficult circumstances. Consider marking these words or phrases in your scriptures.

  1. journal icon5.

    Write in your scripture study journal about a time when you turned to God for help during a time of difficulty and felt His support.

  2. journal icon6.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Alma 53; 56–58 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: