Lesson 19: None Could Deliver Them but the Lord

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 84–88


Purpose

To encourage class members to renew their determination to honor their baptismal covenants and trust in the Lord.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      Mosiah 18. Alma teaches the baptismal covenant, baptizes a group of people, and establishes the Church among the people.

    2. b.

      Mosiah 19. King Noah betrays his people and suffers death by fire. Noah’s son Limhi becomes king.

    3. c.

      Mosiah 20–22. Limhi’s people are brought into bondage by the Lamanites. After trying to deliver themselves from bondage, they repent and turn to the Lord. The Lord eventually delivers them from bondage.

    4. d.

      Mosiah 23–24. Alma’s people are taken captive by the Lamanites. Amulon, who had been one of Noah’s priests, rules over them. They turn to the Lord, and He makes their burdens light and delivers them from bondage.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Bible Dictionary, “Baptism,” 618–19.

  3. 3.

    If you use the attention activity, bring to class the picture Alma Baptizes in the Waters of Mormon (62332; Gospel Art Picture Kit 309). You may also want to use this picture during the lesson.

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Ask class members:

  • What are some of the most beautiful places you have ever seen? What makes those places so beautiful for you?

Display the picture of Alma baptizing in the waters of Mormon.

  • What made this place beautiful for Alma’s people? (Have a class member read Mosiah 18:30 aloud. Invite one or two class members to share their feelings about a place of spiritual significance to them.)

Explain that in this lesson you will discuss a covenant that Alma’s people made at “the place of Mormon.”

Scripture Discussion and Application

Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. Alma teaches the baptismal covenant and baptizes many people.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 18. Remind class members that Alma, one of King Noah’s priests, believed the teachings of Abinadi. He fled from Noah’s servants and hid in the wilderness, where he wrote “all the words which Abinadi had spoken” (Mosiah 17:2–4). He then “repented of his sins … and began to teach the words of Abinadi” (Mosiah 18:1–3). The people who believed Alma went to hear him teach in a place called Mormon (Mosiah 18:4–6).

  • What did Alma teach at “the place of Mormon”? (See Mosiah 18:7.) What did the people desire after Alma taught them? (See Mosiah 18:8.) What does it mean to “come into the fold of God, and … be called his people”? (See Mosiah 18:16–17; see also Hebrews 8:10; Alma 5:60.)

  • What were the people willing to do as members of “the fold of God”? (Have class members read Mosiah 18:8–9 to find answers to this question. Summarize their answers on the chalkboard. Then discuss the answers as shown below.)

    1. a.

      “Bear one another’s burdens” (Mosiah 18:8). How can we “bear one another’s burdens”? How does bearing one another’s burdens make those burdens light? How have you been blessed as others have helped bear your burdens?

    2. b.

      “Mourn with those that mourn” (Mosiah 18:9). Why is it helpful to “mourn with those that mourn”?

    3. c.

      “Comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9). How can we appropriately offer comfort to others?

    4. d.

      “Stand as witnesses of God” (Mosiah 18:9). What does it mean “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places”? (Mosiah 18:9).

  • After Alma preached to the people, what did he invite them to do? (See Mosiah 18:10. He invited them to be baptized and enter into a covenant with the Lord.) What is a covenant?

    President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “A covenant is a contract and an agreement between at least two parties. In the case of gospel covenants, the parties are the Lord in heaven and men on earth. Men agree to keep the commandments and the Lord promises to reward them accordingly” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1970, 91; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1970, 26).

  • Referring to Mosiah 18:8–13, President Marion G. Romney said, “I know of no better explanation of the baptismal covenant” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1975, 109; or Ensign, Nov. 1975, 73). According to Mosiah 18:8–13, what do we covenant to do when we are baptized? (See also Moroni 6:2–3; D&C 20:37.) What does the Lord promise to do when we are baptized and keep our baptismal covenant? (See Mosiah 18:10, 12–13; see also 2 Nephi 31:17.)

  • How did the people respond to Alma’s invitation to be baptized? (See Mosiah 18:11. If you are using the picture of Alma baptizing, display it now.) What can we do to help others receive this great joy? (You may want to encourage class members to think of people with whom they can share the gospel.)

  • After the people were baptized, Alma commanded them to have “their hearts knit together in unity and in love” (Mosiah 18:21). What can we do at home and in our ward or branch to follow this command? (See Mosiah 18:19–21.)

2. King Noah betrays his people and suffers death by fire.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 19. Explain that some of King Noah’s people began to turn against him (Mosiah 19:2–3). One of those people, Gideon, was about to kill Noah when Noah saw an army of Lamanites advancing toward them (Mosiah 19:4–6).

  • What did King Noah do when he saw the advancing Lamanites? (See Mosiah 19:7.) Who was Noah most concerned about? (See Mosiah 19:8.) How does this compare to people today who, like Noah, try to lead us away from the Lord and His prophets?

  • What had Abinadi prophesied about King Noah’s death? (See Mosiah 12:3.) How was this prophecy fulfilled? (See Mosiah 19:18–20. Point out that the people who eventually valued Noah’s life “as a garment in a hot furnace” had at one time been blind to his wickedness, as shown in Mosiah 11:29.)

3. Limhi’s people are chastened and eventually delivered by the Lord.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 20–22 (note that these chapters contain the account of Ammon and his brethren finding Limhi’s people, as discussed in lesson 17). Explain that after Noah was killed, his son Limhi became king. Limhi made an oath that he and his people would pay one-half of all they possessed to the king of the Lamanites in exchange for a promise that the Lamanites would not slay them (Mosiah 19:25–26).

  • After two years of peace, the Lamanites waged war against Limhi’s people (Mosiah 20:7–10). Why did the Lamanites seek to destroy Limhi’s people? (See Mosiah 20:1–6.)

  • When the Lamanites learned that they had misjudged Limhi’s people, they returned to their own land in peace (Mosiah 20:17–26). However, “after many days the Lamanites began again to be stirred up in anger against the Nephites” (Mosiah 21:2). What did the Lamanites do to the Nephites rather than break their king’s oath that they would not kill them? (See Mosiah 21:3.)

  • How did the bondage of Limhi’s people fulfill prophecies made by Abinadi? (Have class members compare Mosiah 21:3–5, 14–15 with Mosiah 11:20–25 and 12:2, 4–5.) Why were Limhi’s people brought into bondage? (See Mosiah 7:25–32; 20:21. They had rejected Abinadi’s teachings and his warnings about the consequences of their sinfulness.) Why is it important to remember that sin brings consequences?

  • After failing three times to defeat the Lamanites in battle, what did Limhi’s people finally do? (See Mosiah 21:13–14.) Why was the Lord slow to respond to their cries? (See Mosiah 21:15; see also D&C 101:1–9.) Although the Lord did not deliver them immediately, what did He do for them? (See Mosiah 21:15–16.) How does the Lord sometimes permit us to “prosper by degrees”?

  • How did Limhi’s people escape from the Lamanites? (See Mosiah 22:3–12.) How were they received by the people in Zarahemla? (See Mosiah 22:13–14.)

4. The Lord delivers Alma’s people from bondage.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 23–24. Help class members see the difference between the way the Lord blessed Limhi’s people, who attempted three times to deliver themselves before they turned to Him, and the way He blessed Alma’s people, who had turned to Him completely.

  • When Alma and his people were in the place of Mormon, King Noah “sent his army to destroy them” (Mosiah 18:33). The Lord warned Alma’s people and strengthened them so they could escape (Mosiah 18:34–35; 23:1–5). How was this different from the experience of Limhi’s people? (See Mosiah 19:6. Note that the first time the Lamanites attacked these people, when Noah was still their king, the people received no warning.)

  • How did Alma respond when the people asked him to be king? (See Mosiah 23:6–7.) How had Alma learned the danger of “one man think[ing] himself above another”? (See Mosiah 23:8–14.) What can we learn from Alma and his people to help us avoid this error? (See Mosiah 23:15.)

  • Under Alma’s leadership, his people lived righteously and prospered (Mosiah 23:15–20). Nevertheless, the Lord allowed them to be brought into bondage under Amulon, who had been one of King Noah’s priests (Mosiah 23:23–39). How did the bondage of Alma’s people fulfill prophecies made by Abinadi? (See Mosiah 12:2, 4–5.) In what ways can our poor choices bring lingering consequences even after we have been forgiven of our sins?

    Elder Marvin J. Ashton said: “Our freedom to choose our course of conduct does not provide personal freedom from the consequences of our performances. God’s love for us is constant and will not diminish, but he cannot rescue us from the painful results that are caused by wrong choices” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 24; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 20).

Point out that although the Lord could not prevent Alma’s people from suffering the consequences of their past sins, He comforted and strengthened them in their afflictions. The rest of this lesson discusses how He delivered them from bondage.

  • Referring to the bondage of Alma’s people, Mormon said, “The Lord seeth fit to chasten his people” (Mosiah 23:21). Why does the Lord chasten His people? (See Mosiah 23:21; D&C 95:1–2.) How should we respond when the Lord chastens us? (See Mosiah 23:22.)

  • What did Alma’s people do when Amulon threatened to kill them if they prayed? (See Mosiah 24:10–12.) How did the Lord answer their silent prayers? (See Mosiah 24:13–16.) How did this help them “stand as witnesses” for the Lord, as they had covenanted in the waters of Mormon? (See Mosiah 24:14.)

  • Why are our burdens easier to bear when we “submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord”? (Mosiah 24:15). In what ways has the Lord strengthened you to help you “bear up [your] burdens with ease”? How has this helped you stand as a witness of God?

  • Why did the Lord bless Alma’s people while they were in bondage more quickly and abundantly than He blessed Limhi’s people? (Compare Mosiah 21:5–15 with Mosiah 23:26–27; 24:10–16.) How does this apply in our lives?

  • Before the Lord delivered them, both Alma’s people and Limhi’s people were in bondage to wicked rulers. Alma observed that in the days of King Noah, the people had also been “bound with the bands of iniquity” (Mosiah 23:12). How is iniquity, or sin, a kind of bondage? What can we learn from Limhi’s people and Alma’s people about receiving deliverance from the bondage of sin? (See Mosiah 7:33; 21:14; 23:23; 29:18–20; see also D&C 84:49–51. Only the Lord can deliver us from the bondage of sin. We must turn to Him through repentance, faith, humility, and enduring obedience.)

Conclusion

Briefly review the Lord’s promises in the baptismal covenant (Mosiah 18:10, 13). Point out that in light of the blessings the Lord has promised to us, it should not be difficult to keep our covenant to “serve him and keep his commandments” (Mosiah 18:10). Emphasize that when we receive the ordinance of baptism and continue in repentance, faith in Jesus Christ, humility, and obedience, we are delivered from the bondage of sin and are on the path to eternal life (2 Nephi 31:17–20).

As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. “Both Alma and Helam were buried in the water” (Mosiah 18:14)

Use the statement below to explain how Alma had the authority to baptize and to show that Alma did not baptize himself when he baptized Helam:

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught, “Alma was baptized and held the priesthood before the coming of Abinadi, but he became involved with other priests under the reign of the wicked King Noah, and when he baptized Helam, he felt he needed a cleansing himself so he buried himself in the water as a token of full repentance” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:336–37).

2. Serving the Lord humbly

  • Before Alma began baptizing the people, he prayed, “O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart” (Mosiah 18:12). How might we be blessed as we approach our service to the Lord in this spirit?

3. “Observe the sabbath day, and keep it holy” (Mosiah 18:23)

  • Why is it important that we observe the Sabbath day? (See Mosiah 18:23, 25.) How have you felt blessed when you have kept the Sabbath day holy? What are some things you do to help make this a holy day?

4. Helping those who are in need

  • What principles did Alma teach about giving to the needy? (See Mosiah 18:27–29.) Why is it important that we give spiritually as well as temporally? What blessings come from giving generously and receiving graciously?