Lesson 103: Alma 52–55

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2012


Introduction

At this point in the war with the Lamanites, the Nephites had lost many cities because of contention among themselves. Moroni, Teancum, and Lehi captured the city Mulek and defeated one of the largest armies of the Lamanites. Moroni refused the request of Ammoron, the Lamanite leader, to exchange prisoners and implemented a plan to free the Nephite prisoners without bloodshed. Moroni stood firm and didn’t compromise with the wickedness of Ammoron and his followers.

Note: This lesson focuses on events in the lives of Moroni, Teancum, and Lehi. In the next lesson, students will learn more about Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors mentioned in Alma 53:16–23.

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 52–53

Moroni, Teancum, and Lehi work together to defeat the Lamanites

Before class, write the following statement on the board:

“Youth today are being raised in enemy territory” (President Boyd K. Packer).

At the beginning of class, invite a student to read this statement. Then ask:

  • Who is the enemy? (Satan.)

  • What evidence of Satan’s influence do you see in the world around you? (Students might mention inappropriate language and clothing, dishonest and immoral behavior, and the temptations often promoted through media and technology.)

Encourage students to consider ways they can compare the challenges they face to the events and situations described in Alma 52–55. Then read the continuation of President Packer’s statement:

“Youth today are being raised in enemy territory with a declining standard of morality. But as a servant of the Lord, I promise that you will be protected and shielded from the attacks of the adversary if you will heed the promptings that come from the Holy Spirit” (“Counsel to Youth,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 18).

Encourage students to seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost so that they can withstand evil.

Remind students that while Moroni was putting down the rebellion of the king-men, the Lamanites took over many fortified Nephite cities (see Alma 51:26). Invite students to read Alma 52:14 silently, looking for Mormon’s description of the Nephites’ situation at this time. Then ask a student to read Alma 53:9 aloud. Ask the class to identify why the Nephites’ circumstances were dangerous.

  • What are some ways people place themselves in circumstances that are spiritually dangerous?

Write the following scripture reference on the board: Alma 52:5–10, 16–19. To help students understand the context and story line surrounding these verses, ask two students to read the chapter summaries for Alma 52 and 53 aloud. Then invite students to study the verses you have written on the board, looking for principles that can help them avoid or withstand evil. After sufficient time, ask:

  • What principles can we learn from these verses? (Among other principles, students might identify the following truth: If we avoid the adversary’s strongholds, we are more able to avoid and resist temptation.)

Invite students to reflect on physical places, social settings, or situations involving the use of technology (such as the Internet) that they feel may lead to dangerous circumstances in their lives.

Explain that Mormon described Teancum’s stand against the Lamanites using such words as defend, fortify, secure, scourge, and strengthen. Ask students to ponder what may need to be “scourged,” or driven, from their own lives to help them be more spiritually secure.

Invite a student to read Alma 52:19 aloud. Ask the class:

  • What did the Nephite leaders do prior to going to battle? (They held a council of war.)

  • In what ways might a family council or a Church council be similar to a “council of war”? How can such councils strengthen us in our battles against the adversary?

Summarize Alma 52:20–40 and Alma 53 by explaining that after the council of war, Captain Moroni and his armies retook the city of Mulek by drawing the Lamanites out of their strongholds. The Nephites took many Lamanite prisoners and sent them to work on fortifying the city of Bountiful. However, the Lamanites continued to have success in other regions because of dissensions among the Nephites.

Alma 54–55

Moroni rejects Ammoron’s terms for exchanging prisoners and uses a stratagem to free the Nephite prisoners

Explain that Alma 54 is a record of the letters sent between Ammoron (the Lamanite king) and Captain Moroni. Prior to this, the Lamanites and the Nephites had secured many prisoners of war. This chapter records Moroni’s response to Ammoron’s request that the Lamanites and Nephites exchange prisoners.

Explain that Alma 54:9–12 contains words of Captain Moroni to Ammoron. Invite a student to read these verses aloud. Then ask another student to read Ammoron’s response to Captain Moroni in Alma 54:18–20.

  • How were Captain Moroni’s motives for exchanging prisoners different from Ammoron’s? (You may want to point out that Moroni was concerned about families, while Ammoron was concerned only about his men of war because he wanted to destroy the Nephites.)

  • How do Ammoron’s statements in Alma 54:18–20 reflect Satan’s motives in his warfare against us?

Invite a student to read Alma 55:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to look for Moroni’s response to Ammoron’s demands.

  • Why was Moroni unwilling to do what Ammoron said? (He knew Ammoron was lying, and he did not want to grant Ammoron any more power than he already had.)

  • What can we learn from Moroni’s response to Ammoron? (Although students may state a number of truths, be sure they understand that as we stand firm for what is right, we can prevent evil influences from gaining power over us.)

The following statements by Joseph Smith may be helpful in your discussion of these verses:

“Satan cannot seduce us by his enticements unless we in our hearts consent and yield” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 213).

“The devil has no power over us only as we permit him” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 214).

Write the following scripture reference on the board: Alma 55:15–24, 28–31.

Explain that in Alma 55 we learn that Captain Moroni freed the Nephite prisoners in the city of Gid by stratagem (a method used in war to deceive or outwit an enemy). In Alma 55:3–14, we learn that Moroni was able to use a Nephite soldier named Laman to cause the Lamanite soldiers guarding the Nephite prisoners to become drunk. Invite students to read silently the verses you wrote on the board, looking for what Captain Moroni did once he had the Lamanites surrounded in the city of Gid. Remind students to look for principles as they study. After sufficient time, ask them to report what they have discovered. You might also ask:

  • What do these verses teach you about Moroni?

Write the following statement on the board and invite students to fill in the blanks:

We are not to delight in … ; rather, we are to delight in …

  • How might we apply Moroni’s example of not delighting in bloodshed? For example, how might we apply Moroni’s example to the things we read and watch or to the games we play?

Invite students to contemplate the following question:

  • What do you feel Mormon wanted you to learn in today’s lesson that will help you be faithful as you battle against the adversary?

Consider giving students time to write in notebooks or scripture study journals about what they will do to resist entering Satan’s territory and to stand firm against his attacks.

Conclude by testifying of the truths you have discussed in class today.

Supplemental Teaching Idea

Alma 53:20–21. Walking uprightly before God

Invite a student to read Alma 53:20–21 aloud.

  • What does it mean to walk uprightly before God?

Ask students to ponder how they, like the stripling warriors, can be “true at all times in whatsoever thing they [are] entrusted.” Read the following statement, in which President George Albert Smith shares wise counsel given by his grandfather George A. Smith:

“My grandfather used to say to his family, ‘There is a line of demarcation well defined between the Lord’s territory and the devil’s territory. If you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line you will be under his influence and will have no desire to do wrong; but if you cross to the devil’s side of that line one inch you are in the tempter’s power and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly because you will have lost the Spirit of the Lord.’

“When I have been tempted sometimes to do a certain thing, I have asked myself, ‘Which side of the line am I on?’ If I determined to be on the safe side, the Lord’s side, I would do the right thing every time. So when temptation comes think prayerfully about your problem and the influence of the Lord will aid you to decide wisely. There is safety for us only on the Lord’s side of the line” (“A Faith Founded upon Truth,” Deseret News, June 17, 1944, Church section, 9).

Consider drawing a vertical line down the center of the board. Label one side of the board The Lord’s territory and the other side of the board The devil’s territory. Ask students:

  • In relation to the line separating the two territories, where is the safest place to be? (On the Lord’s side, as far away from the line as possible.)

  • What danger might there be in trying to live on the Lord’s side but as close to the line as possible?

  • What helps you stay far away from the line?