As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.
Display the picture of the young warriors. Read aloud
Alma 57:25–26, stopping after the word slain in verse 26.
Point out that in the battles between the Nephites and the Lamanites, there were surely other Nephite warriors whose lives were miraculously preserved. However, there were also many righteous Nephites who were killed (
Alma 56:10–11; 57:36). Helaman’s army of young warriors is the only military army mentioned in the Book of Mormon in which not one soldier was killed in battle.
Tell class members that we, like Helaman’s young warriors, are part of a great army. Then read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson. Explain that although the statement was directed to Aaronic Priesthood holders, it applies to all members of the Church.
“You have been born at this time for a sacred and glorious purpose. It is not by chance that you have been reserved to come to earth in this last dispensation of the fulness of times. Your birth at this particular time was foreordained in the eternities.
“You are to be the royal army of the Lord in the last days. …
“In the spiritual battles you are waging, I see you as today’s sons of Helaman. Remember well the Book of Mormon account of Helaman’s two thousand stripling warriors” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 55; or
Ensign, May 1986, 43; note that stripling means young man). Explain that this lesson discusses the principles and characteristics that helped the 2,060 Ammonite warriors receive so much strength from the Lord. As we live according to these principles and develop these characteristics, our spiritual strength will increase. We will be more effective as servants in “the royal army of the Lord.”
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.
Read and discuss selected verses from
Alma 53:10–19; 56:1–8. Before discussing this account, invite class members to briefly review the covenant of peace that the Ammonites (the Anti-Nephi-Lehies) made at the time of their conversion ( Alma 24:15–18; 53:10–11).
The Nephites had promised to protect the Ammonites from the Lamanites (
Alma 27:22–24; 53:12). What did the Ammonites want to do when they saw the afflictions of the Nephites? (See Alma 53:13.) Why did Helaman persuade the people not to break their covenant? (See Alma 53:14–15; 56:8.) What does this teach about keeping covenants?
What did the Ammonites’ sons do to help the Nephites? (See
Alma 53:16.) How did the young Ammonites show the strength of their commitment to help the Nephites? (See Alma 53:17. They entered into a covenant and were determined to keep their covenant “in all cases.” Write on the chalkboard Make and keep sacred covenants.)
How will the Lord strengthen us as we make covenants with Him and keep these covenants “in all cases”?
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life” (
The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 361).
The young Ammonites asked Helaman to be their leader (
Alma 53:19; 56:1, 5). Helaman was a prophet and a high priest over the Church ( Alma 37:1–2, 14; 46:6). Why would the decision to follow a prophet increase the young Ammonites’ effectiveness in the battles they would fight? What kinds of leaders might weaken people in their spiritual battles?
How did the young Ammonites respond to the commands they received? (See
Alma 57:21. Write on the chalkboard Follow the prophet “with exactness.”) Why is it important to be exactly obedient to the teachings of the Lord’s prophet? (See the quotation on the next page.) What are some specific things we must do today to follow the prophet “with exactness”? President Harold B. Lee taught:
“The power of Satan will increase; we see it in evidence on every hand. …
“Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized. We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet, ‘as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; … as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.’ (
D&C 21:4–5.) There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.’ ( D&C 21:6.)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1970, 152; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1970, 126).
Alma 56:9–58:41. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. If you are using the picture of the young warriors, display it now.
The first army that the young Ammonites faced was the Lamanites’ strongest and most numerous army (
Alma 56:34–43). What was the young soldiers’ response when Helaman asked if they wanted to go against this army? (See Alma 56:44–47.) From whom had these warriors learned to have such great faith and courage? (See Alma 56:47–48; see also Alma 53:21; 57:21. If you are teaching adults, write on the chalkboard Teach our children to believe in God. If you are teaching youth, write Follow parents’ righteous teachings.)
To emphasize the influence that mothers can have on their children, you may want to read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:
“To be a righteous woman during the winding-up scenes on this earth, before the Second Coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times. She has been placed here to help to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home—which is society’s basic and most noble institution. Other institutions in society may falter and even fail, but the righteous woman can help to save the home, which may be the last and only sanctuary some mortals know in the midst of storm and strife” (
The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 326–27).
The young soldiers did not doubt their mothers’ testimonies (
Alma 56:48). Why is it important for children to know the strength and certainty of their parents’ testimonies? In what ways can parents share their testimonies with their children?
During one difficult battle, many Nephites “were about to give way” (
Alma 57:20; see also verses Alma 57:12–19). What was the response of the young Ammonites during this battle? (See Alma 57:19–20. Write on the chalkboard Be “firm and undaunted,” even when others “give way.”)
What were the results of the young Ammonites’ faith and courage? (See
Alma 57:22–25; 58:31–33, 39.) How can we remain “firm and undaunted,” even when friends, associates, and others are “about to give way”? How can we strengthen those who are “about to give way”?
In what ways were the young Ammonites “firm and undaunted”? (For some examples, see
Alma 53:20–21; 57:26–27; 58:40.)
“They were exceedingly valiant for courage” (
“They were … true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted” (
“They were men of truth and soberness” (
They had “exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe” (
They “put their trust in God continually” (
They “[stood] fast in that liberty wherewith God [had] made them free” (
They were “strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day” (
They kept God’s “statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually” (
“Their faith [was] strong in the prophecies” (
Emphasize that the young Ammonites had developed these characteristics in their youth, before they became soldiers. If you are teaching youth, write on the chalkboard
Develop righteous qualities in our youth.
In one battle, the Nephite armies led by Helaman, Gid, and Teomner faced “an enemy which was innumerable,” but they received very little assistance from the land of Zarahemla (
Alma 58:1–9). To what source did the Nephites turn for strength? (See Alma 58:10. Write on the chalkboard Pray for strength and deliverance.)
How did the Lord answer the Nephites’ prayers? (See
Alma 58:11–12.) In what ways can such answers to prayer help us “take courage”?