“Lesson 105: Alma 59–63,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 105,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
Captain Moroni rejoiced in Helaman’s success in regaining some of the Nephite cities that had been lost to the Lamanites. However, when he learned that the city of Nephihah had been captured by the Lamanites, he was angry at the government for neglecting to send reinforcements. In a letter to Pahoran, the chief judge, he lamented the suffering of the righteous and rebuked Pahoran for not supporting the cause of freedom. Unknown to Moroni, Pahoran had fled to the land of Gideon because of the rebellion of the Nephite king-men. Pahoran did not take offense at Moroni’s chastisement; rather, he rejoiced in Moroni’s love of liberty. The Lord strengthened the Nephites, and together, Moroni, Pahoran, and their people defeated the king-men and the Lamanites. After several years of war, the Nephites again experienced peace, and Helaman reestablished the Church.
Before class, write on the board the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (from The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 285):
You may have quoted this statement as part of the lesson on Alma 49–51. If you did, consider leaving blanks in place of some words when you write it on the board. Ask the students to fill in the blanks.
Invite students to tell about times in their lives or in the lives of someone they know when preparation has helped prevent disappointment or sorrow.
Remind students that in recent lessons they have studied chapters about battles between the Nephites and the Lamanites. Invite students to read Alma 59:5–11 silently, thinking about how the statement on the board relates to the situation described in these verses.
What seems to have enabled the Lamanites to defeat the city of Nephihah? (The wickedness of the people of Nephihah.)
What did you find in these verses that pertains to the statement written on the board?
If students do not mention the following statement in Alma 59:9, point it out to them: “It was easier to keep the city from falling into the hands of the Lamanites than to retake it from them.” You might want to suggest that students mark this statement in their scriptures. To help students think about how this truth applies in their lives, ask them to compare the cities in this account to themselves and the spiritual battles they face. Then ask one or more of the following questions:
How does this truth relate to us? (Help students see that it is easier and better to remain faithful than it is to return to the faith after going astray.)
Why is staying faithful in the Church easier than returning to the Church after a period of being less active?
Why is it easier to maintain a testimony than it is to regain a testimony after falling away?
Invite students to ponder ways the adversary and his followers may be attacking them. Encourage them to write in notebooks or scripture study journals about what they will do to prepare for spiritual battles.
Read Alma 59:13 aloud. Make sure students understand that Moroni was angry because he thought the government was indifferent, or unconcerned, about the freedom of the people. In his anger, he wrote a letter to Pahoran, the chief judge in Zarahemla. Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 60:6–11.
What did Captain Moroni accuse Pahoran of?
What emotions do you sense in Moroni’s accusations?
Write the following scripture reference on the board: Alma 60:17–20, 23–24. Invite students to read these verses silently. Encourage them to imagine how they would feel in Pahoran’s place.
In what ways might Captain Moroni’s accusations have been hurtful to Pahoran?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 60:33–36. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Captain Moroni was prepared to do if Pahoran did not respond favorably to his requests. After allowing students to report what they have found, ask them to identify words or phrases in these verses that indicate Moroni’s reasons or motives for making his requests.
Invite students to read Alma 61:1–5 silently to discover why Moroni had not received reinforcements.
What information did Pahoran share with Moroni?
What are some ways people respond when they are falsely accused of something?
Have you ever been wrongly accused of something? How did you feel about the accusations and the accuser?
Invite students to read Alma 61:9–10, 15–18 silently, looking for anything that reveals the greatness of Pahoran’s character. After sufficient time, call on a few students to share what they have found.
What lessons can we learn from the way Pahoran responded to Moroni’s accusations? (Help students identify the following principle: We can choose to not be offended by the words and actions of others. Other truths students might identify include that we should avoid making unkind judgments about others and that when we unite in righteousness with others, we are stronger in our battles against evil. You may want to write these truths on the board.)
How can we choose not to be offended?
Consider asking students if they are willing to share any experiences they have had in choosing not to be offended when people have said unkind or untrue things about them. You might also consider telling about an experience of your own. Testify of the importance of forgiving others for their words or actions against us. Encourage students to follow Pahoran’s example.
Invite a student to read Alma 62:1 aloud. Ask the class to identify how Moroni felt when he received Pahoran’s response.
Explain that even though Captain Moroni was wrong in his accusations of Pahoran, he taught true principles that we can apply in our lives. Invite a student to read Alma 60:23 aloud. Point out that Moroni’s words about cleansing the “inward vessel” can apply to anyone who needs to repent. Explain that a vessel is a container, such as a cup or bowl. Put dirt or mud on the inside and outside of a cup (if available, a clear cup works best). Ask students if they would like to drink from the cup. Clean the outside of the cup and ask if students would now feel comfortable drinking from it.
If we think of ourselves as vessels, what might it mean to cleanse the inward, or inner, vessel?
Read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:
“We must cleanse the inner vessel (see Alma 60:23), beginning first with ourselves, then with our families, and finally with the Church” (“Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, May 1986, 4).
Why is it important that we be clean on the inside (what people cannot see) as well as on the outside (what people can see)?
Why is it important to cleanse the inner vessel of our lives before we can be fully effective in the Lord’s kingdom?
Summarize Alma 62:1–38 by explaining that Captain Moroni brought a portion of his army to help Pahoran overthrow the king-men in Zarahemla. Then, with their united army and the help of other Nephite forces, Moroni and Pahoran retook the remaining cities that had been lost to the Lamanites. They drove the Lamanites from the land and established peace among the people.
What are some challenges that individuals and families might face after a time of war?
Invite students to read Alma 62:39–41 silently to see how the Nephites were affected by the trials of war.
What principles can you identify in Alma 62:40–41?
As students discuss this question, they might respond with answers such as these:
Our righteous prayers can have a positive effect on our communities.
In times of adversity, some people humble themselves before God while others become hardened.
Why do you think some people grow closer to the Lord when they face trials? Why do some people turn away from the Lord when they face trials? (Help students understand that in times of adversity, our choices determine whether we will grow closer to the Lord.)
As you have read the Book of Mormon chapters on war, what have they taught you about being a disciple of Jesus Christ in times of war or contention?
Summarize Mormon’s words in this chapter by explaining that many Nephites started to migrate northward, by land and by sea. Shiblon conferred the sacred records to Helaman. Captain Moroni died, and his son Moronihah led an army that drove back another Lamanite attack.
You may want to conclude this lesson by telling about someone who has faced adversity and affliction and has chosen to have a soft heart and increased trust in God. Consider sharing a personal experience.
Take some time to help students review the book of Alma. Ask them to think about what they have learned from this book, both in seminary and in their personal scripture study. If needed, invite them to review some of the chapter summaries in Alma to help them remember. After sufficient time, invite several students to share their thoughts and feelings about something in the book that has impressed them.