“August 10–16. Alma 53–63: ‘Preserved by His Marvelous Power,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“August 10–16. Alma 53–63,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2020
Record Your Impressions
When compared with the Lamanite armies, Helaman’s “little army” (Alma 56:33) of 2,000 young Nephites shouldn’t have stood a chance. Besides being few in number, Helaman’s soldiers “were all … very young,” and “they never had fought” (Alma 56:46–47). In some ways, their situation might seem familiar to those of us who sometimes feel outnumbered and overwhelmed in our latter-day battle against Satan and the forces of evil in the world.
But the army of Helaman had some advantages over the Lamanites that had nothing to do with numbers or military skill. They chose Helaman, a prophet, to lead them (Alma 53:19); “they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47); and they had “exceeding faith in that which they had been taught.” As a result, they were protected by “the miraculous power of God” (Alma 57:26). Even though they were all wounded in battle, “there was not one soul of them who did perish” (Alma 57:25). So when life inflicts spiritual wounds on each of us, we can take courage—the message of Helaman’s army is that “there [is] a just God, and whosoever [does] not doubt, [will] be preserved by his marvelous power” (Alma 57:26).
Miraculous stories like the victories of Helaman’s young warriors may be hard to relate to because they seem so improbable. But one reason such stories are in the scriptures is to show us that when we have faith, God can work miracles in our lives. As you read about the stripling warriors in the following verses, look for clues about how they exercised their faith in God, what made their faith so strong, and what made the miracles possible: Alma 53:10–22; 56:43–48, 55–56; 57:20–27; and 58:39–40. The following table suggests one way you could record what you find.
Characteristics of Helaman’s warriors:
What they were taught:
What they did:
Blessings they received:
After studying these verses, what do you feel inspired to do to exercise your faith?
Helaman mentioned the role of mothers in strengthening the faith of the stripling warriors (see Alma 56:47–48; 57:20–27). What roles have family members and others played in building your faith? What can you do to strengthen the faith of your family and friends?
Both Helaman and Pahoran had good reasons to be offended. Helaman was not receiving sufficient support for his armies, and Pahoran was falsely accused by Moroni of withholding that support (see Alma 58:4–9, 31–32; 60). What impresses you about their reactions in Alma 58:1–12, 31–37 and Alma 61? How can you follow their example in similar situations?
Elder David A. Bednar taught: “In some way and at some time, someone in this Church will do or say something that could be considered offensive. Such an event will surely happen to each and every one of us—and it certainly will occur more than once. … You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do determine how we will act. Please remember that you and I are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended” (“And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 91).
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some ideas.
The Anti-Nephi-Lehies covenanted not to shed blood. What covenants have we made with God? What do we read in Alma 53:10–17 that inspires us to be more faithful to our covenants?
How can we be more like Helaman’s young men? It might help to discuss what some of the phrases in these verses mean; for example, what does it mean to be “valiant … for strength and activity”? What does it mean to “walk uprightly before [God]”?
In times of great need, do we turn to Heavenly Father, as the Nephite soldiers did? How did He answer their prayers? How has He answered our prayers?
What do we learn from Pahoran about how to respond when we are falsely accused?
Here’s an object lesson that can help your family understand that we can choose to be either “hardened” or “softened” by our trials: Place a raw potato and a raw egg in a pot of boiling water. The potato and the egg represent us, and the water represents the trials we face. As the potato and egg boil, you could talk about some of the trials your family faces. What are some different ways to react to trials like these? According to Alma 62:41, how do our reactions to trials affect us? After the potato and egg are fully cooked, cut open the potato and crack open the egg to show that the same “trial” softened the potato and hardened the egg. What can our family do to be sure that our trials humble us and bring us closer to God?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.