Book of Mormon
Could Deliver Them but the Lord”
Alma teaches the baptismal covenant and baptizes many people.
King Noah betrays his people and suffers death by fire.
Limhi's people are chastened and eventually delivered by the Lord.
The Lord delivers Alma's people from bondage.
A study of this lesson will help inspire us to continually apply the principle
of repentance, become converted, and share the gospel.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 19 Handout (PDF)
King Noah's council of priests - Alma, a descendant of Nephi, was the sole
defender and the only known convert of the martyred Abinadi.
He was cast out from the council and had to flee for his life.
While in hiding he wrote "all the words Abinadi
had spoken" (Mosiah 17:4).
In following Abinadi's counsel, it appears that
Alma repented of his sins and iniquities.
Then he went "about privately among the people,
and began to teach the words of Abinadi" (v1).
Member missionary work: As we follow the example of Alma, we need to first repent and
then go forth and teach.
HAVE WE SWEPT OUR OWN HOUSE CLEAN AND FULLY REPENTED OF OUR SINS?
If we have first repented, then we should feel as Alma or Enos, having a burning concern for the
welfare of our brethren.
Baptism at Mormon.
The believers gathered to a place called Mormon.
Here Alma hid from king's men in a thicket of small trees.
Those that believed gathered to hear his words.
WHAT REQUIREMENTS AND COMMITMENTS DID ALMA CITE FOR THOSE WHO ARE BAPTIZED?
Come unto the fold of God (v8).
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
"To come into the fold of God: To be willing to
come into the fold of God is to be willing to join the Lord's Church; it
is to be led by the Good Shepherd, to be 'submissive, meek, humble, patient,
full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit
to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father' (Mosiah
3:19). It is to be attentive to the quiet but certain voice of the Shepherd
and to follow him and find comfort in his sheep fold." (DCBM,
Be called the people of God (v8).
Bear one another's burdens (v8).
HOW CAN WE HELP "BEAR ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS"?
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED AS OTHERS HAVE HELPED YOU BEAR BURDENS?
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED AS YOU HAVE HELPED OTHERS BEAR THEIR BURDENS?
An old Hindu proverb reads: "Help thy brother's
boat across--and lo! Thine own has reached the shore."
Mourn with those that mourn (v9).
Comfort those who need comforting (v9).
Stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places
WHAT DOES IT MEAN "TO STAND AS WITNESSES OF GOD AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL
THINGS, AND IN ALL PLACES"?
Heber C. Kimball wrote in his journal of the time when the Missouri mob
came into Far West and arrested the Prophet and plundered the homes of
the Saints. He was not afraid to "stand as a witness...at all times...and
in all places."
"The most of us had not
had any food for twenty-four hours, not having time to go to our houses
to get it. When these troops surrounded us, and we were brought into a
hollow square, the first persons that I knew were men who had once professed
to be beloved brethren, and they were the men who piloted these mobs into
our city, namely William McLellin and Lyman E. Johnson, two of the twelve;
John Whitmer and David Whitmer, two of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon;
William W. Phelps and scores of others, hail fellows well met. A portion
of the troops were painted like Indians, and looked horrible, led by Neil
Gillium, who styled himself 'The Delaware Chief'; who, with many others,
cocked their guns upon us and swore they would blow our brains out, although
we were disarmed and helpless.
"William E. McLellin wanted
to know where Heber C. Kimball was. Someone pointed me out to him as I
was sitting on the ground. He came up to me and said: 'Brother Heber, what
do you think of the fallen prophet now? Has he not led you blindfolded
long enough? Look and see yourself, poor, your family stripped and robbed,
and your brethren in the same fix; are you satisfied with Joseph?' I replied,
'Yes, I am more satisfied with him a hundred-fold than ever I was before,
for I see you in the very position that he foretold you would be in; a
Judas to betray your brethren, if you did not forsake your adultery, fornication,
lying and abominations. Where are you? What are you about? You, and Hinkle,
and scores of others; have you not betrayed Joseph and his brethren into
the hands of the mob, as Judas did Jesus? Yes, verily, you have; I tell
you Mormonism is true, and Joseph is a true prophet of the living God;
and you with all others that turn therefrom will be damned and go to hell,
and Judas will rule over you'." (Life of Heber C. Kimball, pp217-218)
HOW DO WE STAND AS WITNESSES? DO WE DO IT AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL PLACES?
HAVE YOU STOOD AS A WITNESS FOR GOD?
Be baptized in the name of the Lord as a witness that we have entered into
a covenant with him (v10).
Serve the Lord and keep his commandments (v10).
WHAT DOES ALMA STATE THAT WE SHALL RECEIVE IN RETURN FOR FULFILLING THESE
Be redeemed of God (v9).
Be numbered with those of the first resurrection (v9).
Have eternal life (v9).
Have his Spirit more abundantly upon us (v10).
Prior to baptizing, Alma said, "O Lord, pour out thy
Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart"
HOW MIGHT IT AFFECT OUR CAPACITY TO SERVE THE LORD IF WE OFFER PRAYERS
SIMILAR TO ALMA'S?
As Alma baptized he stated that he had "authority from
the Almighty God" (v13).
WHERE DID ALMA GET HIS AUTHORITY?
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "We may conclude
that Alma held the priesthood before he, with others, became disturbed
with King Noah. Whether this is so or not makes no difference because
in the Book of Mosiah it is stated definitely that he had authority.
"If he had authority to
baptize that is evidence that he had been baptized. Therefore, when
Alma baptized himself with Helam that was not a case of Alma baptizing
himself, but merely as a token to the Lord of his humility and full repentance."
(Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:203-204)
Alma organized a church and established basic principles for the church
Alma baptized 204 souls.
This became the church of God, or the church of Christ (v17).
The people of the Church were to impart of their substance, of their own
free will, to those who stand in need (v27-29).
We are to impart to one another both temporally and spiritually according
to their needs and their wants.
We understand the principle of providing for those in temporal need.
ARE WE AS FREE IN GIVING TO THOSE IN SPIRITUAL NEED?
ARE WE LOOKING FOR THOSE AROUND IN NEED OF SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCE?
There are many and they need those that have a spiritual abundance.
Alma ordained priests - one to every 50 members. Their role (this counsel
also applies to the members of the modern Church):
To teach concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
To teach only that which had been taught by the holy prophets.
To teach nothing save "it were repentance and faith on the Lord" (v20).
WHY DO YOU THINK ALMA COMMANDED THE PRIESTS HE ORDAINED TO "PREACH NOTHING
SAVE IT WERE REPENTANCE AND FAITH ON THE LORD"?
It was certainly a correction of the wicked practices of Noah's priests.
"Mormon writes that under Alma's leadership 'there was
nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God'
(Mosiah 25:22). To 'preach repentance' is to preach the gospel, to declare the
reality of Jesus Christ and him crucified, and to proclaim that salvation is in
him and through the principles and ordinances of his gospel. In commanding his
people to 'preach nothing but repentance,' it was not the intent of Alma or
Mosiah to preclude the preaching of other doctrines and principles, even
including that which the scriptures call the mysteries of the kingdom. Rather,
the teaching of the first principles must precede and thus lay the foundation
for that which must and will follow. It is a sad commentary when someone
utilizes such a text to cover spiritual lethargy, to excuse himself from the
responsibility to feed his spirit and thus continue to grow in gospel
understanding (see Hebrews 5:12-14). To limit our teaching to two principles of
the gospel would seem to question the wisdom of the Lord in giving us the
marvelous truths found in the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the
Pearl of Great Price, and, for that matter, the Bible, all of which he has
commanded us to teach." (DCBM, 2:260)
HOW MIGHT THIS COUNSEL APPLY AS WE TEACH THE GOSPEL IN CHURCH, TO OUR FAMILIES,
AND TO OUR NEIGHBORS?
As we work with our "neighbors" and new converts we must establish this
There should be no contention with one another.
They should look forward with one eye, having one faith, and one baptism
They should have their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards
HERE IS A CHALLENGE! WHAT CAN WE DO IN OUR FAMILIES AND IN OUR WARD
TO FULFILL ALMA'S COMMAND THAT OUR 'HEARTS BE KNIT TOGETHER IN UNITY AND
IN LOVE ONE TOWARDS ANOTHER?
HOW CAN WE MINIMIZE CONTENTION IN OUR FAMILIES AND IN OTHER RELATIONSHIPS?
Commanded to observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
Every day they should give thanks to the Lord.
Commanded to labor for their own support and not depend upon the labor
of others (certainly a correction from the administration of Noah).
By providing for their own support they would (v26):
Receive the grace of God.
Wax strong in the Spirit.
Have knowledge from God.
Thus being able to teach with power and authority from God.
Alma and his people found out about the coming of the Noah's army and fled from
the land into the wilderness (v34).
Bondage & Deliverance
Alma and his people fled into the wilderness.
There were divisions amongst the people of Noah.
Gideon was about to slay Noah when the armies of the Lamanites were seen
approaching the land.
Noah commanded the people to flee from the Lamanites.
When he saw they were about to overtake them, he commanded the men to leave
their wives and children and flee for their lives.
Many refused to do so and were brought into bondage under the Lamanites.
They agreed to pay the Lamanites half of their property and half of their
Limhi, son of Noah, appointed by the people to succeed his father.
The oppression and bondage was so great that Limhi and his people went
to war against the Lamanites three times and were defeated each time.
HOW DID LIMHI'S PEOPLE RESPOND WHEN THEY LOST THREE CONSECUTIVE BATTLES
TO THE LAMANITES?
WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE HUMBLED BY AFFLICTIONS AND OTHERS ARE NOT?
HOW CAN WE DEVELOP HUMILITY?
As you recall, a group led by Ammon came from the land of Zarahemla and
discovered the people of Limhi (Zeniffites) in bondage.
Principles of Bondage and Deliverance (see
Mosiah 7 where Limhi
speech addressed these principles):
Why the people of Zeniff fell into bondage:
Zeniff was overzealous to inherit the land of Nephi and made an unwise
treaty with the Lamanites.
Joseph Smith: "The moment we revolt at anything
which comes from God, the devil takes power." (TPJS, p181)
Sin dulls the spiritual and mental senses, thus making captivity easier.
The slaying of the prophet Abinadi.
As a consequence, these people no longer had a messenger from God to reveal
There were those few who listened to Alma and followed him, but the majority
were left without a spiritual leader.
Results of bondage:
The people do not prosper and their activities are stumbling blocks.
If the Lord's people sow filthiness, they will reap chaff; the effect is
If the Lord's people sow filthiness, they will reap the east wind and destruction
In Palestine, the east wind brings in the hot temperatures from the desert,
resulting in drought and famine. In contrast, the winds from the
west bring in the rains from the Mediterranean Sea, resulting in good crops.
Elder Marvin J. Ashton: "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 our wrong choices."
(Ensign, Nov 1990, p20)
Steps to follow to gain deliverance from bondage (Mosiah 7:33):
Turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart.
Trust in the Lord.
Serve the Lord with diligence of mind.
This was the pattern that led to the deliverance of both the people of
Limhi and the people of Alma.
Brother Monte S. Nyman: "One of the purposes
of the Book of Mormon is to warn us of situations and experiences among
the Nephites so that we may not have to experience similar situations and
experiences. This is certainly a reason we should understand the
Lord's promises to the Nephites about bondage. There are many kinds
of bondage in addition to physical bondage. A person may be bound
by intellectual pursuits, financial extensions, social customs, or many
other things. The formula is the same for deliverance from these
conditions, and there is none but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
who can and will deliver his people. Yet more important is the admonition
to prevent bondage in our lives." (Studies In Scripture, 7:268)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on this lesson. What can you do to avoid
Resources Used In This Lesson
Answers to Gospel Questions, Volume 3, by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon by Joseph Fielding McConkie and
Robert L. Millett (DCBM).
Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney.
Studies in Scripture, Volume 7, edited by Kent P. Jackson.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS).
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
14 March 2016