Book of Mormon
“They Did Obey … Every Word of Command
Two thousand valiant young Ammonites covenant to fight for the liberty
of the Nephites.
The young soldiers exercise faith in God and fight courageously.
A study of this lesson will help us see that the Lord will strengthen us as we
follow the example of Helaman’s valiant young soldiers.
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 32 Handout (PDF)
The Two Thousand Sons
The war between the Nephites and the Lamanites continues.
The Nephites had promised to defend and protect the people of Ammon, the
When this noble people saw the suffering the Nephites were going through
in their behalf, "they were moved with compassion
and were desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country"
When Helaman saw that these people were about to break their oath and once
again take up arms, he spoke to them and persuaded them not to do so. WHY?
"And Helaman feared lest by so doing they should
lose their souls" (Alma 53:15).
WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING COVENANTS?
President Lorenzo Snow: "If we as Elders
fail to keep the covenants we have made, namely, to use our time, talent,
and ability for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God upon the earth, how
can we reasonably expect to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection
identified with the great work of redemption?" (Journal of Discourses,
"...therefore all those who had entered into this
covenant were compelled to behold their brethren wade through their afflictions,
in their dangerous circumstances at this time" (Alma53:15).
HOW WERE THE AMMONITES ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE WAR EFFORT?
"But behold, it came to pass they
had many sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not
take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies; therefore
they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able
to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites. And they entered into
a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the
land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that
they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases
to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage." (Alma 53:16-17)
The Ammonites not only agreed to serve and defend, but
they entered into a noble covenant to never give up their liberty and that they "would
fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage".
President Ezra Taft Benson tells us about the power of
entering into and keeping covenants and we see this demonstrated in the story of
the 2000 sons of the Ammonites:
"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." (Teachings of Ezra Taft
These 2000 young men asked Helaman to be their leader
(see Alma 53:19). Helaman was a prophet and high priest.
now it came to pass that Helaman did march at the head of his two thousand
stripling soldiers, to the support of the people in the borders of the
land on the south by the west sea." (Alma
Can you imagine a military unit being led by President Monson,
President Nelson, or any of those that have been
called to the apostleship?
WHY WOULD THE DECISION TO FOLLOW SUCH A LEADER, PARTICULARLY
A PROPHET, INCREASE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE SONS OF THE AMMONITES?
HOW MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE ARE WE IN OUR SPIRITUAL BATTLES WHEN WE FOLLOW
President Harold B. Lee: "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'." (CR, Oct 1970, p152)
WHAT KIND OF LEADERS MAY WEAKEN US IN OUR SPIRITUAL BATTLES, IF WE CHOOSE
TO FOLLOW THEM?
Helaman marched with his army to the city of Judea to strengthen the army
While in the city of Judea, the fathers of the Ammonite army brought in
supplies. The armies of Antipus and Helaman were joined by an additional
force of 2000 sent from Zarahemla.
Helaman wrote, "And the Lamanites, thus
seeing our forces increase daily, and provisions arrive for our support,
they began to be fearful, and began to sally forth, if it were possible
to put an end to our receiving provisions and strength." (56:29)
In a strategy to draw the Lamanites out of their fortress of protection,
Helaman led his army to a neighboring city as if they were carrying provisions.
This drew the Lamanite army out of the city of Antiparah in pursuit of
The army of Antipus then pursued the Lamanite army. Helaman's army
did not stop because the Lamanite army was in pursuit. The Lamanite
army dared not stop, once they realized Antipus was in pursuit, or they
would be surrounded.
"But it came to pass that they
did not pursue us far before they halted; and it was in the morning of
the third day of the seventh month. And now, whether they
were overtaken by Antipus we knew not, but I said unto my men: Behold,
we know not but they have halted for the purpose that we should come against
them, that they might catch us in their snare; Therefore what say ye,
my sons, will ye go against them to battle?" (Alma 56:42)
HOW DID THE YOUNG AMMONITE WARRIORS RESPOND TO HELAMAN'S
"Father, behold our God is with us, and he will
not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay
our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they
should overpower the army of Antipus"
Consider Helaman's commentary, "Now
they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think
more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives;
yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt,
God would deliver them" (Alma 56:47).
WHERE DID THESE ROOKIE WARRIORS LEARN SUCH GREAT
FAITH AND COURAGE?
Helaman states that these young warriors rehearsed to him the words of their mothers. Not only did they learn it from
their mothers, but they gave their mothers credit. (see
President Ezra Taft Benson: "Remember
well the Book of Mormon account of Helaman's two thousand stripling warriors
and how the teachings of their mothers gave them strength and faith. These
marvelous mothers taught them to put on the whole armor of God, to place
their trust in the Lord, and to doubt not. By so doing not one of these
young men was lost. (See Alma 53:10-23; 56:41-56.) My young brethren, I
counsel each of you to draw close to your own mother. Respect her. Honor
her. Receive your mother's counsel as she loves and instructs you in righteousness."
(Come Listen To A Prophet's Voice, pp1-2)
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 ten fold 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."
(Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p326)
Is there any question about the important role of
mothers? Satan is clearly waging a war against motherhood, for he
knows the power of righteous mothers teaching their children.
The Results: "...never were men known to have
fought with such miraculous strength" (Alma 56:56). The
battle was won. This great Lamanite army surrendered. And "there
had not one soul of them fallen to the earth" (Alma 56:56).
In a later battle with the Lamanites, the Nephite army was about to give
way. Helaman writes:
"But behold, my little band of
two thousand and sixty fought most desperately; yea, they were firm before
the Lamanites, and did administer death unto all those who opposed them. And as the remainder of our army were about
to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty
were firm and undaunted. Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform
every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their
faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said
unto me that their mothers had taught them." (Alma 57:19-21)
Again, the Nephites were victorious due to the strength of
HOW CAN WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO BE "FIRM AND UNDAUNTED"
IN THE FACE OF TEMPTATION, EVEN WHEN THEIR FRIENDS ARE "ABOUT TO GIVE WAY"?
Admonition of the First Presidency issued in 1942: "To
our young men who go into service, no matter whom they serve or where,
we say live clean, keep the commandments of the Lord, pray to Him constantly
to preserve you in truth and righteousness, live as you pray, and then
whatever betides you the Lord will be with you and nothing will happen
to you that will not be to the honor and glory of God and to your salvation
and exaltation. There will come into your hearts from the living
of the pure life you pray for, a joy that will pass your powers of expression
or understanding. The Lord will be always near you; He will comfort
you; you will feel His presence in the hour of your greatest tribulation;
He will guard and protect you to the full extent that accords with His
all-wise purpose. Then when the conflict is over and you return to
your homes, having lived the righteous life, how great will be your happiness--whether
you be the victors or of the vanquished--that you have lived as the Lord
commanded. You will return so disciplined in righteousness that thereafter
all Satan's wiles and stratagems will leave you untouched. Your faith
and testimony will be strong beyond breaking. You will be looked
up to and revered as having passed through the fiery furnace of trial and
temptation and come forth unharmed. Your brethren will look to you
for counsel, support, and guidance. You will be the anchors to which
thereafter the youth of Zion will moor their faith in man."
(CR, Apr 1942)
These were the kind of men these 2000 Ammonites were. Every man or woman
that enters military service should be this kind of person. Can you image
the power of an army filled with such soldiers?
The War Continues
It is interesting to note as we study these chapters on war, how the innovative
strategies of Moroni and other Nephite leaders actually stopped the shedding
of blood in many instances. This is a tribute to the greatness of
Captain Moroni as a man, a general, and a leader. He revered the
sanctity of life and did not wish to inflict death except when absolutely
necessary in the preservation of liberty and his beloved nation.
Moroni and Pahoran.
As you recall, Helaman had written to Moroni and spoken of his 2000 sons
and also his concern for the lack of support from the central government
for this war of defense.
In Alma 59 Moroni sent an epistle to Pahoran (chief judge) requesting him
and the people to send more assistance to the front lines where Helaman and his
army were fighting.
When the lack of support continued, "it came to
pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference
concerning the freedom of their country" (Alma 59:13).
Moroni writes again to Pahoran:
"But behold, great has been the slaughter
among our people; yea, thousands have fallen by the sword, while it might
have otherwise been if ye had rendered unto our armies sufficient strength
and succor for them. Yea, great has been your neglect towards us. And now behold, we desire
to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to
know the cause of your thoughtless state. Can you think to sit
upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while your enemies
are spreading the work of death around you? Yea, while they are murdering
thousands of your brethren--" (Alma 60:5-7)
"And now, my beloved brethren--for
ye ought to be beloved; yea, and ye ought to have stirred yourselves
more diligently for the welfare and the freedom of this people; but
behold, ye have neglected them insomuch that the blood of thousands
shall come upon your heads for vengeance; yea, for known unto God were
all their cries, and all their sufferings-- Behold, could ye suppose
that ye could sit upon your thrones, and because of the exceeding goodness
of God ye could do nothing and he would deliver you? Behold, if ye
have supposed this ye have supposed in vain." (Alma 60:10-11)
"But why should I say much concerning
this matter? For we know not but what ye yourselves are seeking for
authority. We know not but what ye are also traitors to your country.
Or is it that ye have
neglected us because ye are in the heart of our country and ye are surrounded
by security, that ye do not cause food to be sent unto us, and also
men to strengthen our armies?" (Alma 60:18-19)
"And except ye grant mine epistle,
and come out and show unto me a true spirit of freedom, and strive to strengthen
and fortify our armies, and grant unto them food for their support, behold
I will leave a part of my freemen to maintain this part of our land, and
I will leave the strength and the blessings of God upon them, that none
other power can operate against them-- And this because of their exceeding
faith, and their patience in their tribulations-- And I will come unto you, and if there
be any among you that has a desire for freedom, yea, if there be even a
spark of freedom remaining, behold I will stir up insurrections among you,
even until those who have desires to usurp power and authority shall become
extinct." (Alma 60:25-27)
These are rather strong words from Captain Moroni.
HOW DID PAHORAN RESPOND TO MORONI?
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM PAHORAN'S RESPONSE TO MORONI'S CHASTISEMENT?
"But behold, because of the exceedingly
great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had
become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and
many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did
humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility."
WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE EMBITTERED BY TRIALS WHILE OTHERS GROW AND ARE STRENGTHENED?
HOW CAN WE DEVELOP AN ATTITUDE THAT WILL HELP US GROW THROUGH ADVERSITY?
"And if men come unto me I will show
unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may
be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves
before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me,
then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27)
President Spencer W. Kimball: "Being human, we
would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure
ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors
upon such sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends
and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn
patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery. The sufferings of our
Savior were part of his education." (Teachings of Spencer W.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the events discussed in Alma 53-63.
What principles can you apply to your life from the story of Helaman's
two-thousand young soldiers?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Come Listen To A Prophet's Voice by Ezra Taft Benson.
Conference Reports (CR).
Journal of Discourses (JD).
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
27 June 2016