Alma 53 In this chapter we are introduced to the sons of the people of Ammon – 2,000 of them. We will hear more about them throughout this episode. It is a story of faith and courage. As we begin, we recall the great victory Moroni, Lehi and Teancum had over the Lamanite army. They ended up with many Lamanite prisoners of war.
Alma 53:1-7 Moroni decides to make use of the prisoners as a work force by requiring them to bury their own dead as well as the dead of the Nephites. In addition, they were required to dig a fortification ditch around the city of Bountiful, making it their greatest stronghold. Moroni found it easier to guard the prisoners when they were kept busy.
Alma 53:2 ^The words “in the more part” are in Acts 27:12.
Alma 53:5 In the 1830 edition page 375 it read “because it were easy to guard them” which was changed in later editions to “because it was easy to guard them.”
Alma 53:8-9 In the meantime, there was dissension and intrigue among the Nephites which placed them in dangerous circumstances.
Alma 53:10 Mormon now tells us about the dilemma of the people of Ammon. “And now behold, I have somewhat to say concerning the people of Ammon, who, in the beginning, were Lamanites; but by Ammon and his brethren, or rather by the power and word of God, they had been converted unto the Lord; and they had been brought down into the land of Zarahemla, and had ever since been protected by the Nephites.”
Alma 53:11 “And because of their oath they had been kept from taking up arms against their brethren; for they had taken an oath that they never would shed blood more; and according to their oath they would have perished; yea, they would suffered themselves to have fallen into the hands of their brethren, had it not been for the pity and the exceeding love which Ammon and his brethren had had for them.” They were true conscientious objectors who practiced pacifism.
Alma 53:13 “But it came to pass that when they saw the danger; and the many afflictions and tribulations which the Nephites bore for them, they were moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defense of their country.” The phrase “moved with compassion” is in Mark 6:34.
Alma 53:14-15 They were about to break their oath and take up arms, but Helaman feared that by doing so they would lose their souls. They would be breaking their covenants.
Alma 53:16 “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.” Even though they were Lamanites, they wanted to be identified as Nephites.
Alma 53:17 “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 convinced that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage.”
Alma 53:18 “Now behold, there were two thousand of those young men, who entered into this covenant and took their weapons of war to defend their country.”
Alma 53:19 All they requested, is that Helaman should be the military leader of the group.
Alma 53:20 Mormon has glowing remarks about these young men. “And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all – they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.”
Alma 53:21 “Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.” The words “of truth and soberness” are in Acts 26:25.
Alma 53:22 “And 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.” According to the dictionary “stripling” is “a youth in the state of adolescence, or just passing from boyhood to manhood.” The story of the stripling warriors presents a juxtaposition of pacifism (represented by their parents) and militarism (represented by their sons). We will see later in this lesson these original warriors are joined by sixty more – making a total of 2,060 warriors.
Alma 54:1 “AND now it came to pass in the commencement of the twenty and ninth year of the judges, that Ammoron sent unto Moroni desiring that he would exchange prisoners.” In the 1830 edition page 377 the word “commencement” was omitted but added in later editions.
Alma 54:2-4 Moroni was thrilled at the idea, because the Lamanites had taken many women and children as prisoners and he wanted them back. So, Moroni sent an epistle to Ammoron.
Alma 54:4 The words “an epistle” are in 1 Corinthians 5:9.
Alma 54:5 In the 1830 edition page 377 it read “I have wrote unto you” which was changed in the 1964 edition to read “I have written unto you.” The phrase “I have written unto you” is in 1 Corinthians 5:11.
Alma 54:6 In the epistle, Moroni calls the Lamanites to repentance. “Behold, I would tell you somewhat concerning the justice of God, and the sword of his almighty wrath, which doth hang over you except ye repent and withdraw your armies into your lands, or the land of your possessions, which is the land of Nephi.” The words “except ye repent” are in Luke 13:3.
Alma 54:7 “Yea, I would tell you these things if ye were capable of hearkening unto them; yea, I would tell you concerning that awful hell that awaits to receive such murderers as thou and thy brother have except ye repent and withdraw your murderous purposes, and return with your armies to your own lands.”
Alma 54:8-10 Moroni goes on to say, he expects the Lamanites will reject his words. Consequently, Moroni makes an oath to completely wipe them out if they do not repent and withdraw.
Alma 54:8 In the 1830 edition page 377 it read “But as ye have rejected these things” which was changed by adding the word “once.” Now it reads “But as ye have once rejected these things.”
Alma 54:9 ^The words “will pull down” are in Luke 12:18.
Alma 54:11 In the letter, Moroni calls Ammoron a child of hell. The phrase “child of hell” is from Matthew 23:15. He proposes that a Nephite man and his wife and children be exchanged for one Lamanite prisoner, as the Nephites had not taken any women or children as prisoners of war.
Alma 54:12 Then he expresses his righteous indignation. “And behold, if ye do not this, I will come against you with my armies; yea, even I will arm my women and my children, and I will come against you, and I will follow you even into your own land, which is the land of our first inheritance; yea, and it shall be blood for blood, yea, life for life; and I will give you battle even until you are destroyed from off the face of the earth.”
Alma 54:13 Finishing up the epistle, he says, “Behold, I am in my anger, and also my people; ye have sought to murder us, and we have only sought to defend ourselves. But behold, if ye seek to destroy us more we will seek to destroy you; yea, and we will seek our land, the land of our first inheritance.” In other words, the time for negotiating is about up.
Alma 54:14 “Now I close my epistle. I am Moroni; I am a leader of the people of the Nephites.”
Alma 54:15 Ammoron was insulted and angry when he read the epistle. The words “this epistle” are in 2 Thessalonians 3:14.
Alma 54:16-19 So, Ammoron replies with his own letter. He calls Moroni a murderer. He accuses Moroni’s ancestors of robbing them of their inheritance. (Goodness, that has been over 500 years ago – let it go! These guys really know how to hold a grudge). Ammoron says he is not intimidated by Moroni’s threats.
Alma 54:20 Ammoron agrees to the exchange of prisoners but promises to wage an eternal war against the Nephites until they are extinct.
Alma 54:21 “And as concerning that God whom ye say we have rejected, behold, we know not such a being; neither do ye; but if it so be that there is such a being, we know not but that he hath made us as well as you.” In other words, you think your ways are right and we think our ways are just.
Alma 54:22 “And if it so be that there is a devil and a hell, behold will he not send you there to dwell with my brother whom ye have murdered, whom ye have hinted that he hath gone to such a place? But behold these things matter not.” He is speaking of his brother, Amalickiah. The words “is a devil” are in John 6:70.
Alma 54:23 “I am Ammoron, and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem.” Zoram was Laban’s servant who gave Nephi the brass plates. Zoram had been given the choice to join Lehi’s party or die at the hand of Nephi.
Alma 54:24 *“And behold now, I am a bold Lamanite; behold, this war hath been waged to avenge their wrongs, and to maintain and to obtain their rights to the government; and I close my epistle to Moroni.”
Alma 55:1-2 When Moroni received Ammoron’s letter he was more, angry than ever. He decides not to exchange prisoners because of Ammoron’s pledge to destroy the Nephites.
Alma 55:1 ^The words “perfect knowledge of” are in Acts 24:22.
Alma 55:3 Moroni now puts a plan in place to rescue the Nephite prisoners.
Alma 55:4-7 Moroni found a man among his people by the name of Laman, who was one of the innocent Lamanite servants accused of killing Amalickiah. Moroni sent him and a small number of men to the city of Gid, where the Nephite prisoners were being kept.
Alma 55:7 In the 1830 edition page 379 it read “Moroni caused that Laman and a small number of men which was appointed to go with him.” It was changed in the 1964 edition to read “Moroni appointed Laman and caused that a small number of men should go with him.”
Alma 55:8-15 When Laman and his men were spotted by the Lamanite guards, he identified himself as a Lamanite who had escaped the Nephites and had brought some Nephite wine. Upon the insistence of the Lamanite guards, Laman gave them his wine. They drank until they were all drunk. Once they were all in an inebriated deep sleep, Laman returned to Moroni to inform him of the situation.
Alma 55:8 In the 1830 edition page 379 it read “And it came to pass that” to start the verse. In later editions that phrase has been omitted. In the 1830 edition page 346 it read “behold we have took of their wine” which was later changed in the 1964 edition to “behold we have taken of their wine.”
Alma 55:16-21 Moroni’s men went to the prisoner’s camp and while the guards sleeping, he snuck weapons to the prisoners inside the city of Gid. Then, Moroni’s men surrounded the armies of the Lamanites.
Alma 55:16 ^The phrase “insomuch that they were all” is in Mark 2:12.
Alma 55:19 ^The words “and for this cause he” are in Hebrews 9:15.
Alma 55:20 In the 1830 edition page 380 it read “and had gave them power” which was changed in the 1964 edition to read “and had given them power.”
Alma 55:22 “Now behold this was done in the night-time, so that when the Lamanites awoke in the morning they beheld that they were surrounded by the Nephites without, and that their prisoners were armed within.” That must have been quite a surprise!
Alma 55:23-24 Realizing they didn’t have a chance the Lamanites surrendered their weapons and begged for mercy. This was Moroni’s desire. So, he took them as prisoners and freed all of the Nephite hostages.
Alma 55:25-26 The Lamanite prisoners were put to work strengthening fortifications at Gid. Then, they were taken to Bountiful where they were held.
Alma 55:27-32 The fortunes of the Nephite armies increased with victories. And despite the Lamanite attempts to get them drunk and take advantage of them – as they themselves had been conquered – the Nephites remained strong, keeping the commandments of the Lord. In Book of Mormon times, the Nephites did not have a “Word of Wisdom” to live by as Mormons do today in Doctrine and Covenants 89. That Section was not given until 1833, and even then, it was about 100 years before keeping the Word of Wisdom became a temple recommend requirement under Church President Heber J. Grant. Here in the Book of Mormon, everyone drank wine.
Alma 55:31 In the 1830 edition page 381 the entire phrase “yea, they would not take of wine” has been omitted in later editions. And, the word “firstly” has been changed to “first.”
Alma 55:33-35 Moroni made, preparations to attack the city of Morianton and take back the city that once belonged to the Nephites. And thus, ended the twenty-nineth year of the reign of judges.
(no reference) Remember back in chapter 53, the reader was introduced to two thousand stripling soldiers, sons of the people of Ammon, who pledged to go to war to help defend the Nephites who were defending their parents. Their parents, Lamanite converts formerly known as Anti-Nephi-Lehies, had made a covenant never to take up arms again. Their sons volunteered to take their place in defending the Nephites and these converts against the Lamanites. At the request of these young Ammonite warriors, Helaman – son of Alma the Younger – was appointed to lead them into battle. Mormon now quotes a letter to Captain Moroni from Helaman in which Helaman reports what has happened with these stripling soldiers over the past three or four years as they joined the Nephite forces in battle. His letter covers the next three chapters in Alma.
In the 1830 edition page 382 the word “CHAPTER” at the beginning of Alma 56 was misspelled “GHAPTER.”
Alma 56:1-8 Helaman reviews the conditions which led up to these young men joining the Nephite army.
Alma 56:2 The phrase “My dearly beloved” is in 1 Corinthians 10:14.
Alma 56:5 In the 1830 edition page 382 it read “Therefore it supposeth me” which was changed in the 1964 edition to read “Therefore it sufficeth me.” ^The words “would that I should” are in Acts 18:14.
Alma 56:9-16 Helaman tells Moroni in his letter, about four years ago Helaman led his 2,000 to the city of Judea to join forces with Antipus, who was desperately needing reinforcements. Many Nephites had died in battle and all of the chief captains were taken prisoners by the Lamanites. The Lamanites had taken possession of many Nephite cities and Antipus was getting very discouraged about their ability to defend the city of Judea.
Alma 56:9 ^The words “have great joy” are in Philemon 1:7.
Alma 56:10 In the 1830 edition page 382 it read “because of the numerority of their forces having slain.” In the 1964 edition it was changed to “because their forces had slain.” The word “numerority” is a made-up word or term meaning a vast number.
Alma 56:17 With the arrival of Helaman’s sons, it gave them great hope and much joy.
Alma 56:18 When Ammoron saw that the Nephite army had been strengthened he decided not to attack the city of Judea.
Alma 56:19 “And thus were we favored of the Lord; for had they come upon us in this our weakness they might have perhaps destroyed our little army; but thus were we preserved.”
Alma 56:21-26 The Lamanites were determined not to attack but to just maintain those cities which they had taken.
Alma 56:24 The words “They durst not” are in Luke 20:40.
Alma 56:27-28 In the meantime, the Nephites were continually receiving provisions and more soldiers, building their force to ten thousand men.
Alma 56:29 “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.” ^The phrase “if it were possible” is in Acts 27:39.
Alma 56:30-37 Helaman now shares with Moroni his military strategy to lure the Lamanite army out of their secured city. Helaman led his “sons” towards the Lamanite city of Antiparah, as if carrying provisions to another city. When the superior Lamanite forces left their city to follow and overtake them, Antipus and his army would then be dispatched to follow the Lamanites, without being noticed. When the Lamanites saw that Antipus was following them, their intent was to try and slay Helaman’s army before Antipus could catch up.
Alma 56:30 In the 1830 edition page 384 it read “bring a stratagem into an effect upon them.” In the 1964 edition the word “an” was deleted.
Alma 56:37 The words “a straight course” are in Acts 16:11.
Alma 56:38 As nighttime fell, each army made camp for the night.
Alma 56:39-42 Before dawn, Helaman took his 2,000 soldiers into the wilderness and fled before the Lamanite army till darkness. The next morning the Lamanites continued the pursuit, but then they stopped abruptly chasing Helaman.
Alma 56:39 ^The words “would not suffer that” are in Mark 11:16.
Alma 56:43 Helaman wondered if they had been overtaken by Antipus or was just setting a snare for Helaman.
Alma 56:44 Helaman asked, “Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them in battle?”
Alma 56:45 “And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.” The phrase “And now I say unto you” is from Acts 5:38.
Alma 56:46 “For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: 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.”
Alma 56:47 Helaman will now point out the great influence the mothers of these young men had on them. “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 56:48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” They were all mother’s boys. This should be called the 2,000 amazing mothers.
Alma 56:49 Next, Helaman and his young army, who had never fought in a battle before turned around and headed straight for the Lamanite army. They found that the armies of Antipus had overtaken the Lamanites and a terrible battle commenced.
Alma 56:50-51 By the time Helaman’s army arrived, Antipus and many of his leaders had fallen. And, the Lamanites were winning the battle.
Alma 56:50 The words “fall into the hands of” are in Hebrews 10:31 and, “obtained their purpose” are in Acts 27:13.
Alma 56:52-54 When Helaman’s army came upon the Lamanites, the entire Lamanite army turned upon Helaman. Then, Antipus and his army joined in to help. So, many Lamanites were killed that they were compelled to surrender their weapons and become prisoners of war.
Alma 56:55 Helaman states, “And now it came to pass that when they had surrendered themselves up unto us, behold, I numbered those young men who had fought with me, fearing lest there were many of them slain.”
Alma 56:56 “But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that the did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war.”
Alma 56:57 The prisoners were sent to Zarahemla, and Helaman’s army marched back to the city of Judea.
Alma 57:1-5 At this point, Helaman describes the receipt of a letter from Ammoron who proposed an exchange of the prisoners Helaman had taken to Zarahemla in exchange for the city of Antiparah. But as it worked out, the Lamanites in Antiparah abandoned the city and fled to other cities and Antiparah fell into Helaman’s hands.
Alma 57:6 Helaman received more provisions and an additional 60 sons of the Ammonites joined his band of 2,000.
Alma 57:7-12 Next, Helaman’s army surrounded the city of Cumeni and cut off all Lamanite supplies that were trying to reach the soldiers. Eventually, the Lamanites lost hope of retaining the city and surrendered to Helaman.
Alma 57:12 ^The words “not many days” are in Luke 15:13 and, “we had accomplished” are in Acts 21:5.
Alma 57:13-15 There were so many prisoners causing trouble for the Nephites after they surrendered that two thousand, of them were slain and the rest were sent to the land of Zarahemla.
Alma 57:16-18 Unfortunately, on the way to Zarahemla those prisoners escaped. So, the soldiers returned to join up with Helaman just in time because Ammoron and his army with new supplies were about to attack.
Alma 57:17 In the 1830 edition page 388 it read “For behold Ammon had sent” which was changed in later editions from “Ammon” to “Ammoron.”
Alma 57:19 “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.”
Alma 57:20 “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.”
Alma 57:21 “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 57:22-23 The Nephites won the victory and retained the city of Cumeni but suffered great loss in the process.
Alma 57:24-25 One thousand Nephites had been slain and two hundred of the sons of Helaman had fainted due to loss of blood, not one of those 200 died.
Alma 57:25 In the 1830 edition page 388 it read “and also the foes of our whole army” which was changed in later editions from “foes” to “joy.”
Alma 57:26 “And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared which there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe – that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by this marvelous power.”
Alma 57:27 “Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.”
Alma 57:28-34 After tending to the wounded and burying the dead, the mystery of the lost prisoners back in verses 16-17 came to light. Gid, the chief captain over this expedition reported that as they made their way to Zarahemla, word came from Nephite spies that Helaman was under attack. The news excited the Lamanite prisoners throwing them into rebellion. Gid and his troops had to kill many of them, though some escaped. He then made haste in returning to Cumeni to assist Helaman in the fighting.
Alma 57:31 In the 1830 edition page 389 it read “the armies of the Lamanites are a marching.” In later editions the word “a” was deleted.
Alma 57:35 “And behold, we are again delivered out of the hands of our enemies. And blessed is the name of our God; for behold, it is he that has delivered us; yea, that has done this great thing for us.” ^The words “And blessed is the” are in Luke 1:42.
Alma 57:36 “Now it came to pass that when I, Helaman, had heard these words of Gid, I was filled with exceeding joy because of the goodness of God in preserving us, that we might not all perish; yea, and I trust that the souls of them who have been slain have entered into the rest of their God.” The phrase “with exceeding joy” is in Jude 1:24.
Alma 58 Helaman’s epistle or letter to Captain Moroni ends with this chapter. It is a long and detailed account of all the conflicts Helaman’s army had with the Lamanites. That makes us wonder how he had the time to write it all down. And practically speaking, what did he write it on – metal?
Alma 58:1-9 Next, Helaman describes his desire to take the city of Manti but could not with his small bands of men nor could he decoy his opponents as he did before. Owning to the numerical and provisional advantages of the Lamanites, Helaman decides to wait for new supplies and reinforcements from the governor in Zarahemla. All he received was some food, and a couple thousand more men. On the other side, the Lamanites were growing more confident in their support and strength in numbers.
Alma 58:3 In the 1830 edition page 390 it read “those parts of the land which we had retained.” In the 1964 edition “retained” was changed to “regained.”
Alma 58:7 ^The words “for the space of” are in Acts 19:8.
Alma 58:9 ^The phrase “filled with fear” is in Luke 5:26 and, “lest by any means” in Galatians 2:2 and, “of God should come” is in Luke 17:20.
Alma 58:10 “Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.” The words “in prayer to God” are in Luke 6:12.
Alma 58:11 “Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.”
Alma 58:12-29 Going to the city of Manti, the Nephites camped outside the city so that the Lamanites could see their lack of strength, which led them to plan an attack upon the Nephites. But Helaman divided his troops, sending Gid and Teomner with small numbers of troops secretly into the wilderness with one group on the right and the other on the left. When the Lamanites left the city to attack Helaman’s troops, Helaman’s men retreated into the wilderness – drawing the Lamanites after them. In the meantime, the men of Gid and Teomner came out of the wilderness and overtook the city of Manti. Circling back, Helaman’s men returned to Manti. When the Lamanites realized they had been duped, they fled into the wilderness.
Alma 58:15 ^The words “supposing that they” are in Acts 27:13.
Alma 58:24 In the 1830 edition page 392 it read “exceeding fraid” which was changed in the 1964 edition to “exceedingly afraid.”
Alma 58:29 The phrase “they were astonished” is in Acts 12:16.
Alma 58:30 “Yea, and it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites did flee out of all this quarter of the land. But behold, they have carried with them many women and children out of the land.”
Alma 58:31 “And those cities which had been taken by the Lamanites, all of them are at this period of time in our possession; and our fathers and our women and our children are returning to their homes, all save it be those who have been taken prisoners and carried off by the Lamanites.”
Alma 58:33 “But behold, we trust in our God who has given us victory over those lands, insomuch that we have obtained those cities and those lands, which were our own.”
Alma 58:34-38 Helaman wonders why he and his armies did not get more help from the government, and if perhaps Moroni has needed all the extra help available from the government. He brings up the possibility that there may be trouble with the government, which there is.
Alma 58:39 “And those sons of the people of Ammon, of whom I have so highly spoken, are with me in the city of Manti; and the Lord had supported them, yea, and kept them from falling by the sword, insomuch that even one soul has not been slain.” I am sure that was great news for their moms back at home.
Alma 58:40 “But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statues, and his judgments, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come.” He is referring to their faith in Christ, who will be born in 62 years from this time. The phrase “stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free” is similar, to Galatians 5:1 and, “which is to come” is in Ephesians 1:21.
Alma 58:41 Helaman now ends his epistle. “And now, my beloved brother, Moroni, may the Lord our God, who has redeemed us and made us free, keep you continually in his presence; yea, and may he favor this people, even that ye may have success in obtaining the possession of all that which the Lamanites have taken from us, which was for our support. And now, behold, I close mine epistle. I am Helaman, the son of Alma.”
Alma 59:1 These wars have been going on for about 12 years. “NOW it came to pass in the thirtieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, after Moroni had received and had read Helaman’s epistle, he was exceedingly rejoiced because of the welfare, yea, the exceeding success which Helaman had had, in obtaining those lands which were lost.”
Alma 59:2 Then Moroni sends an epistle to Pahoran – the chief judge of the Nephite nation – to resupply and strengthen Helaman’s army.
Alma 59:3 The words “an epistle” are in 1 Corinthians 5:9.
Alma 59:4 Moroni now turns his attention to recapturing the rest of the Nephite cities taken by the Lamanites.
Alma 59:5-10 As he planned his course of action, Nephihah was attacked and fell to the Lamanites with a great slaughter. When Moroni learned of this, he was sorrowful because he felt the government had let them down by not sending reinforcements and supplies.
Alma 59:11-13 Moroni and his chief captains felt their government was indifferent concerning the freedom of their country and the citizens were becoming wicked. They were afraid that the behavior of the citizens will stop the blessings of God.
Alma 59:11 The phrase “fall into the hands of” is in Hebrews 10:31.
Alma 60:1-11 In his caustic epistle, Moroni pleads with Pahoran for men and provisions for himself and Helaman. His frustration takes the form of accusing those in leadership with sinning against those defending the nation by being more concerned with their own comfort and power than for those dying to defend their freedom.
Alma 60:1 ^The words “the affairs of this” are in 2 Timothy 2:4.
Alma 60:9 The phrase “insomuch that many” is in Mark 9:26 and, “perish with hunger” is in Luke 15:17.
Alma 60:12-17 Accusing the leaders of neglecting the thousands who have died and of contributing to their deaths by not supporting them appropriately, Moroni threatens them with vengeance from God for being derelict in their duties. Placing much blame on the distraction caused by the king-men, he wonders if the leaders are also traitors to the country.
Alma 60:12 ^The words “I say unto you, if ye have” are in Matthew 21:21.
Alma 60:16 ^The phrase “power and authority” is from Luke 9:1.
Alma 60:17 ^The words “they should suffer” are in Galatians 6:12.
Alma 60:18 ^The words “ye yourselves are” are in 1 Thessalonians 4:9.
Alma 60:20 “Have ye forgotten the commandments of the Lord your God? Yea, have ye forgotten the captivity of our fathers? Have ye forgotten the many times we have been delivered out of the hands of our enemies?” In the 1830 edition page 397 it read “forgot” three times in the verse. In later editions they were changed to “forgotten” all three times.
Alma 60:21 “Or do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us?
Alma 60:23 In the 1830 edition page 397 it read “God hath said that The inward vessel.” The word “The” is capitalized despite being in the middle of the sentence. In later editions it was changed to a lower-case “t”.
Alma 60:24-35 Again and again asking for proper support for those defending the liberty of the inhabitants, on two occasions Moroni goes so far as to threaten to come to Zarahemla and set things right with the sword if necessary.
Alma 60:24 In the 1830 edition page 397 it had the word “retained” which was changed in later editions to “regained.”
Back in Alma 51:6-7 we were introduced to the “freemen”. They were a Nephite group vowing to defend freedom. It appears that this republican form of government is similar, to Joseph Smith’s environment. When the Puritans settled in North America, they drew up a document known as the “Oath of a Freeman.” So, the term “freeman” was commonly used in Joseph Smith’s day. This would seem to be the inspiration for the freemen in the Book of Mormon. Also, in Smith’s day it was common to refer to America as the “land of liberty,” a phrase found in Mosiah 29:32, 35, 39 about 92 BC. Anachronistically, the Nephites sound more like 19th century Americans than a society before the time of Christ.
Alma 60:24 ^The words “in these parts” are in Romans 15:23.
Alma 60:30 ^The phrase “I come unto you” is from 1 Corinthians 14:6.
Alma 60:32 ^The words “things of this world” are in 1 Corinthians 1:27.
Alma 60:33 ^The phrase “sins and iniquities” is in Hebrews 10:17.
Alma 60:34 In the 1830 edition the word “adhere” was misspelled “adhear.”
Alma 60:36 Moroni reassures the government officials in Zarahemla that his motives are not selfish. “Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country. And thus I close mine epistle.”
Alma 61:1-4 No sooner had Moroni sent his epistle than he received a response from Pahoran. In it, Phaoran expresses his grief at the suffering of Moroni and his men and then reveals that he has had to flee from Zarahemla to Gideon because of the rebellion by the king-men against Pahoran as chief governor and the freemen.
Alma 61:4 The words “the judgment-seat” are in Romans 14:10.
Alma 61:5-8 Pahoran has sought to regroup, as daily they are joined by more and more individuals who are opposed to the illegitimate take-over. They have set over themselves a king who is in league with the king of the Lamanites to defeat Moroni.
Alma 61:9 “And now, in your epistle you have censured me, but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart. I, Pahoran, do not seek for power, save only to retain my judgment-seat that I may preserve the rights and the liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free.” The words “hath made us free” are in Galatians 5:1.
Alma 61:10-13 Pahoran stresses that his people will resist wickedness with bloodshed if necessary.
Alma 61:14 “Therefore, my beloved brother, Moroni, let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words, yea, such as rebellions and dissentions, let us resist them with our swords, that we may retain our freedom, that we may rejoice in the great privilege of our church, and in the cause of our Redeemer and our God.”
Alma 61:15 “Therefore, come unto me speedily with a few of your men, and leave the remainder in the charge of Lehi and Teancum; give unto them power to conduct the war in that part of the land, according to the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in them.”
Alma 61:16 “Behold I have sent a few provisions unto them, that they may not perish until ye can come unto me.”
Alma 61:17 “Gather together whatsoever force ye can upon your march hither, and we will go speedily against those dissenters, in the strength of our God according to the faith which is in us.” The phrase “according to the faith” is in Titus 1:1.
Alma 61:18 “And we will take possession of the city of Zarahemla, that we may obtain more food to send forth unto Lehi and Teancum; yea, we will go forth against them in the strength of the Lord, and we will put an end to this great iniquity.” The words “that we might obtain” are in Hebrews 4:16.
Alma 61:19-21 Then, Pahoran admits to Moroni that he had been a bit worried as to whether or, not it was justifiable to go to war against the citizens of his own country. But Moroni’s words in his letter took care of that worry.
Alma 61:21 “See that ye strengthen Lehi and Teancum in the Lord; tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them, yea, and also all those who stand fast in that liberty wherewith God hath made them free. And now I close mine epistle to my beloved brother, Moroni.”
Alma 62:1-10 Upon receiving this epistle, Captain Moroni took courage, being filled with joy over the faithfulness of Pahoran, though he mourned that Pahoran had been driven from his rightful judgment seat. Thus, in accordance with Pahoran’s instructions, leaving Lehi and Teancum in charge of his army, Moroni took a small band of men and marched toward Gideon. Raising the standard of liberty along the way, thousands began to flock to it and the cause it represented. Uniting with the forces of Pahoran they soon outnumbered the forces of Pachus, who was king of those dissenters and charged with treason. In the ensuing battle, Pachus was slain, his men taken prisoners, and Pahoran restored to his judgment-seat. The men of Pachus and the king-men were tried and put to death.
Alma 62:1 The phrase “with exceedingly great joy” is from Matthew 2:10.
Alma 62:11 “And thus ended the thirtieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi; Moroni and Pahoran having restored peace to the land of Zarahemla, among their own people, having inflicted death upon all those who were not true to the cause of freedom.”
Alma 62:12-29 Moroni immediately caused six thousand men and provisions to be sent to Helaman and another six thousand along with food to Lehi and Teancum. Moroni and Phaoran then turned their attention to the city of Nephihah, which the Lamanites held. On their way they encountered a large, number of Lamanites whom they defeated, forcing four thousand prisoners to make a covenant that they would never fight against the Nephites again. Those Lamanites were then sent to live among the people of Ammon. Arriving at Nephihah, Moroni’s army set up camp. During the night, Moroni and his troops climbed over the city wall undetected and fought the Lamanites – killing some, while others fled. Not one Nephite lost his life. Those Lamanites taken prisoner wanted to join the people of Ammon and become a free people, relieving the Nephites of the burden of caring for so many prisoners.
Alma 62:16 In the 1830 edition page 402 it read “after they had took them” which was changed in the 1964 edition to read “after they had taken them.” ^The words “them to enter into” are in Luke 8:32.
Alma 62:24 ^The phrase “they were affrighted” is from Mark 16:5.
Alma 62:29 ^The words “insomuch that they were” are in Mark 2:12.
Alma 62:30-35 Moroni, Lehi, and Teancum went forth from city to city in the land pursuing the Lamanites. Finally, all the armies of the Lamanites were gathered, together in the land of Moroni and Ammoron their king was with them. Moroni, Lehi, and Teancum had their armies surround the borders of the land and camped for the night.
Alma 62:30 In the 1830 edition page 403 it read “and having retained many of the Nephites” which was changed in the 1964 edition to read “and having regained many of the Nephites.”
Alma 62:31 In the 1830 edition page 403 it read “the Lamanites saw that Moroni was a coming” which in later editions the word “a” was deleted.
Alma 62:33 ^The words “in one body” are in Ephesians 2:16.
Alma 62:36 We are now going to see a familiar strategy played by the Nephites. “And it came to pass that Teancum in his anger did go forth into the camp of the Lamanites, and did let himself down over the walls of the city. And he went forth with a cord, from place to place, insomuch that he did find the king; and he did cast a javelin at him, which did pierce him near the heart. But behold, the king did awaken his servants before he died, insomuch that they did pursue Teancum, and slew him.”
Alma 62:37 “Now it came to pass that when Lehi and Moroni knew that Teancum was dead they were exceedingly sorrowful; for behold, he had been a man who had fought valiantly for his country, yea, a true friend to liberty; and he had suffered very many exceedingly sore afflictions. But behold, he was dead, and had gone the way of all the earth.”
Alma 62:38-39 The next day, a mournful Moroni took the city – slaying the Lamanites with a great slaughter. And the year ended.
Alma 62:40-44 The war, which has lasted about fourteen years, had left many hardened. But the afflictions of war had at the same time softened them, making them humble before God. At war’s end, Moroni and Helaman returned to Zarahemla. Moroni retired to his own house and yielded up the command of his armies to his son, Moronihah. Pahoran returned to his judgment-seat, and Helaman returned to his church calling to preach the word of God.
Alma 62:44 The phrase “to preach unto the people” is from Acts 10:42.
Alma 62:45 “Therefore, Helaman and his brethren went forth, and did declare the word of God with much power unto the convincing of many people of their wickedness, which did cause them to repent of their sins and to be baptized unto the Lord their God.” In the 1830 edition page 405 it read “declare the word of Gid” which was changed in later editions to “declare the word of God.” ^The words “the word of God with” are in Acts 4:31 and, “to be baptized” are in Acts 10:48.
Alma 62:46 “And it came to pass that they did establish again the church of God throughout all the land.”
Alma 62:47 “Yea, and regulations were made concerning the law. And their judges, and their chief judges were chosen.”
Alma 62:48-51 The people of Nephi began to prosper again but were not lifted up unto pride and the Lord did bless them.
Alma 62:52 “And it came to pass that all these things were done. And Helaman died, in the thirty and fifth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.”
Alma 63 We now come to the end of the book of Alma, which will have covered the first 39 years of the reign of the judges.
Alma 63:1-2 Now that Helaman has died, the responsibility for the sacred things – the records, compass, sword of Laban, etc. – are passed to Helaman’s brother, Shiblon.
Alma 63:2 The phrase “he was a just man” is in Mark 6:20.
Alma 63:3 Then we are told that Moroni died. Remember, he was 25 years old when he was appointed chief captain over the Nephite armies. So, that would make him about 43 years old at his death.
Alma 63:4 At this time, there was a large out-migration of Nephite citizens who departed Zarahemla into a land northward to colonize that region.
Alma 63:5 “And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward.”
Alma 63:6 “And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward. And thus ended the thirty and seventh year.” ^The words “enter therein and” are in Hebrews 4:6.
Alma 63:7 “And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built other ships. And the first ship did also return, and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward.”
Alma 63:8 “And it came to pass that they were never heard of more. And we suppose that they were drowned in the depths of the sea. And it came to pass that one other ship also did sail forth; and whither she did go we know not.” So, the first group who sailed returned safely, while the next set of travelers were never heard from again, presumed drowned. In the 1830 edition page 406 it read “they were drowned up in the depths” which was changed in the 1964 edition to delete the word “up.”
Hagoth was a ship builder who lived about 55 BC. At least two of the ships he built were lost, and the occupants of the one ship were presumed drowned. It is believed by LDS Church leaders and scholars that the peoples of the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii, Polynesia, and New Zealand, are descendants of the Nephite Hagoth and his followers. Since the Nephites were supposed to be descendants of Israel, many Latter-day Saints in Polynesia have come to believe that Hagoth is their ancestor. Non-LDS scholars dismiss this hypothesis, based on genetic, archeological, and anthropological evidence which indicates that Polynesian peoples come from Southeast Asia. The Book of Mormon does not tell us that Hagoth was on board any of the ships that were lost. It doesn’t tell us he was a captain or an explorer. All we know is that the skilled Hagoth’s main objective was to profit from the shipping industry. Besides, Polynesians can’t be from Hagoth’s ships, since his ships sailed north, not south. Polynesia is south of Central America, not North.
Alma 63:10 “And it came to pass in the thirty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, Shiblon died also, and Corianton had gone forth to the land northward in a ship, to carry forth provisions unto the people who had gone forth into that land.”
Alma 63:11 Before Shiblon’s death, he conferred those sacred things upon the son of his brother, Helaman. Helaman’s son, was also called Helaman.
Alma 63:12 Helaman wrote down or engraved the records and had them distributed among his people.
Alma 63:13-15 The book of Alma closes with a brief account of Nephite dissenters who again stirred up the Lamanites to attach Moronihah and his army. However, the Lamanites were driven back and suffered great loss.
Alma 63:16 “And thus ended the thirty and ninth year of the reign of the judges over the peoples of Nephi.”
Alma 63:17 “And thus ended the account of Alma and Helaman his son,
and also Shiblon, who was his son.”
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Until next time, God Bless!