Alma 60-63

At the end of Alma 59, we know that Moroni is angry because of the needless suffering of the Nephite armies. He thinks the government is indifferent about the freedom of the people.

Alma 60– Moroni writes a passionate, angry letter to Pahoran, the chief judge in Zarahemla. He says if Pahoran doesn’t send help for himself and Helaman, he will slay him.

VS10-14 – The Slaying of the Righteous

Moroni wrote that the Lord permits the righteous to be slain so that “his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God” (Alma 60:13).

Soon after the beginning of World War II, the First Presidency of the Church stated: “In this terrible war now waging, thousands of our righteous young men in all parts of the world and in many countries are subject to a call into the military service of their own countries. Some of these, so serving, have already been called back to their heavenly home; others will almost surely be called to follow. But ‘behold,’ as Moroni said, the righteous of them who serve and are slain ‘do enter into the rest of the Lord their God’ [Alma 60:13], and of them the Lord has said ‘those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them’ (D.&C. 42:46). Their salvation and exaltation in the world to come will be secure. That in their work of destruction they will be striking at their brethren will not be held against them. That sin, as Moroni of old said, is to the condemnation of those who ‘sit in their places of power in a state of thoughtless stupor,’ those rulers in the world who in a frenzy of hate and lust for unrighteous power and dominion over their fellow men, have put into motion eternal forces they do not comprehend and cannot control. God, in His own due time, will pass sentence upon them” (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., and David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Apr. 1942, 95–96).

VS16 – United in Strength

  1. Joseph Smith – Unity is power; and when I reflect on the importance of it to the stability of all governments, I am astounded at the silly moves of persons and parties to foment discord in order to ride into power” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:198).
  2. Heber C Kimball –  “Power dwells in unity, not in discord; in humility, not pride; in sacrifice, not selfishness; obedience, not rebellion” (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball [1945], 64).

VS23-34 – Cleansing the Inward Vessel

  1. Cup visual – would you drink out of this cup?
  2. What is Moroni talking about as the inward vessel in these verses?
  3. If we think of ourselves as vessels, what would it mean to cleanse our inner vessel?
  4. Matthew 23: 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of aextortion and bexcess.

26 Thou blind Pharisee, acleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto awhited bsepulchres, which indeed appear cbeautiful outward, but are                 within full of dead men’s bones, and of all duncleanness.

28 Even so ye also outwardly appear arighteous unto men, but within ye are full of bhypocrisy and iniquity.

  1. President Ezra Taft Benson: “All is not well in Zion. As Moroni counseled, we must cleanse the inner vessel (see Alma 60:23), beginning first with ourselves, then with our families, and finally with the Church” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 3, or Ensign, May 1986, 4).
  2. 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)?
  3. Why is it important to cleanse the inner vessel of our lives before we can be fully effective in the Lord’s kingdom?

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Alma 61 – Pahoran responds to Moroni’s epistle and asks for help.

VS1-8 – Pahoran explains what has happened with the government.

The kingmen have risen up in rebellion against Pahoran and the freemen. The kingmen have led away many people with their flattery. The kingmen have withheld provisions and intimidated the freemen so they wouldn’t come help fight. Pahoran has fled to Gideon with as many men as possible, and has asked for others to help. Many are gathering to defend their country. The kingmen are afraid to battle Pahoran and the freemen, but have possession of Zarahemla and have a king, who is in alliance with the Lamanites.

VS9 – Pahoran is not angry at Moroni  but rejoices in the greatness of his heart.

1. Elder Neal A. Maxwell explained how differences can occur even between faithful members: “In a perfect church filled with imperfect people, there are bound to be some miscommunications at times. A noteworthy example occurred in ancient American Israel. Moroni wrote two times to Pahoran complaining of neglect because much-needed reinforcements did not arrive. Moroni used harsh language, accusing the governor of the land, Pahoran, of sitting on his throne in a state of ‘thoughtless stupor.’ (Alma 60:7.) Pahoran soon made a very patriotic reply, explaining why he could not do what Moroni wanted. Though censured, Pahoran was not angry; he even praised Moroni for ‘the greatness of your heart.’ (Alma 61:9.) Given the intense, mutual devotion of disciples, discussions as to how best to move the Lord’s work along are bound to produce tactical differences on occasion. Just as in this episode, sometimes scolding occurs that is later shown to be unjustified” (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [1979], 119).

2. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:“… Moroni … wrote to Pahoran ‘by the way of condemnation’ (Alma 60:2) and harshly accused him of thoughtlessness, slothfulness, and neglect. “Pahoran might easily have resented Moroni and his message, but he chose not to take offense. …“One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others. A thing, an event, or an expression may be offensive, but you and I can choose not to be offended—and to say with Pahoran, ‘it mattereth not.’ …“… If a person says or does something that we consider offensive, our first obligation is to refuse to take offense and then communicate privately, honestly, and directly with that individual. Such an approach invites inspiration from the Holy Ghost‍ and permits misperceptions to be clarified and true intent to be understood” (“And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” Ensign‍ or Liahona,‍ Nov. 2006, 91–92).

3. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described the fact that we, like Pahoran, can choose to not be offended:

“When we believe or say that we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else. …

“Through the strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you and I can be blessed to avoid and triumph over offense. ‘Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them’ (Psalm 119:165). …

“… As described by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, the Church is not ‘a well-provisioned rest home for the already perfected’ (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, 57; or Ensign, May 1982, 38). Rather, the Church is a learning laboratory and a workshop in which we gain experience as we practice on each other in the ongoing process of ‘perfecting the Saints.’

“Elder Maxwell also insightfully explained that in this latter-day learning laboratory known as the restored Church, the members constitute the ‘clinical material’ (see ‘Jesus, the Perfect Mentor,’ Ensign, Feb. 2001, 13) that is essential for growth and development. …

“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” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2006, 95–97; or Ensign, Nov. 2006, 90–91).

President James E. Faust of the First Presidency shared an account that illustrates the importance of not harboring ill feelings toward those who may try to offend or hurt us:

“In the beautiful hills of Pennsylvania, a devout group of Christian‍ people live a simple life without automobiles, electricity, or modern machinery. They work hard and live quiet, peaceful lives separate from the world. Most of their food comes from their own farms. The women sew and knit and weave their clothing, which is modest and plain. They are known as the Amish people.

“A 32-year-old milk truck driver lived with his family‍ in their Nickel Mines community. He was not Amish, but his pickup route took him to many Amish dairy farms, where he became known as the quiet milkman. Last October he suddenly lost all reason and control. In his tormented mind he blamed God for the death of his first child and some unsubstantiated memories. He stormed into the Amish school without any provocation, released the boys and adults, and tied up the 10 girls. He shot the girls, killing five and wounding five. Then he took his own life.

“This shocking violence caused great anguish among the Amish but no anger. There was hurt but no hate. Their forgiveness‍ was immediate. Collectively they began to reach out to the milkman’s suffering family. As the milkman’s family gathered in his home the day after the shootings, an Amish neighbor came over, wrapped his arms around the father of the dead gunman, and said, ‘We will forgive you.’ [In Joan Kern, “A Community Cries,” Lancaster New Era,‍ Oct. 4, 2006, p. A8.] Amish leaders visited the milkman’s wife and children to extend their sympathy, their forgiveness, their help, and their love. About half of the mourners at the milkman’s funeral were Amish. In turn, the Amish invited the milkman’s family to attend the funeral services of the girls who had been killed. A remarkable peace settled on the Amish as their faith sustained them during this crisis.

“One local resident very eloquently summed up the aftermath of this tragedy when he said, ‘We were all speaking the same language, and not just English, but a language of caring, a language of community, [and] a language of service. And, yes, a language of forgiveness.’ [In Helen Colwell Adams, “After That Tragic Day, a Deeper Respect among English, Amish?” Sunday News,‍ Oct. 15, 2006, p. A1.] It was an amazing outpouring of their complete faith in the Lord’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.’ [Matthew 5:44.]

“The family of the milkman who killed the five girls released the following statement to the public:

“‘To our Amish friends, neighbors, and local community:

“‘Our family wants each of you to know that we are overwhelmed by the forgiveness, grace, and mercy that you’ve extended to us. Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need. The prayers, flowers, cards, and gifts you’ve given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe. Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you.

“‘Please know that our hearts have been broken by all that has happened. We are filled with sorrow for all of our Amish neighbors whom we have loved and continue to love. We know that there are many hard days ahead for all the families who lost loved ones, and so we will continue to put our hope and trust in the God of all comfort, as we all seek to rebuild our lives.’ [“Amish Shooting Victims,” www.800padutch.com/amishvictims.shtml.]

“How could the whole Amish group manifest such an expression of forgiveness? It was because of their faith in God and trust in His word, which is part of their inner beings. They see themselves as disciples of Christ and want to follow His example.

“Hearing of this tragedy, many people sent money to the Amish to pay for the health care of the five surviving girls and for the burial expenses of the five who were killed. As a further demonstration of their discipleship, the Amish decided to share some of the money with the widow of the milkman and her three children because they too were victims of this terrible tragedy” (“The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” Ensign‍ or Liahona,‍ May 2007, 67–68).

President Thomas S. Monson:

“I am acquainted with a family which came to America from Germany. The English language was difficult for them. They had but little by way of means, but each was blessed with the will to work and with a love of God.

“Their third child was born, lived but two months, and then died. Father was a cabinetmaker and fashioned a beautiful casket for the body of his precious child. The day of the funeral was gloomy, thus reflecting the sadness they felt in their loss. As the family walked to the chapel, with Father carrying the tiny casket, a small number of friends had gathered. However, the chapel door was locked. The busy bishop had forgotten the funeral. Attempts to reach him were futile. Not knowing what to do, the father placed the casket under his arm and, with his family beside him, carried it home, walking in a drenching rain.

“If the family were of a lesser character, they could have blamed the bishop and harbored ill feelings. When the bishop discovered the tragedy, he visited the family and apologized. With the hurt still evident in his expression, but with tears in his eyes, the father accepted the apology, and the two embraced in a spirit of understanding” (“Hidden Wedges,” Ensign,‍ May 2002, 19).

61:9 and 60:36 – Moroni and Pahoran are similar in that they don’t seek for glory, but for the freedom of their people and country.

VS15-21 – Pahoran gives Moroni instruction to bring some of his men to Gideon to go against the kingmen. He said to leave Lehi and Teancum in charge of the rest of Moroni’s men to take care of the war in that part of the land. Pahoran and Moroni will fight to take back Zarahemla and support Lehi and Teancum with more food and provisions. He gives spiritual guidance to Moroni and tells him to comfort Lehi and Teancum, that the Lord will deliver them and not to fear.

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Captain Moroni and Pahoran are true patriots:

Captain Moroni

(Alma 60)

Pahoran

(Alma 61)

Boldness (verse 2) Sorrow for afflictions of others (verse 2)
Concern for welfare of others (verse 10) Desire to defend freedom (verse 6)
Remembrance of past blessings (verse 20) Not offended by criticism (verse 9)

Alma 62 – Victories for Pahoran and Moroni, Teancum is killed, peace is restored.

VS1-11 – Defeating the King-men

Moroni follows Pahoran’s instructions and marches to Gideon, gathering many men along the way while raising the standard of liberty. Moroni and Pahoran marched to Zarahemla and battled with Pachus. Pachus was killed and his men were taken prisoner. Pahoran retained the judgment seat. The king-men and Pachus’ followers were given the choice of fighting for liberty or being put to death. This was necessary for the safety of their country. Peace was restored to Zarahemla.

VS12-13 – Men and provisions were sent to Helaman, Teancum, and Lehi.

VS14-38 – Moroni and Pahoran take back the city of Nephihah. Moroni, Lehi and Teancum meet up in Lehi. Teancum is slain after killing Ammoron, and then the Nephites fight and drive the Lamanites out of Lehi.

Read 35, 37 – Discuss what we loved about Teancum.

VS40 – Though there was much iniquity among the Nephites, they were spared because of the prayers of the righteous.

VS41 – The Effects of Adversity

Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained that we choose how we will be affected by adversity:

“Surely these great adversities are not without some eternal purpose or effect. They can turn our hearts to God. … Even as adversities inflict mortal hardships, they can also be the means of leading men and women to eternal blessings.

“Such large-scale adversities as natural disasters and wars seem to be inherent in the mortal experience. We cannot entirely prevent them, but we can determine how we will react to them. For example, the adversities of war and military service, which have been the spiritual destruction of some, have been the spiritual awakening of others. The Book of Mormon describes the contrast:

“‘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’ (Alma 62:41).

“I read of a similar contrast after the devastating hurricane that destroyed thousands of homes in Florida some years ago. A news account quoted two different persons who had suffered the same tragedy and received the same blessing: each of their homes had been totally destroyed, but each of their family members had been spared death or injury. One said that this tragedy had destroyed his faith; how, he asked, could God allow this to happen? The other said that the experience had strengthened his faith. God had been good to him, he said. Though the family’s home and possessions were lost, their lives were spared and they could rebuild the home. For one, the glass was half empty. For the other, the glass was half full. The gift of moral agency empowers each of us to choose how we will act when we suffer adversity” (“Adversity,” Ensign, July 1998, 7–8).

President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“The same testing in troubled times can have quite opposite effects on individuals. …

“Surely you know some whose lives have been filled with adversity who have been mellowed and strengthened and refined by it, while others have come away from the same test bitter and blistered and unhappy” (“The Mystery of Life,” Ensign,‍ Nov. 1983, 18).

VS42-47 – Order restored.

Once there was peace again, Moroni gave command of his armies to his son, Moronihah, and retired. Pahoran went back to the judgment seat. Helaman began to preach again. Many repented and were baptized. The church was established again throughout all the land. New judges and chief judges were chosen.

VS48-51 – The Nephites were prospering, rich, but not proud, humble, remembered their deliverance, prayed much.

VS52 – Helaman died.

*What did we love about Helaman?____________________________________________________________________________________

Alma 63 – 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.

VS1-2, 10-13 – The sacred records were given to Shiblon (Helaman’s brother), and then Helaman (Helaman’s son) before Shiblon died.

VS3 – Moroni died. (Moroni was chief captain for about  18 years – 74BC to 56BC)

*Talk about what we love about Moroni.

VS4-9 – 5400 people left Zarahemla and went northward, led by a man named Hagoth. He was curious about what else was in the world. The next year other ships were built and more people joined him in the northward. They were never heard of more.

  1. To Saints in New Zealand, President Joseph F. Smith said, “You brothers and sisters from New Zealand, I want you to know that you are from the people of Hagoth” (quoted by Spencer W. Kimball in Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon,‍ vol. 3 [1991], 329).
  2. In the dedicatory prayer for the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, President David O. McKay said, “We express gratitude‍ that to these fertile Islands Thou didst guide descendants of Father Lehi, and hast enabled them to prosper” (“Dedicatory Prayer Delivered by Pres. McKay at New Zealand Temple,” Church News,‍ May 10, 1958, 2).
  3. President Spencer W. Kimball said: “It is reasonable to conclude that Hagoth and his associates were about nineteen centuries on the islands, from about 55 B.C.‍ to 1854 before the gospel began to reach them. They had lost all the plain and precious things which the Savior brought to the earth, for they were likely on the islands when the Christ was born in Jerusalem” (Temple View Area Conference Report, February 1976, 3; quoted in Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon,‍ vol. 3, 329).

VS14-15 – Nephite dissenters joined the Lamanites, but Moronihah defeated them (Moroni’s son and new chief captain).

 

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