Book of Mormon Lesson #32: “They Did Obey Every Word of Command With Exactness” Alma 53-63
1. Ezra Taft Benson: You have been born at this time for a sacred and glorious purpose. It is not by chance that you have been reserved to come to earth in this last dispensation of the fullness of times. Your birth at this particular time was foreordained in the eternities. You are to be the royal army of the Lord in the last days. … In the spiritual battles you are waging, I see you as today’s sons of Helaman. Remember well the Book of Mormon account of Helaman’s two thousand stripling warriors. Gen. Conference, April 1986.
2. 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.” (D&C 21:6). Gen. Conference, October 1970.
3. 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 tenfold 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, pp. 326-27.
4. Thomas S. Monson: Who can help but be inspired by the lives of the 2,000 stripling sons of Helaman who taught and demonstrated the need of courage to follow the teachings of parents, the courage to be chaste and pure? In our lives … we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. … Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. … A moral coward is one who is afraid to do what he thinks is right because others will disapprove or laugh. Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well. … Someone has said that courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it. At times, courage is needed to rise from failure, to strive again. Gen. Conference, April 2004.
5. Teddy E. Brewerton: In the Brazil Sao Paulo South Mission there was an Elder Malheiros who entered into the field not being able to read or write very proficiently. He was even a little fearful of giving a prayer in public. But this young man, according to his mission president, Wilford Cardon, became one of the very greatest missionaries imaginable. The president asked him toward the end of his mission how he had turned into such a dynamic, very successful missionary. (He had baptized more than 200 people and had baptized every week for 52 consecutive weeks.) In a very humble manner Elder Malheiros answered, “Well, President, I never doubted you. You said one could baptize every week, so I knew I could baptize every week. I never doubted. It was not always easy, but I tried to obey.” … In Alma 57 we read about the 2,060 sons of Helaman who fought valiantly in many wars. … Yet not one lost his life because they knew “that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.” (Alma 56:47). In Alma 57:21 we read, “Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness.” They were totally obedient. Hence, they had unbelievable protection and success. Gen. Conference, April 1981.
6. Sheri Dew: The stripling warriors not only kept their covenants but they performed “every word of command with exactness” (Alma 57:21). In other words, they kept their covenants with precision. A half-hearted effort to keep the Sabbath day holy or be morally clean or tell the truth or dress modestly is really no effort at all. Joseph Smith didn’t say that we sort of believe in being “honest, true, c haste, benevolent and virtuous” (13th Article of Faith). On Mount Sinai the Lord didn’t declare, “Thou shalt not steal – unless you’re in a real bind.” He didn’t say, “Thou shalt rarely covet.” He didn’t say, “Thou shalt not commit adultery – very often.” He said, “Thou shalt not,” clearly delineating lines we are not to cross. … Men and women who sell their birthright for a mess of pottage will tell you that their demise began with something small, with some seemingly insignificant breach of integrity that escalated. The little things do matter. BYU Speeches of the Year, 21 March 2000.
7. George Albert Smith: [Alma 56:47-48 – mothers of the stripling warriors] I think that is one of the greatest tributes that has ever been paid to motherhood – that in circumstances such as they were experiencing, when they were surrounded by enemies, they could train their children to have that faith in God that would carry them through and would bring them home without losing their lives. … I realize that there is a force in the Latter-day Saint homes where our wives and mothers and daughters are and when it comes to faith in God and prayer it is equal to anything that the men may be able to muster. … I wonder if we appreciate the daughters of God as He appreciates them. Do we treasure their virtues and their faith and their devotion and their motherhood as our Heavenly Father does?
8. Richard G. Scott: Government and social plans will not effectively correct [violence], … nor can the best efforts of schools and churches fully compensate for the absence of the tender care of a compassionate mother and wife in the home. … As a mother guided by the Lord, you weave a fabric of character in your children from threads of truth through careful instruction and worth example. … Don’t be lured away from the plan of our God to the ways of the world, where motherhood is belittled, femininity is decried, and the divinely established role of wife and mother is mocked. Let the world go its way. You follow the plan of the Lord. Gen. Conference, Oct. 1996.
9. George Q. Cannon: It was about the 22nd day of June, 1834, when the cholera appeared in Zion’s Camp at Fishing River. During the next week it raged in the midst of the party. Sixty-eight of the Saints were attacked and thirteen of them died. … Joseph and Hyrum administered assiduously to the sick, and soon they were in the grasp of the cholera. They were together when it seized them; and together they knelt down and prayed for deliverance. Three times they bowed in supplication, the third time with a vow that they would not rise until deliverance from the destroyer was vouchsafed. While they were thus upon their knees a vision of comfort came to Hyrum. He saw their mother afar off in Kirtland praying for her absent sons, and he felt that the Lord was answering her cry. Hyrum told Joseph of the comforting vision and together they arose, made whole every whit. The Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, pp. 182-83.
10. Jack R. Christianson & K. Douglas Bassett: Helaman understood the principle that the Lord stands by us as we stand by those in authority over us. He continued his letter to Moroni by asking why the government had not sent the requested assistance. Then, almost as an apology for being negative, he wrote, “We do not desire to murmur” (Alma 58:35). Notice how Helaman shared an unpleasant truth in a manner that would still allow the lines of communication to remain open. His sensitivity to his leaders, as well as his subordinates, is commendable. His was not the expression of a weak-kneed foot soldier trying not to be responsible for the bad news he had borne. While he was not blind to the problem, he chose to relate the details to Moroni and at the same time reinforce his own support … recognizing full well that he could not expect God to stand by him if he didn’t stand by his leaders. … It is apparent that he believed that the blessings of deliverance were in direct correlation with this support of those who presided over him. Life Lessons from the Book of Mormon, pp. 175-76.
11. Gordon B. Hinckley: I have worked with seven Presidents of this Church. I have recognized that all have been human. But I have never been concerned over this. They may have had some weaknesses. But this has never troubled me. I know that the God of heaven has used mortal men throughout history to accomplish His divine purposes. They were the very best available to him, and they were wonderful. Gen. Conference, April 1992.
12. David A. Bednar: During a perilous period of war, an exchange of letters occurred between Moroni, the captain of the Nephite armies, and Pahoran, the chief judge and governor of the land. Moroni, whose army was suffering because of inadequate support from the government, 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. Pahoran responded compassionately and described a rebellion against the government about which Moroni was not aware. And then he responded, “Behold, I say unto you, Moroni, that I do not joy in your great afflictions, yea, it grieves my soul. … 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” (Alma 61:2, 9). 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. Gen. Conference, November 2006.
13. Boyd K. Packer: [Alma 62:41 – many hardened, many softened because of long war] 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. Memorable Stories and Parables, pp. 93-94.
14. : Spencer W. Kimball: [Speaking of Hagoth and his party] President Joseph F. Smith, the president of the Church, reported, “You brethren and sisters from New Zealand, I want you to know that you are from the people of Hagoth.” For New Zealand Saints, that was that. A prophet of the Lord had spoken. New Zealand Area Conference Report, Feb. 1976.
Next week: Helaman 1-5 “A Sure Foundation”