BoM Lesson 19 (Mosiah 18-24)
Posted by jennywebb on May 25, 2008
I know Robert put up a general post for lessons for the month, but I was asked to teach unexpectedly so I thought I’d go ahead and post my notes as they were a bit long.
I found a lot of material on the wiki and in Jim’s previous notes very helpful, especially for chapter 18. So as to not be repetitive, I thought I would mainly post my thoughts/notes on chapters 19-24. Please note that this is a “class in review” so to speak—hopefully it might contain an idea for someone along the way.
I started class by covering briefly reviewing the historical arc of these chapters. I’m not really a fan of just reviewing the stories, but this section was so dense and complicated I thought it might help. I made a little “map” to use as a handout so people would have something visual to refer to (I could have just drawn it on the board, but that takes so much time sometimes). After the history lesson, we started a discussion.
- Why would Mormon include all this history?
- What could he be trying to teach or show?
- What do these chapters teach us about how we should treat our enemies?
- What do we learn about the Lamanites here? How do they act? (20:24-26, 23:28-9. 23:34, 20:15, 19:14)
- Who imposes the greatest burden upon whom? Or Who treats who the worst?
- Could Alma the Younger have been persecuted by the children of Amulon? (24:8) Why would that be important?
- What do these chapters teach us about trials/burdens/challenges and the Lord?
- Why didn’t the Lord free the people of Alma right away?
- Why did both the people of Limhi (who originally weren’t converted by Alma) and the people of Alma (those who responded quickly to the gospel) suffer?
- How do our trials help us stand as witnesses of God? (24:14)
We didn’t reach the second half of the questions (because I felt like we really did need to pay attention to chapter 18 as well), but some interesting thoughts emerged during the discussion, especially with regards to what these chapters might be teaching with regard to how we should treat our enemies.
The Lamanites are described repeatedly again as passionate, family-oriented, and compassionate people. They worry about their lost daughters and fight to protect their families. The people of Limhi fight back to protect their families. When they bring the Lamanite king before Limhi, he reacts with reason rather than revenge. They talk things out. The Lamanite king responds with humility rather than pride, and is also reasonable. A potential conflict is resolved rather than extended. The Lamanites are not portrayed as ruthless savages—the text is subtle. They have economic interests in keeping the people of Limhi captive. Their positions and actions are described from a viewpoint that is, if not sympathetic, at least understanding.
In contrast, the worst treatment appears to come from Amulon and the priests of Noah. The Lamanites are interested in holding captives so that they can get gain from them; Amulon, after recognizing Alma, is interested in extracting some twisted type of revenge. Amulon’s intentions are to persecute, to reinforce his position of power, to repress and deny the power of God as taught by Abinadi and Alma, and to instill that desire to persecute in the next generation. It is interesting that this persecution is in a sense internal: Nephite to Nephite.
From this discussion (who are our worst enemies and how should we deal with them/ourselves?), we transitioned back to chapter 18 and discussed the covenant of baptism and the shift towards being children of God (using much material and questions from the wiki and Jim’s notes). One point I will bring up was how it was interesting to see how the very crux of the new portion of the baptismal covenant—being willing to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort—was historically thematized in chapters 19-24: Limhi’s people being those that mourn (they suffer enormous losses against the Lamanites as they fight for freedom) and Alma’s people being those who stood in need of comfort against the physically and spiritually draining persecutions under Amulon.
We ended looking closely at what it means to be a literal child of God—all in all, I think it went all right. I’ll include the handout here as a PDF for any who are interested.
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