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BOM #25 and #26

Posted by cherylem on July 21, 2008

Book of Mormon Lessons 25 and 26

My notes for these lessons come from a variety of sources, including Mack Stirling’s Institute notes.


Review – overview
The book of Alma is the longest book in the Book of Mormon.
• Abridged by Mormon, principally from the records of three men, Alma 2 (chaps. 1-16, 27-44), Ammon (chaps. 17-26), and Alma’s son Helaman 1 (chaps. 45-62), and concludes with remarks by Mormon (chap. 63).
• Broad theme: the preaching of the word of God in pure testimony is mightier than politics or the sword in establishing peace, justice, equality, and goodness (Alma 4:19;31:5).
a) Examples of individuals who were converted to faith in the anticipated Savior, Jesus Christ
b) Examples of people who were given victory by God over their wicked and ambitious enemies.
• Book of Alma covers 39 years (91-52 B.C.).

Great Mission of Mosiah’s sons to the Lamanites

• Mosiah’s four sons converted by an angel (along with Alma)
• After conversion they desire to go on a mission to the Lamanites and Mosiah receives a promised that their lives would be preserved (Mosiah 28:6-7)
• Lord admonishes them to be patient in affliction (Mosiah 17:11; Alma 20:29)

Ammon converts Lamoni
• Becomes the servant of the King (Alma 18:10; Mark 9:34-35)
• Smites off the arms of robbers at the waters of Sebus
• Lamoni is very impressed and asks Ammon the source of his power. (Alma 18:33-35 ‡ Holy Spirit
• Ammon preaches about creation, fall, atonement ‡ Word of God
• Lamoni, then Queen, Ammon, servants are overcome and fall down
Alma 19:6 Dark veil of unbelief penetrated by light
Alma 19:13 Lamoni sees the Saviour
Many converted (born again, Alma 19:33) by hearing Ammon’s words, with the help of Abish.

Aaron converts Father of Lamoni
• Aaron and associates rejected by Amalekites and Amulonites in Jerusalem
Belonged to order of Nehors (Alma 21:4)
Believed that God would save all men (Alma 21:6) and denied the spirit of prophecy (Alma 21:8)
• Aaron etc cast into prison in Middoni
Delivered by Ammon and King Lamoni after Ammon defeats Father of Lamoni in hand to hand contact
• Aaron preaches about the nature of God, creation, fall, atonement and redemption
• King prays, is overcome and converted

Thousands of Lamanites are converted (Alma 23:1, 4-6)
• Amalekites and Amulonites not converted
• Curse of God taken from converted Lamanites: Alma 23:18, 2 Nephi 5:20-21)
• Converted Lamanites covenant to never again shed human blood (Alma 24:8-13; 17-18)
• Converted Lamanites (Anti-Nephi-Lehites) persecuted and killed by other Lamanites
• Lamanites agitated by Amalekites and Amulonites ‡ become disgusted and turn on Amulonites
• Converted Lamanites moved into Nephite territory (Jerson) and called the people of Ammon
• GREAT BATTLE between Lamanites and Nephites about 76 B.C., tens of thousands slain

DOCTRINAL CONCEPTS Lesson 25 Alma 17-22
• Hearing/obtaining THE WORD and teaching with authority and power.
Alma 17:2-3 search scriptures, fast, pray (Mosiah 1:2-4)
Alma 18:34-35 receive a portion of the Holy spirit
Alma 26:13 word of God in us. How? See Alma 12:13, Alma 12:4-11
Alma 29:13 Called with a holy calling

• Wicked generally talk themselves into believing that whatever they do is right.
Alma 18:5, Alma 21:6, Alma 30:17
Therefore, the wicked often become angry at the WORD of God which strips away their vain suppositions. Read 1 Nephi 16:2-3; 2 Nephi 33:5

• Nature of the Fall
Alma 22:12-14 Carnal state, cannot merit anything of himself
Alma 19:6 ” ”
Carnal and fallen state = natural man = 1st spiritual death = veil

• Being Born Again
Alma 19:33 hearts changed ‡ no desire for evil
Alma 22:15-18 wicked spirit rooted out of breast; receive a hope (of eternal life)
Alma 26:3, 6, 13-15 brought men from darkness to light
No more strangers to God
Loosed from the chains of hell
Encircled by love of God
Alma 26:17-22 Snatched from an awful state
Knowledge of the mysteries of God

• State of the Amulonites and the Amalakites (Nephite dissenters who became Lamanites) prefigures the final state of the Nephites before their destruction. Alma 24:28-30.

• Fate of the Amulonites (Alma 25:7-8) prefigures the ultimate fate of the Nephites, as did the destruction of Ammonihah.

• Characteristics/behaviors of the truly converted:
Read Alma 23:1-7
v. 7 How do we lay down the “weapons of rebellion?” What are our individuals weapons of
Alma 23:6 What was the conversion? Not to a church, a belief system, social programs,
political beliefs, a friend, but to the Lord.
Alma 23:16 “desirous that they might be distinguished from their brethren.” See Alma
23:16-18; 27:27-30. How are we “distinguished” from others?
Alma 24:6-10, 23 Gratitude in times of affliction. What afflictions did the Anti-Nephi-
Lehies face? Alma 24:1-2, 20-22; 27:1-3. What were they grateful for? Alma 24:7-10
Alma 24:15-17 Burial of the swords. Why? (See Alma 23:7, 24:11-13, 18-19). What is the
difference between laying down weapons and burying them? How can this story relate to
us? Does it relate to us?
Alma 26:31 “Great love” for whom? See Alma 24:18, 26:32-34.
Reactions of the unconverted to the truly converted: Alma 24:20-27. What did Mormon say
could be learned from this? Alma 24:27

Alma 26, 29 – if we have time, we will look at these chapters in depth. The lesson manual’s questions regarding these chapters are as follows:
• What “great blessings” did the Lord give Ammon and his brethren? (See Alma 26:1–9.) How can we become effective “instruments in the hands of God to bring about [his] great work”? (See Alma 26:22.)
• How did Ammon respond when Aaron rebuked him for boasting? (See Alma 26:10–16, 35–37.) How can we “boast of [our] God” and “glory in the Lord”? In what ways has the Lord blessed you with strength beyond your own to help accomplish His work?
• How had the people of Zarahemla responded when Aaron and his brothers first announced their mission to the Lamanites? (See Alma 26:23–25.) What can we learn from this situation about prejudging people’s responses to the gospel instead of allowing them to accept or reject it on their own? How can we overcome this tendency?
• What can we learn from Ammon and his brethren about how we should respond to afflictions? (See Alma 26:27–30.) How have patience and trust in the Lord helped you experience a good outcome from a difficult situation?
• Why did Alma wish to be an angel? (See Alma 29:1.) What did Alma say would be the result if “every soul” repented and came unto God? (See Alma 29:2; see also Alma 28:14.) What experiences have taught you that living the gospel brings joy into our lives?
• Why did Alma feel that he sinned in his desire to be an angel? (See Alma 29:3, 6–7.) How can we be content with what the Lord has given us while still striving to grow and improve ourselves?
• Alma said that God “granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life” (Alma 29:4). What does this mean? (See 2 Nephi 2:27.)
• Alma rejoiced in what the Lord had done for him and his fathers (Alma 29:10–13). What has the Lord done for you and your family that causes you to rejoice?

17 Responses to “BOM #25 and #26”

  1. cherylem said

    Here are some questions I myself had regarding these lessons.

    1) If murder is an unforgivable sin, how did the anti-Nephite-Lehites get forgiven of their murders?

    2) Why the name anti-Nephite-Lehites?

    And here’s a funny story told to me by a class member after class on Sunday. When he was at BYU there was some controversy about the length of LDS women’s shorts, especially as they attended meetings at one of the locations there (Marriott Center? Not being a BYU grad, I forget). So, bumper stickers were printed: Anti-Knee-hi-Levies.

    Only in Mormondom ….

  2. Karl D. said

    2) Why the name anti-Nephite-Lehites?

    I am subbing for most of the month of July and I discussed that question at least to some extent in my notes: Lesson 26 Notes. Here is my relevant portion (although the formatting isn’t great here):

    * Read Alma 23:16-18:

    (16) And now it came to pass that the king and those who were converted were desirous that they might have a name, that thereby they might be distinguished from their brethren; therefore the king consulted with Aaron and many of their priests, concerning the name that they should take upon them, that they might be distinguished. (17) And it came to pass that they called their names Anti-Nephi-Lehies; and they were called by this name and were no more called Lamanites. (18) And they began to be a very industrious people; yea, and they were friendly with the Nephites; therefore, they did open a correspondence with them, and the curse of God did no more follow them.

    * First, I don’t think anyone really knows what “Anti-Nephi-Lehies” means. I suspect we will never have a convincing answer. However, its probably worth noting that Royal Skousen indicates that it is all one non-hyphenated word in the original and printer’s manuscript. So the hyphens were probably introduced by E.B. Grandin.

    * Second, do you think the meaning of Anti-Nephi-Lehi is important or is it more important that they have a new name that distinguishes them?

    * The goal of the new name is to be “distinguished from their brethren?” Who are the “brethren” in this passage? The Lamanites or the Nephites? Both? Is this an important textual clue in terms of understanding what Anti-Nephi-Lehi might mean?

    * Chapter 23 makes multiple references to brethren. Verse 3 indicates that one goal of the missionary program was to convince the Lamanites that they were all brethren. Verse 7 also uses the word “brethren”: “they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren.” Thus the chapter has a pretty expansive use of the word “brethren.” It seems to include both the Nephites and Lamanites. I think verse 7 may be just referring to the Nephites as brethren. Thus I do think the Anti-Nephi-Lehies want to distinguish themselves from both the Lamanites and the Nephites. Why would they want to distinguish themselves from the Nephites?

    * What are some possibilities in terms of the meaning of the word “Anti-Nephi-Lehies?”

    1. The lineage of Lehi but not from Nephi’s lineage: Anti-Nephi Lehi.

    2. Some (including Nibley) have argued that anti could mean mirror image. So in that case Anti-Nephi-Lehies would refer to those who imitate the Nephites.

    3. Nephi-Lehi could designate the territory or kingdom of Lehi-Nephi. The converts are against or stand in opposition to the kingdom of Lehi-Nephi which is comprised of uncoverted Lamanites, Amulonites, etc.

    4. Anti could be an untranslated proper noun. Anti does show up in multiple Book of Mormon names (think, Antipas).

    * Also, the name doesn’t appear to last very long. Just a few chapters later they are called the people of Ammon. Read Alma 27:26-27:

    (26) … And they went down into the land of Jershon, and took possession of the land of Jershon; and they were called by the Nephites the people of Ammon; therefore they were distinguished by that name ever after. (27) And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.

    * Why are they now called the people of Ammon? What has changed?

    * Did Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s really change their name internally or did only the Nephite name for them change?

    * Do this name change help answer the question of whether knowing the meaning of the word “Anti-Nephi-Lehi” is important?

    Jim F. also discuss the name a bit in his notes as well: Jim F.’s Lesson 26 Notes

  3. Hans said

    I was under the impression that murder is a pardonable sin to those who have not accepted the Gospel. D&C 132:19, 27 says that those whose calling and election is made sure will only lose it for denying the HG and for shedding innocent blood. This is after receiving calling and election, however.

    After one is baptized and accepted the Gospel, one can then not be forgiven for shedding innocent blood, much like David. He may repent all he wants, but lost his position in the Celestial Kingdom. D&C 132:39.

  4. What kind of murder are we talking about with the Anti-Nephi-Lehites?

    Is this killing the neighbor or the murder that occurs in war? It seems it had to do with weapons of war. In which way then would their actions be any different than the Nephites or any nation for that matter?

    I find it interesting that we always dismiss their covenant to bury their weapons as something unique to them because they are so evil or so different from ourselves. Perhaps they are more like us then we imagine.

  5. Michele Mitchell said

    Thanks, as always, Cheryl. And Karl D, we’d love to see the rest of your notes, regardless of format.

  6. Karl D. said

    And Karl D, we’d love to see the rest of your notes, regardless of format.

    Thanks Michele. My lesson 26 notes are available in full at my blog:

    Link to my Lesson 26 Notes

    The link is actually in my original comment but it is kind of obscured by the rest of the comment so you may have missed it.

  7. Michele Mitchell said

    Thanks for the link Karl. I remember you now. Here’s hoping they’ll have you sub for a long time.

  8. BrianJ said

    Cheryl: THANK YOU for posting these notes!

    Karl: The following question from your notes is absolutely brilliant:

    If they are born again and new creatures in Christ then aren’t their past actions irrelevant in terms of how they behave going forward? Why or why not?

    I also appreciate what you say about the meaning of the name “Anti-Nephi-Lehi.” I think the safest conclusion is that “Anti” doesn’t mean “anti”—and leave it at that.

    joshua madson: “…because they are so evil or so different from ourselves. Perhaps they are more like us then we imagine.” Perhaps we should read how our enemies describe us, and compare that to how the Nephites described the Lamanites. I’m guessing that the Lamanites were very much like us.

  9. Jacob M said

    Alma 39:6 says “… Whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgivness; yea, I say unto you, my son, that it is not easy for him to obtain a forgiveness”. My understanding is that this is a comment on how hard it is to repent if you have murdered while enjoying the blessing of the gospel. So Murder is very very hard to repent of but this verse seems to indicate it is possible, especially if done prior to conversion to the gospel.

  10. BrianJ said

    Jacob M: in your comment you use “repent” and “obtain forgiveness” interchangeably, but I don’t think they are the same thing. At least in theory, one could repent and still not be forgiven (or vice versa). I think it is worth considering that possibility, and then keeping the terms distinct in this conversation.

  11. Jacob M,

    but define murder in the context of the Anti-Nephi-Lehites. What did they do that was murder? Was it warfare? Killing the neighbor? I get a sense the murder they felt they did was the same as any nation does in warfare.

  12. cherylem said

    I am happy to post when I can. Karl’s notes are great. Everyone’s comments help me. Thanks for the discussion regarding my questions.

    The discussion regarding murder interests me, of course.

    One thing that has really come home to me teaching the BOM this time: the BOM is NOT EASY. Not simple. sometimes we get such a small part of the picture – we really don’t know what was going on, exactly . . .

    Now, I will just continue to listen in . . .

  13. NathanG said

    While I was on my mission we baptized someone who had committed murder. It was a difficult process. Unlike every other serious sin that was dealt with by the mission president or his counselors, this came back to me (I was a zone leader at the time) to carefully interview the investigator about the details of the murder and the fruits of repentance. This was then typed up and sent as a report to the first presidency. Several weeks later, a brief note was sent back giving approval for baptism, signed by each member of the first presidency, each with a different color of ink (not some copied form letter).
    One detail to mention is that he was 7 when he committed murder. He knew full well what he was doing at the time. Even though he was not at the age of accountability the process was still long and arduous. I’m not sure what contribution his age had in the final decision.

    joshua: The murder they committed I’m sure is different for each individual converted, but we mainly here from Lamoni and his father in regard to murder. Lamoni had his servants killed for failing to protect his sheep. There is a sense from the scriptures that the warfare the Lamanites brought on the Nephites was out of hatred for the Nephites and is likely judged differently than when a nation is fighting in defense (which is another topic that has been discussed at length on this blog). I have always imagined the Lamanites felt guilt either over the wars/deaths they had caused personally or a collective guilt for the wars the Lamanites had brought against the Nephites.

  14. BrianJ said

    Nathan, I think it is difficult—not impossible, but difficult—to distinguish between offensive and defensive acts of war by the Lamanites because we don’t get their side of the story. I respect the Nephite authors who brought us the BoM, but I can’t ignore that some portion of their record keeping was politically motivated. So when the Lamanites position is reduced to “they attacked us simply because they hate us,” I’m a bit skeptical. Another way to say this is that when you see yourself as being on the defense, then the offense seldom has a good reason for their actions.

  15. NathanG said

    I agree with you and after I had submitted my comment, I thought about going back and adding that we don’t know much about the Lamanites’ side of the story.

  16. Karl D. said

    I taught lesson 26 on the 13th of July so I thought I would mention one thing that worked well in the lesson that surprised me a little. It was the discussion of the name: Anti-Nephi-Lehies. I almost skipped it because I wanted to get to the discussion of the question BrianJ highlighted in comment #8. I thought it was a much more interesting and important question (I still think is). However, I had people afterward tell me how much they enjoyed the “name” discussion because the name had always puzzled them. They liked seeing some possibilities and how the name change connects to the larger conversion narrative of the people.

  17. Robert C. said

    Here’s an interesting follow-up to the “Anti-Nephi-Lehi” discussion: http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2008/11/anti-nephi-lehi-tradition-sin-guilt-and-reconciliation/#more-4306

    Also, Kevin’s comment #2 and bfwebster’s comment #4 suggest interesting alternate theories….

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