Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Book of Mormon Lesson 33 (Helaman 1-5)

Posted by NathanG on September 6, 2008

I was asked last night to teach tomorrow.  Here’s a few thoughts.

 

The lesson manual suggests going over the hymn “How Firm a Foundation”.  It then suggests that this lesson will contrast those who build on a firm foundation and those who don’t.  This struck me as I have been preparing for a physics test on medical imaging.  This involves fundamental concepts of maximizing contrast, detail, and understanding artifact.  Interestingly, optimizing contrast or detail resolution usually limits the other.

 

I recently thought that there is an analogy to be made between contrast and detail and scripture study (maybe I’ll develop it for a separate post).  The conflict between these two is making it challenging for me to decide what direction I might take the lesson.  I love the idea of contrasting these various groups, but I want to spend a fair amount of time going over the detail of the Lamanite conversion in chapter 5.  We’ll see where the Spirit takes the lesson (maybe to neither).

 

A few questions to consider

 

Helaman 1

1  What can we learn about the Nephite society since only the sons of Pahoran were contending for the judgment seat? 

5-7  Pacumeni united with the people when he was defeated, but Paanchi was ready for rebellion.  Is our bipartisan government more similar to Pacumeni or Paanchi?  Are we as voters more dedicated to party lines or to our country?

9  This scene of murder of the chief judge will be repeated several times between now and Christ’s coming.  How does this relate to Helaman 5:3?

13  What was Pacumeni’s “right” to sit as the judge? 

15  Three descriptors of Coriantumr.  Lineage, dissenter, and physical characteristics.  Why are these important to know?

18  When Moroni fights Zarahemna, Moroni attributes their strength to God, but Zarahemna attributes it to their armor.  Why in this verse does Mormon write that they were unprepared and made poor assumptions rather than that God was not on their side?  (Years later in Helaman 4 he makes this point, but why not now?)

19-22  Isn’t it fascinating that this attack worked?  Are we prepared to defend against the unlikely attack? 

33  Why did Moronihah decide to send their prisoners away in peace?

 

Helaman 2

1  How contentious were these elections?  Why were they so contentious? 

2  Helaman is appointed chief judge, but how close was the election? 

3  Kishkumen is already “lay[ing] wait to destroy Helaman”.  Once again how much contention was there around these elections?

4  Gadianton “was exceedingly expert in many words, and also in his craft”.  Is this a warning to beware of someone being expert in many words (think of Korihor as well) or is this a challenge that we need rise to the challenge and become expert, or is this a contrast to speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost and we can be content in being simple or small?

8  Did Kishkumen really ramble on about all those points when he was on his way to commit murdur?

8  What does the word combination mean?

1828 Webster’s Dictionary:  1. Intimate union, or association of two or more persons or things, by set purpose or agreement, for effecting some object, by joint operation; in a good sense, when the object is laudable; in an ill sense, when it is illegal or iniquitous. It is sometimes equivalent to league, or to conspiracy. We say, a combination of men to overthrow government, or a combination to resist oppression.

10  The Nephite’s have a “chief judge”, but here he has power to “send forth to take this band”.  Did the Nephite government combine “executive office” and “judicial office”?  Was there a “legislative office”?   Do we try to read too much American government into the Nephites?

13-14  Is it surprising the final destruction of the Nephites would be due to Gadianton robbers?  Does this add to or detract from our talk of the pride cycle?  Why is Gadianton worse than other dissenting groups or apostate ideas such as order of Nehors, Korihor, Zoramites, or king-men?

 

Helaman 3

1  What is a little pride? 

2  Is there nothing remarkable about years of peace?  We get little description of how to live in peace in the Book of Mormon.  Why?

3  Did the righteous or the dissenters leave to the land northward?  Remember Nephi will have an unsuccessful mission to the land north in not many years.

6  This is 100 years since Limhi’s people discovered the Jaredite plates and the land desolation and who knows how much longer since Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla.  Is this description of the land northward surprising?

12  Many people of Ammon leave to the land north.  Once again, Nephi has unsuccessful mission to the north in not many years (~20 years).  What happens?

29  The word of God is alluded to as both a weapon against wickedness and as a guide (like the iron rod).  In what ways do we use the word of God as a weapon and in what ways do we use it as a guide?  If used as a weapon, with whom are we fighting?  Who is God’s enemy?  Mosiah 3:19?

35  What is the antidote for persecution?  What is the outcome?

 

Helaman 4

11-13  What was the cause of the loss of all the Nephite’s lands?

21  Was the word of God a weapon or a guide at this time?

 

Helaman 5  (Count how many times remember is used in this chapter and count how many times Christ is mentioned in this chapter). 

1-2  It seems chapter 4 ends with a people who are repenting, but yet the voice of the people choose Cezoram.  Did Nephi simply give up the seat like Alma, or did he lose an “election”?  Does verse 4 help?

3  What does it mean that they could not be governed by the law nor justice?

8  How serious is the sin of boasting?

12  Compare and contrast the imagery with Hel 3:29.  Better to have a foundation in Christ than a narrow path with the word of God?  Do we have a narrow path that is a firm path?  Do these more appropriately apply to different situations?

18  Nephi and Lehi speak in contrast to Gadianton with great power and authority.

17 and 19 Wouldn’t it be nice to know more of these conversions?

23-48 is a great conversion story.  When were the Lamanites (and dissenters) bound and overshadowed?  What did they hear?  When could they move again?  When could they speak?  When did their fear leave?  When were they in the light?  When were they forgiven?  When were they sanctified?  Why is this the first lengthy story in a many years of Nephite history?  Where do you stand in your conversion?

26  When Nephi and Lehi say “Fear not”  what happens (earthquake, solemn fear, darkenss, and can’t move).

30  How many times do we use a voice of perfect mildness in our role as parents?

30  The word of God pierces to the very soul.  Will we allow the word to pierce us?

41  What do we think of the order of instruction Aminadab gives?  Why does he make reference to an event that occurred about 50 years before?

46  Now what do we think of the voice?

51 Why does a Lamanite conversion lead to laying down weapons of war and Nephite repentance leads to conquering in battle (usually after losing wars due to dissension).

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