Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ridding Ourselves of Satan, "City By City"

This is the most dramatic picture of Helaman I've seen.  Isn't it awesome?  My last post was spurred by a map of the Promised Land that I use in class.  I have even shrunk a copy down to fit into my scriptures so I can refer to it often as I read the Book of Mormon.  Well, today as Cody, Chelsea, April, Scott and Brad presented their chapters of Alma 54-58, I had an impression that I shared with them at the end of class.  I love when the Spirit teaches me things "on the spot".   That's one of the most amazing blessings of being a teacher. 

As we were going through the chapters, we came across Helaman's epistle to Captain Moroni.  In his epistle, he shares which Nephite cities the Lamanites have obtained by the shedding of blood.  The cities he mentions are Manti, Zeezrom, Cumeni, and Antiparah.  If you look on the map, these are centered around the south west part of the land, next to the south wilderness.   It's as if the adversary and his influences have infiltrated through the main body of Nephites, creating a poison they must rid themselves of possessing.   Helaman's mission is to re-acquire these cities one by one, without the shedding of blood, if possible. 

Helaman's army of the sons of the People of Ammon, have "entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites hand themselves from bondage." (Alma 53:17)  Helaman persuaded their fathers to keep their original oath never to take up their weapons of war.   Helaman shares with Moroni in his epistle, "But I would not suffer them that they should break this covenant which they had made, supposing that God would strengthen us, insomuch that we should not suffer more because of the fulfilling the oath which they had taken." (Alma 56:8)  The covenant the People of Ammon made is what gave Helaman's army their strength.  Their success in cleansing the land of the Lamanites depended on the People of Ammon keeping their oath.  Power in covenants.

As Helaman's epistle continues, he details to Moroni how his army contributes to re-acquiring these cities one by one, city by city.   Each acquisition is done carefully, with deliberation, purposefully, with patience and thoughtful prayer.  The righteousness of the young men in this army contributes to their success.  They were "firm and undaunted", "obeyed to perform every word of command with exactness", they had "exceeding faith in a just God", and expressed gratitude for their success and safety.

This is the part I shared with my class.  If the Lamanites represented the influence of Satan and each city represented a part of you, then could we safely say that these scriptures reveal a pattern for us to follow on how to cleanse ourselves of evil?  If we are struggling with living the standards or we have something in our character that needs to be changed in order to be in line with God's will, it's possible for us to change and repent little by little, and focus on changing one thing at a time.  Each time we take back our agency to conquer Satan, we gain strength.  These young stripling warriors set the example for us of how to tap into the power of the covenants we've made, and the level of commitment to God we must have.  

Covenants + Righteousness = Power/Strength

The Lord blesses me daily for my service as a seminary teacher.   What I wasn't aware of when I accepted this calling was the amount of light and knowledge I would gain on a personal level.  When the Spirit teaches me something, I don't question it.  I just teach.   My "happy moment" is when I see their understanding of what was taught light up in their eyes.  Being a part of that is waaaaaaaaaaaay cool!


  1. That IS way cool! For my birthday this year I want one of those maps for my scriptures! That is a really great map! I love the lesson that you taught-I am going to read those chapters and ponder that! VERY insightful!

  2. the costcos in utah have a really cool bofm timeline-its huge. i bought them for the kids seminary teachers...look into it, but if i know you, lori. you already have it!