Over a thirty-year period, from about 52 B.C. to about 23 B.C., Nephite society deteriorated substantially. They had just won an extended war against their enemies, the Lamanites, but they were now losing an internal war. The rise of the Gadianton robbers, the decline of faith, and an increase in contention destabilized their government, eroded trust, and led to military losses. But even during those troubling times, some people remained faithful and experienced miraculous blessings. This week, we will study the following stories:
- Two chief judges—Pahoran and Pacumeni—are killed within two years. The Lamanites conquer the capital city of Zarahemla, but the Nephites quickly retake it (Helaman 1).
- Helaman becomes chief judge and foils an attempted assassination. The Gadianton robbers go into hiding (Helaman 2).
- Pride and contention grow in the church, but under the leadership of Helaman, peace and prosperity are restored (Helaman 3).
- The Lamanites attack and take control of most of the Nephite lands. Nephite armies, under the leadership of Moronihah, regain about half of their land (Helaman 4).
- Helaman’s sons, Nephi and Lehi, preach the gospel among the Lamanites. They are imprisoned but are protected by the power of God. Many Lamanites are converted (Helaman 5).
- The Lamanites become righteous, while the Nephites support and build up the Gadianton robbers (Helaman 6).
Here are some blog posts about this week’s reading:
Lessons from the Rise of the Gadianton Robbers
- Accepting defeat gracefully: He Did Unite with the Voice of the People – Helaman 1:5-8
- Fortifying our hearts: They Had Not Kept Sufficient Guards – Helaman 1:18
- Identifying and overcoming subtle temptations: This Gadianton Did Prove the Overthrow…of the People of Nephi – Helaman 2:13
- The danger of staying silent when you see wrongful behavior: What Are Secret Combinations?
- The deceivers were themselves deceived: Gadianton’s Robbers and Murderers – Helaman 6:17-18
Pride and Contention
- Pride clouds our judgment and leads to unhappy outcomes: What Is Pride?
- Pride can grow imperceptibly, like a cancer: Helaman 3:36 It Did Grow Upon Them From Day to Day
- One key to identify pride is an increase in contention: It Did Grow upon Them from Day to Day – Helaman 3:33-34, 36
- God welcomes all of His children into His kingdom. Members of His church must also be inclusive: The Gate of Heaven Is Open unto All – Helaman 3:27-30
- If you don’t choose to humble yourself, your circumstances may humble you: They Were Left in Their Own Strength – Helaman 4:13
Obedience to God’s Commandments
- Avoid watering down God’s commandments or lowering your standards of personal behavior: How Can I Avoid Being an “Unholy Temple?”
- Repentance removes barriers which prevent God’s power from flowing into our lives: Inasmuch As They Did Repent… – Helaman 4:14-15
- We have an obligation to share with those in need: Withholding Their Food from the Hungry – Helaman 4:12
- Detecting and rejecting evil: How Can I Recognize the Temptations of the Devil?
- Stay productive by identifying challenges worthy of your attention: Helaman 6:17 The Lord Had Blessed Them So Long
- Some things can’t be legislated or enforced. Good government relies on the goodness of its citizens: They Could Not Be Governed by the Law – Helaman 5:2-3
Building on the Rock of Our Redeemer
- We can find peace with others, peace within ourselves, and hope for an enduring peace: How Does the Savior Bring Us Peace?
- Jesus Christ is willing and able to help us when we are in trouble: What Does It Mean for Jesus to Be Our “Redeemer?”
- God loves us, has the ability to save us, and expects us to repent: Cry unto the Voice – Helaman 5:40-42
- When dark clouds surround you—look for light; look for hope: He Turned Him About – Helaman 5:36-37
- Remember that imperfect people can do God’s work: There Was One Among Them…Who Had Once Belonged to the Church of God – Helaman 5:35-41
- If you want to increase your faith, begin with prayer: Cry Unto the Voice, Even Until Ye Shall Have Faith in Christ – Helaman 5:40-42