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Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapters 54-55 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 54-55 include:
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- Alma 54:6: Land of Nephi. As we can see from this verse the land of Nephi is more than simply the name of the geographic area that the Lamanites possessed. The name the Nephites use for the land the Lamanites live in reminds them of their dispute with the Lamanites over land. As Moroni saw it, and likely other Nephites as well, that land rightfully belonged to them. Consistent with this interpretation, the name "land of Nephi" is not used in the Book of Mormon after the coming of Christ, when the Nephites and Lamanites live as one people.
- Alma 55:2. Moroni tells us that he won't exchange prisoners unless Ammoron withdraws his purpose "as I have stated in my epistle." If we read Moroni's epistle closely we see that he never explicitly makes Ammoron withdrawing his purpose conditional on exchanging prisoners. We might assume then that when Moroni says he won't exchange prisoners unless Ammoron withdraws his purpose "as I have stated in my epistle" what Moroni means my "as I have stated" is that Ammoron needs to withdraw as he stated--not that it is conditional exchange as he stated.
- Alma 55:2. Moroni doesn't come off as very dimplomatic in this section but rather a bit hot headed--even to the point of his anger getting in the way of executing on his intentions. Remember that Moroni was actually very happy to exchange prisoners and worked to get a good deal and then got the deal he wanted. This may be a good section to look at what Mormon's view of Moroni is. It is interesting to me that Mormon shows both Moroni's strengths and his weaknesses. It would have been easy enough for Mormon to have left out these details that show Moroni's weaknesses.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- Alma 54:1: Why does Mormon include this incident about prisoner exchange in his account? Is there a lesson of importance here for modern readers, or is this just part of a story?
- Alma 54:2: It is easy to see Moroni as happy to exchange prisoners, but why would he "rejoice exceedingly"? Is there something more going on here?
- Alma 54:2: Why would they exchange prisoners that would just become more enemy soldiers to fight?
- Alma 54:3: Why would the Lamanites take women and children as prisoners, but the Nephites only took men?
- Alma 54:5: If Moroni wants to exchange prisoners, why would he write an epistle that can only make Ammoron mad?
- Alma 54:6: Why would Moroni bother preaching to Ammoron?
- Alma 54:6: Why would Moroni tell Ammoron, a Nephite defector, to withdraw to "your own lands, or the land of your possessions" which he and his brother had taken over from the Lamanites? Why doesn't Moroni condemn his having taken the Lamanite lands as well?
- Alma 54:7: Why would Moroni indicate that Ammoron could escape hell by repenting, if he really was a murderer?
- Alma 55:3: If Moroni is clearly angry (vs. 1) and promises to "seek death among [the Lamanites]" why does he then try to take back the prisoners without shedding blood?
- Alma 55:4: Is it just a coincidence that the Lamanite that Moroni finds is called Laman?
- Alma 55:5: Is it just a coincidence that the former servant of the king would have been named Laman, since this was the traditional name of Lamanite kings?
- Alma 55:6: Who are the men that go with Laman? Are they Moroni's men or Laman's men? If they were cultural or ethnic Nephites, wouldn't they have aroused suspicion on this mission?
- Alma 55:8: Does Laman go alone to the meet with the guards?
- Alma 55:10: Apparently, Lamanites used alcohol to help them get through battle. Can we see similarities in how some modern soldiers use alcohol, drugs, and steroids to help them in battle?
- Alma 55:13: Why were the Lamanites apparently so easily tricked into becoming drunk on Nephite wine? How does this episode compare with Alma 55:30?
- Alma 55:19: What does this verse tell us about the Moroni's character?
- Alma 55:19: Why would Moroni be concerned about "bring[ing] upon him injustice" if he were to kill the Lamanites in their drunkeness?
- Alma 55:21: How far is a pace? Is this a literal term of measurement, or a figure of speech?
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- Throughout the war chapters, there are many instances in which the Nephites trick the Lamanites,whether it be in taking over cities or freeing prisoners. See User:Jaromhansen's comments related to the Nephites deceiving the Lamanites here.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.