CLICK HERE to read Alma 63.
Just as the sacred records and things had been handed down to Alma, who handed them down to his son, Alma, Jr., who handed them down to Helaman, so did Helaman hand them down to Shiblon (verse 1).
And he was a just man, and he did walk uprightly before God; and he did observe to do good continually, to keep the commandments of the Lord his God (verse 2).
As time passed, so did the people change also: Moroni also passed away (verse 3), many people moved northward to explore more land (verse 4), and some began to sail away by ship (verses 5-6). Some of the ships returned for more people (verse 7), and some did not return and no news was brought about what happened (verse 8).
When Shiblon was ready to die, he passed the sacred things on to his son Helaman (named after Shiblon’s father, Helaman) (verse 11). Some of these sacred things, including records we consider scripture, were sent out to the people to teach them (verse 12). But many of the sacred things were kept sacred, not shared with everyone, and passed on from prophet to prophet (verse 13).
This is the close of the book of Alma, which was the story of Alma, Jr., and his son Helaman, and his son, Shiblon (verse 17). As the records are passed from Shiblon to his son Helaman (the second Helaman), war breaks out again between the Lamanites and the Nephites (verse 14) and Moroni’s son leads the battle (verse 15). This is the state of the people as we continue the story in the book of Helaman (who really was the grandson of Helaman the first) (verse 16).
It took me a good two years of reading the Book of Mormon everyday just to get all those people straight, to figure out who was who and how one event was connected to another. I am so grateful for these little pieces of understanding, as they hold the framework through which revelation comes – like the frame around a painting. I do love the painting most, but it is held together by the frame. These little details help us follow the story, so that we can understand the patterns of what is happening, so that we can see clearly the choices – then and now – of who is following the Savior or not, and what it means to follow the Savior, so that we can better follow His righteous example.