As Alma the Younger entrusted his son Helaman with the sacred records, he cautioned him about some of the content in the twenty-four plates of the Jaredites. Ether recounted in his record the destruction of his people because of their wickedness and abominations. It was important to Alma that the wickedness of the Jaredites be manifest to the people that they might learn the consequence of sin, but it was equally important that the record not reveal the details of their sins, lest his people fall into similar temptation.
Concerning the inclusion of the secret works of the fallen Jaredites, Alma instructed Helaman, “that ye keep them, that the mysteries and the works of darkness, and their secret works, or the secret works of those people who have been destroyed, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, all their murders, and robbings, and their plunderings, and all their wickedness and abominations, may be made manifest unto this people. And now, my son, we see that they did not repent; therefore they have been destroyed, and thus far the word of God has been fulfilled; yea, their secret abominations have been brought out of darkness and made known unto us.”4
But then he cautioned his son Helaman in sober words of counsel, “And now, my son, I command you that ye retain all their oaths, and their covenants, and their agreements in their secret abominations; yea, and all their signs and their wonders ye shall keep from this people, that they know them not, lest peradventure they should fall into darkness also and be destroyed. Therefore ye shall keep these secret plans of their oaths and their covenants from this people, and only their wickedness and their murders and their abominations shall ye make known unto them; and ye shall teach them to abhor such wickedness and abominations and murders; and ye shall also teach them that these people were destroyed on account of their wickedness and abominations and their murders.”5
Alma’s counsel to Helaman concerning the Jaredite record is a pattern for balancing the need to teach the members of the Church about spiritual dangers, without crossing the line into the gory details that “tempteth to its commission.” Parents and Church leaders must seek that balance as they internalize the material in this book and seek to teach and train within the context of their stewardships. The approach taken in this book reflects a sincere attempt to do the same.