“Lesson 70: Alma 3–4,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 70,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
After joining a Lamanite army, the Amlicites distinguished themselves from the Nephites by making red markings on their foreheads. The Amlicites and the Lamanites battled against the Nephites, and “thousands and tens of thousands” died in battle (see Alma 3:26). Following this battle, many Nephites humbled themselves and “were awakened to a remembrance of their duty” (Alma 4:3). About 3,500 were baptized and joined the Church. However, in the next year, many Church members became proud and began persecuting others. Concerned about this wickedness, Alma resigned from his duties as chief judge and continued to serve as the high priest over the Church. In this capacity, he planned to travel around the region, bearing pure testimony and calling the people to repentance.
Divide the class into small groups. Give each group a piece of paper with the following words written on it: clothes, hairstyles, earrings and jewelry, tattoos. Ask the groups to discuss what messages people might send, either intentionally or unintentionally, with these items.
Whom did the Amlicites want to be “distinguished from”?
How might some people today distinguish themselves from the righteous through their outward appearance? (As students answer, be sure to make it clear that some people intentionally change their appearance to separate themselves from the righteous or to rebel against the standards of the Church. Others follow worldly trends without realizing that they are sending messages about themselves.)
Explain that when the Amlicites marked their foreheads to distinguish themselves from the Nephites, they showed that they had brought the Lamanites’ curse upon themselves. Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 3:14–19. Help the class analyze these verses by asking some or all of the following questions:
What phrase in Alma 3:18 describes the Amlicites’ actions and attitude toward God? (“Open rebellion against God.”)
How did the Amlicites bring a curse “upon themselves”? (Alma 3:19).
What are some truths we can learn from these verses? (Answers may include that those who come out in open rebellion against God bring negative consequences upon themselves and that if we are separated from God, it is because we have separated ourselves from Him.)
To help students understand the importance of distinguishing themselves in righteous ways, ask the following question:
What are some ways we can show through our dress and appearance that we are disciples of Jesus Christ? (If students struggle to answer this question, you may have them read the entry “Dress and Appearance” in For the Strength of Youth , pages 6–8. Emphasize that our inward testimony of the gospel should influence our dress and appearance.)
Encourage students to show that they follow the Lord as they make daily choices, including choices about their dress and appearance. Emphasize that through our dress and appearance we can distinguish ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Summarize Alma 3:20–25 by stating that the Nephites drove back the Lamanites, but both sides suffered thousands of casualties. Invite a student to read Alma 3:26–27 aloud. Ask the class to listen for a lesson that Mormon wanted us to understand.
According to these verses, what reward comes to those who obey the Lord?
What consequence comes to those who do not follow the Lord?
As a summary, you may want to write the following principle on the board: We receive happiness or misery depending on whom we choose to obey.
Invite students to think about the blessings that come from choosing to follow the Lord.
What blessings have you received from the Lord as you have chosen to follow Him?
Write humble and proud on the board.
What does it mean to be humble? (To be humble is to be teachable and to recognize with gratitude our dependence on the Lord—to understand that we have constant need for His support.)
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 4:1–5. Ask the class to look for evidence that the Nephites became humble. As students explain what they have found, it may be helpful to point out that we do not need to endure a tragedy to become humble—we can choose to be humble.
What does it mean to be proud? (Pride is the opposite of humility. People who are proud place themselves in opposition to each other and to God. They place themselves above those around them and follow their own desires rather than God’s will.)
Invite half of the class to read Alma 4:6–8 silently and the other half of the class to read Alma 4:9–12 silently. Ask both groups to identify the proud actions of some of the Nephites and how those actions affected others. After sufficient time, have both groups tell what they have found.
What do these verses teach about how pride influences the way we treat others?
What warning do you see in Alma 4:10? (Make sure students understand that if we set an unrighteous example, our actions can hinder others from accepting the gospel.)
Invite a student to read Alma 4:13–14 aloud. Ask the class to look for examples of how some Nephites were humble even when others were proud.
What do these verses teach about how humility influences the way we treat others?
Emphasize that our decisions to be humble or proud affect us and others. Time permitting, invite students to write in notebooks or scripture study journals about experiences they have had that demonstrated the truth of this statement.
Invite students to imagine that they are in Alma’s place. They are the chief judge, and many of the people have become proud and are persecuting those who remain humble.
What might you do to help the people change?
Invite a student to read Alma 4:15–19 aloud. Ask the class to look for what Alma chose to do.
What did Alma decide to do? (He decided to give up his position as chief judge so he could devote his time to teaching the people.)
What does the phrase “bearing down in pure testimony” (Alma 4:19) suggest about how Alma would teach?
When have you heard people bear “pure testimony”? How have these experiences influenced you?
What truths can we learn from Alma’s example in Alma 4:19?
Students’ responses to this question may include the following:
Fulfilling our spiritual duties may require sacrifice.
Bearing pure testimony helps others draw closer to God.
Encourage students to look for Alma’s pure testimony as they read Alma 5–16 in their personal study and as they discuss these chapters in upcoming lessons. Also encourage them to pay attention to the effect Alma’s testimony had on the people.