“Lesson 94: Alma 37,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 94,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
Alma continued his counsel to his son Helaman and gave him charge over the sacred records. He reminded Helaman that the scriptures had already been the means of bringing thousands of Lamanites to the Lord, and he prophesied that the Lord had great purposes for the records in the future. Alma instructed his son about what to teach the people. Comparing the words of Christ to the Liahona, he impressed upon Helaman the importance of looking to them for guidance.
Note: This lesson provides an opportunity for three students to teach the class. To help prepare these students to teach, provide each student with a copy of the section he or she is to teach a day or two in advance. Or you could choose to teach these sections yourself.
Copy the following diagram on the board:
Ask students to list on the board some small and simple things that have made a big impact for good in their lives. You may want to ask them to explain their responses.
Explain that Alma 37 contains Alma’s counsel to help his son Helaman prepare to be the next keeper of the sacred records. Alma taught him about the role of small and simple things in the Lord’s work. Invite a student to read Alma 37:6–7 aloud.
What do we learn from these verses about the value of “small and simple things”? (Students may use different words, but they should express the truth that the Lord works by small and simple means to bring about His eternal purposes.)
Invite students to read Alma 37:1–5 silently, looking for an example of a small and simple thing that can have a big impact in people’s lives (the sacred records, or scriptures). After students report what they have found, write the word Scriptures on the board under Small and simple things.
Have students search Alma 37:8–10 for ways the scriptures influenced the people of the Book of Mormon. As students report what they find, you may want to write their responses under BIG IMPACT.
In what ways have the scriptures had an impact on your life?
Summarize Alma 37:11–32 by explaining that Alma taught Helaman that the Lord would show forth His power in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. He charged Helaman to follow the Lord’s commandments and carefully keep the records. He also instructed Helaman to use the records to teach the people and to avoid revealing all the details of the Jaredites’ wickedness and resulting destruction.
Invite students to search Alma 37:13–16 silently, looking for principles Alma taught Helaman as he gave him charge over the records. (Students may share a variety of principles, but make sure their answers reflect that if we obey the Lord’s commandments, He will help us accomplish our duties. You may want to ask how this principle relates to the idea that small and simple things can have a big impact.)
The rest of this lesson is designed to be taught by three students. If the class is large, ask the student teachers to move to three different locations in the room. Divide the class into three groups. Invite each group to take their scriptures, notebooks or scripture study journals, and pens or pencils and to gather with one of the student teachers. After the student teachers have finished their lessons, the groups will rotate. If the class is small, the student teachers may take turns teaching the entire class. In either case, the student teachers should take about seven minutes to present their lessons and guide discussion.
Ask your fellow students to think of a local Church leader or General Authority who has taught them something that has made a difference in their lives. Invite a few students to share what this leader taught and how it influenced them. You might want to share an example from your life.
Invite two students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 37:33–34. Ask the rest of the students to follow along, looking for what Alma counseled Helaman to teach the people. You might suggest that they mark the phrases “teach them” and “preach unto them” as they read. On the board or on a piece of paper, write Teachings of Church leaders. When students have finished reading the verses, ask them to report what they found. Write their responses under Teachings of Church leaders. Ask the following questions:
How might these teachings be especially helpful for us today? Why?
Ask your fellow students to look at the last phrase of Alma 37:34 to see what blessing comes from following the teachings of Church leaders. Write the following principle on the board: By following the teachings of Church leaders, we can find rest to our souls. Ask them what they think it means to “find rest to their souls.” (Answers may include being free from the consequences of sin, receiving peace from the Spirit, and being blessed with strength to endure and overcome challenges.)
Share your testimony about how this principle has been true in your life. If you have extra time, invite others to share their testimonies of this principle.
Explain to your fellow students that it is common for those who plant trees to tie or strap a young tree to a stake and then to remove the support once the tree matures. Ask them why they think that is done. Then read the following story about a tree that President Gordon B. Hinckley planted in his yard:
President Gordon B. Hinckley planted a young tree near his home soon after he was married. He paid little attention to it as the years passed. One day he noticed the tree was misshapen and leaning to the west. He tried to push it upright, but the trunk was too thick. He tried using a rope and pulleys to straighten it, but it would not bend. Finally, he took his saw and cut off the heavy branch on the west side, leaving an ugly scar. He later said of the tree:
“More than half a century has passed since I planted that tree. … The other day I looked again at the tree. It is large. Its shape is better. It is a great asset to the home. But how serious was the trauma of its youth and how brutal the treatment I used to straighten it.
“When it was first planted, a piece of string would have held it in place against the forces of the wind. I could have and should have supplied that string with ever so little effort. But I did not, and it bent to the forces that came against it” (“Bring Up a Child in the Way He Should Go,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 59).
Have students read Alma’s counsel to Helaman in Alma 37:35. Ask them to think about how this verse relates to President Hinckley’s experience with the tree.
Invite students to summarize Alma 37:35 in their own words. (Their responses should express that we should learn in our youth to keep the commandments of God.) Also invite them to write their answers to the following questions. (You may want to write the questions on the board or read them slowly so students can write them.)
What difference do you think it makes in a person’s life to learn to keep the commandments of God while still young?
Can you think of people who have been blessed throughout their lives because they learned to obey the commandments in their youth? Write about how they were blessed.
Invite a few students to report what they have written. Then invite a student to read Alma 37:36–37 aloud. Ask the rest of the students to follow along, looking for specific counsel that could help them keep the commandments while they are young.
How could following this counsel daily help you keep the commandments?
In what ways do you try to put the Lord first in your thoughts, words, deeds, and affections? (Encourage students to consider how they might improve.)
Share your feelings about how counseling with the Lord has helped you keep the commandments. Encourage your fellow students to counsel with the Lord in all they do.
Display the picture The Liahona (62041; Gospel Art Book , no. 68). Remind your fellow students of the compass that the Lord used to help Lehi’s family travel to the promised land. In Alma 37:38, we learn that the compass was called the Liahona. Explain that Alma spoke of the Liahona in order to teach Helaman an important principle about how the Lord guides His children.
Explain to your fellow students that you are going to ask them questions and then have them take turns reading a few verses aloud while everyone looks for the answers. Have them respond to each question after the associated scripture passage has been read.
How did the Liahona work? (See Alma 37:38–40.)
Why did the Liahona cease to work at times? (See Alma 37:41–42.)
How might we compare the Liahona to the words of Christ? (See Alma 37:43–45.)
You might need to explain that in these verses, the words shadow and type refer to “a person, event, or ritual with likeness to another person, event, or ritual of greater importance which is to follow. … True types will have noticeable points of resemblance, show evidence of divine appointment, and be prophetic of future events” (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Gospel Symbolism , 274). The choice to follow or not follow the directions of the Liahona is like our choice about how we respond to direction that comes through the words of Christ.
Where can we find the words of Christ? (Answers may include the scriptures, the words of latter-day prophets, patriarchal blessings, and the promptings of the Spirit.)
Invite your fellow students to summarize Alma’s words in Alma 37:38–45, especially in verses 44–45. This discussion should include the following truth: If we follow the words of Jesus Christ, they will direct us to receive eternal life.
Share how the words of Christ have influenced you spiritually and how they help you progress toward eternal life. You might suggest that students consider obtaining a patriarchal blessing or, if they have already received one, reading it regularly and prayerfully.
Note to the teacher: After students finish teaching their portions of the lesson, thank them and, time permitting, invite a few students to testify of one of the principles they have learned today. You might also want to share your testimony of these principles. Conclude by inviting the class to follow along as you read Alma 37:46–47 aloud.