“Lesson 98: Alma 41,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 98,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
Continuing to counsel his son Corianton, Alma taught that the plan of restoration includes not only physical resurrection but also a spiritual restoration in which our eternal state reflects our mortal actions and desires. Alma emphasized that wickedness can never lead to happiness.
Ask the class to consider how a person’s actions might be influenced if they believe the following statements (pause after each item to allow students to respond):
There is no life after death.
After we die, we will be made perfect regardless of our works on earth.
In the Final Judgment, we will be rewarded for our good deeds and punished for our bad deeds.
Why is it important to have a correct understanding of what will happen to us after we die?
Remind students that in Alma 40 they learned about Alma’s teachings to Corianton about the spirit world, resurrection, and judgment. Explain that in Alma 41 we learn that Corianton was confused by what some people were teaching about the resurrection. Point out the phrase “gone far astray” in Alma 41:1, and invite students to read this verse looking for what was causing some of the people to go astray.
Why were some of the people going astray? (You may want to explain that to wrest the scriptures is to twist, distort, or change their meaning.)
What did Alma say he was going to explain to Corianton?
Once students identify the word restoration, you may want to write it on the board. Explain that restoration means to bring back or to put back into a former state.
Explain that Alma wanted Corianton to understand that there is a physical aspect and a spiritual aspect to what he called the “plan of restoration” (Alma 41:2). Invite students to search Alma 41:2–5 silently, looking for the things that will be physically restored to us after death and the things that will be spiritually restored. You might want to suggest that students mark what they find. Before students read, it may be helpful for you to explain that requisite means required or necessary.
What is the physical aspect of the plan of restoration mentioned in Alma 41:2? (In the resurrection, the spirit will be restored to the body, and all parts of the body will be restored.)
What is the spiritual aspect of the plan of restoration described in Alma 41:3–5? (As students respond, write the following truth on the board: We will be restored to either happiness or misery according to our works and desires in mortality.)
Invite students to imagine they are teaching these verses to a Primary class.
How would you explain the doctrine of spiritual restoration so that children can understand it?
Remind students that Corianton had broken the law of chastity and had forsaken his missionary responsibilities (see Alma 39:2–4).
How might a correct understanding of the doctrine of spiritual restoration have helped Corianton make better choices? How can understanding this doctrine influence our actions and desires?
Testify of the truth of this doctrine, and share your thoughts about the justice of God in restoring each of us to good or evil according to our desires and our actions.
Write the following question on the board: What if I have sinned?
According to the plan of restoration, what do we receive if we have sinned?
Is there any way to have goodness and happiness restored to us when we have done wrong?
Invite a student to read Alma 41:6–9 aloud. Ask the class to look for what we can do to have goodness and happiness restored to us even when we have sinned. (We must repent and desire righteousness our entire lives.)
What words or phrases in Alma 41:6–7 suggest that we are responsible for what we receive in the resurrection? In what sense are we our own judges? (Our choices in mortality determine the kind of judgment we will receive when we stand before God.)
Point out that some people think they can return to dwell with God without taking personal responsibility for their actions. They often say that their sinful choices are fun. Sometimes those who engage in sin may even appear to be happy.
Invite students to stand and read Alma 41:10 aloud in unison. Point out that Alma 41:10 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to suggest that students mark this passage in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily. (Because this is a scripture mastery passage, you might have them repeat it together more than once. You might ask if anyone in the class can repeat it from memory.) When they are finished, ask the class to be seated. On the board, write “Wickedness never was happiness.”
Why is it true that “wickedness never was happiness”?
What is an example of how Satan would have us break a commandment and believe that we can still experience happiness?
To help students appreciate the difference between fleeting worldly pleasures and the happiness the Lord offers, read the following statement by Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Seventy:
“Activities always forbidden by the Lord and for many years frowned upon by society are now accepted and promoted by that same society. The media serves up these activities in such a fashion as to make them look very desirable. …
“… Don’t mistake telestial pleasure for celestial happiness and joy. Don’t mistake lack of self-control for freedom. Complete freedom without appropriate restraint makes us slaves to our appetites. Don’t envy a lesser and lower life. …
“… The commandments you observe were not given by a dispassionate God to prevent you from having fun, but by a loving Father in Heaven who wants you to be happy while you are living on this earth as well as in the hereafter” (“They’re Not Really Happy,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 39–40).
Write the following statement on the board. You may want to suggest that students write it in their scriptures next to Alma 41:10. (The statement is found in “To ‘the Rising Generation,’” New Era, June 1986, 5.)
Tell students that Alma 41:11 explains why it is impossible to be truly happy when making wrong choices. Copy the following chart on the board (you may want to do so before class begins), or prepare it as a handout for each student. Arrange students in pairs, and instruct them to match each phrase from Alma 41:11 with its meaning. Also invite them to discuss the accompanying questions.
Phrases in Alma 41:11 that describe being in a “state of nature”
In this verse, we see that “the nature of God” is “the nature of happiness.” What does this tell you about why sinfulness is contrary to the nature of happiness?
What are some specific examples of why people may find themselves in a state of unhappiness?
(Answers: 1-c, 2-a, 3-b)
To help students see how persisting in a “state of nature” relates to the doctrine of restoration, invite a student to read Alma 41:12. After the verse has been read, ask students to answer Alma’s question. Then have students read Alma’s answer to his own question in Alma 41:13. (You may want to suggest that they mark what Alma said will be returned to us as part of the plan of restoration.)
Ask students to imagine they have a friend who is choosing to act in ways contrary to the Lord’s commandments but wants to be restored to righteousness. Invite students to explain the doctrine of restoration to a partner, as though they were that friend, using Alma 41:12–13. (Students may use their own words or the wording of the statement written on the board: “We will be restored to either happiness or misery according to our works and desires in mortality.”)
Show students a boomerang or draw a picture of one on the board.
Ask students what a boomerang does when thrown correctly. (It returns to the location from which it was thrown.) Ask them to read Alma 41:14–15 silently, looking for ways in which a boomerang might represent the truths taught in these verses. (You might want to suggest that students mark these verses.) Invite students to explain what they have found.
What are some things you hope to receive from others and from the Lord in this life and in the next? (Answers could include kindness, mercy, and love. Consider listing students’ responses on the board.)
When have you given goodness, mercy, or kindness to others and later received it back?
Encourage students to set a goal to act in ways and develop attitudes that reflect what they hope to have restored to them in this life and in the next. Testify of the happiness that comes as we act in righteousness.