“Lesson 66: Mosiah 26,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 66,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
During Mosiah’s reign, many of the rising generation—those who were little children at the time of King Benjamin’s final discourse—did not believe in the teachings of the Church and refused to call upon the Lord. These unbelieving youth influenced other members of the Church to commit serious sins. Many of these transgressors were brought before Alma, the leader of the Church. Alma did not know what to do at first, but he finally asked the Lord for guidance on how to judge the disobedient members. The Lord revealed the process that Alma should follow in holding members of the Church accountable for their sins. Alma also learned of God’s mercy and willingness to forgive those who repent. Alma followed the Lord’s counsel and brought order to the Church.
Before class, write the following questions on the board:
Ask students to respond to these questions in their scripture study journals or class notebooks. After sufficient time, explain that Mosiah 26 contains an account of a group of people who did not do what they needed to do to nurture their testimonies. As a result, their faith in God never developed, and they led many Church members into sin and error. Suggest that as students study this account, they consider what it teaches about developing and strengthening their testimonies.
Invite a student to read Mosiah 26:1–3 aloud. Then ask the class:
What choice did many of the rising generation make? (They chose not to believe the traditions of their parents.)
Why do you think people’s unbelief hinders their ability to “understand the word of God”? (Mosiah 26:3).
Explain that believing (or even having a desire to believe) leads to actions that strengthen our testimonies. On the other hand, when people choose not to believe, they also choose not to do certain things that would help them develop strong testimonies. Invite students to read Mosiah 26:3–4, 6 silently. Ask half of the class to look for what the rising generation would not do because of their unbelief. Ask the other half of the class to look for the results of this unbelief.
What did the rising generation refuse to do because of their unbelief?
What were the effects of their unbelief?
After students have discussed these questions, write the following on the board: To develop and maintain a testimony, we need to …
Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency. Ask the class to listen for ways to complete the sentence on the board.
“Testimony requires the nurturing by the prayer of faith, the hungering for the word of God in the scriptures, and the obedience to the truth we have received. There is danger in neglecting prayer. There is danger to our testimony in only casual study and reading of the scriptures. They are necessary nutrients for our testimony. …
“Feasting on the word of God, heartfelt prayer, and obedience to the Lord’s commandments must be applied evenly and continually for your testimony to grow and prosper” (“A Living Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 127).
What practices did President Eyring identify that will help us nourish our testimonies? (As students identify these practices, insert them into the sentence on the board: To develop and maintain a testimony, we need to feast on the word of God, pray in faith, and obey the Lord’s commandments.)
How have these practices influenced your testimony?
Invite students to read Mosiah 26:5–6 silently, looking for how the unbelieving youth influenced some members of the Church.
Consider the following statement: “It became expedient that those who committed sin, that were in the church, should be admonished by the church” (Mosiah 26:6). What do you think this means? (It was necessary for Church members who had sinned to be judged and held accountable.)
Have students imagine what it would be like to be the bishop of a ward with members who have committed serious sins and are unrepentant. Ask students to silently ponder what they would do in this situation. How would they fulfill their responsibility to hold members accountable for their sins and to help them repent? Explain that Alma, the leader of the Church, faced a similar challenge.
Summarize Mosiah 26:7–12 by explaining that those who had sinned were brought before Alma. Nothing like this had happened before in the Church, and Alma did not know what to do. He decided to send the transgressors to King Mosiah to be judged. King Mosiah returned them to Alma, who held the authority from God to judge Church members who had sinned.
Invite a student to read Mosiah 26:13–14 aloud. Ask the class to look for how Alma felt about his responsibility to judge those who had sinned.
When Alma felt troubled about his duty to judge the transgressors, what did he do?
Why is it important to know that bishops and branch presidents seek and receive the Lord’s guidance when helping those who have sinned?
To help students understand the context of Mosiah 26:15–32, point out that these verses contain the Lord’s answer to Alma’s question regarding what he should do about the transgressors. As students study the Lord’s answer, encourage them to look for principles and doctrines that help them better understand the role of priesthood judges, such as bishops and branch presidents (and, for Melchizedek Priesthood holders, stake, district, and mission presidents). Also ask them to look for principles and doctrines about seeking forgiveness.
Invite students to read Mosiah 26:17–28 silently, noticing each time the Lord uses the word my or I. You may want to suggest that students mark these words each time they appear. Then ask the class:
In Mosiah 26:17–28, what do the words I and my suggest about the Lord’s place in the repentance process? (You may want to invite students to share specific phrases or verses that support their answers.)
What truths can we learn from Mosiah 26:20–21 about the role of the Lord’s servants in the repentance process? (Help students understand that priesthood leaders represent the Lord and that in cases of serious sin, bishops and branch presidents can help us repent and receive forgiveness.)
In what ways can a bishop or branch president help those who struggle with sin and temptations?
Explain that the Lord taught Alma about what those seeking forgiveness must do in order to repent. Invite students to search Mosiah 26:29–32 in pairs and to identify principles that help them understand what the Lord requires of us when we repent.
After students have had time to study these verses, invite several students to write on the board, using their own words, the principles they have discovered. Their responses may include the following:
Confession of sins leads to forgiveness.
The Lord will forgive those who repent in the sincerity of their hearts.
We must forgive others to receive the Lord’s forgiveness.
To help students better understand these principles, ask some or all of the following questions:
In Mosiah 26:29, what is the meaning of the phrase “confess his sins before thee and me”? (You may need to point out that in this verse, the word thee refers to Alma.)
When someone has committed a serious sin, why do you think the person is required to confess to the Lord and to the appropriate Church leader? (Serious transgressions, such as violations of the law of chastity, may jeopardize a person’s membership in the Church. Therefore, in such cases a person needs to confess the sin to both the Lord and His representative in the Church. Bishops and branch presidents hold priesthood keys to help those who have sinned seek forgiveness. While only the Lord can forgive sins, priesthood leaders play a supporting role in helping people receive that forgiveness. They keep all confessions confidential and help those who confess throughout the process of repentance.)
What do you think it means for someone to repent “in the sincerity of his [or her] heart”? (Mosiah 26:29).
What phrases in these verses might give courage or comfort to someone who desires to repent but doesn’t feel he or she can be forgiven?
Explain that Mosiah 26:33–37 recounts how Alma followed the Lord’s instructions, judged the Church members who had sinned, and brought order to the Church. Invite students to read Mosiah 26:34–37 silently, looking for the results of Alma’s efforts to follow the Lord’s counsel. Share your testimony that as we repent and live righteously, we can have peace in our hearts and prosper spiritually.