“Chapter 30: Alma 32–35,” Book of Mormon Teacher Manual (2009), 106–9
“Chapter 30,” Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, 106–9
Alma and Amulek’s mission among the Zoramites included profound teachings about faith, prayer, worship, and the Atonement. In approaching this scripture block, teachers sometimes present a lesson built exclusively on one of these topics. Or they might teach a few of these topics but fail to show how they relate to each other in the context of Alma and Amulek’s teachings. Your teaching of Alma 32–35 will be most powerful as you help students see that each of these topics is connected to the others: As we experiment upon the word, we develop faith. Our faith leads us to pray and to trust in the infinite and eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This trust in turn leads us to repent and prepare for the day when we will return to the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. With this larger picture in mind, students can understand where their faith can lead them.
Some sections of this lesson suggest multiple teaching ideas. Remember your students’ abilities and interests, and select only the teaching ideas that will be the most beneficial for them.
It is better to choose to be humble than be compelled to be humble (see Alma 32:1–16, 25).
Ask a student to read Alma 32:1–3.
What was the financial and social status of those who received the message of Alma and his companions?
What significance do you see in the fact that these Zoramites were “poor in heart” as well as “poor as to things of the world”?
Have another student read Alma 32:4–6.
What do you think is the meaning of the phrase “in a preparation to hear the word”?
Read Alma 32:13–16 to students. Invite them to follow along, looking for and marking truths about humility and the process of becoming humble. Invite them to share what they find.
Why is it better to choose to be humble than be compelled to be humble?
Have students work individually or in pairs to create lists of actions a person can take to develop greater humility. Invite several students or pairs to report their ideas to the class. Ask them to describe how the actions they found will result in greater humility.
Invite a student to read the statement by President Ezra Taft Benson on page 223 in the student manual. Ask the other students to listen for additional ideas on how to become humble.
Encourage students to choose to be humble by following the counsel of President Benson and by putting into practice one of the actions they have identified in the scriptures. Help them recognize that following the Savior’s example will always help them be more humble.
Have a student read Alma 32:26–27.
What do you think Alma meant when he counseled the Zoramites to “experiment upon [his] words”?
What can each of us do to perform this same experiment?
To help students discuss this question, invite them to read verses 27–42 silently and identify steps of the experiment Alma suggested. Explain that in this passage, the seed represents the word of God. After students have had sufficient time to read, ask them to share what they have found. List their answers on the board. The list might include the following steps:
What do you think it means to “give place, that [the word of God] may be planted in your heart”? (verse 28). What do you think it means to feel that the word of God is “swelling” within you? (verse 28). What do you think it means to “nourish the word”? (verse 41). In verses 28 and 34, how do the words enlarge, enlighten, and expand describe the effect the word of God can have on us?
Ask students to review verses 41–42 and list words that describe the fruit of the tree. For example, they may notice the phrase “springing up unto everlasting life”; the words precious, sweet, white, and pure; and the promise that those who feast on the fruit will be filled and will not hunger or thirst. Help students see that the fruit represents the blessings we can receive through the Atonement, including the blessing of eternal life (see chapter 3 in this manual).
Invite students to share experiences they have had as they have experimented on the word of God. As appropriate, tell about a time when your faith grew stronger because you experimented on the word. Encourage students to continue experimenting on the word.
What were the Zoramites’ beliefs about their need for a Savior?
Ask students to silently read Alma 33:12–22, which contains some of Alma’s words to the Zoramites about Jesus Christ. Have students count the number of times Alma refers to the Savior in these verses.
What can we learn about Jesus Christ from these verses?
Alma recounted the story of the Israelites who refused to look at a type of Christ that Moses had made (see Alma 33:19–22; see also Numbers 21:5–9; 1 Nephi 17:41). How might this example have been helpful for the Zoramites? How does it help you?
You may want to point out that all the Israelites had to do was look. This can be compared with Alma’s request that the people “exercise a particle of faith” (Alma 32:27).
Have a student read Alma 33:22–23.
How can prayer help answer the questions in verse 1?
In verse 3, Alma uses the words prayer and worship synonymously. In what ways is prayer the same as worship?
When have your prayers had the most power?
Invite students to tell about moments when they have experienced the power of prayer. Give them enough time to think about their experiences before they respond.
Why is it an act of mercy for God to hear our prayers? In verse 11, what does the phrase “because of thy Son” mean to you?
What do you think it means to let your heart be “drawn out in prayer … continually”?
As students discuss this question, invite them to read the statement by President Henry B. Eyring on page 228 in the student manual. Discuss with students how this statement broadens their understanding of what it means to have their hearts “drawn out in prayer … continually.” Then ask students to silently ponder their personal answers to the following questions:
What can you do to apply these teachings in your life? What can you do to be more prayerful and more responsive to personal revelation?
Bear your testimony in relation to Amulek’s instructions about prayer.
Why is it important to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? How does this knowledge influence your faith in Jesus Christ?
What attributes of God does Alma emphasize in Alma 33:4–11?
Invite students to highlight the three instances of the word all in Alma 34:9. Discuss what Amulek teaches in this verse about our fallen condition and the Atonement. The following questions may assist you in your discussion:
According to Alma 34:10, why was the Savior the only one who could offer a sacrifice to save all mankind?
Refer students to the words infinite and eternal on the board. Have a student read Alma 34:10–14 while the rest of the class looks for what is infinite and eternal in these verses. (Help them see that the Atonement is infinite and eternal, and so is the Son of God.)
In what ways is the Atonement infinite and eternal?
How is the Savior infinite and eternal?
To help students discuss these questions, invite them to read the statements by Elder Bruce R. McConkie and Elder Russell M. Nelson on pages 228–29 in the student manual. The statement by Elder Nelson is also available on the companion DVD
Consider reading and discussing the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), the 13th President of the Church:
“He was able to accomplish His mission because He was the Son of God and He possessed the power of God.
“He was willing to accomplish His mission because He loves us.
“No mortal being had the power or capability to redeem all other mortals from their lost and fallen condition, nor could any other voluntarily forfeit his life and thereby bring to pass a universal resurrection for all other mortals.
“Only Jesus Christ was able and willing to accomplish such a redeeming act of love” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1983, 6; or Ensign, Nov. 1983, 6–7; italics in original).
To help students see how to receive the blessings of the “infinite and eternal” Atonement, have them search Alma 34:15–17 and identify a phrase that appears four times. (“Faith unto repentance.”)
What does the phrase “faith unto repentance” mean?
How does faith lead to repentance?
According to Alma 34:16, what blessings do we receive as we exercise faith unto repentance? What happens if we fail to exercise faith unto repentance?
What can we do to prepare to meet God?
Imagine that a friend tells you, “I’ll enjoy experimenting with sin for a while, but my intent is to repent and be worthy in the end.” What would you say to a person with this attitude?
Who is responsible for your salvation?
Have students read Alma 34:37–41 to find Amulek’s response to this question.
Amulek counseled the people to “work out [their] salvation” (Alma 34:37). He and Alma both taught the people that they must depend on the Savior for salvation. How do these two principles work together?
Share your testim0ony about the necessity to do all that we can while depending on the Savior (see 2 Nephi 25:23–26).