“June 29–July 5. Alma 23–29: They ‘Never Did Fall Away,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“June 29–July 5. Alma 23–29,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2020
Record Your Impressions
Do you sometimes wonder whether people can really change? Maybe you worry about whether you can overcome poor choices you’ve made or bad habits you’ve developed, or you may have similar worries about loved ones. If so, the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies can help you. These people were the sworn enemies of the Nephites. When Ammon and his brethren decided to preach the gospel to them, the Nephites “laughed [them] to scorn.” Killing the Lamanites seemed like a more plausible solution than converting them. (See Alma 26:23–25.)
But the Lamanites did change—through the converting power of the Lord. Where once they were known as “a hardened and a ferocious people” (Alma 17:14), they became “distinguished for their zeal towards God” (Alma 27:27). In fact, they “never did fall away” (Alma 23:6).
Maybe you have false traditions to abandon or “weapons of … rebellion” to lay down (Alma 23:7). Or maybe you just need to be a little more zealous in your testimony and a little less prone to falling away. No matter what changes you need, Alma 23–29 can give you hope that, through the atoning power of Jesus Christ, long-lasting change is possible.
When the king of the Lamanites declared that the word of God should “have no obstruction” among his people (see Alma 23:1–5), he opened the door to great blessings for them. As you read Alma 23–29, look for these blessings. How can you ensure that the word of God has “no obstruction” in your life or in your family?
The Lamanites who were visited by Ammon and his brethren seemed to be unlikely candidates for conversion—they were trapped by the traditions of their fathers and their own wickedness. Yet many of them accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and made fundamental changes in their lives. As a symbol of their own conversion, these Lamanites called themselves Anti-Nephi-Lehies. (The meaning of “anti” in this case is not the same as “anti” in “anti-Christ.”)
Reflecting on the conversion of these Lamanites might prompt you to ponder your own conversion “unto the Lord” (Alma 23:6). One way to study these chapters could be to identify how the conversion of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies changed their lives. The following verses can get you started.
As you ponder the changes in the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, consider how your own conversion to Christ is changing you. What do you feel you still need to change so that the gospel can have greater power in your life?
While the sins that Ammon and the Anti-Nephi-Lehies had to overcome were likely quite different from anything in your life, we all rely on the mercy of God. What do you find in Alma 24:7–19 and 26:17–22 that helps you understand His mercy? As you read, you might think about these things: the ways you have been invited to repent, your experiences with repentance, how you have tried to avoid sinning again, and the blessings that have come to you through repentance. When you read the verses in this way, what do you learn about God’s mercy in your life?
Despite their different experiences, Ammon and Alma expressed similar feelings about their missionary labors. Consider reading Alma 26 and 29 and comparing them. What similarities do you notice? What words and phrases are repeated? What can you learn from Ammon and Alma about how to find true joy in spite of your challenges? (To review the challenges Alma faced, see the chapter headings for Alma 5–16. To review the challenges of Ammon and his brethren, see the chapter headings for Alma 17–28.)
At harvest time, grain is often gathered into bundles called sheaves and placed in storehouses, sometimes called garners. Elder David A. Bednar shared a possible interpretation of the symbolism in Alma 26:5: “The sheaves in this analogy represent newly baptized members of the Church. The garners are the holy temples” (“Honorably Hold a Name and Standing,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 97). Consider what the analogy in Alma 26:5–7 teaches you about the importance of temple covenants.
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some ideas.
Why did the Anti-Nephi-Lehies bury their weapons “deep in the earth”? (Alma 24:16). Maybe family members would enjoy writing on pieces of paper things they would like to overcome or abandon. They could then dig a hole and bury the papers.
Studying these verses can help your family understand the wonderful gift of repentance. What did the Anti-Nephi-Lehies do to repent of their sins? How did the Lord help them repent? What can we learn from this example?
What have we seen that testifies of the truth of Mormon’s declaration: “Thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people”? (Alma 24:27).
How would your family answer Ammon’s questions in Alma 26:2? Perhaps you could make a list of their answers on a large piece of paper and hang it in a place where everyone can see it. Encourage family members to add to it as they think of other blessings God has “bestowed upon us.”
How were Ammon and Alma instruments in God’s hands? Consider looking at tools or instruments in your home and discussing how they are each helpful to your family. How does this help us understand how we can each be “an instrument in the hands of God”?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.