“July 20–26. Alma 36–38: ‘Look to God and Live,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“July 20–26. Alma 36–38,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2020
Record Your Impressions
When Alma saw wickedness around him, he felt deep “sorrow,” “tribulation,” and “anguish of soul” (Alma 8:14). “Wickedness among this people,” he said of the Zoramites, “doth pain my soul” (Alma 31:30). He felt something similar after returning from his mission to the Zoramites—he observed that “the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word,” and this made his heart “exceedingly sorrowful” (Alma 35:15). What did Alma do about what he saw and felt? He didn’t simply become discouraged or cynical about the state of the world. Instead, “he caused that his sons should be gathered together” and taught them “things pertaining unto righteousness” (Alma 35:16). He taught them that “there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. … Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness” (Alma 38:9).
Few will have experiences as dramatic as Alma’s conversion. But there are principles in his experience that we can all learn from and apply, because everyone must be “born of God” (Alma 36:23). As you read Alma 36, look for principles you can apply. For instance, how does someone who has been born of God feel about sin? about Jesus Christ? You could also look for changes you might expect to see in the beliefs and actions of someone who is born of God.
You may notice some repetition in Alma’s account of his conversion in this chapter. That’s because Alma 36 is a great example of a form of Hebrew poetry called chiasmus, in which words or ideas are presented in a certain order, leading to a central idea, and then repeated in reverse order. In Alma 36, the idea in verse 3 is repeated in verse 27, the idea in verse 5 is repeated in verse 26, and so on. The central idea is the most important message of the chiasmus. See if you can find the central idea in verses 17–18. Notice how catching “hold upon this thought” affected Alma and changed his life. How has this truth affected you? What other repeated ideas do you find in this passage?
How does this account of repentance and forgiveness inspire you to follow Alma’s example and turn to the Savior?
For more information about chiasmus, see Book of Mormon Student Manual (Church Educational System manual , 232–33).
Have you ever thought about what a miracle and blessing it is to have the scriptures today? God has “entrusted [us] with these things, which are sacred” (Alma 37:14). As you read Alma 37, look for the blessings that come from having the scriptures. How have you experienced these blessings? How can we use the scriptures to help “show forth [God’s] power unto future generations”? (Alma 37:18).
In Alma 37:38–47, Alma compares “the word of Christ” to the Liahona. As you ponder this comparison, reflect on the ways you have experienced the miracle and power of Christ’s teachings “day by day” (Alma 37:40).
See also D. Todd Christofferson, “The Blessing of Scripture,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 32–35.
Sometimes we may feel like our problems are so big and complicated that the solutions must be big and complicated too. Yet time and time again, the Lord chooses to use “small and simple things” (Alma 37:6) to accomplish His work and bless the lives of His children. As you read Alma 37:6–7, ponder and record ways you’ve seen this principle at work in your life. What are some small and simple things the Lord uses to bless you and accomplish His work?
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.
Although Alma’s experience was extraordinary, his conversion illustrates several principles that apply to all of us. Invite each family member to select a verse from Alma 36:5–26 that teaches about being “born of God.” What do we learn from these verses? Perhaps family members could share how they have applied the principles Alma described.
How could we use these verses to help someone see that repentance is a joyful experience, not a dreadful one? How can repentance inspire us to share the gospel with others?
What are some of the “small and simple things” (Alma 37:6) that bring about great things in our lives? In what ways is the word of Christ like the Liahona? How can we help each other study the scriptures more diligently?
Why is it wise to learn to keep the commandments while “in [our] youth”?
Does your family know what a bridle is? Maybe you could show them a picture of one and talk about how it is used to control an animal. What does it mean to “bridle [our] passions”? How does bridling our passions help us be “filled with love”?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.