“July 27–August 2. Alma 39–42: ‘The Great Plan of Happiness,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“July 27–August 2. Alma 39–42,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2020
Record Your Impressions
When someone we love has made a serious mistake, it can be hard to know how to respond. Part of what makes Alma 39–42 so valuable is that it reveals how Alma—a disciple of Christ who once had his own grievous sins to repent of—handled such a situation. Alma’s son Corianton had committed sexual sin, and Alma, as he often did, trusted the power of true doctrine to encourage repentance (see Alma 4:19; 31:5). In these chapters, we observe Alma’s boldness in condemning sin and his tenderness and love for Corianton. And ultimately, we sense Alma’s confidence that the Savior “shall come to take away [sins and] declare glad tidings of salvation” to those who repent (Alma 39:15). The fact that Corianton eventually returned to the work of the ministry (see Alma 49:30) can give us hope for forgiveness and redemption when we are “trouble[d]” (Alma 42:29) about our own sins or the sins of someone we love.
To impress upon his son the seriousness of sexual sin, Alma taught “that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord” (Alma 39:5). Why is chastity important to you? Why is it important to the Lord? The following explanation from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland may be helpful:
“Clearly among His greatest concerns regarding mortality are how one gets into this world and how one gets out of it. He has set very strict limits in these matters.
“… Human intimacy is reserved for a married couple because it is the ultimate symbol of total union, a totality and a union ordained and defined by God. … Marriage was intended to mean the complete merger of a man and a woman. … This is a union of such completeness that we use the word seal to convey its eternal promise” (“Personal Purity,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 76).
Consider the counsel Alma gave Corianton in Alma 39:8–15. How does it help you further understand the importance of the law of chastity and how to overcome temptation? Alma’s teachings also demonstrate how eager the Lord is to forgive us when we repent and that there is hope for all of us. As you read Alma 39–42 this week, look for evidence of God’s mercy. How has God’s mercy blessed you?
See also “Sexual Purity,” For the Strength of Youth, 35–37.
When Alma noticed that Corianton had questions about the Resurrection, he taught him about what happens after we die. What truths did Alma teach in chapters 40–41 that would have been helpful for Corianton—and anybody who has sinned—to understand? You might organize what you learn by identifying the topics that Alma addresses (such as the spirit world, resurrection, and restoration) and then writing down what Alma teaches about each one. How can remembering these truths help you when you feel tempted or are seeking forgiveness?
Sometimes we might think that prophets know the answer to every gospel question. But notice that throughout chapter 40, Alma had several unanswered questions about life after death. What did he do to find answers? What did he do when he didn’t have answers? Consider how Alma’s example might help you with gospel questions you have.
Corianton believed that punishment for sins was not fair (see Alma 42:1). But Alma taught that there is a way to escape from the “state of misery” that sin puts us in: repentance and faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which is both merciful and just (see Alma 42:15). As you read Alma 42, look for how the Savior’s Atonement makes it possible for you to receive mercy without “rob[bing] justice” (verse 25). What truths do you find in this chapter that help you feel His mercy?
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.
Would your family benefit from a discussion about the law of chastity? If so, consider using the following resources according to your family’s needs: Alma 39:1–9; “Sexual Purity,” For the Strength of Youth, 35–37; “Chastity,” Gospel Topics, topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; overcomingpornography.org; and the videos “What Should I Do When I See Pornography?” and “I Choose to Be Pure” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Ponder how you can help your family understand the blessings of chastity and of intimacy in marriage (for example, see the video “How to Talk to Your Kids about Intimacy” on ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
What do we learn from these verses about how to avoid sin?
You could play a game in which pieces of paper with Christlike attributes or gospel principles written on them are scattered around the room. You could see how many pieces of paper family members can gather in a certain amount of time, then discuss how the things written on the papers can help us become more like God. How is the “time granted” to us on earth like the time allotted in this game? How can we use our “probationary time” on earth to become more like the Savior?
Perhaps you could illustrate the relationship between justice and mercy by using a drawing of a simple scale to discuss questions like these: What happens to the scale when we sin? What does justice require for the scale to be balanced? How does the Savior meet the demands of justice and make mercy possible?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.