“July 20–26. Alma 36–38: ‘Look to God and Live,’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“July 20–26. Alma 36–38,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2020
Record Your Impressions
One way to encourage class members to share what they are learning in the scriptures is to divide the class into three groups and assign each group a chapter from Alma 36–38. Invite each group to find and share an inspiring verse from their chapter.
Some members of your class may wonder why they have never had a dramatic conversion experience like Alma’s. It might help them if you shared what Elder David A. Bednar taught: “For many of us, conversion is an ongoing process and not a onetime event that results from a powerful or dramatic experience” (“Converted unto the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 107–8). Although some things about Alma’s conversion experience are uncommon, his experience teaches principles that we all need to apply to our own ongoing conversion. You could invite class members to search Alma 36 to find these principles and list them on the board. What else has helped us become more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Alma used the phrase “born of God” to describe his conversion. To help class members understand this concept, you could invite them to read the following verses individually or in pairs, looking for what it means to be born of God: 1 John 4:7; Mosiah 5:7; 27:25–26; and Alma 5:14; 22:15. Ask class members to share what they have learned. Then they could search Alma 36, looking for answers to this question: How do people feel and act when they are born of God? To help class members ponder how they are being born of God, you could share the statement by President Ezra Taft Benson found in “Additional Resources.”
Perhaps studying Alma’s words as he gave sacred records to his son Helaman can help class members share how they have felt the power of the scriptures in their lives. Encourage them to review Alma 37 to find messages that Alma gave to Helaman about the scriptures (see especially verses 1–19 and 43–47). How do we show that the scriptures are sacred to us? How can we, like Alma, teach our loved ones to “keep all these things sacred”? (Alma 37:2). How do the scriptures “show forth [God’s] power” to us? (Alma 37:14).
One way to learn about the blessings of having the scriptures is to study what Alma said in Alma 37 about the sacred records and other items he entrusted to Helaman. You could make a list on the board of the sacred items: the plates of Nephi and the brass plates (Alma 37:2–20), the 24 plates of Ether and the interpreters (Alma 37:21–37), and the Liahona (Alma 37:38–47). Class members could read these verses to learn what Alma taught about each of these items. In what ways can the scriptures enlarge our memories? (see Alma 37:8). What can we learn from Alma’s words about the blessings of having the scriptures in our lives today?
To teach about the importance of “small and simple things” in God’s work, Alma gave two examples: the scriptures and the Liahona (see Alma 37:6–7, 41–42; see also 1 Nephi 17:41). After reviewing these examples, perhaps class members could share examples from their own lives of small and simple things in God’s work. You might want to contact one or two class members in advance and ask them to bring an object to class that is small and has brought about great things in their lives. You could also share the statement by President Dallin H. Oaks in “Additional Resources.” To help class members personalize this principle, you could ask questions like the following: Why do we sometimes fail to do the small and simple things? How can we inspire ourselves and our families to overcome this tendency?
Comparing the word of God to the Liahona could inspire class members to be more diligent and consistent about reading the scriptures. To guide a discussion about this, you might invite class members to read Alma 37:38–47 in pairs, looking for similarities between the Liahona and the word of God. You might challenge them to find a similarity in each verse. Then you could write each verse number on the board and ask class members to write the similarities they found next to the numbers. What does this comparison suggest about how we should approach our scripture study?
Alma’s words to his son Shiblon provide a good example of how to strengthen and encourage those we love in living the gospel. Maybe class members could read this chapter and identify how Alma strengthened Shiblon. Alma 38 is short—you might even decide to read it as a class. Then class members could share passages that they found meaningful or that gave them ideas for strengthening their own family members and friends.
Have class members ever wondered how to counsel a loved one who made a serious mistake? Explain that they will find helpful insights in Alma 39–42.
President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “When we have undergone this mighty change, which is brought about only through faith in Jesus Christ and through the operation of the Spirit upon us, it is as though we have become a new person. Thus, the change is likened to a new birth. Thousands of you have experienced this change. You have forsaken lives of sin, sometimes deep and offensive sin, and through applying the blood of Christ in your lives, have become clean. You have no more disposition to return to your old ways. You are in reality a new person. This is what is meant by a change of heart” (“A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 4).
President Dallin H. Oaks taught:
“I was reminded of the power of small and simple things over time by something I saw on a morning walk. … The thick and strong concrete sidewalk [was] cracking. Is this the result of some large and powerful thrust? No, this cracking is caused by the slow, small growth of one of the roots reaching out from the adjoining tree. …
“So is the powerful effect over time of the small and simple things we are taught in the scriptures and by living prophets. Consider the scripture study we’ve been taught to incorporate into our daily lives. Or consider the personal prayers and the kneeling family prayers that are regular practices for faithful Latter-day Saints. … Though each of these practices may seem to be small and simple, over time they result in powerful spiritual uplift and growth. This occurs because each of these small and simple things invites the companionship of the Holy Ghost, the Testifier who enlightens us and guides us into truth” (“Small and Simple Things,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 90).