“July 27–August 2. Alma 39–42: ‘The Great Plan of Happiness,’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“July 27–August 2. Alma 39–42,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2020
July 27–August 2
“The Great Plan of Happiness”
Alma’s teachings in Alma 39–42 are doctrinally rich and clarify important truths. As you study these chapters, ponder which truths might be most meaningful to your class and what you can do to help them discover these truths.
Record Your Impressions
To give class members an opportunity to share their thoughts and insights about Alma 39–42, you could invite them to briefly review these chapters and find something Alma said or did that impressed them.
Teach the Doctrine
Sexual sin is an abomination in the sight of the Lord.
What can we learn from the account of Corianton’s experience with sin and repentance? Perhaps class members could read Alma 39:1–14, some of them searching for what Corianton did wrong, others searching for what may have led him to sin, and others searching for counsel Alma gave him. As they share what they find, they could discuss how we can avoid making similar mistakes.
When people commit sexual sins, they often have feelings of discouragement or despair and can feel they don’t have much worth. What principles in Alma 39–42 inspire class members to feel hope that leads to repentance? Sharing the statement by Sister Joy D. Jones in “Additional Resources” can help class members understand the difference between worthiness and our worth in the sight of God. (See also Lynn G. Robbins, “Until Seventy Times Seven,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 21–23.)
As part of your discussion, it might be helpful for class members to discuss the Lord’s standards regarding chastity. Your discussion may be more helpful if it centers on principles rather than on a list of dos and don’ts. For example, you could invite class members to identify principles that Alma taught Corianton in Alma 39. In addition, they could review “Sexual Purity” in For the Strength of Youth with questions like these in mind: “If you had to summarize all of this counsel with one principle, what would it be?” or “What principles do you find here that help you live the law of chastity?” Class members could also review this section in For the Strength of Youth, looking for the blessings of living the law of chastity and the consequences of disobeying this law. How are these principles different from what the world teaches? How do these principles affect the way we think about the law of chastity? Your class might benefit by reading Sister Wendy Nelson’s statement in “Additional Resources” as they answer these questions.
It’s sometimes easy to believe that our choices don’t affect others—that our sins are private. What did Alma teach Corianton in Alma 39:11–12 about the effect of his choices? Invite class members to ponder who might be affected by the choices they are making, both good and bad. They could also share how the actions and examples of others have helped them choose the right.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ makes the plan of redemption possible.
Alma taught Corianton truths we all need to understand, including truths about the purpose of life, the spirit world, resurrection, and judgment. Consider picking one of Alma’s teachings and giving class members two minutes to search Alma 40–42 (individually or in pairs) and write down as many truths about that topic as they can find. Class members could then share with each other or with the class what they found. You could repeat this process for other topics as time allows. Why were these particular truths important for Alma’s son Corianton to understand?
Alma’s descriptions of the state of souls after this life can impress on class members’ minds the importance of coming unto the Savior and repenting of our sins in this life. You could write Righteous (Repentant) and Wicked (Unrepentant) on the board and invite class members to search Alma 40:11–26 and list on the board words or phrases that Alma used to describe the state of each of these groups of people after they die. How can these teachings inspire us to repent? For more about what happens in the spirit world, see 1 Peter 3:18–20; 4:6 and Doctrine and Covenants 138:29–37.
What comes to the minds of your class members when they hear the words “restored” or “restoration”? Invite them to search Alma 41 for how Alma used these words. What did he mean by them? What will be restored to us? Why can it be helpful to see Heavenly Father’s plan as a “plan of restoration”? (verse 2).
Some members of your class may share the question that seemed to be on Corianton’s mind—is it just or fair that a loving God would punish His children? (see Alma 42:1). Maybe you could ask class members to ponder how they would respond to this question and search for answers in Alma 42:7–26.
If you feel it would be appropriate, members of your class might benefit from finding a verse in Alma 42 that they could depict with a simple drawing or symbol that explains why we need the Savior’s Atonement. Class members could share what they drew, and the rest of the class could try to find the verse it represents. Then they could discuss what they learned about the importance of the Savior’s sacrifice.
The worth of our souls is great.
Sister Joy D. Jones taught:
“Let me point out the need to differentiate between two critical words: worth and worthiness. They are not the same. Spiritual worth means to value ourselves the way Heavenly Father values us, not as the world values us. Our worth was determined before we ever came to this earth. ‘God’s love is infinite and it will endure forever.’
“On the other hand, worthiness is achieved through obedience. If we sin, we are less worthy, but we are never worth less! We continue to repent and strive to be like Jesus with our worth intact. As President Brigham Young taught: ‘The least, the most inferior spirit now upon the earth … is worth worlds.’ No matter what, we always have worth in the eyes of our Heavenly Father” (“Value beyond Measure,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 14).
The world’s view on intimacy is not consistent with God’s view.
Sister Wendy Nelson contrasted how the world views sexual relations—“worldly sex”—with what she called “God-ordained marital intimacy”:
“With worldly sex, anything goes. With marital intimacy, exquisite care is taken to avoid anything and everything—from language to music to movies—that offends the Spirit, your spirit, or your spouse’s.
“While worldly sex is lustful and kills love, marital intimacy generates more love.
“Worldly sex degrades men and women and their bodies, while marital intimacy honors men and women and celebrates the body as one of the great prizes of mortal life.
“With worldly sex, individuals can feel used, abused, and ultimately more lonely. With marital intimacy, spouses feel more united and loved, more nurtured and understood.
“Worldly sex ravages and eventually ruins relationships. Marital intimacy strengthens marriages. It supports, heals, and hallows the lives of spouses and their marriage. …
“Worldly sex becomes a total obsession because it never fulfills its promises. God-ordained marital intimacy is glorious and will continue eternally for covenant-keeping husbands and wives” (“Love and Marriage” [worldwide devotional, Jan. 8, 2017], broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).