Abandoning Sin and Spiritually Awakening to God

“Abandoning Sin and Spiritually Awakening to God,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material (2021)

“Abandoning Sin and Spiritually Awakening to God,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material

the people of Ammon bury their weapons of war

Week 3 Teacher Material

Abandoning Sin and Spiritually Awakening to God

In this lesson students will explore the Book of Mormon account of the repentant people of Ammon and their conversion to the Lord. Students will discuss how to abandon sin. They will also be invited to make a conscious effort to awaken unto God and come closer to Him.

Ideas for Teaching

Chapter 4

As we sincerely repent, the Lord will change our hearts and help us turn completely to God.

  • Consider starting the lesson by asking students to think about sinful actions or thoughts that they might be having a hard time abandoning. You might even invite students to privately write these actions or thoughts on a paper and then fold the paper and hold on to it for later.

  • Show Elder Andersen’s video “Scriptural Accounts That Teach Repentance and Forgiveness” (2:39) to remind students of some of what they read in chapter 4. Encourage them to listen for where they can find strength to abandon their sins and be freed from guilt.

  • You might ask students what impressed them most about the Lamanites who were converted to the Lord after hearing Ammon and his brethren preach. Then consider reading the 10th paragraph of the chapter (which begins “This is a very important principle …”), and ask students why they think “going through a perfunctory list of things to do to repent” might not have a lasting impact on us.

  • You could ask students why they think these Lamanites never fell away. (If needed, students could review paragraphs 11–13, which begin “A miraculous thing …”) You might share and then talk about the following statement by Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to enhance your discussion:

    Elder Dale G. Renlund

    Being ‘converted unto the Lord’ [Alma 23:6] means leaving one course of action, directed by an old belief system, and adopting a new one based on faith in Heavenly Father’s plan and in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. …

    … Internalizing such a commitment is a lifelong process that requires patience and ongoing repentance. Eventually, this commitment becomes part of who we are, embedded in our sense of self, and ever present in our lives. (“Unwavering Commitment to Jesus Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 22)

    Note: This talk by Elder Renlund is another excellent resource for this lesson. Consider using portions of it in the next section as well.

    You might also ask: How can being “converted unto the Lord” help with the challenge mentioned in paragraph 12?

  • Read the first paragraph of the section “Burying Weapons of Rebellion,” and help students identify a principle similar to the statement in the heading above. Then invite students to review the list of descriptions of these converted Lamanites found in that same section (from Alma 23:7; 27:27–28). Invite students to share which of these descriptions stands out to them most and why.

Once we are cleansed of our sins through the blood of the Lamb of God, we must bury anything that takes us to the place we were before we repented.

  • Consider inviting a student to summarize the story of the people of Ammon repenting and burying their weapons of war. You might also ask why they did it and what price they had to pay because of it. (See Alma 24:7–27.) You could then invite any students who are willing to share their thoughts or feelings after hearing this account.

  • Ask: What can we learn about repentance from the example of the people of Ammon burying their weapons? (If needed, review from the section “God Takes Away Guilt through the Merits of the Savior” paragraphs 19–21 [which begin “The qualities that defined …”] to help students identify a truth like the one stated in the section heading above.)

  • Consider inviting students to discuss one or both of the following questions with partners, in small groups, or as a class:

    • What might be some modern-day “weapons of … rebellion”? (Alma 23:7).

    • How have you seen those who repent bury their “weapons of … rebellion” today?

  • Invite students to ponder and write about or record on a digital device what they will do to strengthen their conversion and follow the example of the people of Ammon. Students might also find a later time to “bury” the papers they wrote on at the beginning of class as a testimony of their commitment to their plan.

  • Consider reading together paragraph 22 of the last section (“God Takes Away Guilt through the Merits of the Savior”), which begins, “Whatever our weapons of rebellion …” You might also invite a student or two to share their testimony of the Lord’s mercy and grace in helping them forsake their sins and become more converted to Him. (Remind students not to share anything too personal or sacred.)

Chapter 5

As we awaken spiritually to God, we recognize our divine heritage and the purposes of our life, which helps us move closer to Him.

  • Consider inviting students to talk about what they think of when they hear the phrase “awakening unto God” (the title of chapter 5). Invite students to read paragraphs 4 (which begins “The scriptures use this …”) and 10 (which begins “Wherever we are …”) of the first section and identify a truth like the one in the section heading just above. You might then discuss this question:

    • How can understanding your divine heritage—who you really are and how Heavenly Father sees you—influence the way you see your life?

  • You could show Elder Andersen’s video “Convinced of the Power of God” (3:09) to help students better understand the meaning of awakening to God.

    After the video you might ask questions like the following:

    • What does Elder Andersen say we need to be awakened to?

    • How have you experienced an awakening to God in your own life?

    • How can you accept Elder Andersen’s invitation to make a conscious effort to move closer to God?

When we understand who we really are, we live our lives differently.

  • You might ask students to share what they know about their premortal life or share how the scriptures have helped them to understand who they really are. You might also ask students to share how their patriarchal blessings have helped them understand who they are and their purpose on the earth. (Take care not to ask students to share anything specific from their blessings.)

  • Consider dividing the class into three groups. Invite one group to review the section “Our Heavenly Father’s Plan of Redemption” and another group to review the section “Premortal Council in Heaven.” Invite the third group to read the following scripture passages: Jeremiah 1:5; Revelation 12:9–11; Alma 13:3; Doctrine and Covenants 138:53, 56; Abraham 3:22–26. After sufficient time, you might then discuss the following question as a class: What did you read that could change the way you view yourself? You could also share this statement by Sister Michelle D. Craig, a counselor in the General Young Women Presidency:

Sister Michelle D. Craig

Perhaps the most important things for us to see clearly are who God is and who we really are—sons and daughters of heavenly parents, with a “divine nature and eternal destiny” [Young Women Theme,]. Ask God to reveal these truths to you, along with how He feels about you. The more you understand your true identity and purpose, soul deep, the more it will influence everything in your life. (“Eyes to See,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2020, 15–16)

  • You may want to invite students to review the last two paragraphs of chapter 5 (which begin with “The approach to …”) and share what impressed them about this passage. Consider inviting students to pray in the coming days for help to see themselves how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ see them. Invite students to consider how their increasingly accurate view of themselves can help them awaken to God and desire to live their lives differently.

For Next Time

You might ask students how often they feel frustrated with themselves because of their weakness. Invite them to read chapters 6 and 7 of The Divine Gift of Forgiveness, looking for why we have natural weakness and why we need to be patient with ourselves and trust more in the Savior. You could also invite students to look for how experiencing remorse of conscience can be a good thing.