Lesson 20: My Soul Is Pained No More

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 89–93


Purpose

To inspire class members to continually apply the principle of repentance, become converted, and share the gospel.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      Mosiah 25. Limhi’s people and Alma’s people gather in the land of Zarahemla with the people of Mosiah. Limhi and his people are baptized. King Mosiah authorizes Alma to organize the Church of God throughout the land of Zarahemla.

    2. b.

      Mosiah 26; 27:1–7. Many Church members are led into sin by unbelievers. The Lord tells Alma that those who repent shall be forgiven, but those who do not repent shall not be numbered among the people of the Church. Mosiah issues a proclamation forbidding believers and unbelievers from persecuting each other.

    3. c.

      Mosiah 27:8–31; Alma 36:6–23. Alma the Younger and the four sons of Mosiah seek to destroy the Church of God. In answer to the prayers of their fathers and other Church members, an angel appears to them. Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah are converted. Alma the Younger testifies of his conversion.

    4. d.

      Mosiah 27:32–28:20; Alma 36:24. Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah dedicate themselves to preaching the gospel.

  2. 2.

    Ask a class member to prepare a brief summary of the events that led to the conversion of Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah (Mosiah 27:8–24).

  3. 3.

    If the picture Conversion of Alma the Younger is available, prepare to use it during the lesson (Gospel Art Picture Kit 321).

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Ask class members:

  • How many of you are converts?

Point out that we often use the term convert to refer to a person who was baptized into the Church after the age of eight. In another sense, however, each of us should be a convert. Each of us, no matter when we are baptized, must acquire his or her own testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For some people this conversion is sudden and dramatic, but for most it is a subtle, gradual process. Some people become converted easily, while others must struggle to develop this testimony and commitment. (Note that lesson 22 further discusses the process of becoming converted.)

This lesson discusses five young men who, despite being the sons of strong and faithful Church leaders, had to experience their own conversions to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Scripture Discussion and Application

Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss the importance of becoming converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the principles being discussed.

1. Limhi’s and Alma’s people join Mosiah’s people in the land of Zarahemla.

Discuss Mosiah 25. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. Explain that Limhi’s people and Alma’s people joined the people of King Mosiah in Zarahemla (Mosiah 22:11–14; 24:20, 23–25). Help class members understand that there were now four groups united in Zarahemla under King Mosiah:

  1. a.

    Limhi’s people, who were descended from Zeniff and the others who returned from Zarahemla to the land of Nephi.

  2. b.

    Alma’s people, who had broken away from the group descended from Zeniff during the reign of Noah.

  3. c.

    The Nephites who had remained in Zarahemla.

  4. d.

    The Mulekites, the original residents of Zarahemla.

Explain that all these people now called themselves Nephites (Mosiah 25:12–13).

  • Mosiah assembled the people in Zarahemla and read the records of Limhi’s people and Alma’s people to them (Mosiah 25:5–6). How did the people of Zarahemla respond to these records? (See Mosiah 25:7–11.) How did their responses demonstrate their charity?

  • How have you benefited from studying the accounts of Limhi’s and Alma’s people?

  • After Mosiah finished reading the records, he invited Alma to speak (Mosiah 25:14). What did Alma speak about? (See Mosiah 25:15–16.) Why was it important that the people remember who had delivered them out of bondage? What effect did Alma’s teachings have on Limhi and his people? (See Mosiah 25:17–18.)

  • Mosiah authorized Alma to “establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla” (Mosiah 25:19–20). How were the people able to remain “one church” after being assembled into different congregations? (See Mosiah 25:21–24.) How can their example help us today as we face the challenges of remaining “one” in a worldwide Church?

2. Many Church members are led into sin by unbelievers.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 26; 27:1–7.

  • Why did many of the “rising generation” refuse to join the Church? (See Mosiah 26:1–4.) How can older generations help youth gain testimonies of Jesus Christ and His gospel? How can older generations help youth feel God’s love and understand their relationship to Him?

  • The unbelievers led many members of the Church into sin. What was Alma’s responsibility for the Church members who had sinned? (See Mosiah 26:6–8.) What responsibility has the Lord placed on Church leaders today to help members who have committed serious sins?

  • Whom did Alma consult when Mosiah declined to judge the people who had sinned? (See Mosiah 26:10–14.) How have you received guidance in your responsibilities when you have turned to God in prayer?

  • What did the Lord tell Alma to do with the people who had sinned? (See Mosiah 26:29–30, 32.) Why is confession an important step in the process of repentance? Why is it important to “forgive one another”? (Mosiah 26:31). How have you been blessed by forgiving someone or by having someone forgive you?

  • Although the Church “began again to have peace and to prosper,” members of the Church were often persecuted by unbelievers (Mosiah 26:37–38; 27:1). What did King Mosiah do when Church members complained about this persecution? (See Mosiah 27:1–5.) In what ways might Church members be persecuted today? What are some productive ways to deal with persecution?

3. Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah are visited by an angel.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 27:8–31; Alma 36:6–23. Explain that even after Mosiah had issued a proclamation forbidding persecution, some unbelievers continued to try to destroy the Church. These unbelievers included Mosiah’s own four sons and one of Alma’s sons (Mosiah 27:8–9).

Ask the assigned class member to summarize the events that led to the conversion of Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah (Mosiah 27:8–24). If you are using the picture of Alma the Younger, display it now.

  • Why did the Lord send an angel to speak to Alma the Younger and his companions? (See Mosiah 27:14.) How can prayer help us when a loved one strays from the gospel?

    When he was Church Commissioner of Education, Jeffrey R. Holland said: “Perhaps no anguish of the human spirit matches the anguish of a mother or father who fears for the soul of a child. … [But] parents can never give up hoping or caring or believing. Surely they can never give up praying. At times prayer may be the only course of action remaining—but it is the most powerful of them all” (“Alma, Son of Alma,” Ensign, Mar. 1977, 80–81).

  • What are some ways the Lord sends help in response to the prayers of the righteous for loved ones who have strayed? (Help class members understand that the Lord will not always send an angel, as He did to Alma, but He sends help in countless other ways. He may send a sensitive leader or friend, dedicated home teachers or visiting teachers, or an inspired sermon to affect the lives of those for whom we pray.) How have you seen the power of prayer help in a situation that appeared to be beyond remedy?

  • What did the angel tell Alma the Younger? (See Mosiah 27:13–17.) What happened to Alma the Younger after the angel departed? (See Mosiah 27:18–19.) How did Alma respond when he heard about his son’s experience with the angel? (See Mosiah 27:20.) Why did he rejoice?

Explain that years after his conversion, Alma told his son Helaman about the experience (Alma 36:6–24). Using the accounts in Mosiah 27 and Alma 36, help class members contrast Alma’s feelings before and after he was forgiven (consider asking some class members to look at the account in Mosiah 27 while others look at the account in Alma 36). You may want to summarize the discussion in a chart like the one below:

Before

After

Carnal and fallen, to be cast off (Mosiah 27:25–27; Alma 36:11)

Redeemed of God, born of the Spirit (Mosiah 27:24–25; Alma 36:23)

Wading through much tribulation (Mosiah 27:28)

Snatched out of an everlasting burning (Mosiah 27:28)

In the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity (Mosiah 27:29)

Redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity (Mosiah 27:29)

In the darkest abyss (Mosiah 27:29)

Beheld the marvelous light of God (Mosiah 27:29)

Racked with eternal torment (Mosiah 27:29)

Soul pained no more (Mosiah 27:29)

Harrowed up by the memory of his many sins (Alma 36:17)

No longer harrowed up by the memory of his sins (Alma 36:19)

Felt exquisite and exceeding pain (Alma 36:20–21)

Felt exquisite and exceeding joy (Alma 36:20–21)

Soul racked with horror at the thought of being in the presence of God (Alma 36:14–15)

Soul longed to be in the presence of God (Alma 36:22)

  • What led Alma to be delivered from his suffering? (See Alma 36:17–18.)

  • How can Alma’s experiences be compared to our own experiences in becoming converted? (See the quotation below for one possible answer.)

    Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: “Alma serves as a pattern. The horror for sin that engulfed him should be felt by every wayward member of the kingdom; then repentance would be forthcoming, as it was with our Nephite friend” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 229).

4. Alma and the sons of Mosiah dedicate themselves to preaching the gospel.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 27:32–28:20; Alma 36:24.

  • What did Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah do after their conversion? (See Mosiah 27:32–37.) How did this demonstrate that they were truly converted? How do our actions reflect the sincerity and depth of our conversion?

  • Why did the sons of Mosiah and their companions want to preach the gospel among the Lamanites? (See Mosiah 28:1–3 and the quotation below.) What promises did the Lord give King Mosiah regarding his sons’ missionary efforts? (See Mosiah 28:6–7.)

    Elder L. Tom Perry said: “After conversion comes the desire to share—not so much out of a sense of duty, even though that responsibility falls on the priesthood, but out of a sincere love and appreciation for that which has been received. When such a ‘pearl of great price’ comes into our lives, we cannot be content just to admire it by ourselves. It must be shared!” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, 106; or Ensign, May 1984, 79).

  • Once we have been converted, how can we increase our commitment to share the gospel?

Conclusion

Explain that each of us must experience his or her own conversion. Though it may be more subtle and gradual than the conversion experienced by Alma and the sons of Mosiah, it will have the same results.

Read Mosiah 27:29. Emphasize that through repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can receive forgiveness so our souls will be “pained no more.” Then we can become instruments in the Lord’s hands to bless the lives of others.

As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Idea

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use this idea as part of the lesson.

“They did deceive many with their flattering words” (Mosiah 26:6)

  • How were Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah, along with other unbelievers, able to lead many members of the Church into sin? (See Mosiah 26:6; 27:8–9.) How can flattery deceive us and lead us astray? Why is it important that we be careful about whom we allow to influence us? (See the quotation below.) How can a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ help us avoid being influenced by the flattery of unbelievers?

    Elder Ezra Taft Benson said: “Seeking the applause of the world, we like to be honored by the men the world honors. But therein lies real danger, for ofttimes, in order to receive those honors, we must join forces with and follow those same devilish influences and policies which brought some of those men to positions of prominence. … Today we are being plagued within by the flattery of prominent men in the world” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1964, 57; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1964, 1067).