Lesson 24: Give Us Strength According to Our Faith-in Christ

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 107–11


Purpose

To help class members recognize the importance of honoring their foreordained roles, callings, and priesthood responsibilities and to help them understand that following the counsel of prophets helps us enter into the rest of the Lord.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      Alma 13. Alma gives a powerful discourse on the priesthood and the doctrine of foreordination.

    2. b.

      Alma 14. Alma, Amulek, and other faithful believers are persecuted for their righteousness. The Lord delivers Alma and Amulek from prison because of their faith in Christ.

    3. c.

      Alma 15. Zeezrom is healed and baptized. Many people in Sidom are baptized.

    4. d.

      Alma 16. The words of Alma are fulfilled as the Lamanites destroy Ammonihah. The Lord prepares people’s hearts to receive the word preached by Alma, Amulek, and others.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:25–40; Ether 12:12–13.

  3. 3.

    If you use the attention activity, bring to class a picture depicting a man receiving the priesthood, such as Christ Ordaining the Apostles (62557; Gospel Art Picture Kit 211) or Melchizedek Priesthood Restoration (62371; Gospel Art Picture Kit 408).

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

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

Tell class members that you are going to write on the chalkboard one of the most important questions we can ask. Then write on the chalkboard How?

Explain that this question is important when it relates to our personal conduct. To illustrate this, ask class members to imagine the following:

  1. a.

    A young man knows that he needs to be at a certain place at a certain time, but he does not know how to get there.

  2. b.

    A woman knows that she needs to be baptized, but she does not know how to go about it.

  3. c.

    A man knows that Jesus is the Savior, but he does not know how to come unto Him. (As you share this example, you may want to ask class members to read 1 Nephi 15:14.)

Explain that when Alma taught the people in Ammonihah, he talked about one way we can know how to come unto Christ. Rather than using the word how, he used the phrase “in what manner.” Have a class member read Alma 13:1–2.

Display a depiction of a priesthood ordination (see “Preparation,” item 3). Explain that a portion of this lesson discusses how the order of the priesthood helps us “know in what manner to look forward to [the] Son for redemption” (Alma 13:2).

Scripture Discussion and Application

Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. Alma gives a powerful discourse on the priesthood and foreordination.

Discuss Alma 13. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. Explain that after Alma taught Zeezrom and others in Ammonihah about the plan of redemption, he testified of the priesthood and the doctrine of foreordination. Point out that the priests of whom Alma spoke in this discourse were high priests in the Melchizedek Priesthood (Alma 13:10).

  • When are men first “called and prepared” to be ordained to the priesthood? (See Alma 13:3.)

    The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 365).

  • How did men demonstrate in premortal life that they were worthy to be foreordained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood? (See Alma 13:3–5.) What must men do in this life to remain worthy of their foreordination? (See Alma 13:8–10.)

  • How should Alma’s teachings about foreordination affect the way we sustain those who are called to preside over us? How should these teachings affect our response when priesthood leaders extend callings or other assignments to us?

    President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “Before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to. You are accountable for those things which long ago were expected of you just as are those we sustain as prophets and apostles!” (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 102).

  • Alma said that men receive the Melchizedek Priesthood so they can “teach [God’s] commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest” (Alma 13:6; see also verse Alma 13:1). What opportunities do Melchizedek Priesthood holders have to teach? What does it mean to enter into the rest of the Lord? (See the quotation below.) Why do you think we need to teach and learn the gospel in order to enter into the rest of the Lord?

    Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “The rest of the Lord, where mortals are concerned, is to gain a perfect knowledge of the divinity of the great latter-day work. [President Joseph F. Smith said,] ‘It means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else; we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning and craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive.’ It is ‘rest from the religious turmoil of the world; from the cry that is going forth, here and there—lo, here is Christ; lo, there is Christ.’ (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., pp. 58, 125–126.) The rest of the Lord, in eternity, is to inherit eternal life, to gain the fulness of the Lord’s glory (D. & C. 84:24.)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 633).

  • How do we become pure so we can be permitted to enter into the rest of the Lord? (See Alma 13:11–12.) How must we live so we can be sanctified through the blood of the Lamb and by the Holy Ghost? (See Alma 13:12–13, 16, 27–29; 3 Nephi 27:19–20.)

Have a class member read Alma 13:2, 16 aloud. Then review the verses listed below. Help class members see some ways in which the order of the priesthood can help us know how to look to the Savior for redemption. Give special emphasis to the words and phrases in italics.

  1. a.

    Alma 13:3–4. (Those foreordained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood were “called and prepared … on account of their exceeding faith and good works.”)

  2. b.

    Alma 13:6. (They were “ordained [foreordained] … to teach [God’s] commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest.”)

  3. c.

    Alma 13:8. (In this life, they are “ordained with a holy ordinance.”)

  4. d.

    Alma 13:10. (They show that they are worthy of their foreordination through continued faith and good works and through repentance.)

  • How do faith and repentance help us look to Jesus Christ for redemption? How do good works and obedience to the commandments help us look to Him? How do priesthood ordinances help us look to Him?

  • Alma spoke of Melchizedek as an example of a great high priest (Alma 13:14–15). What can we learn from Melchizedek’s example? (See Alma 13:17–18; see also Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:25–40.)

  • What can we learn from Alma 13:27 about Alma’s love for the people of Ammonihah?

  • Have a class member read Alma’s plea to the people as recorded in Alma 13:27–29. Why is it important not to procrastinate repentance? (See Alma 34:32–36.) What blessings will we receive as we “watch and pray continually”? (See Alma 13:28.) How can we have “a hope that [we] shall receive eternal life”? (See Alma 13:29; Moroni 7:41.)

2. Alma, Amulek, and other believers are persecuted for their righteousness.

Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 14.

  • Many people in Ammonihah believed Alma and Amulek’s teachings and began to repent and search the scriptures (Alma 14:1). The majority of the people, however, became angry and persecuted Alma and Amulek (Alma 14:2–5). Why do some people become angry when they are called to repentance? (See 1 Nephi 16:1–3.)

  • What did Zeezrom do when he saw what “he had caused among the people”? (See Alma 14:6–7.) How did the people respond when Zeezrom confessed his guilt and defended Alma and Amulek? (See Alma 14:7.)

  • What did the wicked people in Ammonihah do to the people who believed in the word of God? (See Alma 14:7–9.) Why did the Lord allow this to happen? (See Alma 14:10–11; 60:13.) Why was it the will of the Lord that the lives of Alma and Amulek be spared? (See Alma 14:12–13.)

  • After being persecuted in prison for many days, how were Alma and Amulek finally delivered? (See Alma 14:26–29; Ether 12:12–13. They were given strength and power “according to their faith which was in Christ.”) What are some things from which we need to be delivered? Why must our faith be centered in Christ to lead us to deliverance? (See Mosiah 3:17; Moroni 7:33.)

3. Zeezrom is healed and baptized.

Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 15. Explain that after the Lord delivered them from prison, Alma and Amulek went to the land of Sidom. There they met the men who had been cast out of Ammonihah and stoned because of their belief in the word of God (Alma 15:1; see also Alma 14:7). Zeezrom was one of these men (Alma 15:3).

  • Zeezrom was suffering both spiritually and physically because of his wickedness, but “his heart began to take courage” when he heard that Alma and Amulek were in Sidom (Alma 15:3–4). What did he ask of Alma and Amulek? (See Alma 15:5.) What does this reveal about his trust in them? In whom did he need to place his trust in order to be healed? (See Alma 15:6–10.)

  • What can we learn from Zeezrom’s actions after he was healed? (See Alma 15:11–12.)

  • Unlike the people who remained in Ammonihah, the people in Sidom believed the message taught by Alma and Amulek and were baptized (Alma 15:12–15). Alma saw that they “were checked as to the pride of their hearts” (Alma 15:17; note that the word check means to slow or stop). What did the people do as they became more humble? (See Alma 15:17.) Why is it necessary to humble ourselves before God in order to truly worship Him?

  • What did Amulek give up by choosing to live the gospel and serve as a missionary? (See Alma 15:16.) What did he gain? (See Alma 8:30; 34:1, 8; Ether 12:12–13.) What sacrifices have you made in choosing to live and teach the gospel? How have you been blessed for this?

  • What did Alma do for Amulek once the Church was established in Sidom? (See Alma 15:18.) What does this act reveal about Alma? In what ways can we administer to others and strengthen them in the Lord?

4. The words of Alma are fulfilled as the Lamanites destroy Ammonihah.

Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 16.

  • About one year after Alma and Amulek preached in Ammonihah, the Lamanites invaded Nephite lands (Alma 16:1–2). What happened to the Nephites in Ammonihah? (See Alma 16:2–3, 9–11.) How was this a fulfillment of Alma’s prophecies? (See Alma 9:4–5, 12, 18.)

  • Why were Zoram and his followers able to scatter the Lamanites and rescue their brethren who had been taken captive? (See Alma 16:4–8.) What can we learn by comparing the destruction of Ammonihah to the success of Zoram’s armies? (Compare Alma 9:1–8 and Alma 15:15 with Alma 16:4–6; see also 2 Nephi 4:34. Emphasize that we should trust in God and His prophets rather than in worldly knowledge, power, or possessions.)

  • After the destruction of Ammonihah, the Lord prepared people’s hearts to receive the word preached by Alma, Amulek, and others who were chosen for the work (Alma 16:13–21). How does the Lord prepare people’s hearts to receive His word? (See Alma 16:16.) How can we ensure that we preach the word of God “in its purity”? (See Alma 16:21; see also Mosiah 18:18–20; D&C 52:9.)

Conclusion

Invite class members to share insights and impressions they have received as they have discussed Alma 13–16.

Read Matthew 11:28–30 and Alma 13:27–29. Emphasize that in a world filled with doubt and confusion, it is comforting to know that through the priesthood we can “know in what manner to look forward to [the] Son for redemption” (Alma 13:2). As we look to the Lord, trust in Him, and follow the counsel of His prophets, we can enter into His rest.

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.

“According to the foreknowledge of God” (Alma 13:3)

Read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson to strengthen class members’ understanding of their foreordination:

“God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the Lord. … God has saved for the [final days] some of His strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. That is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God. …

“In all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 104–5).