To help class members understand that the word of God will lead them to Jesus Christ and to encourage them to “nourish the word” in their hearts (Alma 32:40).
Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:
Alma 32:1–27. Alma encourages the humble Zoramites to exercise faith and give place in their hearts for the word of God.
Alma 32:28–43. Alma compares the word of God to a seed that is planted in people’s hearts. He teaches the people that they must nourish the word with great care so they may one day receive eternal life.
Alma 33. Alma cites prophets’ testimonies of Jesus Christ and exhorts the people to plant the word of God in their hearts.
Alma 34. Amulek testifies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He commands the people to pray and exercise faith unto repentance.
If you are using the attention activity, bring a seed to class.
Suggestions for Lesson Development
As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.
Display the seed that you have brought to class. Ask class members to imagine that someone has given them the seed and told them that it will grow into a tree that will bear delicious fruit.
What would you do to find out if the seed will really produce delicious fruit?
Explain that this lesson begins with a discussion of Alma 32. This chapter contains a discourse in which Alma compares the word of God to a seed. He exhorts a group of humble Zoramites to “give place, that [this] seed may be planted” in their hearts (Alma 32:28). He promises that if they nourish this seed, it will grow until it becomes the tree of life, whose fruit is “most precious” and “sweet above all that is sweet” (Alma 32:40–42).
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 teaches the humble Zoramites to exercise faith and give place in their hearts for the word of God.
Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 32:1–27. Remind class members that Alma, Amulek, and their brethren had entered one of the Zoramites’ synagogues. There they heard the Zoramites declare that “there [would] be no Christ” (Alma 31:16–17). After hearing this false teaching, Alma, Amulek, and their brethren separated to preach the word of God and testify of Christ (Alma 31:36–37; 32:1).
As Alma was preaching, a great multitude of Zoramites approached him. Why did Alma have great joy when these Zoramites came to him? (See Alma 32:6–8.) What had happened to prepare these people to hear the word of God? (See Alma 32:2–5.)
Why was it a blessing to these Zoramites that they had been compelled to be humble? (See Alma 32:12–13.) Why is it better to humble ourselves than to be compelled to be humble? (See Alma 32:14–16.) How can the word of God lead us to humble ourselves?
What did Alma teach the Zoramites about what it means to have faith? (See Alma 32:17–18, 21.) What did Alma say is the first thing we need to do to develop faith in God? (See Alma 32:22.) In what ways may we receive God’s word? (See Alma 17:2; 32:23; D&C 1:38; 18:33–36.)
What did Alma encourage his listeners to do so they could know that his words were true? (See Alma 32:26–27.) What does it mean to “awake and arouse [our] faculties”? How can we “experiment” on the word of God? (See John 7:17.) What experiences have you had as you have experimented on the word?
2. Alma teaches the people to nourish the word of God in their hearts.
Read and discuss Alma 32:28–43.
Comparing the word of God to a seed, Alma counseled the Zoramites to “give place, that a seed may be planted” in their hearts (Alma 32:28). What must we do to “give place” in our hearts for the word of God?
According to Alma, what do people begin to experience when the word of God has been planted in their hearts? (See Alma 32:28–31, 33–35. You may want to list class members’ responses on the chalkboard.) What do you think it means to feel the word “swell within [our] breasts”? How do the scriptures enlarge our souls, enlighten our understanding, and expand our minds? (See Alma 37:8–9.) In what ways has the word of God been delicious to you?
What must we continue to do as the word of God begins to grow in our hearts? (See Alma 32:37.) How can we “nourish [the word] with great care”? (See Alma 32:41.) What do you think it means for the word to “get root” in our hearts and grow? (Alma 32:37).
What will happen if we neglect the word and do not nourish it after it has begun to grow in our hearts? (See Alma 32:38–40.) What might we do that would cause our ground, or our hearts, to be barren?
Refer briefly to the vision of the tree of life seen by Lehi and Nephi. Remind class members that the tree of life is a symbol of Jesus Christ (see page 12 in this manual). Point out that the word of God, represented by the rod of iron in that vision and by the seed in Alma’s discourse, leads to the Savior, represented by the tree of life.
Referring to Alma 32, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught, “In this brilliant discourse, Alma moves the reader from a general commentary on faith in the seedlike word of God to a focused discourse on faith in Christ as the Word of God” (Christ and the New Covenant , 169).
3. Alma cites prophets’ testimonies of Jesus Christ and exhorts the people to plant the word of God in their hearts.
Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 33. Explain that after hearing Alma’s discourse, the people desired to know “in what manner they should begin to exercise their faith” (Alma 33:1). Alma responded by citing teachings of the prophets Zenos, Zenock, and Moses concerning Jesus Christ.
What teaching of Zenos did Alma relate to the Zoramites? (You may want to have class members take turns reading verses from Alma 33:3–11.) What was Alma’s purpose in citing Zenos’s teaching about prayer? (See Alma 33:11–14. He wanted to teach the Zoramites to exercise faith in the Son of God. Note that it is “because of [His] Son” that Heavenly Father hears our prayers and turns His judgments away from us.)
Alma told the Zoramites that the prophet Zenock had also testified of Christ (Alma 33:15). What did Zenock teach? (See Alma 33:16.) Why was this an important teaching to relate to the Zoramites? (See Alma 31:12, 16–17.)
Alma spoke of a brass serpent that Moses made and raised in the wilderness (Alma 33:19; see also Numbers 21:9). How was the serpent a type, or symbol, of Jesus Christ? (See Alma 33:19; see also John 3:14–16; Helaman 8:13–15.) What does Alma’s account of the brass serpent teach about exercising faith in Jesus Christ? (See Alma 33:20–23; see also Alma 37:46.)
4. Amulek testifies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He commands the people to pray and exercise faith unto repentance.
Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 34. Explain that after Alma had spoken, Amulek stood and began to teach the people.
Alma and Amulek perceived that the people still questioned whether they should believe in Christ (Alma 34:2–5). How did Amulek answer this question? (See Alma 34:6–8.) How can we receive such a strong testimony of Christ? How have the scriptures, prophets, and other witnesses of Christ strengthened your testimony of Him?
Why would “all mankind … perish” without the Atonement of Jesus Christ? (See Alma 34:8–9; see also Alma 22:14.) Why was Jesus the only one who could atone for the sins of the world and save us from the effects of the Fall? (See Alma 34:10–12.) What is the meaning of Amulek’s teaching that the Atonement is an “infinite and eternal sacrifice”? (See Alma 34:14–16.)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “Man cannot resurrect himself; man cannot save himself; human power cannot save another; human power cannot atone for the sins of another. The work of redemption must be infinite and eternal; it must be done by an infinite being; God himself must atone for the sins of the world” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 111–12).
How do you think Amulek’s counsel in Alma 34:17–29 helped the Zoramites, who had believed that they could worship only in synagogues and only once a week? What can we learn from this counsel?
What did Amulek command the people to do after they had received so many witnesses of the Savior? (See Alma 34:30–31; see also Alma 34:15–17, in which the phrase “faith unto repentance” appears four times.) Why is faith in Christ an essential part of repentance?
Amulek warned against procrastinating, or delaying, the day of our repentance (Alma 34:31–36). Why do people sometimes procrastinate repentance? How can the counsel in Alma 34:32 affect the way we live each day?
Point out that the purpose of planting a fruit tree is to be able to partake of its fruit. When we “give place, that [the word] may be planted” in our hearts, we can “[look] forward to the fruit thereof” (Alma 32:28, 41). Read Alma’s description of this fruit in Alma 32:41–42. Remind class members that the fruit is eternal life and that it is only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can partake of this fruit (Alma 34:14–16).
As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.
Additional Teaching Ideas
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or both of these ideas as part of the lesson.
1. “I desire that ye should remember these things” (Alma 34:37)
As a conclusion to the lesson, invite a class member to read aloud Amulek’s closing words to the Zoramites, in Alma 34:37–41.