Lesson 77: Alma 12

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

After Amulek’s words brought Zeezrom “to tremble under a consciousness of his guilt” (Alma 12:1), Alma stood to expound on what Amulek had taught. Alma focused on truths that would help the people of Ammonihah repent of the hardness of their hearts and other sins. He emphasized the subtle snares of Satan, the judgments that befall the wicked, and the plan of redemption, which makes it possible for those who repent to be forgiven of their sins.

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 12:1–6

Alma exposes Zeezrom’s plan—and the plan of the adversary—to the people of Ammonihah

slipknot

Follow the accompanying illustration to tie a slipknot, or snare, with a piece of rope or string. Demonstrate how a snare works by holding the loop in front of a piece of candy or food on a table or desk. Ask a student to reach through the snare for the food. When he or she does so, tighten the snare. (Be careful not to hurt the student.)

Invite a student to review for the class how Zeezrom tried to catch Amulek in a snare (see Alma 11:21–25). Explain that after Amulek perceived Zeezrom’s intent and responded to him, Alma also stood to address Zeezrom and the people who were listening (see Alma 12:1–2).

As students study Alma 12 today, invite them to look for truths that can help them avoid the snares Satan has set for them.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 12:3–6. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases Alma used to describe Zeezrom’s tactics. (Invite students to consider marking these words and phrases.)

  • What words or phrases in these verses describe Zeezrom’s tactics?

  • Whose plan was Zeezrom following?

  • What did Alma say were the devil’s intentions?

  • What enabled Alma to see through this plan?

Invite students to state principles that summarize what they have learned from Alma 12:3 about how they can detect the deceptions of the adversary. Though students may use different words, they should identify a principle similar to the following: The Holy Ghost can help us recognize the deceptions of the adversary.

Point out that in our day, the deceptions of the adversary can be spread in many ways, including through the internet and other forms of media.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency. Ask the class to listen for why we need the Holy Ghost to help us recognize the deceptions of the adversary.

President Henry B. Eyring

“Just as the Holy Ghost strengthens us against evil, He also gives us the power to discern truth from falsehood. … Our human reason and the use of our physical senses will not be enough. We live in a time when even the wisest will be hard-pressed to distinguish truth from clever deception. …

“… Since falsehoods and lies may be presented to us at any time, we need a constant influence of the Spirit of Truth to spare us moments of doubt” (Henry B. Eyring, “The Holy Ghost as Your Companion,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 104, 105).

  • According to President Eyring, why do we need the Holy Ghost to help us recognize Satan’s deceptions?

Invite students to ponder experiences they have had in which the Holy Ghost has helped them discern truth from falsehood. After sufficient time, invite a few students to share their experiences with the class. You may also want to share an experience.

Alma 12:7–18

Alma teaches about the Final Judgment of all mankind

Summarize Alma 12:7 by explaining that Zeezrom began to recognize that God had given Alma and Amulek power to know his thoughts and intents. This realization humbled Zeezrom, and he began to ask sincere questions about the gospel.

Invite a student to read Alma 12:8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Zeezrom wanted to better understand.

  • What did Zeezrom want to better understand?

Point out that before answering Zeezrom’s question about resurrection and judgment, Alma taught Zeezrom about gaining spiritual knowledge.

Invite a student to read Alma 12:9 aloud. Ask the class to look for what Alma taught Zeezrom about gaining spiritual knowledge. Explain that the “mysteries of God are spiritual truths known only by revelation … to those who are obedient to the gospel” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Mysteries of God,” scriptures.lds.org).

Ask students to express in their own words the principle that Alma 12:9 teaches about what we must do to receive spiritual truth. (Students may use different words, but their answers should express the following principle: God reveals spiritual truths to us according to the heed and diligence we give unto Him. Invite students to consider writing this principle in their scriptures near Alma 12:9.)

  • What do you think it means to give heed and diligence unto God?

  • What are some examples of times when you have received spiritual truth as you have given heed and diligence unto God?

Invite a student to read Alma 12:10–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the condition of our hearts affects our ability to receive spiritual truth.

  • What is the relationship between the condition of our hearts and our ability to receive spiritual truth?

  • Why do you think Alma may have taught the truths in verses 9–11 to Zeezrom before answering his question about resurrection and judgment?

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 12:12–15. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Alma taught Zeezrom about resurrection and judgment.

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: We will be held accountable before God for our ___________, ____________, and ____________.

  • How would you complete this statement to form a principle? (After students respond, complete the statement on the board so that it conveys the following principle: We will be held accountable before God for our words, works, and thoughts. Invite students to consider marking the words that teach this principle in verse 14.)

  • Why do you think we will be held accountable not only for our works (or actions) but also for our words and thoughts?

  • According to verse 14, what will those who are condemned by their words, works, and thoughts wish they could do at the time of the Final Judgment?

Display a picture of a mountain.

  • Why do you think those who do not repent would rather be covered by rocks and mountains than stand before God?

Display or write the following questions on the board. Invite students to respond to these questions in their class notebooks or study journals. You may want to invite students to review the sections “Entertainment and Media” and “Language” in For the Strength of Youth as they ponder and write their responses to these questions.

  • How might your choices of entertainment and media influence your thoughts, words, and actions?

  • What will you do to improve your thoughts, words, and actions to prepare to stand before God with confidence?

Share your testimony about the importance of thinking, speaking, and acting in righteous ways, and encourage students to do so.

Alma 12:19–37

Alma explains how the plan of redemption helps us overcome the effects of the Fall

Explain that a man named Antionah, who was one of the chief rulers in Ammonihah, asked questions regarding what Alma and Amulek had taught about resurrection. He claimed that the scriptures taught that we would not be resurrected or live forever, because God had prevented Adam and Eve from partaking of the fruit of the tree of life after they had eaten the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. (See Alma 12:20–21.)

  • What would you teach someone who believes that we will not live again after we die?

Adam and Eve at altar

Show students the picture Adam and Eve Kneeling at an Altar (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 4; see also lds.org/media-library).

Summarize Alma 12:22–32 by explaining that Alma taught that God did not allow Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit of the tree of life, so that they and their posterity could experience a probationary state, or a period of time in which to repent and prepare to meet God. God sent angels to teach Adam and Eve and their posterity the plan of redemption, which includes the promise of resurrection. He then gave them commandments to help them live righteously.

Invite a student to read Alma 12:33–34 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what God called on His children to do.

  • What did God call on His children to do? (Repent and not harden their hearts.)

  • What principle can we learn from verse 34 about the blessings that come to those who repent and do not harden their hearts? (Help students identify the following principle: If we repent and do not harden our hearts, then we can receive a remission of our sins and enter into God’s rest. Write this principle on the board.)

  • What do you think it means to enter into God’s rest? (Help students understand that in this context the word rest refers to “enjoyment of peace and freedom from worry and turmoil. The Lord has promised such rest to His faithful followers during this life. He has also prepared a place of rest for them in the next life” [Guide to the Scriptures, “Rest,” scriptures.lds.org]. See also D&C 84:23–24.)

Refer to the picture of the mountain you displayed earlier. Emphasize that unlike those who do not repent and will desire rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them from God’s presence, those who choose to repent will be able to enjoy God’s presence as they enter into His rest.

To conclude, testify of the principles discussed in the lesson today and invite students to act on these principles so they can obtain God’s promised blessings.

Commentary and Background Information

Alma 12:24. “Probationary state”

In all scripture, the terms “probationary state” or “probationary time” appear only in the book of Alma (see Alma 12:24; 42:4, 10, 13). Elder L. Tom Perry (1922–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described this probationary time:

Elder L. Tom Perry

“The main purpose of earth life is to allow our spirits, which existed before the world was, to be united with our bodies for a time of great opportunity in mortality. The association of the two together has given us the privilege of growing, developing, and maturing as only we can with spirit and body united. With our bodies, we pass through a certain amount of trial in what is termed a probationary state of our existence. This is a time of learning and testing to prove ourselves worthy of eternal opportunities. It is all part of a divine plan our Father has for His children” (L. Tom Perry, “Proclaim My Gospel from Land to Land,” Ensign, May 1989, 14).

Alma 12:32. Receiving commandments after receiving a knowledge of the plan

President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that knowledge of God’s plan helps us understand why we should keep the commandments. Speaking to teachers of youth, he said:

President Boyd K. Packer

“Young people wonder ‘why?’—Why are we commanded to do some things, and why we are commanded not to do other things? A knowledge of the plan of happiness, even in outline form, can give young minds a ‘why.’ …

“Most of the difficult questions we face in the Church right now, and we could list them—abortion and all the rest of them, all of the challenges of who holds the priesthood and who does not—cannot be answered without some knowledge of the plan as a background.

“Alma said this, and this is, I think of late, my favorite scripture, although I change now and again: ‘God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption’ (Alma 12:32; emphasis added). …

“… If you are trying to give [students] a ‘why,’ follow that pattern: ‘God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption’” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Great Plan of Happiness” [address to Church Educational System religious educators, Aug. 10, 1993], 3).