After hearing Alma and Amulek preach, some of the people in Ammonihah believed and repented. Most of the people were angry and sought to destroy Alma, Amulek, and those who believed in their words. Alma and Amulek were arrested, tried, and eventually imprisoned. The wicked people in Ammonihah cast out the men who believed and burned their wives, children, and scriptures while Alma and Amulek were forced to watch. After many days, the Lord delivered Alma and Amulek from prison and destroyed the wicked leaders of Ammonihah.
Invite students to think of challenges they have faced or are now facing. Then invite a student to read the following statement aloud:
“Adversity comes from different sources. You may at times face trials as a consequence of your own pride and disobedience. These trials can be avoided through righteous living. Other trials are simply a natural part of life and may come at times when you are living righteously. For example, you may experience trials in times of sickness or uncertainty or at the deaths of loved ones. Adversity may sometimes come because of others’ poor choices and hurtful words and actions.
“… Your success and happiness, both now and in the eternities, depend largely on your responses to the difficulties of life” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 8–9).
Explain that in today’s lesson, students will discuss an account of people who experienced severe trials. Most of these trials were inflicted by others. Encourage students to consider how the truths they will discuss in this lesson relate to them, no matter what trials they may face.
Write the following on the board:
Remind students that Alma and Amulek had been teaching the people of Ammonihah and calling them to repentance.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 14:1–10. Ask the class to follow along, looking for examples of the suffering experienced by the people listed on the board.
What did these people suffer? (List students’ answers on the board.)
When Amulek saw the suffering of the women and children, what did he want to do?
Invite a student to read Alma 14:11 aloud, and ask the class to look for Alma’s response to Amulek’s request.
Why did the Lord permit these women and children to be burned? (You may need to explain that in this verse, the phrase “he doth suffer” means “he allows.” The Lord allowed the people to suffer so their deaths could stand as a witness against the people who killed them. See also Alma 60:13.)
What truths about suffering can we learn from verse 11? (Students may identify truths such as the following: The Lord will bless and reward those who suffer for their belief in Him. (See also Alma 40:12; 3 Nephi 12:10–12.) God will hold those who harm innocent people accountable for their actions. Write these truths on the board.)
How can knowing these truths help us when we suffer or become aware of the suffering of others?
You may need to emphasize that in this specific instance, it was the Lord’s will to allow the people to suffer. However, this is not always the case. Inform students that if they are being hurt or abused in any way, they should seek help from a parent or Church leader so they can resolve the problem. Assure them that the Lord loves them and wants them to be happy and have peace in their lives.
Ask students to imagine how they might have felt if they had been in Alma and Amulek’s situation and had been forced to witness the suffering and death of these people.
Invite a student to read Alma 14:12–13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Amulek said to Alma.
What did Amulek say to Alma?
How did Alma’s words show his trust in the Lord?
What principle can we learn from Alma’s example? (Students may identify a principle such as the following: When we experience suffering and afflictions, we can choose to trust in the Lord. Write this principle on the board. You will add to it later in the lesson.)
Explain that Alma 14:14–29 includes more examples of Alma and Amulek trusting in the Lord and how their faith enabled them to endure additional suffering and afflictions.
Divide the class in half. Have one half of the class search Alma 14:14–18 while the other half searches Alma 14:19–24. Ask both groups to look for what Alma and Amulek suffered at the hands of the wicked leaders of Ammonihah. When students have had sufficient time to read, ask them to report what they have found. List their answers on the board under “Alma and Amulek.”
Which of these trials would have been most difficult for you? Why?
Invite students to consider writing 1 Nephi 19:9 in their scriptures near Alma 14:14–24. Explain that 1 Nephi 19:9 records Nephi’s prophecy of how Jesus Christ would respond to His own suffering and afflictions.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 19:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for similarities between Jesus Christ’s response to suffering and afflictions and the response of Alma and Amulek.
What similarities do you see between Jesus Christ’s response to suffering and afflictions and the response of Alma and Amulek? (After students respond, add to the principle on the board so that it reads as follows: When we experience suffering and afflictions, we can choose to trust in the Lord and follow the example of Jesus Christ.)
Whom do you know who is a good example of living this principle? (As students respond, invite them to explain how the individuals they mention have demonstrated trust in the Lord or have followed the example of Jesus Christ as they have experienced suffering and afflictions.)
Give students a few moments to ponder how they are dealing with any suffering or afflictions they may be experiencing. Invite them to write in their class notebooks or study journals about how they can better trust in the Lord and follow the example of Jesus Christ as they experience suffering or afflictions.
Invite students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 14:25–29. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord did to deliver Alma and Amulek from prison. To help students identify and understand a principle in these verses, ask the following questions:
Why were Alma and Amulek able to receive power and strength from the Lord? (See Alma 14:26, 28.)
What principle can we learn from Alma and Amulek’s experience in prison? (Students’ answers may vary, but they should reflect the following truth: If we call on the Lord in faith, He will strengthen us in our afflictions and deliver us in His way and in His own time. Invite students to consider marking phrases in Alma 14:26, 28 that illustrate this principle.)
Explain that the blessing of being delivered from afflictions may come in this life or the next.
To help students understand what it means to call on God in faith, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Sister Carol F. McConkie, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency. Invite students to listen for what the Savior’s example of prayer can teach us about calling on God in faith.
“As the Savior entered the Garden of Gethsemane, His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. In His agony, the only one He could turn to was His Father. He pleaded, ‘If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.’ But He added, ‘Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.’ [Matthew 26:39; see also verse 38.] Though sinless, the Savior was called upon to ‘[suffer] pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind,’ including the sicknesses and infirmities of His people. ‘[He] suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance.’ [Alma 7:11, 13.] Three times He prayed, ‘Father, thy will be done’ [see Matthew 26:39–44]. The cup was not removed. In humble, faithful prayer He was strengthened to go forward and fulfill His divine mission to prepare for our salvation, that we might repent, believe, obey, and obtain the blessings of eternity.
“The answers we receive in prayer may not be what we would desire. But in times of trouble, our prayers become a lifeline of love and tender mercy. In our pleading, we may be strengthened to go forward and fulfill all that we have been ordained to do. To His Saints living in perilous times, the Lord says, ‘Let your hearts be comforted … ; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God’ [Doctrine and Covenants 101:16]” (Carol F. McConkie, “The Soul’s Sincere Desire,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 26).
What can the Savior’s example teach us about what it means to call upon God in faith?
Invite students to share experiences they have had when they have witnessed the strength that can come into our lives as we call upon God in faith. They may share their own experiences or experiences from the lives of people they know. You might also share an experience from your life or the life of someone you know.
Display or read aloud the following questions, and invite students to ponder their responses. Invite students to consider writing their responses in their class notebooks or study journals.
How has your perspective on your suffering or afflictions, or your reaction to them, changed because of what you learned today?
Because of what you have felt and learned today, what will you do to call upon God with increased faith?
Conclude by testifying of Heavenly Father’s power to give us strength and deliver us from trials in His own way and in His own time. Invite students to trust in Him, call upon Him in faith, and follow the example of His Son, Jesus Christ.