Lesson 80: Alma 15–16

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

After the Lord delivered Alma and Amulek from prison, they went to preach to the people in the city of Sidom. There they found the believers who had been cast out of Ammonihah, including Zeezrom, who was suffering physically and spiritually because of his sins. When Zeezrom declared his faith in Jesus Christ, Alma healed him and baptized him. Alma established the Church in Sidom, and then he returned with Amulek to Zarahemla. In fulfillment of Alma’s prophecy, the Lamanites destroyed the city of Ammonihah in one day. In addition, the Lamanites captured some of the Nephites from surrounding lands. Choosing to follow Alma’s prophetic guidance, the Nephite armies recovered the prisoners and drove the Lamanites from the land. During a period of peace, Alma, Amulek, and many others strengthened the Church throughout the land of the Nephites.

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 15

Alma heals Zeezrom, establishes the Church in Sidom, and returns with Amulek to Zarahemla

Begin class by asking students to think of a time when they may have disobeyed a commandment of the Lord and experienced guilt as a result.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for how Elder Bednar explained the purpose of guilt.

Elder David A. Bednar

“Guilt is to our spirit what pain is to our body—a warning of danger and a protection from additional damage” (David A. Bednar, “We Believe in Being Chaste,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 44).

  • According to Elder Bednar, what purpose does guilt serve?

As students study Alma 15 today, invite them to look for what they can do when their spirits are being warned of danger or additional damage through feelings of guilt.

To help students understand the context of Alma 15, explain that after leaving Ammonihah, Alma and Amulek came to Sidom, where they found the believers who had been cast out of Ammonihah, including Zeezrom.

Invite a student to read Alma 15:3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that describe Zeezrom’s condition.

  • What words or phrases in verse 3 describe Zeezrom’s condition?

  • What was the cause of Zeezrom’s fever? (Make sure students understand that Zeezrom’s physical illness was the result of the guilt and torment he felt because he had committed so many serious sins.)

  • How might it help Zeezrom to experience guilt for the sins he had committed?

Invite a student to read Alma 15:4–5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Zeezrom learned that brought him hope.

  • What brought Zeezrom hope?

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 15:6–10. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Alma told Zeezrom he needed to do to be healed.

  • What did Alma teach Zeezrom he needed to do to be healed?

  • Why do you think Zeezrom needed to exercise faith in Jesus Christ before he could be healed?

Ask a student to read Alma 15:11–12 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what happened to Zeezrom.

  • What happened to Zeezrom as a result of his faith in Jesus Christ?

  • What evidence do you see that Zeezrom was healed spiritually as well as physically? (He was healed through faith in Jesus Christ; he was baptized; and he began to preach the gospel. Help students see that Zeezrom being healed physically indicates that the guilt that had caused his sickness was also taken away.)

  • What principle can we learn from this account about how we can be healed? (Using their own words, students may identify a principle such as the following: Through our faith in Jesus Christ we can be healed. Write this principle on the board.)

Explain that faith in Jesus Christ and repentance always lead to spiritual healing. Faith in Jesus Christ can also lead to physical healing if it is God’s will for us to be healed. Sometimes we may be healed immediately through our faith in Jesus Christ, like Zeezrom was. At other times, our healing may happen over a period of time or may not occur during mortality.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what it means to exercise faith in Jesus Christ.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“When we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must have trust in him. We must trust him enough that we are content to accept his will, knowing that he knows what is best for us. …

“… Faith, no matter how strong it is, cannot produce a result contrary to the will of him whose power it is. … We cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in the Lord’s will and in the Lord’s timing” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” Ensign, May 1994, 99, 100).

  • According to Elder Oaks, what does it mean to exercise faith in Jesus Christ? (You may want to point out that if a person is not immediately healed physically, it does not necessarily mean that he or she lacks faith in Jesus Christ or is not worthy. During times such as these, individuals should continue to exercise faith in Jesus Christ, seek to do His will, and seek to learn from the experience.)

  • When have you or someone you know been healed through exercising faith in Jesus Christ? (You may also want to share an experience.)

Testify that Jesus Christ can heal us as we exercise faith in Him.

Summarize Alma 15:13–19 by explaining that Alma established the Church in Sidom, and many were baptized. The people of Ammonihah remained hard-hearted and unrepentant despite the divine power Alma and Amulek had displayed. Alma brought Amulek, who had been rejected by his family and friends, to his home in Zarahemla. There, Alma “did administer unto [Amulek] in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord” (verse 18).

Alma 16:1–12

The Lamanites destroy Ammonihah but are unable to defeat the Nephites who follow Alma’s counsel

Invite students to read Alma 16:1–3 silently, looking for what happened to the Nephites in Ammonihah. Ask students to report what they find. (If necessary, help them see that the Lamanites suddenly attacked the city of Ammonihah and destroyed its inhabitants before the Nephites could raise up an army to go against them.)

  • What had Alma previously prophesied would happen to the people of Ammonihah if they did not repent? (God would “utterly destroy [them] from off the face of the earth” [Alma 9:12].)

Explain that because the people in Ammonihah had not repented, Alma’s words were fulfilled, and all the people in the city were destroyed. The Lamanites also captured some of the people living in the area around Ammonihah, and the Nephites desired to free them. (See Alma 16:2–4, 9.)

Invite a student to read Alma 16:5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Nephite military leaders decided to do.

  • What did the Nephite military leaders decide to do? Why did they turn to Alma for guidance? (He had the spirit of prophecy.)

Ask another student to read Alma 16:6–8 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what happened after these military leaders consulted with Alma.

  • How did Alma’s prophetic guidance help the Nephites?

  • What truths can we learn from Alma’s prophecy about the people of Ammonihah and his instruction to the Nephite military leaders? (Students may identify a variety of truths, including the following: The words of the Lord spoken through His prophets will always be fulfilled. Write this truth on the board.)

  • How can understanding this truth help us have confidence in the words of the prophets?

To help students see applications of this principle in their lives, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by the First Presidency from For the Strength of Youth. Ask students to listen for promises the Lord makes through His prophets to those who keep the standards in the booklet.

“The standards in this booklet will help you with the important choices you are making now and will yet make in the future. We promise that as you keep the covenants you have made and these standards, you will be blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, your faith and testimony will grow stronger, and you will enjoy increasing happiness” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], ii).

  • What did the First Presidency promise?

  • What must we do to receive these promised blessings?

Provide students with copies of the For the Strength of Youth booklet. Invite them to turn to two or three sections and look for warnings and guidance the prophets have given them. Ask a few students to report what they find.

Ask students to think of experiences when prophetic guidance has helped them make correct choices in difficult situations. Invite a few students to share their experiences with the class. (Make sure they understand that they do not need to share experiences that are too personal or private.) You might also share an experience of your own.

Invite students to set personal goals to make any changes in their lives they feel they should make to better follow the words of the Lord spoken through His prophets.

Alma 16:13–21

Alma, Amulek, and others build up the Church among the Nephites

Summarize Alma 16:13–21 by explaining that Alma and Amulek continued to preach the word of God and establish the Church throughout the land, with the assistance of others “who had been chosen for the work” (Alma 16:15). There “was no inequality” (Alma 16:16) among the Nephites, and the Lord prepared the people to receive His gospel by pouring out His Spirit upon them. The people responded with “great joy and gladness” (Alma 16:20) at being taught that Jesus Christ would appear to them after His Resurrection.

Conclude by sharing your testimony of the truths you have discussed in this lesson and inviting students to apply these truths in their lives.

Commentary and Background Information

Alma 15:3–5. Physical suffering caused by spiritual disorders

While Zeezrom was repenting, his sins “did harrow up his mind until it did become exceedingly sore” (Alma 15:3). President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of the reality of the physical suffering that can be caused by spiritual disorders:

President Boyd K. Packer

“I [once] asked a doctor of family medicine how much of his time was devoted purely to correcting physical disorders. He has a large practice, and after thoughtfully considering, he answered, ‘Not more than 20 percent. The rest of the time I seem to be working on problems that very much affect the physical well-being of my patients but do not originate in the body.

“‘These physical disorders,’ the doctor concluded, ‘are merely symptoms of some other kind of trouble.’

“In recent generations one after another of the major diseases has yielded to control or cure. Some very major ones still remain, but we now seem able to do something about most of them.

“There is another part of us, not so tangible, but quite as real as our physical body. This intangible part of us is described as mind, emotion, intellect, temperament, and many other things. Very seldom is it described as spiritual.

“But there is a spirit in man; to ignore it is to ignore reality. There are spiritual disorders, too, and spiritual diseases that can cause intense suffering.

“The body and the spirit of man are bound together” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Balm of Gilead,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, 59).

Supplemental Teaching Idea

Alma 15:16–18. Alma ministers to Amulek

As you teach Alma 15:16–18, help students understand why Amulek may have needed Alma’s ministry. Point out that less than six months had passed between the time Amulek was visited by an angel and the time he and Alma arrived in Zarahemla (see Alma 10:6; 14:23; 15:19). Using Alma 15:16, 18 as a guide, have students review what Amulek had experienced during that short time. Ask students questions such as the following:

  • Why do you think Amulek may have needed to be strengthened at this time?

  • What can we learn from Alma ministering to Amulek? (Help students identify the following principle: We can comfort and strengthen others by ministering to them in their tribulations.)

Have students think of someone—perhaps a family member or a person in their ward or branch—who is experiencing tribulation of some kind. Invite students to write a plan in their class notebooks or study journals describing what they will do to help strengthen that person. Encourage them to carry out their plans.