Lesson 81

Alma 17

“Lesson 81: Alma 17,” 2017 Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)


Introduction

In preparation to preach the gospel to the Lamanites, the sons of Mosiah sought the Lord’s guidance by searching the scriptures diligently, praying, and fasting. The Lord comforted them and promised that they would be instruments in His hands “unto the salvation of many souls” (Alma 17:11). Earlier He had promised them, through a revelation to their father, that He would “deliver [them] out of the hands of the Lamanites” (Mosiah 28:7). Strengthened by the Lord’s promises and trusting that they would someday meet again, they separated to share the gospel in different areas. Ammon went to the land of Ishmael, where he prepared to teach the people by serving their king.

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 17:1–16

The sons of Mosiah search the scriptures, pray, and fast so they can know the word of God and teach with power

Ask students if they have been present when relatives or friends have come home from missions after serving faithfully.

  • What positive changes did you see in them after their missions? What do you think caused these changes?

Explain that after preaching the gospel for 14 years in the land of Nephi, the sons of Mosiah were returning to Zarahemla when they were reunited with Alma. If students need a brief review of the story of Alma and the sons of Mosiah, ask:

  • What was the relationship between Alma and the sons of Mosiah? (If students need help answering this question, consider asking them to read the chapter summary for Mosiah 27.)

Explain that while Alma had been preaching repentance and establishing the Church among the Nephites in the land of Zarahemla and other lands, the sons of Mosiah had been preaching the gospel to the Lamanites in the land of Nephi. The names of the sons of Mosiah were Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni (see Mosiah 27:34). Alma 17–26 recounts some of their missionary experiences.

Invite a student to read Alma 17:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words or phrases that describe Alma and the sons of Mosiah at the time they were reunited.

  • How did Alma feel when he saw his friends again? Why do you think he felt this way?

  • What words in verse 2 describe the sons of Mosiah? (You may need to explain that in this context the word wax means to grow or become.)

  • What principle can we learn from verse 2 about how we can come to know the word of God? (Help students identify the following principle: If we search the scriptures diligently, we will wax strong in the knowledge of the truth and know the word of God. Invite students to consider marking the phrases in their scriptures that teach this principle.)

  • As you think about the challenges you face, how can it be helpful for you to wax strong in the knowledge of the truth and know the word of God?

Explain that students will see in the coming chapters how the sons of Mosiah were better able to teach the Lamanites as a result of having studied the scriptures. Invite a student to read Alma 17:3–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for additional reasons the sons of Mosiah were successful in bringing people to the knowledge of the truth.

  • According to verses 3–4, what are some additional reasons the sons of Mosiah were successful in bringing people to the knowledge of the truth?

  • What principle can we learn from verses 3–4 about the blessings we can receive through fasting and prayer? (As students answer this question, help them identify the following principle: As we pray and fast, we can receive the spirit of prophecy and revelation and teach with power. Invite students to consider marking the phrases in their scriptures that teach this principle.)

Explain that having the spirit of prophecy and revelation includes having a testimony of Jesus Christ (see Revelation 19:10) and the ability to receive revelation and guidance through the Holy Ghost (see D&C 8:2–3).

  • How might having a testimony of Jesus Christ and the ability to receive revelation through the Holy Ghost help someone teach with power?

  • How have prayer and fasting helped you receive and strengthen your testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel?

Invite students to continually increase their knowledge of the gospel and their ability to teach it by diligently studying the word of God, praying, and fasting.

Summarize Alma 17:5–8 by explaining that these verses remind us that the sons of Mosiah had given up the opportunity to be king in order to preach the gospel to the Lamanites. We also learn that the sons of Mosiah suffered many afflictions during their mission to the Lamanites.

Invite a student to read Alma 17:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the sons of Mosiah and their companions prayed for.

  • What did the sons of Mosiah and their companions pray for?

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 17:10–12. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s answer to their prayers.

  • What answer did the sons of Mosiah and their companions receive from the Lord?

  • What principle can we learn from verse 11 about the results of being patient in afflictions? (As students report their answers, help them identify the following principle: When we are patient in our afflictions, we can serve as good examples to those around us and become instruments in the Lord’s hands. You may want to write this principle on the board.)

  • What do you think it means to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands?

  • In what ways can being patient in afflictions help us become good examples to others and instruments in the Lord’s hands?

  • When have you seen others bear their afflictions with patience? How were you blessed by seeing their good examples?

Consider sharing an experience about a time when you were blessed by seeing the example of someone who has been patient in affliction.

Divide students into pairs. Ask students to read Alma 17:13–16 aloud in pairs. Invite students to look for why it would have been difficult to teach the Lamanites at that time.

  • According to verses 13–16, why would it have been difficult to teach the Lamanites at that time?

  • Why were the sons of Mosiah willing to suffer afflictions and go among the Lamanites? (See Alma 17:16; see also Mosiah 28:1–3.)

Alma 17:17–39

Ammon becomes a servant to King Lamoni and preserves the king’s flocks

Summarize Alma 17:18–20 by explaining that before these missionaries separated to preach the gospel in different areas, Ammon taught them and blessed them. Then he went to a land called Ishmael. When he entered that land, he was captured and taken before the king.

Ask two students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 17:21–25. Invite the class to follow along, looking for the offer Ammon made to the king.

  • What do you think is significant about Ammon telling the king “I will be thy servant” (Alma 17:25)?

  • Why do you think Ammon offered to serve the king before trying to teach him the gospel?

Ammon defending sheep

Display the picture Ammon Defends the Flocks of King Lamoni (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 78; see also lds.org/media-library).

Briefly summarize Alma 17:26–27 by explaining that while Ammon was watching the king’s flocks, a group of Lamanites scattered the flocks.

Divide the class into groups of three students each. Write the following scripture references on the board: Alma 17:28–32; Alma 17:33–35; Alma 17:36–39. Ask the students in each group to divide these passages among themselves. Invite students to read their assigned passages silently, looking for answers to the following questions. (You may want to write these questions on the board.)

  • What happened in your portion of the story?

  • What characteristics did Ammon demonstrate?

  • How might this have helped prepare the people to receive the gospel?

Give the groups time to discuss their answers.

Invite a student to read Alma 17:29 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for why Ammon rejoiced when his fellow servants began to fear.

  • Why did Ammon rejoice when his fellow servants began to fear? (He saw this as an opportunity to win their hearts and to help them believe in his words and ultimately receive the blessings of the gospel.)

  • What principle can we learn from this account? (Help students identify the following principle: Through service, we can help others prepare to accept the gospel. You may want to suggest that students write this principle in their scriptures next to verse 29.)

  • Why do you think that those who receive service before being taught the gospel may be more prepared to hear and accept it?

Point out that we should not serve others solely for the purpose of teaching them the gospel, but many people become more receptive to gospel teachings because of the Christlike service they have received.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what can inspire and guide us as we serve others.

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“As a pure expression of our love and concern, we can reach out to those who have need of our help. … There are countless ways to serve.

“Through our heartfelt kindness and service, we can make friends with those whom we serve. From these friendships come better understanding of our devotion to the gospel and a desire to learn more about us. …

“When we do this, brothers and sisters, the honest in heart will feel our sincerity and our love. Many will want to know more about us. …

“In all of our service, we need to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The still, small voice will let us know who needs our help and what we can do to help them” (M. Russell Ballard, “Finding Joy through Loving Service,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 48).

  • According to Elder Ballard, what can inspire and guide us as we serve others? (Our love and concern for them, as well as the promptings of the Holy Ghost.)

  • When have you seen service lead to opportunities to share the gospel?

Ask students to think about someone they know who might be more prepared to receive the gospel if he or she were served in some way. Invite students to write in their class notebooks or study journals about what they will do to serve this person.

Commentary and Background Information

Alma 17. Full-time missionary service by young men and young women

President Thomas S. Monson gave the following counsel to young men and young women regarding the responsibility to serve a full-time mission:

President Thomas S. Monson

“To young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and to you young men who are becoming elders: I repeat what prophets have long taught—that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord. Maintain your health and strength. Study the scriptures. Where such is available, participate in seminary or institute. Familiarize yourself with the missionary handbook Preach My Gospel.

“A word to you young sisters: while you do not have the same priesthood responsibility as do the young men to serve as full-time missionaries, you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome your service” (Thomas S. Monson, “As We Meet Together Again,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 5–6).

Alma 17:3. “They had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation”

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that we can be blessed with the gift of prophecy or revelation through the Holy Ghost:

Elder Robert D. Hales

“Of the sacred gifts of the Spirit, one that I believe has impact on each of our lives is the gift of prophecy or revelation. This gift is different from the priesthood office of prophet. The gift of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. …

“President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) taught, ‘All members of the Church should seek for the gift of prophecy, for their own guidance’ (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:201).

“Every Church member, if faithful, has the right to receive revelation for his or her personal blessing” (Robert D. Hales, “Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Feb. 2002, 15).