Lesson 82: Alma 18

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

King Lamoni was astonished at the power Ammon had demonstrated in defending the king’s flocks. He even came to believe that Ammon was the Great Spirit. Ammon perceived the thoughts of the king by the power of the Holy Ghost, and Ammon began to teach him the gospel. King Lamoni believed what Ammon taught, recognized the need for a Savior, cried unto the Lord for mercy, and was overcome by the Spirit.

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 18:1–11

King Lamoni is impressed by Ammon’s faithfulness

At the beginning of class, ask the following question:

  • Who are some people you appreciate because of the service they have given you?

Invite a few students to share their responses to this question and to explain how the individuals they mention have served them.

Ammon defending sheep

To help students understand the context of Alma 18, show the picture Ammon Defends the Flocks of King Lamoni (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 78; see also lds.org/media-library) and ask a student to summarize the account in Alma 17 of Ammon defending the king’s flocks. Following this summary, ask:

  • If you had been in King Lamoni’s position, what thoughts or feelings do you think you might have had about Ammon? Why?

Divide the class in half. Assign one half to read Alma 18:1–4 and the other half to read Alma 18:8–11. Invite them to look for how King Lamoni felt about Ammon when he received reports of what Ammon had done to save the king’s flocks.

After sufficient time, invite one student from each half of the class to summarize what he or she read, and then ask the following questions:

  • What ideas did the king and his servants have about Ammon’s identity?

  • According to Alma 18:2, 4, what did Lamoni think Ammon’s purpose was in coming? (To punish the people because of their murders and to prevent Lamoni from slaying more of his servants.)

Summarize Alma 18:5–7 by explaining that until this time, although Lamoni had believed in a Great Spirit, he had also believed that whatever he did was right. However, when he learned what Ammon had done, he began to fear that he had done wrong in killing his servants who had previously allowed his sheep to be scattered.

  • According to Alma 18:10, what impressed Lamoni besides the power Ammon demonstrated in defending the flocks? (You may want to encourage students to mark the words faithfulness and faithful.)

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: As we serve others faithfully, …

Alma 18:12–43

As Ammon teaches the plan of redemption, Lamoni recognizes his need for the Savior

To help students understand the power of Ammon’s teachings and the great change that King Lamoni began to experience, present Alma 18:12–35 as a readers’ theater. Select four students and assign a part to each one. Have one serve as the narrator, and have the other three read the words of Ammon, King Lamoni, and one of the king’s servants. Consider helping students prepare by assigning their parts in advance, perhaps the day before class or just before class begins.

Have the four students read their parts in Alma 18:12–15. Ask the class to follow along in their scriptures, looking for the effect Ammon’s service had on Lamoni. After verse 15 is read, pause the readers’ theater and ask students to report what they have found.

  • Why do you think Lamoni was silent before Ammon? (If needed, help students remember that Lamoni had become fearful because of the murders he had committed and that he was worried that Ammon was the Great Spirit and had come to punish him.)

Continue with the readers’ theater by inviting the participants to read their parts in Alma 18:16–23. Encourage the class to look for evidence that the power of God was with Ammon.

  • How did the Spirit of God help Ammon in this situation?

  • What words or phrases in these verses indicate that Lamoni was becoming receptive to gospel truths?

Refer students to the incomplete statement you wrote on the board: “As we serve others faithfully, …”

  • Based on what we have learned from Ammon’s service recorded in Alma 17–18, how would you complete this sentence? (Students may respond in different ways. To summarize their responses, complete the statement on the board as follows: As we serve others faithfully, we can help them prepare to receive the truths of the gospel. Invite students to consider writing this principle in their scriptures.)

Invite the participants to read their parts in Alma 18:24–32. Ask the class to follow along, looking for specific teachings about God that Ammon taught Lamoni. You may want to invite students to mark these teachings in their scriptures.

  • What did Ammon teach Lamoni about God? (God created all things, dwells in heaven, and knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts.)

Invite the participants to read their parts in Alma 18:33–35. Ask the class to look for how Ammon explained his ability to know the king’s thoughts and his ability to defend the king’s flocks. After the participants in the readers’ theater have finished reading, thank them for their help.

  • Why was Ammon able to know the king’s thoughts and defend his flocks?

Point out that when Ammon was serving King Lamoni, he was also serving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 2:17). Write the following on the board: As we serve Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ faithfully, …

  • Based on what you have learned from Ammon’s example, how would you complete this statement? (Students may respond in different ways. To summarize their responses, complete the statement on the board as follows: As we serve Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ faithfully, our ability to do Their work increases.)

  • How might this principle help someone who feels afraid or inadequate or who feels that an assignment or duty is too difficult?

  • When have you felt that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have helped you do Their work? (You may want to tell about how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have increased your abilities in Their service. Or you might share an example from someone else’s life.)

To help students apply this principle, write the following questions on the board. Ask students to write their answers to these questions in their class notebooks or study journals.

  • How will remembering this principle help you in your current and future responsibilities?

  • What will you do to serve Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ more faithfully?

Explain that Ammon’s approach to teaching Lamoni in Alma 18:36–39 is a pattern used by missionaries today. Invite two students to take turns reading aloud from these verses. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Ammon taught Lamoni.

  • What are some elements of the plan of redemption that Ammon taught Lamoni? (He taught about the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Point out that understanding these teachings would have helped prepare Lamoni to exercise faith in God. Invite students to consider marking these teachings in verses 36–39.)

  • Why do you think it is important to teach about the Creation and the Fall when we teach about the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

President Russell M. Nelson

“Before we can comprehend the Atonement of Christ, … we must first understand the Fall of Adam. And before we can understand the Fall of Adam, we must first understand the Creation. These three crucial components of the plan of salvation relate to each other. …

“The Creation required the Fall. The Fall required the Atonement. The Atonement enabled the purpose of the Creation to be accomplished. Eternal life, made possible by the Atonement, is the supreme purpose of the Creation” (Russell M. Nelson, “The Atonement,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 33, 35).

  • How might learning the doctrines of the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement have helped Lamoni recognize his need for a Savior? (You may want to remind students that previously Lamoni had believed that whatever he did was right [see Alma 18:5]. In learning about the plan of redemption, Lamoni came to understand that God holds us accountable for our choices, though we can be redeemed from our sins through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.)

Invite a student to read Alma 18:40–43 aloud. Ask the class to look for what Lamoni prayed for in response to Ammon’s teaching. You may want to invite students to consider marking Lamoni’s plea.

  • What did Lamoni’s prayer show that he understood about himself and his people? (He understood that they had sinned and needed forgiveness.)

  • What principle can we learn from Lamoni about what happens when we understand that we need the Savior? (As students respond to this question, help them identify the following principle: As we understand our need for the Savior, we will desire to repent. You may want to invite students to write this principle in their scriptures near Alma 18:40–41.)

Display or write the following question on the board, and invite students to ponder their responses to it: What teachings or experiences have helped you understand your need for the Savior?

Invite a few students to share their responses (caution them to not share anything that is too sacred or private).

Consider sharing your feelings about and testimony of the Savior, and invite students to repent of their sins as needed.

Commentary and Background Information

Alma 18:36–39. Teaching the plan of salvation

When Ammon taught Lamoni, “he began at the creation of the world,” and then he taught “concerning the fall of man” (Alma 18:36). Finally, he “expounded unto them [the king and his servants] the plan of redemption,” particularly “concerning the coming of Christ” (Alma 18:39). Likewise, Aaron taught these doctrines to Lamoni’s father (see Alma 22:12–14).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–1985) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called these foundational doctrines—the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement—the “three pillars of eternity” and the “greatest events that have ever occurred in all eternity.” He explained:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“If we can gain an understanding of them, then the whole eternal scheme of things will fall into place, and we will be in a position to work out our salvation. …

“… These three are the foundations upon which all things rest. Without any one of them all things would lose their purpose and meaning, and the plans and designs of Deity would come to naught” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Three Pillars of Eternity” [Brigham Young University devotional, Feb. 17, 1981], 1, speeches.byu.edu).

President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how each component of the plan is essential:

President Russell M. Nelson

“The plan required the Creation, and that in turn required both the Fall and the Atonement. These are the three fundamental components of the plan. The creation of a paradisiacal planet came from God. Mortality and death came into the world through the Fall of Adam [see 2 Nephi 2:25; Moses 6:48; Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 6:49]. Immortality and the possibility of eternal life were provided by the Atonement of Jesus Christ [see 2 Nephi 2:21–28]. The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement were planned long before the actual work of the Creation began” (Russell M. Nelson, “The Creation,” Ensign, May 2000, 84).

In addition to teaching the same doctrines, Ammon and Aaron used a similar approach in their teaching. They taught with simplicity, in a way their hearers could understand (see Alma 18:24–30; 22:7–11). They taught from the scriptures (see Alma 18:36–39; 22:12–14). Their teachings led others to pray (see Alma 18:40–41; 22:15–18).