Ammon’s brother Aaron taught the Amalekites, but they rejected his message about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Then he preached in Middoni, where he and some of his companions were eventually imprisoned. They remained faithful during their time of adversity, and they continued their mission to share the gospel after Ammon and King Lamoni secured their release. After Lamoni’s father was prepared through the example of Ammon, he learned from Aaron about how to be “born of God” (Alma 22:15). Lamoni’s father learned that by repenting of his sins he could come to know God and eventually receive eternal life.
Suggestions for Teaching
Aaron and his brethren preach the gospel despite trials and imprisonment
Ask students if they have ever felt that they were doing their best to keep the commandments and yet faced challenges or felt discouraged. Invite them to mention some situations in which people might feel this way.
Explain that while Ammon had success in teaching King Lamoni and his people, Aaron and his companions encountered tremendous adversity in a different part of the land. As students study the example of Aaron and his companions, encourage them to look for lessons that can help them when they face challenges or feel discouraged.
Summarize Alma 21:1–4 by explaining that after the sons of Mosiah separated from each other, Aaron went to a city called Jerusalem that had been built by the Lamanites, the Amalekites, and the people of Amulon. The Amalekites and the people of Amulon were Nephites who had hardened their hearts against the truth and became Lamanites.
Write the following references on the board: Alma 21:5–8; Alma 21:9–11; Alma 21:12–13; and Alma 20:29–30. Divide the class into four groups. Assign each group one of the passages written on the board. Ask students to prepare to give a brief summary of their assigned passages and to describe any hardships Aaron and his companions endured. After a few minutes, invite students from each group to report what they have found.
Remind students of the question at the beginning of this lesson. Ask students to silently consider how they might feel if they had experienced what Aaron and his companions experienced.
According to Alma 20:29, how did Aaron and his brethren endure their trials?
Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we patiently persist through trials, …
Summarize Alma 21:14–15 by explaining that these verses recount that Ammon and Lamoni freed Aaron and his brethren from prison.
Invite a student to read Alma 21:16–17 aloud. Ask the rest of the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord blessed Aaron and his brethren after they were freed from prison.
In what ways did the Lord bless Aaron and his brethren after they were freed from prison?
After students respond, complete the statement on the board so it conveys the following principle: If we patiently persist through trials, the Lord will bless us with His Spirit and help us do His work.
To help students understand how the principle written on the board relates to them, ask them what kinds of work God has for them to do now. List students’ responses on the board. (These may include doing missionary work, attending Church meetings, fulfilling callings and assignments, serving others, strengthening their testimonies, and becoming more Christlike.)
What challenges might you face as you try to accomplish these things?
Why is it important that we patiently persist in these areas of the Lord’s work even when it may be difficult to do so?
Invite students to share how they have come to know that the principle you have written on the board is true. You may want to share your testimony about how the Lord blesses us with His Spirit and helps us accomplish His work when we patiently persist through trials.
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or study journals how they will more patiently persist through any trials they may experience as they seek to do the Lord’s work.
Summarize Alma 21:18–23 by explaining that after helping secure the release of Aaron and his brethren from prison, Ammon and Lamoni returned to the land of Ishmael, where they continued to preach the gospel. Lamoni granted religious liberty to his people.
Aaron teaches the gospel to Lamoni’s father, who believes and is born of God
Hold up an object and ask students how much it is worth. After students respond, explain that generally an item is worth what someone is willing to give or exchange for it.
Write the following questions on the board:
Why do you want to receive eternal life?
What would you be willing to give up in order to receive eternal life?
Explain that “eternal life, or exaltation, is to inherit a place in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, where we will live in God’s presence and continue as families (see D&C 131:1–4). … This gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 52).
Briefly tell students why you want to receive eternal life. As you do so, you may want to display a photograph of your family and a picture of the Savior. Then ask students to ponder the questions on the board as they study Alma 22 together.
Invite a student to read Alma 22:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for where the Spirit led Aaron as he continued his missionary service.
Where did the Spirit lead Aaron?
What do you remember about Lamoni’s father from the previous lesson?
Summarize Alma 22:2–3 by explaining that even though Lamoni’s father had wanted to see Ammon and be taught by him, he was still eager to learn when Aaron came to him instead.
Invite a student to read Alma 22:5–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what King Lamoni’s father wanted to know. Ask them to report what they find.
Divide the class into small groups. Invite the groups to read Alma 22:7–14 together and make a list of doctrines that Aaron taught to Lamoni’s father. (For example, they might mention that he taught about the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement.)
After the groups have completed their lists, ask a student to report to the class the list of doctrines that his or her group created.
How do these doctrines answer the king’s question in Alma 22:6?
Write the following chart on the board:
What Lamoni’s father desired
What he needed to do
Invite a student to read Alma 22:15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the father of King Lamoni desired. Ask students to report what they find. Write their responses in the left column of the chart.
What did the king say he was willing to give up in order to receive these blessings?
Point out that although the king was willing to give up all his possessions, Aaron taught him what he needed to do in order to receive eternal life. Invite a student to read Alma 22:16 aloud. Ask the class to listen for what Aaron said the king needed to do.
What did Aaron say that the king needed to do? (Write students’ responses in the right column of the chart.)
What principle can we learn from verse 16 about what we must do to be born of God, receive His Spirit, be filled with joy, and inherit eternal life? (Help students identify the following truth: If we repent of all our sins and call upon God in faith, then we will be born of God, receive His Spirit, be filled with joy, and ultimately receive eternal life. Invite students to consider marking the phrases in verses 15–16 that teach this principle.)
Invite a student to read Alma 22:17–18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the king’s response to Aaron’s instructions.
How did the king demonstrate his desire to receive eternal life?
What do you think it means to “give away” our sins?
Why do you think it is necessary to repent of all of our sins, not only some of them?
Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“The gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to change. ‘Repent’ is its most frequent message, and repenting means giving up all of our practices—personal, family, ethnic, and national—that are contrary to the commandments of God. The purpose of the gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens, and that requires change” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Repentance and Change,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 37).
Invite students to consider whether there are any practices, habits, or traditions they feel they should give up because they are contrary to the commandments of God.
Testify that if we repent of all our sins and call upon God in faith, then we will be born of God, receive His Spirit, be filled with joy, and ultimately receive eternal life. Invite students to apply this principle in their lives.
Summarize Alma 22:19–21 by explaining that after the king was overcome by the Spirit, his servants ran and told the queen all that had happened. She was angry and commanded the servants to kill Aaron and his brethren. Afraid of the power of the Nephite missionaries, the servants refused. The queen was also afraid but was determined to have the Nephites killed. She commanded the servants to go and bring the people to kill Aaron and his companions.
Ask students to read Alma 22:22–26 aloud in pairs, looking for actions that Aaron and the king took so that the queen and others might also become converted and experience joy.
What did Aaron and the king do to help the queen and the other Lamanites?
Conclude by inviting several students to share something they learned, thought about, or felt during class today. Encourage the class to apply the principles they learned.
Commentary and Background Information
Alma 21:16–17. “They brought many to the knowledge of the truth”
Aaron and his companions endured many hardships before they were able to help others turn to the Lord. President Thomas S. Monson taught:
“To reach, to teach, to touch the precious souls whom our Father has prepared for His message is a monumental task. Success is rarely simple. Generally it is preceded by tears, trials, trust, and testimony” (Thomas S. Monson, “Tears, Trials, Trust, Testimony,” Ensign, May 1987, 43).
Alma 22:18. “I will give away all my sins to know thee”
Like Lamoni’s father, we must be willing to sacrifice all things to be born of God. In the Lectures on Faith, we learn the importance of sacrifice in our eternal progression:
“Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life” (Lectures on Faith , 69).
Alma 22:18. “He was struck as if he were dead”
The king “was struck as if he were dead” (Alma 22:18) when he received a manifestation of the Spirit that was so powerful that it caused him to lose physical strength. He had an experience similar to that of his son Lamoni, who had appeared to be dead but who had actually experienced “the light of the glory of God” to such a degree that it “had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God” (Alma 19:6).