Lesson 86: Alma 25–26

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

After destroying the city of Ammonihah, the Lamanites had many other battles with the Nephites and were driven back. Having suffered great losses, many Lamanites laid down their weapons of war, repented, and joined the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. As the sons of Mosiah and their companions concluded their 14-year mission among the Lamanites, Ammon praised the Lord and expressed gratitude for the blessing of being instruments in the hands of God to bring the gospel to the Lamanites.

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 25:1–12

The prophecies of Abinadi are fulfilled

Invite students to think about warnings prophets have given throughout the history of the world.

  • What are some things that prophets have warned about?

  • Why do you think some people listen to and obey prophets and others do not?

As students study Alma 25 today, invite them to look for truths that can help them hearken to the prophets and the warnings they give.

Summarize Alma 25:1–3 by explaining that the Lamanites who had slain the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi but had not been converted directed their anger at the Nephites and destroyed the people of Ammonihah. In the battles that followed, the Nephites overpowered the Lamanites.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 25:4–8. Ask the class to look for what happened to the Lamanites who were descendants of Amulon and the other wicked priests of King Noah.

  • What happened to the descendants of King Noah’s wicked priests?

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 25:9–12. Ask the rest of the class to follow along, looking for who prophesied of these events long before they happened.

  • Who prophesied of these events?

  • What does the phrase “these words were verified” (verse 12) mean? (They were shown to be true and were fulfilled.)

  • What truth can we learn from Alma 25:1–12 about the inspired words of prophets? (Using their own words, students may identify the following truth: The inspired words of prophets will always be fulfilled. Point out that prophets’ words are inspired when they are spoken under the Lord’s direction [see D&C 1:38].)

Alma 25:13–17

Many Lamanites repent and join the Anti-Nephi-Lehies

Summarize Alma 25:13–17 by explaining that many of the Lamanites joined the people of God after they realized they could not defeat the Nephites. Like the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, they buried their weapons of war and became a righteous people. Ammon and his brethren recognized that their prayers had been answered and that the promises made by the Lord had all been verified (see Mosiah 28:5–7; Alma 17:11).

Alma 26

Ammon rejoices in the Lord’s mercies toward him and his brethren and toward the Lamanites

Invite a student to read Alma 26:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the questions Ammon asked his brethren who had served with him as missionaries among the Lamanites.

  • What questions did Ammon ask his brethren?

  • In your opinion, what are some of the greatest blessings that those who serve the Lord as missionaries can receive?

Invite a student to read Alma 26:3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Ammon and his fellow missionaries had been blessed.

  • How had Ammon and his fellow missionaries been blessed? (God had made them instruments, or tools, in His hands in doing a great work among the Lamanites.)

Display one or more instruments or tools (such as a hammer, a screwdriver, a wrench, a pen or pencil, a paintbrush, a pair of scissors, a computer, or a musical instrument), and ask:

  • What do you think it means for someone to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord?

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: As we become instruments in the Lord’s hands, we can …

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 26:4–7. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Ammon and his brethren had accomplished with great effort.

  • What do you think it means that Ammon and his brethren had “thrust in the sickle” (verse 5)?

sickle

Display or draw a picture of a sickle. Help students understand that a sickle is a farming tool used for cutting grain. The sheaves mentioned in verse 5 are bundles of grain stalks, and garners are grain storehouses.

  • According to verse 6, what is the purpose of gathering the harvest into garners?

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 the meaning of the sheaves being gathered into garners.

Elder David A. Bednar

“The sheaves in this analogy represent newly baptized members of the Church. The garners are the holy temples” (David A. Bednar, “Honorably Hold a Name and Standing,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 97).

Invite students to consider writing temples next to the word garners in verse 5.

  • Based on verses 4–7 and Elder Bednar’s explanation, how would you complete the statement on the board to form a principle? (Using students’ responses, complete the statement on the board so it conveys the following principle: As we become instruments in the Lord’s hands, we can help God’s children find safety through the blessings of the temple.)

  • What are the blessings of the temple? (Students may mention the saving ordinances we receive in the temple—the endowment and temple sealing. They may also mention the spiritual protection and peace we receive as we worship in the temple.)

  • What are some ways in which we can help God’s children find safety through the blessings of the temple? (We can encourage others to become temple worthy and to attend the temple, and we can perform ordinances in the temple for people who have died without having had the opportunity to receive them.)

Summarize Alma 26:8–10 by explaining that as Ammon praised God and reflected on what he and his brethren had been able to accomplish among the Lamanites, Aaron began to worry that Ammon was boasting.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 26:11–16, and ask the class to look for reasons Ammon gave for his rejoicing. Invite students to consider marking what they find.

  • Why did Ammon rejoice?

  • What principles can we learn from these verses? (Students may mention many different principles. The following principle may serve as a summary of their comments: We experience joy as we faithfully serve the Lord and His children. You may want to write this principle on the board.)

  • When have you experienced joy in the service of the Lord and His children?

Summarize Alma 26:17–22 by explaining that Ammon rejoiced that God had been merciful to him and his brethren, who had once been in an “awful, sinful, and polluted state” (verse 17), and he explained some of the blessings that come to those who repent. Explain that Ammon then described some of the opposition he and his brethren had faced before they began their missions among the Lamanites.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 26:23–26. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who had opposed Ammon and his brethren when they had announced their decision to preach the gospel to the Lamanites.

  • According to these verses, who had opposed Ammon and his brethren?

  • Why do you think this opposition might have been difficult for them?

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 26:27–30. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what had helped Ammon and his brethren endure the opposition they had faced as missionaries.

  • What had helped Ammon and his brethren endure the opposition they had faced?

Summarize Alma 26:31–34 by explaining that Ammon reminded his brethren that many of the Lamanites had truly become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, as evidenced by their willingness to sacrifice their lives rather than take up arms against their enemies.

Invite a student to read Alma 26:35–37 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for additional reasons why Ammon was filled with joy and thanksgiving.

  • According to verse 35, why was Ammon filled with joy and thanksgiving?

  • What doctrine can we learn from verse 35 about who receives God’s mercy? (Help students identify the following doctrine: God is merciful to all who repent and believe on His name. Write this doctrine on the board.)

Remind students that some of the Nephites saw the Lamanites as a very wicked people who did not deserve mercy (see Alma 26:24–25). Explain that some people today might see themselves and others in a similar way.

  • How could understanding the doctrine taught in verse 35 help someone who might have these same feelings about themselves or others?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Laborers in the Vineyard,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 33).

Testify of the power of the Savior’s Atonement to allow forgiveness of sins, big or small, for those who have faith in Jesus Christ and repent. Invite students to repent of their sins as needed so they can receive God’s mercy.

Supplemental Teaching Ideas

Alma 25:4–12. The inspired words of prophets will always be fulfilled

After students identify the truth that the inspired words of prophets will always be fulfilled, you may want to explain that some people may wonder whether the prophecies God gives through His prophets prevent people from exercising their agency to freely make choices.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what he taught about God’s knowledge and our agency.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“Since … things are, for God, one ‘eternal now,’ it is to be remembered that for God to foresee is not to cause or even to desire a particular occurrence. …

“The actual determinations, however, are made by us mortals using our agency as to this or that course of action. For these determinations and decisions we are accountable” (Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [2007], 12).

  • What can we learn from this statement about why God’s knowledge does not affect our agency?

Alma 26:13. “Reason to rejoice”

To help students understand the joy that comes from repentance and forgiveness, read the following story told by President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

President Boyd K. Packer

“In April of 1847, Brigham Young led the first company of pioneers out of Winter Quarters. At that same time, sixteen hundred miles to the west the pathetic survivors of the Donner Party straggled down the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Sacramento Valley.

“They had spent the ferocious winter trapped in the snowdrifts below the summit. That any survived the days and weeks and months of starvation and indescribable suffering is almost beyond belief.

“Among them was fifteen-year-old John Breen. On the night of April 24, he walked into Johnson’s Ranch. Years later John wrote:

“‘It was long after dark when we got to Johnson’s Ranch, so the first time I saw it was early in the morning. The weather was fine, the ground was covered with green grass, the birds were singing from the tops of the trees, and the journey was over. I could scarcely believe that I was alive.

“‘The scene that I saw that morning seems to be photographed on my mind. Most of the incidents are gone from memory, but I can always see the camp near Johnson’s Ranch’ [“Pioneer Memoirs,” unpublished, as quoted on “The Americanization of Utah,” PBS television broadcast].

“At first I was very puzzled by his statement that ‘most of the incidents are gone from memory.’ How could long months of incredible suffering and sorrow ever be gone from his mind? How could that brutal dark winter be replaced with one brilliant morning?

“On further reflection, I decided it was not puzzling at all. I have seen something similar happen to people I have known. I have seen one who has spent a long winter of guilt and spiritual starvation emerge into the morning of forgiveness.

“When morning came, they learned this:

“‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more’ [D&C 58:42]” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 18).

After reading this story, ask students to tell about a time when they have seen joy come into the life of someone who has repented. (Remind students that they do not need to share anything that is too personal or private.)