Lesson 91

Alma 33

“Lesson 91: Alma 33,” 2017 Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)


Introduction

A group of Zoramites desired to know how to follow Alma’s counsel to plant the word of the Lord in their hearts and exercise faith. Using the scriptures, Alma taught the people about worship, prayer, and the mercy we can receive from God because of the Savior. He encouraged the people to look to Jesus Christ and believe in the power of His Atonement.

Note: Lesson 94 provides an opportunity for three students to teach. You may want to select three students now and give them copies of the designated portions of lesson 94 so they can prepare. Encourage them to study the lesson material prayerfully and to seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost so they will know how to adapt the lesson to the needs of their classmates.

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 33

Alma teaches the Zoramites to begin to believe in Jesus Christ

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Begin class by writing the days of the week (Sunday through Saturday) in a horizontal line on the board. Invite students to do the same on a page in their class notebooks or study journals. Next, invite them to write a number under each day to represent the number of times they typically think about God on that day. Explain to students that they will not be asked to share this information with anyone and they should give their best estimations.

After sufficient time, write the number 1 on the board under Sunday and ask:

  • What concerns might you have for a person who thinks about God only once a week?

Remind students that the Zoramites were Nephites who had been members of the Church of Jesus Christ but had left the faith. Ask students to summarize what they learned in Alma 31 about the Zoramites’ form of worship. (See Alma 31:22–23. The Zoramites offered the same prayer once a week in the synagogue, and they never spoke of God again during the rest of the week.)

To help students further understand the context of Alma 33, remind them that Alma 32 contains Alma’s invitation to the poor and humble Zoramites to “exercise a particle of faith” (Alma 32:27) and experiment upon the word, or the truths, that he taught them.

Invite a student to read Alma 33:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the questions these Zoramites had.

  • What did these Zoramites want to know how to do?

Write the following question on the board: How do we exercise faith? Invite students to look for at least three answers to this question as they study and discuss Alma 33.

Explain that as Alma began to answer the Zoramites’ question about how to exercise faith, he corrected a false idea they had about worship. Invite a student to read Alma 33:2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Zoramites’ false idea about worshipping God.

  • Why did these Zoramites think they could not worship God?

Explain that Alma quoted teachings of a prophet named Zenos to correct the Zoramites’ false ideas about worshipping God.

Ask students to read Alma 33:3 silently, looking for the word Alma used interchangeably with worship. (The word is prayer, which is a form of worship.)

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 33:4–10. Ask the class to follow along, looking for each circumstance in which Zenos said he prayed.

  • When and where did Zenos pray? (Explain that Zenos’s example illustrates that we can pray at any time and in any place.)

  • What principle can we learn from Zenos about how to exercise faith? (Using their own words, students may identify a principle similar to the following: We can exercise faith in God by sincerely praying to Him at any time and in any place. Write this principle on the board under the question “How do we exercise faith?” Invite students to consider writing this principle in their scriptures.)

  • In what ways is prayer an exercise of faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?

Ask students to think of experiences in which they have prayed to Heavenly Father at times or in places other than their regular church meetings and to ponder how those experiences have strengthened their faith. Invite a few students to share their experiences. You may also want to share an experience.

Invite students to review Alma 33:4–5, 8–9 silently. Ask them to look for phrases that mention God’s mercy (such as “thou art merciful” and “thou wast merciful”).

  • Why do you think Alma wanted the Zoramites to understand that God is merciful? (You may want to remind students that the Zoramites had turned away from sincerely worshipping God and had stopped believing in Jesus Christ.)

Explain that the words of Zenos and another prophet named Zenock help us understand a reason why we are able to receive God’s mercy.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 33:11–16. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a phrase that appears four times in these verses. (The phrase is “because of thy Son.” You may want to encourage students to mark this phrase.)

  • What do you think Zenos meant when he said, “Thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son”? (Jesus Christ, the Son of God, makes it possible for God’s judgments—the demands of justice—to be turned away from us. These judgments include consequences for our sins that would prevent us from returning to live with God.)

  • What did Jesus Christ do to take the consequences of our sins upon Himself? (During His Atonement, He suffered and died to pay the penalty for our sins.)

  • How would you summarize a truth from verses 11–16 about the blessings we can receive because of Jesus Christ and His Atonement? (Students may identify a variety of truths, but be sure to emphasize that we can receive forgiveness for our sins because of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. You may want to invite students to write this truth in their scriptures near Alma 33:11–16.)

Explain that the words of Zenos and Zenock that Alma cited testify that we can receive forgiveness for our sins, as well as other mercies from God, as we exercise faith in Him and in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Ask students to read Alma 33:12–14 silently, looking for the source Alma used when he shared these teachings.

  • Why was Alma familiar with the words of Zenos and Zenock? (Because the words were in the scriptures [the brass plates]. You may want to point out that Alma’s words in verses 12 and 14 suggest that the Zoramites also had access to these scriptures.)

  • What principle can we learn from these verses about how we can exercise and strengthen our faith? (Using their own words, students may identify a principle similar to the following: If we study the scriptures, we can learn of Jesus Christ and strengthen our faith in Him. Write this principle on the board under the question “How do we exercise faith?”)

  • Why do you think studying the scriptures strengthens our faith in Jesus Christ?

  • What is something you have read recently in the scriptures that has strengthened your faith in Jesus Christ?

Moses and the Brass Serpent

Point out that Alma referred to another scripture account to help the Zoramites develop faith in Jesus Christ. Display the picture Moses and the Brass Serpent (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 16; see also lds.org/media-library).

Invite a student to summarize this account. Be prepared to add the following details as needed: When Moses was leading the Israelites in the wilderness, many people began to rebel against him and the Lord. In response to this disobedience, the Lord sent poisonous serpents that bit the people. The people went to Moses for help. Moses prayed and was instructed to make a serpent on a pole for the people to look upon. He obeyed, making a serpent out of brass. (See Numbers 21:4–9.)

Have a student read Alma 33:19–20 aloud. Invite the class to identify what happened to those who looked at the brass serpent and what happened to those who chose not to look.

  • According to Alma 33:20, why did many choose not to look?

Ask students to ponder whether they would choose to look if they were in that situation.

  • Who or what do you think the brass serpent on the pole might represent?

The Crucifixion

Display the picture The Crucifixion (Gospel Art Book, no. 57; see also lds.org/media-library). Explain that the brass serpent on the pole was a “type” (Alma 33:19). In other words, it was a symbol of something that was going to happen in the future. It represented Jesus Christ on the cross (see John 3:14).

  • In what ways were the Zoramites in a position similar to that of the Israelites who had been bitten by serpents? (Like the Israelites, the Zoramites needed to choose whether or not to believe in Jesus Christ and the power of His Atonement. Choosing not to believe in Jesus Christ would lead the Zoramites to experience spiritual death—or separation from God—because of their sins.)

Ask students to read Alma 33:21–23 silently, looking for what Alma pled with the Zoramites to do so they could be healed spiritually.

  • What did Alma plead with the Zoramites to do? (“Begin to believe in the Son of God” [verse 22].)

  • What truth can we learn from Alma 33:22–23 about how to exercise faith? (Students should identify the following truth: We exercise faith by choosing to believe in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Write this truth on the board under the question “How do we exercise faith?”)

To emphasize that belief in Jesus Christ is a choice we make, direct students’ attention to the following phrase in Alma 33:23: “And even all this can ye do if ye will.” You may want to encourage students to mark this phrase.

Write the following statement on the board, and consider encouraging students to write it in their scriptures. (The statement is found in “Inquire of the Lord” [evening with a General Authority, Feb. 2, 2001], 1.)

“Each child in each generation chooses faith or disbelief. Faith is not an inheritance; it is a choice” (President Henry B. Eyring).

Testify of the importance of choosing to believe in the Savior.

Ask students to answer the following question in their class notebooks or study journals. (You may want to write this question on the board.)

  • What do you feel Heavenly Father would like you to do to exercise greater faith in Jesus Christ?

Encourage students to do whatever they feel Heavenly Father would like them to do to exercise greater faith in Him and in His Son, Jesus Christ.