Lesson 92: Alma 34–35

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

After Alma taught the Zoramites to believe in the Son of God, Amulek declared his own testimony of Jesus Christ, providing a second witness. Amulek, Alma’s companion, emphasized that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is necessary for the salvation of all mankind and that individuals can receive all the blessings of the Atonement as they exercise faith unto repentance. Many Zoramites heeded Amulek’s invitation to repent. When the repentant Zoramites were cast out of the land by their wicked rulers and priests, the Nephites and the people of Ammon gave them food, clothing, and lands for their inheritance. As a result, the Lamanites and unrepentant Zoramites began to make preparations for war against the Nephites and the people of Ammon.

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 34:1–14

Amulek teaches the Zoramites about the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Write the following phrase on the board: Imagine life without …

Hold up an object that many young people value (such as a cell phone) and ask:

  • What do you imagine life would be like without this object?

Next, hold up a bottle or glass of water (or something else that is essential to sustain life).

  • What would life be like without water?

After students have discussed the necessity of water, complete the statement on the board so it reads as follows: Imagine life without the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

  • How would life be different without the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

To help students understand the context of Alma 34, remind them that the Zoramites believed there would “be no Christ” (Alma 31:16). Alma encouraged them to try an experiment by choosing to believe in Jesus Christ (see Alma 32–33).

Summarize Alma 34:1–4 by explaining that Amulek reminded the Zoramites that they had been taught many times about Jesus Christ.

Invite a student to read Alma 34:5–7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Amulek said Alma had already proved to the Zoramites.

  • What did Amulek say that Alma had already proved to the Zoramites? (That “the word is in Christ unto salvation” [verse 6].)

Point out that Amulek then shared his own testimony of the Savior. Ask a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 34:8–10. Invite the class to follow along, looking for phrases that teach why we need Jesus Christ.

  • According to verse 8, what did Amulek teach that Jesus Christ would do for us?

  • Which words in verse 9 help us understand why we need the Savior’s Atonement?

  • What causes us to be “fallen” and “lost” (verse 9)? (The Fall of Adam and Eve, as well as our own sins.)

  • Which words in verse 10 describe the Savior’s sacrifice for us? (Invite students to consider marking the phrase “infinite and eternal sacrifice” in verse 10.)

  • How would you summarize Amulek’s teachings in Alma 34:8–10 as a statement of doctrine? (Using their own words, students should identify the following doctrine: Without the infinite and eternal Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind would be lost forever. Write this doctrine on the board.)

To help students understand how the Savior’s Atonement is infinite, ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

President Russell M. Nelson

“His Atonement is infinite—without an end [see 2 Nephi 9:7; 25:16; Alma 34:10, 12, 14]. It was also infinite in that all humankind would be saved from never-ending death. It was infinite in terms of His immense suffering. … It was infinite in scope—it was to be done once for all [see Hebrews 10:10]. And the mercy of the Atonement extends not only to an infinite number of people, but also to an infinite number of worlds created by Him [see D&C 76:24; Moses 1:33]. It was infinite beyond any human scale of measurement or mortal comprehension.

“Jesus was the only one who could offer such an infinite atonement, since He was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. Because of that unique birthright, Jesus was an infinite Being” (Russell M. Nelson, “The Atonement,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 35).

  • Why was Jesus Christ the only one who could atone for the sins of the world?

Summarize Alma 34:11–14 by explaining that Amulek taught that the law of Moses and the sacrifices offered under that law pointed to the infinite and eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Alma 34:15–41

Amulek teaches the Zoramites how to exercise faith unto repentance

Point out that although Jesus Christ performed the Atonement for all people, we are not automatically saved from our sins.

Invite a student to read Alma 34:15–17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what we must do to receive salvation.

  • According to Alma 34:15, what must we do to receive salvation through Jesus Christ? (Help students see that we must “believe on his name” and “have faith unto repentance.” Write the following principle on the board: Jesus Christ brings salvation to all who believe on His name and exercise faith unto repentance.)

  • What do you think it means to exercise faith unto repentance?

To help students understand what it means to exercise faith unto repentance, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency:

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“We need a strong faith in Christ to be able to repent. … Faith in Christ will change our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are not in harmony with God’s will.

“… Repentance means a change of mind and heart—we stop doing things that are wrong, and we start doing things that are right” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Point of Safe Return,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 100).

  • Why is it important to understand that repentance requires that we not only stop doing that which is wrong, but we start doing things that are right?

  • According to Alma 34:17, what did Amulek encourage the Zoramites to start doing in order to exercise faith unto repentance?

Remind students that these Zoramites had believed that they could not pray or worship because the wealthy Zoramites did not allow them to enter the synagogues (see Alma 32:5–10). Summarize Alma 34:18–30 by explaining that Amulek encouraged these Zoramites to exercise their faith unto repentance by praying to God continually for their own welfare and for the welfare of others. He also instructed them to be charitable to others.

To help students consider additional ways we can exercise faith unto repentance, ask them to respond to the following examples:

  1. 1.

    A young man has developed a habit of using inappropriate language. What are some ways he could exercise faith unto repentance to become free of this habit? (Answers might include avoiding media that contains inappropriate language, praying for help, asking family members and friends for help, and participating in activities that invite the Spirit.)

  2. 2.

    A young woman and young man have become involved in an inappropriate relationship. They have felt the Holy Ghost prompt them to end this relationship immediately. How might following this prompting represent faith unto repentance? What other steps might they need to make to ensure they are on the path to complete repentance? (Answers may include seeking guidance from the bishop or branch president and praying for strength and forgiveness.)

Point out that some individuals may choose to delay repenting of their sins.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 34:31–36. Ask the class to follow along, looking for truths Amulek taught that help us understand why we should not delay repentance.

  • What truths did Amulek teach that help us understand why we should not delay or procrastinate our repentance? (Students may identify several truths, including the following: This life is the time for us to prepare to meet God. If we procrastinate the day of our repentance, we will become subject to the spirit of the devil.)

  • According to verse 36, why does procrastinating our repentance lead us to become subject to the spirit of the devil? (Because we remain spiritually unclean and unworthy of the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord. Those who do not repent ultimately cannot return to dwell in God’s presence eternally.)

Invite students to silently ponder whether there are any sins they need to repent of. Share your testimony that because of Jesus Christ and His Atonement, we can receive the blessings of salvation if we choose to believe on His name and exercise faith unto repentance rather than procrastinate our repentance.

Summarize Alma 34:37–41 by explaining that Amulek encouraged the Zoramites to take upon themselves the name of Christ, to humble themselves, to be grateful, and to be patient in their afflictions.

Alma 35

Repentant Zoramites go to dwell among the righteous

Summarize Alma 35 by explaining that many Zoramites repented of their sins. They were cast out of the land by their wicked rulers and priests, and they went to live in the land of Jershon with the people of Ammon. The people of Ammon gave them lands, and the Nephites sent their armies to protect them.

To conclude this lesson, review with students the truths you have discussed and encourage students to apply these truths in their lives.

Commentary and Background Information

Alma 34:8–14. “An infinite and eternal sacrifice”

President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that Jesus Christ was the only one capable of accomplishing an infinite and eternal sacrifice:

President Russell M. Nelson

“An infinite atonement was required to redeem Adam, Eve, and all of their posterity. …

“According to eternal law, that atonement required a personal sacrifice by an immortal being not subject to death. Yet He must die and take up His own body again. The Savior was the only one who could accomplish this. From His mother He inherited power to die. From His Father He obtained power over death” (Russell M. Nelson, “Constancy amid Change,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 34).