Lesson 94

Alma 37

“Lesson 94: Alma 37,” 2017 Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)


Introduction

Alma continued his counsel to his son Helaman and gave him charge over the sacred records. Alma instructed his son about what to teach the people. Comparing the words of Christ to the Liahona, he impressed upon Helaman the importance of looking to them for guidance.

Note: This lesson provides an opportunity for three students to teach the class. To help prepare these students to teach, provide each student with a copy of the section he or she is to teach a day or two in advance. Or you could choose to teach these sections yourself.

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 37

Alma entrusts Helaman with the records, counsels him to keep the commandments, and reminds him that the Liahona worked through faith

Copy the following diagram on the board:

small and simple things diagram

Ask students to list on the board some small and simple things that have made a big impact for good in their lives. You may want to ask them to explain their responses.

Explain that Alma 37 contains Alma’s counsel to help his son Helaman prepare to be the next keeper of the sacred records. Alma taught him about the role of small and simple things in the Lord’s work.

Invite a student to read Alma 37:6–7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for truths Alma taught about the value of “small and simple things” (verse 6).

  • What truths do we learn from these verses about the value of “small and simple things”? (Students may identify several truths, including the following: By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. The Lord works by very small means to bring about the salvation of many souls.)

Invite students to read Alma 37:1–5 silently, looking for an example of something that can have a big impact in people’s lives.

  • What did Alma speak of that can have a big impact in people’s lives? (The holy scriptures. Write The scriptures on the board under “Small and simple things.”)

Have students search Alma 37:8–10 for ways the scriptures influenced the people of the Book of Mormon. As students report what they find, you may want to write their responses under “BIG IMPACT.”

  • In what ways have the scriptures had an impact on your life?

Summarize Alma 37:11–32 by explaining that Alma taught Helaman that the Lord would show forth His power in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. He charged Helaman to follow the Lord’s commandments and carefully keep the records. He also instructed Helaman to use the records to teach the people and to avoid revealing all the details of the Jaredites’ wickedness.

The rest of this lesson is designed to be taught by three students. The student teachers may take turns teaching the entire class, or you could divide the class into three groups and invite the student teachers to take turns teaching each group. In either case, the student teachers should take about seven minutes to present their lessons and guide discussion.

handout iconProvide one of the following handouts to each of the three student teachers to help him or her prepare and present a portion of the lesson.

handout, student teacher 1

Alma 37:33–34Student Teacher 1—

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual—Lesson 94

Read aloud the following account told by President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

President Boyd K. Packer

“[A Church member named Karl G. Maeser] was going with a group of young missionaries across the alps. They were crossing a high mountain pass on foot. There were long sticks stuck into the snow of the glacier to mark the path so that travelers could find their way safely across the glacier and down the mountain on the other side.

“When they reached the summit, Brother Maeser … pointed to those sticks that they had followed [and compared them to priesthood leaders in the Church, saying,] ‘They are just common old sticks, but it’s the position that counts. Follow them and you will surely be safe. Stray from them and you will surely be lost’” (Boyd K. Packer, “It Is the Position That Counts,” New Era, June 1977, 51).

  • How are Church leaders and their teachings like the sticks in the snow that Brother Maeser referred to?

On the board or on a piece of paper, write Teachings of Church leaders. Explain that Alma 37:33–34 contains Alma’s instructions to his son Helaman, whom Alma was preparing to be a Church leader.

Invite two students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 37:33–34. Ask the rest of the students to follow along, looking for what Alma counseled Helaman to teach the people. When students have finished reading the verses, ask them to report what they found. Write their responses under “Teachings of Church leaders.”

Ask your fellow students to look at the last phrase of Alma 37:34 to see what blessing comes from following the teachings of Church leaders. Write the following principle on the board or on a piece of paper: By following the teachings of Church leaders, we can find rest to our souls. Ask:

  • What do you think it means to find rest to our souls? (Answers may include being free from the consequences of sin, receiving peace from the Spirit, and being blessed with strength to endure and overcome challenges.)

Invite students to choose one of the teachings listed in verses 33–34 and to explain how following that teaching can bring rest to our souls.

Ask your fellow students to think of a local Church leader or a General Authority who has taught them something that has made a difference in their lives. Invite a few students to share what this leader taught and how it influenced them.

Share your testimony about how following the teachings of Church leaders has brought rest to your soul.

handout, student teacher 2

Alma 37:35–37Student Teacher 2—

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual—Lesson 94

Explain to your fellow students that it is common for those who plant trees to tie or strap a young tree to a stake and then to remove the support once the tree matures. Ask them why they think that is done. Then read the following story about a tree that President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) planted in his yard:

President Gordon B. Hinckley planted a young tree near his home soon after he was married. He “paid little attention to it as the years passed.” One day he noticed the tree was misshapen and leaning to the west. He tried to push it upright, but the trunk was too thick. He tried using a rope and pulleys to straighten it, but it would not bend. Finally, he took his saw and cut off the heavy branch on the west side, leaving an ugly scar. He later said of the tree:

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“The other day I looked again at the tree. It is large. Its shape is better. It is a great asset to the home. But how serious was the trauma of its youth and how brutal the treatment I used to straighten it.

“When it was first planted, a piece of string would have held it in place against the forces of the wind. I could have and should have supplied that string with ever so little effort. But I did not, and it bent to the forces that came against it” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Bring Up a Child in the Way He Should Go,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 59).

Invite a student to read aloud Alma’s counsel to Helaman in Alma 37:35. Ask students to think about how this verse relates to President Hinckley’s experience with the tree.

Invite students to summarize the principle in Alma 37:35 in their own words. (Their responses should express that we should learn in our youth to keep the commandments of God.) Ask the following questions:

  • How does this principle relate to President Hinckley’s experience with the tree?

  • What difference do you think it makes in a person’s life to learn to keep the commandments of God while still young?

  • What are some ways you feel you have been or will be blessed because of your efforts to obey the commandments while you are young?

Invite a student to read Alma 37:36–37 aloud. Ask the rest of the students to follow along, looking for specific counsel that could help them keep the commandments while they are young.

  • How could following this counsel daily help you keep the commandments?

Share your feelings and testimony about the importance of learning to keep God’s commandments in our youth. Encourage your fellow students to keep the commandments and to counsel with the Lord in all they do.

handout, student teacher 3

Alma 37:38–45Student Teacher 3—

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual—Lesson 94

liahona

Display the picture The Liahona (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 68; see also lds.org/media-library). Remind your fellow students of the compass that the Lord used to help Lehi’s family travel to the promised land. In Alma 37:38, we learn that the compass was called the Liahona. Explain that Alma spoke of the Liahona in order to teach Helaman an important principle about how the Lord guides His children.

Explain to your fellow students that you are going to ask them questions and then have them take turns reading a few verses aloud while everyone looks for the answers. Have them respond to each question after the associated scripture passage has been read.

Help your fellow students see that the choice to follow or not follow the directions of the Liahona is like our choice regarding how we respond to direction that comes through the words of Christ.

  • What do you think the phrase “far better land of promise” (verse 45) refers to? (Eternal life.)

Invite your fellow students to summarize a principle based on Alma’s words in Alma 37:45. Using their own words, they should identify the following principle: If we follow the words of Jesus Christ, they will direct us to receive eternal life.

  • Where can we find the words of Christ? (Answers may include the scriptures, the words of latter-day prophets, patriarchal blessings, and the promptings of the Spirit.)

Share how the words of Christ have influenced you spiritually and how they help you progress toward eternal life. You might suggest that students consider talking to their parents, bishop, or branch president about obtaining a patriarchal blessing or, if they have already received one, that they read it regularly and prayerfully.

After students finish teaching their portions of the lesson, thank them. Conclude by inviting the class to follow along as you read Alma 37:46–47 aloud. Share your testimony of the principles students learned today, and encourage them to “look to God and live” (Alma 37:47) by applying these principles in their lives.

Commentary and Background Information

Alma 37:8. “They have enlarged the memory of this people”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how the scriptures can enlarge our memory:

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“The scriptures enlarge our memory by helping us always to remember the Lord and our relationship to Him and the Father. They remind us of what we knew in our premortal life. And they expand our memory in another sense by teaching us about epochs, people, and events that we did not experience personally” (D. Todd Christofferson, “The Blessing of Scripture,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 33).