Continuing to counsel his son Corianton, Alma taught that the plan of restoration includes not only physical resurrection but also a spiritual restoration in which our eternal state reflects our mortal actions and desires. Alma emphasized that wickedness can never lead to happiness.
Ask the class to consider how our actions might be influenced if we believed the following incorrect statements (pause after each item to allow students to respond):
There is no life after death.
After we die, we will be made perfect regardless of our works on earth.
Why is it important to have a correct understanding of what will happen to us after we die?
Remind students that in Alma 40 they learned about Alma’s teachings to Corianton about the spirit world, resurrection, and judgment. Explain that in Alma 41 we learn that Corianton was confused by the teachings of people who had gone astray from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Point out the phrase “gone far astray” in Alma 41:1, and invite students to read this verse, looking for what was causing some of the people to go astray.
Why were some of the people going astray? (You may want to explain that to wrest the scriptures is to twist, distort, or change their meaning.)
What did Alma say he was going to explain to Corianton?
Once students mention the word restoration, write it on the board. Explain that the word restore means to bring back or to put back into a former state. Understanding the doctrine of restoration helps us understand why the choices we make in this life are so important.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Alma 41:2–5. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what we will be restored to after death. Invite students to consider marking what they find. Before students read, it may be helpful for you to explain that requisite means required or necessary.
According to the teachings in these verses, what will we be restored to after we die? (List students’ answers on the board under the word “restoration.” Their answers could include that we will be restored to our bodies as well as to either good or evil, depending on what our works and desires have been.)
Point out that verses 3–5 teach principles that help us understand how our choices in this life affect what we will be restored to—or we will receive—after we die.
What principles about restoration do we learn from verses 3–5? (Help students identify the following principles: If our desires and actions are good in this life, then we will be restored to that which is good after this life. If our desires and actions are evil in this life, then we will receive a reward of evil after this life. Write these principles on the board under the word “restoration.”)
How do Alma’s teachings in verse 4 help us understand the phrase in verse 3 that the righteous will “be restored unto that which is good” after this life? (They will be “raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God.”)
Remind students that Corianton had broken the law of chastity and had forsaken his missionary responsibilities (see Alma 39:2–4).
How might a correct understanding of the doctrine of restoration have helped Corianton make better choices?
Consider sharing your testimony of the principles students identified in verses 3–5.
Invite students to reflect on their actions and desires and to ponder how understanding the doctrine of restoration can help them make choices that will bring them good rewards.
Write the following question on the board: What if I have sinned?
According to the plan of restoration, what do we receive if we have sinned?
Is there any way we can be restored to goodness and happiness when we have done wrong? (Help students understand that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be restored to goodness and happiness even when we have sinned, if we do what is required of us.)
Invite a student to read Alma 41:6–8 aloud. Ask the class to look for what we can do to be restored to goodness and happiness even when we have sinned.
What principle can we learn from verse 6 about what we can do to be rewarded unto righteousness even if we have sinned? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: If we repent of our sins and desire righteousness for the rest of our lives, then we will be rewarded unto righteousness when we are resurrected and judged.)
What words or phrases in Alma 41:6–8 suggest that we are responsible for what we receive in the Resurrection? In what sense are we our own judges? (Our choices in mortality determine the kind of judgment we will receive when we stand before God.)
Point out that some people think they can return to dwell with God without taking personal responsibility for their actions. They often say that their sinful choices are fun. Sometimes those who engage in sin may even appear to be happy.
Invite a student to read Alma 41:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Alma taught Corianton about wickedness and happiness.
According to verse 10, what did Alma teach about wickedness and happiness? (Help students identify the following truth: Wickedness never was happiness.)
As you consider Alma’s teachings about the law of restoration, why do you think it is true that “wickedness never was happiness”?
What are some examples of commandments Satan would have us break and believe that we can still experience happiness? (List students’ responses on the board. These may include the law of chastity, the Word of Wisdom, and the commandments to not lie or steal.)
Invite students to choose a commandment on the board and explain how disobeying that commandment will eventually lead to unhappiness and regret. You could repeat this exercise with several of the commandments listed on the board.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement from True to the Faith. Ask students to listen for what leads to real, eternal happiness.
“Many people try to find happiness and fulfillment in activities that are contrary to the Lord’s commandments. Ignoring God’s plan for them, they reject the only source of real happiness. They give in to the devil, who ‘seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself’ (2 Nephi 2:27). Eventually they learn the truth of Alma’s warning to his son Corianton: ‘Wickedness never was happiness’ (Alma 41:10). …
“As you seek to be happy, remember that the only way to real happiness is to live the gospel. You will find peaceful, eternal happiness as you strive to keep the commandments, pray for strength, repent of your sins, participate in wholesome activities, and give meaningful service. You will learn to have fun within the limits set by a loving Father in Heaven” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 79–80).
What leads to real, eternal happiness?
What are some experiences you have had in which you have been blessed with real happiness as a result of living the gospel?
Tell students that Alma 41:11 explains why it is impossible to be truly happy when making wrong choices. Invite a student to read this verse aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words or phrases that describe those who do not seek to keep the commandments of God. Invite students to consider marking what they find.
Which words or phrases in verse 11 describe those who do not seek to keep the commandments of God?
As students respond, invite them to explain the meaning of the words or phrases they mention. You may want to refer to the accompanying information to help students with words or phrases they do not understand:
“A state of nature” refers to our fallen and sinful condition.
Carnal means to be preoccupied with worldliness and the gratification of physical desires, lusts, and pleasures.
“In the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity” means to suffer and to be limited and burdened by our sins.
“Without God in the world” means to be lacking blessings and direction from God; this may occur as a result of not having the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
How does verse 11 help us understand why it is impossible to be truly happy when we sin? (Help students see that “the nature of God” is “the nature of happiness.” We cannot be happy when we sin, because by sinning we go against the nature of God and our own divine nature, which is the nature of happiness.)
Show students a boomerang or draw a picture of one on the board.
Ask students what a boomerang does when thrown correctly. (It returns to the location from which it was thrown.) Ask them to read Alma 41:12–15 silently, looking for ways in which a boomerang might represent the truths that Alma hoped Corianton would learn from his teachings about the doctrine of restoration. (Invite students to consider marking what they find.) After sufficient time, invite students to explain what they have found.
According to verse 14, what do we need to do if we want mercy, justice, righteous judgment, and good restored to us on the Day of Judgment?
What principle can we learn from Alma’s teachings in verse 15? (Help students identify the following truth: That which we send out shall return unto us on the Day of Judgment. Invite students to consider marking the words in verse 15 that teach this principle.)
What are some things you hope to receive from the Lord in the next life?
Invite students to imagine they have been assigned to teach the doctrine of restoration to a Primary class. Give students a few minutes to review the doctrines and principles they have studied today and the verses they may have marked. Then divide students into pairs, and ask them to share with their partners how they would explain the doctrine of restoration so that little children could understand it. After sufficient time, invite a few students to share their ideas with the class.
Testify of the happiness that comes as we act in righteousness. Encourage students to set a goal to act in ways and develop attitudes that reflect what they hope to have restored to them in the next life.