Alma the Younger and the sons of King Mosiah rebelled against their fathers and the Lord and attempted to destroy the Church of God. Their efforts ended when an angel, sent in answer to the prayers of the righteous, called them to repentance. As a result of this miraculous experience, they were born again through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and they traveled throughout the land of Zarahemla to preach the gospel and repair the injuries they had caused.
Invite students to think of someone they are worried about spiritually. Explain that this person might be a friend, a family member, or a member of their priesthood quorum or Young Women class. Invite a few students to share why they are concerned about this person (make sure students know they should not mention anyone by name or give too many specific details).
As students study Mosiah 27 today, invite them to look for truths that can help them and the person they are concerned about.
Summarize Mosiah 27:1–10 by explaining that many of the unbelievers in Zarahemla began to persecute those who belonged to the Church. After King Mosiah published a proclamation prohibiting such actions, the majority of the people obeyed and peace was restored. However, some people continued to try to destroy the Church. Five of those people were Alma’s son Alma and King Mosiah’s sons Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni. Alma’s son Alma is often referred to as Alma the Younger.
Invite a student to read Mosiah 27:8–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words or phrases that describe Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah.
What part of the description of Alma and the sons of Mosiah stands out most to you? Why? (List words and phrases on the board as students identify them. Leave space on the board to create a second list later in the lesson.)
Display the picture Conversion of Alma the Younger (Gospel Art Book , no. 77; see also lds.org/media-library). Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 27:11–14. Ask the class to look for the reasons the angel gave for coming to Alma and the sons of Mosiah.
According to verse 14, why had the angel come to Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah?
What does verse 14 teach about how we can help others who are struggling? (Help students identify the following truth: Praying with great faith in behalf of others may help them come to a knowledge of the truth. You may want to write this principle on the board and invite students to consider writing it in their scriptures next to Mosiah 27:14.)
When have you felt that your prayers have made a difference in someone’s life?
You may also want to share an experience about a time when your prayers made a difference in someone’s life. Testify that the account of Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah is evidence that the Lord hears our prayers in behalf of others. He will not override the agency of those for whom we pray, and He may not send an angel to intercede, but He will hear our prayers and will respond in His way and His time. Encourage students to continue praying for others.
Invite a student to read Mosiah 27:15–16 aloud. Ask students to look for what the angel told Alma to remember.
Why do you think the angel told Alma to remember the captivity of his fathers and the great things God had done for them?
Summarize Mosiah 27:17–22 by explaining that after the angel shared his message, Alma could not speak, became weak, and was carried helpless to his father. When Alma’s father heard what had happened, he “rejoiced, for he knew that it was the power of God” (Mosiah 27:20). He assembled the people “that they might witness what the Lord had done for his son” (Mosiah 27:21). He also had the priests gather, and they fasted and prayed that his son might receive his strength and be able to speak.
Explain that Mosiah 27:23–29 contains Alma the Younger’s description of his experience during the days immediately following the angel’s visit. Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from these verses. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Alma said had happened to him.
According to verse 24, what had happened to Alma?
What doctrine did the Lord teach Alma, as recorded in verses 25–26? (Although students may use different words, make sure they identify the following truth: We must be born again in order to inherit the kingdom of God. You may want to write this doctrine on the board.)
Explain that to be born again means to have the Spirit of the Lord cause a mighty change in a person’s heart so that the person has no more desire to do evil but rather desires to seek the things of God (see Mosiah 5:2).
According to Mosiah 27:24, 28, what did Alma do that led to this change?
You may also want to explain that although the mighty change of heart apparently occurred quickly for Alma and the sons of Mosiah, most of us experience this change more gradually. Being born again is a process more than an event. To help students better understand this doctrine, invite one of them to read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994). Ask the class to listen for what President Benson said about the process of receiving a change of heart.
“We must be careful, as we seek to become more and more godlike, that we do not become discouraged and lose hope. Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible. The scriptures record remarkable accounts of men whose lives changed dramatically, in an instant, as it were: Alma the Younger, Paul on the road to Damascus, Enos praying far into the night, King Lamoni. Such astonishing examples of the power to change even those steeped in sin give confidence that the Atonement can reach even those deepest in despair.
“But we must be cautious as we discuss these remarkable examples. Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule. For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life. They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment” (Ezra Taft Benson, “A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 5).
How might understanding that being born again usually happens gradually help someone who is frustrated with his or her spiritual development?
Return to the list describing Alma and the sons of Mosiah that you wrote on the board earlier. Label that list Before. Write After on the other side of the board. Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 27:32–37. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that show how Alma and the sons of Mosiah changed. Give a few students the opportunity to write these words and phrases on the board under the word After.
Explain that true repentance is a change of heart, not just a determination to stop doing something wrong.
What evidence do you see that Alma and the sons of Mosiah truly changed?
What principle can we learn from verse 35 that helps us understand what we must do to truly repent? (Help students identify the following principle: To truly repent, a person must do everything possible to repair the damage he or she has done. You might explain that we sometimes use the word restitution to refer to the act of repairing damage that has been done and correcting our unwise choices.)
Why do you think that making restitution is such an important part of true repentance?
Invite students to review Mosiah 27:10, 36, looking for how Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah had changed as a result of repenting and being born again. Ask students to report what they find. Help them see that Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah had gone from “seeking to destroy the church” (verse 10) to being “instruments in the hands of God” (verse 36).
What principle can we learn from the experience of Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah? (Students may use different words, but help them identify the following principle: Even the very wicked can be forgiven and can become instruments in the hands of God if they repent.)
How might learning about Alma’s experience help someone who thinks that he or she cannot be forgiven?
Testify that the account of Alma and the sons of Mosiah is an example of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change us. Testify of the Savior’s desire to forgive all who, like these young men, exercise faith in Him and seek to follow Him.
Invite students to take a few minutes to answer one of the following questions in their class notebooks or study journals. (You may want to write these questions on the board before class or prepare a handout with the questions on it.)
How have you been changed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ as you have repented and done your best to follow the Savior?
What is one thing you can do to more fully come to the Lord so that you can be changed through His Atonement?
What will you do to help someone who is struggling spiritually?
Invite a few students to share what they have written and to tell about the change that can happen in us as we repent and exercise faith in Jesus Christ. (Remind students that they do not need to share anything that is too personal or private. Make sure they understand that they should not talk about their past sins.)