Alma 18: The Conversion of King Lamoni

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 110–111

A successful missionary experience often depends on how the gospel message is first introduced. How would you begin to teach the gospel to a king? As you read Alma 18, look for more examples of how to effectively teach the gospel to others—in both what to teach and how to teach it.
Ammon before King Lamoni
missionaries teaching

© 1995 Gary L. Kapp

Understanding the Scriptures

Alma 18

Plunder (v. 7)Stealing
Durst (v. 11)Dared
Countenance (v. 12)Appearance, face
Perceived (v. 16)Understood, knew
Discern (v. 18)Know
Guile (v. 23)Trickery, strategy
Expounded (vv. 38–40)Explained
Lamenting his loss (v. 43)Feeling sadness because they thought he was dead

Alma 18:36–43—The Power of the Doctrines of the Gospel

Where do you start when you have an opportunity to teach the gospel to someone who does not even know about God? Notice that Ammon began by answering King Lamoni’s questions about the nature of God (see Alma 18:18–28) and then taught him about the Creation (see vv. 28–36), the Fall, including the fallen behavior of his ancestors (see vv. 36–38), and the Atonement, or “plan of redemption” (v. 39). Ammon’s choice of what to teach and in what order to teach it was inspired and had a profound effect on King Lamoni (see vv. 42–43).

Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, helped us understand why these doctrines are so essential: “As it is central to the plan, we should try to comprehend the meaning of the Atonement. Before we can comprehend it, though, we must understand the fall of Adam. And before we can fully appreciate the Fall, we must first comprehend the Creation. These three events—the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement—are three preeminent pillars of God’s plan, and they are doctrinally interrelated” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 45; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 33).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Alma 18.

Activity A iconCompare the Scriptures to a Modern Example

  1. 1.

    Read the following story told by Elder Robert E. Wells, who was a member of the Seventy. How is this story similar to Ammon’s experience as found in Alma 17–18?

    “Two elders met and taught a professor. … His mind was not open to their message, but the man had to go to the hospital for surgery. While he was recuperating in the hospital, his yard and garden suffered. The two missionaries felt impressed to use their preparation day to mow his lawn, trim the hedge, and weed the flowers.

    “The wife told her husband what they had done. He sent for the elders to come to the hospital, and with tears in his eyes he said, ‘Never in my entire adult life has anyone ever gone out of his way to do anything for me.’

    “His demeanor changed. He listened to the missionary discussions. Previously skeptical, he now paid rapt attention and visibly became more meek and humble. He prayed for the first time since he was a child, and he received a testimony and was baptized” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1985, 36; or Ensign, Nov. 1985, 28).

  2. 2.

    What kinds of service can you give to your family, neighborhood, and community at this time of your life?

Activity B iconA Plan for Teaching the Gospel

Ammon introduced the gospel to the king step-by-step.

  1. 1.

    Draw a diagram in your notebook like the one shown here and fill in each step with a summary of what Ammon taught the Lamanite king in Alma 18:24–40.

  2. 2.

    Explain why you think Ammon chose to teach those doctrines in that order (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Alma 18:36–43 for help, if needed).

Activity C iconPrinciples of Sharing the Gospel

Write three important principles you learned from Alma 17–18 about sharing the gospel that you think can be used by all Church members—not just full-time missionaries.