Alma 36: Alma Teaches Helaman about His Conversion

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 124–125


How does a loving father prepare his children to withstand Satan’s temptations? How can he inspire them to desire the blessings of the gospel more than the temporary attractions of the world? Alma 36–42 is a record of the prophet Alma’s counsel to his sons. Study these chapters prayerfully to understand what Alma wanted his children to know and do. The truths he taught are promises for our mortal and eternal blessings, exceeding anything Satan has to offer.
Alma and Helaman

Understanding the Scriptures

Alma 36

Beseech (v. 3)Beg, plead
Temporal (v. 4)Physical, mortal
Carnal mind (v. 4)Wisdom of the world
Racked, rack (vv. 12, 14, 16–17)Tormented, troubled
Harrowed up (vv. 12, 17, 19)Tormented, pained, in deep sorrow
Exquisite (v. 21)Intense

Alma 36:18—The Gall of Bitterness

We experience the “gall of bitterness” when we feel remorse or deep feelings of sorrow for having done wrong. But not everyone allows themselves to feel this remorse. President Spencer W. Kimball taught that “those who choose this alternative eventually become calloused and lose their desire to repent. The other alternative is to permit remorse to lead [us] to total sorrow, then to repentance, and finally on to eventual forgiveness” (“The Gospel of Repentance,” Ensign, Oct. 1982, 4).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Alma 36.

Activity A iconRemember the Captivity of Your Fathers

Alma 36 begins and ends with Alma’s counsel to his son Helaman to remember the captivity of their fathers and their eventual deliverance by the power of God (see Alma 36:2, 28–29). Notice how Alma used his own life as an example of that principle.

  1. 1.

    Read Alma 36:6–16 and describe ways in which Alma was in captivity.

  2. 2.

    Read verses 17–21 and describe ways in which Alma was delivered by God’s power.

  3. 3.

    Write a brief paragraph explaining how those events help you believe in God’s power to deliver you from life’s trials that seem to keep you captive.

Activity B iconIdentify the Elements

Based on Alma 36:13–24, give evidence that Alma experienced each of the following elements of repentance:

  1. 1.

    Recognize the sin

  2. 2.

    Feel godly sorrow

  3. 3.

    Confess

  4. 4.

    Make restitution (repay what was lost)

Activity C iconExplain the Key Phrase

Ponder the blessings listed in Alma 36:25–29. For each of the following key phrases or words, summarize the blessings associated with it and explain why those blessings are important:

  1. 1.

    “Born of God” (v. 26)

  2. 2.

    “Supported” (v. 27)

  3. 3.

    “Raise me up” (v. 28)