Alma 38: Alma Counsels His Son Shiblon

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 126–127

Alma’s counsel to his son Shiblon was brief (just one short chapter) but powerful. Study it carefully as you learn about Shiblon’s strengths and weaknesses. Also look for ways in which you might bring joy to your parents.
father and son

Understanding the Scriptures

Alma 38

Bonds (v. 4)Shackles, tied up
Anguish (v. 8)Sorrow, grief, agony
Temperate (v. 10)Moderate, use self-control
Overbearance (v. 12)Force, overpowering
Sober (v. 15)Serious

Alma 38:12—“Bridle All Your Passions”


The purpose of a bridle is to control and direct the horse, not to torment or destroy it. That is the meaning of the counsel to “bridle” our passions. “Is self-denial wise because something is wrong with our passions, or because something is right with our passions? Alma taught his son: ‘See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.’ (Alma 38:12; emphasis added.) He did not say eliminate or even suppress your passions, but bridle them—harness, channel, and focus them. Why? Because discipline makes possible a richer, deeper love” (Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen, The Belonging Heart [1994], 302).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you study Alma 38.

Activity A iconTurn Weakness into Strength

  1. 1.

    Draw two columns in your notebook and label one “Shiblon’s Strengths” and the other “Warnings Given to Shiblon.” Read Alma 38:1–5, 10–15 and list what you think were his strengths and warnings.

  2. 2.

    Read Ether 12:27 and explain how heeding the warnings of our leaders can strengthen us.

Activity B iconWrite a Letter

Alma taught his son Shiblon the process of receiving spiritual knowledge.

  1. 1.

    Draw a chart like the one following, but leave the questions out. As you review Alma 38:6–9, look for answers to the questions and, inside the boxes, write the verse or verses that answer them.

    What is the only way we can be saved?

    What did Alma endure to receive a remission of his sins?

    How did Alma describe the birth people go through as they repent?

    How do those born of God receive greater spiritual knowledge?

    Spiritual Knowledge

  2. 2.

    In your notebook, write a letter to a friend, describing how to acquire spiritual knowledge.