As Alma continued preaching in Zarahemla, he warned the people that their decision to hearken to or reject his words held certain blessings or consequences. He encouraged them to respond to the voice of the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, who called after them and desired to bring them back into His fold. As you study this lesson, consider how following the voice of the Good Shepherd will help you avoid the unclean things of the world and return to be with God.
In the scriptures, Jesus Christ is sometimes referred to as the “Good Shepherd” (see John 10:11–15). Why do you think a shepherd is a good symbol of the Savior? President Ezra Taft Benson gave the following description of ancient shepherds:
“In Jesus’ time, the Palestinian shepherd was noted for his protection of his sheep. Unlike modern sheepherders, the shepherd always walked ahead of his flock. He led them. The shepherd knew each of the sheep and usually had a name for each. The sheep knew his voice and trusted him and would not follow a stranger. Thus, when called, the sheep would come to him. (See John 10:14, 16.)
“At night shepherds would bring their sheep to a corral called a sheepfold. High walls surrounded the sheepfold, and thorns were placed on top of these walls to prevent wild animals and thieves from climbing over.
“Sometimes, however, a wild animal driven by hunger would leap over the walls into the midst of the sheep, frightening them. Such a situation separated the true shepherd—one who loved his sheep—from the hireling—one who worked only for pay and duty.
“The true shepherd was willing to give his life for the sheep. He would go in amongst the sheep and fight for their welfare. The hireling, on the other hand, valued his own personal safety above the sheep and would usually flee from danger.
“Jesus used this common illustration of his day to declare that He was the Good Shepherd, the True Shepherd. Because of His love for His brothers and sisters, He would willingly and voluntarily lay down His life for them. (See John 10:17–18.)” (“A Call to the Priesthood: ‘Feed My Sheep,’” Ensign, May 1983, 43).
Write short answers to the following questions in this manual:
What might happen to the sheep if they do not listen to the shepherd?
How are we like sheep, and how is the Savior like our shepherd?
What does it mean to be brought into His fold? (see Alma 5:60).
Write answers to the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Study Alma 5:37–38, and explain in your own words what Alma taught about the Savior’s efforts to call us to follow Him.
In Alma 5:41, what did Alma teach about how we can tell if we are hearkening to the voice of the Good Shepherd? What are some “good works” that might indicate that a Latter-day Saint youth is following the Good Shepherd?
Recognizing and following the Savior’s voice is not always easy. Ponder the following quotation by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “From among the chorus of voices we hear in mortality, we must recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd, who calls us to follow him toward our heavenly home” (“Alternate Voices,” Ensign, May 1989, 27).
Read Alma 5:53–56, and mark attitudes and actions that might make it difficult for someone to hearken to the voice of the Savior.
Think of any other attitudes or actions in the world today that make it difficult for people to hearken to the voice of the Savior. Explain briefly why you think these attitudes and actions make it difficult for someone to hear the Savior’s voice:
In Alma 5:57, mark the phrase “all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd.” Then mark the three other phrases in verse 57 that tell what you can do to follow the Savior’s voice.
In your scripture study journal, write an example for each of the following three statements, showing what a Latter-day Saint youth in your school or community can do to: (a) come out from the wicked, (b) be separate, and (c) not touch unclean things. Then think of two righteous activities or habits that will help youth better hearken to the voice of the Good Shepherd. If one of these activities or habits has helped you hear the Savior’s voice, consider writing about it in your scripture study journal to share with your teacher or class later.
As recorded in Alma 5:58–60, Alma taught this truth: If we follow the voice of the Lord (the Good Shepherd), we will be gathered into His kingdom. Mark the promises or blessings in Alma 5:58–60 that those who receive an inheritance at the right hand of God will receive.
Consider what each of these promises or blessings you marked means to you. Then write in your scripture study journal about why you think separating yourself from wicked things is worth these blessings.
As you follow the Savior’s voice, you will receive these blessings and eventually receive the blessing of exaltation.
Think of something you have learned through each of your five physical senses: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. Is there a way you can know something without using one of your physical senses? Read Alma 5:45–48, and look for what Alma said he knew and how he knew it.
Mark in Alma 5:48 what Alma taught about Jesus Christ. The message of Alma 5:45–48 can be summarized in this way: We can know for ourselves, through the Holy Ghost, that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of mankind.
Everyone faces challenges to their faith and testimony. Having your own testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel by the power of the Holy Ghost can strengthen you during those challenging times. Remembering your own witness of the Holy Ghost, as Alma does, can help you stand firm in the midst of a challenge. From Alma’s example, we can also learn that fasting and prayer can help us feel the Spirit reconfirm the truths and sustain our testimonies when they need to be strengthened.
Ponder your own testimony as you read the following quotation from Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraging us to seek our own testimony of Jesus Christ: “Individual, personal testimony of gospel truth, particularly the divine life and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, is essential to our eternal life. ‘And this is life eternal,’ said the Savior, ‘that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent’ [John 17:3]. In other words, life eternal is predicated upon our own individual, personal knowledge of our Father in Heaven and His Holy Son. Simply knowing about them is not enough. We must have personal, spiritual experiences to anchor us” (“Feasting at the Lord’s Table,” Ensign, May 1996, 80).
Complete one or more of the following activities in your scripture study journal:
Write about a time when you heard someone bear a powerful testimony, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of mankind. Write how you felt listening to this testimony.
Read Alma 5:46, and then write in your own words how Alma received his testimony of Jesus Christ. Think about how you can follow Alma’s example to help strengthen your testimony of the Savior, and write your thoughts.
Write about a time when you felt the Holy Ghost witness to you that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world. Write a specific goal that will help you gain or strengthen your testimony of the Savior, such as fasting or praying more earnestly or studying the scriptures more intently. Work to accomplish this goal, even if it takes “many days” (Alma 5:46). (Completing this activity may also help you fulfill a Personal Progress or Duty to God requirement.)
Read Alma 5:49–52, and look for what Alma taught the people about repentance. On the lines provided, explain why you think all people must repent in order to live eternally with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ:
Elder Dallin H. Oaks invited us to consider several questions that can help us apply what Alma taught about repentance and preparing to enter God’s kingdom:
“What if the day of His coming were tomorrow? If we knew that we would meet the Lord tomorrow—through our premature death or through His unexpected coming—what would we do today? What confessions would we make? What practices would we discontinue? What accounts would we settle? What forgivenesses would we extend? What testimonies would we bear?
“If we would do those things then, why not now? Why not seek peace while peace can be obtained?” (“Preparation for the Second Coming,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 9).
Think about one of Elder Oaks’s questions. In your scripture study journal, write about why you think it is important to live every day as if you were preparing to meet the Lord.
Prayerfully consider how you can act on what you learned today so you can be prepared to meet the Savior and enter into His kingdom.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Alma 5:37–62 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: