After teaching the people in Zarahemla and setting the Church in order, Alma went to the city of Gideon. He found the inhabitants there more faithful than those in Zarahemla had been. Therefore, he encouraged the people in Gideon to continually rely upon the Lord and seek to apply His Atonement in their lives. Alma’s testimony of Jesus Christ can help you better understand the breadth of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and teach you how to receive the blessings of His Atonement daily as you continue along the path to God’s kingdom.
Alma strengthens the Church in Zarahemla and goes to preach in Gideon
Complete the following sentence: I attend church because ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.
As you study Alma 6, think about how understanding the purposes of church meetings can make the meetings more meaningful to you.
Before Alma left Zarahemla, he strengthened the Church there. Read Alma 6:1–4, and identify two or three phrases that describe the responsibilities of priesthood leaders in the Church.
An important principle we learn from Alma’s experience is this: In our day, as well as in Book of Mormon times, the Church is established for the welfare of all people. Read Alma 6:5–6, and mark the following two phrases: “to hear the word of God” and “join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God.” These phrases identify ways in which the Church provides opportunities for all people to grow and help others. Think about how members of the Church in Zarahemla might have completed the sentence you completed above.
Write a few ideas in your scripture study journal about how going to church for the reasons identified in Alma 6:5–6 could make a difference in your experience at church.
The blessings of Church membership are intended for all of God’s children. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
“Everyone prays for the missionaries. May it ever be so. In that same spirit, we should also pray for those who are (or who need to be) meeting the missionaries. In Zarahemla, members were commanded to ‘join in fasting and mighty prayer’ [Alma 6:6] for those who had not yet joined the Church of God. We can do the same.
“We can also pray daily for our own personal missionary experiences. Pray that under the divine management of such things, the missionary opportunity you want is already being prepared in the heart of someone who longs for and looks for what you have. ‘There are many yet on the earth … who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it’ [D&C 123:12]. Pray that they will find you! And then be alert, because there are multitudes in your world who feel a famine in their lives, not a famine of bread, not a thirst for water, but of hearing the word of the Lord [see Amos 8:11]” (“Witnesses unto Me,” Ensign, May 2001, 15).
To follow Elder Holland’s counsel, consider praying for Heavenly Father to help you recognize and act on missionary opportunities that are being prepared for you. Seek opportunities to invite others to share the blessings you enjoy as a member of the Church.
Alma teaches the people of Gideon about the Atonement of Jesus Christ
Imagine that you are having a conversation about repentance with friends who are active members of the Church. Your friends do not think that they have committed any major sins and wonder how they can really experience the power of the Atonement. Think about what you might share with these friends. Remember these ideas as you study Alma 7:1–13.
After leaving Zarahemla, Alma talked with the people in the city of Gideon. Read Alma 7:3–6 to see what spiritual condition Alma hoped to find among the people in Gideon. Then read Alma 7:17–19 to find out whether Alma’s hopes were confirmed. On the following lines, describe the spiritual condition of the people of Gideon: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Read Alma 7:7–10, and look for the event Alma felt was most important for the people to know about and what the people needed to do to prepare for it.
Alma taught the people of Gideon this important principle: Jesus Christ suffered to save us from sin and death and to help us through the challenges of mortality. Read Alma 7:11–13, and mark in your scriptures the conditions the Savior was willing to “take upon” Himself for our benefit.
It may be helpful to know that infirmities are weaknesses, inabilities, or diseases—the word covers many types of problems. The word succor means to help in time of need or distress. It’s Latin root means to run to someone’s aid, which conveys God’s intense desire to help us.
Next to Alma 7:11–13 in your scriptures or in your scripture study journal, you may want to write the following statement from Elder Bruce C. Hafen, who served as a member of the Seventy: “The Atonement is not just for sinners” (“Beauty for Ashes: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Apr. 1990, 7). (Alma 7:11–13 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)
The following chart contains words from Alma 7:11–13 that describe the conditions the Savior took upon Himself. Draw the chart in your scripture study journal, and then choose several of these words and write examples of how you or people you know have experienced these conditions. Think about what it means to have Jesus Christ take these things upon Himself.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared the following testimony that the Atonement can lift our burdens from us:
“Are you battling a demon of addiction—tobacco or drugs or gambling, or the pernicious contemporary plague of pornography? Is your marriage in trouble or your child in danger? Are you confused with gender identity or searching for self-esteem? Do you—or someone you love—face disease or depression or death? Whatever other steps you may need to take to resolve these concerns, come first to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Trust in heaven’s promises. In that regard Alma’s testimony is my testimony: ‘I do know,’ he says, ‘that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions’ [Alma 36:3].
“This reliance upon the merciful nature of God is at the very center of the gospel Christ taught. I testify that the Savior’s Atonement lifts from us not only the burden of our sins but also the burden of our disappointments and sorrows, our heartaches and our despair [see Alma 7:11–12]. From the beginning, trust in such help was to give us both a reason and a way to improve, an incentive to lay down our burdens and take up our salvation” (“Broken Things to Mend,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 70–71).
Write in your scripture study journal about your feelings for Jesus Christ and what He has done for you through the Atonement. Then respond to one or both of the following sets of questions:
When has the Atonement helped you in one of the ways Alma described in Alma 7:11–13? How did the Atonement help you during that time?
How can the Savior’s Atonement help you with a challenge you currently face? What will you do to rely on the Atonement as you face this challenge?
Scripture Mastery—Alma 7:11–13
While Alma 7:11–13 is a long scripture mastery passage, it contains specific words that can help you remember the extent and power of the Atonement throughout your life. To help you memorize these key words, rewrite Alma 7:11–13 on a separate sheet of paper, leaving out the words found in the chart earlier in this lesson. Read through your written version of this scripture until you can fill in the missing words without looking at your scriptures. You may want to review these verses over the next few days to help you remember what the Savior can do for you and others throughout your life. Test your scripture mastery of Alma 7:11–13 by reciting it aloud to yourself or to a family member or friend or by writing it in your scripture study journal.
Alma encourages the people to continue along the path to the kingdom of God
Read Alma 7:19 to remember how Alma described the spiritual condition of the people in Gideon. Alma was teaching this important principle: By living the principles of the gospel, we follow the path to the kingdom of God. (The kingdom of God is the celestial kingdom.) Search Alma 7:14–16, and underline words and phrases that show what we need to do in order to follow the path that will lead us to the kingdom of God. Then search Alma 7:22–25, and underline words and phrases showing what we need to be in order to follow this path.
Draw a path in your scripture study journal from the bottom left corner of a page to the top right corner of the page. Write Mortality at the bottom of the path, and write The Kingdom of God at the top of the path. Along the path, write what you should do and what you should be that will lead you to God’s kingdom.
Choose one action from the path, and write about how you have seen someone do this. Then choose one attribute from the path, and write about how you have seen someone be this. Set a goal that will help you improve in these two areas so you can someday enter God’s kingdom.
Read Alma 7:27, and look for the blessings Alma knew the people would receive if they continued in faith and good works. Remember that as you faithfully follow the path that leads to the kingdom of God, you can also receive these blessings.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Alma 6–7 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: