Alma 17–18 contains what Mormon wrote about the missions of the sons of Mosiah to the Lamanites. These accounts provide an example of how missionaries today should prepare and serve. The sons of Mosiah sought the Lord’s guidance as they prepared to preach the gospel to the Lamanites. As they went their separate ways, the Lord comforted them and promised they would bring souls unto Him. Ammon went to the land of Ishmael and began to teach by serving a Lamanite king named Lamoni. King Lamoni marveled at Ammon’s power when he defended the king’s flocks. This service softened the hearts of the king and his people to hear Ammon’s teachings about God and the plan of salvation. King Lamoni believed what Ammon taught, recognized his need for a Savior, cried unto the Lord for mercy, and was overcome by the Spirit.
Think about the length of time elders and sisters serve on their missions today. Read Alma 17:4, and underline the number of years the sons of Mosiah taught the gospel among the Lamanites.
As Alma was traveling to the land of Manti, he met the sons of Mosiah as they were returning home from their long missions, and all of them rejoiced. Read Alma 17:2–4, and highlight words and phrases that describe what kind of missionaries the sons of Mosiah were.
Review Alma 17:2–4. In your scripture study journal, do the following:
List what the sons of Mosiah did to prepare to be effective missionaries, and describe the results of their preparation.
Select something these missionaries did that you would like to do better in your life, or a characteristic you would like to develop more completely. Write a paragraph about how you can do this.
Ponder how often you pray and search the scriptures individually and in your family, and think of the opportunities you have to fast. In what ways have these practices helped you become “strong in the knowledge of the truth” (Alma 17:2)?
From the example of the sons of Mosiah, we learn this principle: By searching the scriptures, praying, and fasting, we can receive the Holy Ghost and teach with power. By receiving the Holy Ghost, we can be better prepared to share the gospel with others.
Read the following statement from Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in which he taught young people ways they can prepare to be missionaries. Look for specific ways that you can prepare yourself to share the gospel as the sons of Mosiah did.
“You can increase in your desire to serve God (see D&C 4:3), and you can begin to think as missionaries think, to read what missionaries read, to pray as missionaries pray, and to feel what missionaries feel. You can avoid the worldly influences that cause the Holy Ghost to withdraw, and you can grow in confidence in recognizing and responding to spiritual promptings. Line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, you can gradually become the missionary you hope to be and the missionary the Savior expects. …
“Proclaiming the gospel … is not simply an activity in which we engage for a limited time or an assignment we must complete as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rather, missionary work is a manifestation of our spiritual identity and heritage” (“Becoming a Missionary,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 46–47).
Read Alma 17:9, and underline what the sons of Mosiah prayed for as they prepared to serve. Read Alma 17:11, and reflect upon what the Lord told them about how to be an instrument in His hands. These verses teach the principle: By being a good example, especially when afflicted, the Lord can make us an instrument in His hands.
In your scripture study journal, write about a situation in which you feel you could be a good example. Think about school settings, situations at home with your family or with extended family, and social settings that are face-to-face or online. Describe how you will show a good example in that situation.
It is harder to be a good example in some situations than others. Look at how the Lamanites are described in Alma 17:12–16, and think about why the sons of Mosiah would have had a hard time teaching in this situation.
Why do you think the sons of Mosiah were willing to suffer afflictions in order to help a people who hated the Nephites? To help you understand what the sons of Mosiah hoped to accomplish, fill in the blank with a word from Alma 17:16: The sons of Mosiah wanted the Lamanites to be brought unto , because they wanted the Lamanites to know of the plan of redemption.
To help you understand how to be a good example to others, complete this assignment within the next few days: Ask a family member or a friend to tell you how someone’s Christlike example has made a difference in his or her life.
As you read Alma 17:19–39, look for how Ammon served King Lamoni and the servants of the king. Think about how Ammon’s service helped prepare the Lamanites to receive the gospel. Plan to share the story of Ammon preserving the flocks of the king with a family member or friend. Emphasize the following truth as you share the story: Through service, we can help prepare others to accept the gospel. Discuss with that person an individual whom you would like to help become spiritually stronger. Think of how you can serve this person, and decide how you can provide the service.
King Lamoni’s servants told him what Ammon had done in protecting the king’s flocks. Read Alma 18:4–6, and look for the king’s reaction to what Ammon had done.
When the king asked his servants where Ammon was, they told him that Ammon was fulfilling an earlier request from the king to have his horses prepared for a journey to the land of Nephi, where the king’s father lived. Read Alma 18:12–15, and look for the effect that Ammon’s service had on King Lamoni.
Read Alma 18:16–21, and look for evidence that the Lord was guiding Ammon as he taught King Lamoni. In the space provided, write how the Spirit of God helped Ammon in this situation.
As you read Alma 18:22–32, look for specific gospel truths that Ammon taught Lamoni. You may want to mark them in your scriptures or write them in your scripture study journal. As Ammon taught, he was building on beliefs that he and Lamoni shared. Lamoni believed in a god—whom he called the Great Spirit—but he did not understand the true nature of God.
Read Alma 18:33–35, and look for how Ammon answered when the king asked him if he was sent from God.
From your study of Alma 17–18, write a short paragraph in your scripture study journal that summarizes what Ammon was able to do among the Lamanites with God’s help.
You may want to write the following principle in your scriptures near Alma 18:35: As we serve Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, They will increase our ability to do Their work.
In your scripture study journal, respond to one or both of the following questions:
How will the preceding principle help you in your current and future responsibilities in the Church?
How can you more faithfully serve the Lord so He can increase your ability to do His work?
Because of Ammon’s faithful example and service, he was able to teach Lamoni about Heavenly Father’s plan of redemption. Remember that Lamoni was feeling guilt for the murders he had committed (see Alma 18:4–6). Read Alma 18:36–43, and look for how Ammon taught the plan of redemption to Lamoni and how Lamoni responded to these teachings.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: Why do you think the Atonement of Jesus Christ would be particularly important for King Lamoni to understand?
Consider how learning the doctrines of the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement may have helped Lamoni recognize his need for a Savior. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught about the importance of the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement:
“These three divine events—the three pillars of eternity—are inseparably woven together into one grand tapestry known as the eternal plan of salvation. We view the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as the center and core and heart of revealed religion. It brings to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Salvation is in Christ.
“But had there been no fall, there could have been no atonement. The fall of Adam brought temporal and spiritual death into the world, and it is from these deaths that man and all forms of life are ransomed through the atonement wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ. Adam brought mortality; Christ brought immortality. Salvation comes because of the fall and the atonement.
“But if the earth and man and all living things had not been created in their physical and paradisiacal state, in a state of deathlessness, there could have been no fall. … Hence salvation was made available in and through and because of the creation of the heavens and the earth and all that in and on them are. Salvation comes because of the creation, the fall, and the atonement; these three are each part of one divine plan” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 81–82).
From Lamoni’s experience we can learn this truth: When we understand our need for the Savior, we will desire to repent.
Conclude today’s lesson by pondering what you can do that will help you remember your need for the Savior.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Alma 17–18 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: