Following his conversion, the king of the Lamanites proclaimed religious liberty among his people. This proclamation allowed Aaron and his brethren to preach the gospel and establish churches in many Lamanite cities. Thousands of Lamanites were converted and never fell away. Those Lamanites who were converted to the Lord made a covenant to lay down their weapons of war. They took upon themselves the name of Anti-Nephi-Lehies. When the unconverted Lamanites attacked them, many of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies sacrificed their lives rather than break their covenant.
In your scripture study journal, draw a picture of a happy face and a sad face. Label the happy face Faithful and the sad face Inconsistent. As you read the following statement from Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, look for words or phrases that describe these two different types of people. Write these words or phrases under the appropriate picture.
“Each of us has observed how some individuals go through life consistently doing the right things. They seem happy, even enthusiastic about life. When difficult choices are to be made, they seem to invariably make the right ones, even though there were enticing alternatives available to them. We know that they are subject to temptation, but they seem oblivious to it. Likewise, we have observed how others are not so valiant in the decisions they make. In a powerfully spiritual environment, they resolve to do better, to change their course of life, to set aside debilitating habits. They are very sincere in their determination to change, yet they are soon back doing the same things they resolved to abandon.
“What is it that makes the difference in the lives of these two groups? How can you consistently make the right choices?” (“Full Conversion Brings Happiness,” Ensign, May 2002, 24).
Ponder how you would answer the two questions that Elder Scott asked. As you study Alma 23–24, think about why many members of the Church remain faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout their lives.
After the king of the Lamanites became converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, he sent a proclamation among all his people, and a miracle occurred. Thousands of Lamanites were also converted. Read Alma 23:1–5 to see what the proclamation was and how the miracle occurred.
Read Alma 23:6–7. How many of the thousands who were “converted unto the Lord” remained converted throughout their lives?
After these Lamanites were converted, they wanted to be called by a new name so they would no longer be known as Lamanites. Read Alma 23:16–18, and identify the name they chose and the blessings that came to them because of their faithfulness.
In your scripture study journal, under the figure labeled “Faithful,” write what you have learned from the Anti-Nephi-Lehies about being faithful to the Lord throughout your life.
Write the following truth in your scriptures or scripture study journal: Conversion means spiritually changing and becoming a new person through the power of God. Just as the Anti-Nephi-Lehies changed, if you are willing to receive the power of the Atonement in your life by your faith and repentance, you can become a new person through the power of God and remain converted throughout your life.
Look again at Elder Scott’s two questions, and then read his answer: “True conversion is the fruit of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience. … True conversion will strengthen your capacity to do what you know you should do, when you should do it, regardless of the circumstances” (“Full Conversion Brings Happiness,” 25).
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: According to Alma 23:18, the converted Lamanites began to be industrious and friendly with the Nephites. When people are trying to repent and change their lives, why is it important for them to associate with others who are also striving to live righteously?
Examine the terms you have listed under the “Faithful” figure in your scripture study journal. Think about how well these terms define your level of conversion. Write in your scripture study journal what you will do to become more fully converted to the Lord.
As recorded in Alma 24:3, the king of the Lamanites conferred the kingdom upon his son just before his death, and he gave his son the name Anti-Nephi-Lehi. Read Alma 24:1–5 to see what problem soon developed that led Ammon and his brethren to hold a council with the king. When it became known that the unconverted Lamanites were going to war against the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, these righteous people decided they would make no preparations to defend themselves (see Alma 24:6 ). Read Alma 24:7–14, and identify why the Anti-Nephi-Lehies made this decision.
In your scripture study journal, write what you learn from the Anti-Nephi-Lehies about what it means to forsake our sins when we repent.
Read Alma 24:15–18, looking for what the Anti-Nephi-Lehies did to show the Lord they had truly repented. Why did the people bury their swords and other weapons deep in the ground? (See Alma 24:17–18.)
In our own lives when we repent of sins, we should strive never to commit those sins again. Read what President Spencer W. Kimball taught about abandoning sin as an important aspect of repentance: “In abandoning sin one cannot merely wish for better conditions. He must make them. … He must be certain not only that he has abandoned the sin but that he has changed the situations surrounding the sin. He should avoid the places and conditions and circumstances where the sin occurred, for these could most readily breed it again. He must abandon the people with whom the sin was committed. He may not hate the persons involved but he must avoid them and everything associated with the sin. He must … build a new life. He must eliminate anything which would stir the old memories” (The Miracle of Forgiveness , 171–72).
In Alma 24:10–12, mark words or phrases showing the repentance of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies and God’s forgiveness of their sins. Write the following principle in the margin next to these verses: If we do all we can to repent, God will take away our guilt and help us remain clean. Refer to the account of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies burying their weapons in the earth. In our day, we still need to “bury” our sins to show the Lord that we are doing all we can to repent and not commit the same sins again.
Consider how people in the following situations might ensure they would not commit the same sins again. Write your suggestions for each situation in your scripture study journal:
Someone watched a pornographic scene in a movie because friends encouraged the person to watch the movie with them.
Someone secretly broke the Word of Wisdom with friends when a group went out together at night.
Someone shared answers from a completed exam with a friend who was preparing to take the same test later that day.
Ponder the following question: What do you need to “bury” in your life so that you are not tempted to commit sins you have repented of?
Read Alma 24:19–22 to see what the Anti-Nephi-Lehies did when the Lamanites came to battle against them. These people showed their devotion to the Lord by being willing to die rather than break a promise they had made to the Lord. They had given their lives completely to the Lord, and they remained completely faithful to Him throughout their lives.
Read what President Ezra Taft Benson taught about giving our lives to the Lord:
“Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ. Like Paul they will be asking, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me do?’ (Acts 9:6.) …
“Their will is swallowed up in His will. (See John 5:30.)
“They do always those things that please the Lord. (See John 8:29.)
“Not only would they die for the Lord, but more important they want to live for Him.
“Enter their homes, and the pictures on their walls, the books on their shelves, the music in the air, their words and acts reveal them as Christians.
“They stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places. (See Mosiah 18:9.)
“They have Christ on their minds, as they look unto Him in every thought. (See D&C 6:36.)
“They have Christ in their hearts as their affections are placed on Him forever. (See Alma 37:36.)” (“Born of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 6–7).
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: During this week, what are some ways you can show that you have given your life completely to the Lord?
Read Alma 24:23–27, which describes the Lamanites’ reaction when they saw that the Anti-Nephi-Lehies were not going to fight. As you read, find words or phrases that teach this principle: By being faithful to the Lord, we can help others become converted. Think about how specific members of your family or certain friends could be influenced by your decision to be faithful to the Lord.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Alma 23–24 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: