Unit 19: Day 1, Alma 33–35

Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, (2012), 185–88


Introduction

Using teachings found in the scriptures, Alma helped many of the Zoramites understand that they could worship God regardless of their circumstances. He encouraged them to look to Jesus Christ and believe in His Atonement. Amulek confirmed Alma’s teachings and declared his own testimony of Jesus Christ. Amulek emphasized that only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can mankind be saved. He promised that individuals can receive all the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ as they exercise faith unto repentance. Many Zoramites heeded Amulek’s warning, repented, and rejoined the Nephites.

Alma 33:1–10

Alma teaches a group of Zoramites that they can worship God outside their synagogues

Recall that, as recorded in Alma 32, Alma taught the Zoramites about the need to plant the word of God in their hearts and to exercise faith in the word of God. Read Alma 33:1, and identify the questions the Zoramites had about what Alma had taught them.

  1. journal icon1.

    In your scripture study journal, write how you would answer the Zoramites’ question about how they should begin to exercise their faith. Then, as you study Alma 33–34, compare your response to what Alma and Amulek taught the Zoramites.

As Alma began to answer the Zoramites’ questions, he corrected a false idea about worship that was preventing them from fully exercising their faith. Read Alma 33:2, and identify this false idea. Recall that the Zoramites did not allow the poorer people to enter their synagogues to worship (see Alma 32:1–3). According to Alma 33:2, what did Alma tell the people they should do to find an answer to correct this false idea?

To correct the Zoramites’ false ideas about worshiping God, Alma quoted scriptures written by a prophet named Zenos. Zenos had taught the people of Israel in Old Testament times, but his prophecies are recorded only in the Book of Mormon. Read Alma 33:3, and find the word Alma used to describe worship.

Consider writing the following principle in your scriptures near Alma 33:3 or in your scripture study journal: We can worship God continually through prayer.

Read Alma 33:4–11, and mark each of the circumstances in which Zenos prayed. What did the Lord do each time Zenos prayed? To help you liken these verses to your life, draw a line matching the circumstances in which Zenos prayed to possible similar circumstances in your own life. (Choose the situations that relate best to your life. There are no right or wrong answers in this exercise.)

Zenos’s Circumstances

Your Circumstances

In the wilderness

At work

Concerning his enemies

At church

In his field

Family prayer

In his house

When you do not know what to do or are afraid

In his closet

When you feel alone

In the Lord’s congregations

Personal prayer

When he was cast out and despised

In all your difficult circumstances

In all his afflictions

When you are having trouble with friends

  1. journal icon2.

    Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How could praying in all of these circumstances bless your life? Write a personal goal of how you could pray more often.

Consider marking phrases in Alma 33:4–5, 8–9 that mention God’s mercy, and ponder how praying more often can help you feel God’s mercy and love. Be looking for why this mercy is possible as you continue to study Alma 33.

Alma 33:11–23

Alma teaches the Zoramites to believe in Jesus Christ

The Crucifixion

One reason some of the Zoramites were struggling to know how to worship God was because they did not know that their faith should be in Jesus Christ. They did not understand or believe in His role in the plan of salvation (see Alma 33:14). Read Alma 33:12–16, in which Alma discussed the teachings of Zenos and then introduced the words of Zenock, another Old Testament prophet. Look for the blessings Alma identified that come to us because of Jesus Christ. You may want to mark the phrase “because of thy Son” each time it appears. From these verses we learn this truth: We receive Heavenly Father’s mercy, including forgiveness for our sins, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Ponder the mercies Heavenly Father has bestowed upon you, including the ability to repent and be forgiven of your sins, because of the Atonement of the Savior.

Besides reminding the Zoramites of the teachings of Zenos and Zenock, Alma also reminded them of a time when Moses taught about the Savior’s Atonement. When Moses and the children of Israel were in the wilderness, poisonous serpents bit the people. The Lord told Moses to make a serpent out of brass, fasten it upon a pole, and command the Israelites who had been bitten to look at it. The brass serpent on the pole was a “type” or a symbol of Jesus Christ on the cross (see Alma 33:19).

Moses and the Brass Serpent

Read Alma 33:19–20, and identify what happened to the Israelites who chose to look at the brass serpent when they were bitten and what happened to those who chose not to look.

Ponder answers to the following questions: What does the account of the Israelites and the brass serpent teach us about what we must do to be healed spiritually? What can you do to look to the Savior so that He can help you spiritually?

  1. journal icon3.

    Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What are some specific ways you can look to Jesus Christ in your everyday life?

Read Alma 33:22–23, and mark what we need to believe about Jesus Christ in order to exercise faith in Him.

Alma 34:1–14

Amulek teaches the Zoramites about the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Amulek’s testimony to the Zoramites, as recorded in Alma 34, provided a second witness to Alma’s testimony of Jesus Christ. Read a portion of Amulek’s testimony, found in Alma 34:8–9, and consider marking what Amulek taught about the need for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Ponder this question: What would my life be like if Jesus Christ had not come and fulfilled His special role?

Read Alma 34:10–14, and identify phrases that include the words infinite and eternal. Write the following truth in your scriptures or scripture study journal: The infinite and eternal Atonement of Jesus Christ provides salvation for all mankind.

To help us understand how the Atonement is infinite and eternal, Bishop Richard C. Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric taught: “In speaking of Christ’s Atonement, I like the dictionary’s definition of infinite and eternal because I believe they explain exactly what God meant. Infinite: ‘Having no boundaries or limits.’ And the definition of eternal: ‘Being without beginning or end’ (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. [2000], “infinite,” “eternal,” 898, 611)” (“For Thy Good,” Ensign, May 2002, 66).

  1. journal icon4.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      In what ways can the Atonement of Jesus Christ be infinite and eternal?

    2. b.

      How does knowing the Atonement is infinite and eternal increase your appreciation for the Savior? How does it increase you faith in Him?

Alma 34:15–41

Amulek teaches how to receive the blessings of the Atonement

Read Alma 34:15–17 to see what Amulek taught the Zoramites they needed to do to receive the blessings the Savior desires to give us through His Atonement. Write the following truth in your scriptures or scripture study journal: In order to receive the full blessings of the Atonement, we must exercise faith unto repentance.

Read the following statement from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency:

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“We need a strong faith in Christ to be able to repent. … If we believe that God knows all things, is loving, and is merciful, we will be able to put our trust in Him for our salvation without wavering. Faith in Christ will change our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are not in harmony with God’s will.

“True repentance brings us back to doing what is right. … Repentance means a change of mind and heart—we stop doing things that are wrong, and we start doing things that are right. It brings us a fresh attitude toward God, oneself, and life in general” (“Point of Safe Return,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 100).

  1. journal icon5.

    Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How do we exercise faith in Jesus Christ as we repent?

Read Alma 34:17–27, and look for what Amulek taught about when we should pray and what we should pray about. How do you think this counsel helped the Zoramites, who thought they could worship only once a week? Choose one verse that you think can particularly help you. Think about how you can follow the counsel about prayer in this verse during the coming week.

Amulek taught that we should be willing to accept the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement by repenting of our sins now, rather than waiting to repent later. Read Alma 34:30–35, and underline words or phrases that identify why we should not procrastinate our repentance. In verse 31, look for the blessing that Amulek said will come to those who choose to repent now. Carefully review verse 32, and then consider: How can this verse affect the way I live each day?

Review Alma 34:33, and consider what President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “Procrastination, as it may be applied to gospel principles, is the thief of eternal life, which is life in the presence of the Father and the Son. There are many among us, even members of the Church, who feel that there is no need for haste in the observance of gospel principles and the keeping of the commandments” (in Conference Report, April 1969, 121).

Alma 35

Repentant Zoramites dwell among the righteous

Many Zoramites heeded Amulek’s warning not to procrastinate their repentance, and they repented and changed their lives. The rulers of the Zoramites cast them out of their land, and these people came to the land of Jershon, where they were welcomed by the people of Ammon—also called the Anti-Nephi-Lehies (see Alma 35:6–7). The wicked Zoramites and the Lamanites became angry that the people of Ammon had accepted the repentant Zoramites, and they began making preparations for war against the Nephites (see Alma 35:8–11).

  1. journal icon6.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Alma 33–35 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: