Chapter 28: Alma 23–29

Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, (2009), 98–100


Introduction

As students discuss Alma 23–29, they can see that true conversion endures even when the challenges of life seem overwhelming. They can learn from the example of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, who demonstrated that they would be true to the covenants that they made, even to the point of losing their lives. The ministries of Alma and the sons of Mosiah show that when we are truly converted, we are willing to live for the gospel as well as being willing to die for it. As we become truly converted, we receive the peace that comes from having a testimony of God’s love and His plan for us. We also experience great joy as we give ourselves fully to the Lord’s work and share our testimony with others.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • Conversion includes lasting discipleship (see Alma 23–24).

  • The Lord blesses His servants in their missionary labors (see Alma 26).

  • Righteousness leads to eternal happiness (see Alma 28).

  • Proclaiming the gospel brings joy (see Alma 29).

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 23–24. Conversion Includes Lasting Discipleship

Share the following explanation from the Guide to the Scriptures:

“Conversion includes a conscious decision to give up one’s former ways and change to become a disciple of Christ.

“Repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and continued faith in the Lord Jesus Christ make conversion complete. A natural man will be changed into a new person who is sanctified and pure, born again in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17; Mosiah 3:19)” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Conversion, Convert,” scriptures.lds.org). Note that Mosiah 3:19 is a scripture mastery verse .

  • Why is personal change a necessary part of conversion?

  • How do the ordinances of the gospel help us make such changes?

Invite half of the students to read Alma 23 silently. Invite the other half to read Alma 24:6–27 silently. Ask them to look for changes that occurred among the Lamanites and to think about what those changes teach about lasting conversion.

  • What did you find that indicates that the Lamanites were truly converted?

Answers might include the following: those who were converted “never did fall away” (Alma 23:6); they took upon themselves a new name that “they might be distinguished from their brethren” (see Alma 23:16–17); they laid down “the weapons of their rebellion” and buried them “deep in the earth” (see Alma 23:7–13; 24:15–18).

Invite students to ponder the following questions:

  • What can you do to continue deepening your conversion?

  • Consider the example of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies burying “the weapons of their rebellion.” Is there anything in your life that you need to “bury”? If there is, what will you do about it?

Alma 26. The Lord Blesses His Servants in Their Missionary Labors

Ask students to tell about times when they have seen the Lord bless people who share His gospel.

After giving students time to respond to the question, divide Alma 26:1–31 as evenly as possible among them. Invite students to read their assigned verse or verses silently, looking for blessings Ammon and his brethren received during their mission to the Lamanites. After students have read, encourage them to share what they have found.

  • How are the experiences recounted in Alma 26:29–30 similar to those of modern-day missionaries?

  • How can the Lord’s words in Alma 26:27–28 help missionaries avoid feelings of discouragement?

Invite students to turn to D&C 84:87–88. Have a student read these verses.

  • Why do we sometimes hesitate to share the gospel? How can these verses, along with the testimony of Ammon, give us strength and courage to share the gospel with others?

Ask a student to read Alma 26:37.

  • According to this verse, how is missionary work evidence of God’s love for His children?

Invite students to share their testimonies of missionary work and of the blessings that come to those who labor for the salvation of others.

Alma 28. Righteousness Leads to Eternal Happiness

Read Alma 28:1–6 with students.

  • What had happened among the Nephites and Lamanites to cause “great mourning”?

  • Why do you think people would fast and pray following the death of family members?

  • What have you or people you know done to find spiritual strength following the death of a loved one?

On the board, write “And thus we see ______.” Explain that Mormon often used this phrase before sharing lessons we can learn from stories in the Book of Mormon. Invite students to read Alma 28:10–12 silently. Ask them to ponder these verses and determine how they would complete the sentence on the board. Invite students to share their ideas.

After students have shared, read Alma 28:13–14 to see how Mormon completed the sentence.

Share the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It is also available on the companion DVD A. (If you have students read it, consider placing it on an overhead transparency or on a handout for them to study.)

“We live to die and we die to live—in another realm. If we are well prepared, death brings no terror. From an eternal perspective, death is premature only for those who are not prepared to meet God.

“Now is the time to prepare. Then, when death comes, we can move toward the celestial glory that Heavenly Father has prepared for His faithful children. Meanwhile, for sorrowing loved ones left behind … the sting of death is soothed by a steadfast faith in Christ, a perfect brightness of hope, a love of God and of all men, and a deep desire to serve them” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2005, 18; or Ensign, May 2005, 18).

  • According to Elder Nelson, what removes the fear of death?

  • What eases the sting of death for those left behind?

Testify that righteous living and faith in Christ prepare us for an eternity of happiness.

Alma 29. Proclaiming the Gospel Brings Joy

Invite students to share wishes they have made.

  • Why did you make those wishes?

Tell students that Alma 29 records the wish of a great missionary. Invite a student to read Alma 29:1–2.

  • What was Alma’s wish?

  • According to these verses, why did Alma desire to be an angel?

Ask students to read Alma 29:3–8 silently, looking for reasons why Alma recognized that he did not need to be granted his wish. After sufficient time, invite students to share their responses, which might include the following:

  • He realized that he should be content with the blessings he had already received (see verse 3).

  • He knew that the Lord grants “unto men according to their desire, … according to their wills” (verse 4).

  • He recognized that his responsibility was simply “to perform the work to which [he had] been called” (verse 6).

  • He knew that the Lord would make a way for all nations to receive “all that he seeth fit that they should have” (verse 8).

Help students recognize the greatness of Alma. His wish was to serve God better, yet he humbly recognized that he should accept the circumstances in which God had placed him.

Invite students to read Alma 29:9–17, looking for what brought Alma joy. (You might have students read this passage in pairs.)

  • What brought Alma joy?

  • How was Alma’s joy similar to Ammon’s joy? (See Alma 26:11–13, 35–37.)

  • According to Alma 29:10, how can missionary work remind us of the Lord’s mercies to us?

Share the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (also available on the companion DVD B):

“There are few things in life that bring as much joy as the joy that comes from assisting another to improve his or her life. That joy is increased when those efforts help someone understand the teachings of the Savior and that person decides to obey them, is converted, and joins His Church. There follows great happiness as that new convert is strengthened during the transition to a new life, is solidly grounded in truth, and obtains all of the ordinances of the temple with the promise of all the blessings of eternal life” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 45–46; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 35).

  • Elder Scott identified three levels of increasing joy as we share the gospel. What are these three levels?

  • How can keeping this statement in mind help us remember the purpose of missionary work?

Invite students to testify of the joy they have felt as they have lived the gospel and shared it with others. Encourage them to find a way to feel joy like Ammon’s and Alma’s in the coming week.