Lesson 23: More Than One Witness

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 102–6


Purpose

To increase class members’ understanding of the plan of redemption and the power of having more than one witness to testify of gospel truths.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      Alma 8–9. After preaching in Melek, Alma calls the people of Ammonihah to repentance, but they reject him. He leaves but is commanded by an angel to return. Alma is received by Amulek, and both are commanded to preach in Ammonihah.

    2. b.

      Alma 10. Amulek preaches to the people of Ammonihah and describes his conversion. The people are astonished that there is another witness to Alma’s teachings. Amulek contends with unrighteous lawyers and judges.

    3. c.

      Alma 11. Amulek contends with Zeezrom and testifies of the coming of Christ, the judgment of the wicked, and the plan of redemption.

    4. d.

      Alma 12. Alma further explains Amulek’s words, warning against hard-heartedness and wickedness and testifying of the Fall and the plan of redemption.

  2. 2.

    Ask a class member to prepare to summarize the account of how Alma and Amulek met (Alma 8:19–32).

  3. 3.

    Ask two class members to prepare to read the dialogue in Alma 11:21–40, with one person reading Amulek’s words and the other person reading Zeezrom’s.

  4. 4.

    If you use the attention activity, bring to class an object in a box or bag. Bring an unusual object, one that class members would not expect or believe you to have. Make sure that the box or bag conceals the object from class members.

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Display the box (or bag) with the object inside it (see “Preparation,” item 4). Tell class members what is inside the box, but do not show them the object. Ask if they believe that such an item is really in the box.

After class members have had a chance to respond, invite one of them to come and look inside the box. Ask this person to tell the other class members what is inside the box. Then ask class members again if they believe the item is in the box.

  • Why was it easier to believe that the object was in the box after someone else came and looked at it?

Explain that as Alma preached repentance to the people of Ammonihah, he was joined by Amulek. This lesson discusses how Alma’s teaching was strengthened through Amulek’s witness.

Scripture Discussion and Application

Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. Alma calls the people of Ammonihah to repentance, but they reject him.

Discuss Alma 8–9. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. Remind class members that Alma delivered up the judgment seat to Nephihah and began his missionary journeys. These included a journey to the wicked city of Ammonihah.

  • After he established the order of the Church among the people in Gideon and Melek, Alma went to preach in the land of Ammonihah. What challenge did he face there? (See Alma 8:8–9.) Which words in Alma 8:10 describe the intensity of Alma’s efforts in Ammonihah? How did the people of Ammonihah respond to Alma’s preaching? (See Alma 8:11–13.)

  • What happened as Alma left Ammonihah and traveled toward the city of Aaron? (See Alma 8:14–17.) According to the angel, what reason did Alma have to rejoice? (See Alma 8:15.) How did Alma respond to the angel’s instructions? (See Alma 8:18.) What can we learn from his response?

Have the assigned class member briefly tell about how Alma and Amulek met (Alma 8:19–32). If you have not asked a class member to do this, tell about the account yourself.

  • How did the Lord prepare Amulek to preach with Alma? (See Alma 8:20, 27; 10:7–11.) What are some ways in which individuals are prepared to do the Lord’s work?

  • Why did the people of Ammonihah continue to reject Alma’s warnings? (See Alma 9:5.) What arguments did they use to reject his message? (See Alma 9:2, 6.)

  • Alma said that the wicked people in Ammonihah had forgotten the righteous tradition of their fathers, the commandments of God, and the Lord’s deliverance of their fathers (Alma 9:8–11). How did their forgetfulness lead to wickedness? What are some reasons people forget what the Lord has done for them and others? What effective ways have you found for remembering the Lord’s blessings to you?

  • Alma warned that if the wicked Nephites of Ammonihah did not repent, the day of judgment would be “more tolerable” for the Lamanites than for them (Alma 9:15). Why would this be so? (See Alma 9:14–24; see also Luke 12:47–48; D&C 82:3.) What does the Lord require of those who have received greater light?

  • What did Alma teach about the “promises which are extended to the Lamanites”? (Alma 9:16–17). How are these promises being fulfilled today?

2. Amulek preaches to the people of Ammonihah.

Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 10. Explain that after Alma had spoken to the people, Amulek stood up and began to preach to them. Amulek was a descendant of Lehi and was a wealthy man “of no small reputation” in the community (Alma 10:2–4).

  • Amulek said that he had been “called many times” but “would not hear” and that he “knew concerning these things” but “would not know” (Alma 10:6). What are some of the ways the Lord calls to us? Why are we sometimes slow to respond to Him? How can we be more receptive to Him?

  • When was Amulek finally converted? (See Alma 10:7–11; you may want to ask a class member to read all five of these verses aloud.)

  • What was the intent of the lawyers who questioned Amulek? (See Alma 10:13–16, 31–32.) Why were they unable to deceive him? (See Alma 10:17.)

  • Amulek rebuked the lawyers and warned that they were laying the foundation of the destruction of the people (Alma 10:17–21, 27). How were they laying this foundation? What had kept the people from being destroyed already? (See Alma 10:22–23.) How do you think the prayers of the righteous help counter the effects of wickedness today?

  • Why were the people astonished by Amulek’s words? (See Alma 10:12.) What are the benefits of having more than one witness when sharing the gospel? How can we sustain each other in these endeavors? (You may want to mention people in the Church who teach in pairs, such as full-time missionaries, home teachers, visiting teachers, and parents.)

Invite class members to observe through the rest of the lesson how Alma and Amulek continued to support each other’s efforts by preaching the same doctrines. As the doctrines are discussed, you may want to summarize them on the chalkboard. The following chart provides an example of how you could do this.

Doctrine

Amulek’s Witness

Alma’s Witness

The Atonement

Alma 11:40

Alma 12:33–34

Repentance

Alma 11:40

Alma 12:24

Judgment

Alma 11:41

Alma 12:14

Resurrection

Alma 11:41–42

Alma 12:24–25

3. Amulek contends with Zeezrom and testifies of Christ.

Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 11. Explain that chapter 11 begins with a description of the Nephites’ monetary system. Beginning in Alma 11:20 is the account of Amulek being questioned by Zeezrom, one of the most cunning lawyers in the land of Ammonihah.

  • How did the judges in Ammonihah earn money? (See Alma 11:1, 20.) Why did they want to contend with Alma and Amulek? (See Alma 11:20.)

Have the two assigned class members read the dialogue between Amulek and Zeezrom (found in Alma 11:21–40). Or use the additional teaching idea at the end of the lesson to introduce these verses. Then discuss the remaining questions in this section.

  • How did Amulek respond to Zeezrom’s first question? (See Alma 11:21–22.) How can we keep our words and teachings in harmony with the Spirit of the Lord?

  • Zeezrom asked Amulek if Jesus would save people in their sins (Alma 11:34). What reasons did Amulek give for saying that we cannot be saved in our sins? (See Alma 11:34, 37.) What is the difference between the false idea of being saved in our sins and the truth that we can be saved from our sins? (If we are unrepentant and remain in a state of sin, we cannot be saved. If we repent, Jesus Christ can save us from our sins.)

  • Which blessings of Christ’s Atonement come to all people? (See Alma 11:42–43.) Which blessings come only to those who have faith in Him and keep His commandments? (See Alma 11:40–41.)

  • What did Amulek teach about resurrection? (See Alma 11:43–45.) Why are these truths important for us to know?

4. Alma further explains Amulek’s words and warns against hard-heartedness.

Read and discuss selected verses from Alma 12. Point out that after Amulek had answered Zeezrom’s contentions, Zeezrom “began to tremble” (Alma 11:46). Seeing this, Alma began to speak to “establish the words of Amulek, … to unfold the scriptures beyond that which Amulek had done” (Alma 12:1).

  • From Alma’s words to Zeezrom in Alma 12:3–6, what can we learn about what Satan desires and how he works? (Point out that Satan often tries to deceive one person in order to bring many people to destruction.) How can we protect ourselves against Satan’s subtle devices?

  • What did Alma teach about how the condition of our hearts affects our understanding of God’s word? (See Alma 12:9–11.) What blessings come to those who do not harden their hearts? (See Alma 12:10.) How can we develop hearts that recognize, understand, and accept the word of God? (See 1 Nephi 2:16; 15:11.)

  • Alma taught that people who harden their hearts against the word of God will be condemned by their words, works, and thoughts (Alma 12:13–14). Why do you think the Lord judges according to our thoughts as well as our words and actions?

  • How did Alma describe the state of those who do not repent and thus die in their sins? (See Alma 12:14–18.) Why will these people “be as though there had been no redemption made”? (See D&C 19:16–18.)

  • Alma 12:22–34 contains Alma’s description of the Fall of Adam and the plan of redemption. What did Alma teach about the purpose of mortality? (See Alma 12:24.) How can an understanding of this principle help us live more righteously?

  • Why is it significant that “God gave [Adam and Eve] commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption”? (Alma 12:32; italics added). How does an understanding of the plan of redemption help us keep the commandments? How can parents and teachers apply this principle as they teach the importance of the commandments?

  • Why is it necessary for us to know that God has prepared a plan for our redemption? What does the plan of redemption teach us about God’s justice and mercy?

Conclusion

Point out that as Alma and Amulek worked together as witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they strengthened each other and delivered powerful teachings about the plan of redemption. Encourage class members to look for opportunities to strengthen one another in bearing witness of the gospel.

As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Idea

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use this idea as part of the lesson.

Answering Zeezrom’s questions

With their scriptures closed and no prior discussion, have class members try to answer correctly the questions Zeezrom asked Amulek, recorded in Alma 11:26–39. Compare the answers they give to those given by Amulek. Then discuss how Zeezrom was trying to trick Amulek into giving contradictory answers. Point out that it is essential to understand gospel principles and seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost so we can be prepared for such questions.