As Alma preached to the people in Zarahemla, he reminded them that each one of them would appear before the Lord to be judged. As you teach this lesson, you can call attention to questions and counsel from Alma that help us prepare more earnestly to enter into the Lord’s presence. In particular, you can help students see that we experience a change of heart as we turn from sin to righteousness. You can encourage them to “lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset [them], … and show unto [their] God that [they] are willing to repent” (Alma 7:15).
Some Doctrines and Principles
By experiencing a change of heart, we prepare ourselves to enter into the presence of the Lord (see Alma 5).
Jesus Christ suffered “afflictions and temptations of every kind” to save us from sin and death and to help us through the challenges of mortality (see Alma 7:7–13).
Sincere repentance leads us to develop Christlike attributes (see Alma 7:14–24).
Suggestions for Teaching
Alma 5. By Experiencing a Change of Heart, We Prepare Ourselves to Enter into the Presence of the Lord
Begin by asking students the following questions:
What fears might some people have about dying?
What fears might people have about being brought before the Lord in judgment?
What do you think leads a person to feel prepared to meet God?
You may want to record students’ responses on the board. After a class discussion, have students study Alma 5:6–13 on their own. Encourage them to look for what Alma’s father and his followers experienced.
How did Alma describe their conversion experience?
According to Alma 5:11–13, what led to this “mighty change” of heart? What sustained this mighty change?
Write the following on the board:
A person with a changed heart …
Have students study the verses listed on the board. Ask them to complete the sentence on a piece of paper according to the verses you have listed. The following examples may help you guide students in this exercise.
A person with a changed heart …
Has received God’s image in his or her countenance (see verse 14).
Exercises “faith in the redemption of him who created [us]” (verse 15).
Knows his or her works on the earth have been righteous (see verse 16).
After sufficient time, ask students to share the different ways they have completed the sentence.
What impresses you about Alma’s teachings in these verses?
Conclude by testifying that God is ready to extend His mercy to us all and that repentance will help us become sanctified so we can live in His presence.
Alma 7:7–13. Jesus Christ Suffered “Afflictions and Temptations of Every Kind” to Save Us from Sin and Death and to Help Us through the Challenges of Mortality
Invite students to imagine that they are missionaries and that someone they have just met has asked, “What has Jesus Christ done for me?”
Allow students to briefly share how they would respond. Then invite them to read and ponder Alma 7:7–13 individually, looking for answers that confirm or expand their initial responses. After sufficient time, invite them to share insights they have discovered. (Some of their findings may include that the Lord has power to do all things; that He suffered pains, afflictions, sicknesses, and temptations of every kind so that He could have complete compassion for our infirmities; that He experienced death to be able to break the bands of death; and that He has power to deliver us from our sins.)
Which recurring phrases in these verses emphasize that the Savior understands our challenges?
Have students locate and mark the phrases “take upon him” and “according to the flesh.” Explain that in these verses, the word flesh refers to the Savior’s physical body and also to mortality and our fallen nature. Help students understand that the Savior descended below all things so that He could know how to help us through its challenges. Invite a student to read the statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve on pages 182–83 in the student manual.
How can this knowledge help us face the challenges of mortality?
Explain to students that the word succor, found in verse 12, means “to run to, or run to support; hence, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering” (Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1828). You may also want to have students read the statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on page 183 in the student manual (also available on the companion DVD A). As students consider what it means to be succored by the Savior, invite them to ponder this question:
When has the Savior succored you in times of trial or temptation?
Suggest that students write in their journals about the Savior’s loving-kindness and desire to help them. As they reflect on experiences in which they have received divine help, they will be strengthened to meet the challenges they face now and the challenges they will face in the future.
Alma 7:14–24. Sincere Repentance Leads Us to Develop Christlike Attributes
Before class, prepare a handout that includes the questions about Alma 7:14–24 found below. Allow enough space between questions for students to write the answers they find.
What did Alma encourage the people to “lay aside”?
On what conditions did Alma promise eternal life to the people in Gideon?
What did the “manifestation of the Spirit” teach Alma concerning these people?
What did Alma perceive about the people in Gideon?
How would you describe someone who has been awakened to a sense of duty to God?
What attributes will we possess if we “walk blameless before [God]”?
How would you summarize what you have learned from Alma 7:14–24?
What steps do you need to take to develop Christlike attributes?
“To follow Christ is to become more like Him. It is to learn from His character. As spirit children of our Heavenly Father, we do have the potential to incorporate Christlike attributes into our life and character. The Savior invites us to learn His gospel by living His teachings. … As we develop Christlike attributes in our own lives, step-by-step, they will ‘bear [us] up as on eagles’ wings’ (D&C 124:18)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2005, 107–8; or
Why do you think Christlike attributes are developed step-by-step?
Explain that Alma’s counsel to the people in Gideon can help us develop Christlike attributes.
Give each student a copy of the handout you have prepared. Invite students to search Alma 7:14–24 individually or in pairs to answer the questions on the handout. Help them see how Alma’s counsel to the people in Gideon can help us become more Christlike.
After students have finished this assignment, invite a few of them to share their summaries with the class. Then invite everyone to silently consider this question:
Which of Alma’s instructions do you need to focus on as you strive to become more Christlike?
Share your testimony of the truths you have discussed with students. Encourage students to follow Alma’s teachings, repenting of their sins and developing Christlike attributes so they can someday receive exaltation.
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