Chapter 26: Alma 13–16

Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, (2009), 92–94


Introduction

This scripture block provides good opportunities to discuss the plan of salvation. As students discuss Alma 13, you can help them think about their premortal life and the responsibilities they may have prepared to receive during mortality. As they discuss Alma 14, you can remind them that they will face trials in mortality but that they will ultimately be blessed as they remain true to their testimonies. In Alma 15, as students consider the change that came to Zeezrom, you can emphasize the principle of repentance and the central role of Jesus Christ in our Heavenly Father’s plan. Alma 16 shows that the wicked will be held accountable for their actions. Together, these chapters testify of God’s justice and mercy, encouraging us to trust in Him and His plan for our salvation.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • God prepared and called Melchizedek Priesthood holders from the foundation of the world (see Alma 13).

  • God blesses those who trust Him in their afflictions (see Alma 14–15).

  • Those who reject the gospel suffer spiritually and sometimes physically (see Alma 16).

Suggestions for Teaching

Alma 13. God Prepared and Called Melchizedek Priesthood Holders from the Foundation of the World

To help students understand the difference between foreordination and ordination, write the following words on the board:

Foreordination

Qualification

Ordination

Explain that in the pre-earth life, God foreordained many of His faithful sons to receive the priesthood in mortality to assist in the salvation of the human family. Add to the board:

Pre-Earth Life

Pre-Earth Life and Earth Life

Earth Life

Foreordination

Qualification

Ordination

Alma 13:3

Alma 13:3–10

Alma 13:6–12

D&C 138:55–56

  

Abraham 3:22–23

  

Divide the class into three groups. Assign one group to silently study the scriptures about foreordination, another group to silently study the scriptures about qualification, and the last group to silently study the scriptures about ordination (note that some verses relate to both foreordination and qualification or to both qualification and ordination). Instruct the groups to be prepared to answer questions about their reading.

After sufficient time, invite a student to read Alma 13:3 aloud. Ask a student who studied foreordination to respond to the following question:

  • How did men demonstrate in premortal life that they were worthy to be foreordained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood?

Have another student read D&C 138:55–56 aloud.

  • What does this passage teach about the pre-earth life and foreordination?

  • How might these teachings about foreordination influence the way you serve in callings and sustain your leaders?

Invite students to read Alma 13:3–10 silently. Ask a student who studied qualification to respond to the following questions:

  • According to Alma 13:10, what should a man do to prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood?

  • How do faith and repentance prepare a man to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood?

Invite a student to read Alma 13:11–12. Ask a student who studied ordination to respond to the following questions:

  • After a man is ordained to an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood, what does he need to do to remain qualified to serve?

  • What happened as a result of the righteousness of the priesthood holders described in Alma 13:11–12?

Point out that valiant women in the premortal world were also prepared for opportunities to serve on the earth. Invite class members to read the statements by President Spencer W. Kimball and Elder Neal A. Maxwell on pages 191–92 in the student manual. The statement by Elder Maxwell is also available on the companion DVD A.

Alma 13:6, 17–18. Melchizedek Priesthood Holders Are to Promote Righteousness

Explain that Melchizedek Priesthood holders should seek to minister to others as Alma taught. Invite students to read Alma 13:6, 17–18.

  • According to Alma 13:6, after a man receives the Melchizedek Priesthood, what is one of his duties?

  • According to Alma 13:17–18, what did Melchizedek do to promote righteousness?

  • How can a priesthood holder today promote righteousness as Melchizedek did?

You may want to point out that the Bible appears to teach that the man named Melchizedek was “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (Hebrews 7:3). Alma 13:8–9 and the Joseph Smith Translation of Hebrews 7:3 (in the Bible appendix) clarify this passage. They explain that it is the priesthood, not the man, that is “without beginning of days or end of years” (Alma 13:7, 9).

Alma 14–15. God Blesses Those Who Trust Him in Their Afflictions

Ask the students to share examples from the scriptures of righteous people who have been persecuted because of their testimonies of the gospel. After the students have given a few examples, read Alma 14:7–11 and 60:13.

  • What reasons are given in these verses as to why the righteous are sometimes allowed to suffer at the hands of the wicked?

Share the following statement by President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency:

“Now all this suffering might indeed be unfair if everything ended at death, but it doesn’t. Life is not like a one-act play. It has three acts. We had a past act, when we were in the premortal existence; and now we have a present act, which is mortality; and we will have a future act, when we return to God. … We were sent into mortality to be tested and tried [see Abraham 3:25]. …

“Our past and present sufferings cannot, as Paul said, ‘be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’ [Romans 8:18] in the eternities. ‘For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory.’ [D&C 58:4.] So tribulation is useful in the sense that it is helpful to get into the celestial kingdom” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2004, 19; or Ensign, Nov. 2004, 19–20).

  • How can having a testimony of the plan of salvation, including premortal and postmortal life, ease the suffering we experience in mortality?

  • In what ways are the righteous blessed in their afflictions?

  • In times of affliction, how can we show that we trust God?

Have students compare the question asked by Alma in Alma 14:26 with the question asked by Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants 121:3.

  • According to Alma 14:26, how were Alma and Amulek able to overcome their afflictions?

  • When the Prophet Joseph Smith was unjustly imprisoned in Missouri, he asked the question recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 121:3. Unlike Alma and Amulek, he was not immediately delivered from prison. What can we learn from God’s answer to his prayer? (See D&C 121:7–9; 122:4–9.)

  • How has the Lord helped you when you have experienced trials?

Both Zeezrom and Amulek trusted God in their afflictions. Instruct half of the class to read Alma 15:5–12, looking for information about Zeezrom. Instruct the other half to study Alma 15:16, 18, looking for information about Amulek.

Ask the students who read about Zeezrom the following question:

  • How does the account in Alma 15 reveal Zeezrom’s growing trust in the Lord?

Ask the students who read about Amulek the following questions:

  • What did Amulek give up by choosing to live the gospel and serve as a missionary? What does this show about Amulek?

  • What blessings have you received as you have sacrificed to live the gospel and trust in the Lord?

Alma 16. Those Who Reject the Gospel Suffer Spiritually and Sometimes Physically

Write the following on the board:

The people in Noah’s day

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah

The people of Jerusalem at the time of Lehi

The people of Ammonihah

Read Alma 16:9. Then direct students’ attention to the four groups you have written on the board.

  • What do these four groups have in common?

  • What are some possible physical and spiritual consequences when people reject the gospel?

Help students see that when people “persist in [their] wickedness” (Alma 9:18), they suffer spiritual destruction, even if they avoid physical destruction.

Ask a student to read the following statement by President Wilford Woodruff (1807–98), the fourth President of the Church:

“If half of this church were to fall away, it would not destroy the purposes of the Lord. With regard to ourselves that is another thing. Many men who have received the gospel, and have had the Holy Ghost conferred upon them, have fallen away, but in doing so they condemn themselves, they destroy themselves. … Men may fall, but the kingdom of God never, never” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1880, 10).

  • What safeguards can help us avoid the calamities of the people of Ammonihah?

Point out that the Lord always warns people in advance, before such destruction comes (see Alma 9:18–19; see also 2 Nephi 25:9).

Alma 16:16–21. We Should Prepare for the Second Coming

Invite students to read Alma 16:16–21 and look for how the Lord prepared the people for His coming.

  • How can these verses help us prepare ourselves and others for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?