Alma the Younger Repents
- Items needed: two containers of play dough, a display board, tape, a small container of water, two small Ziplock baggies, three envelopes, several small rocks (wash the rocks carefully so no grit or dirt is left on them).
- Print and cut out the scripture story visual aids. Number the back of each story card to help keep them in the correct order.
- Print and cut out the paper doll pattern, the steps of repentance, and the repentance story cards. Put each set of four story cards into an envelope.
- Roll out the play dough until each is 1/4 inch thick. Put the cut out paper doll pattern on top of the play dough, and with a knife, cut out a figure from each rolled out piece of play dough. Put each play dough figure into a Ziploc bag to prevent it from drying out.
Show the children one of the play dough figures. Point out how smooth and clean it looks. Show the children the small rocks and explain that each rock represents a sin.
Push the rocks one at a time into the figure as you tell of a sin the rock might represent such as lying, stealing, swearing, etc. Point out how the figure looks and explain that sin corrupts and pollutes our spirits so that we become distorted and unclean.
Show the other play dough figure. Explain that those who are close to us may also be affected by our sins and follow our example. (Push rocks into the other figure.) When we realize the damage we are doing to ourselves and others we may feel shame, regret, and sorrow.
Tell the children that in today’s lesson they will learn about the regret and misery that can come because of sin, and they will learn of the great joy that can come through repentance.
Teach the following story using the scripture story visual aids.
Remind the children of last week’s lesson about the people of Limhi and the people of Alma escaping the bondage of the Lamanites and coming to Zarahemla. Tell the children that after Alma and his people arrived in Zarahemla, King Mosiah authorized Alma to lead and organize the church in the land of Zarahemla. The church had grown so large that it needed to be divided up into several congregations. Alma set up these congregations and ordained leaders for each of them.
Not all of the people in Zarahemla believed in the gospel. Some of these nonbelievers persecuted the believing church members. King Mosiah was made aware of the problem, and he made a law that there should be no persecutions among the people.
- Why might a nonbeliever persecute church members? The reasons can be varied. One of the reasons may be that they feel offended or less valued because they live their life contrary to the morals and values that the church teaches. To help alleviate this problem a strict command was made throughout all the churches that there should be equality among men, and that there should be no pride or haughtiness.
- How can we make sure that people who are not members of our church know they are valued regardless of differences in lifestyle? Answers might include: love them, emphasize the things we have in common, appreciate the good in them, invite and include them in our activities, etc.
The laws and commands helped establish peace in the land, but the sons of King Mosiah and one of the sons of Alma were among the unbelievers, and they caused many problems for the church.
- Why might Alma and the sons of Mosiah, who had been brought up in the church, be among the unbelievers? One reason may be that they chose to pursue other interests instead of taking the time to examine, understand, and do the things necessary to gain a testimony of the teachings of the gospel. Another reason may be that they chose to pursue sinful interests in preference to turning their lives and hearts toward God. Such was the case of Alma’s son, who was also named Alma, after his father. Alma the younger chose a wicked and idolatrous lifestyle.
Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah secretly went among the people trying to lead the people astray and destroy the church. Alma the younger was very good at speaking, and he influenced and persuaded many to commit the same sins he was committing. (Remind the children of the lesson about King Noah and his desire to get people to commit the same sins he was committing.)
Because Alma the younger was the son of the religious leader, and the sons of Mosiah were the sons of the king, their example and influence caused a lot of people to fall away from the church.
One day as Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah were going about trying to destroy the church, an angel of the Lord appeared to them. The angel descended in a cloud. His voice was like thunder, and it caused the earth to shake. So great was their astonishment and fear that Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah fell to the earth. The angel asked Alma the younger why he persecuted the church of God.
- The Lord usually does not send angels to the wicked. Why did God send an angel to speak to Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah? (See Mosiah 27:14) Because of the prayers of the people of God, and because of the prayers of Alma’s father’s who prayed with faith that his son might be brought to a knowledge of the truth.
When Alma the younger saw the angel, he was struck with fear and amazement. The fear and astonishment of Alma was so great that he could not speak, and he became weak and could not move. The sons of Mosiah carried Alma to his father. They told his father what had happened to them. Alma’s father rejoiced.
- Why did Alma’s father rejoice when he saw his son in such a weak and helpless state? Alma’s father had been concerned about the spiritual welfare of his son. He rejoiced because he knew that the power of God was at work.
Alma the elder called a multitude together so they could witness what the Lord had done. He also called the priests, and they began to fast and pray for Alma the younger.
After they had fasted and prayed for two days and two nights, Alma the younger’s limbs regained strength. He stood up and began to speak to them. He said, “I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord.”
Alma’s repentance wasn’t easy. He had to go through the same steps of repentance we do in order to repent and be forgiven of our sins. When Alma saw the angel, he was afraid. He thought he would be destroyed because of his wickedness. For three days and three nights he could not move or speak. He was racked with torment for the memory of his many sins. He suffered greatly. Alma experienced the first step of repentance.
- What is the first step of repentance? Step One – Recognize that a wrong has been committed and feel sorrowful remorse. (Put this sign on the display board.)
As Alma was suffering, he remembered his father’s prophesies about the coming of Jesus Christ, the son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. His mind caught hold upon this thought, and he cried in his heart, “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me.” After having this thought he was no longer tortured by the memory of his sins, and his soul was filled with great joy and light. He had begun the second step of repentance.
- What is the second step of repentance? Step Two – Confess the sin and ask for forgiveness from God and from those we have hurt. (Put this sign on the display board.) Alma confessed his sinful state to God and asked for forgiveness. He now needed to confess his sins to the people he had affected and influenced.
Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah began from that time forward to travel throughout all the land confessing their sins. They also told the people about the angel’s appearance to them and the things which they had heard and seen, and they preached the word of God. Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah attempted to repair the damage they had done to the church. It wasn’t easy because they were persecuted by many of the unbelievers, but they did their best to carry out the third step of repentance
- What is the third step of repentance? Step Three – Do our best to make up for the wrong. (Put this sign on the display board.)
- What is the fourth step of repentance? Step Four – Forsake the sin. Do not commit the sin again. (Put this sign on the display board) True repentance includes a desire to change one’s life and actions.
Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah changed their lives. They served in the church and taught others the gospel. Alma the younger eventually became the leader of the church after his father died. The sons of Mosiah served a mission to the Lamanites to teach them the gospel. Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah wanted to help bring others to a knowledge of God. They did not want anyone to suffer because of sin. They wanted others to feel the joy they had experienced through repentance.
Show the children the two play dough figures again. Explain to the children that if we will follow the steps of repentance, we can be healed and become clean of sin through the atonement of Jesus Christ. (Remove the rocks and press together the damaged areas. Smooth out the creases with water on your finger tips.)
Tell the children they are going to do an activity to help them remember the steps of repentance. Put one set of the repentance story cards face down on the table. Have a volunteer pick up one of cards, read it out loud, and then put it on the display board next to the step of repentance it goes with. Have the children each take a turn doing this. If one of the children thinks their card should go somewhere that someone else has placed a card, they can put their card in that spot, but they have to put the other card where they think it goes. After all the cards have been placed, read the story out loud to the class. If all the cards are in the right place, it will tell the story in order. Do another set after completing a story.
Heavenly Father loves us. He wants us to be happy. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to make it possible for us to repent. Through his Atonement, Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins so that we can repent, be forgiven, and gain eternal life. It isn’t always easy to fix our mistakes, but the wonderful results and benefits are always worth the effort.
Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – Mosiah 27:1-37 and Alma 36:6-21