Zoramite’s Prayers on a Rameumptom
- Items needed: tape, wet wipes, a paper plate, two mixing bowls, a half cup measure, a tablespoon measure, two wooden spoons, and the ingredients to make the peanut butter candy recipe (the recipe can be found in the visual aid file). Also bring some strange and unusual substitute ingredients such as bread crumbs for the graham crackers, applesauce for the sweetener, whole peanuts for the peanut butter, dried pieces of prunes for the chocolate chips. (Important Note: Be aware of any food allergies before giving children food.)
- Print and cut out the activity and scripture story visual aids. Cut apart each level of the Rameumptom so there are seven pieces. Be prepared to build the Rameumpton on the chalk board.
Put the bowl, spoon, and measuring items on the table and explain to the children that you are going to make some peanut butter candy for them. Show them the recipe, but then toss it aside. Tell the children that you have decided not to follow the recipe because you want to try some different ingredients. Show the children the substitute ingredients you brought, and then mix together various amounts of those ingredients. (Be sure to mention the correct recipe ingredients as you do this. For example: “The recipe calls for peanut butter, but I want the candy to be really crunchy so I think I will add whole peanuts.”)
After combining the substitute ingredients show the children the results. Ask them if they think the mixture looks like peanut butter candy.
Ask the children what the results would be if someone tried to make up their own ingredients for gaining salvation instead of following Heavenly Father’s plan. Would they get the desired results? Tell the children that in today’s lesson they will be learning about a group of people who tried to do just that.
Remind the children of last week’s lesson about Korihor. Ask if they remember what happened to him after he lost his ability to speak. (He found it necessary to beg for food, and eventually he was trodden down among a people that called themselves the Zoramites.) The Zoramites had once been members of the church, but they had fallen away and apostatized. Apostasy means a turning away from something. The Zoramites had turned away from the teachings of the church and had tried to make up their own form of religion and own ingredients for salvation.
• Why might some people try to make up their own form of religion? One reason is to make a religion agree with what they want. What did the Zoramites desire? (Read Alma 31:24-25) They wanted to indulge in wickedness and the pride of worldly riches.
The Zoramites had discontinued obeying the commandments, they had stopped praying to God daily, and they had altered the teachings of the church to suit what they desired. (See Alma 31:9-11)
The Zoramite people lived near the borders of the wilderness, and the wilderness was full of Lamanites. Because the Zoramites had dissented from the Nephites, the Nephites were afraid the Zoramites would try to join with the Lamanites.
Alma knew that the word of God had a powerful effect upon a man’s heart, so he and several others (including two of his sons, three of the sons of Mosiah, Amulek, and Zeezrom) went to preach the word of God to the Zoramites.
• Ask the children if they can recall a time when a scripture they read or a teaching they heard at church motivated them to change.
When Alma and his companions came into the land of the Zoramites, they were astonished at what they found. The Zoramites were gathering once a week in synagogues they had built (houses of worship), but their worship was not like anything Alma and his companions had ever seen before. In the center of the synagogue was a tower where one person at a time could stand. This tower was called a Rameumptom – meaning holy stand. (Put the picture of the Rameumptom and the worshiper on the board.) Whoever desired to worship would go onto the Rameumptom, stretch up his arms toward heaven, and speak with a loud voice the following prayer: Read Alma 31:15-16
• Why did the Zoramites choose to believe in incorrect principles about God, and why did they not want to believe in Christ? One possible reason may have been to deny the doctrine of the plan of salvation – of coming to earth to get a body and be tested. They wanted to think they were elected (chosen) to be saved regardless of what they did. They did not want to believe in sin or the need for a Savior.
• In the Zoramite’s prayer they did not ask God for help in dealing with the challenges of life. Did the Zoramites have faith in God answering their prayers? Faith in God comes through learning of Him and doing His will.
Above the picture of the person worshiping on the Rameumptom put up the sign that says “The Zoramite’s Prayer.” Underneath the picture put up the sign that says “1) lacked faith in God and in Christ.”
Have a child read out loud the next part of the Zoramite prayer found in Alma 31:17-18. Put the next sign up that says “2) was selfish and prideful.” Explain that the Zoramites wanted to view themselves as the chosen and saved ones and that all others would suffer in hell.
• If the Zoramites did not have faith in God, what might have been the purpose of their elaborate prayers? They may have been using the prayers to reinforce their false beliefs, and they also appeared to be using the prayers to elevate themselves above others and declare that they were better than everyone else.
• In what ways might people think they are better than others and become lifted up in pride? Answers might include the following: people may think they are better than others because of how smart, pretty or handsome, athletic, wealthy, or talented they are. (Build the Rameumptom tower on the board as each answer is given.)
After hearing a Zoramite prayer Alma and his fellow missionaries were astonished. As they continued to watch, they realized that every man who went onto the tower offered the same prayer. Then, after the Zoramite people had offered up their prayers, they returned to their homes, not speaking of God again until they had assembled themselves together again at the Rameumptom. Put up the last sign “3) were repetitious and insincere.”
When Alma saw the prayers of the Zoramites his heart was grieved for he saw they were a wicked people. He lifted his voice up to heaven in prayer. (Put the picture of Alma praying on the board.) Alma prayed for strength and patience in afflictions. He prayed for comfort for himself and his companions, and he prayed for success in bringing souls to Christ.
Put the sign “Alma’s Prayer” above the picture of Alma. Underneath the picture put up the following signs as you read and discuss each one.
1) showed faith in God and Jesus Christ
Alma petitioned the Lord for blessings in his prayer. He had faith that the Lord would bless and help him.
2) was humble and not selfish.
Alma prayed for others.
• How can we humble ourselves so we are not lifted up in pride? (Have the children take off a level of the Rameumpton tower for every answer they give.) Answers may include the following: by remembering that our gifts, talents, and abilities come from the Lord, by praying for humility, by looking for the good in others, by building love for others by praying for them and serving them.
3) was not repetitious or insincere
Alma prayer was not repetitious or insincere because he was praying for specific needs.
• What happens if we don’t pray daily and sincerely? We tend to lose the guidance of the Spirit, which is essential for managing the challenges and temptations of life. What was the result of the Zoramites not praying daily? They succumbed to Satan’s temptations.
After Alma said the words of his prayer, he put his hands upon his companions, which probably meant he set them apart for their assignments or gave them a special blessing to face the difficult challenges ahead. As he did this they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Remind the children of the wrong ingredients used for making peanut butter candy, and remind them of the wrong ingredients for salvation that the Zoramites followed.
Point out that just as there are wrong ingredients for making peanut butter candy and wrong ingredients to gaining salvation, there are also right ingredients. Show the children the right ingredients for the peanut butter candy.
• What would be some of the right ingredients for gaining salvation? Obey God’s commandments, gain an understanding of correct doctrine, have faith in Jesus Christ, be humble, pray daily, etc.
Measure out and mix the correct candy ingredients. Have the children wash their hands with wet wipes, and then give them each a spoonful of the mixture. Have them roll their candy into balls and then coat them with coconut or sprinkles. Invite them to taste the finished product. Point out how sweet and delicious it is. Explain that just as we enjoyed the benefits of following the correct recipe for peanut butter candy, if we will follow the correct steps for attaining eternal salvation we can one day enjoy all the wonderful blessings related to gaining eternal life.
Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week: Alma 31:1-25