Alma Counsels His Son Corianton
- Items needed: a display board and a writing instrument for the display board, two paper bags or boxes - one filled with garbage and the other filled with desirable items such as treats or little party favor toys, two empty cardboard toilet paper rolls, paper towels, first aid items and medicines.
- Dip a few sheets of the paper towels in mud and put them in a ziplock bag.
- Optional: Do a Google search for news articles concerning lost or injured hikers. Print some of the articles.
Show the children the news articles, or ask the children if they have heard of people getting lost, injured, or even dying when hiking in the mountains. One reason some people become lost or injured is because they stray off the main trail looking for thrills. Explain that in life there are many people who stray off the path towards eternal life into temptations that can injure the spirit.
Show the children the medical items and ask what they are used for. (To help treat and heal physical injuries and sickness.) Explain that in today’s lesson they are going to learn of some ways to heal spiritual injuries and sickness, and also some ways to prevent getting spiritually injured.
Remind the children that in last week’s lesson they learned of the counsel Alma gave to two of his sons. Explain that in today’s lesson they will learn of the counsel that Alma gave to another son named Corianton. This counsel was different from the counsel he gave to his other sons. His other sons had been living righteously, but Corianton had committed serious sins. He had strayed off the path and was in need of aid.
Corianton, along with his brothers, had been called to be missionaries to the Zoramites, but Corianton chose instead to forsake the ministry and go down forbidden paths to chase after a woman with an immoral reputation who had stolen many hearts.
• If someone were to stray off a path and become injured by a fall, what would be some possible results or symptoms of being injured? Answers might include: pain, shock, bruises, scrapes, cuts, bleeding, broken bones, sprain, concussion, etc.
Just like a person would suffer the results and effects of being injured, a person who had sinned would also suffer the consequences and results of that sin. What are some of the consequences that can occur because of sin? Answers might include: guilt, loss of the Spirit’s help and guidance, possible loss of freedom, loss of other’s trust, damaged relationships, possible loss of good health, loss of inheritance in the kingdom of God, etc.
• What would happen if a person who is injured ignores the injury and doesn’t do anything to help it heal such as cleaning out the wound, putting anti-bacterial cream on it, protecting it with a bandage, or going to the doctor if it is a serious injury? The wound could become infected, or it could become more damaged. The person could get sicker as a result. A serious injury could even lead to death if it is not taken care of.
• What happens when we sin and are spiritually injured but we hide the sin and refuse to repent? The sin could spread, and the damage could become worse. It could become very difficult to fix, and it could even lead to spiritual death.
Alma told his son Corianton that he could not hide his sin from God, pretend it didn’t happen, and hope its consequences wouldn’t affect him. He needed to repent of his sins or he would suffer the consequences, including having the sin stand as a testimony against him at judgment. Pres Uchdorf said, “The longer we delay corrective action, the larger and more difficult the needed changes become, and the longer it takes to get back on the correct course.”
Just as an injured person would need to treat the injury, so would a person who has sinned and is spiritually sick need to repent in order to heal.
To repent, Corianton needed to follow the four steps of repentance. Ask the children if they remember what those steps are. Write a short version of each step on the board as they are mentioned.
Corianton needed to:
• 1. Recognize he had done wrong
• 2.Confess his sins and ask for forgiveness
• 3. Right the wrong
• 4. Never repeat the wrong.
1-2. Corianton needed to recognize he had done wrong and confess his sins and ask for forgiveness.
• Who is the master physician that can heal our spiritual wounds, small or large? (Jesus Christ) What did Alma teach about Christ in Alma 39:15? (That Christ would come to take away the sins of the world and bring salvation.) The Savior said: ‘Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? … If ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life.’”
3. Corianton also needed to right the wrong he had committed. He would have to try and fix the problems his sins had caused. One of the problems his actions had caused was damage to the Zoramite missionary effort. Alma had tried to teach the Zoramites about obeying the commandments, but they would not listen or believe because they saw his son’s conduct. (Alma 39:11) Alma told Corianton that he needed to return to the Zoramites and acknowledge the wrongs he had done and try to fix the damage he had caused. (Alma 39:13) Alma told Corianton that he also needed to preach the healing power of Christ so that the Zoramites may repent and be healed also. Alma 39:6-19
4. Another part of the repentance process is forsaking the sin. Corianton needed to commit to not follow any more forbidden paths. Alma told Corianton to cross himself in all things. (Alma 39:9)
• What does it mean to cross oneself? It means to deny yourself – to exercise self control and avoid the things that can cause spiritual injury even if they look appealing and tempting.
• What were the attitudes and actions that led to Corianton going down dangerous paths of sin? (Have the children look in Alma 39:2-4 to find the answers.) (Draw a path on the board that splits in the middle so there are two paths going in different directions – a Y shape. Mark the end of the left path with the words “sin and unhappiness” and the end of the right path with “righteousness and happiness”. Write the answers to the question on the left of the board.)
Attitudes and actions that led to Corianton’s sin:
1. He boasted in his own strength and overestimated his power to resist temptation.
2. He went where he should not have been, and he gazed upon and considered things he should not have considered.
3. He did not listen to his father and instead followed the crowd.
• What counsel did Alma give to Corianton on how he could avoid sin in the future? (Have the children look up Alma 39:9-14 to find the answer. Write these on the right side of the board.)
Ways to avoid sin and spiritual injury:
1. Be humble and depend on the Lord for strength.
We must be humble and turn to the Lord, who knows all and has all power, for guidance and help. Satan has thousands of years of experience in tempting people, and if we try to depend on our own limited knowledge and strength to overcome his temptations we may be overcome. Alma told Corianton to turn to the Lord with all his mind, might, and strength. (Alma 39:13)
2. Avoid places and things that lead to temptation, and instead fill our lives with good things.
• Things we see or hear can influence our thoughts, and thoughts can become actions. If we choose to spend our time around things or people that depict or promote inappropriate actions, that is where our thoughts will be, and we will eventually do what we focus on consistently.
Demonstrate this with an empty toilet paper roll or paper towel roll. Shove the dirt covered paper towels into the cardboard roll. Ask what would happen if you continued to shove dirty paper towels into the roll. (They would come out the other end.) What happens when we fill our minds with things that are unclean? They come out and manifest themselves through unclean actions.
Show another toilet paper roll and fill it with clean paper towels and ask the children what will come out the other end. Explain that the clean paper towels represents doing things like going to church, participating in church activities, reading our scriptures, participating in family home evening, etc. When we fill our lives with things that are good and uplifting, our thoughts and actions become clean. Corianton should have spent his time doing his missionary work which would have helped him keep his thoughts clean.
How could Corianton clean up his already contaminated thoughts? Shove clean paper towels into the cardboard roll that contains the dirty paper towels, and ask what would happen if you continue to do this. (The clean towels will eventually push out the dirt. Explain that it takes time, but eventually thoughts and actions can become clean again.)
3. Follow righteous examples and counsel.
Who were Corianton’s righteous examples? His father and older brothers. Alma told Corianton to counsel with his brothers. (Alma 39:10)
How can counseling with righteous family members help strengthen our resistance to temptation? They love us and want what is best for us, and being experienced in righteous living they can help give advice on how to avoid temptation and difficulty.
Not only can we receive direction from righteous family members, but there may be other people around us who are also righteous examples. From what other sources can you receive righteous counsel and examples?
Demonstrate how it helps to have advice and counsel from someone who knows what is right and what is wrong by doing the following object lesson.
Show the children the two bags or boxes, and explain that one has something undesirable in it and the other has something desirable in it. Show one of the children what is in the boxes. Tell the other children that they can ask that child yes or no questions about the items (with the exception of directly asking which is the good or bad container) until they can decide which is the good choice. Ask the children if it helped to talk to someone who was informed about which was the bad choice and which was the good choice. Point out that it also helps to counsel with those who are experienced in righteous living in order to get help and direction in making good choices in life.
• Why did Alma talk to Corianton about his iniquities? Because he loved his son and wanted him to make good choices and be happy. The Lord had also directed Alma to command his son Corianton to do good and refrain from iniquity. (Alma 39:12)
• Why did Heavenly Father want Alma to command his son to be good? Because our Heavenly Father also loves his children and doesn’t want his children to do things that will harm themselves or others.
• If you had done wrong why would your parents wish to talk to you about it? Because they love you and want to help you.
Corianton eventually repented and returned to full activity and participation in the church (See Alma 43:1-2)
In life there will be many choices we have to make. To avoid going down dangerous paths that could damage our spirits and cause suffering and unhappiness, we need to listen to and follow the guides that Heavenly Father has provided for us.
Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week - Alma 39