Alma Baptizes at Waters of Mormon
- Print and cut out the visual aids, and the word strips and situation cards.
- Items needed: medium size rocks (or cans of food with the labels removed), a backpack or heavy duty bag, chalk, some little pieces of wrapped candy and a candy bar for each child. Tape the burden situations to the rocks (or cans of food).
- Print a new Scripture Reading Chart for each child.
Explain that you are going to start off the lesson by giving each of them a small piece of candy. Point out that the piece of candy is small, but if they promise not to eat or open it, you promise to give them something bigger and better at the end of class. Emphasize the fact that you are both making promises.
Point out that eating candy is not a sin, but there are many things in life that give pleasure that are against the commandments of God because they are spiritually harmful. If we obey God’s commandments and avoid partaking in these spiritually harmful things, we can eventually receive the greatest gift of all, which is eternal life. Tell the children that in today’s lesson they will learn how the Lord tries to help us avoid these harmful things so that we can gain this eternal reward.
Using the visual aids, tell the following story. As the story is told, background scenery such as a waterfall, a pool of water, and a grove of trees can be drawn on the chalkboard.
Remind the children that in last week’s lesson they learned about the prophet Abinadi being condemned to death by the wicked King Noah. They also learned about the repentant priest Alma who pleaded for Abinadi’s life. King Noah was angry with Alma and tried to have Alma killed, but Alma fled and hid. Alma hid in the wilderness at a place called Mormon.
- Why was Mormon a good place to hide? (Have the children look up and read Mosiah 18:4-5 to find the answer.) It had a fountain of pure water, it was near the border of the land, it was supposed to be infested at times with wild animals, and it had a thicket of small trees that Alma hid in during the day to avoid the searches of the king–so Alma had water, food, and seclusion and cover while hiding.
At times, Alma secretly went among the people and taught the words of Abinadi to all who would listen. Many believed Alma’s words. Those who believed his words went to the place called Mormon to hear him preach.
One day Alma was teaching a large group of believers near the waters of Mormon. He taught them faith in Jesus Christ and repentance. He asked if they desired to take the next step toward becoming God’s people.
- What is the next step after faith and repentance? Tell the children to think of the fourth Article of Faith. (Baptism)
In order for the believers to be called God’s people they needed to covenant (promise) to serve God and keep his commandments. Sometimes when people make promises they shake hands or sign something as a symbol of their agreement. Baptism served as a witness or sign that they were willing to serve God and keep his commandments because baptism symbolizes the death of the old sinful person and the rebirth of the new spiritual person.
When the people heard they could be God’s people they clapped their hands for joy and exclaimed that it was the desire of their heart.
- In order to be called God’s people they needed to covenant to serve God and keep His commandments. What is a covenant? A covenant is a two-way promise made between us and the Lord; both sides make promises.
- Why does the Lord want us to make covenants? The Lord loves us and wants us to gain the blessings of eternal life, and in order to do this we must become like our Savior Jesus Christ and do the things he would do. The Lord knows that when we make bonding promises and commitments to do those things, we are more likely to do them.
Put the “Baptismal Covenants” word strip on a wall or display board. Put the word strip “We Promise” and the word strip “The Lord Promises” on each side underneath it.
Have the children look up and read Mosiah 18:8-10 to find the covenants we make at baptism. As they find each one have them put the corresponding word strips under the “We Promise” word strip.
To come into the fold of God and be called his people.
We promise to join his church and take upon us the name of Christ. As members of his church we represent Christ and are to be examples of his teachings. (See the lesson on King Benjamin to further review this principle.)
To stand as a witness of God at all times and all places.
A witness is someone who tells others what they know and have seen; so a witness of God tells others what they know about God and His church. They state their beliefs in His commandments and try to be an example of them.
To serve God and keep his commandments.
We become more like our Savior as we obey the commandments.
To serve and help others.
We become more like our Savior as we serve and help others, which includes:
o Mourning with those that mourn.
o Comforting those that stand in need of comfort.
o Bearing one another’s burdens.
- How do we mourn with those that are mourning? Answers might include: grieving and feeling sadness for the person’s loss and sorrow.
- How do we bear one another’s burdens that they may be light? (Discuss this by doing the following activity.)
Show the children the rocks, and explain that you are using the rocks to represent the burdens that some people carry. Read the situation title as you put each rock into a bag. Tell the children that life’s burdens can become heavy and difficult to carry. Let each child come up and lift the bag. Ask if they would want to carry that weight for very long. Remind the children that we covenant at baptism to help each other with our burdens. Have the children take turns reaching into the bag and taking out a rock. Have them read the situation and tell how they can help someone with that burden to make it lighter and easier to bear.
The Lord Promises
• What does the Lord promise if we keep the covenants we make? (Have the children look up and read Mosiah 18:9-10 to find the things the Lord promises. As they find each one, have them put the corresponding word strips under the “The Lord Promises” word strip.
We can be redeemed of God.
This means we can be forgiven of our sins when we repent.
We can come forth in the first resurrection.
We will be ready and spiritually prepared to come forth out of the spirit world during the first resurrection.
We can have eternal life.
Eternal life is the kind of life Heavenly Father has, which includes having a fullness of joy, love, peace, knowledge, and power.
He will pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon us.
As we keep our covenants, the Lord will bless us with his spirit more abundantly. The companionship of the Holy Ghost is a wonderful blessing because the Holy Ghost guides, teaches, protects, and comforts us.
The Lord promises to pour out wonderful blessings upon us if we keep our covenants (promises) to do the things he asks us to do.
Have the children trade their small piece of candy for a full size candy bar. Ask the children what would have happened if they hadn’t kept their promise and had instead opened and eaten the small piece of candy. They wouldn’t have received the bigger, better prize. Point out that it is the same with covenants. If we partake of unfulfilling sinful pleasures while on the earth instead of keeping our covenants (promises), we may not receive the wonderful blessing of eternal life which brings true happiness and joy. (Note: If a child has opened or eaten his or her candy, tell them they can still have another chance. Give them another piece of candy, and tell them to bring it back the following week. If they bring it back uneaten and unopened, they can still earn their reward. The Lord also gives us the opportunities in life to fix our mistakes and repent.)
Scripture Story Continued
After the people told Alma they wished to become God’s people and be baptized, Alma began to baptize them in the waters of Mormon. The first one he baptized was a man named Helam. As Alma baptized Helam, Alma submerged himself also.
- Why did Alma immerse himself also when he baptized Helam? In Mosiah 18:13 it says that Alma had the priesthood authority to baptize. This is evidence that he had already been baptized. Therefore when Alma immersed himself with Helam it was merely as a token to the Lord of his humility and full repentance. Alma did not immerse himself again while baptizing the others. (Joseph Fielding Smith: Answers to Gospel Questions)
Alma baptized about two hundred and four souls that day at the waters of Mormon, and anyone who was baptized from that time forward was also added to the church of Christ.
King Noah eventually discovered there was a movement among the people. He sent his servants to watch the group. When the king’s servants reported what was happening, Noah said that Alma was stirring up the people to rebellion against him. Noah ordered his army to destroy them. Alma was warned of the Lord that the king’s army was coming, so he and his people took their tents and their families and departed into the wilderness. They were in number about 450 souls.
As we keep our baptismal covenants, we learn to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ, and we become worthy to receive the greatest gift and reward we could ever receive, which is eternal life.
Weekly Reading Assignment
Give each child a new scripture reading chart, and remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week: Mosiah 18:1-17, 30-35