Come, Follow Me: July 13 — 19
After discovering how the Zoramites were perverting the gospel, Alma and his brethren went out among the people to teach in the synagogues, their homes, and in the street. After a lot of work, they started having some success among the poor, who had been banned from their synagogues because they didn’t dress well enough.
Imagine for a minute that you have been invited to attend the fashion shows at Paris fashion week, where the rich and famous go to look and be looked at. What in your closet will you wear? Do you feel pressured to buy new clothing or to rent some? That’s what it was like at church for the Zoramites. (See verse 3.)
The poor Alma referred to in verse 3 were “poor as to the things of the world; and also they were poor in heart.” Why were they “poor in heart”? What do you think that means? Is it a good or a bad thing? Could it be both where readiness to hear the gospel is concerned?
A very large group of the poor came to hear Alma preach on a hill called Onidah (verse 4). Look at verse 5. Who built the synagogues that only the wealthy could enter? Look at verse 6. Why did Alma feel great joy when he beheld this huge group of poor people? What quality did they have that could open them up to receiving the gospel? (See verse 7.)
The poor felt like they could not worship because they had been cast out of the synagogues. This commentary was written in 2020. We have been cast out of our churches because of a pandemic. We’ve been forced to worship at home. What has that been like for you? Has the Church prepared us for this? How?
In verse 12, why does Alma say that it’s good that these people had been cast out of their synagogues. How could that be a good thing? Verse 13 is worthy of a good discussion. Alma says that sometimes when people are forced to be humble, they become teachable and willing to repent. In Matthew 19:23 – 24, Jesus says that it’s hard for a rich man to qualify for heaven. Why is that?
Discuss what it means to be humble. It is important to realize that self-deprecation or self-hatred stops our progress and repels the Spirit. Our self-talk can show us whether we are indulging in these behaviors. Is it possible to be humble and still confident before the Lord?
In verse 17, Alma begins to discuss the nature of faith, which is not knowledge. (See verse 21.) How do faith and hope go together and strengthen each other? In verse 23, Alma says that angels teach certain people. Who are they?
In verse 27, Alma begins to instruct the people on how to begin with a particle of faith and experiment with it. Remember in school when you grew a seed in a cup of wet cotton and viewed it as a scientific experiment? Alma is essentially teaching a science lesson, but what is growing is faith. The results are still observable. How? (See verses 28 – 37.)
When you get to verse 38, take some time to review the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13). How does Alma’s lesson compare to the one given later by Christ? As you read on to the end of the chapter, note the importance of patience and diligence. How long does it take for you to grow a tree of faith unto eternal life?
As we begin chapter 33, what do you think about the knowledge of the Zoramites? These (verse 1) are things you may have learned in primary as a little child. The Zoramites had been Nephites. Why didn’t they know more about the gospel?
In verse 2, Alma talks about searching the scriptures. Sometimes people will say that because the brass and other metal plates were kept by various prophets, that the Book of Mormon people did not have the scriptures. Indeed, they did have the scriptures, just not on metal plates. Alma says either they haven’t read them, or they don’t understand them. Many people who lack faith or lose their faith misunderstand something important about the gospel and that becomes a stumbling block for them.
In verse 3, Alma quotes Zenos whose writings we don’t have. Zenos prayed in the wilderness and in his fields and in his house. God heard him when he prayed at church (verse 10), and when he had enemies. Read verse 11 to find out why. “Sincerity” in prayer means you are not just willing to talk to Father in Heaven, but you are willing to act according to His answers to your prayers.
In verse 15, Alma refers to the prophet Zenock, and we are also missing scriptures from him. What do verse 16 and 17 mean? Zenock was stoned because the people refused to understand what he was teaching them. Over and over in the Old Testament God told the people they were going to be destroyed because they didn’t have knowledge. The knowledge they lacked was what the prophets were trying to teach them, but they wouldn’t receive.
In verse 19, Alma talks about Moses. What did Moses lift up in the wilderness that was a type of Jesus Christ? How easy was it for the Israelites to be healed? Why did many choose not to look? (See verses 20 – 22 and Numbers 21.)
In verse 2, Amulek begins to testify. He’s surprised by the people’s complete lack of knowledge. Why? Amulek begins to teach that a belief in Christ is necessary for salvation, but these people were living in Old Testament times before Jesus was born. In verse 7, Amulek cites Zenos and Zenock again and how they taught that Christ would bear the sins of men. He then goes on to explain the necessity of an infinite atonement. (See verses 8 – 16.) Read these verses and discuss what the atonement is and why it is necessary. What are the blessings of the atonement?
Amulek then urges the people to pray continually and tells them where and what to pray for. Look at verse 27. How can we pray continually? In verses 28 and 29, Amulek then says it’s not enough to pray. What else do we need to do? Beginning in verse 30, Amulek begins to tell the people to step up. Look at verses 32 – 35. If we can still repent in the Spirit World, why is it so important that we don’t procrastinate our repentance here on earth? What else does Amulek counsel the people to do (verses 36 – 41).
After they finished teaching the Zoramites, Alma and his brethren returned to Jershon where the people of Ammon were living. The Zoramites counseled together and became angry with the teachings of Alma and his brethren, because it destroyed their “craft.” (See verse 3.) What was their craft? Why were they trying to protect it? They didn’t tell the people about their anger, but went among them secretly trying to find out what the people had been taught. In verse 6, we see that they found out who the believers were and cast them out of the land. The people fled to Jershon and Alma and his brethren ministered to them.
Somehow, that also made the Zoramites angry, and they wanted the people of Ammon to cast out the believing Zoramites (verse 8). Is this strange behavior? When you hate someone, do you want them to be comfortable? How did the people of Ammon respond? (See verse 9.) In verse 10, we see the Zoramites become even more angry because if the charity of the people of Ammon. They began to prepare for war.
In verse 13, we see that the people of Ammon temporarily moved over to the land of Melek, so the Nephite armies could defend Jershon. Then the war began. Alma and his brethren returned to Zarahemla. In verse 15, we see Alma very sad. Why? What did he decide to do (verse 16)?