Come Follow Me – Book of Mormon Come, Follow Me for July 27–August 2

Come, Follow Me: July 27 — August 2

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Alma 39—42: “The Great Plan of Happiness”

In Alma 39 – 42, Alma counsels his son Corianton, who has wandered from his mission to the Zoramites to commit sexual sin. The work has suffered because of Corianton’s poor example. Alma not only teaches Corianton about the wages of sin but explains to him many points of doctrine that Corianton does not understand.

Sexual sin is an abomination (Alma 39):

Looking at the differences among Alma’s sons helps us see the conditions in most families. Even in very large families, no two children are alike, and even though they may all be taught how to live the gospel, in adulthood, they may dissent from those teachings, or at least have a different grasp on what is true.Alma begins by saying that he has more to discuss than he did with Corianton’s brother, Shiblon. Alma, like Lehi, compares the brothers to each other in a cautionary way. This is a huge no-no in modern parenting. Does it work for Alma?

Look at verse 2. We think of Corianton’s sin as sexual sin, but what sin is Alma talking about in this verse? Do our missionaries go out to brag about their strength and wisdom? If they did, how would this affect their ability to preach the gospel? How did this lead to Corianton’s fall into sin? What does it mean that “pride goeth before the fall”?

In verses 3 and 4, we see that Corianton “forsook his ministry.” What does this mean? What rules are in place for Latter-day Saint missionaries to keep this from happening? How far did Corianton travel from his assigned location? 

minerva teichert corianton

In verses 5 and 6, Alma talks about the seriousness of the sin of fornication. He says it is the third most serious sin after denying the Holy Ghost or murder. Yet, many people in the world don’t consider it a sin at all. Why is it so serious? On various online forums Christians of many faiths write in hoping for advice because they think they have committed the “sin against the Holy Ghost.” They have become angry with God briefly, or have used profanity. These are not sins against the Holy Ghost, but their pastors don’t know how to explain what this sin actually is. How does this video help you to understand?

In verse 7, Alma begins to urge Corianton to repent. What did Alma know from personal experience that made repentance so important to him? In verse 10, Alma advises Corianton to counsel with his older brothers as he begins to repent. In verse 11, Alma says the Zoramites wouldn’t believe the gospel because of Corianton’s behavior. How serious was it that Corianton betrayed his calling? How important is it that we are good examples of the believers? Discuss this quote from St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

In verse 15, Alma begins to prophesy about the coming of Christ. Corianton does not have a testimony that this will happen (see verse 17). He wonders how his father can know so far beforehand that this will surely come to pass. Why did the Book of Mormon prophets testify that Christ would come? Find out what year it was that Alma taught Corianton. Would any of the people living then still be alive when Christ would be born?

Alma talks about resurrection (Alma 40):

It is really interesting to read Alma’s teachings on the Spirit World and the resurrection. You might know more about the Spirit World and the resurrection than Alma knew, and Alma was a prophet? How can this be? Does this make you more grateful for the restoration of the gospel and modern prophets?

Alma is able to perceive Corianton’s concerns by the power of the Holy Ghost. Corianton was confused about the resurrection of the dead.  In verse 2, Alma teaches that there would be no resurrection at all until Jesus Himself would be resurrected; He is the first fruits of the resurrection. The righteous who died before Christ would all be resurrected when Jesus was resurrected. We know that eventually, all living things will be resurrected.

Read verses 4 and 5. What do you know about when people will be resurrected? 

Here are some articles about the resurrection for you to study:

Read verses 6 – 14 and verse 21. What did Alma know about the Spirit World from the revelations he received? Go to Doctrine and Covenants Section 138 to read Joseph F. Smith’s vision of the Spirit World. What new things do we learn from Joseph F. Smith’s vision that Alma didn’t know? When you think of learning line upon line, why did God reveal less to Alma than to Joseph F. Smith?

What does Alma say happens to us when we are resurrected? (See verse 23.) How do you feel about the resurrection? Does it give you hope? Joy?

Wickedness never was happiness (Alma 41):

Alma begins by talking about the justice of God and how everything will be restored to its proper order. In verses 3 – 7, Alma says that men (and women) will be judged according to their works (and desires). It also says this in the Book of Revelation in the Bible, but many Christians believe that we are not judged by our works but by our belief in Christ. How do you feel about this? In verse 7, what does it mean that we are our own judges?

In verse 10, why does Alma say that wickedness never was happiness? (See verses 11 – 15.)

God’s plan of happiness (Alma 42):

Read the following story:

When I first began taking lessons from the missionaries, I didn’t know much about religion. The country where I grew up was mostly Christian, so I knew what Christmas and Easter were about, but there was no religion at all taught in my home. I met with the missionaries after attending many other churches. I felt empty inside and that emptiness would not go away.

The missionaries taught me about the Plan of Salvation. Learning about the pre-existence blew me away. I had felt disappointed with mortality and now I was learning what mortality was actually for. Learning that I am an eternal being and learning what Christ’s atonement has done for me – learning about God’s eternal plan – opened up a whole new existence to my mind and spirit. It filled my soul with happiness and meaning.

Most people in the world, even most Christians, do not know about this plan in its fulness. How does it make you feel to know you lived with God before you were born on earth, that you are His child? How does the plan create a way for you to return to God’s presence and enjoy eternal life with Him?

In verse 1, Alma perceives that Corianton doesn’t think it’s fair that sinners can’t be saved in heaven. This actually goes along with Nehor’s teaching that “whatever he did was right.” Alma explains the plan of salvation and the purpose of the atonement to help us overcome our sins. In verse 4, we see that God has given us time to repent. In verse 7, Alma talks about two kinds of death—temporal and spiritual death. Temporal death is the death of the body and spiritual death is separation from God. How did Christ overcome both kinds of death?

In verse 14, Alma talks about justice. Exact justice would condemn us because we all sin. The atonement of Christ introduced mercy into the equation. Jesus satisfied the demands of justice as long as we use His atonement for us to repent. Those who do not repent on earth or in the Spirit World must suffer for their own sins. Search Doctrine and Covenants Section 19 to find more information about this.

In verses 16 – 28, Alma talks about the opposition of sin and righteousness/ punishment and reward. Why do we need laws from God? Why is there a reward for keeping God’s laws and a punishment for breaking them? 

At the end of speaking with Corianton, Alma counsels him not to deny the justice of God and to return to the ministry. Did Corianton do those things? (See Alma 49:30.)

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