|"They Taught with Power and Authority of God"
Lesson 25 - Alma 17-22
To Know, To Feel, To Do. How could these phrases relate to missionary work? Elder Carlos E. Asay related the following experience: "Not too long ago, I heard the testimony of a new convert...a young man obviously touched by the Spirit. Among other things, he indicated that it was his great desire to share the restored gospel with his family and friends. With tears in his eyes and a quiver in his voice, he said: ‘I want them to know what I know. ‘I want them to feel what I feel. ‘I want them to do what I have done.’ There is a missionary spirit...a spirit which urges us to live outside ourselves and to be concerned for the welfare of others. And anyone who has ever served an honorable mission, assisted in the conversion of a friend, supported a son or daughter in the mission field, or enjoyed close associations with missionaries will testify of its reality" (Ensign, Nov. 1976, 42).
After the sons of Mosiah were converted, they felt a great desire to share the gospel with others. Their experiences provide some of the greatest examples of missionary service in the scriptures. This lesson discusses how they were able to become instruments in the hands of God in bringing the Lamanites to a knowledge of the truth.
The sons of Mosiah preached the gospel to the Lamanites.
As Alma traveled to Manti, he met the sons of King Mosiah, who were returning from their 14-year mission to the Lamanites. Alma 17-26 records the experiences and preaching of the sons of Mosiah during their mission.
Alma 29:10-13 We see that the sons of Mosiah were such powerful and effective teachers because they loved the Lord and remembered the mercy and care He had provided to them and their fathers.
Alma 17:2-4. Keys to successful missionary work include study, fasting, and prayer. Our personal worthiness and preparation affects our ability to be effective instruments for the Lord--the better prepared, the more successful. Think about how you have seen a missionary or someone else be blessed because of personal preparation.
Alma 17:5-6 Sacrifices the sons of Mosiah made to perform their missionary work included giving up succession to their father's throne; physical discomfort as they faced trials of hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and spiritual struggles as they labored mightily in the spirit.
Alma 17:9, 16; see also Mosiah 28:1-3 Why were they willing to do this? Because they loved God and others.
Consider how you can develop the same kind of love and concern for others that was demonstrated by the sons of Mosiah.
The sons of Mosiah went to preach to "a hardened and a ferocious people" (Alma 17:14).
Alma 17:10-11 The Lord helped prepare them for their mission as he comforted them and counseled them to be good examples in patience and long-suffering in afflictions. If they would do this, he would bless their efforts with success.
Alma 17:12 The sons of Mosiah took courage after receiving comfort and direction from the Lord. Those same promises can be applied to our righteous efforts and help us as we face challenges in our callings.
Ammon served and taught King Lamoni, and many of the people were converted.
Alma 17:29 Ammon’s heart become "swollen...with joy" when the king’s flocks were scattered because he saw it as an opportunity to restore the king's flocks by the power in him and gain credibility for his teachings by his service.
Alma 17:30-39 Ammon turned this adversity into a positive experience by having confidence in the Lord's promises, standing up to those who desired the destruction of others, and having courage in battle with those who sought to slay him.
Alma 18:2-5 The king respond with astonishment when his servants told him how Ammon had defended his flocks. Lamoni thought that Ammon must be more than a mortal.
Alma 18:8-9 When the king asked where he was, Ammon was giving service by feeding the king's horses. He was once again demonstrating humility and developing trust.
Alma 18:10-11 This helped prepare King Lamoni to be taught by impressing him with faithfulness and diligence.
Alma 18:13 The king’s servant addressed Ammon as a great and powerful king in his own right when he came to see the king.
Alma 18:14-17 Ammon’s words to King Lamoni, asking what he could do to serve the king, show that Ammon was still a humble servant.
Consider why it was important for Ammon to serve the king before trying to teach him and further, how serving and developing a relationship of trust with others helps us present the gospel message to them. Consider the ways in which we can serve those we teach.
Alma 18:24-33 As Ammon began teaching King Lamoni, he helped him gain an understanding about God and heaven by teaching in a way that the king could understand. Consider how you can follow this example when teaching the gospel.
Alma 18:34-39 After establishing a level of understanding with King Lamoni, Ammon taught essential doctrines of the plan of redemption from the scriptures.
Alma 18:40-41 After hearing and believing Ammon’s words, King Lamoni asked God for mercy upon him and his people.
Alma 19:1-5, 8-9 After praying, King Lamoni fell to the earth. The queen demonstrated her faith when Lamoni appeared to be dead by calling for Ammon and believing his assurance that the king was only asleep in God and would soon awaken.
Alma 19:12-13 When Lamoni spoke to the queen after his conversion, he emphasized the blessing of the coming of a Redeemer.
Alma 19:13, 15-16 After speaking to the queen, Lamoni again fell to the earth, as did the queen and all of the servants except Abish.
Alma 19:16-17 Abish was converted to the Lord years before this event. She can serve as an example of remaining converted to the Lord even when those around us are not.
Alma 19:17 When she understood what had happened, Abish went to tell others of this example of the power of God. Ponder how you can better recognize and use opportunities to share the gospel.
Alma 19:18-28 When the people arrived at the house of the king, some thought his household was being punished for harboring a Nephite, others thought it punishment for slaying his shepherds who had allowed his sheep to be scattered, others saw it as an opportunity to rebuke Ammon for defending the king's flocks, some thought he was the Great Spirit, and others thought him a monster sent to torment them.
Alma 19:28-29 Abish tried to resolve the contention among the people by raising the queen.
Alma 19:29-31, 33 The king and queen demonstrated their conversion after they arose by praising God, giving thanks for God's mercy, teaching their people what Ammon had taught them, and bearing testimony that they no longer wanted to do evil.
Alma 19:36 Perhaps Mormon wanted us to learn from the experiences of Ammon and King Lamoni and his people that the arm of the Lord is "extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name."
Ammon was led by the Spirit to deliver his brethren. Lamoni’s father was converted.
Alma 20:1 After the Church was established in his kingdom, Lamoni wanted to have his father meet Ammon and hear Lamoni's testimony. It is important for new converts to share their testimonies with others because of their enthusiasm and the spirit that accompanies their testimony.
Alma 20:13-15 This conversation between Lamoni and his father demonstrated the depth of Lamoni’s conversion and his faith in God and his servants.
Alma 20:26-27 King Lamoni’s father was astonished at the humility and love for others shown by Ammon. Love and testimony are so powerful in softening a person’s heart.
Alma 21 begins the account of Ammon’s brother Aaron and his fellow servants. They preached the gospel to the Amalekites and Amulonites in Jerusalem, but these apostate Nephites were extremely hard-hearted and refused to listen. Aaron and his brethren left and began preaching in the land of Middoni, where they were thrown into prison and mistreated.
Alma 21:14-15 When Aaron and his brethren were released from prison and fed and clothed, they went forth on their mission again despite tribulation.
Alma 21:16 Aaron and his brethren knew where they should go to teach the gospel because they were led by the Spirit.
Alma 21:17 They were blessed with missionary success by heeding the promptings of the Spirit.
Alma 22:1 Aaron was led by the Spirit to the house of King Lamoni’s father.
Alma 22:2-3 Ammon’s example helped prepare Lamoni’s father to be taught. Obviously, we need to be a good example. Think about how you have seen the examples of Church members influence others for good.
Compare Alma 18:24-39 with Alma 22:7-14 to see how Aaron’s teaching of Lamoni’s father was similar to Ammon’s teaching of Lamoni.
Alma 22:16 When Lamoni’s father asked what he should do to obtain a hope of redemption, Aaron replied with these simple steps:
a. "Bow down before God."
b. "Repent of all thy sins."
c. "Call on [God’s] name in faith."
Alma 22:15, 17-18 The king was willing to forsake his kingdom and give away his sins to know God.
Referring to Alma 22:15, 18, President Ezra Taft Benson said: "Each of us must surrender our sins if we are to really know Christ. For we do not know Him until we become like Him. There are some, like this king, who must pray until they, too, have ‘a wicked spirit rooted’ from them so they can find the same joy" (Ensign, Nov. 1983, 43).
Alma 22:18-26 Like his son Lamoni, the king was physically overcome by the Spirit. After the king had risen, he declared his testimony, and many were converted through this experience.
Alma 22:26; Alma 23:1-6 Following his conversion, the king helped the missionaries bring thousands to a knowledge of the Lord by proclaiming that they could preach and teach throughout the land and that there should be no opposition from his people toward them.
Consider experiences you may have had or known of where the conversion of one person had a positive effect on many others.
Our present approach to missionary work is similar to that of Ammon and Aaron: missionaries are encouraged to build relationships of trust, follow the Spirit, and teach the plan of redemption from the scriptures.