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Come Follow Me 2020: Alma 36-38
Illustration of a man praying by Joshua Dennis. Image via ChurchofJesusChrist.org
Illustration of a man praying by Joshua Dennis. Image via ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Scripture Block

Alma 36–38

July 20–26. “Look to God and Live”

KnoWhys

Reading Plan

Structure your personal scripture study by following a multimedia, day by day plan. Each day's assignment includes the required scripture passages from the Come Follow Me curriculum, as well as suggestions for additional resources to bring context and understanding to your study. If you are looking to dive deep into your study, skip down to "Additional Resources" for a selected bibliography of articles, books, and chapters on Alma 36–38.

Monday

  • Scripture: Alma 36:1–4
  • Chart: Chiasmus in Alma 36
  • Chart: Three Accounts of Alma's Conversion
  • Chart: Shared Words in the Three Accounts of Alma's Conversion
  • Quote: “To understand this promise we need to define the word prosper in a Book of Mormon context. Certainly prosperity had to do with the physical and spiritual circumstances of the obedient, but beyond that it is used in the framework of deliverance.… Notice how closely related the ideas of prosperity and deliverance are. The parallel usage of these two words is not uncommon in the Nephite text (see Omni 1:6-7; Mosiah 2:31; 7:29, 33; Alma 9:9, 13; 36:29-30)”
    Bassett, K. Douglas. "Nephi's Freedom Thesis and the Sons of Helaman." In The Book of Mormon: Alma, The Testimony of the Word, edited by Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr., 291–292. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1992.

Explore Further

Tuesday

  • Scripture: Alma 36:5–19
  • Quote: “As Alma mentions later to his son Corianton, the murder of a human physical body is a grave sin. However, an even more serious sin is to murder the spiritual life of a person or, in other words, to purposely lead one away from the saving principles of the gospel. Concerning such people Alma says:  ‘... whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness.’ (Alma 39:6.)”
    Ludlow, Daniel H. A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976, 218.
  • Quote: “It is not uncommon to find men and women in the world who feel remorse for the things they do wrong…. Godly sorrow is a gift of the Spirit. It is a deep realization that our actions have offended our Father and our God. It is the sharp and keen awareness that our behavior caused the Savior, He who knew no sin, even the greatest of all, to endure agony and suffering…. This very real mental and spiritual anguish is what the scriptures refer to as having ‘a broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ Such a spirit is the absolute prerequisite for true repentance”
    Benson, Ezra Taft. “A Mighty Change of Heart.” General Conference October 1989, 4.
  • Quote: “Most people in trouble end up crying, “What was I thinking?” Well, whatever they were thinking, they weren’t thinking of Christ. Yet, as members of His Church, we pledge every Sunday of our lives to take upon ourselves His name and promise to “always remember him.” So let us work a little harder at remembering Him—especially that He has “borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows … , [that] he was bruised for our iniquities … ; and with his stripes we are healed.” Surely it would guide our actions in a dramatic way if we remembered that every time we transgress, we hurt not only those we love, but we also hurt Him, who so dearly loves us. But if we do sin, however serious that sin may be, we can be rescued by that same majestic figure, He who bears the only name given under heaven whereby any man or woman can be saved. When confronting our transgressions and our souls are harrowed up with true pain, may we all echo the repentant Alma and utter his life-changing cry: “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me.””
    Holland, Jeffrey R. “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul.” General Conference April 2010.

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Scripture: Alma 37:1–14
  • Quote: “We are taught many small and simple things in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to be reminded that in total and over a significant period of time, these seemingly small things bring to pass great things. There have been many talks on this subject by General Authorities and by other respected teachers. The subject is so important that I feel to speak of it again.“
    I was reminded of the power of small and simple things over time by something I saw on a morning walk. Here is the picture I took. The thick and strong concrete sidewalk is cracking. Is this the result of some large and powerful thrust? No, this cracking is caused by the slow, small growth of one of the roots reaching out from the adjoining tree. Here is a similar example I saw on another street.“
    The thrusting power that cracked these heavy concrete sidewalks was too small to measure on a daily or even a monthly basis, but its effect over time was incredibly powerful.“
    So is the powerful effect over time of the small and simple things we are taught in the scriptures and by living prophets. Consider the scripture study we’ve been taught to incorporate into our daily lives. Or consider the personal prayers and the kneeling family prayers that are regular practices for faithful Latter-day Saints. Consider attendance at seminary for youth or institute classes for young adults. Though each of these practices may seem to be small and simple, over time they result in powerful spiritual uplift and growth. This occurs because each of these small and simple things invites the companionship of the Holy Ghost, the Testifier who enlightens us and guides us into truth, as President Eyring has explained.”
    Oaks, Dallin H. “Small and Simple Things.” General Conference April 2018.
  • Quote: “The scriptures enlarge our memory by helping us always to remember the Lord and our relationship to Him and the Father…. The scriptures also enlarge our memory by helping us not forget what we and earlier generations have learned…. Those who either don’t have or ignore the recorded word of God eventually cease to believe in Him and forget the purpose of their existence. You will remember how important it was for Lehi’s people to take the brass plates with them when they left Jerusalem. These scriptures were key to their knowledge of God and the coming Redemption of Christ”
    Christofferson, D. Todd. "The Blessing of Scripture." General Conference April 2010.

Explore Further

Friday

  • Scripture: Alma 37:15–25
  • Quote: “We can learn a great deal from these children of Lehi. By doing what they did, we can become more powerful in blessing the lives of our Heavenly Father’s sons and daughters, more powerful in serving others, more powerful in rescuing others, and more powerful in becoming more Christlike men.
    “Alma the Younger teaches us one of the things they did to become so successful: they used the records from which the Book of Mormon was taken. When he gave the record that would eventually become the Book of Mormon to his son Helaman, he taught that without these plates, “Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands … ; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance.”
    "God showed His power through the plates by fulfilling one purpose, “even … the restoration of many thousands … to the knowledge of the truth.” Alma then prophesied that God would “still show forth his power in them unto future generations.” Thus, the records were preserved, and you and I are part of those future generations. Just as in the days of old, we can be more powerful priesthood holders by using the Book of Mormon.”
    Gonzalez, Walter F. “Becoming More Powerful Priesthood Holders.” General Conference October 2009.
  • KnoWhy 145: Why Was a Stone Used as an Aid in Translating the Book of Mormon?
  • KnoWhy 417: Were Joseph Smith’s Translation Instruments Like the Israelite Urim and Thummim?

Saturday

  • Scripture: Alma 37:26–47
  • Quote: “In his farewell instructions to his son Helaman, Alma warns him to withhold from the Nephites those references from Jaredite history pertaining to ‘all their oaths, and their covenants, and their agreements in their secret abominations; yea . . . ye shall keep these secret plans of their oaths and their covenants from this people.’ (Alma 37:27, 29.) But in Helaman 6, which covers a period about fifty years later than Alma’s instructions to his son, it is obvious that the Nephites (especially the Gadianton Robbers) are in possession of these secret oaths and covenants. The historian hastens to inform us, however, that these secret oaths and covenants did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit.’ (Helaman 6:26.) In subsequent verses the historian makes it clear that these secret oaths and covenants came from the devil, ‘he who is the author of all sin’ (Helaman 6:30.)”
    Ludlow, Daniel H. A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976, 242.
  • KnoWhy 405: Why Were the Three Witnesses Shown the Liahona?

Explore Further

  • Quote: ““O my son,” Alma continued, “do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever. And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live.
    “The Lord provides guidance and direction to individuals and families today, just as He did with Lehi. This very general conference is a modern Liahona, a time and place to receive inspired guidance and direction that prospers us and helps us follow God’s path through the more fertile parts of mortality. Consider that we are gathered to hear counsel from prophets and apostles who have prayed mightily and prepared carefully to know what the Lord would have them say. We have prayed for them and for ourselves that the Comforter would teach us the mind and will of God. Surely there is no better time or place for the Lord to direct His people than in this conference.
    “The teachings of this conference are the compass of the Lord. In the coming days you may, as Lehi did, walk out your front door and find a Liahona, Ensign, or other Church publication in your mailbox, and it will contain the proceedings of this conference. As with the Liahona of old, this new writing will be plain and easy to read and will give you and your family understanding concerning the ways and paths of the Lord.”
    Snow, Lowell M. “Compass of the Lord.” General Conference October 2005.

Sunday

Additional Resources (Bibliography)

Alma 36

Brown, S. Kent. “Alma's Conversion: Reminiscences in His Sermons.” In A Book of Mormon Treasury: Gospel Insights from General Authorities and Religious Educators, 246–261. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003.

Gardner, Brant A. “Labor Diligently to Write: The Ancient Making of a Modern Scripture, Chapters 14 & 15.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 35 (2020): 271–328.

Lindsay, Jeff. “’Arise from the Dust’: Insights from Dust-Related Themes in the Book of Mormon (Part 1: Tracks from the Book of Moses).” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 22 (2016): 179–232.

Lindsay, Jeff. “’Arise from the Dust’: Insights from Dust-Related Themes in the Book of Mormon (Part 2: Enthronement, Resurrection, and Other Ancient Motifs from the ‘Voice from the Dust’).” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 22 (2016): 233–277.

Lindsay, Jeff. “’Arise from the Dust’: Insights from Dust-Related Themes in the Book of Mormon (Part 3: Dusting Off a Famous Chiasmus, Alma 36).” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 22 (2016): 295–318.

Peterson, Daniel C. “Compassion as the Heart of the Gospel.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 32 (2019): vii–xvi.

Tolley, Kevin L. “To ‘See and Hear.’” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 18 (2016): 139–158.

Welch, John W. “A Masterpiece: Alma 36.” In Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, edited by John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne, 114–131. Provo, UT: FARMS, 1991.

Welch, John W., and Greg Welch. “Chiasmus in Alma 36.” In Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999, chart 132.

Welch, John W., and Greg Welch. “Three Accounts of Alma's Conversion.” In Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999, chart 42.

Welch, John W., and Greg Welch. “Shared Words in the Three Accounts of Alma's Conversion.” In Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999, chart 107.

Welch, John W., and Greg Welch. “The Speeches of Alma.” In Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999, chart 60.

Welch, John W. “Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon.” In Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, 33–52. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1982.

Alma 36:3

Welch, John W., and Greg Welch. “Who Kept the Records in the Book of Mormon? (By Lineages).” In Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999, chart 17.

Alma 36:6

Book of Mormon Central. “Why Are there Multiple Accounts of Joseph Smith's and Alma's Visions? (Alma 36:6).” KnoWhy 264 (January 20, 2017).

Bowen, Matthew L. “He Did Go About Secretly´´: Additional Thoughts on the Literary Use of Alma’s Name.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 27 (2017): 197–212.

Alma 36:7–11

Tvedtnes, John A. “The Voice of an Angel.” In Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, 311–321. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997.

Welch, John W. “Three Accounts of Alma's Conversion.” In Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch, 150–153. Provo, UT/Salt Lake City: FARMS/Deseret Book, 1992.

S. Kent Brown. “Alma's Conversion: Reminiscences in His Sermons.” In From Jerusalem to Zarahemla: Literary and Historical Studies of the Book of Mormon, 113–127. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1998.

S. Kent Brown. “Alma's Conversion: Reminiscences in His Sermons.” In A Book of Mormon Treasury: Gospel Insights from General Authorities and Religious Educators, 246–261. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003.

Alma 36:18

Book of Mormon Central. “What Can We Learn from 10 of the Best Chiasms in the Book of Mormon? Part 3 (Alma 36:18).” KnoWhy 355 (August 20, 2017).

Alma 36:28–29

Book of Mormon Central. “What the Exodus Teaches Us about the Atonement (Alma 36:28).” KnoWhy 419 (March 27, 2018).

S. Kent Brown. “Sojourn, Dwell, and Stay: Terms of Servitude.” In From Jerusalem to Zarahemla: Literary and Historical Studies of the Book of Mormon, 55–74. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1998.

S. Kent Brown. “The Exodus Pattern of the Book of Mormon.” In From Jerusalem to Zarahemla: Literary and Historical Studies of the Book of Mormon, 75–98. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1998.

Alma 37

Gardner, Brant A. “Labor Diligently to Write: The Ancient Making of a Modern Scripture, Chapters 14 & 15.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 35 (2020): 271–328.

Alma 37:6

Book of Mormon Central. “Is the Book of Mormon Like Any Other Nineteenth Century Book? (Alma 37:6).” KnoWhy 502 (February 16, 2019).

Book of Mormon Central. “The Simple Miracle That Helped the Whitmers Further the Book of Mormon (Alma 37:6).” KnoWhy 488 (November 27, 2018).

Wells, Robert E. “The Liahona Triad.” In A Book of Mormon Treasury: Gospel Insights from General Authorities and Religious Educators, 80–96. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003.

Alma 37:8

Wilcox, Brad. “Why Write It?Ensign 29, no. 9 (1999).

Alma 37:13

Welch, John W., and Greg Welch. “Nephite Cycle of Righteousness: Mormon's Warning for Us Today.” In Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999, chart 144.

Alma 37:14

Holbrook, Brett L. “Sword of Laban as a Symbol of Divine Authority.” In Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s, edited by John W. Welch and Melvin J. Thorne, 93–96. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999.

Alma 37:23–25

Book of Mormon Central. “Were Joseph Smith’s Translation Instruments Like the Israelite Urim and Thummim? (Alma 37:24).” KnoWhy 417 (March 20, 2018).

Book of Mormon Central. “How Can Sally Conrad’s Witness of the Book of Mormon Strengthen Our Faith? (Alma 37:23).” KnoWhy 385 (November 28, 2017).

Book of Mormon Central. “Why Was a Stone Used as an Aid in Translating the Book of Mormon? (Alma 37:23).” KnoWhy 145 (July 18, 2016).

Hoskisson, Paul Y. “Urim and Thummim.” In Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Edited by Daniel H. Ludlow.

Jolley, Eliott. “Gazelem the Jaredite.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 27 (2017): 85–105.

Roper, Matthew. “Teraphim and the Urim and Thummim.” Insights: A Window on the Ancient World 20, no. 9 (2000): 2.

Spencer, Stan. “Reflections of Urim: Hebrew Poetry Sheds Light on the Directors-Interpreters Mystery.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 14 (2015): 187–207.

Spencer, Stan. “What Did the Interpreters (Urim and Thummim) Look Like?Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 33 (2019): 223–256.

Alma 37:27–34

Bowen, Matthew L. “Getting Cain and Gain.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 15 (2015): 115–141.

Alma 37:38–44

Book of Mormon Central. “Why Were the Three Witnesses Shown the Liahona? (Alma 37:38).” KnoWhy 405 (February 6, 2018).

Bunker, Robert L. “The Design of the Liahona and the Purpose of the Second Spindle.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3, no. 2 (1994): 1–11.

Gervais, Timothy and John L. Joyce. “’By Small Means’: Rethinking the Liahona.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 30 (2018): 207–232.

Curci, Jonathan. “Liahona: ‘The Direction of the Lord’: An Etymological Explanation.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 16, no. 2 (2007): 60–67, 97–98.

Alma 37:45

Clark, Robert E. “The Type at the Border: An Inquiry into Book of Mormon Typology.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 2 (1993): 63–77.

Alma 38

Bowen, Matthew L. “’See That Ye Are Not Lifted Up’: The Name Zoram and Its Paronomastic Pejoration.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 19 (2016): 109–143.

Gardner, Brant A. “Labor Diligently to Write: The Ancient Making of a Modern Scripture, Chapters 14 & 15.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 35 (2020): 271–328.

Van Dyke, Blair G. “Light or Dark, Freedom or Bondage: Enhancing Book of Mormon Themes through Contrasts.” Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel 6, no. 3 (2005): 99–116.

Welch, John W. “Three Accounts of Alma's Conversion.” In Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch, 150–153. Provo, UT/Salt Lake City: FARMS/Deseret Book, 1992.

Welch, John W., and Greg Welch. “Shared Words in the Three Accounts of Alma's Conversion.” In Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999, chart 107.

Welch, John W., and Greg Welch. “The Speeches of Alma.” In Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999, chart 60.

Alma 38:5

Book of Mormon Central. “Did Alma Counsel His Sons During the Passover? (Alma 38:5).” KnoWhy 146 (July 19, 2016).

Alma 38:12

Hafen, Bruce C. and Marie K. Hafen. Bridle All Your Passions,“ Ensign (February 1994).