Items needed for the lesson-
- Jar of water
- Ping-pong ball
- Rope (a jump rope will work if you don’t have a rope)
Last week I did not prepare the lesson, nor did I attend. My team teacher wasn’t there either. So, for our sakes I will start with a brief refresher on some of the people we will be talking about today.
- Alma – Alma was the High Priest and he chose to dedicate his life to missionary work
- Amulek – He was a man who lived in Ammonihah where Alma was preaching. Amulek had a vision about Alma and was told to take care of him.
- Zeezrom – A citizen of Ammonihah that argued with Alma and Amulek saying that they were liars.
Now on to Lesson 16…
What is faith? How does someone have faith? When and how do you use or exercise your faith?
If you take a glass of water and a ping-pong ball, what will happen when you push the ping-pong ball down and then let go? It will bounce again to the top. Now if we were to poke a hole in the ball and push it down, what would happen?
Faith is like the ping-pong ball. If we have faith, we will bounce back from our trials and we will continue to be lifted up in our trials. But if we let fear and doubt seep in, like a small hole would allow the water to fill the ball, we too will sink.
It is difficult to talk to 8-9 year olds about faith and how to practice it. Difficult, because it is something that I continue to work on and continue to strive for.
Alma and Amulek in Prison is a story all about how bad things can happen but ways that our faith can keep us safe. It is also about how one can gain faith.
Alma and Amulek continued to teach the people of Ammonihah the truth about Jesus Christ and the importance of repentance. During one particular time-sharing the message, Zeezrom was in attendance. While he was standing there listening, he began to have a strong emotion and was astonished by what had been spoken. He was also overcome by the damage he had done by way of his words for the people who were gathered.
What was Zeezrom feeling?
Why would he feel that way?
During our lives, we are going to make choices. Sometimes these choices are made without a full understanding or without knowing who our choice may affect. As we grow, we may learn something new that will suddenly make us realize that what we had done minutes, days, weeks or months before was wrong. We too can have that feeling of guilt come over us.
That is exactly what happened to Zeezrom. For some reason, something that was said that day opened his heart up to feel the spirit and his mind was opened so that he understood the damage he had done. He began to cry out to the people that he was the one that was wrong, not Alma and not Amulek.
What do you think the people did when he cried out that he was wrong?
Rather than taking a moment to listen to him this time, they persecuted him and threw him out of the city.
Why do people persecute those that believe differently than they do?
These people continued to persecute the believers in ways that you and I could not even imagine. Actually in ways that you just don’t see happening today. All of the women and children that believed were thrown into a fire.
From the scriptures, we know that these women and children died in that fire. Even though the persecutors expected Alma and Amulek to save them – if they were telling the truth.
Why did the Lord not let Alma save the women and children? In Alma 14:11 we read the answer.
Taking the time to read this scriptures can help us to understand that bad things do happen to good people. But, we also know that those who die defending the truth are blessed. Alma 60:30
“For the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God.”
At this point, I would like to share the Book of Mormon video – Chapter 22 Alma’s Mission to Ammonihah. The video will recap to this point and will finish telling the story.
From the video, we learned that Alma and Amulek were thrown into jail and beaten. The chief judge told them that if they had the power to free themselves he would believe.
Was the chief judge showing any faith?
Faith is believing in that not seen.
What is something that you have never seen but you believe?
I have never seen God. But I know because of my faith that He is our Heavenly Father and that He created us and this earth.
Alma and Amulek prayed and asked God to free them.
If you have a piece of rope, try to break it by pulling it apart. Difficult, if not impossible? Now imagine it being wrapped around you and tying you to a pole. Could you do it?
In answer the their prayer, what happened?
Let’s read directly from the scriptures what happened in Alma 14:26-28.
How great was the faith of Alma and Amulek?
Was their faith greater to release them from the ropes or greater to save the women and children? I believe that their faith was the same. The difference was the Lord’s will. Those women and children were taken into the arms of their Father in Heaven. They were saved eternally while the men who did the damage are forever paying for those sins.
This is the part of faith that I think is the hardest part to accept. When I hear that people have lost their faith or that they have no faith, I can see how they could get to that point. But, when we have trials so great as women and children being thrown into a fire, or more relevant for today, a parent with cancer, a child that has been hit by a car, a mother that dies during child-birth – without faith we would sink. Back to the ping-pong ball. No matter how long I hold that ball down, or how far down I am able to hold the ball down, it will ALWAYS bounce back up.
After Alma and Amulek walked from the prison, they went outside the walls of the city to the land of Sidom. Zeezrom was on his death-bed with a high fever in the same city. Alma and Amulek were asked to go to Zeezrom to heal him.
Alma took his hand and asked him if he believed in Christ. When Zeezrom answered yes and that he believed all that Alma and Amulek had taught, Alma responded that if he believed, he could be healed.
Zeezrom was healed from his sickness and forgiven of his sins.
Zeezrom was then baptized and began to preach the gospel.
The fourth article of faith states…
We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
How did Zeezrom achieve each of these four steps?
What about you?
Faith is something that we have to CONSTANTLY work on. It is not something that comes easily nor grows without work. But faith can make us whole. It can make us whole physically and spiritually. I know that Christ is my Savior and that through him, we may be as Zeezrom and forgiven of our sins. I know that the faith of Alma and Amulek is something that I too can have. But I have to remember not to let the weight of my trials to let the fear and doubt seep in. Faith is the only way to bounce back from our trials.
How can you work to grow your faith?