“Give Ear to My Words”
Taught By Jeff Stone
August 10, 2008
For anyone who is a parent, these few chapters are invaluable. We will see as Alma speaks to his sons. His words to Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton are shared with us. We will learn a few things from these passages. First, we will learn how to be a good example as parents and how valuable it is. Secondly we will learn “techniques” for how to “deal with” our children.
Starting in Alma 36, we read the words of Alma to his son Helaman. He begins with his conversion story which is also found in Lesson 20. We also find record in Alma 37, of the fact that Alma passed the Small Plates, Large Plates, Brass Plates, The 24 Jaredite plates, The Interpreters and Liahona on to Helaman.
As we read Alma 36, keep in mind the value of Alma telling his story and sharing his testimony. It’s invaluable to learn from the conversion stories of others. Several reasons why were brought up in class today:
- It helps us to understand what that process may be like so that we’ll recognize it when we experience it.
- We all must convert to the gospel whether raised in the church or not. Hearing of a conversion story aids in that conversion process.
- As conversion stories are heard, the spirit will testify to the heart of others
We also learn from this account that it’s important to share your testimony with your children. We must be examples to our children. As we continue on in Alma 36, we see a few more examples of how Alma taught Helaman through his own experience and example:
- “Ye should do as I have done” (Alma 36:2)
- “I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me” (Alma 36:3)
- “Ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done” (Alma 36:29)
- “Ye ought to know as I do know” (Alma 36:30)
Moving on to Alma 37, we see more teachings to Helaman along with the “hand off.” In verses 32-35, we learn that we should teach our children to learn wisdom in their youth. This is exellent advice now and then. We have to responsibility to teach our children to learn.
With each item handed to Helaman, he was given a brief description and a charge as to what his responsibility would be:
- 24 Plates of Jared – Keep them safe and use them to learn from those before us (Alma 37:21)
- Plates of Nephi – Keep them safe and continue them for a wise purpose (Alma 37: 2)
- Interpreters – These are prepared to bring light to a dark world (Alma 37:24–25)
- Brass Plates – Preserve the Geneology (Alma 37: 3)
- Liahona – Keep this as a reminder, a “type” of Christ (Alma 37:38–45)
Plates of Nephi:
Remember, the small plates of Nephi are full. The record is being continued on the Large plates. Alma points out to Helaman in verses 9-12 that the plates of Nephi were crucial to the conversion of the Lamanites. Without this record and the Brass plates, the Lamanites would have had no idea that the teachings of their fathers were false.
Last week in Lesson 28, we saw that Alma talked about Moses and the Fiery Serpants as a type of things to come regarding the Savior and The Atonement. We see this analogy drawn again this week with Alma’s discourse regarding the Liahona. He reminds us of the simplicity of the gospel… by faith and looking to Christ our hearts can be changed and we can be converted. This account is recorded in Alma 37:38–45. Make sure you read it along with, of course, the rest of Alma 37.
Next we come to Alma’s message to Shiblon found in Alma 38. Two major points come out of this section:
- Praise your children
- Bridle your passions
We learn from Alma, by example, that it is good to praise our children. He spends the first few verses of Alma 38 praising Shiblon for his good works. This is a great example for us all. Next he spends time teaching Shiblon to bridle his passions. Bridle is a perfect word for this. It’s a parallel to a horse bridal. A bridal controls and directs the horse and its energy. Apply this to our desires and passions… control them and direct them appropriately.
Alma the Younger and the Four-Chapter Son:
Corianton had not quite been as faithful as Helaman and Shiblon. He is first chastized by his father, Alma. Corianton has four chapters dedicated to Alma’s counsel to him. This lesson only covers the first chapter, Alma 39. Alma 40, 41, and 42 will be the subject of next week’s lesson.
However, we will take a brief moment and cover a few things that are brought up in Alma 39. First, right off the bat, we find out that Corianton had not bridled his passions and had “spent time” with a Lamanite Harlot. Elder Boyd K. Packer sheds further light on the dangers of sexual immorality:
“There was provided in our bodies—and this is sacred—a power of creation, a light, so to speak, that has the power to kindle other lights. This gift was to be used only within the sacred bonds of marriage. Through the exercise of this power of creation, a mortal body may be conceived, a spirit enter into it, and a new soul born into this life.
“This power is good. It can create and sustain family life, and it is in family life that we find the fountains of happiness. …
“The power of creation—or may we say procreation—is not just an incidental part of the plan: it is essential to it. Without it the plan could not proceed. The misuse of it may disrupt the plan.
“Much of the happiness that may come to you in this life will depend on how you use this sacred power of creation. … If [Satan] can entice you to use this power prematurely, to use it too soon, or to misuse it in any way, you may well lose your opportunities for eternal progression. …
“Protect and guard your gift. Your actual happiness is at stake. Eternal family life … can be achieved because our Heavenly Father has bestowed this choicest gift of all upon you—this power of creation. It is the very key to happiness” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 136–39; or Ensign, July 1972, 111–13).
Alma the Ultimate Parent:
As we continue to read Alma’s words to Corianton, we are, again, shown another great example of a parent and how to teach children. Here are four main points that demonstrate this:
- Alma reminded Corianton of what led to Corianton’s sin (Alma 39:2–4)
- He explained the consequences of Corianton’s sin (Alma 39:7–9, 11)
- He taught Corianton how to repent and avoid the sin in the future (Alma 39:9–14)
- He taught Corianton about God’s love and forgiveness (Alma 39:15–19)
We learn in verse 4, that Corianton stopped focusing on his responsibility to his “ministry” and therefore was led into temptation. Another major revelation was that Corianton’s actions made it more difficult for Alma’s missionary efforts to be successful.
Counsel for us all:
Alma counsels Corianton on how to overcome his sins and weaknesses. The bullets below are excellent examples that we can all learn from:
- “Go no more after the lusts of your eyes” (Alma 39:9)
- “Take it upon you to counsel with your elder brothers” (Alma 39:10)
- “Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing” (Alma 39:11)
- “Turn to the Lord with all your mind, might, and strength” (Alma 39:13)
- “Acknowledge your faults and that wrong which ye have done” (Alma 39:13)
- “Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world” (Alma 39:14)
Not For Us, But For You:
On the Beautiful Album, From Cumorah’s Hill, by Steven Kapp Perry, there is a piece called “What Can They Have to Say.” From it we take the following lyrics:
I am a child of the modern age,
I am a son of the present hour.
What can these words from so long ago
Mean to me now?
What can they have to say to me?
We live so differently today.
What can they have to offer me?
They lived so far from me;
So many years away.
What can they have to say?
We are the prophets, years gone by.
We spent our days, we gave our lives
For a record which was written not for us,
But for you. And every word is true.
Each word chosen prayerfully,
Laid down carefully in its place.
For here, from so far away,
We have seen your day
And we pray;
Hear what we have to say!
Hear what we have to say to you.
From these lyrics and the words of many Book of Mormon prophets, we know that they have seen our day and the record they kept and compiled was written for us, so let us make Mormon’s efforts not in vain by applying the principles in these valuable writings.
First, let us each this week take the time to do as Alma did and praise our children. Catch them doing something right.
Second, testify to your children. Share with them your testimony of the gospel, the Savior, the Atonement or any part of the gospel that you have a strong testimony of.
I will be taking this challenge myself. I will even be asking for volunteers to report on how it went next week when we meet.