Loving and wise teachings

Once a rebellious son, Alma the Younger became a wise, loving and kind father - teaching his sons many great and important things.

In teaching Helaman, Corianton and Shiblon - recorded in the book of Alma, chapters 36-42 - Alma uses some tools that, if applied, are valuable to all parents and teachers.He teaches the doctrine of the kingdom, solidified by strong personal testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and augmented with inspired wise counsel and faith-promoting experiences.

In fact, we can thank Alma - while teaching his sons - for some of the most enlightening doctrinal discourses of the Book of Mormon.

Consider these excerpts, just a few of many, from his teachings:

Keep the commandments

"O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God." (Alma 37:35.)

That passage is surrounded by counsel to "teach an everlasting hatred" of sin; to remember the fundamental principles of the gospel; to be humble and meek, yet to never weary in doing good; and, of course, to seek the Lord in every way and in everything that we do.

The advice, of course, is every bit as valuable today as when it was first given, some 70-75 years before the birth of Christ.

Learn from others

Not unlike wise mothers and fathers of today, Alma taught his sons to learn from the lessons of others.

Pointing out that Lehi's liahona worked on faith, Alma taught Helaman that his forefathers had hungered and thirsted in the wilderness because they forgot to exercise their faith. But, applying the lesson to his own day, Alma also pointed out that the Lord's children will hunger and thirst in a spiritual wilderness if they are slothful in heeding the Lord's counsel.

Then, in a passage that fits very well the circumstances of today, Alma says ". . . do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way." (Alma 37:46.)

A good example

Like it or not, as Latter-day Saints, we are often individually held up as examples - and expected to be nearly perfect in all aspects of our lives. As we strive to cultivate love and good will in a sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile world, Alma's words are an excellent guide.

Alma taught Shiblon that his actions should always be founded in the strength and wisdom of God, and not in one's self-determined strength. (See Alma 38:11.)

Then, striking a near perfect balance for our mortal relationships, he taught, "Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; . . ." (Alma 38:12.)

Later, in counseling Corianton, Alma pointed out at least one possible problem when this advice isn't followed, and illustrated that one's conduct has ramifications far beyond the individual.

"Behold, O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words." (Alma 39:11.)


Though some might have doubted Alma's words, none could doubt the honesty, sincerity and strength of his conviction. He knew without question that what he taught was absolutely true.

And because of that testimony, the Spirit rested with his words, allowing others, if they chose, to also feel of their truthfulness.

"Now, my son, I would not that ye should think that I know these things of myself, but it is the Spirit of God which is in me which maketh these things known unto me . . . ," he told Shiblon. (Alma 38:6.)

And he knew that all who sincerely desired could likewise know. The choice, he taught, is ours.

"Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; . . ." (Alma 42:27.)

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