"Converted unto the Lord"
Lesson 26 - Alma 23-29

Introduction

What characteristics or behaviors distinguish people who are truly converted to Christ and his gospel? This lesson discusses a group of people who were so deeply converted to the Lord that the scriptures record that they "never did fall away" (Alma 23:6).


The Anti-Nephi-Lehies were converted to the Lord.

As we noted in our study of Alma 22, Lamoniís father, who was king of all the Lamanites, was converted through the teachings of Aaron.
Alma 23:1-2 The king of the Lamanites sent out a proclamation supporting the missionary work of Ammon and his brethren after he became converted.
Alma 23:3 He did this so that the word of God might go forth and that his people might be converted and change their lives for the better.
Alma 23:4-7 Results from this proclamation and the subsequent actions of Aaron and his brethren included the establishment and spread of the Church, calling and ordinations of priesthood, false Lamanite traditions were overcome and Nephite traditions were accepted, thousands came to know the Lord, records and prophecies were taught, miracles followed, conversions were sincere and lasting, people became righteous, weapons were laid aside, and the converts were at peace with their brethren and their God.
Actions of the converted Lamanites that confirm that their conversion was true and sincere include:
     a. Alma 23:6 They "were converted unto the Lord". It is essential that Jesus Christ be at the center of our conversion
         because joining the Church for other reasons--the personalities of missionaries, the influence of friends, or the appeal
         of social programs--will fail to bring about true conversion if not accompanied by and based in the believer's sincere
         commitment to follow Christ and live according to His commandments.
     b. Alma 23:16 They "were desirous...that they might be distinguished from their brethren".
         Alma 23:16-18; Alma 27:27-30 The converted Lamanites chose to distinguish themselves from their brethren who
          remained wicked by changing their name from Lamanites to "Anti-Nephi-Lehies" and becoming very industrious.
          Ponder how you are distinguished from the world because of your conversion and why it is important to
          distinguish yourself in such ways.
     c. Alma 24:6-10, 23 They expressed gratitude to God even in times of trial and affliction.
         Alma 24:1-2, 20-22; Alma 27:1-3 Afflictions the Anti-Nephi-Lehies faced as a result of their conversion included
          the hatred and armed opposition of their unconverted Lamanite brethren, and death when they failed to fight
          in the subsequent battle.
         Alma 24:7-10 Despite these afflictions, they were grateful for the missionaries who had taught them the truth, the
          companionship of the Spirit that softened their hearts, the opportunity to repent and the forgiveness they had received.
     d. "They took their swords...and they did bury them up deep in the earth" (Alma 24:15-17).
         Alma 23:7; Alma 24:11-13, 18-19 The Anti-Nephi-Lehies buried their swords and other weapons as a sign of their true
         conversion, fearing that they might not be forgiven again if they ever shed the blood of their brethren again, as a
         testimony to God and men that they would rather die than harm their brethren, and as a sign that they were
         committed to peace.
         It was significant that they buried their weapons rather than simply promising not to use them.
         Consider how we sometimes "rebel against God" and what we can do to bury our "weapons of rebellion".
     e. They showed "great love" for their brethren (Alma 26:31).
         Alma 24:18; Alma 26:32-34 The Anti-Nephi-Lehiesí decision to bury their weapons showed their love for their
          fellowmen as well as for God.
         Think about the ways in which conversion increases a personís love for others.
Alma 24:20-27 When they saw that the Anti-Nephi-Lehies would not take up arms against them, the unconverted Lamanites stopped the slaughter, felt their hearts touched, repented and were converted.
Alma 24:27; note Mormon's observation beginning with the phrase "thus we see." According to Mormon, we learn from this account that the Lord works in many ways to bring about the salvation of his people.


The Anti-Nephi-Lehies sought safety among the Nephites.

Alma 27:1-5 Ammon and his brethren urged the Anti-Nephi-Lehies to go to the land of Zarahemla, where the Nephites lived, so that they would not be destroyed by their enemies.
Alma 27:6 The king was reluctant to take his people to Zarahemla because of his fear that the Nephites would slay them due to their past history of murders and sins.
Alma 27:7-14 The Lord's answer to Ammon's prayer persuaded the king to go to Zarahemla.
Ponder how your faith in the Lord helps you when you face frightening situations.
Alma 27:20-26 When Ammon asked the Nephites to admit the Anti-Nephi-Lehies into their land, Alma asked for the voice of the people. The people decided to welcome their brethren, give them an inheritance in the land of Jershon, and vowed to protect them with their armies if the new settlers would pay the expense of the army.
The Nephites helped the Anti-Nephi-Lehies keep their covenant with the Lord by providing defense forces. We can help others stay converted to the Lord by setting a good example and serving them in the unique ways that may assist them in keeping their covenants.
From the time the Anti-Nephi-Lehies settled in Jershon, they were known as the people of Ammon (Alma 27:26). Throughout the rest of the Book of Mormon, they are referred to as either the people of Ammon or the Ammonites.
Alma 28:1-3 After the people of Ammon were settled in the land of Jershon, the Lamanites came in war against the Nephites and slew thousands of the Nephites in the worst battle ever fought until that time.
Alma 28:4-6 After this great battle, many people mourned for those killed in battle.
Alma 28:11-12 Some mourners feared while others rejoiced because those who sorrowed knew the promises of the Lord and had reason to fear for the eternal state of their sinful dead.
Alma 28:13-14 From these responses we can appreciate what a difference there is in knowing that you live according to the commandments and therefore have no need to fear the judgment of God.


Ammon and Alma rejoiced in the accomplishment of the Lordís work.

Alma 26 records Ammonís feelings about the success he and his brothers experienced in bringing the gospel to the Lamanites. Alma 29 records Almaís feelings about the success of Ammon and his brothers and expresses Almaís desire that all people might have the opportunity to hear and accept the gospel.
Alma 26:1-9 The "great blessings" the Lord gave Ammon and his brethren included being instruments in the Lord's hands, seeing thousands rejoicing because of being brought to the Lord, and knowing that their brethren would be saved in the last day.
Alma 26:22 teaches us that we can become effective "instruments in the hands of God to bring about [his] great work" if we repent, have faith in Christ, pray continually, and bring forth good works.
Alma 26:10-16, 35-37 When Aaron rebuked Ammon for boasting, Ammon responded that he did not boast of his own strength or wisdom, but he was boasting of his God.
Consider how we can "boast of [our] God" and "glory in the Lord" and count the ways the Lord has blessed you with strength beyond your own to help accomplish His work.
Alma 26:23-25 When Aaron and his brothers first announced their mission to the Lamanites, the people of Zarahemla responded by laughing them to scorn and talking of destroying the Lamanites rather than teaching them.
We learn from this situation that prejudging peopleís responses to the gospel instead of allowing them to accept or reject it on their own is not the Lord's way. To overcome this tendency to prejudge others, we need to repent and seek humility.
Alma 26:27-30 Here, we learn from Ammon and his brethren that we should respond to afflictions with patience, faith, long-suffering, diligence and hard work, reliance on the mercy of God, and steadfastly keeping our eyes on the goal of saving others by teaching the word of the Lord.
Ponder how patience and trust in the Lord have helped you experience a good outcome from a difficult situation.
Alma 29:1 Alma wished to be an angel to cry repentance unto every people.
Alma 29:2; see also Alma 28:14 Alma said that the result, if "every soul" repented and came unto God would be relief from sorrow and rejoicing in God. Ponder experiences in your past that have taught you that living the gospel brings joy into your life.
Alma 29:3, 6-7 Alma felt that he sinned in his desire to be an angel because he should have been content to do the part that the Lord had assigned him to. Consider silently how you can be content with what the Lord has given you while still striving to grow and improve yourself.
Alma said that God "granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life" (Alma 29:4). To see what this means review 2 Nephi 2:27.
Alma 29:10-13 Alma rejoiced in what the Lord had done for him and his fathers. Take the opportunity to remember what the Lord has done for you and your family that causes you to rejoice.


Conclusion

Return to section one of this lesson and review the ways the Anti-Nephi-Lehies showed that they were truly converted.