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Teaching the Gospel and Following the Spirit (Alma 18)

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon Lesson 25
“I Will Make an Instrument of Thee” (Alma 17-22)




In Alma 18:24–32, after protecting the King’s flocks, Ammon teaches King Lamoni; however, he finds that a key part of that teaching is providing basic definitions for terms that are unfamiliar to Lamoni.

24 And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness, and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?
25 And he answered, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth.
26 And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit?
27 And he said, Yea.
28 And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth?
29 And he said: Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth; but I do not know the heavens.
30 And Ammon said unto him: The heavens is a place where God dwells and all his holy angels.
31 And king Lamoni said: Is it above the earth?
32 And Ammon said: Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning.

Two things Ammon does well here are ask questions that gauge the understanding of Lamoni and provide definitions that make the most of Lamoni’s understanding. Lamoni hadn’t heard of God, at least the specific God that Ammon was teaching, but he was familiar (as we know from verse 5) with the concept of a Great Spirit, which Ammon built upon in order to provide a basis of understanding rooted in terms that they understood in common, even if those terms were not yet fully fleshed out. Lamoni also does not understand what the term heaven means, and so Ammon provides a definition for this term as well. He also uses his description of heaven, with God “look[ing] down upon all the children of men,” and “know[ing] the thoughts and intents of the heart” to give further context to how he was able by the Spirit of God to discern the thoughts of the king in verse 16. This actually brings me to a second point that I like about the story of Ammon, which is the way that it illustrates the informative quality of communication from the Holy Ghost. For the passage I will highlight, we turn to Alma 20:1-5,

1 And it came to pass that when they had established a church in that land, that king Lamoni desired that Ammon should go with him to the land of Nephi, that he might show him unto his father.
2 And the voice of the Lord came to Ammon, saying: Thou shalt not go up to the land of Nephi, for behold, the king will seek thy life; but thou shalt go to the land of Middoni; for behold, thy brother Aaron, and also Muloki and Ammah are in prison.
3 Now it came to pass that when Ammon had heard this, he said unto Lamoni: Behold, my brother and brethren are in prison at Middoni, and I go that I may deliver them.
4 Now Lamoni said unto Ammon: I know, in the strength of the Lord thou canst do all things. But behold, I will go with thee to the land of Middoni; for the king of the land of Middoni, whose name is Antiomno, is a friend unto me; therefore I go to the land of Middoni, that I may flatter the king of the land, and he will cast thy brethren out of prison. Now Lamoni said unto him: Who told thee that thy brethren were in prison?
5 And Ammon said unto him: No one hath told me, save it be God; and he said unto me—Go and deliver thy brethren, for they are in prison in the land of Middoni.

The Spirit affects both the mind and the heart and thus it does communicate with us through our emotions as well as our thoughts but, too often, people make the mistake of supposing that the Spirit manifests itself as nothing more than feelings, which is an unfortunate misunderstanding. In reality, the Spirit sometimes provides critical information that allows God’s work to continue and prosper whatever the circumstances may be as long as his people put their trust in him and are seeking to understand his will for them. While both these experiences happen to Ammon while he is serving as a missionary, we have been taught that every member should be a missionary and we should in no way suppose that such experiences need be restricted to the exceptionally few months of a typical full time mission. If we continue to put our trust in Christ and seek for the guidance of the Spirit with real intent of heart, then those promptings can continue to be a guiding and correcting influence throughout our lives and we can be instruments in the hands of the Lord to bless and serve those around us just as Ammon by following the Spirit’s promptings helped deliver his brethren.

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