The prophet-historian, Mormon, reflecting on a period of war and death among the Nephites, teaches of spiritual cause and effect and how death is a defining moment for individuals passing into the eternities.
“…In one year were thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world, that they might reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they listed to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one. For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey…” (Alma 3:26-27)
-How many carefully account for the spiritual wages they are earning based on the spirit they are obeying? Is it possible to take account of one’s spiritual status?
-Why would a person choose to obey a bad spirit? Is the temptation to sacrifice long-term happiness for short-term pleasure part of the equation?
-Can Satan and his spiritual servants make evil look good and good look evil?
-How much of what passes as good in our time and culture is actually evil and vice versa?
For a free copy of the Book of Mormon please go to https://www.ComeUntoChrist.org/site/book-of-mormon
After a group of people rebelled against the Nephites and separated from them (and the Lord’s church that was central to the Nephite’s culture) the estranged group began marking their foreheads with red. The mark they placed on their heads fulfilled an earlier prophecy that God would curse and mark all who separated themselves from the Nephites who were striving to follow the Lord and live righteously. Interestingly, the rebellious group marked themselves instead of God directly marking them.
“…They had come out in open rebellion against God; therefore it was expedient that the curse should fall upon them. Now I would that ye should see that they brought upon themselves the curse; and even so doeth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation.” (Alma 3:18-19)
-Are those who are coming out in open rebellion against God, in our time, marking themselves?
-Is it inevitable that these markers manifest themselves every time a group fights against God and His people?
-Do people generally like to mark their territory, figuratively speaking, when it comes to their beliefs and values? Is there something satisfying about expressing one’s position in a physical or visual manner?
-Do those who are true followers of the Lord have markers? Are those markers visual or behavioral? (see John 13:35 and Doctrine and Covenants 50:24)
When King Mosiah is enacting measures to transition the Nephite government from a monarchy to a more democratic form, he adds an important point of warning.
“…If the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.” (Mosiah 29:27)
-Is the voice of the people choosing iniquity in the United States? Is the voice of the people choosing iniquity in other democratic nations?
-Is the land that has hitherto been visited with great destruction all the Americas? Or is it a specific region within the Americas?
King Mosiah refers back to a (then) recent event in Nephite history to help teach an essential principle about how God works with his children.
“Yea, remember king Noah, his wickedness and his abominations, and also the wickedness and abominations of his people. Behold what great destruction did come upon them; and also because of their iniquities they were brought into bondage. And were it not for the interposition of their all-wise Creator, and this because of their sincere repentance, they must unavoidably remain in bondage until now. But behold, he did deliver them because they did humble themselves before him; and because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him.” (Mosiah 29:18-20)
-Are you in bondage to a situation or an addiction?
-Do you believe the above verses describe the only way to obtain true freedom?
-What does it mean to repent? (click the “repentance” link above)
-What does it mean to humble oneself before the Lord? (click the “humble” link above)
-What does it mean to trust in God? (click the “trust” link above)
For a Free Copy of the Book of Mormon go to: https://www.comeuntochrist.org/beliefs/book-of-mormon-request
King Mosiah addresses the reality that while God always judges justly, we mortal men and women do not.
“…It is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just.” (Mosiah 29:12)
-When do the better judgments occur?
-Are the judgments of God active before the Last Judgment?
-Why will the Last Judgment be so final for each individual when compared to the other judgments of God that occur prior to the Last Judgment?
-Do those who have been judged harshly by mortals (whether deserved or not) often have a greater appreciation and yearning for God’s perfect judgment?
Alma testifies that all will recognize Christ for who He is as our Lord and Redeemer.
“…Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye.” (Mosiah 27:31)
-What does it mean to live without God?
-It is a choice whether you live with or without Him?
-What choices can you make to draw closer to God?
-Do those who sincerely and diligently seek God, find God?
-Will those who never drew closer to the light of God during this life shake, tremble, and quake (i.e. be overwhelmed spiritually) when His full glory is revealed to them at the Judgment Day?
After passing through a terrible spiritual ordeal because of his sins (see Alma 38:7-8), and then finding redemption through Christ, Alma the Younger (referring to Christ) declares the following:
“…He remembereth every creature of his creating.” (Mosiah 27:30)
-Do you believe that God is aware of you personally?
-Do you believe that He yearns for your eternal welfare?
-How precious is a human soul to God? -How grateful was Alma that Christ remembered him (see Mosiah 27:27-30)?
Alma the Younger openly rebelled against Christ’s church and his father, Alma, who was the leader of the church. After seeing an angel of God, who called him to repentance, the younger Alma was tormented by the realization of the seriousness his sins to the point where he couldn’t speak or perform basic physical tasks for two days. After passing through this deep trial and regaining his strength, he testified to all present as follows:
“I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.”
And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off.” (Mosiah 27:24-27)
-Is Alma the Younger’s experience of being born again typical or exceptional?
-Is sudden and dramatic change better than incremental change in God’s eyes?
-What kind of change is more likely to have lasting results?
The Lord, speaking to Alma (the leader of the Nephite church), declares that only those who truly repent are numbered among His people.
“…Whosoever will not repent of his sins the same shall not be numbered among my people.” (Mosiah 26:32)
-How popular are churches that consistently call people to true and sincere repentance?
-How likely is it that God’s true church will be a widely-accepted church?
-Does repentance require work? Does any real growth occur without work?
The Lord commands his people to forgive.
“…Forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation.” (Mosiah 26:31)
-Is it always easy to forgive?
-Is divine help, to forgive, sometimes required?