The historian-prophet, Mormon, teaches of the Lord’s readiness to eternally bless all who will believe in Him and lay hold of His word.
“…The Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name. Yea, thus we may see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and snares and wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.” (Helaman 3:28-30)
– How valuable is the strait and narrow course mapped out in God’s scriptures?
-Have the majority of Americans rebelled against this narrow course? Or, do most still have a strong connection with it?
-Is it possible to sincerely call upon the name of Lord without also laying hold upon His word?
Captain Moroni explains the order in which God works with individuals and groups of people.
“…God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.” (Alma 60:23)
-How does this truth relate to Christ’s teaching that one should first remove the beam from his or her eye before trying to remove the mote that is in another’s eye? (Matthew 7:3-5)
Alma teaches that a person must walk according to God’s decrees in order to be saved.
“…The decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved.” (Alma 41:8)
-What are the decrees of God?
-How important is the necessity of repentance through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (as one of God’s decrees)?
Alma testifies of the surety of God’s promises.
“…God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words. For he will fulfil all his promises which he shall make unto you…” (Alma 37:16-17)
-What promises has God made to you?
-Do you live your life in confidence that those promises will be fulfilled?
Alma teaches his son about the more subtle power God often chooses to employ as a means of bringing about great results, most specifically the salvation of souls.
“…By small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.” (Alma 37:6-7)
-In discussions about God’s attributes, how often is perfect finesse mentioned?
-When life is a measure of our faith and true desires—and the cumulative use of one’s free agency is what will be put in the balance on the Day of Judgment—how much finesse is needed by a loving God who desires to bring all (who are willing) back to His presence for eternity?
-Would life be a meaningful proving ground for the eternities (and test of faith) if God frequently revealed Himself beyond small means?
-How often do people overlook what God is doing in their lives because they are looking for grandiose interventions?
-How off base are those among the intelligentsia/academicians who see the world as being firmly a matter of intention-less cause and effect separate from the powerful “undercurrents” of God’s interventions?
Alma testifies that God is eternally steady and true in His course. Those who do not reconcile themselves to His perfect course before the Last Judgment will be eternally separated from He who never turns from “that which is right to that which is wrong.”
“[God] cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; therefore, his course is one eternal round. And he doth not dwell in unholy temples; neither can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received into the kingdom of God; therefore I say unto you the time shall come, yea, and it shall be at the last day, that he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness.” (Alma 7:20-21)
-Why is God’s course described as a round rather than, say, as a straight line?
-Who is the only One who can provide reconciliation with God?
The Nephites following the prophet Alma were required to endure captivity for a time, but the Lord helped them through their trials and declared the following to them:
“…Ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.” (Mosiah 24:14)
-Can a person come to know God more from the trials he or she passes through than from times of ease?
-Are greater blessings granted to those who are keeping the commandments and following the voice of the Spirit?
The Book of Mormon record reemphasizes the importance of the Ten Commandments given by God to the Israelite people. The Nephite prophets who taught their people and recorded scripture drew on a record called the Brass Plates (which were brought from Jerusalem) that contained most of writings of the prophets found in the Old Testament up to 600 B.C., including the book of Exodus containing the Ten Commandments.
Posts for the next several weeks will focus on a section of Mosiah chapter 13 that presents the Ten Commandments in wording very similar to the King James Translation (but with some interesting variations). Words and punctuation in italic show instances where the wording and punctuation is different from the King James version.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of things which are in heaven above, or which are in the earth beneath, or which are in the water under the earth. And again: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” (Mosiah 13:12-14 – Compare with Exodus 20:4-6)
-Why does God care if the people who have covenanted to follow Him choose to follow other gods?
-What does the word — that the translators of the King James version of the Bible decided to translate as “jealous” – say about God’s concern and emotions towards those who have proclaimed themselves as His? Would a God without body, parts, or passions be capable of this kind of feeling?
-When the Lord speaks of those who hate Him in these verses, is He referring to those who have received His covenants and the Holy Spirit and then still rejected Him as their God. Or, is he referring to those who hate him merely as an idea or as someone else’s God?
King Benjamin teaches that humbly remembering the perfect goodness of God, calling on His name in prayer, and exercising steady faith are closely tied to being filled with the love of God and retaining a forgiveness of sin.
“…As ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith…And…I say unto you that if you do this ye shall always rejoice and be filled with the love of God and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge that which is just and true.” (Mosiah 4:11-12)
-How does one come to a knowledge of the glory of God?
-Is it possible to do so without the influence of the Holy Ghost?
-How important is it to remember the impressions received from the Holy Ghost about who God really is?
-How is humility, prayer, and faithful action tied to retaining forgiveness of sins.
-Can a person shut out the purifying influence of the Holy Ghost by his or her thoughts or actions? Is it possible to retain a forgiveness of sins without the purifying influence of the Holy Ghost?
Benjamin testifies that every promise God makes is kept, including his promise to bless those who keep His commandments.
“…All he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.” (Mosiah 2:22)
-Is the typical person’s awareness capable of perceiving all the ways that God blesses him or her?
-Is it typical to look for blessings in a narrow zone of reality and then assume blessings were not realized?