The Lamanite prophet, Samuel, teaches the Nephites that seeking for happiness outside of the commandments of God is fruitless.
“…Ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.” (Helaman 13:38)
-Can temporary happiness be found separate from God’s will and influence?
-Will the happiness mentioned in the above question be inevitably interrupted?
-Will the happiness that comes from aligning oneself with God’s will and influence ever be interrupted?
Alma teaches his son that all people will be restored (in the Resurrection) to what they have become based on their desires and actions in this life.
“Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness…All men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in the carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness. And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature? O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.” (Alma 41:10-13)
-Why will Christ save souls from their sins but will not save them in their sins (see previous post entitled Ye Cannot Be Saved in Your Sins)?
-How can one be helped by Christ to move away from his or her sins through repentance so that his or her nature changes toward what is good, righteous, and just?
Alma invites those who desire a Good Shepherd to forsake wickedness and become part of His people.
“…I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names my people. For the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled.” (Alma 5:57-58)
-How does a person come out from among the wicked?
-How common are unclean things and unclean practices among the various cultures found throughout North America (for instance).
-Can unclean things and unclean practices be found regardless of where you live and what culture you are a part of?
-Are all those who have some involvement in unclean things necessarily wicked? Is true wickedness more likely to fester in unclean environments (even if it might be overbearing to say that everyone who touches that environment in any way is wicked)?
-How many touches does it take to be drawn into true wickedness?
-What does it take to move from wickedness to righteousness?
-What does it mean to be righteous?
-What does it mean to be granted an inheritance at God’s right hand?
Alma testifies that the Lord is always prepared to clear away wickedness from the Earth.
“…The Spirit saith: Behold the ax is laid at the root of the tree; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire, yea a fire which cannot be consumed, even an unquenchable fire. Behold, and remember, the Holy One hath spoken it.” (Alma 5:52)
“…All ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.” (Alma 5:56)
-Will the death of each individual, who has not brought forth good fruit, be the equivalent the tree being cut down and cast into the fire?
-Is the orchard analogy also a reference to groups of people (nations, cultures, etc.)?
-Could the purifying fire (influence) that emanates from God be anything but unquenchable? Could it ever be consumed?
-How intensely will that fire burn if it was never lit in the heart of a person prior to the Final Judgment?
-How is repentance tied to allowing God to purify our hearts now, during this time of probation, prior to the Last Judgment?
The prophet Abinadi warns King Noah – an unrighteous leader who knew the truths of the gospel but did not live according to them – that a day will come when all the wicked will reap what they have sown.
“…The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgments are just. And then shall the wicked be cast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not. For they are carnal and devilish, and the devil has power over them…[They] knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil.” (Mosiah 16:1-3)
-Is seeing salvation the same as actually receiving it?
-Will the wicked be somewhat naive about their eternal status until they see what they had previously refused to see about the consequences of their actions (thus the deep anguish of the wicked described in the above verses when they realize what they have lost)?
-How important is it to understand the need for spiritual salvation now rather than becoming awake to it at the time when the wicked are cast out of God’s presence?