Amulek provides vital keys to progressing spiritually.
-In what ways do people contend against the Holy Ghost?
-How can a person receive the Holy Ghost? Is it possible to fully do so without being baptized by one with authority?
Alma teaches that humility before God always brings blessings, but the blessings are greatest for those who humble themselves rather than being humbled by outside circumstances and events.
“…He that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble…Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word of God, or even compelled to known, before they will believe.” (Alma 32:15-16)
-What does it mean to be compelled to be humble?
-If Christ’s Second Coming were to occur tomorrow, how many would be quickly compelled by outside circumstances to face their true standing with God?
-Is intentionally humbling oneself before God day in and day out (e.g. by keeping His commandments, serving others, having meaningful prayers, and studying His gospel) the only way not to be eventually compelled to be humble by circumstances and events?
Alma teaches that God gives a portion of His perfect knowledge to each nation and people of the Earth according to His perfect wisdom regarding what they should have.
“…The Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.” (Alma 29:8)
-Can you start to better understand who God is when surveying the rich tapestry of the best and most refined aspects of all the different nations, languages, and cultures covering the Earth?
-Can you imagine bringing all that is good, wise, and praiseworthy among all the people of the Earth into your being?
- Does the potential of doing this (and more) in the eternities begin to give insight to what Christ meant when he told His disciples that His Father’s house has many mansions? (John 14:2)
- Is the wisdom and truth God has bestowed upon His creations limited to this Earth?
Aaron, a Nephite missionary, teaches that…
“…There could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and suffering of Christ, and the atonement of his blood.” (Alma 21:9)
-Does God redeem His children (mankind) outside of the demands of justice?
-Was there any other way to satisfy the demands of justice, while still showing mercy, without God providing an atoning Savior?
Teachings of Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators:
“Christ’s agony in the garden is unfathomable by the finite mind, both as to intensity and cause. … He struggled and groaned under a burden such as no other being who has lived on earth might even conceive as possible. It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. No other man, however great his powers of physical or mental endurance, could have suffered so” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. , 613).
After realizing the extent of his guilt before God, (having helped incite violence against a prophet of God and other innocent people) a Nephite named Zeezrom is completely overwhelmed to the point where he becomes physically ill. As he lies sick in bed, wrestling with the horror of what he has done, he requests a visit from the prophet Alma. When Alma and his companion Amulek hear that Zeerom is in need, they come quickly…
“…and when [Zeezrom] saw them he stretched forth his hand, and besought them that they would heal him. And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? And he answered and said: Yea I believe all the words that thou hast taught. And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed. And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ. And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk…” (Alma 15:5-11)
-How many in the world need the kind of healing that Zeezrom received?
-Is it possible that Zeezrom could have found healing from Christ without Alma’s (or another of the Lord’s servant’s) guidance and help?
-How many, figuratively speaking, would leap out of their spiritual and mental doldrums if they were to believe in the redemption of Christ and receive His Holy Spirit?
-In what ways are physical and spiritual illness sometimes linked?
Alma extends an invitation to repent and enter into the baptismal covenant. This, he declares, is the path that leads to eternal life (for those who stay on the covenant path).
“…Ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness. Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism. And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me.” (Alma 7:14-16)
-Are there habits or patterns of action in your life that you feel are binding you down to destruction?
-Is keeping the commandments different from following them perfectly?
-Since Christ is mighty to save, is there any question that keeping God’s commandments dear to your heart, and striving to do better in relationship to them day by day, will keep God’s Spirit and grace with you? What kind of person will you become with God’s help (in this life and in the eternities)?
Alma teaches that Christ is calling out to every human soul.
“…The good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.” (Alma 5:60)
-What does it mean to hearken to the Good Shepherd’s voice?
-What does it mean to be brought into Christ’s fold?
-Is the fold of Christ meant to bring in all comers regardless of their intentions?
-How can a ravenous wolf be detected?
Alma teaches that there are two primary voices calling out to the human soul.
“…I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh of God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil. Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkenth unto his voice, and doth follow him. And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him; therefore, for his wages he receiveth death, as to things pertaining to righteousness, being dead unto all good works.” (Alma 5:40-42)
-Does someone have to be “saved” in order to do good works? Does Christ only reach out to those who call themselves Christian with His voice? Or, does He call out to all men and women?
-Can a person follow the light and spirit of Christ without even knowing His name?
-How many Christians, who consider themselves saved or claim to be saved, are actually earning the wages of death as described in the verses above?
-How many non-Christians are making the most of the light they have and are truly bringing forth good works?
Alma teaches that hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord is the only way not to be led astray by Satan.
“O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice! Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd. And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.” (Alma 5:37-39)
-Is there anyone on the earth that Christ is not calling out to?
-How many in the world are hearing and obeying the voice of Jesus Christ? How many in the world are being led by the devil?
-How many profess to know the voice of Christ and profess to follow it but are, in fact, being led by Satan? -Will God hold those accountable who don’t know where to look to escape the vicious cycles and systems of the world (that the devil has stirred into existence) but are doing their best to do good based on the level of light and knowledge they have?
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)?