Alma teaches his son about the state of human spirits between the time of death and the time of the Resurrection.
“Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil. Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.” (Alma 40:11-14)
-Do the two drastically different experiences of the spirit world, as described in the above verses, represent two ends of a spectrum?
-Are there some who will experience something in between these two opposing spiritual states?
Gratitude: I am grateful to have greater knowledge of the spirit world through the teachings found in the Book of Mormon. I’m also grateful to know that I can look forward to peace and rest in the spirit world if I choose to live in harmony with God’s Spirit in this life.
Alma teaches key principles, which Priesthood leaders should preach, to bring rest to souls.
“Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls.” (Alma 37:33-34)
-How does ego inevitably torment those who let it have a prominent place in their lives?
-How many understand that having a humble heart and faith in God brings the only true and lasting peace?
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?
Amulek teaches that the Spirit of God withdraws from those who do not repent. To be prepared to dwell with God in the eternities, a person needs to reconcile himself or herself to God through Christ’s Atonement and allow God to dwell in (and purify) his or her heart through His Spirit.
“…If ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked. And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doeth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb. And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God…” (Alma 34:35-37)
-Is it possible to be at rest spiritually? Do the powerful forces of God’s love, and Satan’s rebellion against God, allow anyone stay in place spiritually speaking?
Amulek teaches about how prayer should be approached in quality, quantity, and intensity.
“…Humble yourselves and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your field, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness. Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.” (Alma 34:19-27)
-How does one keep his or her heart drawn out to God at all times?
Mormon, the prophet who compiled and abridged the record of the Nephites (which was translated as the Book of Mormon), pauses to teach an important truth about Satan.
“…The devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.” (Alma 30:60)
-Is it possible to gain power and gratify the lusts of the flesh in this life by being a child of the devil (e.g. rejecting God’s commandments and applying selfish, calloused, and ungodly means to obtain one’s desires)?
*Does Satan goad souls to take this route because he enjoys seeing the selfish pleasure they obtain for a season?
*Or, does he do so because he relishes the awful depths of eternal remorse and pain that they will sink into when, after being brought into God’s presence for judgment, they come to a full and agonizing realization of the consequences of what they have done.
During a large war between the Nephites and Lamanites, many souls departed from mortal life. In the context of these events, Mormon (the prophet-historian who abridged the Nephite record that was translated as the Book of Mormon), teaches about the great spiritual variance that exists when souls pass through the veil into the eternities.
“…Many thousand are mourning for the loss of their kindred, because they have reason to fear, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are consigned to a state of endless wo. While many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness. And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression, and the power of the devil, which comes by the cunning plans which he hath devised to ensnare the hearts of men.” (Alma 28:11-13)
-How important is it to repent and reconcile oneself with God (through the Atonement of Jesus Christ) before passing into the eternities?
-How heavily will the unalterable justice, which God upholds, weigh on those in the afterlife who chose not to be reconciled with God through Christ’s merciful intervention during mortality?
-What is Paradise?
-What is Spirit Prison?
-Will those who never had God’s law in mortality be led to Paradise if they choose to follow Christ in the afterlife?
Alma teaches about the potential for spiritual growth versus the consequences of spiritual atrophy.
“It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” (Alma 12:9-11)
-Based on the above verses, how important is it soften one’s heart in relation to God and His Spirit?
-Why do some harden their hearts against God and reject His word and His Spirit?
Alma teaches the principle that we reap what we sow with our actions.
“…All men shall reap a reward of their works, according to that which they have been—if they have been righteous they shall reap the salvation of their souls, according to the power and deliverance of Jesus Christ; and if they have been evil they shall reap the damnation of their souls, according to the power and captivation of the devil.” (Alma 9:28)
-If works can increase grace and grace can increase works. Does it make sense to denigrate the role of one or the other? Does it make more sense to emphasize their mutually reinforcing and “symbiotic” relationship?
-Since Christ has made works meaningful through His Atonement (opening up the way for the Father to treasure up all the good a person does and magnify it through all eternity), how vital is it to show appreciation for this unrivaled opportunity and move forward with good works?
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?