God doesn’t make mistakes or run into issues accidentally. We are here in mortality because He planned it to be so. But when we came to this Earth we lost our memory of God’s plan and the eternal realms where we came from. Angels have been sent from the beginning to remind humankind of God’s plan of redemption.
“…[God] saw that it was expedient that man should know concerning the things whereof he had appointed unto them. Therefore he sent angels to converse with them, who caused men to behold of his glory. And they began from that time forth to call on his name; therefore God conversed with men, and made known unto them the plan of redemption, which had been prepared from the foundation of the world; and this he made known unto them according to their faith and repentance and their holy works.” (Alma 12:28-30)
-Is conversing with one of God’s messengers akin to conversing with God?
-Why does God usually send messengers instead of conversing with mortals directly?
-Are the angels that are sent to us always beings from the heavenly realms? Or, are they sometimes fellow mortals who are doing God’s work?
Alma teaches that our mortal lives are a time of preparation for the eternities.
“And we see that death comes upon mankind…which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.” (Alma 12:24)
-Do you do believe your spirit will continue to live after your physical body dies? And, other than no longer having a physical body, that you will still be you?
-Do you believe that your spirit will be reunited with your (reconstituted and perfected) physical body through the Atonement of Jesus Christ?
-How important is it to come to grips with the truth about whether you will exist throughout the eternities or not?
-Is it ever wise to stay in the agnostic camp any longer than is necessary to decide what you believe?
-Do you think a person will live his or her life substantially differently based on whether they believe in the eternities or not?
-Can you see how, whether a person subscribes to the religion of atheism or another religion that believes mortal life is only part of the existential picture, religion is an inevitability for human beings?
-Which consequences have the potential to bear greater weight? Those that come from believing in your existence in the eternities and investing in mortal choices accordingly when existence in the eternities is a reality? Or, those that come from deciding there is no existence after death and making choices accordingly when there is no existence after death?
Amulek teaches about the meaning and reality of the Resurrection made possible through Jesus Christ.
Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death. The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt. Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ and Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil….[T]his mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption. (Alma 11:42-45)
-Do you believe that, because of Christ’s Resurrection, He has cleared the way for all of us to be resurrected as described in these verses?
-Will those who have repented and sought shelter in Christ’s power have any sense of guilt at the time of the Judgment?
Amulek teaches that reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ is the only way to obtain the kingdom of heaven. Such reconciliation requires true repentance away from sin.
“…No unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.” (Alma 11:37)
“[Christ] shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else. Therefore the wicked remain as though there had been no redemption made, except it be the loosing of the bands of death, for behold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works.” (Alma 11:40-41)
-How does Christ draw a person from being in sin and save him or her from sin? Will He ever violate the principle of free agency to do so?
-If to be in sin means being complacent about wrongdoing, is it clear why Christ won’t save a person in his or her sin?
Alma teaches of the Lord’s unwavering commitment to assist when sought after.
“…The Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name.” (Alma 9:17)
-In how many ways can the Lord’s mercy be expressed in a life?
-Knowing all things from the beginning, is it possible He will express His mercy in unexpected ways? Or, in ways not requested?
-Does the truth expressed above help explain why missionary work is so important? Is it possible to call on the Lord for mercy if a person doesn’t know there is a loving God from whom help can be received?
Alma teaches those who have entered the baptismal covenant that they should be submissive to God and kind to their fellow mortals. He also instructs them to ask for God’s help when in need and that the key to abounding in good works is faith, hope, and charity.
“…Be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.” (Alma 7:23-24)
-Is it possible to be humble, submissive, gentle, easy to be entreated, temperate, and full of patience and long-suffering if the sin of pride has not been eradicated from one’s soul?
-Why will someone who has faith (in Christ), hope (in Christ) and charity (like Christ) abound in good works?
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?
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 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?
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?