Alma teaches that the Americas (or at least the portion of the Americas that the Nephites once inhabited) is cursed by God towards any nation or societal group who chooses wickedness. Wholesale destruction will ensue when that wickedness reaches a maturation point that is intolerable to God.
“Thus saith the Lord God—Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, when they are fully ripe; and as I have said so shall it be; for this is the cursing and the blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” (Alma 45:16)
-Are there signs that North America (or certain nations/regions within it) is maturing toward destruction because of wickedness? Does the same apply to South America? Or certain places there?
-How many are left who are willing to repent in the name of Jesus Christ? Or, who understand how important it is to do so?
The Lord does not expect His followers to be pacifists. In cases where patience and repeatedly “turning the other cheek” are not sufficient to secure a people’s physical safety and freedom, defensive bloodshed is justified. The passage below describes why the Nephites went to war with the Lamanites (a group who was intent on destroying the Nephites)
“…The Nephites…were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church. And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies. And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.” (Alma 43:46-47)
-Is it easy to identify the situations where bloodshed is justified by God?
-Based on the passage above, is there any question that such action should be a last resort?
Alma teaches his son that the promised land (in the Americas) is cursed for all who work darkness.
“…There is a curse upon all this land, that destruction shall come upon all those workers of darkness, according to the power of God, when they are fully ripe…Yea, and cursed be the land forever and ever unto those workers of darkness and secret combinations, even unto destruction, except they repent before they are fully ripe.” (Alma 37:28;31)
-Does the promised land referred to in this verse include all of the Americas?
-Does this verse suggest that the curse mention is perpetual on the promised land?
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?
The prophet-historian Mormon, who abridged the Nephite records into what would be translated as the Book of Mormon, pauses during his historical narrative to teach an important truth about the fate of those who know the truth and then reject it.
He describes how former Nephites, who once had the gospel but then rejected it and joined the Lamanites (the Nephite’s enemies), were more murderous than the Lamanites who had never had the truth of the gospel. This was demonstrated when the Lamanite army came upon a group of unarmed, non-resisting people and the former Nephites among the Lamanite army killed many more non-combatants compared with those in the army who had always been Lamanites. (Alma 24:20-30)
“…After a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things.” (Alma 24:30)
-Why would those who once had the Spirit of God, and then reject that Spirit, fall into deeper levels of sin than they would have if they had never known the truth of God?
-Who in the world today has had an abundance of God’s Spirit? Do they have the potential to become more hardened against God than others who haven’t had that abundance (depending on their choices)?
Ammon, a Nephite missionary, teaches that God sees clearly and deeply into each person’s soul.
“…[God] looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning.” (Alma 18:32)
-Is it comforting to know that God looks on the heart with perfect clarity?
-How often do mortals, who don’t have the ability to clearly see the thoughts and intents of the heart, misjudge others?
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?
The prophet-historian, Mormon, reflecting on a period of war and death among the Nephites, teaches of spiritual cause and effect and how death is a defining moment for individuals passing into the eternities.
“…In one year were thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world, that they might reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they listed to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one. For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey…” (Alma 3:26-27)
-How many carefully account for the spiritual wages they are earning based on the spirit they are obeying? Is it possible to take account of one’s spiritual status?
-Why would a person choose to obey a bad spirit? Is the temptation to sacrifice long-term happiness for short-term pleasure part of the equation?
-Can Satan and his spiritual servants make evil look good and good look evil?
-How much of what passes as good in our time and culture is actually evil and vice versa?
For a free copy of the Book of Mormon please go to https://www.ComeUntoChrist.org/site/book-of-mormon
After a group of people rebelled against the Nephites and separated from them (and the Lord’s church that was central to the Nephite’s culture) the estranged group began marking their foreheads with red. The mark they placed on their heads fulfilled an earlier prophecy that God would curse and mark all who separated themselves from the Nephites who were striving to follow the Lord and live righteously. Interestingly, the rebellious group marked themselves instead of God directly marking them.
“…They had come out in open rebellion against God; therefore it was expedient that the curse should fall upon them. Now I would that ye should see that they brought upon themselves the curse; and even so doeth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation.” (Alma 3:18-19)
-Are those who are coming out in open rebellion against God, in our time, marking themselves?
-Is it inevitable that these markers manifest themselves every time a group fights against God and His people?
-Do people generally like to mark their territory, figuratively speaking, when it comes to their beliefs and values? Is there something satisfying about expressing one’s position in a physical or visual manner?
-Do those who are true followers of the Lord have markers? Are those markers visual or behavioral? (see John 13:35 and Doctrine and Covenants 50:24)
When King Mosiah is enacting measures to transition the Nephite government from a monarchy to a more democratic form, he adds an important point of warning.
“…If the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.” (Mosiah 29:27)
-Is the voice of the people choosing iniquity in the United States? Is the voice of the people choosing iniquity in other democratic nations?
-Is the land that has hitherto been visited with great destruction all the Americas? Or is it a specific region within the Americas?