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?
After teaching about prayer as a means of drawing on God’s help (see previous post), Amulek emphasizes that we must be willing to help others.
“…After ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith. Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out, (it being of no worth) and is trodden under foot of men.” (Alma 34:28-29)
-What attribute is God trying to foster in His children more than any other?
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?
Amulek teaches that part of exercising faith unto repentance is to call upon God for mercy.
“…May God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you; Yea, cry unto him for mercy for he is mighty to save.” (Alma 34:17-18)
-What does it mean to call upon God for mercy?
-How many see themselves as being in need of God’s mercy?
Ammon teaches that the combination of…
…brings extraordinary spiritual blessings.
“…He that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance.” (Alma 26:22)
-How can one maintain a prayerful connection with God while still going about day-to-day activities?
-Is it always possible to maintain a repentant demeanor toward God?
-How meaningful would our works be without Christ’s Atonement? How meaningful are they through Christ’s Atonement (when one is moving forward with a repentant demeanor and a sincere prayer is always in one’s heart)?
Alma, the Nephite prophet, was troubled by members of the Lord’s church who were committing sin and not repenting. He was hesitant to take action because he didn’t want to judge them wrongly in the Lord’s eyes, but felt that action needed to be taken. As he prayed, the Lord revealed the following to him:
“…He that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church, and him will I also receive. For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomever ye receive shall believe in my name; and him will I freely forgive. For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world; for it is I that hath created them; and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand. For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me they shall come forth, and shall have a place eternally at my right hand.” (Mosiah 26:21-24)
“And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before me. And then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, that I am their Redeemer; but they would not be redeemed. And then I will confess unto them that I never knew them; and they shall depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Therefore I say unto you, that he that will not hear my voice, the same shall ye not receive into my church, for him I will not receive at the last day.” (Mosiah 26:25-28)
-Is the Book of Mormon the Lord’s voice?
-Is the Bible the Lord’s voice?
-Is it possible to heed some of the Lord’s words but ignore others?
-Does the phrase “never knew me” in the passage above suggest that only those who never listened to the Lord’s voice will “depart into everlasting fire?” How rare is it to find a person who never listened to the voice of the Lord?
-How important is it to strive to listen to all that the Lord speaks versus listening selectively?
King Benjamin teaches that humbly remembering the perfect goodness of God, calling on His name in prayer, and exercising steady faith are closely tied to being filled with the love of God and retaining a forgiveness of sin.
“…As ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith…And…I say unto you that if you do this ye shall always rejoice and be filled with the love of God and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge that which is just and true.” (Mosiah 4:11-12)
-How does one come to a knowledge of the glory of God?
-Is it possible to do so without the influence of the Holy Ghost?
-How important is it to remember the impressions received from the Holy Ghost about who God really is?
-How is humility, prayer, and faithful action tied to retaining forgiveness of sins.
-Can a person shut out the purifying influence of the Holy Ghost by his or her thoughts or actions? Is it possible to retain a forgiveness of sins without the purifying influence of the Holy Ghost?
In his old age, before giving the Gold Plates to King Benjamin, Almaleki used the plates to engrave precious keys to obtaining salvation. Joseph Smith translated the engravings as follows:
“…Come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.” (Omni 1:26)
-What does it mean to offer your whole soul to Christ?
-How important is our own effort is Christ’s eyes, given that the prophets testify of the importance of enduring to the end after partaking of Christ’s salvation?
The prophet Jacob describes the power that comes to those who are pure in heart, look to God with firmness of mind, and pray with exceeding faith:
“…I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction. O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.” (Jacob 3:1)
-What does it mean to be pure in heart? How can one obtain purity of heart?
-Do some expect remarkable blessings without looking to God with firmness of mind and without praying with exceeding faith?
-Do some keep their head bowed stubbornly in sorrow rather than receiving the pleasing word of God and rejoicing in the power of His love?
Nephi affirms that his words will be especially powerful to his and his father’s descendants. He also recognizes the possibility that some will be angered by his writings but testifies that those who are angry have been lulled, to one degree or another, into a spiritual state that is antithetical to God.
“…I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end which is eternal life. And it speaketh harshly against sin, according to the plainness of the truth; wherefore, no man will be angry at the words which I have written save he shall be of the spirit of the devil.” (2 Nephi 33:4-5)
-Can the Lord make the good things you strive to do—in your weakness—strong?
-When your will is in line with God’s, what is the limit of the strength He will provide to you to move forward?
-How difficult is it to align your will with God’s will?
-Why is the truth harsh to some and consoling to others?
Teachings of the Seventy
“[We] must choose to open our hearts to the divine reality of the Savior. … God does not force us to believe. Instead He invites us to believe by sending living prophets and apostles to teach us, by providing scriptures, and by beckoning to us through His Spirit. … The decision to believe is the most important choice we ever make. It shapes all our other decisions” (“Choose to Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 38).