All Men Were Created in the Beginning after My Own Image

In seeking a way to cross the ocean in enclosed barges, the brother of Jared, prays to the Lord and asks that He would touch a number of clear stones so they could serve as a light source during the ocean journey. In seeking this help from the Lord, he also learns important truths about the nature of God.

“…I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea. Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men. And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.” (Ether 3:4-6)

“And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen? And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood. And the Lord said unto him; Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this? And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me. And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak? And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie. And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.” (Ether 3:7-13)

“Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and daughters. And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image. Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.” (Ether 3:14-16)

Questions:

-Do you believe that the human form is not a semi-arbitrary function of some kind of evolutionary force, but is, actually, intentionally patterned by God after the same form He has always taken?

There Is No Other Way or Means Whereby Man Can Be Saved, Only in and through Christ

Alma teaches his son about the only way salvation can be obtained.

“…There is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.” (Alma 38:9)

Questions:

-How does one receive salvation through Jesus Christ?

-What role does baptism (by one who has authority) play in receiving Christ’s salvation?  

Bear with All Manner of Afflictions with a Firm Hope That Ye Shall One Day Rest from All Your Afflictions

Amulek provides vital keys to progressing spiritually.

Questions:

-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?

The Lord Doth Counsel in Wisdom

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)

Questions:

-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?  

There is None That Knoweth These Things, Save it be the Penitent

Ammon, a Nephite missionary, teaches that the deepest spiritual truths can only be known after a person awakes to, and acts on, the absolute necessity of relying on Jesus Christ to cross over the abyss of spiritual death and obtain salvation.

“…In his great mercy [Christ] hath brought us over that everlasting gulf of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls. And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.” (Alma 26:21)

Questions:

-What brings a person face to face with the reality of spiritual death within him- or herself?

-How difficult is it to face the reality of spiritual death within oneself and then seek to reconcile oneself to God? How tenaciously does the “ego” within a person often fight this process?

Their State Becomes Worse Than if They Had Never Known the Spirit of God and Righteousness

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)

Questions:

-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)?

Man was Created after the Image of God

Ammon, a Nephite missionary, teaches that God created men and women in His image.

“…Man in the beginning was created after the image of God.” (Alma 18:34)

Questions:

-How can a person make his or her spiritual posture a reflection of being made in the image of God?

-Is it possible to stand as tall, spiritually speaking, as God wants us to if we don’t internalize this gospel truth?

-Do many aspects of physical and mental health emanate from spiritual health?

This Holy Calling Was Prepared for Such as Would Not Harden Their Hearts

True Priesthood leadership comes from those who are called by God and do not harden their hearts against the truth and power of Christ’s Atonement.

“…They have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the blindness of their minds…” (Alma 13:4)

“…Thus this holy calling [was] prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared.” (Alma 13:5)

Questions:

-How much intelligence, truth, and grace can flow into a heart that is open to God’s Spirit and the power of Christ’s Atonement?

He is Full of Grace, Equity, and Truth

Alma describes the nature of the glory that fills and radiates from God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

“…The Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity, and truth, full of patience, mercy, and long-suffering, quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers.” (Alma 9:26)

Questions:

-Have you ever thought of God’s glory in terms of the intensity of His love and goodness towards His creations?

-Would God’s power be glorious (from the human perspective) if it was unaligned with His perfectly pure and generous intentions for our welfare?

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor

The ninth of the Ten Commandments focuses on being truthful with, and about, others.

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (Mosiah 13:23 – Compare Exodus 20:16)

Questions:

-How does one’s dishonesty negatively affect those around him or her?

-What would lead someone to bear a false witness against another?

-How often do people say negative things about others that aren’t true (or that distort the truth)?