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)
-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?
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)
-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)?
God holds those who have the truths of the gospel to a higher standard than those who do not. A people who have God’s commandments and do not live by them reap destruction by their sinful actions.
“…The Lord hath said: I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them. And again, he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the chaff thereof in the whirlwind; and the effect thereof is poison. And again he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction.” (Mosiah 7:29-32)
-Is it reasonable that God would treat those who know better, and do wrong anyway, differently than those who do wrong without knowing better?
-What do the quick and unequivocal judgments God sends — to His people who know better and choose to do wrong in mortality anyway — say about how much He wants to keep his children awake to eternal consequences?
For those who have made the commitment to follow Jesus Christ, King Benjamin teaches that uncompromising spiritual watchfulness is required.
“…I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them. But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember and perish not.” (Mosiah 4:29-30)
-Is it true that the way we treat light and truth, when they are offered to us, determines the amount of light and truth we will have in our lives (both during our mortal experience and in the eternities)?
King Benjamin teaches how those who have the love of God in their hearts will treat one another.
“And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due. And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another. And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.” (Mosiah 4:13-16)
-Is it possible to truly love God without the help of the Holy Spirit? Is it possible to comprehend who God is without the witness of the Holy Spirit?
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?
King Benjamin expounds the truth that God, being merciful and just, does not condemn those who sin unaware during mortality due to not having the full light of His true Gospel to guide them.
“…His blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned. But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Mosiah 3:11-12)
-Would it be consistent with God’s character to only seek the redemption of some of His children on earth when He has the power to bless them all?
-When does a person know he or she is rebelling against God?
A second time, during his sermon to the Nephite people, King Benjamin teaches about each individual’s true standing with God.
“…Ye are eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are.” (Mosiah 2:34)
-Is it easy for you to wrap your mind around what Benjamin is teaching about each individual’s debt to God? Or, is indebtedness to God a foreign concept for you?
-Is it demeaning to be in a position in indebtedness in relation to Deity? Has God given all He has to us grudgingly? Or, is His giving inspired by perfect and eternal love?
-If joy is tied to connecting with the truth, does Benjamin’s teaching give you insight into why those who are grateful find greater joy in life?
-What does it mean to give all that you have and all that you are to God?
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).
Nephi dispels the fallacy that God speaks all He has to say to mortals in one age and then falls permanently silent thereafter. Missed opportunity and spiritual misadventure (wo) will come to those who stubbornly adhere to this view because they are likely to reject God’s word when He chooses to speak again:
“…Wo be unto him that hearkenth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!” (2 Nephi 28:25-29)
Nephi then declares God’s truth regarding how He teaches and speaks to His children on earth:
“For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” (2 Nephi 28:30)
-Do you believe the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ? If so, do you believe the Bible is being taken away from those who have not accepted this second witness? If so, in what ways is it being taken away?
-Has God given additional precepts to mankind (beyond those found in the Book of Mormon) since the time of the Restoration?
-Have many of the truths of the Restoration (which occurred in the early 1800s) influenced Christianity in general over the past two centuries? Have most churches and other organizations been leavened by Restoration truth without recognizing it (or despite their leaders efforts to prevent it)? For instance…
- How many Christians believed that families could live together in the eternities after mortal life two-hundred year ago? How many believe this to be true now?