Alma 31-33

Alma 31-33

Alma 31-33 Brothers and sisters, we have to stay with it. We dont acquire eternal life in a sprint --- this is a race of endurance. We have to apply and reapply the divine gospel principles. Day after day we need to make them part of our normal life. Too often we approach the gospel like a farmer who places seed in the ground in the morning and expects corn on the cob by the afternoon (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, The Way of the Disciple, Ensign, May 2009, 76-77). Alma 31:5

True doctrine, understood, changes attitude and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel (President Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 20). Faith!

Faith is the principle of action and power in all intelligent beings, both in heaven and on earth (Lectures on Faith 1:9). What need is there for faith today? Of all our needs, I think the greatest is an increase in faith (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 1987, 54). The King James Bible stood as the anointed rival of the Geneva Bible. Tyndale originally wrote: Faith is the sure confidence of things, which are hoped for, and a certainty of things which are not seen. The Geneva declared: Now faith is the ground of things, which

are hoped for, and the evidence of things that are not seen. But the King James Version states: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. What is the Gospel? What is the gospel then? So often I hear my brethren saying something that I wish we would not say quite that way, that the gospel is a way of life. It is not a way of life, it is the way to eternal life. It is the science of salvation (Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, Apr. 1959, 68).

Only Standard Works, official statements, and other publications written under assignment from the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles are considered authorized publications by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Scripture Official Doctrinal Pronouncements Sermons and Writings of Church Leaders Church Publications Independent Publications Non-LDS Publications No Satisfactory Substitute! Always remember, there is no satisfactory substitute for the scriptures and the words of the living prophets. They should be your original sources. Read and ponder more on what the Lord

has said and less about what others have written concerning what the Lord said (Ezra Taft Benson, The Gospel Teacher and His Message). Studying doctrine increases faith! What is written? President Spencer W. Kimball spoke of the power of scriptures to help us draw nearer to God: I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures, the distance narrows and the spirituality

returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more. I find it easier to abide their counsel (What I Hope You Will Teach My Grandchildren and All Others of the Youth of Zion (address to Church Educational System religious educators, July 11, 1966, 4). President Ezra Taft Benson said, Often we spend great effort in trying to increase the activity levels in our stakes. We work diligently to raise the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings. We labor to get a higher percentage of our young men on

missions. We strive to improve the numbers of those marrying in the temple. All of these are commendable efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom. But when individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow (The Power of the Word, Ensign, May 1986, 81). The world is not going to solve its problems of war, famine, poverty, and unrest until mankind believes and obeys the

gospel of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon teaches that salvation is not only individual, it is global (1 Nephi 22:28). Alma 31:8-25 They were religious, but not righteous. It was a false concept of election! The Rameumpton (Object lesson in my seminary days). Alma 31:23 This cannot be true with us!

President Lorenzo Snow spoke of the blessings that come through tribulation: I suppose I am talking to some who have had worry and trouble and heart burnings and persecution, and have at times been caused to think that they never expected to endure quite so much. But for everything you have suffered, for everything that has occurred to you which you thought an evil at that time, you will receive fourfold, and that suffering will have had a tendency to make you better and stronger and to feel that you have been blessed. When you look back over your experiences you will then see that you have advanced far ahead and have gone up several rounds of the ladder toward

exaltation and glory Take it individually or take it collectively, we have suffered and we shall have to suffer again; and why? Because the Lord requires it at our hands for our satisfaction (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, comp. Clyde J. Williams 1984, 117-18). Alma 31:38 Swallowed up in the joy of Christ! There cannot be immunity from all afflictions. Whether the afflictions are self-induced, as most of them are, or whether they are of the divine-tutorial type, it matters not. Either way, the Lord can help us so that our afflictions, said Alma, can be swallowed

up in the joy of Christ. Thus afflictions are endured and are overcome by joy. The sour notes are lost amid a symphony of salvational sounds. Our afflictions may not be extinguished. Instead, they can be dwarfed and swallowed up in the joy of Christ. This is how we overcome most of the time, not the elimination of afflictions, but the placing of these in that larger context (Neal A. Maxwell, December 2, 1984). Alma 32 The gospel is so simple that a fool will not err therein, but it is so beautiful and so sophisticated that I believe the greatest intellectual can make a study of faith and never

come to an end of understanding. Faith is the power by which God speaks and worlds, solar systems, and universes come into being. So when we speak of faith we speak we speak of tremendous power, even the power that can save a man from temporal and spiritual death. It is really not a great chapter on what faith is. It refers more to how one can attain faith! Faith and power are synonymous! Faith and revelation are synonymous

according to Joseph Smith. Three levels of faith: 1. Unto action 2. Unto power 3. Unto salvation Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917-2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles similarly taught: Faith exists when absolute confidence in that which we cannot see combines with action that is in absolute conformity to

the will of our Heavenly Father. Without all three --- first, absolute confidence; second, action; and third, absolute conformity --- without these three, all we have is a counterfeit, a weak and watered-down faith (Conference Report, Oct. 2002, 89). Faith is never lost without leaving a valid record of its past presence. Its tracings, like it or not, show the bounds of previous belief and tell of our present accountability. These tracings will disclose what we

once knew, when we knew it, and how we behaved in reference to it. No present rationalizations can erase past realizations (Neal A. Maxwell, Lord, Increase Our Faith, 28). Faith in God includes faith in His purposes as well as in His timing. We cannot fully accept Him while rejecting His schedule. We cannot worship Him but insist on our plans (Neal A Maxwell, That Ye May Believe, 84). We sometimes must do the hard things we have been asked to do before we will be blessed. Joshua and his priests, in a little-read replication of the parting and crossing of the Red Sea, crossed the

flooded Jordan River in another miracle. But the miracle did not begin for ancient Israel until after Joshua and his priests got the soles of their feet wet (Joshua 3:15-17) (Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, 44-45). Sacrifice Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation It was through the sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truths sake, not even withholding his life, and

believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life (Lectures on Faith 6:7). Knowledge of God Man, by searching, cannot find God The Lord must reveal Himself, or remain unrevealed

(The First Presidency, Joseph F. Smith, John Winder, Anthon R. Lund, The Origin of Man. Improvement Era 13:80, Nov.,1909). Alma 32:21 More of a statement of what follows than a definition of faith. Faith, to be faith, must be centered around something that is not known. Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which there is no confirming evidence. Faith, to be faith, must go into the unknown. Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness. If

everything has to be known, if everything has to be certified, then there is no need for faith. Indeed, there is no room for it (Boyd K. Packer, What is faith? in Faith, 1983, 42-43). Alma 32:23 He imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Little children do have words given unto them, many times, which confound the wise and the learned. Elder Neal A. Maxwell shared the following story in

General Conference: It has been a privilege to seal adopted children to Nan and Dan Barker, now of Arizona. Some time ago Nate, then just over three, said: Mommy, there is another little girl who is supposed to come to our family. She has dark hair and dark eyes and lives a long way from here. The wise mother asked, How do you know this? Jesus told me, upstairs. The mother noted, We dont have an upstairs, but quickly sensed the significance of what had been communicated. After much travail and many prayers, the Barker family were in a sealing room in the Salt Lake Temple in the fall of 1995, where a little girl with dark hair and dark eyes, from Kazakhstan, was sealed

to them for time and eternity. Inspired children still tell parents great and marvelous things (3 Nephi 26:14) (Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 95-96; or Ensign, May 1996, 69-70). Alma 32:34 in that thing One still needs faith concerning a myriad of other things they have not yet experienced. At times the swelling motions, the enlarging of souls, the enlightening of understanding, and the beginning of delicious

feelings from the Spirit spoken of in Alma 32:28 are difficult to verbally express. However, being hard to express does not discount the truthfulness of the feeling. Alma 32:39 What determines our soil? Our attitudes and choices. Alma 32:28-35 It Beginneth to Be Delicious

Joseph Smith used taste to teach about discernment of true doctrine: This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life as they are given to me, you taste them, and I know that you believe them. You say honey is sweet, and so do I. I can also taste the spirit of eternal life. I know that it is good; and when I tell you of these things which were given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and rejoice more and more (History of the Church, 6:312). Alma 33:14

A good question! Alma 33:23 What is this? It seems to be the Atonement! Does God have faith? Take this attribute from Deity and He would cease to exist (Lectures on Faith 1:13-16).

Why? Faith, then is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeable to the will of God. Without it there is no power, and without power there could be no creation nor existence (Lectures on Faith 1:24). We here observe that God is the only supreme governor and independent being in whom all fullness and perfection dwell; who is omnipotent,

omnipresent and omniscient; without beginning of days or end of life; and that in him every good gift and every good principle dwell; and that he is the Father of lights; in him the principle of faith dwells independently, and he is the object in whom the faith of all other rational and accountable beings center for life and salvation (Lectures on Faith 2:2). Let us here observe, that three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation:

1. The idea that He actually exists. 2. A correct idea of His character, perfections and attributes. 3. An actual knowledge that the course of life which we are pursuing is according to His will. For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness, unto the praise and glory of

God, the Father, and the Lord, Jesus Christ (Lectures on Faith #3). Joseph Smith taught that if men do not understand that God is, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness, such is the weakness of human nature, and so great the frailties and imperfections of men, that unless they believed that these excellencies existed in the divine character, the faith necessary to salvation could not exist; for doubt would take place of faith, and those who know their weaknesses and liability

to sin would be in constant doubt of salvation were it not for the idea which they have of the excellency of the character of God, that He is slow to anger and long-suffering, and of a forgiving disposition, and does forgive iniquity, transgression and sin. An idea of these facts does away with doubt, and makes faith exceedingly strong (Lectures on Faith 3:35-6).

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