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"Born of God," Alma 36:17-23

Alma 36:17-23

The first thing that catches my attention is the contrast between before and after; the bitter and the sweet; the despair verses the hope. Moments earlier, in the gall of bitterness, Alma says:
Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds. (vs. 15) Then as evidence of  this mighty change of heart, he says:
Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there. (vs. 22) One moment there is such fear and torment at the thought of being brought into the presence of God. In the next, Alma has a longing to be there singing praises to God.

The natural question that follows is: What caused Alma to change internally? (It wasn't seeing an angel.) What about the act of having faith in Jesus Ch…
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"Racked, Even with the Pains of a Damned Soul," Alma 36:6-16

Alma 36:6-16

As I study this dynamic exchange between Alma and an angel sent from the presence of God, I am reminded of Nephi's declaration about angels:

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. (2 Nephi 32:3) Therefore, we have the words of Christ writen here to Alma. There are two recorded statements here from the mouth of the angel. First, "Arise." (vs. 8) Second, "If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God." (vs. 9)

Alma says that the angel spake many other things unto him, but this first sentence was all that he heard. It struck him with such power as to completely overwhelm him.

The power of the words of Christ, perfectly timed, penetrated and convicted Alma to the very core. The harrowing description of the state of Alma's soul is one of torment and horror. (see verses 12 -16)

It is interesting to note that this was a self-conviction.

"If I Had Not Been Born of God," Alma 36:1-5

Alma 36:1-5

I'm working to put together the connection between being born again (spiritually reborn) and testimony, and I've think I've found it. 

Spiritual knowledge, Alma doesn't take credit for the obtainment of spiritual knowledge. Rather he seems to regard it as a gift from God. (see vs. 4-5) In these verse, Alma does verify that in order to obtain a knowledge of spiritual things, one must be born again.
If I had not been born of God I should not have known these things. (vs.5) Back in chapter 26, verse 21 & 22, Ammon confirms this reality, that only those that have been spiritual born of God are those that are possessors of the knowledge that comes from God.

This is also supported by what the Savior taught in John 3.

I finished this study over in Mosiah 4:13. I have felt quite a bit of guilt in recent years with regards to my own children when I read the connection here between personal testimony and the family obligation to teach my children and protect them…

"Things Pertaining unto Righteousness," Alma 35:15-16

Alma 35:15-16

Two verses here at the end of a chapter give an interesting point of introspection in a prophet's life. Having been to every corner of the land, having had preached the gospel to every people, and then now observing that the general tendency of the people was to reject his works, Alma turns inward.

The account states that Alma " caused that his sons should be gathered together, that he might give unto them every one his charge, separately, concerning the things pertaining unto righteousness." In our modern vernacular, this sounds like Alma is administering patriarchal blessings to his sons.

This hits me at a time when I am being charged to strengthen my own family's spiritual foundations and considering the boundaries which I should set to achieve such blessings. The final line in verse 16 reads says, "And we have an account of his commandments, which he gave unto them according to his own record." (emphasis added)


"They Did Receive All the Poor," Alma 35:5-14

Alma 35:5-14

Through deceptive means, those who rejected the words of Christ taught by Alma and his brethren actively sought to punish those of their community who did believe. They were cast out of the land of the Zoramites and were then received in the land of Jershon among the Ammonites.

There they were openly received "and it came to pass that Alma and his brethren did minister unto them." (vs. 7) This is a simple verse but so profoundly significant to me, in light of recent changes to the Church's ministering efforts.

In verse 8 and 9, the chief ruler of the Zoramites appears to be the one who is most agitated by the conversion of many of the people of his community. It is he who goes so far as to demand that the Ammonites cease to minister to those who are being cast out of his land. But such demands fall on deaf ears especially when it's among a people who have first hand experience with being refugees themselves:
And now the people of Ammon did not fear thei…

"Angry Because of the Word," Alma 35:1-4

Alma 35:1-4

I brought to consider "the Power of the Word." (I'm not quoting anything in particular here, but this phrase has popped into my mind as I've started this study this morning.

One of Christ's many names or titles is the Word. Consider the following:
 In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God. (JST John 1:1) In the previous chapter of Alma, Amulek gives this particular testimony:
And we have beheld that the great question which is in your minds is whether the word be in the Son of God, or whether there shall be no Christ. And ye also beheld that my brother has proved unto you, in many instances, that the word is in Christ unto salvation. (Alma 34:5-6) So if I go back to the beginning of Alma 35, and I'm looking for the testimony of Christ, I find it by replacing the use of "word" with the name of "Christ&quo…

"Now is the Time and the Day of Your Salvation," Alma 34:30-41

Alma 34:30-41

(This is for me. Don't take this lightly.)

Verse 30 states: "...Seeing that the holy scriptures testify of these things, ye come forth and bring fruit unto repentance." Footnote on "fruit" takes me to Alma 13, a section on priesthood, which has weighed heavily upon my mind in the last day or two.

In deed, the Spirit of the Lord has been upon me over the past week. Something has changed.

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It has now been three days since I first started my study of these verses. Two nights ago, on a long drive into the big city, I finally took action on promptings to study the Priesthood. That study started with a review of verse 31, which reminded me:
Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. In regards to my duty and obligations toward…