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"To behold the marvelous light of God!" Alma 26:1-7

Alma 26:1-7

This chapter represents the end of 14 years of missionary labors for Ammon and his brethren, though it doesn't expressly say so at the beginning of the chapter. Rather, this chapter starts immediately with the remarks of Ammon as he is reflecting back upon their labors.

His remarks begin with a series of questions:
"...Could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?" (vs. 1)"...What great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?" (vs. 2)  Ammon proceeds to answer for himself with this statement first:
...Our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God!  (vs. 3) And then he points to the blessing:
And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work. (also vs. 3) Ammon'…
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"According to Their Prayers," Alma 25:13-17

Alma 25:13-17

One final group of Lamanites is recorded here as having been converted to the Lord after their warring. After the fight had all gone out of them, they too decided to join themselves to the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, bury their weapons of war, and to walk in the ways of the Lord. (see vs. 13-14)

Verses 15 and 16 go on to explain their relationship to the law of Moses in connection with their faith in Christ. As the author, Mormon, explains it here (as it has been in other parts of the Book of Mormon as well -- Jacob 4:5, Jarom 1:11, Mosiah 3:14-15, and Mosiah 16:14 among others), the law of Moses served to point them to faith in Christ. I cannot help but draw a connection between modern-day standards for the youth that the Church has established through our living prophets.


Verse 16 might very easily read as follows in talking about our days:
Now they did not suppose that salvation came by the [standards of the Church; e.g., "For the Strength of Youth"]; but the […

"Now This Is What He Meant," Alma 25:1-12

Alma 25:1-12

The Lamanites that had yet to be converted by verse 6 came to believe in the Lord and that He had given great power unto the Nephites. Does my faith in Christ enable me to the point that I am given great power?

Verses 9 - 12 focus on the words of Abinadi as a prophet. It's not as black and white, "you're all going to die if you don't obey," as we tend to think of prophetic admonitions. It's that human-nature tendency within myself to take only at face value the words of prophets. Perhaps this is because this is the natural tendency to do so with all communication -- get to the point quickly, what do I need to learn, then let's move on. But this particular explanation of Abinadi's prophecy is worth a deeper understanding.

First, what was it that Abinadi actually said?

In Alma 25:10, Mormon records, "What ye shall do unto me shall be a type of things to come."  There is a footnote in the quote that goes back to the original stateme…

"Once Enlightened... and Then Fallen... Their State Becomes Worse," Alma 24:28-30

Alma 24:28-30

The greatest opposition to the work of the Lord is not the unrepentant heathen. No, rather it is those who were once blessed with light and then turned away from their enlightenment. Which unfortunately for members of Christ's church, that means the greatest opposition is among us.

Taking this a step further, my greatest opposition to progress is not external, its internal. It is myself and that tendency to think that because I have already been enlightened once, I am well enough alone.
But "great faith has a short shelf life," (see "Spiritual Preparedness:Start Early and Be Steady"). 




"The Lord Worketh By Many Ways to the Salvation of His People," Alma 24:20-27

Alma 24:20-27

The first line of verse 20 has caught me attention this morning. There are deliberate preparations by their brethren to destroy the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. I think the Spirit is trying to tell me this morning that there are deliberate preparations in our day to destroy the righteous and righteousness. I feel it is more calculated and bent on destruction than any would realize. But if these had been converted to the Gospel of Christ, as brethren, they would not have been the opposition.

Now what happens here is a difficult story to think about and consider, but it is the account of selfless sacrifice even to the point of death, or laying down of one's own life, and the resultant conversion of more than a thousand of their brethren who openly opposed them on the battlefield.

The conclusion to this section is found in verse 27: "thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people."

After prayer, I am caused to consider the repercus…

"Since God Hath Taken Away Our Stains... Then Let Us Stain Our Swords No More," Alma 24:5-19

Alma 24:5-19

Verse 5 - I need to remind myself that within a context of charity, this is a vexing issue for these missionaries to see their brethren being threatened with war as a result of their conversion to Christ. Compelled by this deep sense of duty and love for their brethren, they gather together in a council that they might determine the will of the Lord in this matter.  Councils as a tool are well documented elsewhere as to their effectiveness in group settings. Oh what good gets accomplished in councils when motivated by genuine concern and love!

I'm also impressed that this council happened as they had become aware of the Lamanites' preparations for war. It wasn't an afterthought as a result of a battle already fought. Though past experience and whatever counter-intelligence that they had access to as leaders, they saw beforehand the struggles that lay ahead of them, and so they counseled collectively on how to avoid such.

Gratitude is a predecessor here in the d…

"Against the People of God," Alma 24:1-4

Alma 24:1-4

As I reviewed verses 1 and 2, the thought came into my head that these people (the Amulonites and Amalekites) were deliberately in opposition to whoever had a belief in God. Now that the Lamanites had converted to God and though these former Nephites had tried to escape this influence by moving among the Lamanites, the opposition had come again into their own country.

In my Sunday School classes yesterday, we were having a discussion on faith, hope, and charity. Our instructor made an interesting observation about the adversary's counterfeits: fear, despair, and anger. I mention this here because this is what is motivating these former Nephites to take action against the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi.

"...[they] were stirred up by the Amalekites and by the Amulonites to anger against their brethren.
"And their hatred became exceedingly sore against them, even insomuch that they began to rebel..."  Fear can be a powerful motivator, and has been for much of …