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"Astonished Beyond All Measure," Alma 31:12-20

Alma 31:12-20

I'm starting this reading with the following assumptions:
The Book of Mormon is an ancient text written for a modern audience. This was written for my personal benefit in the period of world history where I presently reside. Satan takes truth and alters it for his destructive or deceptive purposes. The account of the Zoramites as found here is depicted according to the light of Christ and inspiration of the Holy Ghost that the author had at the time of making this account. That will bring particular insights that would not be otherwise available. It is a typical practice that when reading from the Book of Mormon, that if I find no personal application, I ask myself "Where is Christ in these verses?" Perhaps here, as a false worship practice is being depicted, the correct question to ask would be "Where isn't Christ in these verses?" Let's start our discovery.

In a sense, they had crafted a prayer that said: "God, we thank thee that tho…
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"Fallen into Great Error," Alma 31:8-11

Alma 31:8-11

I cannot help but draw a direct  parallel between the situation among the Nephites with the people of Zoram and my own family dynamic at present. Indeed, these very words could have been penned about my own children:
therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.But they had fallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statutes, according to the law of Moses.Neither would they observe the performances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation. This is both concerning and comforting. Comforting because, like the Zoramites, these children did have the word of God preached unto them. Concerning because, like the Zoramites, these children have fallen in to great error, and failed to keep the commandments of God and the performances of the Church.

Today's Action Item:
- Continue to work on a plan to have the Gospel of Christ preached (taught) to …

"Those Who Went with Him," Alma 31:6-7

Alma 31:6-7

Alma, in his preparations to preach unto the Zoramites, assembles a dream team of missionaries to accompany him: Ammon, Aaron, Omni, Amulek, and Zeezrom. Six very powerful and effective ministers of the gospel of Christ embark on this errand.

Alma also does something else in his preparations to go preach. He brings with him two of his sons to preach unto the people: Shiblon and Corianton. Previously, I might have look at this as favoritism. Now, as I struggle with my own children, I know exactly why Alma has these sons of his in his company.

Today's Action Items:
- No one is a lone maverick in the Lord's work. Don't do the work of the Lord alone.
- Find ways for your family members to contribute to the Lord's work.

"The Cause of Great Sorrow," Alma 31:1-5

Alma 31:1-5

I am finding a great personal parallel between the thoughts of Alma toward the Zoramites (who once were Nephites) and my own personal family dynamic with my older children (who once also were active in Church activities). This loss of my children from church activity has been the source of sorrow for me.

Verse 5 is a powerful reminder of priorities and purpose. "The preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just..."

Today's Action Items:
Allow myself to feel sorrow for the loss of my children.Understand that I can do something to change my situation. Pray for power to know what to do next.

"My Joy Is More Full," Alma 29

Alma 29

An interesting realization is observed by Alma in these verses, for he knows that God gives to all men according to the portion of the word that He sees to be fit for them. The reason that Alma knew that to be true was because he had received that portion of the word of God that was given to his people.

In verse 4, it reads "I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God..." I think I know what this means, but it's the use of the phrase "harrow up" that has me searching. Definitions of the word "harrow" are "To tear; to lacerate; to torment" or "vex". It's quite a violent word. When I searched for the word elsewhere in the scriptures, it appears usually in context of someone coming to the realization of their serious sins or as a description of war.
"And this great sin, and his many other sins, did harrowup his mind until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance;" (Alma 15:3)&…

"I Know There Is a God, and Also That Christ Shall Come," Alma 30

Alma 30

The rhetoric of Anti-Christ:

vs. 13, Starts with the assumption of bondage through a vain and foolish hope. "Why do ye look for a Christ?" This is directly opposing Christ.

vs.14, he goes on to attack prophecy.

Why if one is Anti-Christ would they go at the doctrine of prophecy? "Ye cannot know of things which ye do not see;"

The support poles of the Anti-Christ argument is 1) you cannot believe what you cannot see (vs. 15), and 2) when a man dies that is the end of him. (vs. 18).

At the heart of the Anti-Christ argument is that "there could be no atonement made for the sins of men." and that man is alone in the world to fend for himself. (see vs. 17)

This I could never believe because of the reality of the Atonement of Christ in my life. I have experienced a remission of sins. I know what it is to go in opposition to the commands of God, and then to return, to repent, and to have that weight lifted from me. Real as anything was the weight of sin an…

"The Light of Christ unto Life," Alma 28

Alma 28

Not all missionary experiences end with happy endings.

Earlier I had mentioned how Alma 26 was the unspoken homecoming address that seemed to mark the end of the missionary labors. However chapters 27 and 28 are the "rest of the story" that frequently gets overlooked. In fact, I have read this story many times and had completely disassociated the connection between the large-scale conversion of so many Lamanites and the war that resulted from this major social shift.

The impact that this has had upon me this time has been jarring. So much good had been accomplished. So many Lamanites had been brought to the knowledge of the truth! Why was there such a large scale ramification?

This causes me also to consider the Lord's preferred method of gathering in the last days: "one of a city, and two of a family," (Jeremiah 3:14). Drop by precious drop, little by little Isreal is gathered. Oh how I ought to be more invested, more concerned with the gathering of Zi…