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"He Hath Blessed Mine House," Alma 10:7-12

Alma 10:7-12

After Amulek's introduction, in six verses he shares his personal witness of Alma as a prophet and a holy man. Amulek learns by what appears to be two separate angelic visitations 1) the character and office of Alma  (vs. 7) and 2) the validity of Alma's teachings to the people of Ammonihah (vs. 10).

I've always glossed over the second angelic visitation, lumping it together as one with the first. But Amulek specifically says that this visitation came while Alma was at his house. We know that Alma dwelt at Amulek's house for many days before they returned to the public square to address the people, and what seems to have happened here while Alma was in the house of Amulek is an intense period of personal ministry and training for both Amulek and his household.

While in verse 10, Amulek cites the angel's witness as validity of the things which Alma had taught. Amulek then goes further to explain that Alma had blessed every member of his household: himself,…

"I Knew Concerning These Things, Yet I Would Not Know," Alma 10:1-6

Alma 10:1-6

In these verses we have an introduction of Amulek, a self-described "man of no small reputation among all those who know me... [having] many kindreds and friends, and... acquired much riches by the hand of my industry." (vs. 4) So then Amulek, a man who is influential, well connected, and well to do in temporal means, immediately in the next verses makes a public confession:
Nevertheless, after all this, I never have known much of the ways of the Lord, and his mysteries and marvelous power. I said I never had known much of these things; but behold, I mistake, for I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people. Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; (vs. 5-6)  What we have here in the words of Amulek, is a recognition of his own personal rebellion against God. In the open remarks of …

"The Son of God Shall Come in His Glory," Alma 9:25-34

Alma 9:25-34

I've just reviewed my previous study notes on the earlier parts of this chapter and the spiritual significance  associated with these events. Coming to verse 25, the weight of Alma's statement is great. "And now for this cause, that ye may not be destroyed, the Lord has sent his angel to visit many of his people, declaring unto them that they must go forth and cry mightily unto this people, saying: Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand;" (emphasis added)

Angels are not to be trifled with. For they are one step away from God revealing Himself to the people, which thing the people could in no way withstand without being completely destroyed because of the greatness and glory of God. It is impossible for man in his wickedness to stand in the presence of the Holy God. So mercifully, He sends angels, messengers from his presence, to warn the people.

The next three verses are perhaps the most important verses in this chapter, and perhaps the mos…

"If Ye Will Rebel Against Him," Alma 9:18-24

Alma 9:18-24

Alma continues his primary discourse against the people of Ammonihah, explaining that iniquity should not, nay, cannot be an option amongst any of the people of Nephi, if they should expect to continue living peaceably in the land. Verse 19  reminds me that the people of Ammonihah were actually plotting to overthrow the entire nation of the Nephites. Alma states here that if they were to fall into sin and transgression in the face of so much light and truth, that the Lord would rather send the Lamanites upon them to "utterly" destroy them.

The light and knowledge to which Alma points has to do with the people's relationship with God and the root causes of their prosperity, namely, prophecy and revelation, the gifts of the Spirit, and deliverance from bondage of every kind: captivity,  famine, sickness, diseases of every kind and battle. All these are blessings from a merciful God.

Considering this, I have to ask myself, why do we when we are the recipients of …

"For the Lord Will Be Merciful unto All Who Call on His Name," Alma 9:14-17

Alma 9:14-17

This set of verses presents a interesting observation on the Lamanites in their ignorance. There is a contrasting here of the people of Ammonihah against the Lamanites. While the cause of the ignorance of the Lamanites was their parents' disobedience, which caused them to suffer a spiritual death (separation from God) as a people, their ignorance also was grounds for tolerance at the day of judgement.

We also learn something of the merciful characteristics of the Father in prolonging the days of the Lamanites, though they exist in a state of disbelief, until the time that they would believe and repent. Parenthetically, I find a parallel between the promises extended to the Lamanites and those covenants and promises extended to the House of Israel and the Jewish nation. 

Then at the end of this passage of scripture, there is this eternal nugget of truth: "Many of them will be saved, for the Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name." (emphasis added) …

"How Soon Ye Have Forgotten the Commandments of God," Alma 9:7-13

Alma 9:7-13

After the people's contest of Alma's authority, he immediately turns around and "boldly testif[ies]" against them.

After a very striking accusation of their wickedness, Alma gives the reason for the accusation directed towards them:
They had forgotten the traditions of their fathers (which were righteous traditions).They had forgotten to keep the commandments of God.  He then goes on to list five instances of God's kindness and mercy towards their ancestors and specifically towards them as a people. Alma draws a very strong case for God's mercy and long-suffering from their nation's family history.

Then in verse 12, Alma returns to his original theme of repentance and this time with a strong warning of destruction if they did not repent. What's interesting about these words is that if one goes beyond the superficial, these are fundamental statements of profound truth:
"Behold, now I say unto you that he commandeth you to repent; and except…

"Who is God?" Alma 9:1-6

Alma 9:1-6

There is a very interesting pattern that is illustrated in these verses, and sets up the wickedness of this town. In just the first six verses of this chapter, the one thing that these verses illustrate clearly is that the people of Ammonihah do not have a relationship with God. That is the cause of their wickedness.

Hand in hand with with their failure to have any sort of relationship with God also comes a lack of knowledge of the truth and that which is true. This is hugely significant because it was on a foundation of error and  antagonism, or even animosity, towards God, that the people of Ammonihah had set themselves up for destruction.

The footnote on the question "Who is God, that sendeth no more authority than one man... ? " (see vs. 6) causes me to see that their questions of disbelief are on par with Cain, king Noah, and the Pharoah of Egypt. That kind of hard-heartedness demonstrates wickedness to its fullest extent. Though not mentioned anywhere in these …

"The Spirit and Power Which the Lord Had Given Them," Alma 8:29-32

Alma 8:29-32

After many days, the word of the Lord came to Alma: "Go; and also say unto my servant Amulek, go forth and prophesy unto this people, saying—Repent ye, for thus saith the Lord, except ye repent I will visit this people in mine anger; yea, and I will not turn my fierce anger away."

In subsequent verses, we learn that Alma and Amulek accomplished this commandment of the Lord through "the spirit and power which the Lord had given them." (vs 32) So it is, that those that go about the work of the Lord when called of the Lord to do so, they are empowered to do it through the influence of the Holy Ghost. In other words, they are endowed with power, or they have power given them. Verse 31 takes pains to explain the evidence of that power, in that they weren't able to be confined or thrown in dungeons, nor could anyone kill them.

Now later in the account we learn that Alma and Amulek were thrown into prison (and verse 31 makes reference to this), and after …

"I Know that Thou Art a Holy Prophet of God," Alma 8:19-28

Alma 8:19-28

On the surface, this is a fairly simple exchange wherein Alma returns to Ammonihah by a different way and is taken in by Amulek. There are a couple of notes on these verses that I find significant. Of Amulek, it was required to exercise the Christ-like virtue of compassion and to feed the hungry. That may seem an insignificant side note given that he had also received direction and inspiration from an angel to entertain Alma, and yet I think this is at the very core of why the angel appeared to Amulek, and not someone else.

When Alma returns to Ammonihah, he is hungry. We later learn that Alma had actually been fasting for many days. (vs. 26) Upon petitioning an unknown stranger, Amulek identifies himself to Alma as a Nephite and goes further to say that he knows Alma to be a prophet of God.

Near the end of these verses, we learn two notable points in this story: 1) that Alma did not immediately return to the task of preaching the gospel, but spent some time in the house o…

"Thou Hast Great Cause to Rejoice," Alma 8:14-18

Alma 8:14-18

An angelic communication is received by Alma in these verses. What was the purpose of an angel being sent to Alma? First, it was to bring him comfort. Alma took quite seriously the wickedness of the people of Ammonihah. It weighed him down to the point that he felt "an anguish of soul." (see vs. 14) The angel commands Alma to be of good cheer, stating that Alma had been "faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him." Then the angel adds an extra bit of encouragement by saying "Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you." (vs. 15)

The second reason the angel was sent to Alma was to command him to return to Ammonihah to declare repentance to the people. There was a very specific reason though that was outside of the scope of just the people of Ammonihah that Alma was being sent to Ammonihah. In verse 17, the angel explains, "For behold, they do study at this time that they may de…

"Satan Had Gotten Great Hold upon the Hearts," Alma 8:7-13

Alma 8:7-13

There are two corollary lines of thought that I find very interesting, which this passage reminds me of: Works and Knowledge.

In verse 9, the scripture observes "Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people." There's a footnote on the word "hold" that leads me to consider the reality of satan's opposition. In terms of knowledge, he discourages people from knowing him, while God encourages us to know Him (God the Father and His Son).

In regards to works, the works of the devil oppose the works of righteousness. In fact, one of the more diabolical tactics employed by the devil is to say that no work is needed to draw closer to God. Similarly, he lies to others by telling them that there is no need to work in Zion. (see 2 Nephi 28:19-22 )

There  is actually a third line of thought which results in understand one of satan's most effective tactics: contention, to "stir them up to anger against that which is good." (2 Nephi 28:2…

"In the Land of Melek," Alma 8:1-6

Alma 8:1-6

Not in a chapter in and of itself, this brief account of Alma's work in the land of Melek stands in contrast to the account that is made in the land of Ammonihah. For in the land of Ammonihah, Alma is met with great opposition and rebellion in his efforts to preach the Gospel. But what we see from the previous chapter among the people of Gideon and from this summary of his visit to Melek, is that, for the most part the people were willing to listen to Alma and believed the things that he taught, and many were baptized.

Verse 5 even goes so far as to say that people came in from the corners of the land to be baptized. It seems that the people recognized the great importance of having an authorized servant of God among them.

Alma taught "according to the Holy Order of God." (see verse 4) Or in other words, it was his commission to the Priesthood that gave him authority and the responsibility to share the word of God with others.

Among the membership of the Church to…

"Awaken You to a Sense of Your Duty to God," Alma 7:22-27

Alma 7:22-27

This is a powerful conclusion to a discourse given to a righteous people. In verse 22, Alma expresses his desire for the people is that "ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received." This is a fascinating observation and desire, that one may walk blameless before God. With such desires, we see that we are not set up to fail, but to succeed.

Verses 23 and 24 contain the outline of discipleship:
HumilitySubmissivenessGentleEasily entreatedPatientLong-sufferingTemperate Diligent in obedience to God's commandmentsPraying for all needs both temporal and spiritualAlways giving thanksFaithHopeCharityEach of these topics is worthy of extended personal study, so that I might better understand and cultivate these principles in my life.

The final three verses of this chapter seem to be about as close to "happily ever after" as you might find in the scriptures. Alma is hopeful that they will rem…

"By the Testimony of His Word," Alma 7:15-21

Alma 7:15-21

I find in verses 15 and 16 a recap of the gospel: faith, repentance, baptism unto the remission of sins, endurance until the end. His testimony of these principles is confirmed to him according to the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Our fears are what bind us to destruction. Our faith is what causes us to live lives of extraordinary capacity and interest.  There are sins which bind us down and commandments that liberate and free us. Commandments are not only those written in stone by Moses thousands of years ago, but also include the whisperings of the Spirit and "every word which proceedeth forth from the mouth of God." (Doctrine and Covenants 84:44)

It is also by the manifestation of the Spirit that Alma received a witness of the faith of those at Gideon (see vs. 17). This thought has been impressed upon me recently as to how this work is guided by the influence of the Holy Spirit. Obedience to that Spirit is requisite to be a true servant of the Lord. Alma pla…

"The Son of God Suffereth According to the Flesh," Alma 7:10-14

Alma 7:10-14

I have for many years taken for granted that when the scriptures talk about Mary as a virgin, that this was just a given. I simply assumed that was just who she was. When in reality this is who she chose to be. It was a deliberate choice to keep herself clean and pure, that then qualified her for the role that she was blessed to receive.

The same realization must be made of our Savior. When the scriptures talk of his "suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind," what we must see is that, indeed,  He chose to "take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people." (vs. 11)

Another thought, that I find to be almost as paradoxical as it is true (and it is this way with most everything in the Gospel of Christ), is that we are to try to comprehend the infinite Atonement of Christ, when our minds are limited to the finite. The reality is that we will never be able to fully understand it in our present mortal state. We cannot comprehend it…

"Repent Ye, and Prepare the Way of the Lord," Alma 7:7-9

Alma 7:7-9

This particular injunction resonates with me, probably because of my personal circumstances at the moment. Yet it seems that the personal and individualized instruction tends to be the most universally compelling at the same time.

Alma states that the Spirit had said unto him to tell the people of Gideon:
Cry unto this people, saying—Repent ye, and prepare the way of the Lord, and walk in his paths, which are straight; for behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth. (vs. 9)In chapter 9, a different account is found where Alma is among the people of Ammonihah. This time it is the voice of an angel that had instructed Alma:
 And now for this cause, that ye may not be destroyed, the Lord has sent his angel to visit many of his people, declaring unto them that they must go forth and cry mightily unto this people, saying: Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand; And not many days hence the Son of God shall come …

"Ye Do Worship the True and Living God," Alma 7:6

In verse 6, the people of Gideon are found not in a state of unbelief. Rather they did believe in and follow the teachings of the true and living God. I want to say that they did worship, but I don't know if I understand or hold in reverence what it truly means to worship God.
Yea, I trust that you do not worship idols, but that ye do worship the true and the living God... What is the difference between worshiping idols and worshiping the true and living God? Idol worship requires no changes to the inner, carnal man. It allows man to continue as he was in his sins. To worship the true and living God requires a change of heart, and a perpetual, continue effort to turn more towards God.

...but that ye do worship the true and the living God, and that ye look forward for the remission of your sins, with an everlasting faith, which is to come. When I worship, I am not just giving reverence and blind patronage to some Being who hold his all powerful staff over me to hold me in subjectio…

"Ye Do Worship the True and the Living God," Alma 7:3-6

Alma 7:3-6

I am appreciating today the difference in wholesomeness, cleanliness, or worthiness that is presented in these verses as a contrast to the more sinful state of those at Zarahemla. It causes me to consider the question of whether it is better to have experienced the hardship and difficulties of sin and then gone through the process of repentance, or whether it is better to have the experience of endurance in righteousness.

That this comparison would even be considered brings to light two general false assumptions:
That the Atonement of Christ can only be seriously experienced and realistically accessed through the process of turning from serious, grievous sin. Similarly, the sufferings and hardship of the righteous who endure in righteousness are not the same, nor comparable, nor as significant as the pain and anguish that is suffered by the godless as the result of sin. Now this second point is a hard one to measure or assess. There seems to be an inherent need to compare the …

"The Lord in Much Mercy Hath Granted," Alma 7:1-2

Alma 7:1-2

Verses 1 and 2 seem like something of a formality only if we choose to see them that way. However, recent prayers and events in my own life have caused me to consider the significance of a few key points.

Alma starts his remarks by stating that he had been permitted to come to them by rearranging the affairs of the government and freeing up his time and responsibilities so that he could attended to such. He points out that this is the first time that he had been permitted to travel to meet this particular group of saints in person. Thus Alma concludes that "the Lord in much mercy hath granted that I should come unto you." (verse 2) This seems noteworthy that Alma did not take for granted the restructuring of the government of the land as something that he accomplished in and of himself.

There are two different reminders that I take away from this introduction:
 First, on a personal level, I do well to remember the great blessings that have been extended to me in rece…

"To Establish the Order of the Church," Alma 6

Alma 6

After Alma's pivotal discourse at Zarahemla, the record states that "he ordained priests and elders, by laying on his hands according to the order of God, to preside and watch over the church."(vs.1) Those who would repent became a part of the Church of God; those who would not repent and already belonged to the Church of God, had their names "blotted out, that their names were not numbered among those of the righteous." (vs.3)

Thus is the work of the kingdom, to organize according to covenants, the righteous from the wicked, that the righteous might have a support structure in which to strengthen their faith and to perform greater works than they would otherwise be able to do for themselves.

In the fifth verse of this chapter, after explaining this sorting of church members between the wicked and the righteous on conditions of their repentance, the author explains that everyone was permitted to come to church, regardless of their willingness to repent or n…

"That Ye Also May Be Partakers of the Fruit of the Tree of Life," Alma 5:50-62

Alma 5:50-62

In the first three verses of this grouping, Alma testifies of things which he has heard of the Holy Spirit.

All of these verses suggest that there is a literal division between the righteous and the wicked. The Kingdom of God is coming quickly, wherein the righteous will dwell. Therefore, one ought to repent of his sins and bring forth works of righteousness if he desires to be a part of this kingdom.



How will the righteous be distinguished from the wicked? Or in other words, what type of person will inherit the kingdom of heaven. Also I ask myself, amongst what type of people do I want to enjoy of their friendship and company?


In the kingdom of heaven, there are the penitent. They are they who desire to follow the voice of the Good Shepherd. (vs. 57) They are they whose names are written in the book of life. (vs. 58) And it will be God who will separate the wicked from among the righteous. (vs. 59)

I am impressed by this thought: that in the kingdom of God, there will not be…

"This Is the Spirit of Revelation which Is in Me," Alma 5:43-49

Alma 5:43-49

It was just yesterday morning that I found myself contemplating what was the difference between the spirits of prophecy and revelation. Now I'm very familiar with these verses for their doctrines on testimony, and fasting and praying as a source of testimony. In reviewing it this morning, Alma clearly gives a distinction between the spirit of revelation and the spirit of prophecy.

For my own part, the spirit of revelation as referenced in verse 46 could then be defined as knowledge obtained by Holy Ghost (that Holy Spirit of God). Revelation is enhanced and clarified through fasting and prayer.

Then in verse 47, Alma points to the words of their fathers, testifying to their truthfulness according to the spirit of prophecy which was in him. If there is a distinction to be found between prophecy and revelation, it would appear to be this: prophecy has to do with the truth of events past, present, and future, while revelation has more to do with the attainment of eternal tr…