Skip to main content

"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 disposition of the king for their particular position regarding their response to the Lamanites' and their preparation for war. By this, I mean that repeatedly the king expresses his thanks to God for the series of events that had lead them up to this point of conversion among him and his people.

The king lists at least four points of gratitude for blessings received from "my great God":
  • That God in his goodness had sent the Nephites to preach to them and convince them of their of the traditions of their "wicked fathers." (vs. 7)
  • That God had softened their hearts through the spirit enough to begin corresponding with the Nephite missionaries. (vs. 8)
  • By so doing, they had been convinced of their many sins and murders. (vs. 9)
  • That God had granted unto them that they might repent, that they had received a forgiveness of these sins and murders, and  that through the "merits of his Son" the guilt of all this had been taken from them. (vs. 10)
Then in consideration of all these blessings, the only form of repayment is that of repentance, which lead to further gratitude for the forgiveness of sins granted them.


I am considering further how Lamoni explains to his people the process of their conversion and why this particular course of action is being reasonably justified among them.

The central argument for Lamoni's argument is their repentance and conversion which was brought to past through the convincing power of God that was wrought through the Nephite missionaries that came to them. (See vs. 7 - 12)

Lamoni says that "by opening this correspondence we have been convinced of our sins." (vs 9) This is similar wording to these passages that talk about the labors of Heleman:

Therefore, Helaman and his brethren went forth, and did declare the word of God with much power unto the convincing of many people of their wickedness, which did cause them to repent of their sins and to be baptized unto the Lord their God. (Alma 62:45)
And then the council that was given to Hyrum Smith:
...First seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.(Doctrine and Covenants 11:21)

And hence the counsel that if found later in the Doctrine and Covenants 50:13-22 to preach the Gospel by the power the Spirit. Then shall the power of God be granted unto us unto the convincing of men.


The remainder of these verses are predicated upon one eternal truth: namely, that God forgives sin and pardons the demands of justice through the grace of Christ's Atonement for sins committed. It is this overpowering reality, this sense of profound gratitude for having personally experienced the forgiveness of " those [their] many sins and murders which [they had] committed" (see vs. 10), for which the decision to not take up arms is based.

So in light of this deep sense of forgiveness that they had experienced first hand, the king has a sizeable concern that if they were to go back to war that they might loose this blessing of forgiveness which they had received. But it is actually more than just a concern of falling out of favor.

Verses 13 and 14 explain the seriousness of the issue. It is that if they were to repeat those grievous sins for which they had already been forgiven through the blood of the Atonement of Christ, that they would have fallen into a worse state in the which they would not be able to obtain forgiveness again. The king goes on to explain that this is not just his opinion but rather "the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish;" (vs. 14) This truth had been revealed unto them.

This is clarified further in verse 15. The matter is an issue of accountability. Accountability for what? For truth received. The decision to not bare arms was a direct result of understanding their obligation to God for his blessings.  It was:
 "a testimony to our God at the last day, or at the day that we shall be brought to stand before him to be judged, that we have not stained our swords in the blood of our brethren since he imparted his word unto us and has made us clean thereby."
The result of the Lamanite's realization is a covenant that has at its core three mandates:
  1. "Rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives"
  2. "Rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him"
  3. "Rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands"
And hence:
And thus we see that, when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin; and thus we see that they buried their weapons of peace, or they buried the weapons of war, for peace. (vs. 19)


Popular posts from this blog

"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…

"Your Ground is Barren," Alma 32:30-43

Alma 32:30-43

I am reading through the process of how to nurture the seed of faith. This morning, I am particularly interested in how I can continue to cultivate the principle of gratitude which I have recently made a dedicated study of. As I have studied gratitude and humility, I've found the application over this past week to be proof of the principles and their soundness. I'm past this first step of testing the seed.

Now I want the fruit, but I feel that the seedling is faltering a little. Verse 37 reads:
And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit. I'm grateful that Alma didn't stop there though, and also addressed what happens if we neglect the seed. Verse 38 is a warning that if we neglect the seed, when the heat of the sun comes, which it w…

"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…