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"This Is What I Have Against Thee," Alma 39:2-11

Alma 39:2-11

One impression that comes to me in prayer as I reflect on this rather hard passage of scripture is that Alma did his son no disservice by clearly stating where the offenses lay and explaining simply the challenges that his conduct had created. Neither is this a heat-of-the-moment exchange.

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It appears to be random and off-topic, but in my prayers this morning I'm reminded of an exchange I had briefly with an older couple about a year ago with my family at a Subway's shop in Sedalia, Missouri. The details of that conversation are not for this setting, but it reminds me that there are no chance encounters.

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Back to the passage at hand, Alma spells out the begin and the end of his son's departure from the paths of safety, expounding upon the consequences of both. This allows his son to clearly see how to make course correction.  This was important in his son's darkened state because it allowed him a path of escape into greater light.

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On another morning of study, I am brought to consider the weight of this passage. I realize that I had initially hoped to pass over this section of scripture lightly. But this morning, I am brought to consider it more deeply.

There is also a tendency to read these verse in a condemning tone of voice. However, as I contemplate this, there is no way that Alma could have delivered this as a set of railing condemnations. Rather, the Spirit of the Lord is with me as I gently read these verses and slowly work my way through. The one indication of Alma's loving, tender, yet direct approach in these verses is his repeated use of the phrase "my son".

The seriousness of sexual transgression is illustrated here. Alma juxtaposes it to denial of the Holy Ghost and the murder of innocent blood, placing it along side, but listing it as the lesser of the three. I've cross referenced it to scriptures throughout the New Testament where Paul clearly states to avoid company with those who commit fornication.

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I've spent time today following footnotes on "harlot" and "steal". I've spent a bit of time in Proverbs 7 which very descriptively goes through the logic that leads a young man without understanding down a path of loss. These are the follies of youth. This is what we're trying to protect our youth from. The fight, the battle is real.

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