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Likening the scriptures unto ourselves

Hello all!

Nothing much today-- just wanted to share this quick insight:

When I was in the MTC, our teacher, Bro. Jenkins, told us about how we can use the Book of Mormon to answer investigators' concerns (see Chapter 5 of Preach My Gospel). I was dubious about some of the questions that it says the Book of Mormon can answer, like "How can I find work to support my family?" and "How can I help my teenagers avoid drugs and immorality?" I raised my doubts, and was surprised when he answered these questions by "likening the scriptures" unto real-life modern-day situations.

I've read through that Book several times now, but today, I actually took a while to ponder on a selection, and likened them to myself. The selection was Mosiah chapters 18-24. What initially seemed like just the latter end of the record of Zeniff now became so much more. Those short 7 chapters clearly teach:
  • The Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel-- faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end (18:7-10)
  • The baptismal covenant (18:8-10)
  • The necessity of authority to perform priesthood ordinances, such as baptism (18:13, 18; 21:30-35)
  • The proper manner of baptism-- by immersion in water (18:14-15)
  • How Christ's Church must bear His name (18:17), and
  • What membership in Christ's Church requires (18:8-10, 19-30; 23:13-18)
It also points out in Chapters 22-24 an interesting contrast-- both the righteous people of Alma's congregation, and the wicked though eventually penitent people of King Limhi, go through the same trial (they both fall into bondage to the Lamanites [see 22:23]), but endure with different levels of faithfulness, and escape with different results.

Limhi's people spend many years in involuntary servitude (19:29), fightt 4 major, destructive wars, in the which thousands of lives are lost (20:6-7; 21:6-13), and are severely humbled by grievous trials (21:2-5, 13-15). After finding humility and contrition, they have to provide for themselves a precarious escape from their captors (21:36 - 22:16).

On the other hand, Alma's people are faithful, patient and diligent. First, they rely on the Lord when the Lamanites come upon them, and as a result, the transition to slavery is hard, but no lives are lost (23:25-29). They immediately turn to the Lord, and though He doesn't immediately free them from bondage, He does immediately help them bear their burdens and find peace in a difficult circumstance (24:14), and immediately assures them of an eventual deliverance (24:13). The promise of strength to bear is fulfilled (24:15), and people respond with cheerful hearts. with such optimism, it seems almost no time at all before the word of the Lord comes again, promising deliverance "on the morrow" (24:16-18). Their deliverance is completely miraculous-- no inebriating watchmen, or a fantastic rush out of town-- just simply a peaceful departure while the Lord keeps the guards deeply asleep (24:19-20). Immediately outside the city, they stop to give thanks to God (24:21-22).

The people of Alma learned their lesson in less time, with less loss, and with less trial than Limhi's people, whose hardened hearts required many wars and trials to find humility.

We, too have both ways before us-- will we choose the easy way, or the hard way? Will we learn what we need to learn, and do what we need to do when invited? Or will we force the Lord to continually hammer us with trials before we cry unto Him for deliverance, and admit our wrongs?

Do we "submit cheerfully" and let our burdens be "made light?" (24:14-15).
Or do we mourn and resist shouldering our burdens (21:3-13) and finally beg help (21:14) ?
Do we feel that the Lord responds quickly and kindly to our prayers, as to Alma's people?
Or do we find that He is "slow to hear our cries because of our iniquities" (21:13-15) ?
Do we hear the Prophet's counsel and follow it (23:27-28) ?
Or do we instead pester our leaders with complaints and suggestions (21:6) ?
When the Lord helps us out of tough situations, do we pause in our exit to "lift up our voices in the praises of our God" (24:20-22) ?
Or do we make a mad dash for the quickest road out of town?

As I ask myself these same questions, I realize that many times, I'm like the people of Limhi-- I only learn my lessons after inner wars and personal bondage. How much better to emulate the example of Alma and his people-- faithful, diligent, more trusting, and happier. Why do I always seem to want to learn the hard way?

I hope I and all of us can try harder to be more like Alma's people, and less like Limhi's. I pray we also can find deeper meaning in the Scriptures as we apply them to ourselves and our day, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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