Thursday, September 25, 2008

Keeping An Eternal Perspective

I just went visiting teaching today and as part of the lesson Henry B. Eyring says:
"The purpose of God's creations and of His giving us life is to allow us to have the learning experiences necessary for us to come back to Him, to live with Him in eternal life. That is only possible if we have our natures changed through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (despite hard stuff), true repentance, and making and keeping the covenants He offers all of his Father's children through His Church."
This reminded me of Helaman 15:3 …they have been a chosen people of the Lord; yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them.
Then this reminded me of a conference talk given a few years ago where they quoted Brigham Young. It was something to the effect of… Every trial that we experience in this life is essential for our salvation.
So I guess what I am trying to say is that Heavenly Father loves us so he has given us a way to return to him. Even if it means a little heart ache; whether it’s a natural consequence for poor choices or something that just can’t be avoided like the loss of a loved one. We need to remain faithful even when it’s hard and try to see the purpose behind the trial. Heavenly Father doesn’t give us trials for no reason. There is always a little progression to be had. I can only pray that when “the mighty winds” come my way that I can remain steadily grounded in my faith in Jesus Christ and find the purpose of the trial.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pride - No Good

After reading the scriptures quite a bit, I can't help but feel that pride is the path to all wickedness. Whether is just a small sin like thinking something negative about someone or something large like committing murder or worse. Pride is a toxic attribute that when we see it in our hearts we NEED to remove it as soon as possible. The best way to do that is to go in humility to our savior and ask for forgiveness.

I had an experience lately that I am ashamed of. I was starting to get prideful in my heart and then it started to become an outward attribute. There was a little drama in a family in our ward that I was beginning to gossip about. Not to anyone that actually knows the family, but to a friend of mine and to my family. One day something happened and I just felt terrible. I was worried that I had offended someone, I was ashamed of the way I was acting, & in short I was not being a disciple of Christ. It was a real eye opener to just how prideful I was getting. Luckily there is the atonement that brought about a true change of heart. It is amazing how well a humble, sincere prayer to our Father in Heaven works to purge sin from our hearts. Without getting too specific, I have since learned that my opinion doesn't matter. I don't have any right to judge the situation and my job is to just love them.

So I guess now the question is, How do we avoid pride so that it doesn't consume our hearts?
1- Bryan says that service is key. In Mosiah 4:15 it says
But ye will teach them (your children) to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.
I take this to mean that if you want to learn to love someone you must serve them. Maybe that's why we love our family's so much. We spend our life serving them.
2 - Stay grounded in the gospel. I think that it is a lot harder to become prideful when the gospel is your first priority.
3 - Deny yourself of something. It helps to build our self control and will power. Maybe that's one of the reasons why we do fast Sunday every month.

I'm sure there are more ways to prevent pride, but I am pretty sure that my 1.5 year old is into something messy. If you have any more ideas, please leave a comment and share you thoughts!

Monday, September 1, 2008


Wherefore, my beloved sons (or daughters), pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons or daughters of God; that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as He is pure. Amen”
Moroni 7:48

I chose this scripture to put on a bookmark for my Activity Day girls to help them remember that they should be praying everyday, especially before they read the scriptures. I hope it will help.

If you know of any better prayer scriptures, please, let me know! I just really want to motivate them to read!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Take Courage

Alma 58 8-12
When I read this I had a few things pop into my mind, First:
One time when we were helping my parent's move, we had been working, & cleaning, & packing all day and towards dinner time we were all getting very tired and losing steam really fast. It was getting to the point that we were ready to call it a day even though we needed to be out that night. Just when we were about to quit some of my siblings walked through the door with enough energy for all of us. With their help we were able to complete the job in the time required.
Second: Have you ever watched Lord of the Rings - Fellowship of the Ring? If you have, you will know what I am talking about. At the end of the movie there is a small army of men fighting for good at a strong hold called Helm's Deep. They are matched up against a massive Ork army. All as brutal and mean as they come. The future looks bleak and hope seems to have fled away. They begin the battle and things go well for a while then the Ork army manages to penetrate the defenses and begin to take lives and hope. When hope is gone and the end seems inevitable they gather their hope and faith and make a courageous last stand. As they ride out into the midst of the Orks their hope and energy is rekindled by the sight of Gandolf with his beacon of light who arrives just in time to save the day using his wizardly awesomeness to kick some serious Ork patooty.
We are not unlike these two scenarios. We are all engaged in an eternal battle between good and evil. The good is vastly out numbered by the beliefs and actions of the wicked. It may seem impossible to raise children and live in such a wicked world, but if we gather our hope, faith, and dedication to the Lord and pray for guidance and support and practice a little obedience there is nothing that we can't overcome.
Go ahead and read this excerpt and you will see what I am talking about. Leading up to this Heleman's army is feeling a little desperate. Things seem very bleak and they ask for support from the government and receive very little.
Alma 58 8-12
8 But it came to pass that we did receive food, which was guarded to us by an army of two thousand men to our assistance; and this is all the assistance which we did receive, to defend ourselves and our country from falling into the hands of our enemies, yea, to contend with an enemy which was innumerable.
9 And now the cause of these our embarrassments, or the cause why they did not send more strength unto us, we knew not; therefore we were grieved and also filled with fear, lest by any means the judgments of God should come upon our land, to our overthrow and utter destruction.
10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.
11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.
12 And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

War-What's it Good For?

Why do we have these war chapters at the end of Alma? Bryan says it's so that boys will read the scriptures. Someone in our ward mentioned it was a good source for learning primitive war strategy. Although those are both good reasons for recording this type of history, I am inclined to think that there must be something a little deeper that we are to learn. Something along the lines of an example to us of how our belief in the Savior can impact our lives. How our faith and obedience can directly influence the happiness that we experience. We won't be exempt from trial and hardship, but can avoid some things and we will be better prepared to handle the inevitable. It's truly a comfort to know that the Lord is watching over me and that I can call on His name whenever I need a little help from someone who loves me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Grudge

I was reading in the last parts of Alma this morning and it never fails to amaze me how much the Lamanites hated the Nephites and for the reason they claimed. To me it's just so silly. What purpose does it serve to hold that hatred in your heart? It doesn't help anyone. I don't understand how anyone can hold a grudge for so long. We are talking about generation after generation of hatred. Traditions of fathers being passed down...

It makes me think about several things: 1-This is a tool of Satan to turn hearts away from our Father in Heaven 2-This is a tool of Satan to make the lives of the righteous hard 3- What kind of traditions am I passing on to my children? 4- Am I holding grudges that are affecting my spiritual well being?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Love, Limits, & Latitude

This is a great article in the August 2008 Ensign pg. 60. It is about parenting children and also has a few great FHE ideas. I highly recommend reading it with your spouse.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Where One Goes the Rest Will Follow

Alma 38:5
And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

... Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry wherewith thou wast entrusted.
... O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words.
12 And now the Spirit of the Lord doth say unto me: Command thy children to do good, lest they lead away the hearts of many people to destruction; therefore I command you, my son, in the fear of God, that ye refrain from your iniquities;
13 That ye turn to the Lord with all your mind, might, and strength; that ye lead away the hearts of no more to do wickedly; but rather return unto them, and acknowledge your faults and that wrong which ye have done.

It really stinks that you have to learn how to be a parent from your first child. That child is the one that can help to make or break the rest of the kids. If your first kid goes AWOL there is a good chance that many of the following children will follow suit.

I wish there was some sort of gaurentee that all of my children would follow the Lord's teachings and do the right things in this life. But there's not. Many prophets have had rebellious children: Lehi, Alma, Mosiah, Alma, Jacob, Adam. What chance do I have if these guys struggled with it. How on Earth did my parents manage to raise nine children and have them all active in the gospel? Beats me. I think I will read "Love, Limits, & Latitude" from the new Ensign. It's about raising kids and setting boundries. Maybe that article will have some good pointers. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Child Rearing Guide per Alma

Alma 37

I LOVED this chapter. First of all, it's a chapter where Alma is giving his son Helaman advice. Really good advice. I feel like it is a blueprint to how to raise your children. In 37:6 it says-

6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

Then he goes on to give an example of this and then compares the temporal thing to spiritual things. Here is a list.

Small & Simple things:
Teach your children to hate sin
To Repent
To have Faith in Jesus Christ
To be humble
To be Meek & Lowly in heart
To withstand temptation with their faith
To Never be weary of good works
Teach them to keep the commandments
To Pray for support
To Let the Lord guide your decisions
To Direct your thoughts to the Lord
To Pray to the Lord for support
To Pray to the Lord for guidance
To Pray before bed for protection
To Pray in the morning in thanksgiving
I would add:
Family Home Evening
To work hard
Let them experience consequences for their actions
Spend quality time with them
Delayed Gratification
Self Discipline

Great Thing:
Returning to our Father in Heaven

These are all of the small things that we should be doing to reach our ultimate goal aka the The GREAT Thing which is to return to our Father in Heaven. We may think to ourselves, "Oh, my kids are too young to start learning these things." or "I don't want my kids to have a poor self-esteem so I am not going to teach them to be humble yet." What is this accomplishing? When are you going to start doing it? There is no better time than the present to begin teach kids these things. There is a lot here that I need to start doing and it's nice to get little reminder periodically.

I love reading the scriptures. It has been so fun to dive in and do this blog. I love this gospel and our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for this in my life. I know that I would not be happy and progressing in my life without the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pray and Have Charity

Alma 33-34
I highly recommend reading these two chapters. I'm not even going to tell you anything about them other than to pray often and to have charity for others.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Plant Your Seed

Alma 32
From 32:28-43 this chapter talks about faith being like a seed. Looking for some sign to prove to us that the church is true is not how we gain a testimony. We need to plant the seed of faith in our hearts and nurture it.

28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

I have been so grateful to have this blog to motivate me to read my scriptures everyday. I feel like this is the first time in a long time that I can feel that I am making some real strides in my spiritual growth. I feel like I am experiencing the highlighted part in 28. I feel like my soul is beginning to enlarge, my understanding is more enlightened and the scriptures are becoming delicious to me. I have always had faith in the gospel, it's just nice to feel like I am gaining some ground.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Family Home Evening

What Parents Have Learned from Family Home Evening July 2008 Ensign Pg. 34

This is a great article to read if you need some ideas how to get your kids more involved in Family Home Evenings. Here are some of the highlights:

1. During opening prayer ask that the spirit will touch the hearts of your children.

2. Have your children help prepare some of the lessons.

3. Using Preach My Gospel to teach your kids, especially if they are to be baptised soon.

4. If a person from your family is away during FHE get them on speaker phone so they can participate.

5. Spend one family night a month with grandparents or other family being sure to include lesson, music, prayer, & treats.

6. Bring discussion and questions into your lessons.

Thomas S. Monson

"I begin with Family Home Evening. We cannot afford to neglect this heaven inspired program. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Count your Blessings

Alma 26:2
And now , I ask, what great blessings has He bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?

I think that it is so easy to forget the blessings that the Lord has given us, especially when everything seems to go wrong. Ammon and his brethren experienced all kinds of hardship while they were teaching the Lamanites. Imprisonment, watching people die, hunger, thirst, persecution just to name a few. Yet in this chapter Ammon spends the entire time saying how blessed they have been. This is an example that I think everyone can benifit from.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We are blessed

Alma 25

This chapter talks about some of the martyrdoms that occured. We are so blessed to live in this time when we are free to belong to any church we choose. We don't have to worry about mobs or being burned alive just because we believe what we believe. It makes me sad to think of all of the people who died standing up for what they believed in.
Why is it so hard for us today? A lot of times we have a hard time just telling our friends no or speaking up when conversation goes astray.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Why the hard heart?

So this is when the Anti-Nephi-Lehies covenant with the Lord that they will never shed blood again and then they bury their wepons of war. Shortly after an army of Lamanites come to fight them. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies refuse to fight back and the Lamanites kill 1005 of them. Then their hearts begin to soften and suddenly we see that a bunch of Lamanites become converted to the gospel. None of which are ex-Nephites aka Amalekites and Amulonites. The Lamanites who were direct descendants of Laman and Lemuel were less hardened than the ex-Nephites.

Alma 24
30 And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things.

Isn't that interesting. I guess that is why most of the anti-LDS stuff out there is headed up by excommunicated members.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A New Name

Alma 23
Many Lamanites are converted to the gospel. They are so commited to their new way of life that they disown the name Lamanite and take on a new name which is Anti-Nephi-Lehies. Saul of the New Testiment did the same thing after he was visited by the angel and was converted to the gospel. He wanted to completely forsake his past life and start out new so he changed his name to Paul. Maybe when we receive our new name in the temple it is for the same reason. A symbolic gesture to our Heavenly Father showing our renewed conviction to follow His gospel.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Give Half, Give All

Alma 20-22
Ammon and Lamoni are going to free Aaron and some others from prison and they come across Lamoni's Dad. His Dad is angry that Lamoni didn't come to the family reunion and finds out that he has been hanging around a Nephite. His Dad is so mad that he commands Lamoni to kill Ammon. Lamoni says no and then the Dad king goes after Lamoni. Ammon stops Lamoni's dad and over takes him and the king begins to beg for his life. He offers Ammon half of his kingdom (20:23). Ammon of course only wants him to leave Lamoni alone and to go get Aaron from prison. So the old King lets them go.

Later Aaron goes to meet with Lamoni's dad and to teach him about the gospel. Aaron teaches him about Heavenly Father and about the church and Lamoni's dad says to Aaron...
Alma 22:15
15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.

Sometimes when we grow up in the church we take for granted how blessed and happy we really are. Maybe it's because we have never had to live without it and we don't really know the difference. Lamoni's father was only willing to give half of what he owned when his life was at stake. When he wanted to know more about the gospel and be forgiven of his sins he was willing to give all that he had.

Are we that enthuiastic about the gospel? Do we feel that kind of passion when we are being tempted or when there is someone in our life that is ready for a little missionary work? How about just scripture study or daily prayer? Attending church?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Great Faith

Alma 19
This chapter is a great example of faith. The Queen believes Ammon without seeing any of Lamoni's interactions with Ammon.

9 And Ammon said unto her: Believest thou this? And she said unto him: I have had no witness save thy word, and the word of our servants; nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said.
10 And Ammon said unto her: Blessed art thou because of thy exceeding faith; I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites.

Isn't that awesome. Ammon goes to this wicked people and he finds out that they aren't really all that wicked. In fact they are easier to teach than many of the Nephites.

Are we that trusting of the Lord? Or do we question the gentle pleadings of our Prophet and Apostles?

Bad Move

Alma 19:22-23
22 Now, one of them, whose brother had been slain with the sword of Ammon, being exceedingly angry with Ammon, drew his sword and went forth that he might let it fall upon Ammon, to slay him; and as he lifted the sword to smite him, behold, he fell dead.
23 Now we see that Ammon could not be slain, for the Lord had said unto Mosiah, his father: I will spare him, and it shall be unto him according to thy faith—therefore, Mosiah trusted him unto the Lord.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Everyone has the light of Christ

Alma 18
This is the chapter where Lamoni thinks that Ammon is the Great Spirit coming to punish him and his people for their sins. I thought this was interesting because I usually think of Lamanites as being heartless people who didn't really know the difference between right and wrong. But here it shows that they do know. Lamoni is worried that he will be punished for his sins and later he says that it was the traditions of his Fathers to do whatever you want and it's all good. You can basically do no wrong. But Lamoni has the light of Christ and he knew better than to do the things he was doing. Why else would he be so worried about the Great Spirit coming to punish him?
We all have the Light of Christ in our hearts. We all know what is right and what is wrong. We need to follow those promptings and chose the better part.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Nay, but I will be thy servant.

Alma 17

In this chapter the sons of King Mosiah separate and go to teach the gospel to the Lamanites. Ammon is captured and is taken to King Lamoni. Ammon tells him that he wants to live among his people and King Lamoni likes him so he offers to Ammon to marry one of his daughters. Ammon politely rejects the king's offer and suggests that he might be a servant instead.

Alma 17:25
But Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became a servant to king Lamoni.

I thought this was interesting because in the scriptures it says that if you want to learn to love someone you should serve them.

Mosiah 4:15
But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.

I'm sure that he didn't feel right marrying one of the king's daughters, but perhaps he also had a plan to help him love the Lamanites more and to help the Lamanites love him so that they would listen to his words.

Ammon was a great missionary and I think this was one of the keys to his work. He didn't just come in and say I am going to convert all of you. He became acquainted with them and offered to serve them and when he had their trust and love he began to teach them about the gospel.

We can all be a missionary and we need to use this example when we want to influence someone in our life. We need to love them, be a good example, serve them, and then when they are ready to hear the gospel message it will come. Either by us, or a missionary, or someone else.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reaching Out to Belong

"We speak of the fellowship of the Saints. This is and must be a very real thing. We must never permit this spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood to weaken. We must constantly cultivate it."

President Gordon B. Hinckley

There are a few things that we can do to help ourselves feel like we belong.
1. Make a smooth transition.
When moving, ask for your records to be transferred right away and set an appointment to meet with your new bishop to get to know him.
2. Know your not alone.
Chances are that there are a few people in the same boat as you.
3. Take a lead.
Be the first to say hi to someone.
4. Participate in class.
Volunteer to say the prayer. Add a comment in class. This will help people to get to know you. (This is something that I want to work on)
5. Get connected.
If you are in a calling that you don't interact much with people, find out what activities are going on and make an effort to attend. Going to Enrichment night, ward activities, temple night, and other events is a great way to get to know people.
6.Advertise your interests.
If people know what you like to do, it's easier to connect and to find common ground.
7. Help missionaries.
Helping missionaries is a great way to help fellowship investigators.
8. Keep perspective.
The people aren't perfect but the church is.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ask, Receive, Obey

Alma 16:5-8
5 Therefore, he that had been appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites, (and his name was Zoram, and he had two sons, Lehi and Aha)—now Zoram and his two sons, knowing that Alma was high priest over the church, and having heard that he had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and desired of him to know whither the Lord would that they should go into the wilderness in search of their brethren, who had been taken captive by the Lamanites.
6 And it came to pass that Alma inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And Alma returned and said unto them: Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti. And behold there shall ye meet them, on the east of the river Sidon, and there the Lord will deliver unto thee thy brethren who have been taken captive by the Lamanites.
7 And it came to pass that Zoram and his sons crossed over the river Sidon, with their armies, and marched away beyond the borders of Manti into the south wilderness, which was on the east side of the river Sidon.
8 And they came upon the armies of the Lamanites, and the Lamanites were scattered and driven into the wilderness; and they took their brethren who had been taken captive by the Lamanites, and there was not one soul of them had been lost that were taken captive. And they were brought by their brethren to possess their own lands.

This is a great example of asking in faith, receiving an answer, and then obeying. They had been attacked by the Lamanites and some of their people had been taken into captivity. They wanted to know where the Lamanites would be attacking from next and how they could get their people back. The Lord told them and because they obeyed they were able to stop the Lamanites and get everyone back. What a blessing and a great example for all of us.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

According to Your Faith in Christ

Alma 15:6-11
6 And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?
7 And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.
8 And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed.
9 And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words.
10 And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.
11 And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.

Bryan has done this same kind of question & answer thing with Kaden before a blessing. I think it's a good thing to do because it teaches the person where to put their faith and gratitude for the blessing.
It's kind of funny because a few months later Kaden got the stomach flu and I walked into the bathroom where Kaden had his head resting on the toilet seat and he was praying so hard that Jesus would help him to feel better. "Please Jesus, help me to feel better. I don't want to be sick anymore." It was really cute and pathetic.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

God's Plan Not Ours

Alma 14
So this chapter is about when the wicked people of Ammonihah cast out the believers of Christ and burn them by fire, imprison Alma and Amulek, are made to watch the people be burned, they are abused and told to deny Christ, God destroys the prison killing all the wicked judges inside, and Alma & Amulek walk out of the prison alive. When I was done reading this I was very sad about how things happened, but all I could think about was a scene from a movie where the hero is walking away from a fiery inferno.
All kidding aside, what a tragic story. It's so sad, but there is a purpose that God allowed the believers to be burned.

10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

God allows people to practice their agency and He knows that the pain the people suffered was brief and that their glory in heaven would be great.

Eventually the bad guys get what they deserve in the end.

24 And the chief judge stood before them, and smote them again, and said unto them: If ye have the power of God deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words.

Tsk tsk... Be careful what you ask for. He got the sign he was looking for. Although, not the way he expected. Unless, he expected to be squished by a wall.

I cannot believe the wickedness of the people of Ammonihah. You would think that there would be some humanity in their hearts, but there was none. The arrogance of the Chief Judge was staggering. They would not listen to the Spirit. Lucky for us we have the opportunity to listen to the Spirit. We can be delivered from our own personal heart aches if we have our faith centered on Christ. The problems may not go away, but at least they can feel lighter with an eternal perspective and a hope that things will get better.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

You are Loved

Alma 13:27-30
27 And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;
28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.
30 And may the Lord grant unto you repentance, that ye may not bring down his wrath upon you, that ye may not be bound down by the chains of hell, that ye may not suffer the second death.

I love this because you can see the love and concern that prophets have for us. They have a perspective that we don't have. They can feel the love that the Lord has for us and they just want us to be truly happy and they know that the way to true happiness is through living the gospel. Just think about all the pain and suffering that can be avoided by living the gospel. Think of a commandment that a person could break... Now think of the consequences that can arise because of that choice... There is a reason it is called the plan of happiness. Things aren't always going to be perfect, but at least we can avoid bringing things upon ourselves.

Monday, June 23, 2008

He's a tricky one...

Alma 12:4
And thou seest that we know that thy plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people that thou mightest set them against us to revile us and to cast us out-

This scripture reminds me that the devil is very subtle in his deciet. He starts you off with a though, then a spoken word, then an action, and then a worse action until you are someone you once thought you could never become. You are in so deep that it would seem that there is no return. But that is the beautiful part of the Saviors plan. Even when we have made some really awful mistakes, the Lord can take them away if we will just give them up and repent.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Everyone gets to do it

Alma 11:44

Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Wickedness of my Heart

Alma 10:6

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; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart...

I thought it was interesting that he said "in the wickedness of my heart." I don't think he had problems with sin outwardly. He was probably a good man who had a good family and a good life, but he was resistant to the spirit and maybe struggled with inward thoughts and attitudes. I don't know... What do you think?

This scripture also makes me think inwardly. What is the condition of my heart? If it is hard, what can I do so soften it?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I guess this means I won't have any excuses...

Alma 9:16&23

16 For there are many promises which are extended to the Lamanites; for it is because of the traditions of their fathers that caused them to remain in their state of ignorance; therefore the Lord will be merciful unto them and prolong their existence in the land.

23 And now behold I say unto you, that if this people, who have received so many blessings from the hand of the Lord, should transgress contrary to the light and knowledge which they do have, I say unto you that if this be the case, that if they should fall into transgression, it would be far more tolerable for the Lamanites than for them.

I guess this means I won't have any excuses when I am dead and it's time to face the judgement seat. So I had better buck up and do better.

Monday, June 16, 2008

That's not what I expected

I thought this was a great chapter because Alma is presented with a problem and he prays to Heavenly Father to soften the hearts of the people that he might be able to touch their hearts and persuade them to repent. He goes back and it doesn't work. Isn't that how it seems to go a lot of the time. We ask for a blessing and we don't get the answer we are looking for. But the Lord will answer his prayer. Just not the way he had expected. Go back and try again, but this time tell them they will be destroyed. I'm sure this saddened Alma, but this was the way to accomplish what he needed to do. And the Lord provided a way. He prepared Amulek to house him. He allowed them to be thrown into prison so that they could manifest God's power. I'm sure that's not what Alma had in mind when he prayed, but it was the only way to get the people of Ammonihah to listen.
I'm sure we can apply this to our own life. When we ask for something from Heavenly Father, we may not get the answer we were looking for, but it may be the best solution for our problem.

Alma 8
In this chapter Alma preaches in Melek and has great success. Then he continues on to Ammonihah and is rejected by the people. Then he prays to the Lord.

Alma 8:10
Nevertheless Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in Mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the People who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance.

He tries again to teach the people of Ammonihah and is rejected again. Alma decides to move on to a new place, but an angel comes to him and tells him to go back and preach to them again. This time with the message that if they don't repent that the Lord will destroy them. Apparently the city of Ammonihah was planning on destroying the liberty of Alma's people. So Alma returns to Ammonihah and asks a man named Amulek to feed him. The man receives him graciously and tells Alma...

Alma 8:20
And the man said unto him: I am a Nephite, and I know that thou art a holy prophet of God, for thou art the man whom an angel said in a vision: Thou shalt receive. Therefore, go with me into my house and I will impart unto thee of my food; and I know that thou wilt be a blessing unto me and my house.

Alma blesses his home and stays with him for a few days then when it was time he went to preach to the people. He and Amulek were so filled with the spirit that nothing would stop them. They didn't exercise their power until it was time to show the people the power of God.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What to be

Alma 7:23-25

And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.

And see that ye have afaith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.

And may the Lord bless you, and keep your garments spotless, that ye may at last be brought to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began, having your garments spotless even as their garments are spotless, in the kingdom of heaven to go no more out.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Equal Opportunity Forgiveness

Alma 6:2
And it came to pass that whosoever did not belong to the church who repented of their sins were baptised unto repentance, and were received into the church.

Isn't it wonderful to think that the Lord will accept anyone who humbles themselves and repents of their sins.

Friday, June 13, 2008

know these things of yourself

Alma 5:46
Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.

In this chapter it asks a lot of questions about whether or not you are ready to stand and face our Creator. It talks a lot about what we need to do in preparation for the judgement day. It warns us about pride and also tells us that gaining a testimony is very important. That is what this scripture is telling us. If we aren't sure about the gospel we need to pray, study the scripture, attend church, fast and pray about if this is the true gospel and if the Book of Mormon is correct. If we do this with a sincere heart and have prepared ourselves to receive the answer I believe that our Father in Heaven will reveal to us, just as he did to Alma, that the Book of Mormon is correct and that this church is true.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Relief will come

When you trust in the Father and the Son, you are confident
that They love you perfectly—that They want you to be
happy and that They will help you grow spiritually. You keep
the commandments. You seek to know Their will, and you do
what They require even when you desire something else.
Your prayers for relief are accompanied by the understanding
that Heavenly Father will not resolve all matters immediately—
that He may allow you to wait so you can continue
to learn and grow.
Through it all, you find comfort in the
assurance that the Savior understands your trials perfectly.
As part of His infinite Atonement, He took upon Himself
“the pains and the sicknesses of his people.” He took upon
Himself “their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with
mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to
the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities”
(Alma 7:11–12). Because He has experienced your pain,
He knows how to help you. If you look to Him in faith, He
will strengthen you to withstand any trial you experience.

True to the Faith Booklet pg. 10

I think that this is the reason that we have a lot of these war chapters in Alma. It teaches us that if we rely on the Lord that we can survive the adversity that comes our way, maybe not in the way that we expect, but relief will come.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One of those war chapters...

So I read Alma 2 today and the closest thing I could find to a good scripture quote is
Alma 2:30-31
And it came to pass that Alma, being a man of God, being exercised with much faith, cried, saying: O Lord, have mercy and spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hands to save and preserve this people.
Now when Alma had said these words he contended again with Amlici; and he was strengthened, insomuch that he slew Amlici with the sword.

Not exactly a feel good quote... So I have this quote from Ezra Taft Benson.

"Forget yourself and find someone who needs your service, and you will discover the secret to the happy, fulfilled life."

That's a little better.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Let the Spirit Guide

Alma 1:7
In this scripture Nehor is contending with Gideon about the church and at the end it says “but the man (Gideon) withstood him, admonishing him with the words of God.”
I think that there are times that we need Heavenly Father’s help to say the things that we want to get across. Without the spirit, there is no way that we can do it ourselves. I think that anytime you are trying to teach someone about the gospel, you have to have the spirit with you or you won’t get very far.

Stick in there

I have a friend who said that there was a time – because of severe depression – that she didn’t feel anything when she went to church. She didn’t want to go, she was feeling horrible, and basically this could have ended her testimony if she had not been careful. She knew that even though she was struggling, if she just went through the motions for a while, that eventually she would come out of her depression. She said that going through the motions for a while - keeping herself surrounded by things that would nourish her testimony- made getting back into the swing of things a lot easier. How much harder would it have been to come back to church if she had stopped attending church for those months? So I guess the lesson is that when things get hard and you are feeling overwhelmed go through the motions anyway. Even if it’s all you can do, because eventually you will come out of the other side of your trial and you need to decide now where you want to end up when you do come out.

Alma 1:25
“Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.”