Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 19 – None Could Deliver Them but the Lord

1. Alma teaches the baptismal covenant and baptizes many people.

Mosiah 17:2, Mosiah 18:1 Alma

“The valiant, exemplary life and powerful teachings of Alma the Elder provide us with a wealth of spiritual insight. A careful study of his conversion and subsequent labors as both a spiritual and a temporal leader reveals a number of practical guidelines and concepts that, if applied in our own lives today, can help us live more wisely and productively and, thus, more joyfully.

“…As members of the Savior’s church we struggle with the challenges of living in ‘a world set on a course which we cannot follow’ (Boyd K. Packer, “The Father and the Family,” Ensign, May 1994, p. 21). While yet a young man, Alma lived and worked in the court of the wicked King Noah as one of the king’s appointed priests (see Mosiah 17:1-2). His life in an evil society presented Alma with many of the same temptations that afflict us today. His position of considerable authority in a corrupt government also confronted him with life-threatening conflicts once he embraced the gospel. Understanding how he turned his back on temptation, overcame sin, and stood fearlessly for righteousness can help us deal with our own challenges as we struggle to choose the right.” (Joseph B Wirthlin, Heroes from the Book of Mormon, pp. 79-80)

‘Abinadi infuriated wicked King Noah with his courageous testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. Eventually this great missionary offered the ultimate sacrifice for his witness and faith but not before his pure testimony touched one believing heart. Alma, one of King Noah’s priests, “repented of his sins … , [accepted Jesus as the Christ,] and went about privately among the people, and began to teach the words of Abinadi”  Mosiah 18:1 Many were converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ as a direct result of Abinadi’s powerfully borne testimony of the Savior, believed by one soul, Alma.’ (M Russell Ballard, General Conference, October 2004)

Mosiah 18:8 Bear one another’s burdens

‘I will illustrate four ways our burdens are lightened as we help each other.

1. The Savior said, “Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” Matthew 5:41 For example, we are asked to attend the temple regularly, as our individual circumstances allow. Attending the temple requires sacrifice of time and resources, especially for those who must travel a great distance. Nevertheless, this sacrifice could be considered part of the first mile.

We begin walking the second mile when we understand the words “find, take, teach,” when we search for and prepare the names of our ancestors for temple ordinances, when we help in indexing, when we serve as temple workers, and when we look for ways to help others have meaningful temple experiences.

While I was serving as an Area Seventy, one of the stakes in my coordinating council participated in a large temple excursion. The temple the members attended is small, and unfortunately there were several members who, despite making the long 12-hour journey, were not able to enter the temple because it had exceeded the daily capacity.

A few days after this trip, I visited this stake and asked the president if I could talk with some of the members who were unable to attend the temple that day. One of the brothers I visited told me: “Elder, do not worry. I was at the house of the Lord. I sat on a bench in the garden and pondered in my mind the ordinances. Then I was given the opportunity to enter, but instead I allowed another brother, who had come to the temple for the first time to be sealed to his wife, to take my place. They then had the opportunity to attend two sessions that day. The Lord knows me, and He has blessed me, and we are fine.”

2. Smile. This small action can help those who are overwhelmed or burdened. During the priesthood session of this past April general conference, I was seated on the stand as one of the five newly called General Authorities. We were sitting where the sisters of the auxiliary presidencies are now seated. I was feeling very nervous and overwhelmed with my new call.

When we were singing the intermediate hymn, I felt a strong impression that someone was watching me. I thought to myself: “There are more than 20,000 people in this building, and most of them are facing this way. Of course someone is watching you.”

While I continued singing, I again felt the strong impression that someone was watching me. I looked over to the row where the Twelve Apostles were sitting and saw that President Russell M. Nelson was turned all the way around in his seat, looking at where we were seated. I caught his eye, and he gave me a big smile. That smile brought peace to my overwhelmed heart.

After His Resurrection, Jesus Christ visited His other sheep. He called and ordained twelve disciples, and with that authority, they ministered to the people. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself stood among them. The Lord asked them to kneel and pray. I am not sure if the newly called and ordained twelve disciples were overwhelmed with their calling, but the scripture says, “It came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them. ” During the last general conference, a smile lightened my burdens in an immediate and extraordinary way.

3. Express feelings of compassion to others. If you are a priesthood holder, please use your power on behalf of the children of God, giving blessings to them. Express words of consolation and comfort to people who are suffering or experiencing afflictions.

4. The cornerstone of God’s plan is the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. At least once a week, we should meditate as President Joseph F. Smith did on “the great and wonderful love made manifest by the Father and the Son in the coming of the Redeemer into the world.”  Doctrine and Covenants 138:3 Inviting others to come to church and to worthily partake of the sacrament will allow more of Heavenly Father’s children to reflect on the Atonement. And if we are not worthy, we can repent. Remember that the Son of the Highest descended below all and took upon Him our offenses, sins, transgressions, sicknesses, pains, afflictions, and loneliness. The scripture teaches us that Christ “ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things.”  Doctrine and Covenants 88:6

It does not matter what our personal struggles are—whether they are disease or prolonged loneliness or suffering the temptations and tests of the adversary—the Good Shepherd is there. He calls us by name and says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Hugo Montoya, General Conference, October 2015)

Mosiah 18:10 As a witness before them that ye have entered into a covenant

“In the waters of baptism, we covenanted that we would keep these commandments; that we would serve the Lord; that we would keep this first and greatest of all commandments, and love the Lord our God; that we would keep the next great commandment, we would love our neighbor as ourselves; and with all the might that we have, with all the strength, with all our hearts, we would prove to him that we would ‘live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God;’ that we would be obedient and humble, diligent in his service, willing to obey, to hearken to the counsels of those who preside over us and do all things with an eye single to the glory of God.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, p. 238)

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Mosiah 18:16 204 souls

‘Alma similarly baptized “every one that went forth to the place of Mormon”—the 204 believers who had followed him out of Lehi-Nephi. Mormon gives few details about the history of this community, but when they depart for the land of Zarahemla, he records that they number “four hundred and fifty souls” (v. 35). While we do not know precisely how long they stayed in the land of Mormon, it would be unrealistic for the population to more than double through births only. There must have been some way to communicate to friends and loved ones in Lehi-Nephi and ongoing conversions as a result. Since the land of Mormon was uninhabited (the very reason that Alma and his people went there), these converts must have come from Lehi-Nephi.’  (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Cultural and Analytical Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 18:21 Contention

“My brethren and sisters, above all things, therefore, we should seek for this spirit of union and love.  It should be sought for in our councils, and we should not contend.  Now, suppose that I should take it into my head to say that a certain doctrine is true, and I contend for it, determined to have it so; does my contention make it true?  Suppose that I should contend from now until the Savior came that it is true, would my contention make it true?  Certainly not.  I cannot change a principle of truth.  Then why contend or dispute, or argue about it?…There can be no change wrought in doctrine and in truth by our contention.  But I will tell you where there is room for differences of opinion–in regard to the policy to be pursued.  There ought to be no contention, however.  God speaks against it.  We have no right to be a disputing, contentious people.  And whenever I dispute with my brother I am likely to grieve the Spirit of the Lord and darken my own mind.  Therefore, let us avoid contention, in our councils and in all our intercourse one with another.” (George Q Cannon, Collected Discourses 1886-1898, ed. by Brian Stuy, vol. 4, George Q. Cannon, Apr. 7, 1895)

2. King Noah betrays his people and suffers death by fire.

Mosiah 19:4 Gideon

“One of the most dissatisfied among the people was Gideon, an officer of the king’s army. There is no reason to suspect that he was a wicked man, although he held an office under King Noah. Later he proved that he possessed all the virtues of a good, pure, and wise man…We judge from the course he then pursued and the whole tenor of his after life that he had no hand in the martyrdom of Abinadi, or in Noah’s other crimes. When the minority of the people revolted, Gideon, being exceedingly angry, drew his sword and sought to kill the king…

“Gideon appears in his day to have been an officer of high standing in the Nephite forces and a man of much wisdom and intelligence. In the war that resulted from the seizure of a number of Lamanite maidens by the Priests of Noah, Gideon took a prominent part in bringing about a cessation of hostilities. It was he who suggested who the men really were that committed this vile act (Mosiah 20:17-22). In later years, when the people of Limhi escaped from the Lamanites and returned to Zarahemla under the guidance of Ammon, Gideon took a leading part, by his advice and example, in effecting their deliverance and directing that march (Mosiah 22:3-11). We next read of Gideon when he had become exceedingly old (Alma 1:7-9). He was still actively engaged in the service of the Lord. He was a teacher in the church, yet we cannot help thinking that, like many in these days, though acting as a teacher, he held a higher office in the priesthood. One day he met, in the streets of the city of Zarahemla, an apostate named Nehor, who had grown very popular and with his popularity, very conceited, headstrong and ambitious, he having built up a church composed of persons who accepted his pernicious doctrines. On this occasion Gideon plead with him to desist from his evil ways and strongly remonstrated against the course he was taking. Nehor, ill-used to such opposition, drew his sword and slew the aged teacher. For this crime he was arrested, tried, convicted and executed (B.C. 91). Gideon’s memory was held in great respect among the Nephites and one of their most important cities was named after him.” (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 220-5)

Mosiah 19:20 Death by fire

“Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein:  and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him (Proverbs 26:27).  God has promised to ‘recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man’ (D&C 1:10).  ‘I will visit upon you the evil of your doings’ (Jeremiah 23:2), he promised; ‘and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations’ (Ezekiel 7:3).  ‘It is a righteous thing with God,’ Paul wrote, ‘to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you’ (2 Thessalonians 1:6).  Kings and kingdoms, the great and the small, all are subject to the law of recompense by a just God who either in this life or the world to come balances all accounts (see Jeremiah 25:14; Jeremiah 50:29; Ezekiel 7:9).” (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 268)

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3. Limhi’s people are chastened and eventually delivered by the Lord.

Mosiah 20:17-22 Now when Gideon had heard these things

“Notice that he is being very realistic; these are the steps by which the problem is solved here. It’s a very touchy thing, but they solve the problem very sensibly on both sides-a thing people rarely do…Gideon is the last man you would expect to do this. But he had the experience of these things, and he knew. It’s the old commander that knows. The most passionate talks I’ve ever heard against war in the Army have been by generals, without any exception. They know what it is, and boy do they light in! There were some wonderful ones by Omar Bradley, Max Taylor, and others. Eisenhower said some pretty strong things too. ‘…therefore, let us put a stop to the shedding of so much blood,’ Gideon said, with his rush of excitement. This is the Gideon who chased the king up the tower with a sword, and all that sort of thing. He is the one who is making a plea to put an end to all this bloodshed, whatever they do.” (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Lecture 38, p. 138)

Mosiah 21:1-5 The afflictions of the Nephites were great

‘It was about this time that the Nephites learned what it meant to be subjected to all of the abuse and indignities of bondage as predicted by Abinadi.

The persecution and virtual slavery of the Nephites finally became so unbearable that they decided it would be worthwhile to wage war for their freedom.’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 21:15 The Lord was slow to hear their cry

“When we neglect this and other duties we do not have the same claim on the blessings of the Lord, and he has said if we are slow to hear him he may be slow to hear us in the hour of our trouble. (D. & C. 101:7-8.) The Lord was slow to hearken to the Nephites in their rebellion until they were humbled and so with the Israelites, and this happened repeatedly. We should profit by their example. In our praying we should seek to do the will of the Lord and not merely to reap some advantage or gratification which may not be the best for us. This is a very significant saying: ‘Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall he given unto you, that is expedient for you; and if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.’ (DC 88:63-65) Therefore we should not be too insistent, but should pray earnestly seeking light and to know the will of the Lord, with an unselfish spirit. Then, with this spirit, will our bodies be filled with light.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, p. 135)

Mosiah 22:14 Mosiah received them with joy

“It was with great joy that King Mosiah and the people of Zarahemla received their brethren from Lehi-Nephi. They had thought that Zeniff and their friends and relatives who had accompanied him to the old homes of their fathers had been slain. They had heard nothing from them, and presumed that all of them had been destroyed. Now that they had become united and once again could dwell in peace, ‘songs of delight filled each grateful heart.’ We may imagine the deep sense of thankfulness that arose from their lips as their leaders proclaimed the goodness of God in delivering them from Lamanite bondage. Another cause of rejoicing in Mosiah’s heart was that the people from Lehi-Nephi had preserved their records.” (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 240)

4. The Lord delivers Alma’s people from bondage.

Mosiah 23:7 It is not expedient that we should have a king

“In all ages when the people of God listened to the voice and counsel of apostles and prophets, they enjoyed the blessings growing out of human freedom, and the tyranny and oppression of kings and rulers was impossible. There never was a kingly power placed over ancient Israel except against the remonstrance of the prophets.” (Journal of Discourses, vol 23, Feb. 26, 1882, p. 233)

Mosiah 23:15 Contention

‘Intolerance seeds contention; tolerance supersedes contention. Tolerance is the key that opens the door to mutual understanding and love.’ *Russell M Nelson, General Conference, April 1994)

Mosiah 23:21 The Lord seeth fit to chasten his people

“Faith … includes faith in God’s developmental purposes, for ‘the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.’ (Mosiah 23:21.) Still, some of us have trouble when God’s tutoring is applied to us! We plead for exemption more than we do for sanctification.” (Ensign, May 1991, p. 90.)

Mosiah 23:27-29 He would deliver them

‘Alma promises the people that Yahweh will deliver them if they place their trust in him. The promise is immediately true because the Lamanites spare their lives (v. 29), even though they become a tributary people. The promise is fulfilled in a second sense when Alma and his people escape to Zarahemla, their deliverance complete. This is the story’s message. Yahweh will allow his people’s patience to be tried but will deliver them (vv. 21–24). For Mormon, this Lamanite domination is not a denial of the people’s righteousness or a punishment for unrighteousness, but a trial of that righteousness. These people have already committed to follow Yahweh and, from all we know of them, are faithful to that covenant.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

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