Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Alma 5

The fifth chapter of Alma is a spiritual treasure. It could be a course of study in itself. I'm just sharing a few thoughts about each chapter in The Book of Mormon, but I plead with every reader to make their own study of the book and perhaps especially of Alma 5.

One interesting aspect of this long chapter (a sermon that Alma the Younger delivered to people throughout the land of Zarahemla) is that it is a sort of extended interview. If I counted right, Alma asks over 45 questions in this address. We could think of these questions as pertaining to ourselves. A few examples:
  • Have ye spiritually been born of God?
  • Have ye received his image in your countenances?
  • Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
  • Can ye look up to God . . .with a pure heart and clean hands?
  • Can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
  • If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, . . . can ye feel so now?
  • Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time . . . that ye have been sufficiently humble?
  • Are ye stripped of pride?
Alma knew through his own experience what it meant to be born again. He talked about their predecessors in the following way, but this certainly applied to him and applies to us:

7 Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word

9 And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they are saved.

How beautiful it is to have your soul "illuminated by the light of the everlasting word," to have your soul expand, and to feel to sing redeeming love.
Now, on a different note, Alma's testimony in verses 44-62 touches my soul. He had seen an angel and heard the voice of the Lord, but his testimony did not come from those events. His testimony was the result of fasting and prayer and revelation by the Holy Spirit of God.
45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
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.
47 And moreover, I say unto you that it has thus been revealed unto me, that the words which have been spoken by our fathers are true, even so according to the spirit of prophecy which is in me, which is also by the manifestation of the Spirit of God.

I likewise testify that I know that God lives, that Jesus is my Savior, and that the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. I know these things of myself because the Holy Ghost has spoken peace to my heart and brought light and truth to my mind. And my soul rejoices in that knowledge.

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