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Monday, July 20, 2009

Alma Ch. 16

Read it HERE.

Summary: The Lamanites destroy the people of Ammonihah—Zoram leads the Nephites to victory over the Lamanites—Alma and Amulek and many others preach the word—They teach that after his resurrection Christ will appear to the Nephites. About 81—78 B.C.

This week I checked the Book of Mormon Institute manual to see what it said about this chapter. I found an interesting paragraph discussing the destructino of Ammonihah, which takes up the first half of this chapter:

"We are told that “Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people of the city of Ammonihah” ( Alma 8:9 ). In spite of the powerful preaching of Alma and Amulek and the conversion of Zeezrom and others, the majority of the people rejected their last chance for averting destruction, putting to death those who had been converted. In their wickedness, the people haughtily told Alma, “We will not believe thy words if thou shouldst prophesy that this great city should be destroyed in one day” ( Alma 9:4 ). Alma 16:1–11 tells how this mocking taunt was literally fulfilled and the people were utterly destroyed in one day.

You know what I was thinking when I read about the Amonihahites? That when we have the wrong attitude, it is easy to forget the Lord. It is easy to forget how much He helps us in our lives, and how much of what we have is because of Him. However, I have found that when I have the correct attitude, it is much easier to remember the Lord in my day-to-day life. Usually this attitude comes around when I have been doing things to invite His presence, such as reading the scriptures or trying to be mindful of him.

One (very) small thing I've started doing that helps me remember how grateful I am to Him is when I say the blessing on the food, I specifically thank Him for providing us with the food, rather than just saying "we thank thee". It is only a difference in semantics, but it helps me personally to really remember who the food came from, and it always gets me thinking about the other little things I usually forget to acknowledge.

What do you do to acknowledge the Lord in your lives? What do you do to help your children remember the Lord? What ideas would you like to implement?


I had one other major thought with this chapter. The second half talks about how Alma, Amulek, and many others continue to preach to the people, reminding them of Christ and their continual need for repentance.

These verses really stood out to me:

13 And Alma and Amulek went forth preaching repentance to the people in their temples, and in their sanctuaries, and also in their synagogues, which were built after the manner of the Jews.

14 And as many as would hear their words, unto them they did impart the word of God, without any
respect of persons, continually.

These verses shout to me about missionary work. I think about the opportunities I have to do missionary work here in Indiana, and it is a little overwhelming. We are attending a deeply religious school, and I am surrounded by very pious people. They love their religion. They feel the Spirit on a regular basis. "What do I have to offer them?" I wonder.

But I have realized that my goal should be to keep an open conversation about spiritual matters, our churches, and the gospel, rather than looking for ways to sneak the first discussion in over lunch. I have made friends with a very religious Catholic woman, and she and I have a great time discussing religion. I try to talk to her the way I would talk to a Mormon friend (taking care to use terms she is used to) even mentioning things like how I'm trying a new scripture study program.

And you know what? It's been really easy. I think it helps all of us to see that we're not so different from each other.

But what about if we are already surrounded by practicing saints? What then? What kind of missionary work can we even do? Many of the non-members in areas with a high concentration of Mormons are already familiar with the Church's teachings, as well as the church members' missionary "tactics" :).

Elder Eyring talks about his father's many scientific lectures in which he discussed a "Creator" and other things many of his associates would scoff at. Elder Eyring commented,

"He had not even known that he was being brave. He simply said what he knew was true. When he bore testimony, even those who rejected it knew it came not by design but because it was part of him. He was what he was, wherever he was."

So, what I learn from this is to be who I am, wherever I am. This takes practice, and sometimes this takes courage, but it is important, not only for non-members, but to encourage each other in the Church.

Consider also these thoughts from the Giles H. Florence's article in the 1987 Ensign:

"Missionary work is merely an assignment to share love—the Savior’s love. Activation work is merely missionary work among the Saints. Both bring eternal blessings to those who give as well as to those who receive. It takes great love to be a giver. Then the receivers become givers, and the love continues on."
"Passing on the blessings. That’s what the Church is about,” says Vicki. “We receive from one person and pass the blessings on to another. Sometimes we can even give back the good that a person has done for us." --Giles H. Florence Jr., “Links in the Chain of Good,” Ensign, Feb 1987, 15

We, as church members, still need to be edified. We still need to teach each other. We still need to "bear one another's burdens." We still need to feel love from our fellow saints, so we can remember why we believe what we do, and that it makes us happy.

If uplifting each other isn't missionary work--a very important kind of missionary work--then I don't know what is.

The opportunities are always here. Our responsibility for serving others and doing missionary work never wanes. What missionary suggestions or experiences do you have?


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