Jesus Christ Will Come to Redeem His People

As we have studied in the Book of Mormon we have read about many events of “unrest” among the Nephite and Laminite nations. We have read about injustice, we have read about oppression, we have read about civil unrest and trouble with government. We have read about general troubled times concerning food, health, and safety, and we have even read about the death of people for their beliefs. All of these things are similar in our day, today, even right now; but, the one thing we have also read about that sometimes may be absent from us is the healing power of the Savior and how though Him the oppressed can be healed, the unrest can be calmed, that justice will come, and people can have peace. If we choose Him and follow His ways, peace can come for all. The hard part, is sharing that knowledge and passing it along at a time when speaking up and out is even dangerous. However, though a prayerful study of Alma 8–12 we can find guidance and assurance that will help us greatly in our endeavors to follow Jesus Christ.

History and Background Alma 8–12

In these chapters we find Alma’s ministry to the city of Ammonihah and how God supports His servants who faithfully obey Him, even in times of great difficulty or personal sacrifice.

After an initial attempt to preach in a wicked city, Alma was blessed with a visit from an angel, who assured him of his standing before God and instructed him to return to Ammonihah. There, a man named Amulek had received instruction from an angel who told him to receive Alma. Later, both men were inspired to know how to contend with skilled lawyers who were intent upon creating discord for personal profit. Alma’s and Amulek’s experiences serve as a model for us today. Although you still have challenges to face, Heavenly Father will bless you with reassurance, inspiration, and assistance as you seek to obey Him.

In addition, these chapters illustrate the power of “bearing down in pure testimony” against those opposed to the work of the Lord. Notice the impact the doctrines of the Resurrection and the Final Judgment had upon Zeezrom. Consider how these doctrines can affect your heart and testimony, as well as those around you.

Chapter Summaries

Alma 8

After many people accepted Alma’s message in Zarahemla, Gideon, and Melek, the people of Ammonihah rejected Alma and cast him out of their city. As Alma grieved for the wickedness of these people, the same angel that had appeared to him and the sons of Mosiah came to him again. The angel commended Alma for his faithfulness and commanded him to return to Ammonihah. Alma faithfully obeyed the Lord’s commandments, and the Lord called Amulek to assist him in his ministry. Alma and Amulek faithfully set out to teach the people of Ammonihah, filled with the Holy Ghost and power to do the Lord’s work.

Alma 9–10

Alma and Amulek had little success preaching to the people of Ammonihah because Satan had a “great hold upon the hearts of the people” Many of them had hardened their hearts against the gospel, and they resisted Alma and Amulek’s invitation to repent. Nevertheless, Alma and Amulek faithfully called them to repentance, testifying that because they had been taught the truth and had experienced the power of God, the Lord expected them to be more righteous than the Lamanites, who had not been taught the truth. Alma and Amulek taught that if the people of Ammonihah would not repent, they would face destruction.

Alma 11

As Alma and Amulek continued to teach the people of Ammonihah, a lawyer named Zeezrom offered Amulek money to deny the existence of God. Zeezrom also tried to twist Amulek’s words and discredit his teachings about Jesus Christ. As Amulek defended himself against Zeezrom’s attempts to snare him, he testified that salvation from sin comes only through Jesus Christ. Amulek also testified that all mankind will be resurrected and will be brought to “be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit” on the Day of Judgment

Alma 12

After Amulek’s words brought Zeezrom “to tremble under a consciousness of his guilt” Alma stood to expound on what Amulek had taught. Alma focused on truths that would help the people of Ammonihah repent of the hardness of their hearts and other sins. He emphasized the subtle snares of Satan, the judgments that befall the wicked, and the plan of redemption, which makes it possible for those who repent to be forgiven of their sins.

Part 1: Alma 8 Our efforts to share the gospel may require persistence and patience

Especially at this particular time in our day and history, many people find it difficult to share the gospel; especially when they have felt rejected. Alma’s example of his own personal rejection in this chapter can help us trust God and find courage to continue sharing our own testimonies with others during difficult times.

And now it came to pass that Alma returned from the land of Gideon, after having taught the people of Gideon many things which cannot be written, having established the order of the church, according as he had before done in the land of Zarahemla, yea, he returned to his own house at Zarahemla to rest himself from the labors which he had performed.

And thus ended the ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

And it came to pass in the commencement of the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, that Alma departed from thence and took his journey over into the land of Melek, on the west of the river Sidon, on the west by the borders of the wilderness.

And he began to teach the people in the land of Melek according to the holy order of God, by which he had been called; and he began to teach the people throughout all the land of Melek.

And it came to pass that the people came to him throughout all the borders of the land which was by the wilderness side. And they were baptized throughout all the land;

So that when he had finished his work at Melek he departed thence, and traveled three days’ journey on the north of the land of Melek; and he came to a city which was called Ammonihah.

Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land of Ammonihah.

And it came to pass that when Alma had come to the city of Ammonihah he began to preach the word of God unto them.

9 Now Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people of the city of Ammonihah; therefore they would not hearken unto the words of Alma.

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.

11 Nevertheless, they hardened their hearts, saying unto him: Behold, we know that thou art Alma; and we know that thou art high priest over the church which thou hast established in many parts of the land, according to your tradition; and we are not of thy church, and we do not believe in such foolish traditions.

12 And now we know that because we are not of thy church we know that thou hast no power over us; and thou hast delivered up the judgment-seat unto Nephihah; therefore thou art not the chief judge over us.

13 Now when the people had said this, and withstood all his words, and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey towards the city which was called Aaron.

14 And it came to pass that while he was journeying thither, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, it came to pass while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying:

1Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you.

16 And behold, I am sent to command thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.

1For behold, they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people, (for thus saith the Lord) which is contrary to the statutes, and judgments, and commandments which he has given unto his people.

18 Now it came to pass that after Alma had received his message from the angel of the Lord he returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah. And he entered the city by another way, yea, by the way which is on the south of the city of Ammonihah.

1And as he entered the city he was an hungered, and he said to a man: Will ye give to an humble servant of God something to eat?

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.

2And it came to pass that the man received him into his house; and the man was called Amulek; and he brought forth bread and meat and set before Alma.

22 And it came to pass that Alma ate bread and was filled; and he blessed Amulek and his house, and he gave thanks unto God.

23 And after he had eaten and was filled he said unto Amulek: I am Alma, and am the high priest over the church of God throughout the land.

24 And behold, I have been called to preach the word of God among all this people, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy; and I was in this land and they would not receive me, but they cast me out and I was about to set my back towards this land forever.

25 But behold, I have been commanded that I should turn again and prophesy unto this people, yea, and to testify against them concerning their iniquities.

26 And now, Amulek, because thou hast fed me and taken me in, thou art blessed; for I was an hungered, for I had fasted many days.

2And Alma tarried many days with Amulek before he began to preach unto the people.

28 And it came to pass that the people did wax more gross in their iniquities.

29 And the word came to Alma, saying: Go; and also say unto my servant Amulek, go forth and prophesy unto this people, saying—Repent ye, for thus saith the Lord, except ye repent I will visit this people in mine anger; yea, and I will not turn my fierce anger away.

3And Alma went forth, and also Amulek, among the people, to declare the words of God unto them; and they were filled with the Holy Ghost.

31 And they had power given unto them, insomuch that they could not be confined in dungeons; neither was it possible that any man could slay them; nevertheless they did not exercise their power until they were bound in bands and cast into prison. Now, this was done that the Lord might show forth his power in them.

32 And it came to pass that they went forth and began to preach and to prophesy unto the people, according to the spirit and power which the Lord had given them.

What do we learn from the angel’s message to Alma in Alma 8:15? 15 Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you.

What about Alma’s reaction to the message, found in Alma 8:14–32 above, how does it inspire us to keep sharing the gospel when we experience rejection?

What advice would we give to someone who tried to share the gospel but was rejected?

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s counsel might help us with this:

“If you haven’t already, you will one day find yourself called upon to defend your faith or perhaps even endure some personal abuse simply because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such moments will require both courage and courtesy on your part.

“… You may wonder if it is worth it to take a courageous moral stand in high school or to go on a mission only to have your most cherished beliefs reviled or to strive against much in society that sometimes ridicules a life of religious devotion. Yes, it is worth it. …

“Friends, especially my young friends, take heart. Pure Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world. …

“Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them” (“The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship,” Ensign May 2014, 6–9).

The story of Alma and Amulek demonstrates how important members’ efforts are to missionary work. What do you learn from Alma 8:19–30 above about the relationship between local members and full-time missionaries?  Alma 10:1–12

Now these are the words which Amulek preached unto the people who were in the land of Ammonihah, saying:

I am Amulek; I am the son of Giddonah, who was the son of Ishmael, who was a descendant of Aminadi; and it was that same Aminadi who interpreted the writing which was upon the wall of the temple, which was written by the finger of God.

And Aminadi was a descendant of Nephi, who was the son of Lehi, who came out of the land of Jerusalem, who was a descendant of Manasseh, who was the son of Joseph who was sold into Egypt by the hands of his brethren.

And behold, I am also a man of no small reputation among all those who know me; yea, and behold, I have many kindreds and friends, and I have also acquired much riches by the hand of my industry.

Nevertheless, after all this, I never have known much of the ways of the Lord, and his mysteries and marvelous power. I said I never had known much of these things; but behold, I mistake, for I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people.

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, even until the fourth day of this seventh month, which is in the tenth year of the reign of the judges.

As I was journeying to see a very near kindred, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto me and said: Amulek, return to thine own house, for thou shalt feed a prophet of the Lord; yea, a holy man, who is a chosen man of God; for he has fasted many days because of the sins of this people, and he is an hungered, and thou shalt receive him into thy house and feed him, and he shall bless thee and thy house; and the blessing of the Lord shall rest upon thee and thy house.

8 And it came to pass that I obeyed the voice of the angel, and returned towards my house. And as I was going thither I found the man whom the angel said unto me: Thou shalt receive into thy house—and behold it was this same man who has been speaking unto you concerning the things of God.

And the angel said unto me he is a holy man; wherefore I know he is a holy man because it was said by an angel of God.

1And again, I know that the things whereof he hath testified are true; for behold I say unto you, that as the Lord liveth, even so has he sent his angel to make these things manifest unto me; and this he has done while this Alma hath dwelt at my house.

11 For behold, he hath blessed mine house, he hath blessed me, and my women, and my children, and my father and my kinsfolk; yea, even all my kindred hath he blessed, and the blessing of the Lord hath rested upon us according to the words which he spake.

1And now, when Amulek had spoken these words the people began to be astonished, seeing there was more than one witness who testified of the things whereof they were accused, and also of the things which were to come, according to the spirit of prophecy which was in them.

Part 2: Alma 9:18–30 God judges His children according to the light and knowledge they have

For Alma, as he began preaching to the people of Ammonihah, they began to contend with him. Their comments to Alma revealed their lack of understanding of the gospel and God’s power. The reason why the people of Ammonihah had forgotten the things they had been taught was that they had chosen to harden their hearts against the gospel.

There is a serious warning in these verses to all Church members teaching us that once we have received light and knowledge, we are expected to treasure it, nourish it, live it, and use it to bless others.

18 But behold, I say unto you that if ye persist in your wickedness that your days shall not be prolonged in the land, for the Lamanites shall be sent upon you; and if ye repent not they shall come in a time when you know not, and ye shall be visited with utter destruction; and it shall be according to the fierce anger of the Lord.

19 For he will not suffer you that ye shall live in your iniquities, to destroy his people. I say unto you, Nay; he would rather suffer that the Lamanites might destroy all his people who are called the people of Nephi, if it were possible that they could fall into sins and transgressions, after having had so much light and so much knowledge given unto them of the Lord their God;

20 Yea, after having been such a highly favored people of the Lord; yea, after having been favored above every other nation, kindred, tongue, or people; after having had all things made known unto them, according to their desires, and their faith, and prayers, of that which has been, and which is, and which is to come;

21 Having been visited by the Spirit of God; having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation;

22 Yea, and after having been delivered of God out of the land of Jerusalem, by the hand of the Lord; having been saved from famine, and from sickness, and all manner of diseases of every kind; and they having waxed strong in battle, that they might not be destroyed; having been brought out of bondage time after time, and having been kept and preserved until now; and they have been prospered until they are rich in all manner of things—

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.

24 For behold, the promises of the Lord are extended to the Lamanites, but they are not unto you if ye transgress; for has not the Lord expressly promised and firmly decreed, that if ye will rebel against him that ye shall utterly be destroyed from off the face of the earth?

25 And now for this cause, that ye may not be destroyed, the Lord has sent his angel to visit many of his people, declaring unto them that they must go forth and cry mightily unto this people, saying: Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand;

26 And not many days hence the Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity, and truth, full of patience, mercy, and long-suffering, quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers.

27 And behold, he cometh to redeem those who will be baptized unto repentance, through faith on his name.

2Therefore, prepare ye the way of the Lord, for the time is at hand that all men shall reap a reward of their works, according to that which they have been—if they have been righteous they shall reap the salvation of their souls, according to the power and deliverance of Jesus Christ; and if they have been evil they shall reap the damnation of their souls, according to the power and captivation of the devil.

29 Now behold, this is the voice of the angel, crying unto the people.

30 And now, my beloved brethren, for ye are my brethren, and ye ought to be beloved, and ye ought to bring forth works which are meet for repentance, seeing that your hearts have been grossly hardened against the word of God, and seeing that ye are a lost and a fallen people.

What do we learn about the responsibility we have because of what we know? The following chart may help us. Read the verses in the first column answering the questions in the next columns.

The spiritual background of the peopleWhat the Lord expected of the people, and what the Lord promised the people
Lamanites (Alma 9:14–17)
People of Ammonihah (Alma 9:18–24)

Based on what you learned from filling in the chart, how did the Lord’s expectations for the Nephites differ from His expectations for the Lamanites?

According to Alma 9:19–23, what gifts and blessings had the Nephites (including the people of Ammonihah) experienced because they were the Lord’s covenant people?

Why might there be greater condemnation when we sin against greater light? Alma warned that although the Lamanites were a wicked people at that time, the Lord would look more favorably upon them than upon the people of Ammonihah on the day of judgment. The Lamanites were following incorrect traditions that had been handed down to them, while the Nephites in general and the people of Ammonihah in particular had been “a highly favored people of the Lord; above every other nation, kindred, tongue, or people” With great blessings come great responsibilities.

Sister Sheri L. Dew taught: “Unto whom much is given much is required’ (D&C 82:3), and at times the demands of discipleship are heavy. But shouldn’t we expect the journey towards eternal glory to stretch us? We sometimes rationalize our preoccupation with this world and our casual attempts to grow spiritually by trying to console each other with the notion that living the gospel really shouldn’t require all that much of us. The Lord’s standard of behavior will always be more demanding than the world’s, but then the Lord’s rewards are infinitely more glorious—including true joy, peace, and salvation” (“We Are Women of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 98).

Why is it fair for the Lord to have higher expectations for those who have received the knowledge and blessings of the gospel?

We are unique. We are unique because of our covenants, our spiritual privileges, and the responsibilities attached to both. We are endowed with power and gifted with the Holy Ghost. We have a living prophet to guide us, ordinances that bind us to the Lord and to each other, and the power of the priesthood in our midst. We understand where we stand in the great plan of happiness. And we know that God is our Father and that His Son is our unfailing Advocate.

“With these privileges comes great responsibility, for ‘unto whom much is given much is required’ (D&C 82:3)” (Sheri L. Dew, “We Are Women of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 98)

How can remembering the gifts and blessings you have received from the Lord help you desire to be more obedient to Him?

What can you do to be more true to the light and knowledge you have received? Doctrine and Covenants 50:24 

24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

Part 3: Alma 11–12 God’s plan is a plan of redemption

The Fall, The Redeemer, Repentance, Death, Resurrection, and Judgment, these are the main doctrines of Alma 11–12 which is the Plan of Salvation.

Alma 11 continues the account of Alma and Amulek teaching the people of Ammonihah. Mormon described the Nephite monetary system and how judges and lawyers were compensated for their work. Many of the judges and lawyers in Ammonihah were wicked and endeavored to stir up contention among the people in order to increase their own income.

As Amulek taught, he was confronted by a lawyer named Zeezrom that had to goal of throwing Amulek off his course even to bribing him. Mormon’s explanation of the Nephite monetary system in Alma 11:4–19 helps us understand the size of Zeezrom’s bribe. However, Zeezrom failed to get Amulek to deny the existence of God, so he changed his tactics and began to attack Amulek’s faith in Jesus Christ.

What are some truths we find in Alma 11–12 concerning the above doctrines? When we rely on the Holy Ghost, we can overcome temptation. Alma 11:22 No unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven. Alma 11:36–37 All people will be resurrected and will stand before God to be judged according to their works. Alma 11:41–45  The Holy Ghost can help us recognize the deceptions of the adversary. Alma 12:3  God reveals spiritual truths to us according to the heed and diligence we give unto Him. Alma 12:9. We will be held accountable before God for our words, works, and thoughts Alma 12:14 If we repent and do not harden our hearts, then we can receive a remission of our sins and enter into God’s rest. Alma 12:33–34 

What is the difference between the Savior’s declaration in 3 Nephi 9:21 and Amulek’s response to Zeezrom in Alma 11:34–37?

2Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.

34 And Zeezrom said again: Shall he save his people in their sins? And Amulek answered and said unto him: I say unto you he shall not, for it is impossible for him to deny his word.

35 Now Zeezrom said unto the people: See that ye remember these things; for he said there is but one God; yet he saith that the Son of God shall come, but he shall not save his people—as though he had authority to command God.

36 Now Amulek saith again unto him: Behold thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins.

37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

A man named Antionah, who was one of the chief rulers in Ammonihah, asked questions regarding what Alma and Amulek had taught about resurrection. He claimed that the scriptures taught that we would not be resurrected or live forever, because God had prevented Adam and Eve from partaking of the fruit of the tree of life after they had eaten the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Alma taught that God did not allow Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit of the tree of life, so that they and their posterity could experience a probationary state, or a period of time in which to repent and prepare to meet God. God sent angels to teach Adam and Eve and their posterity the plan of redemption, which includes the promise of resurrection. He then gave them commandments to help them live righteously.

How does knowing about the plan affect the way we see or feel about the commandments? Alma 12:31–32

31 Wherefore, he gave commandments unto men, they having first transgressed the first commandments as to things which were temporal, and becoming as gods, knowing good from evil, placing themselves in a state to act, or being placed in a state to act according to their wills and pleasures, whether to do evil or to do good—

32 Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God.

How does knowing about God’s plan help us keep the Sabbath day holy or obey the law of chastity?

President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that knowledge of God’s plan helps us understand why we should keep the commandments. Speaking to teachers of youth, he said:

“Young people wonder ‘why?’—Why are we commanded to do some things, and why we are commanded not to do other things? A knowledge of the plan of happiness, even in outline form, can give young minds a ‘why.’ …

“Most of the difficult questions we face in the Church right now, and we could list them—abortion and all the rest of them, all of the challenges of who holds the priesthood and who does not—cannot be answered without some knowledge of the plan as a background.

“Alma said this, and this is, I think of late, my favorite scripture, although I change now and again: ‘God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption’ (Alma 12:32; emphasis added). …

“… If you are trying to give [students] a ‘why,’ follow that pattern: ‘God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption’” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Great Plan of Happiness” [address to Church Educational System religious educators, Aug. 10, 1993], 3).

In Alma 11:26–39, Amulek said there is only one God:

26 And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God?

2And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God.

28 Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God?

29 And he answered, No.

30 Now Zeezrom said unto him again: How knowest thou these things?

31 And he said: An angel hath made them known unto me.

32 And Zeezrom said again: Who is he that shall come? Is it the Son of God?

3And he said unto him, Yea.

34 And Zeezrom said again: Shall he save his people in their sins? And Amulek answered and said unto him: I say unto you he shall not, for it is impossible for him to deny his word.

35 Now Zeezrom said unto the people: See that ye remember these things; for he said there is but one God; yet he saith that the Son of God shall come, but he shall not save his people—as though he had authority to command God.

36 Now Amulek saith again unto him: Behold thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins.

37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

38 Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?

39 And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last;

How does he teach us about the Godhead and what we should know? This statement from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland might also help: “We believe They are one in every significant and eternal aspect imaginable except believing Them to be three persons combined in one substance” (“The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom Thou Hast Sent,” Ensign Nov. 2007, 40).

The following scriptures clarify how the members of the Godhead are “one God” while still being separate beings: John 17:20–232 Nephi 31:21; and 3 Nephi 19:29.

Points to Ponder:

  1. There is often a misunderstanding in Alma 11:40—some people have thought that Amulek was teaching that Christ suffered only for those who believe and repent. This is not correct. The scriptures tell us that the Savior “suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children” (2 Nephi 9:21; see also Mosiah 4:7). If mankind will not repent, however, the Savior indicates that “my blood shall not cleanse them” (D&C 29:17). Clearly, what Amulek was intending to convey is the fact that the Atonement in part may go unused when the wicked choose not to repent—not that the Savior only suffered for those who would repent. (Book of Mormon Student Manual)

2. Alma 11:41–45. Resurrection: The Bible Dictionary defines the Resurrection as “the uniting of a spirit body with a body of flesh and bones, never again to be divided” (“Resurrection,” 761; see also Guide to the Scriptures, “Resurrection”).

Knowledge of the Resurrection adds greater meaning to mortal life. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described the “lively hope” that comes to individuals who possess faith and trust in this sacred truth and the impact it can have on day to day living:

The ‘lively hope’ we are given by the resurrection is our conviction that death is not the conclusion of our identity but merely a necessary step in the destined transition from mortality to immortality. This hope changes the whole perspective of mortal life. …“The assurance of resurrection gives us the strength and perspective to endure the mortal challenges faced by each of us and by those we love, such things as the physical, mental, or emotional deficiencies we bring with us at birth or acquire during mortal life. Because of the resurrection, we know that these mortal deficiencies are only temporary! “The assurance of resurrection also gives us a powerful incentive to keep the commandments of God during our mortal lives. …“… Moreover, unless our mortal sins have been cleansed and blotted out by repentance and forgiveness (see Alma 5:212 Nephi 9:45–46D&C 58:42), we will be resurrected with a ‘bright recollection’ (Alma 11:43) and a ‘perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness’ (2 Nephi 9:14; see also Alma 5:18). The seriousness of that reality is emphasized by the many scriptures suggesting that the resurrection is followed immediately by the Final Judgment (see 2 Nephi 9:15, 22Mosiah 26:25Alma 11:43–4442:23Mormon 7:69:13–14). Truly, ‘this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God’ (Alma 34:32 ). …“Our sure knowledge of a resurrection to immortality also gives us the courage to face our own death—even a death that we might call premature. …“The assurance of immortality also helps us bear the mortal separations involved in the death of our loved ones. … We should all praise God for the assured resurrection that makes our mortal separations temporary and gives us the hope and strength to carry on” (Conference Report, Apr. 2000, 17–18; or Ensign, May 2000, 15–16).

President Joseph Fielding Smith also explained what the Resurrection would do to our physical bodies: “There is no reason for any person to be concerned as to the appearance of individuals in the resurrection. Death is a purifying process as far as the body is concerned. We have reason to believe that the appearance of old age will disappear and the body will be restored with the full vigor of manhood and womanhood. Children will arise as children, for there is no growth in the grave. Children will continue to grow until they reach the full stature of their spirits” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 4:185).Alma 12:9

3. Alma 12:12–14. Judged According to our Words, Works, and Thoughts: Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught that the Judgment is not merely a review of actions taken in mortality, but is instead an assessment of who and what we have become as a result of our actions: “The prophet Nephi describes the Final Judgment in terms of what we have become: ‘And if their works have been filthiness they must needs be filthy; and if they be filthy it must needs be that they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God’ (1 Nephi 15:33; italics added). Moroni declares, ‘He that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still’ (Mormon 9:14; italics added; see also Revelation 22:11–122 Nephi 9:16D&C 88:35). The same would be true of ‘selfish’ or ‘disobedient’ or any other personal attribute inconsistent with the requirements of God. Referring to the ‘state’ of the wicked in the Final Judgment, Alma explains that if we are condemned by our words, our works, and our thoughts, ‘we shall not be found spotless; … and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God’ (Alma 12:14).“From such teachings we conclude that the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become” (Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 41; or Ensign, Nov. 2000, 32).

4. Alma 12:24. “Probationary State” : The term probationary state or probationary time is a phrase used only by Alma in the Book of Mormon Alma 42:4, 10, 13. Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described this probationary time: “The main purpose of earth life is to allow our spirits, which existed before the world was, to be united with our bodies for a time of great opportunity in mortality. The association of the two together has given us the privilege of growing, developing, and maturing as only we can with spirit and body united. With our bodies, we pass through a certain amount of trial in what is termed a probationary state of our existence. This is a time of learning and testing to prove ourselves worthy of eternal opportunities. It is all part of a divine plan our Father has for His children” (Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 16; or Ensign, May 1989, 14).

Part 4: Alma 12:9–14 If we will not harden our hearts, we can receive more of the word of God

One of the messages Alma and Amulek taught several times was how the condition of our hearts influences how much truth we can receive from the Lord.

And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.

10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.

11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

12 And Amulek hath spoken plainly concerning death, and being raised from this mortality to a state of immortality, and being brought before the bar of God, to be judged according to our works.

13 Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned.

14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.

What are the results of having a hard heart? Alma 12:10–12 We Receive “the Lesser Portion of the Word” When We Harden Our Heart. Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained that if we reject revelation through the Holy Ghost, we limit how much we can learn: “We teach and learn the mysteries of God by revelation from his Holy Spirit. If we harden our hearts to revelation and limit our understanding to what we can obtain by study and reason, we are limited to what Alma called ‘the lesser portion of the word’” (The Lord’s Way [1991], 42).

What does it mean to have a soft heart?

How does a soft heart help us better understand God’s word?

How does the Lord soften our hearts so that we can continue to learn more from Him?

The following general conference addresses give examples of people whose hearts were softened by the Lord:

  • The story of the Hatfield family in President Russell M. Nelson’s message “The Price of Priesthood Power,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 66–67.
  • The story of Harold Gallacher in President Thomas S. Monson’s message “The Sacred Call of Service,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, 55.
  • The story of David in President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s message “Learn from Alma and Amulek,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 73–74.

Conclusion

In our lesson this week we are counseled on many aspects of the gospel that may be of a particular challenge at this time in our lives. Let us prayerfully review Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation with deep thought and adjustments to our perspective. Let us be mindful of our thoughts and actions, let us be open and soft to what the Lord has in store for us to learn, and remember to check ourselves daily for improvement that when we come before the judgement we will not come in fear or shame but with joy and grateful gladness!

Resources

Book of Mormon Student Manual

Conference Reports

Ensign

Church History

Bible Dictionary

The Lord’s Way 1942

Church Educational system speeches

Doctrine and Covenants

King James Bible

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