I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from The Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity - the pure love of Christ - will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.
- President Marion G. Romney

Monday, June 30, 2008

...They Were Still His Brethren in the Lord...

It's week 3, can you believe it? I am so enjoying the discussions we are having here -- thank you for your contributions! Keep them coming.

This week we'll be studying Alma 17-22. Since we have 5 days to cover 6 chapters, we'll do 17 on Monday, 18 on Tuesday, 19 on Wednesday, 20&21 on Thursday, and 22 on Friday. That's the 4th of July, so we may not get a ton of comments, but please keep up with your reading -- it does make a huge difference, don't you think?

Alma 17 begins the missionary account of the sons of Mosiah. They spent 14 years among the Lamanites, preaching the Gospel and serving the people.

*vs. 2&3-- I feel like if we all met, this would be the experience we'd have. What exactly made this such a great reunion? What can we learn from this as parents, friends, etc? What kind of relationships should we be developing with those around us?

*vs. 9&11 -- What can we learn as lifetime missionaries from these verses? Also, what do we learn about faith from verse 10?

*vs. 12-16 -- How is this similar/different from our call today?

*vs. 20-25 --What was it that made King Lamoni trust Ammon? What can we learn from this?

*vs. 26-39 -- Not just a great story, although it is that. What symbolism is in these verses regarding our missionary service? And our service to our families?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekend Challenge

I've enjoyed these chapters so much this week! Thank you for your insights.

I feel prompted to share a challenge with each of us...if you'd like to participate, please do. Maybe we'll do this every weekend as a wrap-up to our reading. We'll see what we feel.

So, my challenge this week is to include the Gospel related events of my weekend/week with a neighbor.

Hope your weekend is nice. We'll be studying Alma 17-22 next week.

...That They Might Receive the Word with Joy...

Alma 16 recounts the fulfillment of Alma's prophecy to the Ammonihahites (I won't miss typing that word every day!) and the preaching of the Gospel among the Nephites.

*vs. 2, 9-11 -- the fulfillment of Alma's prophecy. What can we learn?

*vs. 4-8 -- God cared enough to answer this request for information. What can we learn from this? What about when it comes to voting this fall (but let's keep our discussion free of heated political debate ;))?

*vs. 13-14 -- How can we apply these verses?

*vs. 16-17 -- Is this happening today? Are we praying that it will? This reminds me of Alma 6:6.

*vs. 18-21 -- How does this compare to our day?

*Any other verses that struck you? Insights?

And I might be the last person in the world to discover this, but did you know you (as in NOT the publisher of the post) can have the comments emailed to you? You can. Just click the "email follow-up comments to..." box in the comment form before you hit publish and you'll get all the discussion emailed right to your inbox. How's that for technology? Thanks, Cheryl!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

...Believest Thou in the Power in the Power of Christ Unto Salvation?...

Alma 15: Alma and Amulek are commanded to leave Ammonihah and go to Sidom. There they meet the believers who had survived and escaped the wickedness of the Ammonihahites. Among them is Zeezrom, who has become very ill. His fever is caused by his feelings of guilt and sorrow for his sins and the consequences they have brought upon others.

In verse 4, Zeezrom discovers Alma and Amulek are in Sidom and sends for them. The verses that follow tell much of Zeezrom's level of conversion.

*Vs. 4-12 -- what does Zeezrom's conversion teach us about repentance? What sort of feelings should we have when we repent? How can we know we are forgiven? What must we do to retain that forgiveness?

*Vs. 13-15 -- what caused this "flocking" to the Church from all the land round about? What can we learn from terrible acts of wickedness all around us?

*Vs. 16 -- I had never noticed this before -- Amulek's family were among the wicked. What do we learn about true conversion from this?

*Vs. 17 -- I love the phrase "seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts." How do we do this? What causes it?

*Vs. 18 -- Tender mercies of the Lord?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alma 14

I am not yet prepared to do a post with specific questions. But I do want us all to get started on chapter 14, so here we go --

*Here's your chance to send the discussion in the direction you'd like! Share your thoughts and insights from this chapter.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sorry everyone, I'm running a little late this morning (heading to Idaho to visit sis & new twins!!!). I won't be posting this morning as a result. There is still plenty to talk about in chapter, so we'll keep going with it today.
And please, if you've never left a comment before, consider this your invitation! And if you have, then consider this your time to do it again!

See you Wednesday.

Monday, June 23, 2008

...Being Called and Prepared from the Foundation of the World...

So, it's going to be a crazy week for me -- office party to host, visit to my sis (the mommy of new twins!), birthday, visit from Cheryl, dinner to a neighbor, etc....). But we have 4 great chapters to study this week! I love the continuation of Zeezrom's story we'll read in a few days.

Here's how this week will work -- we'll do chapter 13 today, 14 on Tuesday, 15 on Wednesday, and 16 on Thursday. I've noticed we don't get many comments on Fridays, so we'll call that a catch up day this week. And Amanda -- I've missed your thoughts this week! Hope you're enjoying your new summer schedule!

Alma 13 continues Alma's sermon (3rd witness?) to the wicked Ammonihahites.
*In verses 1-7 he lays out the doctrine of foreordination. Why do you think this was important for this people to understand? How about us?
*Some quotes from prophets about this doctrine:
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 365).

President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “Before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to. You are accountable for those things which long ago were expected of you just as are those we sustain as prophets and apostles!” (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 102).

*verses 12&13 -- what are your thoughts?

*verse 20 -- how do we "wrest" the scriptures?

*the last 10 verses are just beautiful. What are your thoughts? Do you feel this way in our day?

Friday, June 20, 2008

,,,He That Will Not Harden His Heart, to Him is Given the Greater Portion of the Word...

Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter this morning! There was just SO much great news in Alma's follow-up to Amulek's testimony.

*vs. 1-8 suggest that Zeezrom is beginning to experience a change of heart. What was it about Amulek's words that caused this? What can we learn from that?
*vs. 9-10 -- what do you think about these? I have some thoughts, but want to hear what you think about it.
*vs. 12-118 -- Janelle, this is similar to what you said in the last post, don't you think? What can we do to avoid the circumstances Alma describes? Why did Alma have to use such language with this people?
*vs. 20 - From this verse, I think you're right, Janelle, these people must have been like the Jews in Christ's time who were well versed in the scriptures, but knew nothing of the doctrine. What significance does this have for us as members of the Church? What does Alma want us to learn?
*vs. 23-27 - probably the greatest sermon on the Fall there is, don't you think? What are your insights from these verses?
*vs. 28-29 - what do these verses reveal about God's love for His children?
*vs. 37 - Are we part of this group Alma describes? What can we do if we are?

There was just so much to talk about in this chapter -- I know Friday is a busy day for everyone and I'll be heading out of town this afternoon myself, but I hope we'll take the time to study this chapter -- it's sort of the culmination of the things we've studied this week! It's answered some of my questions from earlier chapters and has really enriched my day already!

And now we have a weekend to catch up! Isn't it nice to feel prepared for Sunday?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

In this chapter, Amulek contends with Zeezrom, one of the most successful lawyers in the land of Ammonihah. They have a very memorable exchange. Zeezrom offers Amulek six onties of silver to deny the existence of a Supreme Being. I wondered what exactly that amount was and in my research found this:
At this juncture, a reader naturally asks, what are "six onties of silver" and how large was the offered bribe? It seems that the Nephite record keepers anticipated these sorts of questions from readers and therefore listed the relative values of the weights and measures used by the Nephites at that time to calculate wealth. Zeezrom's bribe was an impressive sum. A judge earned one onti of silver for seven days of work. Hence, six onties of silver would equal a judge's salary for 42 days of work; or if seven judges were involved in a case, enough to pay them all for a six-day trial. Zeezrom's six onties probably looked quite sizable, physically. If one has spent time in a village marketplace where merchants sell goods measured out by using old metal weights, one notices how bulky the weights themselves are. Because an onti of silver would purchase seven measures of barley in the marketplace (see Alma 11:6–7), it is safe to conclude that an onti represented a significant amount of silver in raw weight.
Weighing and Measuring in the Worlds of the Book of Mormon John W. WelchProvo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 1999. Pp. 36–46
I found that very interesting and even helpful as I listened to their exchange throughout the chapter.

*What can we learn from Amulek's response to Zeezrom in vs. 26-27. How should we answer questions presented to us about the Gospel?
*Zeezrom's words really are cunning, aren't they? Amulek's response reminds me of Christ's temptation in the wilderness -- they both use scripture to rebuke their tempter. What can we learn from this?
*Verses 39-46 are some of the best about the ressurrection and judgement, don't you think? One thing I noticed this time is how Amulek's message was tailored specifically to his audience. Verse 44 must have shaken Zeezrom and the wicked judges right to the core. What can we learn about teaching by the Spirit from this chapter?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

...There Was More Than One Witness...

The scriptures make it pretty clear that truth is confirmed by two witnesses. Amulek serves as that second witness to the people of Ammonihah. He is a unique second witness, though, different from a typical missionary companion bearing testimony to what his companion has taught. Amulek was one of the Ammonihahites.

*What can we as member missionaries learn from this?
*What effect did Amulek's witness have upon the people? Why? What was it about Amulek that made his testimony so astonishing to the people?
*What similarities does vs. 26 have to our own day?
*It's late and I'm a little fuzzy, so share your other insights from the chapter (you're all really good at that anyway, thank you!)

...I Would That Ye Should Remember...

Sorry for the late post. I am going to try to get these up every night, but last night we had unexpected guests. I'll repent and do better!

In Alma 9, Alma and Amulek begin their missionary companionship. As has been mentioned, this is perhaps the greatest pairing in missionary history. We're headed into some great chapters here!

*What are some of the stumbling blocks Alma faces as he preaches to the Ammonihahites? What are their excuses for not listening to his message? Why is this significant?

*Alma talks a lot about remembering in this sermon. Why do we need to remember our ancestors? What about our posterity?

*What are your thoughts about verse 23?

*How do we personally "prepare...the way of the Lord...." (vs. 28)?

*Any other inspiration?

Monday, June 16, 2008

...That the Lord Might Show Forth His Power in Them...

Alma 5 & 7 were sermons to members of the Church in Zarahemla and Gideon. Alma 8 is the beginning of Alma's missionary journey -- he is preaching to people who do not have the Gospel; who are unbelievers.

*Why do you think Alma had this great wrestle with God in mighty prayer concerning the wicked Ammonihahites? Who was changed as a result?

*After Alma is cast out of Ammonihah, he is visited by an angel who tells him to return. Verse 18 tells Alma's reaction to that command. What can we learn from his reaction?

*Upon returning, he meets Amulek. What do we learn about God's character from His dealings with Alma in this chapter?

*This is absolutely a missionary chapter -- how can this chapter help us share the Gospel more effectively? What characteristics does Alma have that will help us?

*How about as friends and parents? What can we learn about life from these verses?

*This chapter is completely tied in with the next several chapters. While you study, keep in mind the experiences Alma and Amulek had as they taught together.

Now, a bit of housekeeping. Is one chapter per day too much? Do you like a post the night before so you have plenty of time to study and comment or do you have enough time with a morning post?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Weekend!

I won't be posting anything for Saturday and Sunday. Use them for studying your Relief Society Lesson or catching up! Next week we'll be studying Alma 8-12.

And if you have anything you'd like to add to previous posts, please do! You're not too late -- I think we all like to go back and check if there's anything new out there.

Have a great weekend -- and a restful Sabbath!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alma 7 -- There is one thing of more importance than they all

It's Friday and we're on the last chapter of this Sunday's lesson material. Many of you didn't add your thoughts on chapter 6-- if you have things you'd like to add -- keep doing it all weekend.

Alma chapter 7 is Alma's sermon to the people in Gideon. According to Alma (vs. 3 & 5) , these people were in a much more righteous state than the people of Zarahemla.
*With this in mind, what are the differences between the two sermons?
*What about verses 7 & 8? What do they teach us about our time?
*If you feel it appropriate to share, what are some of your experiences with Jesus?
*How do verses 17-19 apply to us as parents? Teachers? Leaders?
*What other insights, thoughts, questions do you have?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Alma 6 -- The Church in Zarahemla is cleansed and set in order

This is a much shorter chapter after a huge one in Alma 5! If you have more insights from continued study of that chapter, keep commenting on that post!

Alma 6 is short, yes, but as I quickly read through it, I feel that there's enough there for a good discussion.
As you read this chapter, think about how the Church is set-up today. Why is this order necessary?
What are your thoughts about verse 5? What does Mormon mean?
And verse 6 - what are your thoughts about this as a missionary tool? Have you had any experiences with this?
We certainly don't need to restrict ourselves to these questions, but just to get us started...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Alma 5 -- Have Ye Recieved His Image in your Countenances?

I just realized something as I got ready to do this first post -- although there is a uniform curriculum throughout the Church, we sometimes get off by a few weeks due to Stake Conference and other events. So, since we're not in the same ward we're going to have to sort of go with the flow. For now, since I'm the moderator, we'll go with the lesson my ward is studying. If we find there's a tremendous amount of variance from that, we'll adjust as necessary. Sound good? Good.

Our first reading section will be Alma 5. This is Alma speaking to the people of Zarahemla. According to the class member study guide, Alma asks over 40 questions during this sermon. Wow!

Let's read this chapter looking for those questions
And to get the discussion started, think about these things:

*What questions stand out to you? Why?
*Which are especially applicable to Latter-day Saint Women?
*What can we challenge ourselves to improve based on Alma's sermon?

For now, I'm thinking we won't set a time to "meet" online, as we all have differing schedules. But let's do this: read the chapter on the day it's posted (add this to your Google Reader!) and come to the post that day. It will be fun to check the comments throughout the day as time permits and see what others are thinking. We'll be able to communicate, discuss, ask questions, etc. through the comments section. And I will try to post the reading section by 9:00 am MST.

And I am certainly open to any suggestions as we go along -- as in how we could make this go more smoothly, encourage discussion, etc.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Scripture Study Group

I'm considering starting an online scripture study group. Would you be interested? I'll moderate. We'll pick a study topic for each day or every few days and have a discussion via the comments section. Would you be interested?