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 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?


Janelle said...

You know how I asked what were the first commandments? It was my thought that they were given to us in the Pre existence. Which is why Alma would go right into foreordination in his sermon, and based upon faithfulness to the first commandments is how we stand in the "probation" he spoke about in the last chapter. The atonement wiped clean any mistakes made with our free agency in the pre-existence giving us a free slate, but we must do well in our probation in order to obtain the blessings that can be ours based on the "exceeding great faith and good works" vs 3 that were shown in the pre existence. I think I'm taking these ideas from The Infinite Atonement by Tad Callister but these scriptures seem to concur.

vs.25 "Would to God that it might be in my day." Hmm, I'm not yet in that category. It is a long standing joke in our scripture study that I would prefer to be among the "celestial dead" rather than the saints who fight it out to the end. If I could just be that grandma that set the paths straight and started some righteous traditions that lasted for generations I'd be cool with that. I'm in no way saying that I'm near celestial (dead or alive)material, just that of the options given during the the Second Coming, that looks like the most appealing to me.

verses 27 on are just so heartfelt that you can see why the Lord said that this Book (BOM) would be like "a voice crying out from the dust." You can feel Alma's voice here.

It strikes me how similar Alma the Younger is to Paul. Persecuters of the church turned by angelic visitations into new men able to convert thousands.

Ok so I hate to be the only commenter here, but I just got called to be Gospel Doctrine teacher so I have to study this stuff anyways. Thanks for doing this Julie.

Cheryl said...

I had so many thoughts about this chapter, so it's gonna be kind of all hodge-podgy for a minute:

Vs. 12&13: It automatically made me think of the Temple because of the whiteness. I think most people would agree that when we enter the Temple, we leave our worldliness behind us (one would hope), and that might include sin, you know? Continually repenting includes Temple Worship in my mind, because that is the one place on Earth where I feel closer to perfection than anywhere else.

vs 20: I think we "wrest" with the scriptures the same way we wrest with the Spirit, or counsel from Prophets, or parental inspiration. The definition that I think is being applied is this:
"To distort or twist the nature or meaning of"
It's easy --I'm sure --to find examples in a larger sense of where this wresting in the scriptures has occurred; churches that have used the scriptures for their own use, rather than for God's use, etc. But I also think we should be careful in a personal manner. Interpreting the scriptures without the Holy Ghost as a companion is a dangerous thing, just like Alma said.

The last 10 verses are hard for me to hear, because I feel I am always procrastinating the things that are the most important --especially repentance. I procrastinate putting in a garden, updating food storage, visting teaching, reading my scriptures, praying with intent, serving my neighbor, etc. etc. and so verses like these always hit me with profound guilt. But that is a good thing! Because it usually spurs me into action. My favorite phrase in these verses is in verse 28:
"Watch and Pray Continually"
I seriously should put that on my wall somwhere.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Julie, first of all thanks for this blog...sometimes I need peer pressure to do what I should be doing. :)
Secondly, I didn't read the other comments yet, so I'm just going to respond from my heart and hope that I'm not repeating someone else.

*I think it's important to know that we were foreordained to do certain things. While reading this I thought of the Visiting Teaching message my VTs gave this week. It talked about the pre-existence, and how we lived with our Heavenly Father before this life. I think that point is so important to remember as we struggle with our callings or life in general, because we can realize that our H.F. really knows us. When he says that we won't be tested above what we can handle, he can say it with confidence because he truly knows our strengths and weaknesses. We weren't just mindless angels floating around in the pre-existence, we actually had personalities. We chose to follow Christ during the War in Heaven. Some parts of who we were then are still present now. Point: Trust in the Lord, his plan will work. :)

*The quote by JS gives me chills. To think that the responsibilities I hold so dear (motherhood, being a wife, a daughter, a teacher) are all things that I was prepared for before this life. How awesome!

*Considering the Kimball quote, none of us can sit upon our laurels and claim to have reached perfection...there is so much that we can do and are Expected to do.

*verses 12 & 13: This reminds me of the temple. If my mindset was constantly in the state of worship (as in the temple) , how would I ever tolerate even the thought of sin? I have had strong times in my life where I was able to do this for the large part, but it sure is hard to maintain! Always a worthy goal though. Also, I love the very last word of verse 13: rest. What mom doesn't crave rest...and not just physically, but Godly rest: rest from worldly concerns and pressures. Ahh, sounds good. :)

*Wrest: twist, distort. When we come to a part of the scriptures where our spirit knows the truth, but we allow our mind to pick it apart, we loose that spirit of knowledge.

*last 10 verses: I love these verses too. the promises in them are beautiful, and Alma's true concern for the welfare of their (our) souls is so evident. Another thing, in verse 28 it says "...that you may not be tempted above that which ye can bear.." At times this might seem to contradict the promise we have been given of never being given more than we can handle. The important thing to remember is we will never be tempted or tested above what we can bear WITH the help of our H.F. Without him, our trials and temptations will surely be more than we can bear.

So, my rudimentary system of scripture marking includes marking Commandments, Blessings, and Traits of the Savior. Here are my notations for this chapter:

~Commandments: remember (preordination); exceeding faith and repentance, righteousness before God; being pure and spotless before God; humble yourselves, bring forth fruit meet for repentance; cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance; humble yourselves, call on his holy name, watch and pray continually;becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering; faith on the Lord, hope (for eternal life), Love of God always in your hearts

~Blessings: enter into that rest; not be tempted above that which ye can bear, led by the Holy Spirit; lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.

~Traits of the Savior: Only Begotten of the Father; full of grace, equity, and truth.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Me again.

I'm totally loving the "celestial dead" idea. ;) And I agree that Alma's call to repentance is so heartfelt. BTW, good luck with your Gospel Doctrine calling...how intimidating!

I love that fresh from the temple feeling, don't you? And you're so right on with the wresting thing, I like how you put it. Also, I too have a hard time with those last 10 verses in relation to my own preparation. We'll get there, one step at a time! :)

Julie said...

Awesome comments. MOTWB -- glad you're commenting! And I love your marking system. I don't have one and sometimes wonder if I should. I like yours a lot!

I also love your thoughts, all of you, about the verses. Thanks for your insights!

Julie said...

Oh, and Janelle, interesting thoughts. The atonement wiping away any mistakes we had made in the preexistence...I hadn't considered that before. Thanks for making me think about that one. I'll be doing a lot of it!

And I've heard of Tad Callister's book, but have never read it. I probably should.