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

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

...Learn in Thy Youth to Keep the Commandments of God...

Chapter 37 of Alma continues Alma's preaching to Helaman. He entrusts the brass plates and other sacred records to his son and gives him tremendous counsel regarding faith, prayer, and obedience.

What has the Lord commanded us to do for "a wise purpose?" (vs. 14) What purpose do our own personal records serve?

What can we learn from vs. 33 regarding our sharing of the Gospel -- with our families and with others?

What are your thoughts about the Liahona analogy Alma makes?

What do you want your children to know you know? What can you do to ensure that happens?


Julie P said...

I just found you through Janelle. Can I follow along? This is just wonderful! Makes me miss the "Scripture Sisters" I had back in CA.

TaLaisa said...

I read 36 and 37 together and I read them over and over. I was so touched by the message Alma gave to Helaman. The love he had for his son knew no bounds and yet he seemed to know exactly what he wanted to pass on to his son as far as testimony and knowledge and faith.

I feel like I am given numerous opportunities to share my testimony and my feelings about gospel principles with my boys. They seem to pop up all the time. I made a grim discovery though, I can speak of my testimony all I want and if my actions do not follow the message be just that, words. Alma was a stellar example. He lived the way he taught to a T. I need to work harder to teach by example.

I was also thinking about where Alma said, "whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials...". I've really been struggling with some things, of a temporal nature, lately. And I have been giving myself time to think, not of the negatives, but of the blessings I've been given as a support during past trials. I was amazed. The more I thought and prayed to know of the blessings the more recollections I've had. As I pondered blessings in the past and gave thanks again, blessings for currently ongoing trials became very very clear. I am still struggling with the 'how' I'll get through but it is so fantastic to know that even as I am being tried I am being blessed by a loving Father in Heaven who knows my every need more perfectly than I.

I think if my children know that Heavenly Father loves them, is always wanting to hear from them, is aware of their needs, desires to bless them and has prepared a way that they can be with him again and wants them to be truly happy. The rest will follow suit.

Janelle said...

Ok so everything was good but the last 4 verses were SO GOOD!

For behold it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will pont to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass.....is there not a type in this thing....if we follow their course to the promised land, shall the words of Christ if we follow their course carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise. O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way;..... The way is prepared, and if we may look we may live forever.... Look to God and live!

Sometimes while blogging I'll find a sister who is just making it hard for herself with doubt and fear. I get upset because I know that if people would follow the Lord's advice and "Be still and know that I am God." a lot of heartache could be saved. It really is easier on our minds and hearts and souls just to look to Christ and live. I have told anyone around me that there is a difference between spiritualizing and intellectualizing. One leads to happiness and increased faith and the other can unfortunately lead to apostacy. And in every event the person who thought themselves so enlightened becomes darkened as what they once knew is lost.

But I would just like a personal liahona just for myself. Yeah, yeah I have the scriptures and the Holy Ghost but I want a ball of curious workmanship to land on my doorstep and only work when I'm faithful, like a spiritual thermometer.

Amanda D said...

The verse that stuck out the most to me was verse 44. It says, "..it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ,..."

I read that and I thought, is it really easy for people? I struggle so much to give heed- remembering to pray and study the scriptures and hold FHE, etc. etc. - is it easy for any of you? Once I am in the habit of these things will it be easier? Or will I be tempted even more to stray? And then I start to think about how much harder it must have been in the early days of the church. We have it easier now (in some ways.) Any thoughts?

Julie said...

Amanda -- I thought that was interesting how you pointed out the phrase "easier" -- and Janelle, you talked about it, too.

Amanda, I've asked that very same question -- is it really easy? It's not for me...
One thing I'm learning, though, is that once the habit is established, it becomes a little easier. But the real clincher is moving past the habit part. For some reason, this time around has really been incredible -- my soul is delighting in the words of the scriptures. I am looking forward to studying them each day. There are still days when it's not "easy" per se, but knowing that if I do, I have the opportunity to participate in the discussions here, really helps me get them out. And once I do, I'm always glad I did -- and I'm always filled.
FHE hasn't been too much of a struggle for our family, but I know it could be better. It will get harder, I'm sure, as the kids get older. But they know what to expect on Monday nights and they even look forward to it. I hope that some of that lasts through the years!
My big struggle still is prayer. I pray every day at least once, but it is often in bed, half asleep, trying to make sense in my head. I have so many things that I need to be praying fervently about. I should not be struggling with this, yet I am. I am feeling those stronger desires and urges, though, as my study of the scriptures improves. And I am acting when those moments come. I think what Alma is trying to tell us is that it's easy in that it's right there -- there's no mystery about what we need to do to be saved. It doesn't mean we'll do it perfectly, but it does mean we won't have ignorance as an excuse.
And Janelle, I agree, it would be so nice to have a ball that was tangible and worked or didn't depending on my faithfulness. Hmmm...something to pray for? :)

What do you guys all think about Amanda's question? Any experiences or insights? Thanks for a thought provoking one, Amanda.

*On a different (not really) note, thing I want my children to know is verses 33 & 34. I am not as developed in my spirituality as Alma was and I know I'm not teaching this by example right now, but I do know it's what I believe. It's the seed I need and want to plant and experiment on -- it's the meat of the Gospel. I want them to KNOW these things -- which means I need to know them.

Greg and Wendy said...

It may not be easy, but it is certainly easier than the consequences of NOT living the gospel! I guess that is how I choose to define it. We are all imperfect but we have good desires and we are all recognizing our weaknesses and attempting to improve. That is what He asks of us and He will be there to give us strength each step of the way! These chapters are full of His promises to us for obedience and, likewise, His promises for disobedience! I think I will keep striving to be more obedient!!! "...the words of Christ, if we follow their course,(will) carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise." Can we ask for more? "Look to God and live." (Forever!...with our families AND our Heavenly Father and the Savior.

Janelle said...

Amanda's question: I do think it's easier to look to God and live in comparison to the other alternative.

Knowledge that there is life after death makes loss bearable.

Knowledge that we can repent gives hope.

Knowledge that God lives and I am His daughter makes me aspire to be better.

Knowledge that Jesus suffered and died for me gives me humility.

Keeping the commandments gives me confidence and happiness.

Prayer helps me articulate my inner most thoughts and brings my will in line with my Heavenly Father.

Like Julie said, the word of God has begun to enlarge my soul and be delicious unto me. (Alma 34)

The alternatives are harder. No God, no love, no purpose, no Atonement no Hope! Not only that but as Alma describes the "hell" he went through for only 3 days thinking about the souls he "murdered" by leading them away from the church it certainly does seem easier to catch hold of the thought that Jesus has redeemed our souls than to continue to have our souls racked with pain. Alma relates to us in this chapter that as soon as his mind remembered his father's prophesy of Christ's atonement his soul was pained no more. We will have to pay for our own sins if we choose not to repent. How much easier it is to look to Christ and live rather than choose to continue in our stubbornness.

I totally stink at family prayer and family scripture study but I'm trying and if I do at some point it will change for the better. At some point it will be easy. But what is really easy for me to understand is that I can repent or suffer the effects of justice myself. I hate suffering and am a major wimp - could the Atonement be likened to an epidural? - so anything that alleviates suffering to me is a no brainer. Or in Alma's language "easy."

Greg and Wendy said...

The promises of God are not always "instant gratification". Sometimes we may wonder what living this gospel is doing for us. As an example, being as old as we are, we have attended many high school reunions. At the five year, those of us who were trying to live the gospel did not look that much different than anyone else. However, when we attended our 40 year reunion last year, it was fully evident who had been living Christ's way! That is just one small example. From an older perspective, we just say to all of you that even our meager strivings to do His will over time produce GREAT blessings! Keep on keeping on! "Out of small and simple things proceedeth that which is great." The Liahona is a great analogy to progressing by following Christ's teachings or as vs 41 says: "They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey." We have a choice each day! Just keep the faith! We think you are all amazing!