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, July 21, 2008

This week, we're into the great faith chapters in the Book of Mormon -- Alma 32-35.  When I was a missionary, Alma 32 was always a chapter that we loved to read with investigators -- there is so much here to be learned about faith and action.

As we read Alma 32 today, think about how you can "give place" to Alma's words.  What does it mean to "give place?"  

I love the thought of the truth swelling within your breast.  What does this feeling describe?

What does Alma teach us about faith versus knowledge?  How should that affect us in our day to day lives?

7 comments:

Janelle said...

This chapter made me wonder a lot about myself.

1. Am I humble?
2. Have I been compelled to be humble?
3. Who is a good example around me of one who is blessed because they choose to be humble rather than be compelled?
4.When have I experimented on the words of Christ in faith?
5. What stage is my tree? Do I nourish it, prune and care for it? What role does Christ have in the nourish and pruning?
6. How will I know when I have reaped the rewards of my faith and diligence and patience and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto me (vs. 43)?

My at home scripture study read Lectures on Faith together and we loved it. This chapter was used by Joseph Smith often. There are so many things to hope for that are unseen. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the power by which all things were created. It is amazing to me Alma as well as Jesus both teach that faith starts out as a seed, so small but with so much potential.

This set of scripture reminded me of the parable of the sower in Luke 8:4-15. I think often of this parable in missionary work and in assessing my own heart. But I also thought about the parable of the mustard seed in Matt 13:31 while reading Alma's symbolism of a seed. In Matthew the Lord says that mustard being the least of all seeds becomes the greatest among herbs, so much so that the birds lodge therein. Joseph Smith gave us insight into this parable suggesting that the birds lodging in the mustard tree symbolized angels. I hope my faith can grow in such a fashion.

Monica said...

This has always been my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon since I joined the Church. It has always touched my heart and made me want to be more humble and become stronger in my faithfulness. I love this chapter because it really defines faith so well and makes me question that I truly am demonstrating faith in my life.

I love when the scriptures really make us look to ourselves and look within ourselves and truly make us look and see if we are doing all that we should be doing and if we are progressing in the right direction.

Julie said...

Loved your questions, Janelle. And Monica, you've got a cool perspective as a convert because you've recently done this experiment (I guess we're all constantly doing this experiment, but you know what I mean, right?). Thanks for your thoughts.

For me, there were a few things that stood out.
Vs. 14-15 -- Poverty is certainly a good humbler -- BUT we are even more blessed if we can be humble because of the Gospel. If we can be humble in our prosperity -- because of the Word -- how much more blessed we will be.

One of the huge themes that I noticed this time was to obey because we believe, not because we "know." If we believe God has called a Prophet, we should obey his counsel.
Janelle, I think the situation you have going on in California is a prime example of this. Will the Saints obey the counsel of the Prophet? Will they choose to be humble and experiment on the Word? Will they give place for it in their hearts? Will they nourish it and see if it grows? Will they obey because they believe?
I don't know that I've ever really put the two parts of this sermon together so much before -- the first part about humility and the second part about faith. But they are completely dependent on one another. We cannot truly try this experiment of faith if we are not humble -- whether compelled or self-driven.

Am I humbly, actively seeking the counsel of the Prophet? Am I experimenting on the Word of the Lord? Am I choosing to obey because I believe?

One other little fun thing -- in verse 28, Alma describes 4 things we'll experience if the seed we've planted and nurtured is good. First it will Swell, then it will Enlarge, third it will Enlighten, and finally it will be Delicious. Swell, Enlarge, Enlighten, Delicious. SEED. Isn't that a fun way to remember the things we should feel when we are experimenting with the doctrine of Christ?

Monica said...

PS Alma 32:21 is my ALL TIME FAVORITE SCRIPTURE!

Greg and Wendy said...

I love this chapter! I have gained my testimony of most principles and doctrines of the gospel by "putting them to the test." And as I have striven to live that principle, it certainly has swelled, then enlarged, then enlightened and become delicious! Thanks for pointing out vs 28, Julie!
I also love vs 23 that tells us as women that we can receive revelation, too. We know from experience that this is true, but it is fun to read it here. I especially love, however, "little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned." Anyone who has had little children has experienced many a teaching moment from their little ones! Right? I would love to hear you all share some of these moments when you have been "confounded" by something your little children have taught you.

Greg and Wendy said...

Oh, another thought! Greg and I attended a religious lecture class in which the couple who taught it pointed out vs 37-39 and their application to nurturing our marriage relationships. We really must actively care for our spouses and put their needs above our own. As Sister Lant said in the last WW training, when we meet the needs of our spouses, our own needs are met. This is completely opposite to what society teaches today. It was good for me to read these verses again this morning with my sweet husband and my eternal marriage in mind. Just thought I'd share that for what it is worth.

Amanda D said...

I sat down this evening to read the scriptures and checked to see where you were all at. I turned to chapter 35, but was drawn to read chapter 32. I am so glad that I did. I feel like I am on a lower spiritual plane than most of you, but I love to read your thoughts and I have learned so much!

I have been feeling like I need to work on my faith more. I believe in the church. I know it is true, but lately I have been feeling that this is not enough. How perfect for me to read about faith. A lovely reminder in verse 21 of the meaning of faith. And in verse 11, a reminder that we must worship more than once a week. It is easy to worship on Sunday and then go about the rest of our days with out giving it much though. I need to change this in my home.

And the verse that hit home to me tonight: 41. It talks about faith being something that we have to be DILIGENT with, and PATIENT with. Remembering to pray and read the scriptures, and etc. must be done diligently, and with patience with ourselves and slowly we will become better.

I am not very eloquent, but I hope that I was able to get my thought across. I'll try to be better about joining in the discussion!