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, August 4, 2008

This week we're studying Alma's counsel to his son, Corianton. You'll remember, Corianton was disobedient while serving his mission among the Zoramites. (That was in chapter 39 -- hopefully you read it on your own...). Alma, as a loving father & mission president, not only helps Corianton understand how his sins affected other people, but, in chapters 40-42, gets deeper into the concerns Corianton has about the doctrine of the resurrection. It is one of the great sermons on the plan of happiness, don't you think?

So, let's focus on chapter 40 today.

The first part of the chapter speaks of the state of souls between death and the resurrection. To us, this is pretty basic doctrine. As you read these verses, consider what it would be like to be learning this for the first time. What impact would that have upon you? How would you change your life?

What do you think about verse 25? Can we "shine forth in the kingdom of God" even now? How?

And how about verse 26? "...consigned to partake of the fruits of their labors or their works, which have been evil; and they drink the dregs of a bitter cup." This description reminds me of Doctrine and Covenants 19:1-20. What are your thoughts about this?


Julie said...

Before I comment on chapter 40, I wanted to share a couple of things from chapter 39. Verse 2, "...thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom." It's the same as the "pride cometh before the fall." This really is the universal and gateway sin to all the rest, isn't it?

And verse 4: "she did steal away the hearts of many; but this was no excuse for thee, my son." I think this is so applicable in so many cases. Yes, the world is tantalizing. Yes, there are people whose entire profession and purpose is to tempt and destroy our souls, but "this [is] no excuse for [us]." We know the truth and so we have a responsibility to act on that knowledge. I think it is such a good reminder. One I REALLY need so often.
One other verse was 17, "...Behold, you marvel why these things should be known so long beforehand. Behold, I say unto you, is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a sould will be at the time of his coming?" Love that.

Now, chapter 40. Like I said in the post, this is really pretty basic doctrine and I have often wondered why this is the thing that is concerning Corianton. I mean, isn't it usually other things that hang people up? The resurrection has always seemed like a no brainer to me. But trying to read it as though I'd never been taught the doctrine before was a good experience. I still don't think I fully comprehended the magnitude of the doctrine, but I got a better feel for why this is so important to understand. And what a difference this knowledge could and ought to make in a person's life. I really like it in reference to President Monson's article in this month's Ensign. I think he said something like "What will you do with today?" It fits perfectly with what Alma is teaching here.

One verse that really got me this time was verse 12: "...then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are RECEIVED into a state of happiness..." I love that idea of being received. It makes the sting of death a little less severe, doesn't it? God isn't "taking" his children, He is "receiving" them. I liked that imagery a lot.
What do you get from verse 14? I've always thought the preaching of the Gospel in the spirit world allowed people to go from spirit prison to paradise? Does verse 14 give a different impression or am I just over reading it? What do you think?
Finally, verse 26 -- I went back and read Doc & Cov 19:1-20 after reading this verse. I just don't even think I could endure the Eternal Suffering Christ endured to free me from my sins. How could I mock that sacrifice by supposing I could do it for myself? And what a miserable state to experience. I want even more to appreciate and receive the gift of the Atonement.

Janelle said...

First, I love that Alma describes how we can receive revelation in vs. 3 But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know - that is concerning the resurrection.

We have a particular topic that we want more interest in and we ask God diligently (more than once) concerning it until we get some kind of answer. I have received a "None of your business" answer before. While blogging, I see a lot of needless debate where one has not been called to teach, nor is anyone being edified. Nevertheless, questions that should be brought before the Almighty and All knowing are tossed around for opinion. No one really wanting or caring for an answer, just loving the intellectualism and speculation of the debate.... If there is revealed doctrine - share it. If not, ask God.

Second, I love in vs. 11 that Alma says that all mend as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken homr to that God who gave them life.

HOME! We are away from home - like at school - right now.

And vs. 13 Sounds like a spiritual Time Out for Bad Behavior: And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil - for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good.... and these shall be cast out into outer darkenss; there shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (sound familiar mothers of toddlers)... thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise until the time of their resurrection.

vs. 26 Is just scary and all I know about the bitter cup is that even the Lord said, "Let this cup pass from me." And because of the Atonement it can and has already been passed to the Savior. But I'm more than welcome to drink that cup to the dregs if I choose not to repent. Sounds like Nyquil! Yuck!

Julie said...

I love the use of the word "HOME," too, Janelle. Chloe sometimes tells me she just wants to die. When I ask her why, she says she just wants to be with Heavenly Father and Jesus. There is a bit of drama in her initial comment, but I think that's what we all want, isn't it? Do be where the people who love us most are?

And I have never enjoyed the intellectual blogs for that reason -- there never seems to be any desire for pure light and knowledge, just debate and criticism and controversy. It just doesn't fit with the purity of learning the doctrine and asking God for light and knowledge. I like that you've received a "none of your business." It makes me laugh. I guess I've never really asked anything that deep!

And ha ha to the time out analogy! I think sometimes my kids totally know that they are acting so ridiculously when they're throwing a fit. Like they KNOW it's completely their fault that they're in time out and they KNOW that the more they fight the longer they'll be there, but they just choose to go on weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth. Perhaps it's a similar phenomenon going on here. I'll tell you what, though, it makes me want to be smart and make good choices here. No outer darkness for me, thanks. No drinking the dregs of a bitter cup, thanks. My seminary teacher once brought in a cup that had only the dregs remaining. I was the one he chose to drink it (telling of what kind of lesson I needed at the time, right?). It was worse than Nyquil. A taste I won't soon forget. If I had to endure a spiritual taste like that, it really would be an awful state. But I imagine it's far worse than that tiny little amount I tasted.