19 And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them.
Enos and Jarom both wrote that the only reason the Nephites were able to remain righteous was because their church leaders (“prophets, priests, and teachers”) stirred them up continually (Enos 1:23, Jarom 1:11-12).
After King Benjamin’s people made a covenant to follow God to the end of their lives, he took down their names, and “he appointed priests…to stir them up in remembrance of the oath which they had made” (Mosiah 6:3).
In the passage above, Alma stepped down from his role as chief judge in order to devote himself full time to his ecclesiastical duties as high priest over the church. He was concerned about the pride and contention which he saw among his people, and he was determined, by preaching the gospel, “to stir them up in remembrance of their duty.”
Captain Moroni later criticized his government leaders for complacency, telling them: “Ye ought to have stirred yourselves more diligently for the welfare and the freedom of this people” (Alma 60:10).
The apostle Paul urged Timothy to “stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6).
And Peter wrote to the members of the church shortly before his death, “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance” (2 Peter 1:13).
In other passages in the Book of Mormon, people are “stirred up” by afflictions, by natural disasters, or by the threat of attack from their enemies (1 Nephi 2:24, 2 Nephi 5:25, Mosiah 1:17, Alma 25:6, Helaman 11:4, Helaman 11:34).
Here’s my conclusion: We tend to become complacent. We tend to forget our duty. We tend to become proud and contentious. We need to be “stirred up”—motivated to take action, to keep moving forward along the path, to do our duty, to humble ourselves, and to repent. We can stir ourselves up. We can be stirred up by our leaders. We can also be stirred up by unpleasant experiences. But one way or another, we need to be stirred up if we are going to keep moving forward.
Stirring up doesn’t have to be painful; it can be inspiring and invigorating. At the conclusion of the most recent general conference, President Russell M. Nelson observed,
This has been an inspirational and historic conference. We look to the future with enthusiasm. We have been motivated to do better and to be better. The marvelous messages delivered from this pulpit by our General Authorities and General Officers and the music have been sublime! I urge you to study these messages, commencing this week. They express the mind and the will of the Lord for His people, today (“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” General Conference, October 2018).
Today, I will stir myself up and stir up the people around me “in remembrance of [our] duty.” I will study the words of the scriptures and of living prophets in order to remember the importance of the covenants I’ve made. I will remind myself and others that the work we are involved in is essential, so that we will be motivated to continue working diligently.