Sometimes it’s only in retrospect that we recognize the significance of our experiences, both in terms of our own spiritual growth and in terms of their influence on other people.
We’ve been studying this week about two groups of people—the people of Limhi and the people of Alma—both of whom endured a difficult period of captivity before being delivered by the power of God. Today, I’ve been looking at their legacies: what subsequent leaders said about them and how they influenced later generations. Here are a few thoughts:
“They knew not what to think” (Mosiah 25:8-11)
When the people of Limhi and the people of Alma arrived in the land of Zarahemla, King Mosiah called all of his people together to hear their stories of captivity and deliverance. His people were profoundly moved. Mormon describes their mixed emotions: sorrow for what these people had suffered and for the cruelty of their captors, but gratitude and joy that they had been blessed by God and delivered from bondage.
“Blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name” (Mosiah 26:15-18)
Some years later, as Alma prayed, the Lord gave him the following words of affirmation for him and for the people he had led:
Blessed art thou, Alma, and blessed are they who were baptized in the waters of Mormon….
Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine.
“He did deliver them” (Mosiah 29:18-20)
When King Mosiah later explained to his people the rationale for dissolving their system of government and replacing it with a more representative system, he reminded them that the people of Limhi had fallen into bondage because of the influence of a wicked king—Limhi’s father, Noah. Mosiah said that Limhi’s people would have remained in bondage if it weren’t for “the interposition of their all-wise Creator, and this because of their sincere repentance.” They had humbled themselves and prayed mightily, and God had delivered them; “and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him.”
“He changed their hearts” (Alma 5:3-13)
Nearly 40 years later, Alma’s son reminded the people of Zarahemla of the remarkable conversion of his father and the people who followed him. He was grateful for their deliverance from their captors, but he was even more grateful for their deliverance from sin. Speaking of the Lord, he said, “Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God.”
“Being called after the land of Mormon” (3 Nephi 5:12)
The prophet Mormon, who compiled the history contained in the Book of Mormon, tells us that he was named after the place where Alma and his people experienced their miraculous conversion. That event was such an important part of the spiritual history of his people that he had been named after the place where it had happened.
As Elder Neil L. Andersen recently reminded us, our spiritual experiences can bless not only us, but also the people we love. Our experiences of spiritual growth can fortify their faith. “Embrace your sacred memories,” he said. “Believe them. Write them down. Share them with your family” (“Spiritually Defining Memories,” General Conference, April 2020).
Today, I will remember that my spiritual experiences can bless the people I love. I will share with others, including my family, the ways God has blessed me, so that they can also benefit from the experiences which have brought me closer to Him.