- Alma 32-35: “Plant This Word in Your Hearts” (July 13-19)How do you grow spiritually when you can’t worship the way you’d like? What do you do when you can’t gather with other believers or enter houses of worship? That is the question the poor Zoramites asked Alma: “We have no place to worship our God; and behold, what shall we do?” they asked (Alma 32:5). In response, Alma and Amulek taught them how to exercise faith in Jesus Christ. Here is my summary of their sermon with key takeaways: Alma and Amulek’s Sermon to the Zoramites – Alma 32-34. Here are some principles I’ve learned from these chapters:
- It is important to observe and adapt to the needs of your students: He Did Say No More to the Other Multitude – Alma 32:6-7
- Two ways to know if people are ready to learn: In a Preparation to Hear the Word – Alma 32:6
- Trust your students; give them the benefit of the doubt: Only According to That Which Is True – Alma 32:24-25
Nourishing Our Faith
- You have to be willing to experiment to find out for yourself if the word of God is true: What Is the Relationship Between Faith and Knowledge?
- Faith requires both uncertainty and certainty: Things Which are Not Seen, Which Are True – Alma 32:21
- Patience is active, not passive. It represents steady effort over time: By Your Faith with Great Diligence and Patience – Alma 32:41-43
Believing in Jesus Christ
- “Small acts of faith are required to ignite God’s promises”: What Can We Learn from the Brass Serpent?
- Grace is an enabling power, not just a cleansing power: What Does It Mean to “Work Out Your Own Salvation?”
- We can ask for God’s help in a variety of circumstances: Thou Didst Hear Me – Alma 33:3-11
- We need to pray for others and serve them: For the Welfare of Those Who Are Around You – Alma 34:27-28
Caring for the Needy
- “The patient is always the expert”: What Does It Mean to Serve Others “According to Their Wants?”
- Don’t be afraid to serve: They Did Receive All the Poor of the Zoramites – Alma 35:8-9
Faith doesn’t just happen. It requires positive action. Faith is not the suspension of disbelief. It is the intentional choice to believe. Alma used a number of active verbs to emphasize our role in developing faith. Here are a few examples: “Awake and arouse your faculties” (Alma 32:27). “Exercise a particle of faith” (Alma 32:27)…. Continue Reading →
Alma tells a group of poor Zoramites that it’s a good thing they are excluded from the synagogues. Why? Because that unfair treatment has made them humble, and humility can prepare us to receive God’s mercy (Alma 32:12-13). But Alma adds an important qualifier: “sometimes.” Humility, particularly imposed humility, doesn’t always lead to mercy and… Continue Reading →
Acknowledging our weakness may be a prerequisite to receiving the help we need from God. (See Ether 12:27, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). After hearing the arrogant and exclusive prayer of the wealthy Zoramites, in which they congratulated themselves on being better than other people (Alma 31:15-18), Alma offered his own prayer, pleading that he and his… Continue Reading →
What is the role of church meetings in discipleship? I’ve been thinking about that question today, as I’ve pondered the religious observance of the wealthy Zoramites. According to Mormon, the Zoramites would gather at their house of worship one day each week and offer thanks to God. But after participating in this collective worship, they… Continue Reading →
Early in his ministry, when Alma was troubled by inequality among his people, he resigned his position of political authority and dedicated himself to his ecclesiastical role. “And this he did…that he might preach the word of God unto them…seeing no [other] way that he might reclaim them.” He had tremendous confidence in the power… Continue Reading →
I wrote yesterday about Korihor’s constricting worldview. His rejection of all knowledge that is not current and within our own experience led to very poor outcomes. Alma, in contrast, had a broad perspective. After asking Korihor what evidence he had that there is no God, Alma shared his own experience: “I have all things as… Continue Reading →
When I think of a teacher, I think of someone who expands people’s knowledge, who helps them open their minds to new possibilities and new paradigms. But Korihor, a popular teacher among the Nephite people about 75 years before the birth of Christ, was entirely focused on debunking myths and questioning beliefs. His view of… Continue Reading →
We know more than we realize. After Korihor was struck by the power of God, he began to see things differently. He acknowledged that he had been teaching falsehoods. He did so “because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind.” Over time, his mind was blinded by the approval he received from others: “I taught… Continue Reading →
In March, 2019, I studied 20 different names or titles of Jesus Christ which appear in the Book of Mormon. I was particularly interested in the way each name was used, both in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.
In 2018, I wrote summaries of many of the sermons in the Book of Mormon. Each summary describes the setting, the purpose, an outline of the sermon’s content, and my takeaways from the sermon.
In 2019, I used the Book of Mormon to study 365 questions—one per day. Here is a list of those questions, grouped by category, with a link to the blog post for each question.