- Alma 5-7: “Have Ye Experienced This Mighty Change in Your Hearts?” (June 1-7)After Alma experienced the joy of being born of God, he worked hard to help other people experience that same joy (Alma 36:23-24). In his sermons to the cities of Zarahemla and Gideon, he emphasized the importance of turning to the Savior and being born again (Alma 5:49, Alma 7:14). Many of the people in Zarahemla were in a state of unbelief and were lifted up in pride (Alma 7:6). In contrast, the people of Gideon were generally walking “in the paths of righteousness” (Alma 7:19). But his core message to both groups was the same: We all need to repent. We all need to be changed by God. Here are my summaries of the sermons he preached in those two cities, with my takeaways from those sermons:
- Aligning our desires with God’s will: “He Changed Their Hearts” – Alma 5:7
- Visualizing a positive outcome: Can You Imagine? – Alma 5:16-18
- Consistent self-assessment: Are Ye Stripped Of Pride? – Alma 5:27-28
- Continuous improvement: What Does It Mean to Be “Baptized Unto Repentance?”
- Pleading for help: That Ye Had Continued in the Supplicating of His Grace – Alma 7:3
- Trusting God to help us overcome our weaknesses: “Which Easily Doth Beset You” – Alma 7:15
- Addressing the root cause, not just the symptoms: See That Ye Have Faith, Hope, and Charity – Alma 7:24
- God is our ally: He Sendeth an Invitation Unto All Men – Alma 5:33-34
- Healing every wound: “The Pains and the Sicknesses” – Alma 7:11-12
- Three kinds of deliverance: He Will Take Upon Him… – Alma 7:11-13
- Running to help us: What Does It Mean to “Succor” Someone?
Teaching and Leadership
- Asking questions which invite self-reflection: Have Ye Spiritually Been Born of God? – Alma 5:14
- Creating structure and predictability: According to the Order of God – Alma 6:1
- Ministering to those who don’t want to be served: The Souls of Those Who Knew Not God – Alma 6:5-6
- Remembering who you represent: According to the Revelation of the Truth – Alma 6:8
- Expressing confidence in others: I Trust – Alma 7:5-6
In his sermon to the people of Gideon, Alma testified that the Son of God would live a mortal life, subjecting Himself to the same challenges and constraints that we experience: And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith… Continue Reading →
Moses instructed Aaron and his sons to bless the children of Israel using these words: The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:24-26) The image of the Lord “shining”… Continue Reading →
Equality is a core principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Alma resigned as chief judge and dedicated himself to the ministry because of the inequality he saw among his people. Members of the church were becoming proud, wearing expensive clothing, being “scornful, one towards another,” and persecuting those who believed differently from them (Alma… Continue Reading →
From the beginning of the Book of Mormon, Nephi set the standard: in this book, the word of God would be preached in plainness. In the opening chapter, Nephi’s father, Lehi, sees a vision which “[manifests] plainly” to him “of the coming of the Messiah” (1 Nephi 1:19). Nephi later foresees a time when corrupt… Continue Reading →
During Abinadi’s message to the priests of King Noah, he quoted the following words from Isaiah: All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way. (Mosiah 14:6) One of those priests, Alma, was converted to the gospel because of Abinadi’s words. Years later, as Alma’s son (also named… Continue Reading →
A few weeks ago, a colleague at work asked me, “What good could possibly come from the COVID-19 pandemic?” I can’t remember what I said which prompted this question, but I remember not having an immediate answer. In subsequent weeks, a number of answers have come to mind. One of them, which I’ve been pondering… Continue Reading →
“If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” – Psalm 62:10 In the first chapter of Alma, we read about two groups of people. One group became prosperous because of their consistent self-discipline. And they remained prosperous because of their generosity: “They did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry,… Continue Reading →
As a Nephite army led by Alma struggled to defend their country against an insurgency led by a man named Amlici, they were alarmed to discover that the insurgents had joined forces with their enemies, and that the combined army was marching toward their capital city. They were terribly outnumbered, but they had an important… Continue Reading →
About 90 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, a group of believers on the American continent endured substantial mistreatment by non-believers. They had been taught not to fight back, but to patiently endure their afflictions, and so they carried on, “steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience… Continue Reading →
Less than a year after King Mosiah’s death, during Alma’s first year as chief judge, a man named Nehor created some controversy in the land of Zarahemla, by advocating two principles which opposed the teachings of the church. Here are two false teachings which he promoted: The fallacy of popularity – Nehor taught that “every priest… 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.