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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday School - Book of Mormon Lesson 21

Book of Mormon Lesson #21: “Alma … Did Judge Righteous Judgments”
Mosiah 29, Alma 1-4

1. Bruce R. McConkie: Adam, our father, the first man, is the presiding high priest over the earth for all ages. The government the Lord gave him was patriarchal, and from the expulsion from Eden to the cleansing of the earth by water in the day of Noah, the righteous portion of mankind were blessed and governed by a patriarchal theocracy. This theocratic system, patterned after the order and system that prevailed in heaven, was the government of God. He himself though dwelling in heaven, was the Lawgiver, Judge, and King. A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 35.

2. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 320.

3. Albert E. Bowen: That which is right does not become wrong merely because it may be deserted by the majority, neither does that which is wrong today become right tomorrow by the chance circumstance that it has won the approval or been adopted by overwhelmingly predominant numbers. Principles cannot be changed by, nor accommodate themselves to, the vagaries of popular sentiment. General Conference, April 1941.

4. Henry B. Eyring: Do you remember a man named Nehor in the Book of Mormon? He wanted to become popular and wealthy, so he preached a message that he knew people would like. He essentially said, “I’ll tell you something about the future that’s certain, and I’ll make it very attractive.” … And many of the people believed him. If they had searched the scriptures and prayed about his message, they would have known it was a lie. But he told them a pleasant lie – don’t worry, all will go well – and many believed him. Draw Closer to God, pp. 82-83.

5. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: As the night follows the day, so also does ridicule and persecution follow the true Church. Darkness cannot tolerate light, and the prince of darkness certainly has no regard for those who have taken upon themselves the name of the Lord of Light. It is a bitter irony that those who choose to traverse the broad roads of worldliness cannot rest while some others seek to navigate the strait and narrow course to eternal life. Nothing brings greater discomfort to the perverse than to be in the presence of the pure. Nothing alarms and aggravates the haughty and the pompous more than the humble and the contrite. And surely nothing incenses the practitioner of priestcraft more than witnessing the selfless service of one whose eye is single to the glory of God. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 7.

6. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: Nehor’s doctrine would be very popular among many of our own day. He obviously did not believe in a fall, from which mankind required redemption. He advocated some form of humanism, the pernicious belief that men and women have but to fulfill their genetic blueprint in order to be happy, for they are by nature good and noble, having no need for divine assistance. … [H]e surely preached against guilt and shame and judgment. Like his master, Lucifer, his program propounded the pernicious but popular belief that all mankind would eventually be saved, without righteousness, without faith, without atonement and repentance. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 4.

7. David J. Ridges: The book of Alma covers only 39 years, yet it takes up about one-third of the Book of Mormon. As with the rest of this sacred record, the book of Alma is rich in teachings and relevant to us and our day. The Book of Mormon Made Easier, part 2, p. 141.

8. Gordon B. Hinckley: I see and admire beauty in people. I am not so concerned with the look that comes of lotions and creams, of pastes and packs as seen in slick-paper magazines and on television. I am not concerned whether the skin be fair or dark. I have seen beautiful people in all of the scores of nations through which I have walked. Little children are beautiful everywhere. And so are the aged, whose wrinkled hands and faces speak of struggle and survival. I believe in the beauty of personal virtue. There is so much of ugliness in the world in which we live. It is expressed in coarse language, in sloppy dress and manners, in immoral behavior which mocks the beauty of virtue and always leaves a scar. Each of us can and must stand above this sordid and destructive evil, this ugly stain of immorality. Ensign, August 1992.

9. Jack R. Christenson & K. Douglas Bassett: I have witnessed [that] costly apparel is used as a shield for people to hide behind so they don’t have to make needed changes within themselves. When our hearts are filled with pride, we rationalize that if we surround ourselves with all the toys of success, then we will be thought of by others as being successful. This allows us not to have to deal with the real internal issues that keep us from progressing. We then begin to value personal possessions more than personal relationships. In this light, it is not hard to see the importance of ridding ourselves of costly apparel. Life Lessons from the Book of Mormon, pp. 118-19.

10. Robert L. Millet: Even when we are not in a position to contribute dramatically to the alleviation of hunger in Africa or India, for example, there is still something we can do, something vital for those who aspire to discipleship. We can avoid as we would a plague the tendency to be indifferent, to ignore the problem because it is not in our own backyards. Further, we can teach our families or friends by precept and by example to use wisely the food and other resources we have been blessed to have. An Eye Single to the Glory of God, pp. 64-65.

11. Brigham Young: [Alma 3:27 – for every man receiveth wages of him he listeth to obey] Every person who desires and strives to be a Saint is closely watched by fallen spirits that came here when Lucifer fell, and by the spirits of wicked persons who have been here in tabernacles and departed from them. … Those spirits are never idle, they are watching every person who wishes to do right and are continually prompting them to do wrong. Journal of Discourses, 7:239.

12. Joseph F. Smith: Our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or of reproof and instructions to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh. Journal of Discourses, 22:351.

13. John Taylor: One might as well undertake to throw the water out of this world into the moon with a teaspoon, as to do away with the supervision of angels upon the human mind. … They are the police of heaven and report whatever transpires on earth, and carry the petitions and supplications of men, women, and children to the mansions of remembrance. The Gospel Kingdom, p. 31.

14. Ezra Taft Benson: The central feature of pride is enmity – enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us. Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others. … God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble. General Conference, April 1989.

15. C.S. Lewis: Pride gets no pleasure out of having something only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone. Mere Christianity, pp. 109-10.

16. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [Alma 4:19 – bearing down in pure testimony] The Holy Ghost is the converter. The gospel teacher has much to do in the preparation of the lesson, the search of the scriptures, the declaration of the truth; but the Holy Ghost is the converter and the gospel teacher must never forget this. … The person who bears pure testimony never seeks for cheap substitutes for the Spirit. … He tries the virtue of the word of God, trusts in the power of the scriptures and the words of the prophets to penetrate to the heart of his listeners, and bears witness of his message with sincerity and soberness. The Holy Ghost, pp. 119-20.

17. M. Russell Ballard: [Alma 4:19 – pure testimony] My experience throughout the Church leads me to worry that too many of our members’ testimonies linger on “I am thankful” and “I love,” and too few are able to say with humble but sincere clarity, “I know.” As a result, our meetings sometimes lack the testimony-rich, spiritual underpinnings that stir the soul and have meaningful, positive impact on the lives of all those who hear them. Our testimony meetings need to be more centered on the Savior, the doctrines of the gospel, the blessings of the Restoration, and the teachings of the scriptures. We need to replace stories, travelogues, and lectures with pure testimonies. … The Spirit cannot be restrained when pure testimony of Christ is borne. General Conference, October 2004.

Next week: Alma 5-7 “Have Ye Received His Image in Your Countenances?”

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