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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sunday School - Book of Mormon Lesson 25

Book of Mormon Lesson #25: “They Taught With Power and Authority of God”
Alma 17-22

1. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: There is a love, a brotherhood or sisterhood, a bond shared by those who labor in the Lord’s service that surpasses all other feelings of camaraderie. Such are the emotions experienced in this unexpected missionary reunion. Alma and the sons of Mosiah parted company fourteen years before with little to offer the Lord but willing hearts and youthful exuberance. They now meet as men of seasoned faith, men of sound understanding – an understanding that comes only by an earnest desire for the word of the Lord, coupled with faithful service in his name. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, pp. 123-24.

2. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [Alma 17:22-23] Here we see one of the primary characteristics of a successful missionary: a love of the people and a love for the land in which the missionaries serve. For all we know, Ammon may have left behind wife and children, at least friends and acquaintances. He left the comfort and peace and predictability of the known for a new life – fourteen years – life among the unknown, among a people who had been enemies to the Nephites for generations. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 130.

3. Brigham Young: And I say to you … Elders, Awaken up! God has placed the priesthood upon you, and he expects you to magnify it. … We want some manhood, and some priesthood and power of God to be manifested in Israel. … And I pray God, the Eternal Father, to waken up these Elders, that the spirit of their mission may rest upon them, and that they may comprehend their true position before God. Journal of Discourses, vol. 20, p. 23.

4. Robert E. Wells: Your mission comes before marriage, education, professional opportunities, scholarships, sports, cars, or girls. … In twenty-four months you will have twenty-four years’ worth of spiritual adventures. You will see people change; soften; become more humble, more obedient; have their prayers answered; and come to a knowledge that our message is true. Gen. Conference, Oct. 1985.

5. Gordon B. Hinckley: Prepare now to go on a mission. It will not be a burden. It will not be a waste of time. It will be a great opportunity and a great challenge. It will do something for you that nothing else will do for you. It will sharpen your skills. It will train you in leadership. It will bring testimony and conviction into your heart. You will bless the lives of others as you bless your own. It will bring you nearer to God and to His Divine Son as you bear witness and testimony of Him. Your knowledge of the gospel will strengthen and deepen. Your love for your fellowmen will increase. Your fears will fade as you stand boldly in testimony of the truth. Gen. Conference, April 1997.

6. Russell M. Nelson: A missionary couple tells of blessings that come from missionary service. They wrote: “Good people replaced our parenting functions better than we. … If a family problem has not yielded to prayer and fasting, a mission might be considered.” No senior missionary finds it convenient to leave. Neither did Joseph or Brigham or John or Wilford. They had children and grandchildren too. They loved their families not one whit less, but they also loved the Lord and wanted to service Him. Someday we may meet these stalwarts who helped to establish this dispensation. Then will we rejoice that we did not seek the shadows when a call to missionary service came from the prophet, even in the autumn years of our lives. Gen. Conference, Oct. 2004.

7. Robert L. Simpson: According to Alma, they gave themselves to much fasting and prayer. You see there are certain blessings that can only be fulfilled as we conform to a particular law. … Too many Latter-day Saint parents today are depriving themselves and their children of one of the sweetest spiritual experiences that the Father has made available to them. Gen. Conference, Oct. 1967.

8. Spencer W. Kimball: [Alma 17:27 – God’s army of one] What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him? Our assignment is affirmative … to carry the Gospel to our enemies that they might no longer be our enemies. Ensign, June 1976.

9. Joseph Smith: [A vision the Prophet Joseph Smith had] Also, I saw Elder Brigham Young standing in a strange land, in the far south and west, in a desert place, upon a rock in the midst of about a dozen men … who appeared hostile. He was preaching to them in their own tongue, and the angel of God standing above his head, with a drawn sword in his hand, protecting him, but he did not see it. History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 381.

10. Robert D. Hales: Now, we may read this as a story about some shepherds trying to round up some missing sheep, but the message is more powerful and significant than that. Ammon was a missionary with noble intentions to bring the king and his kingdom back to the fold of righteousness, to the well of living water. The challenge looked daunting to those who could see only, in everyday terms, sheep strung out on hillsides and not enough manpower to round them up. They were discouraged and fearful that the king would discover their loss. Ammon not only led the force to recapture the sheep, he drove away the evil men who caused the problems; and his heroic efforts persuaded the king to follow him and to follow the Savior. Ammon teaches us that no matter our circumstances, we can be an example to others, we can lift them, we can inspire them to seek righteousness, and we can bear testimony to all of the power of Jesus Christ. Gen. Conference, April 1997.

11. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: Ammon taught [King Lamoni] what we have come to know as the three pillars of eternity – the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. These three doctrines, which are inseparably associated one with the other, constitute the foundation upon which all other gospel principles must rest. Indeed, any principle that cannot comfortably rest on the foundation of these doctrines (or be tied to it) has no place in the teachings in God’s kingdom. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 135.

12. Bruce R. McConkie: According to Lamanite traditions, God is the Great Spirit. It is obvious that by this designation the Lamanites had in mind a personal being, for King Lamoni mistakenly supposes that Ammon was the Great Spirit. Both Ammon and Aaron, using the same principle of salesmanship applied by Paul on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-31), taught that the Great Spirit was the God who created the heavens and the earth. This same Lamanite concept that God is the Great Spirit has existed among the American Indians in modern times. Mormon Doctrine, p. 340.

13. Neil L. Anderson: [Alma 22:18 – “I will give away all my sins to know thee”] We may not always succeed as quickly as we would want, but as we make repentance a constant part of our lives, miracles occur. This is what happens as we see that we really can overcome our sins: our “confidence waxes strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45). We kneel in humility before our Father. We tell him openly of our progress, and also of our fears and doubts. As we draw near to him, he draws near to us. He gives us peace and encouragement. He heals our souls. As we continue inch by inch to repent, we determine that nothing will hold us back: we will do our part. We come to feel like that great Lamanite king, who cried, “Oh God, … wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee” (Alma 22:18). With this commitment to who we can become, the spiritual doors swing open. There is a new freedom to feel and to know, a freedom to become. Ensign, April 1995.

14. Robert L. Millet: Truly there is a power in Christ, power not only to create the worlds and divide the seas but also to still the storms of the human heart, to heal the pain of scarred and beaten souls. We must learn to trust in him more, in the arm of flesh less. We must learn to surrender our burdens to him more. We must learn and work to our limits and then be willing to seek that grace or enabling power which will make up the difference, that sacred power which indeed makes all the difference! Life in Christ, p. 108.

Next week: Alma 23-29 “Converted unto the Lord”

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