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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday School - Book of Mormon Lesson 27

Book of Mormon Lesson #27: “All Things Denote There is a God”
Alma 30-31

1. Bruce R. McConkie: An antichrist is an opponent of Christ. He is one who offers salvation to men on some other terms than those laid down by Christ. Mormon Doctrine, p. 39.

2. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert L. Millet: Here we find an interesting definition of an anti-Christ: one who defies and denies the prophecies concerning the coming of Christ. This definition would, of course, pertain primarily to those who lived before the meridian of time. In our day we would speak of anti-Christ as one who denies the divine birth of Jesus; who downplays the significance of his teachings; who claims that Jesus’ sufferings, death, and resurrection have no significance for mankind. Many in this dispensation have been seduced into the damnable heresy that Jesus was merely a good man, a brilliant speaker, and a loving and tender example of mercy and forgiveness – these things alone. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 201.

3. Chauncey C. Riddle: Korihor’s life teaches us that having the truths of the gospel and being a covenant servant of Christ are in nowise guarantees of salvation. We are also reminded that the most powerful opposition to the work of the Savior on this earth comes from those who know the truth and then deliberately turn from it and seek to destroy others. … In every generation Korihor takes his toll of those who will not get themselves founded on the Rock. The Book of Mormon: It Begins With a Family, p. 134.

4. Henry B. Eyring: Korihor was arguing, as men and women have falsely argued from the beginning of time, that to take counsel from the servants of God is to surrender God-given rights of independence. But the argument is false because it misrepresents reality. When we reject the counsel which comes from God, we do not choose to be independent of outside influence. We choose another influence. We reject the protection of a perfectly loving, all-powerful, all-knowing Father in Heaven whose sole purpose, as that of His Beloved Son, is to give us eternal life, to give us all that He has, and to bring us home again in families to the arms of His love. In rejecting His counsel, we choose the influence of another power, whose purpose is to make us miserable and whose motive is hatred. We have moral agency as a gift of God. Rather than the right to choose to be free of influence, it is the inalienable right to submit ourselves to whichever of those powers we choose. Gen. Conference, April 1997.

5. James E. Faust: Secularism does not accept many things as absolutes. Its principal objectives are pleasure and self-interest. Often those who embrace secularism have a different look about them. As Isaiah observed, “The show of their countenance doth witness against them.” Gen. Conference, Oct. 2005.

6. Marvin J. Ashton: There are some who would have us believe there is no right or wrong – that everything is relative. We must never allow ourselves to think proper conduct and decisionmaking are found in a convenient path somewhere between right and wrong. Gen. Conference, April 1982.

7. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert L. Millet: [Alma 30:17 – Every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature] The humanist focuses upon man: man is the measure; all things rotate around man; man is the center of the universe; man has the power to solve his own problems, the power to make himself happy, the power to do anything he sets his mind to. Humanism points toward man’s genius, towards man’s strength, towards man’s works and accomplishments. It is an anti-Christian philosophy and is thus false, devilish, and destructive. It draws man’s attention away from the one source which could bring liberation from this world’s woes and give satisfaction and happiness in the world to come. It deflects one’s vision away from Christ and away from that grace or enabling power which comes from him. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 204.

8. Gerald N. Lund: [Alma 30:18 – lift up their heads in wickedness] This is not just wickedness, it is wickedness in which people take pride. They lift up their heads in it. And why shouldn’t they? Korihor has provided the ultimate rationalization – there is no God; there is no ultimate right and wrong; man is the supreme being. All the guilt and shame people feel (psychological hang-ups) are simply the result of the foolish teachings of their parents or the designs of evil religious readers. Selected Writings of Gerald N. Lund, p. 123.

9. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert L. Millet: [Alma 30:30 – he went on to blaspheme] Blasphemy consists in either or both of the following: 1. Speaking irreverently, evilly, abusively, or scurrilously against God or sacred things; or 2. Speaking profanely or falsely about Deity. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 209.

10. Catherine Thomas: Here is the distinction between testimony-seeking and sign-seeking: the sign-seeker wants to keep his disobedient life and still have spiritual power. … The testimony-seeker wants to submit to God, repent, and live by the light that the Lord gives through the Holy Ghost. Studies in Scripture, vol. 8, p. 275.

11. Michael K. Parson: [Alma 30:43 – show me a sign] Some examples of this can be found in Church history. Ezra booth, in company with others (including Mrs. John Johnson), visited Joseph Smith at his home in Kirtland in 1831. While there Ezra Booth witnessed a miracle. Mrs. Johnson, who had had a lame arm for a number of years, was healed by the Prophet Joseph. Booth was so awe-struck by this that he joined the Church. It was not long, however, until his faith waned and he finally apostatized and wrote a series of letters against the Church. Another example is that of Simonds Ryder, who joined the Church after what he felt was a supernatural experience. A short time later, he left after his name was misspelled in an inspired mission call. “He thought if the Spirit through which he had been called to preach could err in the matter of spelling his name, it might have erred in calling him to the ministry as well.” (History of the Church, 1:261). Having lost whatever faith he had, and encouraged by Booth’s letters, Simonds Ryder led a mob against the Prophet Joseph at Father Johnson’s home where Joseph and Sidney Rigdon were tarred and feathered. Book of Mormon Symposium, pp. 73-74.

12. Lance B. Wickman: It is common in our secular world to say that “seeing is believing.”… The way of the Lord is best defined by a different maxim: “Believing is seeing.” Faith in the Lord is the premise, not the conclusion. We know He lives; therefore we trust Him to bless us according to His divine will and wisdom. This childlike confidence in the Lord is known in scripture simply as the “sacrifice … of a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (D&C 59:8). Gen. Conference, Oct. 2002.

13. Gordon B. Hinckley: [Alma 30:44 – all things denote God] Have you ever contemplated the wonder of yourself, the eyes with which you see, the ears with which you hear, the voice with which you speak? No camera ever built can compare with the human eye. No method of communication ever devised can compare with the voice and the ear. No pump ever built will run as long or as efficiently as the human heart. What a remarkable thing each of us is. Look at your finger. The most skillful attempt to reproduce it mechanically has brought only a crude approximation. The next time you use your finger, look at it, and sense the wonder of it. … I believe the human body to be the creation of Divinity. George Gallup once observed, “I could prove God statistically. Take the human body alone – the chance that all the functions of the individual would just happen is a statistical monstrosity.” Ensign, August 1992.

14. Neal A. Maxwell: At the last day the adversary “will not support” those who follow him anyway (Alma 30:60). He cannot. Jesus will triumph majestically, and the adversary’s clever constructs, “pleasing to the carnal mind,” will also collapse, and “the fall thereof will be exceedingly great”. Gen. Conference, Oct. 2003.

15. Ezra Taft Benson: [Alma 31:5 – more powerful than the sword] The gospel is the only answer to the problems of the world. We may cry peace. We may hold peace conference. And I have nothing but commendation for those who work for peace. But it is my conviction that peace must come from within. It cannot be imposed by state mandate. It can come only by following the teachings and the example of the Prince of Peace. Title of Liberty, pp. 213-14.

16. Ezra Taft Benson: The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. Gen. Conference, Oct. 1985.

17. Brigham Young: [Alma 31:31, 33, 38 – affliction swallowed up in the joy of Christ] God never bestows upon His people, or upon an individual, superior blessings without a severe trial to prove them, to prove that individual, or that people, to see whether they will keep their covenants with Him, and keep in remembrance what He has shown them. … So when individuals are blessed with visions, revelations, and great manifestations, look out, then the devil is nigh you, and you will be tempted in proportion to the vision, revelation, or manifestation you have received. Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, pp. 205-06.

Next week: Alma 32-35 “The Word is in Christ Unto Salvation”

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