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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday School - Book of Mormon Lesson 29

Book of Mormon Lesson #29: “Give Ear to My Words”
Alma 36-39

1. Spencer W. Kimball: When we come to recognize our sin sincerely and without reservations, we are ready to follow such processes as will rid us of sin’s effects. … Young Alma was so deep in his sin that it was most difficult for him to humble himself toward repentance, but when his experience broke down his resistance, softened his rebellion and overcame his stubbornness, he began to see himself in his true light and appraise his situation as it really was. His heart was softened. His repentance was being born. Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 157, 159.

2. Jeffrey R. Holland: Repentance is a very painful process. … No one should think that the gift of forgiveness is fully realized without significant effort on the part of the forgiven. No one should be foolish enough to sin willingly or wantonly, thinking forgiveness is easily available. Repentance of necessity involves suffering and sorrow. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not read the life of the young Alma, nor tried to personally repent. In the process of repentance we are granted just a taste of the suffering we would endure if we failed to turn away from evil. That pain, though only momentary for the repentant, is the most bitter of cups. No man or woman should be foolish enough to think it can be sipped, even briefly, without consequence. The Book of Mormon: It Begins With a Family, pp. 195-96.

3. Joseph Smith: [Alma 36:14 – I had murdered many of his children] None but fools will trifle with the souls of men. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 137.

4. Richard G. Scott: Of all the necessary steps to repentance, I testify that the most critically important is for you to have a conviction that forgiveness comes because of the Redeemer. It is essential to know that only on His terms can you be forgiven. Witness Alma’s declaration [in Alma 36:18]. That means you trust him and you trust his teachings. Satan would have you believe that serious transgression cannot be entirely overcome. The Savior gave His life so that the effects of all transgression can be put behind us, save the shedding of innocent blood and the denial of the Holy Ghost. Gen. Conference, April 1995.

5. Jack Christensen & K. Bassett: [Alma 36:17] During this time of suffering, Alma’s mind turned to the words of his father: “I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy … concerning … Jesus Christ”. Upon crying out to the Savior, he stated, “I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more”. … [N]otice the role of the father in the process of spiritual growth. The Savior removed Alma’s pain and stain of sin, but the words of the elder Alma led his son to the fruits of Gethsemane. The quality of spiritual example and instruction by parents illuminated the strait and narrow path for many of those who have become our heroes in the Book of Mormon. Life Lessons From the Book of Mormon, pp. 79-80.

6. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: True repentance requires that we surrender the memory of the sin, not in the sense that we are without the knowledge that we once transgressed but rather in the sense that we have laid down the burden, that our confidence might now wax strong in the presence of the Lord. If Alma was without any memory whatsoever of his sin, he could not have given this recitation to Helaman. We must retain sufficient memory of the pain to avoid a repetition of the suffering. Still, as we grow in the things of the Spirit, that which is forgiven is to be forgotten. It is not true repentance when we cling to a sensuous memory in whose mental replaying we find delight. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, pp. 265-66.

7. Ezra Taft Benson: We must be cautious, as we discuss these remarkable examples. Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule. For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life. Ensign, Oct. 1989, p. 5.

8. Robert L. Millet: The Spirit of God sanctifies – it cleanses and purges filth and dross out of the human soul as though by fire. The Spirit does far more, however, than remove uncleanness. It also fills. It fills one with a holy element, with a sacred presence that motivates the person to a godly walk and goodly works. Life in Christ, pp. 98-99.

9. M. Russell Ballard: [Alma 37:6 – small and simple things] We observe vast, sweeping world events, however, we must remember that the purposes of the Lord in our personal lives generally are fulfilled through the small and simple things, and not the momentous and spectacular. Gen. Conference, April 1990.

10. Boyd K. Packer: You can put down in your little black book, that if you will not be loyal in the small things, you will not be loyal in the large things. If you will not respond to the so-called insignificant or menial tasks which need to be performed in the Church and Kingdom, there will be no opportunity for serving in the so-called greater challenges. A man who says he will sustain the President of the Church or the General Authorities, but cannot sustain his own bishop, is deceiving himself. The man who will not sustain the bishop of his ward and the president of his stake will not sustain the President of the Church. Follow the Brethren, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1965.

11. G. Reynolds & J. Sjodahl: [Alma 37:23 – Gazelem] Gazelem is a name given to a servant of God. The word appears to have its root in Gaz – a stone, and Aleim – a name of God as a revelator, or the interposer in the affairs of men. If this suggestion is correct, its roots admirably agree with its apparent meaning – a seer. Liahona – This interesting word is Hebrew with an Egyptian ending. It is the name which Lehi gave to the ball or director he found outside his tent. … L is a Hebrew preposition meaning “to” and sometimes used to express the possessive case. Iah is a Hebrew abbreviated form of “Jehovah,” common in Hebrew names. On is the Hebrew name of the Egyptian “City of the sun.” … L-iah-on means, therefore, literally, “To God is Light;” or, “Of God is Light.” That is to say, God gives light, as does the Sun. The final a reminds us that the Egyptian form of the Hebrew name On is Annu, and this seems to be the form Lehi used. Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, pp. 162, 178.

12. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [Alma 37:33 – to withstand every temptation of the devil] We do not come to resist evil and forsake wickedness through merely gritting our teeth and exercising constant willpower. To be sure, we must do all in our power to hold tightly to the iron rod, but the power to overcome is in and through Jesus Christ. To have faith in Jesus Christ is to trust in him and rely on his holy arm. It is to acknowledge our weakness, our mortality, our frailty, our utter inability to withstand temptations and conquer sin on our own. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 280.

13. Robert L. Millet: [Alma 37:44 – it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ] His way, the gospel way, is easy for those who pursue it with singlemindedness. It is more difficult for those who embark on the Christian cause with hesitation or reservation. Those who have charted their course and pointed themselves toward the abundant life in Christ have their challenges, their difficulties, like anyone else. They meet these roadblocks, however, with courage and perspective, with a quiet confidence born of the Spirit. Such individuals have no difficulty living the gospel. It is not hard. It is not burdensome. An Eye Single to the Glory of God, p. 4.

14. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: Living the gospel and giving heed to the word of Christ are only difficult as we seek to hold on to the trappings of Babylon and pay attention to the enticements of its municipals. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 283.

15. Joseph F. Smith: [Alma 39:5] We desire with holy zeal to emphasize the enormity of sexual sins. Though often regarded as insignificant by those not knowing the will of God, they are in his eyes an abomination; and if we are to remain his favored people, they must be shunned as the gates of hell. The evil results of these sins are so patent in vice, crime, misery and disease that it would appear that all, young and old, must perceive and sense them. They are destroying the world. If we are to be preserved we must abhor them, shun them, not practice the least of them, for they weaken and enervate, they kill man spiritually, they make him unfit for the company of the righteous and the presence of God. Gospel Doctrine, pp. 275-76.

16. Joseph F. Smith: There are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within. … They are flattery of prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and sexual impurity. But the third subject mentioned – personal purity – is of perhaps greater importance than either of the other two. We believe in one standard of morality for men and women. If purity of life is neglected, all other dangers set in upon us like the rivers of water when the floodgates are opened. Gospel Doctrine, p. 313.

Next week: Alma 40-42 “The Great Plan of Happiness”

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