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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday School - Book of Mormon Lesson 31

Book of Mormon Lesson #31: “Firm in the Faith of Christ”
Alma 43-52

1. H. Dean Garrett: In Alma 1-42, Mormon emphasized priestcraft, materialism, socio-economic inequality and other social problems. This period is followed in Alma 43-63 by a period of war and civil disruptions. This dissention led to a corruption of civil government and to the eventual collapse of the government. At this point, the Savior visited the people. A similar pattern of social problems, priestcrafts, materialism, wars, government corruption, and disrupted life is prophesied for the last days leading to the Savior’s second coming. As indicated, Mormon and his successor, Moroni, saw our day and took from the history and prophecies of the Nephites those events that would best help the readers of their record in the day in which it would come forth. Quoted in Studies in Scripture, p. 70.

2. Marion G. Romney: Latter-day Saints know this earth will never again during its Telestial existence, be free from civil disturbance and war. Improvement Era, June 1967.

3. Spencer W. Kimball: Victory and defeat alike leave countries devastated and the conqueror and the conquered reduced. Wickedness brings war, and war vomits destruction and suffering, hate and bloodshed upon the guilty and the innocent. This impressive book [the Book of Mormon] should convince all living souls of the futility of war and the hazards of unrighteousness. Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 414.

4. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Every gun made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. Quoted in Studies in Scripture, vol. 8, p. 78.

5. Hugh Nibley: The so-called “Battle Scroll” from Qumran throws a flood of light on peculiar military practices described in the Book of Mormon especially those of Moroni. … His consultation with a prophet before the battle [was] to learn by divine revelation the enemy’s disposition and what his own movements should be. This is a standard practice in the Book of Mormon and we now learn … especially of the Battle Scroll that it was the regular practice in ancient Israel. Since Cumorah, pp. 273-74.

6. David O. McKay: There are, however, two conditions which may justify a truly Christian man to enter – mind you, I say enter, not begin – a war: (1) An attempt to dominate and to deprive another of his free agency, and (2) loyalty to his country. Possibly there is a third, viz., Defense of a weak nation that is being unjustly crushed by a strong, ruthless one. Gen. Conference, April 1942.

7. Clyde J. Williams: The Book of Mormon provides a classic example of one who in large part bound Satan in his life. In Alma 48:11-13 we read: “And Moroni was a [1] strong and mighty man; he was a man of [2] a perfect understanding; yea, a man that [3] did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did [4] joy in the liberty and freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; yea, a man whose [5] heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did [6] labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people. Yea, and he was a man who was [7] firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an [8] oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.” The qualities of Captain Moroni … all contributed to his ability to bind Satan in his life. Doctrines of the Book of Mormon, 1991 Sperry Symposium.

8. Hugh Nibley: The idea of total victory was alien to him – no revenge, no punishment, no reprisals, no reparations, even for an aggressor who had ravaged his country. He would send the beaten enemy home after the battle, accepting their word for good behavior or inviting them to settle on Nephite lands, even when he knew he was taking a risk. Even his countrymen who fought against him lost their lives only while opposing him on the field of battle: there were no firing squads, and the conspirators and traitors had only to agree to support his popular army to be reinstated. … By all means, let us take Captain Moroni for our model and never forget what he fought for – the poor, outcast and despised; and what he fought against – pride, power, wealth and ambition. BYU Today, Feb. 1984, p. 16.

9. Jack R. Christensen and K. Douglas Bassett: Here [Alma 48:17-18] Mormon likens Captain Moroni to Ammon and the sons of Mosiah, as well as to Alma and his sons. … Well, what do we know about Ammon? In the Book of Mosiah, we learn that he was of the “vilest of sinners” (Mosiah 28:4), but now he’s being compared to Captain Moroni! Mormon continues, “… yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah.” What do we know about them? Again, “they were the very vilest of sinners” (Mosiah 28:4). “… Yea, and also Alma and his sons.” And what do we know about Alma the younger? He was the worst of the lot! What about Corianton, the immoral missionary? He too is included with the group described by Mormon as being “all men of God” (Alma 48:18). How could that be? When the atoning blood of Christ, the blood of the Lamb, cleanses us, we are no longer, as Elder Scott says, “second class citizens in the kingdom of God” (Ensign, Nov. 2000). We are cleansed and made whole through the holy blood of the Lamb. This is one of the greatest passages in all of holy writ about the atonement of Christ. … It is easy to understand why Satan doesn’t want a young man who is involved with drugs to read the Book of Mormon, because he’ll realize that if Alma and the sons of Mosiah could be forgiven, then so can he. We can see why Satan doesn’t want a young woman who has had a baby out of wedlock to read the Book of Mormon, because then she too will learn that she’s not “cast off forever” (Mosiah 28:4); if Corianton can be forgiven and become a man of God, then she can be forgiven and become a woman of God. Life Lessons from the Book of Mormon, pp. 21-22.

10. Ezra Taft Benson: I do not believe the greatest threat to our future is from bombs or guided missiles. I do not think our civilization will die that way. I think it will die when we no longer care – when the spiritual forces that made us wish to be right and noble die in the hearts of men. Annual Boy Scout Banquet, Commerce, Texas, 13 May 1968.

11. Ezra Taft Benson: Despite the world’s crises … the greater crisis by far is that we might forget the Lord. How much protection would our missiles and nuclear weapons prove to be if we did not take at face value the Lord’s injunction: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself” (Luke 10:27)? Crossfire: The Eight Years With Eisenhower, p. 441.

12. Neal A. Maxwell: [Alma 50:23 – “there never was a happier time”] God will give us priceless, personal assurances through the Holy Ghost. Whether in tranquil or turbulent times, our best source of comfort is the Comforter. … Brothers and sisters, though living in a time of commotion, we can stand in holy places and not be moved. Though living in a time of violence, we can have that inner peace that passeth understanding (Phil. 4:7). Gen. Conference, Oct. 2002.

13. Ezra Taft Benson: The only real peace – the one most of us think about when we use the term – is a peace with freedom. A nation that is not willing, if necessary, to face the rigors of war to defend its real peace-in-freedom is doomed to lose both its freedom and its peace! These are the hard facts of life. We may not like them, but until we live in a far better world than exists today, we must face up to them squarely and courageously. An Enemy Hath Done This, pp. 161-62.

14. Vaughn J. Featherstone: Someone asked me once how I felt about amnesty for the draft card burner and the deserter. I told him that I thought every one of them should be taken before General Moroni to be judged. Gen. Conference, Oct. 1975.

Next week: Alma 53-63 “They Did Obey Every Word of Command With Exactness”

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