21: “They Were Steadfast and Immovable” (Mosiah 29–Alma 4)
Have you ever encountered someone, or something, that made you question your beliefs, or that may even have lead to a difficult faith crisis? In this week's study, we turn to Mosiah 29–Alma 4, where we learn from the story of Nehor and his false preachings about how we can determine between what is true and what is popular. We will also dig into what we can do to find truth and peace as we continue the search for answers to our questions.
What problem was King Mosiah facing?
- Mosiah wrote a letter to his people, the letter is verses 5-36 of Mosiah Chapter 29.
- Mosiah desired to know their will about who should be king (Mosiah 29:1).
- Mosiah proposes that the people elect judges instead of a king (Mosiah 29:25).
Mosiah explains why it is a bad idea to have a King:
"18 Yea, remember king Noah, his awickedness and his abominations, and also the wickedness and abominations of his people. Behold what great destruction did come upon them; and also because of their iniquities they were brought into bbondage.
"23 And he enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he acauseth to be destroyed; and whosoever doth rebel against him he will send his armies against them to war, and if he can he will destroy them; and thus an unrighteous bking doth pervert the ways of all righteousness" (Mosiah 29:16-18, 23).
How will the system of judges work?
- Wise men will be appointed to be judges, they will judge the people according to the commandments of God (Mosiah 29:11).
- The judges will be chosen by the voice of the people, and the judges will judge according to the laws which were passed down from their fathers (Mosiah 29:25)
- Mosiah desired for the land to be a land of liberty, that every man may enjoy his rights (Mosiah 29:32).
- Mosiah taught that the importance of every man bearing his part (Mosiah 29:34).
Quote: “We need to remember Edmund Burke’s statement: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ We need to raise our voices with other concerned citizens throughout the world in opposition to current trends. We need to tell the sponsors of offensive media that we have had enough. We need to support programs and products that are positive and uplifting. Joining together with neighbors and friends who share our concerns, we can send a clear message to those responsible. The Internet Web sites and their local affiliates will have their addresses. Letters and e‑mails have more effect than most people realize” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, "Let Our Voices Be Heard," Liahona, November 2003).
Alma: "Lad of God," or "[He] God is bound" (see Paul Hoskisson, "What's In a Name? Alma as a Hebrew Name," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Vol 7 No. 1).
What do we know about Alma the younger?
- Alma was named after his father.
- Alma was appointed to be the first chief judge (Mosiah 29:42).
- The office of high priest was conferred upon him by his father.
- The Book of Alma is the longest in the Book of Mormon; it covers a period of only 39 years—approximately 91 BC to 52 BC.
- Mormon compiled and abridged records from the large plates of Nephi to create the book of Alma.
- Mormon used the records of Alma’s ministry (see Alma 1–44) and the writings of Alma’s sons Helaman (see Alma 45–62) and Shiblon (see Alma 63) to compose the book of Alma
Quote: “When Alma emerged from this experience, he was a changed man. From that moment on, he devoted his life to undoing the damage he had caused. He is a powerful example of repentance, forgiveness, and enduring faithfulness. Alma was eventually chosen to succeed his father as head of the Church of God.
“Every citizen of the Nephite nation must have known Alma’s story. The Twitters, Instagrams, and Facebooks of his day would have been filled with images and stories about him. He probably appeared regularly on the cover of the Zarahemla Weekly and was the subject of editorials and network specials. In short, he was perhaps the most well-known celebrity of his day.
“But when Alma saw that his people were forgetting God and lifting themselves up in pride and contention, he chose to resign from public office and dedicate himself “wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God,” preaching repentance among the Nephites. (Alma 4:20, 5:1) (Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Learn from Alma and Amulek,” General Conference, October 2016)
Quote: "The word for repentance in the Greek New Testament is metanoeo. The prefix meta- means “change.” The suffix -noeo is related to Greek words that mean “mind,” “knowledge,” “spirit,” and “breath.”5
"Thus, when Jesus asks you and me to “repent,”6 He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit—even the way we breathe. He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our wives, teach our children, and even care for our bodies" (President Russell M. Nelson, "We Can Do Better and Be Better," General Conference, April 2019).
Alma the younger spends the rest of his life trying to make up for his wrongs:
"3 Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not abear that any human bsoul should cperish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure dendless torment did cause them to quake and etremble.
"4 And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very avilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite bmercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever" (Mosiah 28:3-4).
What does Nehor teach the people?
"3 And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he atermed to be the word of God, bearing down bagainst the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become cpopular; and they ought dnot to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people
"4 And he also testified unto the people that aall mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they bneed not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had ccreated all men, and had also dredeemed eall men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life" (Alma 1:2-3).
Quote: “Satan is the great deceiver, the father of lies (see John 8:44). This is not because Satan tells only lies. His most effective lies are half-truths or lies accompanied by the truth” (President Dallin H. Oaks, “Reading Church History” [address to Church Educational System religious educators, Aug. 16, 1985], 3).
Quote: “Nehor’s words appealed to the people, but his doctrine, while popular to many, was incorrect. As we face the many decisions in life, the easy and popular messages of the world will not usually be the right ones to choose, and it will take much courage to choose the right” (Elder L. Tom Perry, “Choose the Right,” Liahona, November 1993).
The book that Shar mentions: Seekers Wanted, by Anthony Sweat.
Quote: “We live in a time of greatly expanded and disseminated information. But not all of this information is true. We need to be cautious as we seek truth and choose sources for that search. We should not consider secular prominence or authority as qualified sources of truth. We should be cautious about relying on information or advice offered by entertainment stars, prominent athletes, or anonymous internet sources. Expertise in one field should not be taken as expertise on truth in other subjects.
We should also be cautious about the motivation of the one who provides information. That is why the scriptures warn us against priestcraft (see 2 Nephi 26:29). If the source is anonymous or unknown, the information may also be suspect.
Our personal decisions should be based on information from sources that are qualified on the subject and free from selfish motivations.” (President Dallin H Oaks, "Truth and the Plan," General Conference, October 2018)
- The first time that priestcraft is introduced among the Nephites (Alma 1:12).
- Definition of priestcraft: 2 Nephi 26:29
What makes Amlici so persuasive?
"1 And it came to pass in the commencement of the fifth year of their reign there began to be a contention among the people; for a certain aman, being called Amlici, he being a very cunning man, yea, a wise man as to the wisdom of the world, he being after the order of the man that slew bGideon by the sword, who was executed according to the law—
"2 Now this Amlici had, by his cunning, adrawn away much people after him; even so much that they began to be very powerful; and they began to endeavor to establish Amlici to be a king over the people.
"4 Therefore, if it were possible that Amlici should gain the voice of the people, he, being a wicked man, would adeprive them of their rights and privileges of the church; for it was his intent to destroy the church of God" (Alma 2:1-2, 4).
What kind of a man was Amlici?
"8 Now this did cause much joy in the hearts of those who were against him; but Amlici did stir up those who were in his favor to anger against those who were not in his favor.
"10 Now when Amlici was made king over them he commanded them that they should take up arms against their brethren; and this he did that he might subject them to him" (Alma 2:8-10)
"And he enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he acauseth to be destroyed; and whosoever doth rebel against him he will send his armies against them to war, and if he can he will destroy them; and thus an unrighteous bking doth pervert the ways of all righteousness" (Mosiah 29:23).
Quote: “As we walk the path of spiritual liberty in these last days, we must understand that the faithful use of our agency depends upon our having religious freedom. We already know that Satan does not want this freedom to be ours. He attempted to destroy moral agency in heaven, and now on earth he is fiercely undermining, opposing, and spreading confusion about religious freedom—what it is and why it is essential to our spiritual life and our very salvation. …
“Brothers and sisters, we are responsible to safeguard these sacred freedoms and rights for ourselves and our posterity” (Elder Robert D. Hales, “Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom,” General Conference, April 2015).
The Story of Amlici:
(Alma 2:11) The people of Amlici were distinguished by the name "Amlicites."
(Alma 2:19) The account of how many Amlicites and Nephites died after their battles.
(Alma 2:28) The Nephites were strengthened by the hand of the Lord, because they prayed mightily unto Him.
(Alma 2:30) Alma "exercised much strength" and calls on the Lord while contending with Amlici.
(Alma 2:31) Amlici is killed by Alma.
The talk that Tammy references throughout this segment: Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, "Stand Forever," BYU Devotional January 22, 2019.
Quote: “As part of an assignment I had as a General Authority a few years ago, I needed to read through a great deal of material antagonistic to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the events of the Restoration. There may not be anything out there of that nature I haven’t read" (Corbridge, "Stand Forever," January 2019).
The phrase: "Stand Forever" is from Daniel 2:44, which Elder Corbridge references in his address.
Quote: “I am not sure of all that is implied by the qualification “if possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” but I think it means, at least, that everyone will be challenged in our day" (Corbridge, "Stand Forever," January 2019).
Quote: "The question is, Will you and I stand? Will you stand forever, or will you go away? And if you go, where will you go?" (Corbridge, "Stand Forever," January 2019).
Quote: “Difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord ‘shall suffer persecution’ [2 Timothy 3:12]. That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Face the Future with Faith,” General Conference, April 2011).
Quote: "People say, “You should be true to your beliefs.” While that is true, you cannot be better than what you know" (Corbridge, "Stand Forever," January 2019).
Quote: “Knowledge is necessary to life and godliness. Knowledge is revelation. Hear, all ye brethren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation.” (Joseph Smith, Quoted by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, reporting a discourse given by Joseph Smith on May 21, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, Notebook, Church Archives.)
Quote: “Do whatever it takes to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ by increasing your understanding of the doctrine taught in His restored Church and by relentlessly seeking truth. Anchored in pure doctrine, you will be able to step forward with faith and dogged persistence and cheerfully do all that lies in your power to fulfill the purposes of the Lord.
“You will have days when you will be discouraged. So pray for courage not to give up! Sadly, some who you thought were your friends will betray you. And some things will simply seem unfair.” (President Russell M. Nelson, “The Future of the Church: Preparing the World for the Savior's Second Coming,” Liahona, April 2020, 35–36)
1. Is there a God who is our Father?
2. Is Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Savior of the world?
3. Was Joseph Smith a prophet?
4. Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the kingdom of God on the earth?
Quote: “By contrast, the secondary questions are unending. They include questions about Church history, polygamy, people of African descent and the priesthood, women and the priesthood, how the Book of Mormon was translated, the Pearl of Great Price, DNA and the Book of Mormon, gay marriage, the different accounts of the First Vision, and on and on.
"If you answer the primary questions, the secondary questions get answered too, or they pale in significance and you can deal with things you understand and things you don’t and things you agree with and things you don’t without jumping ship altogether” (Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, "Stand Forever," BYU Devotional January 22, 2019).
Who is Nephi-hah?
The church has become a stumbling block to those who aren't in the church (Alma 4:10). Alma turns over his responsibility as chief judge, and selects Nephihah to become the next chief judge. (Alma 4:16-17). Alma remains a high priest.
Nephi-hah: the “ihah” ending denotes Jehovah’s name. "At the time of Lehi, there was a new revival movement begun in Israel led by Josiah. These names that ended in -ihah in Israel at that time are Jehovah names. That was the revival of the cult going back to Jehovah. Ihah is another form of the name. You find that name later. You find it in Aramaic too. The name Nephihah would probably be a mixture. They mixed Semitic and Aramaic elements. It might mean "the Lord is Jehovah" (High Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Vol.2, 263).
"And this he did that he ahimself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might bpreach the cword of God unto them, to dstir them up in eremembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure ftestimony against them" (Alma 4:19).
Quote: “But here’s a word of caution. Our efforts to listen, to empathize, to validate should never be intended to sidestep the questions that a person really has. Our testimony can never be a trump card that we lay down to avoid some kind of difficult conversation or if we don’t want to admit that we don’t have an answer or haven’t done our homework" (Jared Halverson “Gospel day by day” one on one videos)
Pure: "The word pure derives from the Latin purus, which not only has the meaning of "clear, plain and absolute" (especially in law) but also "clean, cleansing and purifying."' (John C. Traupman, The New College Latin and English Dictionary, 1966).
Quote: “Do not tell others how to live. Just tell how you feel inside. That is the testimony. The moment you begin preaching to others, your testimony ended” (President Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, Chapter 7).
Quote: "The worst of all human conditions in this life is not poverty, sickness, loneliness, abuse, or war—as awful as those conditions are. The worst of all human conditions is the most common: it is to die. It is to die spiritually. It is to be separated from the presence of God, and in this life, His presence is His Spirit or power. That is the worst" (Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, "Stand Forever," BYU Devotional January 22, 2019).
Okay some of you have already heard this story, but for those of you that are new, I want to quickly tell you about my faith crisis. When I was a new seminary teacher, a colleague of mine recommended that I read a book, and he said it would prepare me for the upcoming Church History year. Well, unbeknownst to me, it was an old anti-LDS novel, which I spent two weeks reading, devouring, contemplating, and then wallowing in, and finally succumbing to truly one of the darkest places that I had ever known.
When I returned the book, I threw it down on his desk, convinced that I had been duped and that I would now have to quit my job and find a brand-new religion. I felt betrayed by this religion because I had believed in it my whole life, and even though there were a lot of lies in this book, there were some things that were true about Church history that I had never heard about. Today's discussion offers hope for anyone experiencing a faith crisis of their own, and I will share with you what changed everything for me.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and really dig into our scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
Now if you're new to our study group, we want to make sure you know how to use this podcast. It's about an hour long, and you can listen all at once, or this is the cool part, you can also listen to this in segments. We've divided it up into 10 to 12 minutes sprints and if you're the kind of person who likes to study a little bit every day throughout the week, then this is for you. Something else about this podcast is we're still in our closets recording because of the Coronavirus. So if it sounds a little bit glitchy, we're so sorry, this is as good as it gets right now. So hopefully this won't be permanent, but until then, we're "zooming away," for those of you that know Zoom.
And now for my favorite part each week, I get to have friends come on the podcast. We have Sharmaine Howell, and Shar's a regular, and then we have her sister, Sarah Craig, hi you ladies...
Yay. Woop woop.
Hey Tam. So excited to be here.
Yeah thanks for having us.
Oh, I'm so excited because Sarah and Shar we've known each other for well a while, but specifically two years ago, we started a Bible study, right?
Yeah. We love our Bible study.
It's the bomb.
Yeah, Shar, you came to me, remember what did you say again?
Yeah. So if I remember correctly, Tam, I just called you up and said, "Hey, I know nothing about the scriptures and do you want to teach me?" And you were like, "Yeah, let's do this."
So we did and we invited some friends, and then Sarah joined us.
Yeah, Shar told me about your Bible study and I was like, "I want in. I'm gonna push myself into this group. I'm coming."
Oh my gosh, it's been so much fun. So for two years we studied at Shar's table. That was really fun.
Yeah I love it.
Oh I'm so excited to have both of you here because we have lots of fun stories, and you guys obviously have known each other your entire lives, you gonna out each other?
No Sarah's my big sis and I will always look up to her.
Oh, that's how I'm feeling. If I have to write a bio, I'm going to only have two things. It's going to be "I love the Lord and I'm Shar's sister" and that's mine.
That's perfect. Be Shar's bio, that's awesome.
Okay, well if you're curious about these ladies and you want to know what they look like or read their bios, you can find that information in our show notes which is at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Today's scripture block is going to be Mosiah chapter 29 through Alma 4. Now Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah just had a life changing experience, and now their missions have begun. There are so many amazing stories and I can't wait to get started. So friends, grab your scriptures, and let's dig in.
Here we go. Okay, Shar and Sarah, I have a question. Are you guys part of the royal family watchers? Do you pay attention to any of that?
Like, like Kate and William?
That's about all I know. Are you on the "in" with those guys?
I mean, listen, I'm from the 70’s and 80’s so I'm still back in time with the original you know Princess Di, may she rest in peace, but I'm thinking you know it's kind of funny because when I was preparing this I was thinking about what it would be like to be royal, and I have to ask you, if you were a queen right now, if you were royal, how would your life be different in this quarantine? What could you access as a queen?
Yes that's a good question. Cleaners. I would not be cleaning and cooking all day long in one repetitive round.
Yes, I would probably have like a definitely a built-in laundromat that does itself.
Or maybe I would be cooking and cleaning all day, but I would just be really, really, fancy silk.
I'd hire tutors, no doubt. Like I just want someone to teach my kids all day, and I'll just see you at three o'clock, right?
Yeah, that'd be awesome.
Shar, I did think maybe you could hire a professional puppy trainer.
Oh, I just thought that, yes, I would hire a puppy trainer, and it was be fabulous.
And then I would borrow it because we have a two week old puppy. That was called the "COVID cave."
Yeah, we haven't caved yet, but boy, the kids, they are begging for a puppy. So all this talk about being a king being a queen, let's see what this has to do with the scriptures. Let's go to Mosiah chapter 28 verse 10. And in this chapter, Mosiah is speaking to the people because he has a problem, and we're going to see what that is in verse 10. And Shar, will you read that verse for us?
"Now king Mosiah had no one to confer the kingdom upon, for there was not any of his sons who would accept of the kingdom."
One thing that popped out to me that I never noticed was in verse one of chapter 29, and it says that "Mosiah sent out through among all the people desiring to know their will, concerning who should be their king." And I think it's so interesting. I know this is a political question, but that stood out to me as a spiritual question, you know, as we're supposed to liken all the scriptures of "who do I choose as my king?" And then within these chapters that we're studying, seeing the effect of the righteous King who all he wants is their deliverance, their liberty, and he loves them. And then the wicked King, you know, we see Amlici later and all he wants to do is to destroy the Church and to subject people. So kind of asking, you know, who do I choose as my king? Between Heavenly Father and Satan?
What a great scriptural application to our lives. I've never even considered that before. That "who is our king?" Thank you for sharing that. That's really deep. That was rich. I liked that. So he's got to find someone to take over and his sons are like, "Nope, we're going on missions." They don't want any part of this royal life. And so he's trying to find who could do it, and as he's doing this, he writes his people a letter in Mosiah chapter 29. So turn the page. Know that verses 5 all the way to verse 36 is a letter that he writes to his people saying, "I can't find a king, but I'm worried that if I let you guys choose a king, it's going to be pretty disastrous. In fact, I'm going to tell you all the reasons why it's a bad idea to have a king."
Mark verses 16, 17, and 18, and then we're going to draw an arrow and connect those three verses to verse 23. So these are some reasons why he thinks, "You know what? We cannot have a king," and Sarah will you read those three verses for us?
"Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you."
"For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!"
"Yea, remember king Noah, his wickedness and his abominations, and also the wickedness and abominations of his people. Behold what great destruction did come upon them; and also because of their iniquities they were brought into bondage."
And now read verse 23.
"And he enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he causeth to be destroyed; and whosoever doth rebel against him he will send his armies against them to war, and if he can he will destroy them; and thus an unrighteous king doth pervert the ways of all righteousness."
Now, this is really intriguing to me because remember, Mosiah had just translated the Jaredite record where he learned that millions of Jaredites died in a war between two nations ruled by kings. And so he's saying, "Listen, I've seen what could happen with this, and I don't want that to happen to you." He loves his people so much, and these people really, really love him. So instead, he recommends a system of judges. And he says, "That's how we're going to rule each other. I think that's the most important approach to take care." And he says, "Here's how the people will be ruled by judges." Let's Mark verse 11. And we're gonna read verse 11, and at the end of verse 11, I want you to cross reference that with verse 25. These two verses tell us how the people are supposed to be ruled by a judge. So Shar, will you read verse 11, please?
"Therefore I will be your king the remainder of my days; nevertheless, let us appoint judges, to judge this people according to our law; and we will newly arrange the affairs of this people, for we will appoint wise men to be judges, that will judge this people according to the commandments of God."
Okay, go to verse 25.
"Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord."
Okay, now Shar, tell me why, why is that super cool?
It sounds like wow, how did this... like how did they know how to do that? I mean, obviously, it says, "It was given to them by the hand of the Lord," so the Lord told them how the best way would be.
Shar, I like that you said that it came from the Lord. So at the end of verse 25 I want you to put two verses. Put verse 32 and 34, and I really like verse 34. So let's just read that one. And Shar, will you continue to read verse 34?
"And he told them that these things ought not to be; but that the burden should come upon all the people, that every man might bear his part."
Underline that at the end, "every man might bear his part." What do you guys think that means when it comes to being ruled and having judges and being in a government? "Every man might bear his part."
Just that everyone would be responsible for their own actions.
It also made me think of the phrase that President Nelson just recently used how we all need to be good global citizens, I don't know why that popped into my head, but that "every man might bear his part." It's kind of like we all have a responsibility here for everybody else. You know, we're not just all looking out for ourselves, we're all looking out for each other.
In fact, Shar, I love that you brought up president Nelson's talk. I have a quote right here and this is by Elder M. Russell Ballard from the Quorum of the Twelve. And this is what he said about that phrase. So let's have you, Sarah, will you please read this quote for us?
“We need to remember Edmund Burke’s statement: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ We need to raise our voices with other concerned citizens throughout the world in opposition to current trends. We need to tell the sponsors of offensive media that we have had enough. We need to support programs and products that are positive and uplifting. Joining together with neighbors and friends who share our concerns, we can send a clear message to those responsible. The Internet Web sites and their local affiliates will have their addresses. Letters and e‑mails have more effect than most people realize” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2003, 17; or Ensign, Nov. 2003, 18).
I think it's interesting for me when it says, "We need to tell sponsors of offensive media that we've had enough." Sometimes I feel like that's an uphill battle, but maybe it's worth fighting right?
It's gotta be right? You have to stand up because if you don't, then who will? Right?
Yeah, for sure. So every man needs to bear his part, and now Mosiah has set up this system of government. And what's so interesting to me about this, is that this change that's been instituted by King Mosiah is so significant that now you need to know this as you read scriptures, from here until the birth of Jesus Christ the Nephite recorded their time in relation to the beginning of the reign of the judges. You're going to read that a ton, a ton. So every time you read in the book of Mormon, the "beginning of the reign of the judges," hopefully your brain will snap and you'll go back to "Oh yeah, that happened when Mosiah's sons said they didn't want to be kings," because previously they kept track of when Lehi left Jerusalem.
I think it is interesting that it seems like only the Nephites pick to do chief judges and the Lamanites didn't because in the later chapters it talks about, you know, King Laman and King so and so, and King... it's just is interesting to me that they kept on with kings and it, you know, seemed at times to not prove well for them, right?
Oh, yes. I love that. That is so good, and true, absolutely true. I like that Shar. And so now here we have this turning point for these people because who's going to be the first chief judge? So we'll talk about who that is and who's selected in the next segment.
Segment 2 13:13
Alright ladies, both of you have named children, you have kids, so here's my question, do any of their names bear significance or have a special meaning?
Yeah, definitely. So all my kids, their middle names are all directly family names, you know, from their dad, from their grandpa's on both sides. My one daughter shares my middle name, which is also the middle name of my mom. And then their first names have different meaning. A lot of them tied to the prophets and the people that I knew.
Mine are kind of similar, we have family names that are passed down, you know, either their first or middle name like grandparents, a lot of our grandparent’s names are used. And then I have a daughter named Audrey, and it's not even a family name at all, and I just loved Audrey Hepburn movies.
So whenever she asks me about significant names and meanings, she's always like "and mine's after a movie star, mom?" And I'm like, "Yeah, girl. Own it."
I think that's awesome.
What about your kids?
You know, for mine, my older two obviously were named when I came in, and they're just names that Michelle and Jim liked, and then Lily and Sophia, I've just always loved Lillian, just forever my whole life, and nobody stole it yet because I also liked some other names that my sister stole so it was the one that was left. When you get married older, you don't really get much. So yeah, that's how Lily got her name and then Sophia is named after... I have, on my Uzelac side of the family, we had an Aunt Sophie down the line, and she is just no nonsense in your face, just a strong woman. I mean, when I named Sophia, I didn't she'd be that way.
That fits perfectly.
It does, doesn't it? Sophia's just... yeah, so it's perfect. And then her middle name is my mom's name. So it's the only name my mom has, so I thought that was kind of cool.
Yeah, to name her that? Well, I think names are pretty important when you, especially in light of scriptures, and you know, I love to look and find out what the names mean in Hebrew or whatever language and so this was really interesting. Turn to the book of Alma, the very first page because what I want you to know about Alma and all of this talk about names is we're going to talk about Alma the Younger. This is who was chosen as the first Chief Judge, and Alma's name, I just put a little equal sign next to the name "Alma." His name means "lad of God," or he meaning "God is bound."
I love that.
How sweet? "Lad of God." So here's what I want you to do, tell me what you guys already know about Alma the Younger?
You know, I wish when he becomes a chief judge that they switch his name to "Alma the Righteous" because whenever I hear the words "Alma the Younger" I think of his wicked ways when he was younger.
Oh, yeah. "Alma the Righteous." I kind of like that, I'm gonna put that in my scriptures.
I just think Alma the Younger and the story that comes to mind is, "Oh, he was the one that was, you know, getting people distracted from the Church and leaving the Church instead of this powerful man of God, this lad of God who is mighty, and who spends so much of his days just preaching to the people."
I was writing that. I really like that. Alma the Righteous instead of Alma the Younger, Alma the Sinner, Alma the Dummy, you know? Yeah, I totally agree. Shar, anything you think about?
I do think of his conversion that he, you know, saw an angel and that he miraculously changed seemingly over like a course of three days, his whole course of his life, and he never looked back. And that's what I, I don't know, I admire him so much. He's the man in the Book of Mormon to me. He's just awesome. And I think he just flipped a "U" and was like, "Actually, I was doing the wrong thing. I'm going this way, and this is the right way. Come on guys, join me," and he's awesome.
He is awesome. Here's some kind of cool facts about Alma the Younger. So let's go to Mosiah chapter 29, and I'll read verse 42.
"And it came to pass that Alma was appointed to be the first chief judge, he being also the high priest, his father having conferred the office upon him, and having given him the charge concerning all the affairs of the church."
So he's our very first high priest. He's named after his dad, obviously, I think we kind of knew that. And I thought this is neat, the Book of Alma is the longest book in the Book of Mormon, and it covers a period of only 39 years. So I thought that was pretty interesting for how big the book is, it's a short amount of time. Mormon compiled and abridged the records from the large plates of Nephi to create the Book of Alma. Mormon used the records of Alma's ministry, which is going to be Alma 1 through 44. Then he also uses the writings of Alma's son Helaman and Shiblon to compose the entire Book of Alma. So that's kind of a breakdown of Alma which I thought was neat. But I really like this quote by Elder Uchtdorf and here's what he says about Alma the Younger and this is a fun one, so Shar, I'm gonna have you read this okay.
“When Alma emerged from this experience, he was a changed man. From that moment on, he devoted his life to undoing the damage he had caused. He is a powerful example of repentance, forgiveness, and enduring faithfulness. Alma was eventually chosen to succeed his father as head of the Church of God. “Every citizen of the Nephite nation must have known Alma’s story. The Twitters, Instagrams, and Facebooks of his day would have been filled with images and stories about him. He probably appeared regularly on the cover of the Zarahemla Weekly and was the subject of editorials and network specials. In short, he was perhaps the most well-known celebrity of his day. “But when Alma saw that his people were forgetting God and lifting themselves up in pride and contention, he chose to resign from public office and dedicate himself “wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God,” preaching repentance among the Nephites. (Alma 4:20, 5:1) (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Learn from Alma and Amulek” General Conference, October 2016)
So Alma the Righteous, right?
It actually makes me wonder, did Alma have any siblings because you don't hear a lick about his siblings?
And I can kind of relate because I have this amazing sister named Sarah, and all growing up it was like, "Oh, Sarah did this and she's awesome, and she's head of this..."
Lies. Shar was the beauty queen, had all the light. I was just the bookworm.
We don't mention that ever.
I like how he says that he was probably the most well known celebrity of his day, being on the cover of Zarahemla weekly. I mean, come on. That's funny.
Yeah, that's great. Everybody quoting him, everybody knows him. I keep thinking about is it President Nelson's talk back in I want to say 2019 called "Do Better and Be Better?" And he talked all about repentance and that word like, what was it in, you know, Greek, Hebrew way better than... I want to say the word is " metanoeo" or something? Meaning a change of mind, knowledge, spirit breath is what President Nelson said. He just embodies that so perfectly that total repentance, he changed the way he was breathing because he was breathing out threats, and now he's just breathing out goodness.
Thank you for sharing that. In fact, it makes me think of this Scripture, go to Mosiah chapter 28 because I want us to make sure, and we should already have this marked, but specifically in Mosiah chapter 28 verses three and four, we have to know this going into the stories about Alma because Alma the Younger will spend the rest of... or "Alma the Righteous" will spend the rest of his life writing his wrongs of his youth. Absolutely he was forgiven, but let's look at what Mosiah chapter 28 verses three and four tell us, I think this is so fascinating to me when I read these. Well, actually, I think we should read them backwards. Let's read verse four, and then verse three, and I'll read these so you can see how important these are.
So in verse four, it says, "And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever."
They'll spend the rest of their missions and their adulthood really suffering for that. It wasn't like, and we've talked about this before, you're going to remember the things you did and Alma the Younger righted his wrongs, but what I like about this is that because of the way that they felt, let's go to verse three.
"Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble."
And so they can't even imagine people not having the goodness that they have that they'll spend the whole rest of their lives as missionaries, and teaching the word of God and teaching people who their King... Sarah, I love that you said that "who their king should be" -- Jesus Christ.
So good. I love it all.
Yeah. So in the next segment, we are going to begin with the very first story of many in the legend of Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah.
Segment 3 22:47
I have a question for both of you. Were either of you popular? "Popular."
Yeah you were.
Come on Sarah.
She was, but she was very well liked. I'll say it for her.
Yeah don't be modest. Listen, I was super popular in middle school, seventh, eighth, and ninth grade. I was a student body officer and a volunteer cheerleader.
Boys basketball team, I felt duty bound. They needed a cheerleader and I knew I would never make it as one in real life, so I was like, "Oh, I'll get some friends and we'll be their cheerleaders." We had uniforms and everything. Oh, my gosh. Junior High was my glory days. After that... Shar, you're telling me Sarah was popular?
Yeah, yeah, she's not gonna tell you the truth. She was the miss everything, right? But she was popular because she had a rolling backpack. You remember those?
You're right, I take it back. I was super popular.
That's why she was popular in my eyes.
I was on the front of Zarahemla weekly.
You totally were with a rolling backpack.
I like knew where she was because I'm like, "Hey, there's my sister's backpack."
That's pretty funny.
Yeah. I was well ahead or well behind my time at all times.
That's awesome. Well, do you think popularity still exists today though? As adults, does it ever really leave like when you grow up and your parents now is their popularity in church? I mean...
Oh for sure.
I think this word is interesting because it really doesn't go away. In fact, it's in the scriptures. Let's see what this word has to do with Alma chapter one, verses two, and three. So let's go there. And we are at Sarah, will you read these verses for us? Alma chapter one, verses two and three. We are in the very first year of the reign of the judges. So here's where the timetable starts and that's in verse one. And now we're going to come to verses two and three. So Sarah, go ahead.
"And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people."
"And it came to pass that in the first year of the reign of Alma in the judgment-seat, there was a man brought before him to be judged, a man who was large, and was noted for his much strength."
Thank you, Sarah. So let's talk about this large guy, and if you want to put a verse for 15, next to verse three, that tells us what his name is. So in verse 15, we read that his name is Nehor. So look back at verses two and three, let's just start out, what is he teaching the people?
To be popular. To be lazy? You know?
It's interesting, he said he was preaching to them that which he termed to be the Word of God.
What is that about? What is he terming to be the "Word of God?"
Right? I think that's an important phrase right there that we have to mark, teaching what he terms to be the Word of God. So let's read what he's terming to be the "Word of God" and that is in verse four, and I want you to look at Nehor's cleverness of what he terms to be the Word of God. So Sarah, will you keep reading for us and read in verse four?
"And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life."
Now, here's what I want us to do. We're going to read that verse again, and I'm going to read it. And this time, Sarah and Shar, I want you to mark in this verse what he taught the statement that is true, and the statement that is false because this is unique about this verse. So I'm going to read it and see if you can find what is true and what is not.
"And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life."
Right in the middle, he kind of sandwiches truth.
Tell me about that.
In the middle, he says the "Lord had created all men," true, and had also "redeemed all men." I mean, he's our Savior, he offers redemption for all right? But where it says that "all will be saved and not fear and tremble, and lift up your heads, we're all going to be fine basically," that's the fault.
I think it's interesting because the phrase that he uses, that "you need not fear nor tremble, but you might lift up your heads and rejoice," to me, that's a phrase that is true. That is something that the prophets would teach the people. So he just like slid in a little bit of lie and deception, just a teeny bit. To me, that's the lie. No matter what, we're all going to be saved. Right? Is that it?
That is it. It's interesting because this is Satan's classic tactic. He uses truth, and then he uses falsehood, and he does this all the time, always. This was my experience with the book that I read. There was truth in that, and there was faults in that. And so this is a tactic that's used, and you can see keep reading this how he could be popular, right?
Well, it sounds almost true. It sounds like the truth. It's like, "Well, that's good stuff, right? We're teaching about Christ and how he will redeem us. So that's good." Also gives you the feel good feeling of, "Well, I'm going to be saved to the last day no matter what, so yeah I'm jumping on that train."
This kind of sounds like Satan's plan.
Really? Tell me more.
Where he's just like, "Don't worry, everyone in the end, you'll all be saved." And you're like, "Hey, that kind of sounds nice," like Shar was saying right? But then later on, there's so much attached to that that's not good. But up front, you're like, "Yeah, who doesn't want to be saved? Sign me up," right?
Yeah. Who doesn't want any heartache and sorrow? "I don't want to fear or tremble. I don't want it to be hard. Satan, that's a great plan." I like that Sarah. In fact, let's read this quote by Elder Oaks. This is what he said about Satan and how he teaches. Sarah, will you read this quote for us?
“Satan is the great deceiver, the father of lies (see John 8:44). This is not because Satan tells only lies. His most effective lies are half-truths or lies accompanied by the truth” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Reading Church History” [address to Church Educational System religious educators, Aug. 16, 1985], 3).
So I want to know, tell me, how do you see this tactic being used today? How is this being used in our everyday life?
It's all the time, I think...
Like what teaching seem to be popular? Yeah, go ahead Shar.
I don't know. What do you think about like, being accepting of all people and loving... I mean, I do love that, but I feel like it's a little bit of a crutch to say, "We're just going to accept all people, no matter what's going on," where that in the end, it makes you almost feel like you're accepting all the sin as well. Does that make sense?
Mmhmm. Yes. And that thinking makes people popular, that teaching, that philosophy. You know, this is a really great quote by Elder Perry, here's what he had to say about Nehor.
And I'll read this quote, he says, “Nehor’s words appealed to the people, but his doctrine, while popular to many, was incorrect. As we face the many decisions in life, the easy and popular messages of the world will not usually be the right ones to choose, and it will take much courage to choose the right” (L. Tom Perry, “Choose the Right,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 67).
We live right now in a time where there is just so much information swirling all around us. And one thing I'm really grateful for is how transparent the Church has become in the last couple of years. That we're able to talk about things now that we didn't know growing up. You Sarah, you said you agree.
Yeah, definitely. Because we can read it all, it's not like there's anything that's hiding and just that greater understanding of where we're coming from. We come from, you know, our background, but it's not perfect, right, this process of restoration.
So when we come across these situations where we have the truth with a lie, you hear something and you're like, "Is that right? I don't know." What should be your go to? Where do you find correct information? What would you recommend to someone?
Scriptures, words of the prophets.
Prayer, right? Personal revelation is more powerful than we sometimes give it credit. And there's a book, I haven't read the whole book, but I kind of was glancing through it, and it's I think it's on the Deseret Bookshelf app, but it's called "Seekers Wanted." I don't know if you've heard it or read it.
Yeah, by Tony by Anthony Sweat. Yes.
Yeah. Yeah, it talks about that like, it's great to ask questions, but go to the right source, right?
Mmhmm. I like he said, "Go to the source." I like this by Elder Oaks. He spoke about sources, and so let's read this quote. Shar, will you read that for us?
Thank you, Shar. In fact, let's jump right back into the scriptures because he said a word in that quote that I want us to mark in our scriptures. Go to Alma chapter one, verse 12.
“We live in a time of greatly expanded and disseminated information. But not all of this information is true. We need to be cautious as we seek truth and choose sources for that search. We should not consider secular prominence or authority as qualified sources of truth. We should be cautious about relying on information or advice offered by entertainment stars, prominent athletes, or anonymous internet sources. Expertise in one field should not be taken as expertise on truth in other subjects. We should also be cautious about the motivation of the one who provides information. That is why the scriptures warn us against priestcraft (see 2 Nephi 26:29). If the source is anonymous or unknown, the information may also be suspect. Our personal decisions should be based on information from sources that are qualified on the subject and free from selfish motivations.” (Dallin H Oaks, Truth and the Plan, General Conference, October 2018)
In Alma chapter one, verse 12, I'll read this and then have you mark it says, "But Alma said unto him:" And Alma's speaking to Nehor. "...Behold, this is the first time that priestcraft has been introduced among this people." Now there's a great footnote and I want you to circle the letter "A" next to "priestcraft," and down below, it tells you to go to second Nephi chapter 26, verse 29. In second Nephi, it is going to define "priestcraft." This is what it is, and this is what you need to watch for when you hear information, when you hear things that you're like, "Huh, that sounds good, is that true? I don't know." Second Nephi chapter 26 and verse 29 is your litmus test for priestcrafts. Sarah, will you read that for us?
"He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion."
Highlight the word "light" in there because that's the key, where they set themselves up for a light. And then to the outside, I want you to draw a line and write, "Who is the only light? It's Christ." And that's who it's talking about. They set themselves up to become a Christ unto us. And the only Christ we need is Jesus. And so this idea of when you're reading it, who is the focus of what you're reading and studying? Is the focus on Christ? Or is it on the person who's writing it?
You know, Alma presents this Nehor, he's like, "This is the first time this has ever been done." So this is, this is the sad tale of Nehor. It's the end, but it's not really the end because Nehor his teachings and his followers don't end with his death. And what's interesting is that his death was ignominious, you'll read that word in verse 15, and I want you to highlight that because this word "ignominious" means "very shameful." In fact, it's incurring disgrace. Like it's a shameful and a disgraceful death. That verse is interesting because it says that "there he was caused or rather he did acknowledge between the heavens and the earth that what he had taught to the people was contrary to the Word of God."
So that's the shame?
Yeah, so he's like, "Nevermind. Everything I taught you wasn't even true." The shame and disgrace of, "And now I have to die."
Having to say, "It was wrong."
Yeah, and he didn't die for teaching false doctrine, that was part of it, but he died because he killed Gideon. I mean, you can see how he just went so depraved from being... teaching little false doctrine. I mean, we don't know how much time span between each verse or how long it took him to get to that place where he thought, "I'll just kill a man because I don't like the way Gideon's talking to me. Gideon's defending the truth and you know what, I don't like that. So I'm gonna take you out." And then right before he dies, he just re says everything he says and says, "Nevermind, I believe," and suffers and ignominious death.
And now we we're gonna read throughout Alma, that you'll read this phrase often that the people were "after the profession of Nehor." So every time you read that, it goes back to the first person to introduce priestcrafts. He will be the bar for all priestcrafts throughout the Book of Mormon. And in the next segment, we're going to read about the followers of Nehor, and what they specifically did and how one man's priestcraft, Nehor's, brought devastation and destruction upon thousands.
Segment 4 36:35
Alright, we're gonna jump right in. Because there was peace for four years, and now we've got our next problem, and we'll call him Amlici because that's his name. So let's go into Alma chapter two verses one, two, and four. And here's what I want you to do, I'm going to read these out loud and as I do, I want you to highlight what you think made Amlici so persuasive. Okay? Because these verses are pretty descriptive, Nehor's gone but we got a guy named Amlici on the scene. So here we go.
"Now this Amlici had, by his cunning, drawn away much people after him; even so much that they began to be very powerful; and they began to endeavor to establish Amlici to be a king over the people."
"And it came to pass in the commencement of the fifth year of their reign there began to be a contention among the people; for a certain man, being called Amlici, he being a very cunning man, yea, a wise man as to the wisdom of the world, he being after the order of the man that slew Gideon by the sword, who was executed according to the law—"
"Therefore, if it were possible that Amlici should gain the voice of the people, he, being a wicked man, would deprive them of their rights and privileges of the church; for it was his intent to destroy the church of God."
What do you think made him so persuasive?
Up in verse one where it says "he was a cunning man and wises man to the wisdom of the world," I wonder if he wasn't just a master of the half truth?
Oh, yeah, that's good.
Well, I think it was his motivation. Verse four, it said, "He wanted to deprive them of their rights and privileges of the church because he wanted to destroy the Church of God." And I think he was... he just wanted the power and that greed and that feeling, and I think that was pushing him to be so persuasive, so he would do anything to say anything that people wanted them to say because they probably just wanted the power.
Absolutely, and it's so fascinating to me because enough people believed that they were like, "Let's vote him in. I say we have a vote and make him king." And so they do that, and it turns out that when they place the vote in verse six, he doesn't win. And so he isn't able to persuade the people to vote him in his king. But then in verse eight, nine, and ten, let's read those three verses. Shar, can you read that for us?
Yeah. And I just think it's interesting, why would you show up to vote for someone who's like platform is, "I want to take away your rights and privileges." Like why would you show up to vote for that guy? Like good thing the vote didn't go for.
But like was he saying that, you know, or do we just know that because that's what Mormon wrote?
Because it's his intent inside, but he's wording it such that no one really sees what's going on. No one knew that his intention was to actually destroy all religious liberties maybe. So look at these three verses. Shar, go ahead and read those for us.
So 8, 9, and 10?
"Now this did cause much joy in the hearts of those who were against him; but Amlici did stir up those who were in his favor to anger against those who were not in his favor."
"And it came to pass that they gathered themselves together, and did consecrate Amlici to be their king."
"Now when Amlici was made king over them he commanded them that they should take up arms against their brethren; and this he did that he might subject them to him."
I want us to read this quote, and we're going to come back and talk about this, but I like this quote by Elder Robert D. Hales about what we've been talking about. Sarah, will you read this quote for us?
“As we walk the path of spiritual liberty in these last days, we must understand that the faithful use of our agency depends upon our having religious freedom. We already know that Satan does not want this freedom to be ours. He attempted to destroy moral agency in heaven, and now on earth he is fiercely undermining, opposing, and spreading confusion about religious freedom—what it is and why it is essential to our spiritual life and our very salvation. … “Brothers and sisters, we are responsible to safeguard these sacred freedoms and rights for ourselves and our posterity” (Robert D. Hales, “Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 111–12, 113).
I think it's super interesting in verse 11, right after that, it says, "Now the people of Amlici were distinguished by the name of Amlici, being called Amlicites." Amlicites or Amlicites? How do you say it? I don't know.
That's exactly what you've been talking about Sarah. To the outside of those three verses that you read Shar, to the outside of verses 8, 9, and 10, put this cross reference. Mosiah chapter 29, verse 23, and we already read that, but it's important for you to have that cross reference there because remember, Mosiah warned in verse 23. He says, "An unrighteous King doth pervert the ways of all righteousness." And that is exactly what Amlici was seeking to do. And so Amlici is going to go to war, and sure enough, he will fight against these people. It's the believers versus the non believers. And as a result, Amlici in chapter two, verse 31, is killed. Alma kills him, and the Nephites we're given the strength to stand, to fight, and to win. Tell me some of your thoughts that are going through your head with this discussion.
I say "Amlicites."
Amlicites. Okay. "...And the remainder were called Nephites or the people of God." And I know a few weeks ago we talked about how they took on you know, King Benjamin's like, "You're taking on this new name." And now these people are like, they're getting rid of it. They're abandoning that new name that they were denouncing. Yeah, and they're now being called the "People of Amlici." I just think it's like they're showing where their devotion is, even in that act. Right? So it's, I don't know, I just think it's really interesting. Like do I always have the name of Christ? Am I always representing him through that name? right? Or am I sometimes taking on other names in throughout my day, and not realizing that just by the act, we're not following him.
That makes me really think right now. What are some of the other names I have taken on in my lifetime? Rather than the "child of God or the people of God."
Like "Angry teacher," I've totally taken on that name a lot, and I shouldn't.
The "disgruntled homemaker, disgruntled Chef," sure that's been me. Well, turn the page because when you read that verse, what's so sad about this is that God didn't save everybody. I mean, a lot of the Nephites are going to die. In verse 19, it will give you a count of how many people of Amlici died, and how many of the nephites. Now there's considerably more people of Amlici that died than the Nephites. But still, it's so sad to me, that we have this fight for religious freedom, and that these people, these good people are going to die. And I do love verse 28, that the people were strengthened by the hand of the Lord, and Shar, go ahead and read that for us.
"Nevertheless, the Nephites being strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their cries, and did strengthen them, and the Lamanites and the Amlicites did fall before them."
So I love in verse 28, that it says the people were "strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him." And just that thought of praying mightily, and in 30, it says, "Alma was a man of God being exercised with much faith." I love that "exercise with much faith." This was not the first time that he used those muscles. He has repeatedly exercised those faith muscles, and so he's not just for the first time when someone's about to kill him, reaching out and crying to God for help and deliverance. The reason he is strengthened is because he is so exercised in calling upon God.
Thank you for sharing that. That's really deep. That was rich. I liked that. I think what's so sad to me about this is that I don't really see anyone necessarily physically dying because of this contention, but it's the spiritual death that we see all around us. There are so many casualties of this spiritual death because of these partial truths with a false hood. I feel like there will always be Amlici's and Nehor's, always. It doesn't even matter how many there are, there will always be priestcrafts, there will always be contention, war, death, all of this. And so it just it makes me think like we've got to talk about a way to overcome this priestcraft. We have to be able to fortify ourselves and our families for when this priestcraft enters in. And so in the next segment, we're going to discuss a talk that the three of us actually read a year ago in our Bible study class that I think perfectly ties into the idea of priestcrafts and spiritual death. And so we'll talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 5 45:50
Okay, have either of you had an experience then with priestcraft your own personal experience? Maybe with anti Mormon literature or someone who's tried to sway you with some anti rhetoric?
I actually have had a fairly recent experience.
Oh, you mind sharing that Sarah?
Sure. Um, a friend of mine, whom I love, she's been struggling with various aspects of the gospel. And we've been having multiple conversations together. Friend... I've just been trying to listen to her concerns and help her where I could. And then after one of our conversations, I sent her some links to conference talks and to the gospel questions part on the library app. So you know, she could just kind of reference that. And in return, she sent me a podcast to listen to, and when she linked me to the podcast, she actually couched it saying, "You don't need to listen to this and understand my concerns because sometimes it's easier to keep a simplified fairytale version of the gospel." That was a blow to me, and you know, a blow to my pride.
With all sincerity and wanting to understand where she was coming from and be able to help her and address her questions. I actually started listening to the podcast, and as I did, it wasn't anti Mormon, it was by a religious scholar. So, you know, a lot of those like we were saying earlier with the half-truths, like the philosophies of men mingled with Scripture, right, a lot of opinions, a lot of the intellectual dissection of thoughts. And as I listened, I just felt murky, I felt confused, and I felt really just a lack of the light and spirit. And I just kept thinking about Lehi and the tree of life, and how Lehi at the Tree of Life beckoned to his family to come to him. You know, he didn't go wandering off into the mist and the fog, he called to them from the tree. And it wasn't because he was afraid of the darkness in the in the mist, but probably because he'd been through it. And standing from the tree and the light is where he understood he could see clearly, and so that's where I knew I wanted to be and to stay. That's where I needed to be, and I don't think that's naive or simple minded, is to stay in the light and in the truth always.
Well and Sarah, what you just said, you know, I don't think it's simple at all. And I love the example that you gave of Lehi who stayed by the tree and he called to them, especially because it makes me think of how he did that in First Nephi chapter eight, verse 15, I remember reading this a couple of years ago, and it really stood out to me because it says, Lehi says, "I beckoned unto them and I also did say unto them with a loud voice," and that stood out to me because Lehi always seemed like this mild mannered, quiet man, but he stayed by the tree and he called them with a loud voice and he beckoned them saying, "Come, come, as soon as you can." I love what you said, Sarah, about how you will stay by the tree and by the light. Okay, Shar, you keep nodding your head a lot. Tell me what you're thinking.
I think that's so, so true what you were saying Sarah that I love that it's kind of our job to stay there and stay by the tree and stay in Christ's light because that's what it is. I think it's interesting because Christ is the one that's going to go out in the river and in the fog and in the midst. He is the light. He's gonna go out there and get them and he'll bring them back, that's his job. And our job is to be that example to yell. I love that example, Sarah. I think that's awesome.
Sarah that is perfect what you've said because it beautifully jumps us into the talk that we're going to talk about. We all read this a year ago in January of 2019. A man by the name of Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, who was a member of the Seventy, gave a BYU address called "Stand forever," and we all three, we loved it didn't we?
Oh, a favorite.
I mean, we talked about it and discussed it. So we're going to talk about that today. I'm going to start out with how he begins his talk, and this is what he says, “As part of an assignment I had as a General Authority a few years ago, I needed to read through a great deal of material antagonistic to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the events of the Restoration. There may not be anything out there of that nature I haven’t read.”
And I mean, that just grabs you immediately. And he talks about and he uses the same wording you used Sarah, how murky it felt, how deep, and he said in fact, he has not since gone back, I love how he says this, "I have not since gone back to wallow in that mire." That after the assignment he was done. Let's go to the scripture that he references in Daniel chapter two verse 44. He summarizes it in his talk, but I want us to actually read this verse of scripture because he says, and so Shar, will you read Daniel chapter two verse 44 for us?
You caught me Tam, I didn't open to it.
We got you, Shar.
Now I'm gonna open it.
So in your scriptures, or on your phone, Daniel chapter two, verse 44. This is the dream that King Nebuchadnezzar saw and Daniel interprets, and this is a great verse.
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."
Next to that verse, write to it because this is what Elder Corbridge said, "The kingdom of God is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It will stand forever," and then he looked at the audience and said, "The question is, will you and I stand? Will you stand forever or will you go away? And if you go, where will you go?" And so this powerful sermon talks then, he goes into saying, "Listen, priestcrafts, it's all part of the plan." In fact, go to Matthew chapter 24, verse 24. And Sarah, will you read that for us? It is a sign of our times.
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
And thank you, Sarah. And elder Corbridge continues by saying about that verse, he says, "I'm not sure of all that is implied by the qualification, meaning the very elect, but I think it means at least that everyone will be challenged in our day." So we studied this talk pretty in depth. So what stands out to you so far in what he has said?
Just that he'll deceive, where it says "everyone," everyone's going to be challenged. None of us are immune to Satan's tricks and tactics.
And I just love that last line that he has said, "The question is, will you and I stand? Will you stand forever? Or will you go away? And if you go away, where will you go?" That just hits me so hard because I'm like, "Yeah, of course, I'm going to stand forever." Right? I just want to stand forever with him. I don't want to go away. I don't want to go somewhere else.
This is you know, this is an interesting quote that I found by President Nelson, and the reason I liked it is because it incorporates what we've been talking about, including the word "popular." Let's read this quote, and then I have a question for the two of you. And let's see, Shar will you read this quote for us by President Nelson?
“Difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord ‘shall suffer persecution’ [2 Timothy 3:12]. That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives” (Russell M. Nelson, “Face the Future with Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, April 2020, 35–36).
Here's my question for you, so there's a lot of studies right now showing that religion as a whole is losing membership at alarming rates, especially among millennials, and both of you are millennials. You qualify, you're young, and you're mom's, little kids. As millennials, Sarah and Shar, why do you stay?
I love that. That's a great question. To me, I think if I had been asked that a few years ago, I maybe would have said, "I stayed because I really want to teach my kids truth and right and I want to be with them forever." And through the past few years, I've come to realize that life can bring you all sorts of stuff, but you don't know what's going to happen, and it's come down to me to personal spiritual experiences that I've had, and it has to be a personal thing for me. It can't be because of my kids. I mean, anything can happen, I could lose my kids in a car accident, and I would have to still be here, and I'd have to still choose, right? And it's the little small experiences that I feel each day that's like, "That's why I'm staying here." Every day I feel it. Every day I feel it. And it's that thought over and over is like, "I have to have the spirit." That's it. And it's those little tastes of Christ's love for me through the Spirit every day.
I like that answer. That's beautiful.
I love that question too of, "Why do you stay?" I felt like I could say so much about it, but I have two thoughts, my first thought is that I stay because I feel his love and I hear him all of the time. I feel his love all of the time. Um, you know, I'm a runner, I'm not a very good runner, but COVID has turned me into more of a runner because I've got six kids at home and it's loud and there's so much commotion. And I have really enjoyed that one of the places I hear him is when I'm running. And I've made a habit of while I run, I pray, and so I have a running prayer. And I pray out loud, and then I just listen as I take in kind of the beauty around me, and I've had just recently so many experiences of hearing him as I run into these questions that have been on my mind for weeks, some of them for months or years. And the second little thought I had was kind of like with Shar, it's not like I have one big defining thing that after that moment, I knew I was going to stay in the Church and I had a testimony and it's never going to leave, but rather layers and layers of experiences, small ones and big ones.
Absolutely. What I like about Elder Corbridge's talk is what you guys just said, it's what you know, your experiences are based in your knowledge because other Corbridge says, "There is this idea that says 'Be true to your beliefs,'" And he says, "While that is true, the problem lies in that we can't be better than what we know." And so the idea is for us to gain more knowledge. If you're at a point where you're just not sure or you're a little bit rocky, his idea is, then just get more knowledge. Joseph Smith said this about knowledge. He said, “Knowledge is necessary to life and godliness. Knowledge is revelation. Hear, all ye brethren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation.” (Quoted by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, reporting a discourse given by Joseph Smith on May 21, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, Notebook, Church Archives.)
For those of you that are listening, I want you just to take a minute right now and write down what do you absolutely know? And if you're with somebody, I want you to stop right now, pause this, and tell them what you know, and we're going to do that too right now. So Shar and Sarah, tell me what you know.
I know that God is my father. I know that Jesus is my Savior. I know that the Prophet is true, and that we have a living prophet here on the earth. Those are the things that I know about our Church. I know it and I know that he will always, always love me no matter what I do.
Ditto. I totally agree, that heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, above all, they love us so much, and that he lives, Jesus lives I know it, and that we're being led right now by a Prophet of God who speaks with him. And I know that I can pray, that he's hearing me because I receive revelation. And I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know it.
Segment 6 58:46
What I know is that God loves me, and that Jesus Christ, absolutely paid the price for my redemption from sin and death. I absolutely know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God. And I'll talk about that later in the next segment. Even after reading all of the terrible things I read, I got the most beautiful answer of an absolute sure knowledge that he really is a Prophet of God and that has saved me. That's what I know for sure.
So thank you for sharing what you know, ladies, I loved your answers. Knowledge will save us, and Elder Corbridge, he goes on to say that the challenge we face today is closing the gap between our beliefs and then what we know or what is truth. So in the next segment, we're going to discuss how to close that gap and how to avoid deception.
Segment 6 59:44
All right, I want to start out this segment with a quote by President Nelson. Sarah, will you read this quote for us?
“Do whatever it takes to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ by increasing your understanding of the doctrine taught in His restored Church and by relentlessly seeking truth. Anchored in pure doctrine, you will be able to step forward with faith and dogged persistence and cheerfully do all that lies in your power to fulfill the purposes of the Lord. You will have days when you will be discouraged. So pray for courage not to give up! Sadly, some who you thought were your friends will betray you. And some things will simply seem unfair.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Face the Future with Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, April 2020, 35–36)
Thank you. So here's my question for both of you then, because Elder Corbridge talked about closing the gap, how do you guys increase your understanding? What are some tips that you have to gain more knowledge?
Stay in the scriptures. Read conference talks. I feel like just reading the words of Christ, being able to hear him every day.
And going to the source. I think, Shar said it earlier, but, you know, through prayer, while like we do our study, you know, but we stay close to prayer.
That takes me back to what you said earlier, Sarah, about exercising, how Alma exercised, and how if we're daily exercising whatever that looks like. You know, for me, sometimes it's just a verse of scripture that day. But whatever that looks like, if you're consistently exercising, then when the moments come, you're going to be able to pick up that sword or whatever it is that you're going to need. I like in Elder Corbridge's talk, he suggests that the way we focus on answering these questions that we get, he says that the first thing we should do is to answer the primary questions before answering the secondary ones. And he says there's four primary questions that we should answer.
1. Is there a God who is our Father?
2. Is Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Savior of the world?
3. Was Joseph Smith a prophet?
4. Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the kingdom of God on the earth?
And then this is what he goes on to say. “By contrast, the secondary questions are unending. They include questions about Church history, polygamy, people of African descent and the priesthood, women and the priesthood, how the Book of Mormon was translated, the Pearl of Great Price, DNA and the Book of Mormon, gay marriage, the different accounts of the First Vision, and on and on."
And then he says, "If you answer the primary questions, the secondary questions get answered too, or they pale in significance and you can deal with things you understand and things you don’t and things you agree with and things you don’t without jumping ship altogether.”
And, you know, this is exactly what that seminary teacher did for me when I threw that book down on his desk completely ready to abandon ship, and I was bawling my eyeballs out, and this teacher looked at me and he said, "Well, what did you believe before you read the book?" And I said, "What are you talking about ahh?" And I'm blubbering, and he says, "Well, what did you believe before?" And I said, "Well, I did believe that God loved me and I did believe that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins. I used to believe that," and he says, "Then don't be a dummy. All of that's still true. None of that changed because of this book that you read." My primary questions, they were all true. I absolutely believed in God who was my father that Jesus Christ was the Savior of the world. I was a little bit rocky... "is Joseph Smith a prophet?" I was a little wavering because of what I read. But what he asked me to do just in my heart, I knew, "Oh, you're right. All of that is still true. Okay..." And he's like, "You don't need to quit your job, you're being so dramatic." And I was.
But it was real to me at that very moment. And so I did keep my job, I did stay in the church, and I can absolutely attest that all my other questions I had did pale in comparison. And some of them still were hard for me, I did need answers, and I didn't get those answers until I was well into that first semester teaching Church history to those kids. And then I got my moment of clarity and I absolutely knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet. And it was such an incredible experience, but I waited for that answer. I mean, I remember praying on my mission to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I didn't get my answer untill I was 32 years old. So the answers to the primary questions, those were there. I knew them. But the secondary questions, those took some time for me to find answers too. Sarah, what are you thinking?
Yeah. So I think it's important to address those secondary questions for some people that might feel like it shakes their primary question foundation, right? And it goes back to where we were saying that you just need to find the right sources, you know, as we are trying to answer those secondary questions and saying, "But am I still holding fast to the Scriptures? Am I looking for those good sources of people who are trying to build my faith and not to destroy it?"
Well it's kind of like being in the court of law, you're going to give equal time to both sides, right, the judge is going to hear equally, so you can't just spend you know all your time on one side. If you have questions, you have to, you know, "Are you spending just as much time in the scriptures and in the conference talks as you are trying to figure out those questions?"
You know, this comes up in the scriptures in Alma chapter four. Let's go back to this storyline with Alma the Younger on his mission. I think it's important for us to look at this specific verse because we just finished this war, and the Amlicites versus the Nephites, and Alma the Younger is having a really hard time because the Church is becoming a great... now it's kind of opposite, the Church is becoming a great stumbling block to those who did not belong to the Church, and you'll read that story all throughout Alma four. Then they start to get puffed up thinking they're better than the other people, which is such an easy thing to do.
And so Alma's so frustrated that he decides, "You know what, I just have to not even be the chief judge anymore. I got to give that up and just be the high priest." So he actually turns over this responsibility to a man, and so go to Alma chapter four, verse 16. At the very beginning, I just want you to write or highlight, "and he selected a wise man," so highlight "a wise man." And then we're gonna draw a line down to his name and connect him with the name in verse 17. Now this man's name was Nephihah, and this is kind of a cool thing, we often have this name "ihah" ending with Scriptures, so we have "Nephihah." And what I thought this was interesting is the ending "ihah" or "h-a-h," actually denotes Jehovah's name.
So at the time of Lehi, there was this new revival movement that had begun in Israel by Josiah. And the names that ended in "ihah" in Israel, were the names that were Jehovah names. And so we have this revival in the Book of Mormon, and so this is kind of cool because "Nephihah," his name would then actually mean, "a man of God," or "Nephihah" would be "Nephi like Jehovah." Like, that's how wise and righteous he was. He's a great man. And so great that Alma decides, "I'm going to hand over the judgment seat to you, I'm going to have you judge the people, and I'm just going to remain high priest. That's all I want to do, and I've got to start going around and preaching to these people." And here's how he's going to do it, this will be what he does for the remainder of his mission in verse 19. And we have to mark this and read it because this sets up the way he will teach and preach. And so let's go to Alma chapter four, verse 19. And Shar, will you read that for us?
"And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them."
Highlight that at the very end. What did he do Shar?
He beared down in pure testimony. That's awesome.
It is awesome. So there's sort of a caveat to this though, that before you can bear down in humble testimony or in pure testimony, you need to do something first. And I really like this quote from Jared Halverson, and he used to be a seminary teacher.
He was my seminary teacher! Woop woop.
Right on Sarah. Okay, so he is an institute teacher now with CES, and he does these really cool one on one videos on the Gospel Day by Day Instagram, and so we're gonna read this quote that he has, and I like this. Let's see, Sarah, why don't you read it since he was your seminary teacher.
“But here’s a word of caution. Our efforts to listen, to empathize, to validate should never be intended to sidestep the questions that a person really has. Our testimony can never be a trump card that we lay down to avoid some kind of difficult conversation or if we don’t want to admit that we don’t have an answer or haven’t done our homework.” - Jared Halverson “Gospel day by day” one on one videos
That's a good quote. I like that.
That is a good quote.
Yeah. So going back to that exercising, when you pay the price to know something, when you know it, and when you've done that, then you can totally have a pure testimony. So let's talk about what this means, to have a pure testimony. What does that sound like? What is a pure testimony?
It sounds like someone who just knows.
It sounds like the simple truths, the bedrock foundations of what we believe.
Absolutely. In fact, I have a great quote by Spencer W. Kimball. I like what he says about this because the word pure derives from a Latin word meaning, which is "purus," which doesn't just mean clear or plain, which I think is cool, but this is interesting, it also means "cleansing and purifying." And here's what President Spencer W. Kimball says about a pure testimony.
He says, quote, “Do not tell others how to live. Just tell how you feel inside. That is the testimony. The moment you begin preaching to others, your testimony ended” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 138).
So true. So we bear down in pure testimony, and that is what Alma will do for the duration of his mission. That's his thing, that's his mantra, however you want to say it. I think the purpose of us studying these scriptures right now and understanding all of this is what Elder Corbridge ends with as he talks about how... and I think it's important just to read this, when he says, "The worst of all human conditions in this life is not poverty, sickness, loneliness, abuse, or war. As awful as those conditions are, the worst of all human conditions is the most common. It is to die. It is to die spiritually. It is to be separated from the presence of God and in this life, his presence and his spirit or power, that is the worst." And it just kind of goes back to what we talked about earlier with the Amlicites, like we might not die of physical death because of our religious beliefs, it's the spiritual death that is the scariest.
I love that. I feel like that is our spiritual battle. I mean, that is our war today, is a spiritual war. It's not so much for us a physical war as it is a spiritual war.
That's perfect. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today. You guys this was so fun. We're done.
Is it over?
It's over. That's Mosiah 29 through Alma 4. Oh my gosh that's so fun. Okay, so here's what I'm gonna do, I get to always do this at the end. Tell me, what is your takeaway from today's lesson?
Mine was that I can stay at the tree. I loved that thought of being at the tree, staying in the light of Christ, and beckoning others to come. And hopefully I can do that and you know, let Christ go out and the murkiness and the gloom and do his job.
Good one. You stole mine. I'm gonna say the same thing. Sarah go ahead.
I think one of my takeaways is when we're reading that knowledge is truth, and just that lifelong quest to bridge the gap between our beliefs and the truth, and pairing that with revelation, then we become unstoppable and being able to gain truth. So just my lifelong quest to have revelation.
Wonderful. So my takeaway, Shar, is the same as yours. The idea of just staying by the tree and staying by the light. But it made me think, because the other part that I really loved was when Elder Corbridge said, "Will you stand?" And so I'm just thinking, like, "Will I stand by that tree?" The eight-year-old in me is gonna stay. I'm gonna stand by that tree, and I'm gonna beckon with a loud voice to everybody I know to come and join me because it's so great. It's just so great. So that was my takeaway from today.
So thank you ladies. Oh my gosh this was so fun.
Thank you! What a privilege.
So we would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. And if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or followed us on Instagram, you should because it's a great place to ask questions as you study and I try to answer anything that we can during the week. And every week at the end of the week, usually on Sundays, we post a call for your big takeaways. And I'm also going to recommend, I want to post a call for this, what do you know? Share with me what you know, I want to know what you thought of or what you wrote down or what you shared with the person you're studying with. Tell us what it is that you know.
Comment on any post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you've learned, and I do read every single one and I love hearing what you guys are learning. You can get to both our Facebook and our Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. And if you're looking for quotes from today, or links to additional studies for a topic, the show notes is the place to go. And that's where we have links to all the references as well as the complete transcript of this entire discussion, so you should check it out.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our awesome study group participants were Sharmaine Howell and Sarah Craig. And you can find out more information about these ladies at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by KaRyn Lay with postproduction and editing by Erika Free. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week, and I hope you all know that you are God's favorite.
You know what my other big takeaway was from this week?
Was like a "aha" is that Sarah was so popular because she had a rolling backpack. How did I not remember?
Why didn't I just pass it down to you and then you should have been popular.
I love that so much when you said, "I could always find her in school."
Yeah well you can't take it down the stairs, so I would dump it down the rail like it was a skateboard.
That's so funny.