25: "I Will Make an Instrument of Thee" (June 22–28)
Do you have a favorite mission story, whether it’s a funny one from your own mission or an inspiring one that you heard from a friend? This week we dig into a treasure chest of great mission stories in Alma 17–22 that teach us about how we can become instruments in the hands of God and what we can do when we, like them, face discouragement and are tempted to turn back.
So if you've ever served a mission, I'm sure, in fact, I'm confident, that you have that one crazy mission story. Okay, maybe two or three that you just love to remember and even retell. Maybe it was a dinner appointment. You fed the dog under the table only to realize that a clean plate in that culture meant that you really liked the food, so the host just picked up another serving on your plate. Or maybe about the time you planned a wedding and a baptism in the same week for a couple who was living together and they wanted to get baptized. I have come to learn that those mission stories never leave you.
There is such power in a story and today's episode continues with some of the best missionary stories out there in Alma chapter 17 through 22. You know, I wonder if Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah ever sat around and retold their stories when they all reunited. I actually wonder if they'd be up for a campfire in heaven because these are stories that I absolutely want retold.
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, I want to make sure you know how to use this podcast. It's about an hour long and you can listen to it all at once, or you can also just listen to this in segments. We've divided the segments up into about 10 to 12 minutes each. They're just perfect for the kind of person who likes to study a little bit every day throughout the week. Now my absolute favorite thing about the study group is each week we're joined by two of my friends and today we've got Becky Farley and Susan Stanger, two of my dearest friends. Hi, guys! I'm so excited for us to be here. This is so fun. Look how happy I am. I've been waiting all week to see your faces.
So just a little background about these two women. We've known each other now for 20 years and they are part of the original Bible study that we did when you guys had little babies and you didn't have time to go to Institute, and I always say out of the goodness of my heart, I came back from teaching seminary. "All right, I'll teach you what I taught my seminary students today." And we'd sit around Holly's kitchen table while the kids ran amuck, and I would teach you from the scriptures. And that just began our lifelong friendship of Scripture study and each other.
Well, Tam, sometimes we gave you frozen pizza rolls.
Yes, it was delightful. We've come a long way. Well, if you want to see what my friends look like because I love to see what people look like when I hear their voice, go and find pictures of them and their bios in our show notes. And you can find that at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Now today we're studying Alma 17 through 22, and this is a favorite of every primary and every seminary student. Especially when you get to act it out because seriously, who doesn't love acting out chopping off arms? We're going to see what that story and all the other stories about these missionaries have to do with us. So friends, grab your scriptures, and let's dig in.
Missionaries coming home is just the best. Now Farley, you have welcomed two missionaries home. Susan you're about to, and you're sending a missionary off too right?
So the missionaries that you have out on the field, Susan, and the two that have come home, Farley, Here's my question for you. Did you notice any significant changes in your children that served or are serving missions?
Tell me about some.
They did the dishes when they got home. That was nice. They don't do them now, but they did then. They were just trying harder to be more Christlike, I mean, I think overall.
Definitely. Definitely. I mean Ava, she'll tell me, "Mom, I am a totally completely different person." She's in quarantine and so it's been a challenge but she said the biggest thing I've learned is patience and love.
Yeah, I would say the same. Patience and love and ability to deal with when life doesn't go the way that you think it's gonna go. Okay, so my daughter Mary served in Argentina at the very bottom and had to travel 25 hours by bus, and the kid next to her was another Elder, threw up, so she had to smell that the whole time. It was about 90 degrees or hotter, and she had her monthlies also and didn't... you know, so it was terrible. She wins for the worst travel story on the face of the planet in my opinion. So she learned how to deal with it. She can roll with the punches now.
Yeah, they learned that for sure.
Yeah, for sure.
Well and Tam, as I was studying for this and thinking about it, Ava sent me a letter just the other day, and just these two sentences, it just gives me such, you know, pride as a mother. She says, "The fact that we can receive peace, comfort, strength, and so much more from faith and repentance in and through Jesus Christ, keeps me going." I can just see such change in her maturity and her testimony and the gospel.
Susan, I love that you shared that part of her letter. Especially the part where she talks about "in and through Jesus Christ" because I was going to ask the next question, what do you think caused these changes in your children? But I think she summed it up right there. It's Jesus Christ.
Let's go into the scriptures, into Alma chapter 17 because we're gonna look at some significant changes that happened in the sons of Mosiah. So after preaching the gospel for 14 years in the land of the Nephi, the sons of Mosiah, they're returning to Zarahemla when they were reunited with Alma. Now here's what you need to know. This is the end of the story. The beginning of Alma chapter 17 is the end of the mission for the sons of Mosiah. Go to verse 19 and draw a line right above verse 19. That is where the flashback begins. So at verse 19, we're going to flashback and see and read all the mission stories of the sons of Mosiah, but we're going to find out how it ended right here.
Let's go and read Alma chapter 17, and we're just going to read verses one and half a verse too. I love these verses so much, so I'm going to read them because they're some of my favorite verses.
"And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon southward, away to the land of Manti, behold, to his astonishment, he met with the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemla."
"Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord;"
Oh, I mean, is there any better feeling than seeing someone you haven't seen forever and you just... or for me, it's a student, when I see a student I taught and they're still members, and they still love Jesus Christ. Have you ever felt that either of you?
I'm feeling it right now. 20 years ago starting you teaching us and here we are.
I think Farley that makes me super emotional because when I think about all that the five of us went through and all that we've experienced, you're right. This is a great reunion, the fact that we still believe. I want you to highlight in that verse too where it says, that "...they were still his brethren in the Lord." Because what I want us to look for in these next two verses, I'm going to continue reading with verse two, and then in verse three, and I want you to highlight or mark, what six things did they do or experience that have them still remain as brethren in the Lord. Here we go.
"Yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God."
"But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God."
What did you find? What allowed them to still be brethren in the Lord?
Well, they waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth.
That's the first one I have. In fact, mark that. Here's something cool about the word "waxed." It means to "pass from one state to another." I thought that was really cool.
Ooh, I love that.
Yeah, to pass from one state to another, so they waxed strong, assuming that they weren't when they started, I love that too. Keep going. What else did you mark?
That "...they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God."
Yep. Keep going.
Prayer and fasting.
Oh yeah, prayer and fasting.
And spirit of prophecy and spirit of revelation.
Well, that's interesting because that's the result of them being those things. The result is they were given the Spirit of Prophecy and the spirit of Revelation. So mark that. I want you to cross reference that verse with Revelation chapter 19, verse 10 because it's going to tell us what the gift of prophecy and revelation is, and this is cool. Becky, will you read that for us?
"And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Isn't that neat? That the spirit of prophecy is your testimony. Here's a cool quote. This is by Elder Robert D. Hales. Susan, will you read this quote for us?
Yes, I'd love to.
“Of the sacred gifts of the Spirit, one that I believe has impact on each of our lives is the gift of prophecy or revelation. This gift is different from the priesthood office of prophet. The gift of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. …President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) taught, ‘All members of the Church should seek for the gift of prophecy, for their own guidance’ (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. , 1:201) Every Church member, if faithful, has the right to receive revelation for his or her personal blessing.” (Robert D. Hales, “Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Feb. 2002, 15)
With the gift of prophecy being the testimony of Jesus, I want you to answer this question for me. How can having a testimony of Jesus Christ and the ability to receive revelation help us teach with power?
Well, my kids are teaching me, right? So I don't think it's just for missionaries. I mean, I'm thinking about like every week is we do our own sacrament, we're doing "Come, Follow Me" and they are all giving the lessons, and it's really been a beautiful thing.
I love that Becky. And I think we teach in a way, like Ammon, I feel like he taught to everyone he was around by example. And so I think I'm not a real wordy, preachy scriptorium that's gonna speak up much. I'm rather a really good listener, and so I try to live, you know, live in a way that I'm showing by example my testimony, or teaching my kids or others how I love other people.
Yeah, you are a witness of that.
I'm going to come back to you later and ask you more about that too because it's pretty powerful. I want you to look at Alma chapter 17, verse 14 because this gift of prophecy and revelation, this testimony, they're going to need this, and every single person who serves a mission, you're going to need this because I can't even imagine getting a mission call that says this. So look at chapter 17, verse 14.
It says, "And assuredly it was great, for they had undertaken to preach the word of God to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people;"
Can you imagine? "Dear Elder so and so, it's estimated you'll serve for a period of however long it takes, and you're gonna serve a wild and hard hearted and ferocious people." No thanks. I'd probably put my mission call on the table and slowly walk away, like I didn't get it.
The hardened and people delighted in murdering the Nephites.
Oh, sure, sure. No, this is no big deal, your mission. I want you to cross reference something because this is funny. Next to verse 14, put Alma 26:23 and turn there because here's what I love, we're laughing about it. We're not the only ones that laughed. In Alma, chapter 26, verse 23. This is also talking about the people at the time because now we're going to go forward, we're fast forwarding.
In verse 23, it says, "Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn?"
They're like, "Oh oh, good luck with that." I love it so much.
We won't be seeing you ever again.
Exactly. So in the next segment, we're going to learn what four specific things the Lord asked these boys to do because they were, like I think they were just these young men unlearned. There's four specific things that the Lord asked him to do to have success among these hardened and ferocious people.
Segment 2 12:28
Susan and Becky, I want you to close your eyes and I want to see if you can tell me what you're hearing. Okay, close your eyes. Don't look, close your eyes, Susan. Okay, I'm gonna play something and I want you to see if you can tell me what it is.
Oh I know what that is Tammy.
What is it Susan?
There's not a single parent there who didn't cringe the second they heard that first note. Everyone knows what that is, but here's my question, is it considered an instrument?
Yeah, you bet it is.
That is a Woodwind right there. That is a Woodwind instrument.
Yeah. How is it an instrument?
If someone plays it better than you.
So it just depends on who's playing it, right? Oh I don't think anyone does, I mean, that makes me laugh so hard. Here, I love this. Let's see what this has to do with Alma chapter 17, and we're gonna read verses 9 through 10. Let's go there. And you can also read about this in Alma chapter 26. We're going to read these verses, and you can also read about this in Alma chapter 26, but this is great. Susan, will you read Alma 17, verses 9 and 10?
"And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct."
"And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted."
So going back to my fun little recorder moment, I think what's so significant about this is that they prayed to be, and highlight that in verse 19, that they might be an "instrument in the hands of God." I think for me, when I went out on my mission, I was absolutely a recorder, and God was not going to get much more out of me. Like, but he played me well, you know, like he made me the most beautiful recorder by the end of my mission. So I'm curious to know from you two, what does it mean to be an "instrument in the hands of the Lord?"
Well, for me, it means giving up my, my own agenda. I mean, an instrument doesn't have an agenda. An instrument is something that it just is played with the musicians intent. So my intent has to be in the background and God's has to be in the foreground and that's very scary at times.
Have you guys ever prayed to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord?
Yes, and I think it has to come from a place of love too, and patience. At least in my experience, one of my latest motto, my daughter brought home a banner for the house, and "love is always the answer" is what it says. And so since Valentine's Day, that has still been up on the wall, and kind of just my go to that it has to be a place of love, in order for us to be humble and ready and willing to be an instrument in the hand of the Lord.
You know, Susan, it's interesting that you would bring up patience and love. In the next couple of verses, we're going to read these four things that the Lord needed these boys to do to be instruments in the hands of the Lord. I want us to mark these four things. They're very specific in here. So let's go to Alma chapter 17. We're going to read verses 11 and 12. And Becky, will you read those verses please?
And as you do, I'm just going to kind of butt in and just say "number one" because I love to number my scriptures. So as you read it, I'm just gonna say "that's the first thing" okay? So here we go, verse 11.
"And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word;"
So that's the first thing, "establish my word" or "teach, teach my word." So that's the first thing they have to do. Keep going.
"...yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions..."
That's number two. That Susan, there you go. Be patient, but also in long suffering and afflictions. It's specific isn't it? More than just, "You gotta be patient." It's, "Wow, you're gonna have to be patient in a couple of things. It'll be tough."
Keep going Beck.
"...that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me..."
That is number three. "Show forth good examples of them unto me." Be a good example. Keep going.
"...and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls."
Okay, and then verse 12.
"And it came to pass that the hearts of the sons of Mosiah, and also those who were with them, took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them the word of God."
Highlight "took courage." Have courage is the last thing. So here we have these four things -- teach, patience, example, and courage. Now, Susan, I said I was going to come back to you and this is where I'm coming back. You're not an in your face kind of person. I think that's a great way to describe you. In our friendships, we talk about that often. You're definitely the most just, ah, breath of fresh air.
Everybody wants to be with Susan.
Oh everybody loves Susan. You know, when we talked about this specific set of scriptures about being an example and being patient, you are that definitely to us. And you've had your own experience in your family, where you've had to be this, like you really do live being an example and being patient because we talked about this, and I asked you if you would just share your experience, if you'd be willing to maybe tell us a little bit about your situation, and what requires so much patience and example.
Sure, sure. I mean, and I'm not alone in this. In this situation, I'm sure, but, you know, all of my siblings have chosen to leave the Church. And so out of the six of us, I'm the black sheep of the family. In no way do I feel better than or superior than they, I mean, I just believe that everyone has their own journey, but you know, I have been comforted by the Lord in knowing that everything will be okay. So I'm in kind of a tender mercy. My son got up mission called to Japan and all of my siblings were so happy for him. You know, they would text me and that is so great. That's gonna be really neat for him. And a couple of weeks later, my brother texted something about Japanese culture, and just him showing that interest and remembering my son, and that he's gonna serve the Lord in another country, and it's so small, I know that it is so little, but just him out of the blue, texting something to me, "Hey, I thought this was so interesting, and maybe something you'd want to share with Ethan." It really meant a lot because I just feel his support, even though we have different beliefs.
I mean, Susan, you're definitely one of the most patient people we know. That's why we love you and that's why you fit in so well with all five of us, but here's what I want to know. Tell me, how does your patience, how does it have an effect on your family? Like how does it play out with them?
I do feel a gift that I can have just a quiet, loving patience that I know things again will just... it'll all work out. If we are in a place of not being non judgmental, and accepting and loving no matter what just like Ammon was. I mean, he is a prime example of being non-judgmental, going to a people bloodthirsty and so opposite of his beliefs, and that is not my case. I mean, and I have the most amazing siblings that are fantastic and living great lives, but I feel like, I guess my patience is I want all of us to be brothers and sisters in the Gospel.
And so sometimes I can get anxious or just, "Why can't they just get this right now?" You know? But I think being patient and full of love is the only way, it is the only way, and that is what I hold on to, to trust in the Lord. To me that means being willingly obeying without knowing the beginning or the end, and just having faith that it'll all work out.
Thank you, Susan. I really appreciate you sharing that with me. That was beautiful. So these four requirements that we just talked about -- establish my word, be patient, be a good example, and take courage. This is going to be the pattern that the sons of Mosiah will use throughout their missions, so that they can be instruments in the hands of the Lord and we are going to look for these requirements as we study their mission stories. This is the very end of their reunion, and now this is where their stories begin, and Ammon is up. He's our first mission story. We'll discuss his mission in the next segment.
Segment 3 21:56
Many of us are familiar with this story. This is Ammon and the cutting off of the arms, and the Lamanites who scattered all of the flock. So I just want to jump right in and talk about these four conditions for being instruments in the hands of the Lord, and we're going to plug them into the story, and we're going to see if it actually works. So I had a lot of fun with these chapters, and I think this is a fun way to read these verses of scripture. So here's what I'm going to ask you guys to do. Get four colored pencils, actually five, you're going to need five in the end, but I asked Susan and Becky to do this ahead of time, so they've come prepared, and I've done this in my scriptures.
Because we're going to color and highlight all these different examples, so make each color of your colored pencil one of the topics. So for me, I did green was teach, yellow is patient, blue is example, red is courage, and then the last one is an instrument in the hands of God color, choose whatever color you want. And we're going to go through and we're going to use these five colored pencils to mark up our scriptures and the stories that we're going to read for the rest of this podcast.
Susan and Becky, I want you to take a picture of your scriptures, ladies, because we'll put them in our show notes so everyone can see how different our scriptures look and how much fun we had with doing this. So I really enjoy doing it like this. Okay, so we're going to start very first in Alma chapter 17, and we're going to look at verses 19 and 20, and I highlighted these as "patient" because I felt like he's so patient. He goes into the land of Ishmael and immediately he's taken and bound, right? So we're starting out with hardship. Anything else stand out to you guys.
I mean, I have a lot of courage, okay. There's a lot of courage.
Oh, a lot of courage. Yeah, what's your first verse for courage?
And I chose 31 and 32, Tammy, just because here Alma sees the perfect time to act, and he's willing and ready, and so I just think that that was really courageous that he's like, "Okay, here it is. I've got to take this moment and I'm going to teach these fellow servants," and so he's got to take action.
My thing is is that I had several of the categories for the verses. So like I couldn't choose just one.
Right. Because Susan, I liked that Susan chose 31 as courage, but I chose that as example too. I thought that was him being an example. So you could definitely use many colors on different verses.
Well and I thought of teaching in that way, in a different way, you know, and around that way.
Any others, Farley, anything else stand out in 17?
A lot of example. Okay, I think right here. So 30 and 31. So saying, "And now, these were the thoughts of Ammon, when he saw the afflictions of those whom he termed to be his brethren."
"And it came to pass that he flattered them by his words, saying: My brethren, be of good cheer and let us go in search of the flocks, and we will gather them together and bring them back unto the place of water; and thus we will preserve the flocks."
So all of them were afraid and like, "Oh, gosh, the king is gonna kill us." You know. And then he was like, "Oh, great, here's the time that I can turn it around." And then they all kind of followed along with him and then because of his strength, he was able to move forward.
Mmhmm. And so then we have the rest of the story where you can highlight 36 through 38 red for definitely courage, and that's the story where he slings them with stones, he cut off the arms, he kills six of them with the sling. And these are all great examples of courage, and then turn the page to chapter 18. And he goes to starts to take care of the horses, he's feeding the king's horses, and the servants go in and visit the king and the king asks, "Well, where's Ammon?"
And they can't believe, like, "Well, he's doing what you asked him to do." And they bring in the arms, they show the king, and now we have just all teach. In Alma chapter 18, and it start with in verse 24. I highlighted 24 through 40 all green, that's the color I chose for "teach."
What I want us to focus on because I love this, is starting in verse 24 through 20, it was 24 through 26. You need to highlight this and know it because this is going to be a pattern for almost every single one of these encounters in the book of Alma on missions. And I want to read these three verses, verse 24 says, "And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness, and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?"
"And he answered, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth."
"And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit?"
I look at these verses because the very first thing he asks is, "Well, do you believe that there's a God?" And after he gets done teaching about that, then he's going to teach about the creation, the fall, scriptures, plan of redemption, Jesus Christ coming, it's just going to snowball. But my question is, why is it that he starts with that question, "Well, do you believe in a God?" Why doesn't he start anywhere else in the whole plan of salvation? He can ask any question he wants, why does he start with that one?
So I think why we start with God is because that's such a basic thing. And it is the question of I think right now. It used to be with Joseph Smith that the question was, "Which church is true?" But now I feel like the question is, "Is there a god? And do you believe in God?"
I just feel like that is where the world is moving, and we have to start with that very basic thing, recognizing, "Yeah, there is a God. I want to believe in God." And now move ahead. But that question even comes up for me. I have to continually remember there is a God, he is watching out for me, he does have my basic needs in mind, and not even my basic, but all my needs in mind.
When you live in a world that's so wicked, how many times do you hear, "Well if bad things happen to good people, and if children are dying, and how could there be a god? Why wouldn't he put a stop to that?" That's a classic question. You're like, "Yeah, good point. Maybe there isn't one," and we kind of become a god forsaken people. We feel that way at least.
Yeah. So Tam, I have something else to say with that. With this story in particular, I just think about Ammon and the sons of Mosiah, and how all their plans were just completely destroyed. Right? They went out and went, "Oh we're just gonna go teach, and we're gonna have all this.." you know, "It's gonna be amazing!" Well, instead, "Here you're going to get thrown in prison, you're going to, you know, have to chop off arms." It's going to, you know, so I feel like in this case, it's kind of like that meme that's been going around where it says, "Okay, during COVID, you can come out a chunk, a hunk, or a monk, and it's your choice," right, I don't know if you guys have seen that.
But it really was their choice, so it's specifically with this story with Ammon out there with with the sheep, I mean, they were all just fearful and saying, "The King's gonna kill us!" And Ammon's like, "Hey, there's an opportunity. We can move with this." And I feel like times like this that are our whole life has been flipped upside down, we actually have a chance to see it as an opportunity or to see it as a ruin. Either way, he gives us that choice to move forward, or to just stay.
Absolutely. Well and Ammon, so he totally took advantage of this opportunity, and the result is in verse 40, and I highlighted verse 40 pink. He is the instrument in God's hands in verse 40.
"And it came to pass that after he had said all these things, and expounded them to the king, that the king believed all his words."
Right there. The king believes everything, and then in verse 42, "...he falls to the earth as if he were dead," highlight that. This is interesting because in Book of Mormon time, after two days and two nights when someone's dead body had been laid out, it was considered dead. And so in these next verses of scripture, it's going to say he was there for two days in two nights and he was carried in verse 43. The "servants took him and carried him in unto his wife, and laid him upon a bed; and he lay as if he were dead for the space of two days and two nights;" And his wife and his sons and his daughters, his whole family's gathered around and they're mourning after the great loss of this king. It's such a sad time for them, and yet Ammon gets it, he totally understands.
And so here he is laying, the wife, she gets furious, right? So she is mad, she's sad, she doesn't understand what's happening, Ammon comes to talk to her and says, "Hey, listen, it's okay. Like, he's not dead. He's just kind of in a trance." I mean, I think we need to definitely understand this word. Go to Alma chapter 19. So he's in the trance, he talks to the queen in verses 9, 10, and 11. This is a beautiful example of example and the example is the queen, and in verse 10, Ammon says unto her, "There has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites." Because she says, "I believe you. If you think he's going to come back, if you think he's not dead, alright, I will believe you." And then in verse 12, "And it came to pass that he arose," this is the king, "according to the words of Ammon; and as he arose, he stretched forth his hand unto the woman, and said: Blessed be the name of God, and blessed art thou."
Now mark that, "Blessed be the name of God." This is really something important because to praise the name of God is completely different than just praising. And so when he says, "praising the name of God," this is God's name as a symbol of his essence or power and authority. And so to praise him is to do more than just acknowledge he exists, it's to assert that salvation comes only and through his name. That's what he's doing right there. And we'll put that quote by Robert Millett in our show notes so you can read that. So he's saying, "Blessed be the name of God," meaning, "I assert my salvation comes through him." He has had an incredible experience, and this experience happened while he was in a trance. So here's what I want you to do. Because now in verses 13, 14, and 15, Ammon, the king, his wife, and then all the servants are going to fall to the ground, they're all going to fall into a trance. So put the word "trance" anywhere next to verses 13, 14, or 15. In big letters, I wrote "trance" to the side.
Falling into a trance is not unique to the Book of Mormon. There are other Old Testament examples of people falling into trances, people who believed in God, and so it's important to know these, and I'm going to put all of these references in our show notes, but the examples are Baylon, King Saul, Ezekiel, Peter and Paul all fell into these spiritual trances. And what we need to understand about that is that it appears that a trance is a state in which, and I love this quote: “From what we can deduce from scriptural writ, it appears that a trance is a state in which the body and its functions become quiescent (calm, dormant) in order that the full powers of the Spirit may be centered on the revelations of heaven. Freed from the fetters of a mortal body, man's spirit can be ushered into the divine presence; it can hear what otherwise could not be heard and see what otherwise could not be seen-even the visions of eternity and even the Almighty himself.” That quote is from Robert Millett.
I love that.
So Tam, I just have a question really quick.
How, is it like a near death experience? Like I want to have a trance.
I know. No, I don't think it is.
Like, do you think President Nelson's been in a trance?
You know what, Farley, I'm not sure. That's a great question. But I think what's important for us to do is maybe think about the purpose of the trance. In the quote that I read to you guys, there's actually a part that I didn't read. I'm going to read that to you that talks about how you can test the legitimacy of a trance.
“The test of the legitimacy of the religious trance, like that of tongues is the efficacy of its purpose. Its genuineness must be ascertained by the same standards that determine the verity of revelation in all other forms-that is, by the asking of such questions as: Does it teach faith in Christ, repentance sacrifice, obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, and loyalty to the Lord's current and constituted Church and his anointed servants?(Robert L. Millett, Joseph Fielding McConkie, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3, DB 1991, 139-140)
So how's that Farley? You still want a trance now? Or would you rather have a near death experience?
Just want a trance, no near death, just trance.
I don't want a trance.
I don't want a trance. I don't wanna be worthy of that. No thanks. I'm good in my own life. My own little bubble here. That's good. So in the next segment, we're going to now talk about after everybody falls, we're going to learn about this one person who didn't fall and why she didn't.
Segment 4 34:48
Okay, I'm gonna say it, this is probably my favorite part of this whole episode is the segment and so we're just gonna jump right in because I love it so much. Go to Alma chapter 19 verse 16. And Susan, will you read that verse for us?
"And it came to pass that they did call on the name of the Lord, in their might, even until they had all fallen to the earth, save it were one of the Lamanitish..."
Okay, "Abish" right?
I don't know. I mean, people pronounce it... I think it's "Abish" because the vowels are long in most of the Book of Mormon name's, but some people say "Abish," I don't. Say whatever.
Okay. All right.
"And it came to pass that they did call on the name of the Lord, in their might, even until they had all fallen to the earth, save it were one of the Lamanitish women, whose name was Abish, she having been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father."
Okay, mark her name. Here we go. I'm going to tell you everything I could find out about Abish. I love this woman so much. First of all, she is only one of six women that are given a name in the Book of Mormon. And this is remarkable because look back you guys, not even the King's wife is named. Kingdom Lamoni's wife doesn't even get a name in there. And she's a servant, so the fact that she's a woman and a servant because the other names that are in there are Sariah, of course, who was married to Abraham. Eve, Mary, then we have Sarah and Isabella the harlot. So her name gets put in the Book of Mormon. Here's the other cool thing, what her name means in Hebrew.
So her name -- Abish -- it's two words. "Ab" in Hebrew means "father." "Ish" in Hebrew means "man." And so this belief is her name means "father is man." Now you hear that and you're like, "Alright, well what does that have to do with anything?" Now here's what I think is so cool. First of all, many Israelites have the "Ab" name at the beginning, throughout the Bible, you've got Abner, Abimelech, Absalom, and the women in Bible are Abishag and Abigail. So there's a lot of this theodoric which means "bearing the name of God" in a name. So adding an "Ab" in the front, totally normal. So that would mean "father" or "God." So another way is "God is man," is another way her name could have been rendered.
Now this is what's neat, when it says, "It was the vision of her father," see that at the end of the verse? "A remarkable vision of her father." There's three different ways scholars look at this. One interpretation is that Abish herself had this vision, and in her vision she saw her father. Another way is that the vision was actually had by the father of Abish, and he shared it with her, or three, she herself saw the father in her own vision. And so I think that's pretty remarkable, and here we have this name. To the outside of these verses, I'm gonna have you put these cross references because if she had been named by her Laminate father, this is kind of cool, she could have had her own vision and her father could have had a vision. She could have been named after his vision of God as a man. And this is taught all throughout Scripture. First Nephi, chapter 11 verse 16, is a great cross reference. Mosiah chapter 15 is another great cross reference, and you can find more, there's several throughout Scripture -- Isaiah, Mosiah, Jose, all of these talks about how God is man, Jesus Christ condescended below all things to become like man. And so that is what her name means. Isn't that kinda cool?
I love that.
I love it.
I never knew that.
I love that here she is a Laminitis woman, like she shouldn't have even been privy to this. She should be hardened and ferocious and want to kill Ammon who's on the ground, and she was converted, and because of her conversion, she doesn't need to fall into a trance. She's been a believer all along.
And talk about patience, Tammy. I marked that with my patience coloring because she's been converted unto the Lord for many years.
Yes. Susan read verse 17.
"Thus, having been converted to the Lord, and never having made it known, therefore, when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni had fallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen, and the king, and Ammon lay prostrate upon the earth, she knew that it was the power of God; and supposing that this opportunity, by making known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people."
That took courage. There's her courage.
I marked that verse, "courage" and "teach." Farley, what were you gonna say?
Well, I was just gonna say it's so much courage because she kept it secret, her whole life, and then all of a sudden she was like, "And now's the time!"
"Here we go."
Here we go.
She was ready and willing.
Talk about patience.
...and waiting, knowing that the time was going to happen.
So turn the page because then we have some great verses about example. Okay, so she runs from house to house, and then we have one of the Lamanites come in and they see Ammon on the ground and he's mad because his brother was killed by Ammon, and so he tries to go and kill Ammon, and you remember what happened?
He dropped dead. Just drops dead.
Just drops dead, right there.
I always think about that like, "Ah!" Clunk.
Yeah. And done. And scene. He's out. So all of this, everyone's marveling at what's happening and that he has died, and then we have a great example and this is where Abish comes back in in verses 28 and 29. Becky, will you read those verses for us?
28 and 29.
"And thus the contention began to be exceedingly sharp among them. And while they were thus contending, the woman servant who had caused the multitude to be gathered together came, and when she saw the contention which was among the multitude she was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto tears."
"And it came to pass that she went and took the queen by the hand, that perhaps she might raise her from the ground; and as soon as she touched her hand she arose and stood upon her feet, and cried with a loud voice, saying: O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell! O blessed God, have mercy on this people!"
I love the beauty in that. She goes and grabs the queen by the hand and raises her up, woman to woman. The beauty and imagery in that verse I just love. It's the same thing that Aaron will do when he raises the king, he'll grab him by the hand and raise him up, later, we'll study that later. And I just thought, I don't know, there's so many thoughts about that.
And I think it's also beautiful that she knew that that's what she needed to do. I mean, it wasn't that she she had to get the queen and she wasn't afraid, everyone else was afraid. They felt like they were going to be struck dead. You know? But then she was like, "Oh, I'm gonna go do it." Once again, it's that courage, like here it's time, I'm just gonna do it.
Okay, Becky, I want you to read this quote then, this is so great. It's what you're talking about. This is from the book called “Our Sisters in the Latter-day Scriptures - Women in the Book of Mormon”. This is what the author Jerri Hurd has to say about Abish. I just love this quote.
“She who had been prepared years before by her belief in a miraculous vision, who had waited faithfully for the moment when she would be able to declare her belief, was at last witnessing the spiritual awakening of her people. Perhaps restrained from declaring herself openly, she nevertheless had worked quietly among her associates. Twice her queen had declared that she was willing to believe Ammon because of the word of her servants, one of whom was Abish. How had Abish cultivated her Queen's trust? How had she nurtured her own faith, secretly living her religion while waiting for the moment when she could reveal it? And when Ammon prayed until he was spiritually overcome, did he give thanks for the faith and foresight of Abish? The story is too brief, leaving many questions unanswered; but faith like the queen's, "greater than any among the Nephites," does not blossom overnight. The household of King Lamoni had been carefully cultivated by Abish the servingwoman.”(Jerri W. Hurd, “Our Sisters in the Latter-day Scriptures- Women in the Book of Mormon” DB 1987, 26)
I want you to cross reference these verses because here's what's so beautiful, so significant about Abish. So going back to her name, you can either put it in chapter 16, or somewhere at the top of your page, I want you to write Alma chapter 23, verses five through seven, and then a comma, and then put 53, verses 10 through 22. We're not going to read all those, you just need them as references. These are the instrument in God's hands. We're going to see how far reaching her instrument played because it wasn't just this isolated moment, this is what's so cool. And I love that Sister Elaine Dalton actually pointed this out in her General Conference talk in 2011. So if you go to Alma chapter 23, verses five through seven, and then Alma chapter 53:10-22. Here's what you're going to read, and I'm just going to read this quote by Sister Dalton because it sums up these verses.
“The power of Abish’s conversion and testimony was instrumental in changing an entire society. The people who heard her testify became a people who “were converted unto the Lord, [and] never did fall away,” and their sons became the stripling warriors!” (Elaine Dalton, Love Her Mother,” General Conference October 2011)
Oh, wow. Wow.
That is unbelievable.
Thank you, Abish. I just think it's incredible when we think about our own examples. We may feel like we have one little insignificant moment or maybe you don't feel like you have much to contribute. Who knows what Abish... here she'd been quiet for so long and here's her moment to shine. And that moment is going to create a lasting legacy of 2,500 stripling warriors, and then us, who will read their story and our story. I love that.
Well, I love that she was a serving woman. Like she wasn't any... she was not...
In the limelight or...
Yeah, she was in the trenches. I mean, she was in the trenches, and we all think, you know, "Oh well if I'm going to be serving I need to be like this big example and out speaking it out," you know?
Have a bigger calling or...
Right. "I need to be Relief Society president instead of the the nursery leader," you know, or whatever.
Yeah. So it made me think because then I thought you know the power of Abish's testimony converted thousands, but so can ours, we agree, and then I wonder, at what cost? Because there are Abish's out there. People who fully understand what their testimony has cost them or will cost them. By declaring the divinity of Jesus Christ, it comes at a cost for all of us, and I love this quote by Elder Ballard, he says, “To gain and forever hold on to a testimony of gospel truths is worth whatever price in spiritual preparation we may be required to pay.” So in our next segment, we're going to talk about what Ammon's testimony nearly cost him. (M. Russell Ballard, Pure Testimony, October General Conference 2004).
Segment 5 46:06
Hey, have you guys ever been in a situation where you were literally scared for your life? I'm just wondering.
Ohh, literally scared for my life...
I've never heard this story, Farley, talk to me.
Well, it was on my mission.
Um, oh gosh, it's pretty scary Tam. I don't know. I mean, it was just going into... we had gotten a referral for a Book of Mormon, and we went to drive it to this guy's house and we went into the house, and there was just a really bad spirit, and we just knew that if we stayed, things weren't going to be good. And we ran, we ran literally like, I think I left mid-sentence and just, shoot.
And Tammy, you know me, I'm a big fraidy cat so rarely am I going to put myself in any situation where I'm going to be afraid for my life.
On my mission, my companion and I got invited to do dinner with an investigator. And we did not know what her intentions were, and she poisoned us. And we got done eating, and it was, it was not normal food, and we were being polite and so we ate it. And after we got done, she started this awful, evil cackle, and we said, "Why are you laughing at us?" And she said, "Because I just created it," and she named the dish that she made for us, and then what she had put in it, and she said, "I just poisoned you," and my companion and I looked at her like, "We gotta go," and we ran, we ran home. And we called our mission president and we said, "We just had an investigator say that she poisoned us," and we were feeling a little bit sick to our stomach. He just said, "All right, just stay in your apartment for the rest of the day, and we'll see what happens," and we ended up just, we just had the, you know, "Chowchilla Rochus" as you call it. We didn't die thank goodness.
That's scary though. That was very scary.
Oh, that was a weird story. Well, this next mission story in the scriptures is of Ammon's is like one of those moments where his life is on the line. And so we're going to read about that. Let's go to Alma chapter 20, and I I'm going to kind of just summarize this. So, King Lamoni, he has joined the Church and his wife. This has been a really cool experience, and now, Ammon says to him, "I need to leave. I need to go and get my brothers out of prison." And the king says, "Well, how do you even know they're in prison?" And I love how he says, "Well, the spirit told me that they're imprisoned and I need to go and save my brothers. I need to get the sons of Mosiah out."
So they're headed to the land of Middoni to do that, and that's in verses two, three, and four. And while they're headed towards the land of Middoni, they meet up with Lamoni's father and the father's upset, this is all verses one through seven. His father's mad, he's like, "You missed my feast, and why are you with this Nephite who's a child of a liar? What are you doing?" And then he says, "You need to kill this Nephite that you're with, kill Ammon." And King Lamoni is like, "I'm not going to kill him." The king's father basically is like, "Then I'm going to kill you." And so he pulls his sword out to kill him, and we have the beautiful story where Ammon then steps in. And so let's go there in Alma chapter 20 and we're going to look at verse 17 and 18, and I started out the first word for me was "teach." I felt like the first thing he does is he teaches the king in these two verses. Farley, will you read verses 17 and 18?
"But Ammon stood forth and said unto him: Behold, thou shalt not slay thy son; nevertheless, it were better that he should fall than thee, for behold, he has repented of his sins; but if thou shouldst fall at this time, in thine anger, thy soul could not be saved."
"And again, it is expedient that thou shouldst forbear; for if thou shouldst slay thy son, he being an innocent man, his blood would cry from the ground to the Lord his God, for vengeance to come upon thee; and perhaps thou wouldst lose thy soul."
What I like is he teaches them about repentance, but it's also clearly courage. I mean, he could die here. What are some other things that you guys marked? Do you have any other colors for patience or example, and verses?
Yes, I have courage on verse 15.
Yeah, why? Read that. Tell me about that.
"But Lamoni said unto him: I will not slay Ammon, neither will I return to the land of Ishmael, but I go to the land of Middoni that I may release the brethren of Ammon, for I know that they are just men and holy prophets of the true God."
And Lamoni just is so brave. Here's his father and he's going to defy him and say, "I am not going to kill this Nephite."
I liked these verses for patience because what's interesting is in Alma chapter 20, verses 23 and 24, Ammon's offered half of the kingdom. The tides turned. So here the king is going to kill Ammon, and now the king realizes, "Oh, this Ammon's stronger than me, he could kill me," and the King's like, "Don't kill me, don't kill me. I'll even give you half my kingdom. Grant me my life," in verses 23 and 24. I love that Ammon says, "I just want to free my brother's. Like I don't want anything else from you, just free my brothers and let us go on our own way." And he doesn't take the life of the king, and the beauty in that is then in verses 25 and 26. I highlighted these as example because I just love the example that Ammon is when the king realizes, "Oh, he's not going to take my life."
So verse 25 says, "Now when Ammon had said these words, the king began to rejoice because of his life." I should say he would, right?
And then verse 26: "And when he saw that Ammon had no desire to destroy him, and when he also saw the great love he had for his son Lamoni, he was astonished exceedingly." And then he said, "Because you love my sons so much, and you gave me my life, I'm gonna let your brethren (and you know the sons of Mosiah) go free, and I'll let my son keep his kingdom." Just the example of love, the results of that was huge, huge.
Well, I totally see that through this whole story that that love is such a foreign concept, and when that love comes in, there's like this complete turn about, this complete change with the Lamanites and the love that you know Ammon shows at the very beginning, and then King Lamoni, and now, you know, King Lamoni's father. That, that's like this flippety flip. And I think that, I don't know, I just think that's beautiful.
Susan, tell me what you marked.
After that, Tammy, I marked for courage and patience, both colors in verses 29 and 30.
Oh, Susan, these are great verses because I love what's happening is that they do go to the land of Middoni, and Lamoni, he finds favor in the eyes of the king of the land. This is what it says, "And now Ammon's brethren are going to be freed from prison." So that's kind of what's happened up to this point. Read those two verses that you marked though.
"And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were patient in all their sufferings."
"And, as it happened, it was their lot to have fallen into the hands of a more hardened and a more stiff-necked people; therefore they would not hearken unto their words, and they had cast them out, and had smitten them, and had driven them from house to house, and from place to place, even until they had arrived in the land of Middoni; and there they were taken and cast into prison, and bound with strong cords, and kept in prison for many days, and were delivered by Lamoni and Ammon."
I don't know. I mean, just that extreme, I don't know, patience and courage, both of those sons of Mosiah to go through that.
Well, and Susan, I love that you picked those two verses because you can see the love that Ammon has for his brethren. I mean, he's so sad to see their worn skin. You just you know he's a loving man. And it makes me think back to, Farley, what you had said earlier about the effects of love and what love can do. And so I just want to know, in your own lives, when has someone's heart softened because of your love? Do you have or maybe has your heart been softened because someone loved you?
Okay, so I was teaching gospel doctrine and this was several years ago, and there was this woman that was in my class and she was quite aggressive in her like wanting to prove me wrong, or you know, getting... you know what I'm talking about, Tam. You've seen it. You know, Susan, what I'm talking about. Anyway, so I just I would come home and be so frustrated because she would kind of ruin the lessons and kind of hijack them, and I was like, "Oh my heck, I don't even know what to do." And I just felt the spirit so strong that I needed to love her. And by you know chance or not, I was made at that point, her visiting teacher at the time. And so she wouldn't let anybody in her house. She wouldn't let anybody help her, but I just kept praying for her every day, every day, every day.
And then finally, she started to soften as it went on. And then at the end, I remember when she was moving, she let Doug and I in to get her furniture, and we moved her furniture out. And I cried and like hugged her and she wouldn't let anybody hug her either, but by the end, I was like hugging her and she was crying and I was crying. And she said, "You're the only person I'm going to miss."
That experience taught me that even though, I mean it goes back to the instrument, being an instrument in his hands, that I couldn't have done it. I couldn't have loved this woman yet I was able to be that instrument at that point.
Thank you for sharing that Becky. That's a great story. I can't believe I haven't heard that one. I love that story.
I was just prompted as Becky was speaking about love, and you know, my brother is gay, and I have many, quite a few gay friends and one example of some love that I have been shown and I have shown, is somebody that I work with who is transitioning and struggling with his identity, and not feeling God's love. And so I just loved this person, no matter what, and in return, he really has sent me kind emails and just said, "You have always been there no matter... and loved me," and he recognized that I loved him. I was given a gift seeing the love that God has for this person.
Susan, I love that you shared that because what's so wonderful about love is it can be universal. I mean, look back at the scriptures. There should not have been any love between King Lamoni and Ammon. They were enemies. I mean, the traditions of the fathers taught them to hate each other, and yet, here comes Ammon and he's going to love and then King Lamoni is going to love Ammon. And then this love is going to be perpetuated among everybody. So I just think it's so important for us to kind of check ourselves when we question who we can love and not love when God loves everyone.
And can I just say this, the love that Abish had for her queen.
That doesn't get into that relationship with the love that Abish must have had for her queen. That that's who she chose. She took her hand. Oh, that kind of makes me cry. And then that love perpetuated on and on and on, and here we are reading about it.
If all you can do is love, that's enough. That's maybe all you need to do.
It has to be example. Yeah, that's for example.
I'm not smart enough to do anything but love. Let's be honest.
You are a lover, Becky, I'll tell you that right now.
I'm a lover, not a fighter.
No, I think it's a great thing for us to discuss. Thank you for pointing that out. Now, here's what I want to do, next to verse 26, I want to give you this cross reference because this is where he becomes the instrument in the hand of God. So just put Alma chapter 22 verse three, we're going to get to that later. But maybe right there, Alma chapter 22 verse three, and then highlight that in the color you chose for the instrument in the hand of God because then it allows then Aaron's now going to teach the king and all of the king's people and we'll get to that later.
So this is kind of cool, when we talk about the effects that love can have. I love this. So much love. I love this quote my Elder Ballard. So this is neat. He says, “Member missionary work does not require the development of strategies or gimmicks. It does require faith—real faith and trust in the Lord. It also requires genuine love.” (M. Russell Ballard, “The Essential Role of Member Missionary Work” General Conference, April 2003)
Just this beautiful, genuine love that we've talked about. Love changes hearts, and anyone who's ever experienced this firsthand, you guys know the experience never leaves you as Becky has beautifully shared with us. So in the next segment, we're going to discover just how far reaching this love was and who else benefited from Ammon's love.
Segment 6 58:23
I just want to jump right into the scriptures because here's what I want us to read, and then I have a question for Becky. Let's go to Alma chapter 17, verse 10. We briefly read this, we did not spend a lot of time on it, but we need to because it's so important. Everyone go back to Alma chapter 17, verse 10.
Verse 10, says, "And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted."
Now, put Alma chapter 26, verses 26 through 29. You need the context for that verse. Here's why they prayed and here's why they needed to be comforted.
"But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls."
"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."
"And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God."
That verse 27 gets me every time I read it. I want to cry. "When our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back." Who has not felt that? So Becky, you are a licensed meditation and mindfulness specialist. I mean this is your life's work. So I want you to just tell me, what are some tips or what advice do you have to overcoming discouragement in the face of hardship? How do you not turn back like they wanted to?
Okay. Well, in the mindfulness world, there's two concepts that help with depression and with anxiety and with all of these emotions, these hard emotions that get to us, and those two concepts are awareness and acceptance. So when we become aware of our situation, even though it may be hard, and then we accept it as it is. So I can go through Ammon and all of his brethren, became aware of their situation and accepted it and said, "This is where we're at. This is what it is." Ammon saw it as an opportunity as moving forward, and there's another concept called a silver lining exercise. So if you look at it, and that's what I think that they were doing, looking at it like a silver lining. They were seeing that, "Look, we accept, we were aware of our situations being amongst these terrible, you know, murderous Lamanites." And then their hearts were changed. "We were aware of it and then we accepted it, and then because we accepted it as an opportunity to show forth God's love. And now look, we have the silver lining. Now look at all of these Lamanites that have been converted because we were able to stick with it."
Can I ask you this, Becky? And this is personal.
I'm recognizing that...
That's okay. I'm an open book.
I know you are. So let me ask you this. Think back 25 years ago when you were in your deepest depression, and your your heart wanted to turn back. Why didn't it? I mean, you can silver-line it now for sure, but in that moment, what experience did you have that the Lord comforted you? How did you get through that?
I think that recognizing love of people, that did love me even though that was very um, that was really difficult because it was such a hard time. But now sitting here looking at you two, dear friends. You were there. I mean, Tammy, you were there with the scriptures and Susan you were just always there and always have been. Just recognizing that people loved me, people cared, and then taking that moment to sit and actually say it even out loud. "People care." That's the truth. No one ever gets out of this life without help. I just think that it's recognizing who God has put into your life, and once that, once you can see, "Wait a minute, I did feel a twinge of hope."
And then taking that and building upon that, somehow recognizing that this moment is a beautiful one. And seeing as, you know, our friend Holly says "life in moments, as opposed to long, days, years," but that moment is beautiful because of this person.
Wow. Thank you, Becky, thank you for sharing that. When I think of these scriptures, specifically, the next story that we're going to talk about, the very first thing that stood out to me was patience with a capital "P." I want to jump right into Alma chapter 20, verse 29. I want us to mark this and highlight it. Susan, you shared this with us, but I think we need to just read it again. In Alma chapter 20, we're gonna look at verse 29. Because after talking about what we just talked about, some different words will stand out to us. Susan, will you read those for us again.
"And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were patient in all their sufferings."
And now I want us to cross reference that with Alma chapter 21, verse 13. So they're in this Middoni prison, and they were patient in their sufferings was what that verse says, and then Aaron starts out in Jerusalem and in the name of Jerusalem in the Book of Mormon, and he's teaching in their synagogues, and he did not find any success there. And the people actually mocked him, so he leaves, and he meets up with his brother called Muloki and Ammah, however you say those, I don't really know, and some other brethren and they all together go to the land of Middoni, where they're then taken and cast into prison, and that is in Alma chapter 21, verse 13. Becky, will you read verse 13?
"Nevertheless, Aaron and a certain number of his brethren were taken and cast into prison, and the remainder of them fled out of the land of Middoni unto the regions round about."
Oh and verse 14 because it's a good one.
"And those who were cast into prison suffered many things, and they were delivered by the hand of Lamoni and Ammon, and they were fed and clothed."
And so that's where they meet up. Ammon and Lamoni come, they get them out of prison. What we really need to look at is the courage that they had, which you can read about in verse 10. They tried to teach a hardened people who ended up mocking him. Okay, so we're going to pause in the storyline really quickly because there's a word that I want us to mark and understand because we're going to read it a lot as we studied the book of Alma. And it's introduced to us in Alma chapter 21, verse 20, and that is this word called "synagogue." So let's make sure we mark that.
So in verse 20, it says, "But he caused that there should be synagogues built in the land of Ishmael; and he caused that his people, or the people who were under his reign, should assemble themselves together."
Cross reference it with Second Nephi chapter 26, verse 26 because in second Nephi 26:26, Nephi is going to call the synagogue "houses of worship." Now the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, but the first translation was in Greek from Hebrew. And so when it was translated in Greek, they're going to use the word "synagogue" because it's a Greek word to describe any place of gathering. So there's that reference, that meaning of the word "synagogue" means to gather themselves together and we can see that in the Book of Mormon. Because I was wondering like, "Why are they in synagogues? What's going on? Why isn't it like a... I don't know, a grass hut church or something?" I don't know what whatever they're building. I don't know.
Now let's jump back into the storyline, and let's find out what's going on now with Aaron because he's our next missionary, and he's the next mission story that we're going to read. This is found in Alma chapter 22. We're going to start in verse two. Aaron's coming in and he's going to now teach the king, right? Lamoni's dad, and they have this wonderful conversation because now the King's like, "Well, here I kind of have a question. My life was spared and Ammon happened to mention something about repentance," and so I marked verses actually seven through 15 as Aaron's teachings. Everything he teaches.
So did I.
Me too yeah.
And ladies, tell me what you found. Examples of courage, patience, teach, what did you find in the story of Aaron?
Well, after the teaching, same with me, that whole page I marked in green for teaching, but I just loved in verse 18, I marked that as courage. So, when the king, now he says, "I will give away all my sins to know thee..." That to me, takes courage and faith. Faith that what Aaron just said is true, and now he's ready. He's ready to give away everything.
And then at the very end of verse 18, it tells us about him what? He was struck as if he were...
Dead. So we have another trance, so put that word next to those verses, verses 18 and 19. We have another trance, and the king is going to go into this trance and have this experience. Okay, we're gonna do the last verse, verse 26 because this was my instrument in the hands of God. I just love this verse. I'm going to give you guys one little point of information outside of the story. In verse 27, "They were all in the regions around about." Draw a line right there because from that moment on, until you get to verse 35, that is all of Mormon's writings. And when you get to verse 35, it says, "And now I, after having said this, return again to the account of Ammon and Aaron, Omner and Himni, and their brethren."
The "I" is Mormon, and so that is Mormon kind of just giving us like a summation of the borders of the land. So when I was reading this and studying it, I remember thinking, "Who is the 'I?'" Who's speaking here?" So that "I" in verse 35, is Mormon, and those are his writings, the middle of 27 until verse 35. So I just wanted to give you that little bit of information. And now, let's jump back into our story.
So verse 26, says, "And it came to pass that when the king saw that the people were pacified, he caused that Aaron and his brethren should stand forth in the midst of the multitude, and that they should preach the word unto them."
"And it came to pass that the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about..."
A proclamation to listen to these men, to not hurt them, and we'll talk about that next week, which is such a great story. All of these young boys, you know, we've got Aaron, Ammon, Alma the Younger, Amulek, and all the companions, they really, and we've talked about this, they've endured so many hardships before they were able to help others turn to the Lord. And Thomas S. Monson wonderfully sums this up with this quick little quote. Becky, will you read this quote for us?
Yes, of course.
“To reach, to teach, to touch the precious souls whom our Father has prepared for His message is a monumental task. Success is rarely simple. Generally it is preceded by tears, trials, trust, and testimony” (Thomas S. Monson, “Tears, Trials, Trust, Testimony,” Ensign, May 1987, 43).
Oo I love that.
Why do you love it? Tell me.
It just feels like when we go out and you know, we're going to teach a class and we're going to go on a mission, we have all of these hopes and dreams, and we think, "Oh, it's going to be so great to be in the middle of this wonderful experience." And then we end up tending sheep, or in the case of our missionaries right now, sitting in an apartment. I mean, I'm thinking about...
Coming home early.
Yeah, coming home early, and having this experience of what is this? Tears, trial, testimony, I mean, that is honestly what it is to be an instrument in the hands of God.
Becky, thank you for summing that up. I loved everything you said. That was just perfect. And in my scriptures, I wrote the "Four T's" because it sums up the stories of all of these young boys -- tears, trials, trust, and testimony.
So that's it. That's our scripture block. I can't believe how fast that went, and that was beautiful everything you guys shared was so great. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So here's my question for you. We do this at the end of every episode. Tell me what your takeaway was? What maybe stood out to you, anything significant, something you didn't know before, or you just want to re-talk about.
I guess, a takeaway that I have is the example of Abish and her quiet, patient example and her courage. I know some Abish's and I just love them. So thank you, Tammy, so much.
Yeah, you bet.
My takeaway is love. That when you have love, you can be patient, you can be brave, you can be an instrument if you just have that.
Thank you. My takeaway is... Farley, when you talked about different approaches to depression, and you taught us the silver lining approach. That really resonated within me because I think a lot of times, and we talked about this earlier, how our lives have been hard and we look back over the years and all that we've experienced and gone through. I think we all have that ability to do the silver lining and go, "Okay, I can see God's hand in all this." And sometimes you just have to wait it out and know that he is going to be with you, that our hearts will be comforted, and that those times when our hearts are depressed and we're about to turn back that God will be there for us. Thank you ladies, thank you so much for sharing, for being with me. I love you guys so much.
I love you Tam.
Well, for those of you listening, we would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. If you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or followed us on Instagram, you totally should because it's a great place to ask questions as you study. And I try to answer anything that I can during the week when you guys post questions, so ask away. And every week at the end of the week, it's usually on a Sunday, we do a post calling for your big takeaway. Comment on the post that relates to the lesson and let us know what you learned. And I read every single one of them.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday, and it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we have the links to all of the references and the entire transcript of this discussion, so you should check that 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 are awesome study group participants were Becky Farley and Susan Stanger, and you can find more information about these ladies at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by KaRyn Lay with post production 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 if at any point your heart is depressed and you're about to turn back, remember you are God's favorite.
Just so you know I can hear that recorder from like the bathroom from my headphones.
I found the recorder last night. I found it and I played it. I have skills with this.
I should have sent you my harmonica, Tam. Hey, do you want me to get my harmonica app? And we could do a little duet.
Let's save that for a girl's weekend.
The sons of Mosiah are returning to Zarahemla after their mission when they are reunited with Alma (Alma 17:1-2). The beginning of chapter 17 is the end of their mission, Alma 17:19 is when the flashback begins, where we will jump to the beginning of their mission stories.
What did the sons of Mosiah do in order to remain "Alma's brethren in the Lord"?
1. They "waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth" (Alma 17:2). Waxed: to pass from one state to another, see third entry in webstersdictionary1828.com.
2. They were "men of sound understanding" (Alma 17:2).
3. They searched the scriptures diligently (Alma 17:2).
4. They had "given themselves to much prayer" (Alma 17:3).
5. They fasted often (Alma 17:3).
6. They did suffered much and endured it well (Alma 17:5).
Spirit of Prophecy:
Scripture: ". . .for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10).
Quote: “Of the sacred gifts of the Spirit, one that I believe has impact on each of our lives is the gift of prophecy or revelation. This gift is different from the priesthood office of prophet. The gift of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. …President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) taught, ‘All members of the Church should seek for the gift of prophecy, for their own guidance’ (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. , 1:201) Every Church member, if faithful, has the right to receive revelation for his or her personal blessing.” (Robert D. Hales, “Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Feb. 2002, 15)
What sort of people will the sons of Mosiah teach? What will their mission be like?
- "And assuredly it was great, for they had undertaken to preach the word of God to a awild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them; and their hearts were set upon riches, or upon gold and silver, and precious stones; yet they sought to obtain these things by murdering and plundering, that they might not labor for them with their own hands" (Alma 17:14)
- "Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they alaughed us to scorn?" (Alma 26:23).
The sons of Mosiah prayed to be instruments in the hands of God:
"9 And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and aprayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an binstrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the ctraditions of their fathers, which were not correct.
*Read about this idea more in Alma chapter 26.
Quote: “I always want the Lord to know that if He needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him” (Video, “On the Lord’s Errand: The Life of Thomas S. Monson”).
The 4 things the Lord needed the sons of Mosiah to do, in order to be instruments in the hands of God: Alma 17:11-12
- Establish, or teach, the Lord’s word.
- Be patient in long suffering and afflictions.
- Show forth good examples.
- Have courage.
Tammy's color key for marking scriptures, according to the 4 things required of the Lord in Alma 17:11-12:
- Green: Teach
- Yellow: Patience
- Blue: Example
- Red: Courage
- Any Color: Instrument in the hands of God
Susan's highlighted scriptures:
Becky's highlighted scriptures:
Tammy's highlighted scriptures:
- (Alma 17:19-20) When Ammon goes to the land of Ishmael he is immediately bound and taken before the king. Tammy highlighted as Patience.
- (Alma 17:31-32) Ammon tells the other servants that they should not be afraid, invites them to go look for the flocks so that the king will not slay them. Susan marked as courage, Tammy marked as courage, and Becky marked as teaching.
- (Alma 17:30-31) Becky marked Ammon talking to the other servants as example.
- (Alma 17:36-38) Ammon smites the arms of the Lamanites who come to scatter the sheep. Tammy marked as courage.
- (Alma 18:24-40) Ammon teaching the king. Tammy marked all of these verses as teach.
- (Alma 18:24-26) The first thing that Ammon asks the king is, "Believest thou that there is a God?"
- (Alma 18:40) The king believed all of the words that Ammon taught. Tammy marked as "instruments in the hands of God."
- (Alma 18:42) After the king believes what Ammon teaches him, he falls to the earth in a trance.
- (Alma 19:10) The wife believes what Ammon says. Tammy marked as example.
- (Alma 19:12) The king arises from his trance, praises the name of God. *praise, assert praise* quote from Robert Millet.
Quote: Blessed be the Name of God To praise God is one thing; to praise the name of God is another. God's name is a symbol of his essence, power, and authority. To praise his name is to do more than acknowledge the verity of his existence; it is to assert that salvation comes only in and through his holy name. It is to attest that no proper prayer can be offered save it be offered in his, name; it is to acknowledge that all gospel ordinances must be performed by the authority of his name; it is to profess that the gospel cannot be taught save it is taught in his name, that miracles, healings, prophecies-indeed, "all things"-must be properly done in the sacred name of Christ if they are to be recognized and upheld in the heavens. (See D&C 46:31; Robert L. Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie, In His Holy Name, chapters 1, 5-6.)
Other instances in the scriptures when people have fallen into a trance:
- Balaam: Numbers 24:4, 16
- King Saul: 1 Samuel 19:20-24
- Ezekiel: Ezekiel 3:14-23, Ezekiel 8:1-3
- Peter: Acts 10:10-11, Acts 11:5
- Paul: Acts 22:7
Quote: “From what we can deduce from scriptural writ, it appears that a trance is a state in which the body and its functions become quiescent (calm, dormant) in order that the full powers of the Spirit may be centered on the revelations of heaven. Freed from the fetters of a mortal body, man's spirit can be ushered into the divine presence; it can hear what otherwise could not be heard and see what otherwise could not be seen-even the visions of eternity and even the Almighty himself. The test of the legitimacy of the religious trance, like that of tongues is the efficacy of its purpose. Its genuineness must be ascertained by the same standards that determine the verity of revelation in all other forms-that is, by the asking of such questions as: Does it teach faith in Christ, repentance sacrifice, obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, and loyalty to the Lord's current and constituted Church and his anointed servants?" (Robert L. Millett, Joseph Fielding McConkie, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3, Pg. 139-140).
Who is the one person that does not fall into a trance?
"And it came to pass that they did call on the name of the Lord, in their might, even until they had all fallen to the earth, save it were one of the Lamanitish awomen, whose name was Abish, she having been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father" (Alma 19:16).
What do we know about Abish?
She is only 1 of 6 women in the Book of Mormon that are given a name. The other five are: Sariah, Sarah, Eve, Mary, and Isabel.
Quote: “The preservation of her name is even more remarkable … not only [because she was] a woman, but she was a servant. Both factors would virtually guarantee her anonymity. Even the queen [i.e., Lamoni’s wife] is not named.( Brant A. Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Textual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Volume 4: Alma (Salt Lake City, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2007), 303.)
Her name in Hebrew means:
Ab: Father (see biblestudytools.com)
Ish: means man (see biblehub.com)
Quote: "Many Israelite names have the word ʼab- (“Father”) as a theophoric (bearing the name of God) element. Israelites not only understood but apparently relished the double entendre-potential in these names — that the “father” element could be understood as not only referring to a deity but also the birth father of the name-bearer." Examples later mentioned in the article: Abner, Abimelech, Absalom, for male names and Abishag, Abigail for female names (Matthew L. Bowen, "Father is a Man: The remarkable Mention of the Name Abish in Alma 19:16 and it’s Narrrative Context,” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 14 (2015), 77-93)
Quote: “The vision of her father” may have 3 possible interpretations. One interpretation is that Abish herself had this vision and in her vision she saw her father. Another possible interpretation is that the vision was actually had by the father of Abish. She herself saw Heavenly Father in her own vision. "Regardless of which interpretation is correct, this conversion of Abish plays an important role in converting large numbers of Lamanites." (Matthew L. Bowen, "Father is a Man: The remarkable Mention of the Name Abish in Alma 19:16 and it’s Narrrative Context,” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 14 (2015): 77-93)
Scriptures for cross referencing "God as man" : 1 Nephi 11:16, Mosiah 15, Isaiah, Hosea - all talking about how God is Man.
What does Abish do?
- (Alma 19:17) Abish had been converted unto the Lord but never made it known. When everyone fell into a trance, she runs to gather everyone so that they can believe in the power of God. Susan marked as patience, Tammy marked as courage and teach.
- (Alma 19:28-29) Abish grabs the queen by the hand and raises her up.
Quote: “She who had been prepared years before by her belief in a miraculous vision, who had waited faithfully for the moment when she would be able to declare her belief, was at last witnessing the spiritual awakening of her people. Perhaps restrained from declaring herself openly, she nevertheless had worked quietly among her associates. Twice her queen had declared that she was willing to believe Ammon because of the word of her servants, one of whom was Abish. How had Abish cultivated her Queen's trust? How had she nurtured her own faith, secretly living her religion while waiting for the moment when she could reveal it? And when Ammon prayed until he was spiritually overcome, did he give thanks for the faith and foresight of Abish? The story is too brief, leaving many questions unanswered; but faith like the queen's, "greater than any among the Nephites," does not blossom overnight. The household of King Lamoni had been carefully cultivated by Abish the servingwoman.”(Jerri W. Hurd, Our Sisters in the Latter-day Scriptures- Women in the Book of Mormon, Pg. 26)
Quote: “The power of Abish’s conversion and testimony was instrumental in changing an entire society. The people who heard her testify became a people who “were converted unto the Lord, [and] never did fall away,” and their sons became the stripling warriors!” (Elaine Dalton, "Love Her Mother,” General Conference, October 2011). Reference: Alma 23:5-7, Alma 53:10-22.
Quote: “To gain and forever hold on to a testimony of gospel truths is worth whatever price in spiritual preparation we may be required to pay.” In our next segment we will talk about what Ammons testimony nearly cost him" (M. Russell Ballard, "Pure Testimony," General Conference, October 2004).
Ammon and Lamoni go together to the land of Middoni to release Ammon's brothers from prison. They meet Lamoni's father, who commands Lamoni to kill Ammon. When Lamoni refuses, his father threatens to kill Lamoni (Alma 20:1-7).
Ammon and Lamoni's Father:
- (Alma 20:15) Lamoni disagrees with his father, he states that he will not slay Ammon, but he will help Ammon and testifies that he knows Ammon and his brethren are prophets of God. Susan marked as courage.
- (Alma 20:17-18) Ammon’s response to the King, he explains that because Lamoni's father has not repented of his sins, if he were to die, he would not be saved. Tammy marked as teach, also courage, repentance.
- (Alma 20:23-24) Ammon spares the life of Lamoni's father. He is offered half the kingdom, but Ammon does not take it. He requests that his brothers be released safely, and that Lamoni may retain his kingdom. Tammy highlighted as patience.
- (Alma 20:25-26) Lamoni's father is surprised at Ammon's love for Lamoni and declares that he will govern Lamoni's land no longer. Tammy highlighted as example. Cross reference: Alma 22:3
- (Alma 20:29-30) Ammon meets his brothers in Middoni, they have suffered much and Ammon feels sorrowful seeing what they had been through. Susan marked courage and patience.
Quote: “member missionary work does not require the development of strategies or gimmicks. It does require faith—real faith and trust in the Lord. It also requires genuine love.” (M. Russell Ballard, “The Essential Role of Member Missionary Work” General Conference, April 2003)
How were the sons of Mosiah comforted?
What were some of the difficulties they faced?
"26 But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls.
"27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to aturn back, behold, the Lord bcomforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with cpatience thine dafflictions, and I will give unto you success.
"28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
"29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their asynagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been bstoned, and taken and bound with cstrong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again" (Alma 26:26-29).
Becky's tips for facing discouragement:
- Awareness and acceptance
- Silver Lining
They were patient in their sufferings:
"And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had asuffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were bpatient in all their sufferings" (Alma 20:29)
Aaron and his brethren were cast into prison until they were delivered by Ammon and Lamoni: Alma 21:13-14
- Alma 20:21, Cross reference 2 Nephi 26:26. Nephi calls the synagogues "houses of worship."
- In Greek the word "synagogue" is used to describe any place of gathering, see biblehub.com.
* In Alma chapter 22 from verse 27 to verse 35, it is Mormon who is speaking. The "I" refers to Mormon.
Quote: “To reach, to teach, to touch the precious souls whom our Father has prepared for His message is a monumental task. Success is rarely simple. Generally, it is preceded by tears, trials, trust, and testimony” (President Thomas S. Monson, “Tears, Trials, Trust, Testimony,” Ensign, May 1987).