32: "Preserved by His Marvelous Power" (August 10–16)
On a scale of 1–10, how busy are you? Okay, okay, maybe the scale should be 1–1,000,000 with all the things we have to do nowadays. But what if some of our perceived duties are actually distractions that hold us back? In this week’s study group, we’ll dig into Alma 53–63 and discover how distractions, big and small, can be destructive in our lives.
Books Referenced in this Episode:
Adapted and expanded from the best-selling talk on tape of the same name, Receiving Answers to Our Prayers gives testimony of the power of prayer, discusses how we can prepare our hearts and minds for prayer, and shares vital principles that add power to our prayers. It also gives insightful counsel on how prayer can most effectively be a blessing for parents and leaders. And it gives much-needed understanding on what to do when answers do not seem to come.
What caused Moroni to become distracted?
"22 Behold, it came to pass that while Moroni was thus breaking down the wars and contentions among his own people, and subjecting them to peace and civilization, and making regulations to prepare for war against the Lamanites, behold, the Lamanites had come into the aland of Moroni, which was in the borders by the seashore.
"23 And it came to pass that the Nephites were not sufficiently strong in the city of Moroni; therefore Amalickiah did drive them, slaying many. And it came to pass that Amalickiah took possession of the city, yea, possession of all their fortifications" (Alma 51:22-23).
While dealing with the wars and contentions among his own people, Moroni was distracted and the Lamanites took possession of many of the Nephite cities.
Intrigue: To form a plot or scheme, usually complicated, and intended to effect some purpose by secret artifices (sorabji.com).
It was because of intrigue among the Nephites that they were placed "in the most dangerous circumstances."
"8 And now it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites, on the west sea, south, while in the absence of Moroni on account of some intrigue amongst the Nephites, which caused adissensions amongst them, had gained some ground over the Nephites, yea, insomuch that they had obtained possession of a number of their cities in that part of the land.
What distractions or intrigues place us "in the most dangerous circumstances?"
Quote: “But here is a caution for families. Suppose Church leaders reduce the time required by Church meetings and activities in order to increase the time available for families to be together. This will not achieve its intended purpose unless individual family members—especially parents—vigorously act to increase family togetherness and one-on-one time. Team sports and technology toys like video games and the Internet are already winning away the time of our children and youth. Surfing the Internet is not better than serving the Lord or strengthening the family. Some young men and women are skipping Church youth activities or cutting family time in order to participate in soccer leagues or to pursue various entertainments. Some young people are amusing themselves to death—spiritual death.
Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families” (President Dallin H. Oaks, "Good, Better, Best," October 2007 conference).
"Two Thousand Stripling Warriors" by Arnold Friberg (ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
Stripling: Primarily a tall slender youth, one that shoots up suddenly. A youth in the state of adolescence, or just passing from boyhood to manhood; a lad (webstersdictionary1828.com).
What were the stripling warriors like in real life?
"20 And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for acourage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
"47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the aliberty of their bfathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their cmothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
What did their mothers know?
Cross reference Alma 56:47–48 with the proverb of a virtuous woman.
"21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet" (Proverbs 3:21).
- Snow=death (spiritual and temporal)
- Scarlet=Christ's Atonement
- Household=sphere of influence
She is not afraid of death because all her household (sphere of influence) are clothed in Christ's Atonement.
How were the stripling warriors clothed in scarlet?
"21 Yea, and they did aobey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their bmothers had taught them" (Alma 57:21).
What miracle did the stripling warriors experience?
"25 And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was anot one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.
"26 And now, their apreservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous bpower of God, because of their exceeding cfaith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.
What trials did the stripling warriors also experience?
"9 And now the cause of these our embarrassments, or the cause why they did not send more strength unto us, we knew not; therefore we were grieved and also filled with fear, lest by any means the judgments of God should come upon our land, to our overthrow and utter destruction" (Alma 58:9).
Why did the stripling warriors experience these trials even when they were doing nothing wrong?
Quote: “Now may I share some suggestions with you who face the second source of adversity, the testing that a wise Heavenly Father determines is needed even when you are living a worthy, righteous life and are obedient to His commandments.
"Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain” (Elder Richard G. Scott, "Trust in the Lord," October 1995 general conference).
What were the positive results from the trials the stripling warriors faced?
"10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.
"11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our adeliverance in him.
"12 And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to amaintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our bliberty" (Alma 58:10–12).
Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy wrote about this Book of Mormon circumstance:
Quote: “It may be that the Nephites hoped for a miracle. Maybe they wanted angels to come to deliver them, as had happened a time or two in the Old Testament. But what did they receive? The Lord gave them assurance, peace, faith, and hope. He didn’t directly destroy their enemies, but he did give them the gifts they needed so they could deliver themselves. …
“In other words, the Lord put inside these men the will and the power to do what they desired—to begin with a strong resolve and then to see it through. After their prayer was answered, the Nephites went on to secure their liberty.
“When the Lord instills hope and faith and peace and assurance in people, they can bring great things to pass. This, then, is often what we should look for when we ask for help—not a miracle to solve our problem for us, but a miracle inside, to help us come to the solution ourselves, with the Lord’s help and the Lord’s power” (Elder Gene R. Cook, Receiving Answers to Our Prayers, Deseret Book, 156–57).
What did this assurance, peace, faith, and hope lead to?
"40 But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they astand fast in that bliberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come (Alma 58:40).
After learning about Helaman's and the stripling warriors's condition, Moroni writes a scathing letter to Pahoran using this analogy:
"22 Yea, will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands, who do also sit in idleness, while there are thousands round about in the borders of the land who are falling by the sword, yea, wounded and bleeding?
"23 Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the ainward vessel shall be bcleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also" (Alma 60:22–23).
Cross Reference Matt. 23:25–26:
What does it take to cleanse the inner vessel?
Quote: “My beloved brethren and sisters, as we cleanse the inner vessel, there will have to be changes made in our own personal lives, in our families, and in the Church. The proud do not change to improve, but defend their position by rationalizing (Prsident Ezra Taft Benson, "Cleansing the Inner Vessel," April 1986 general conference).
Quote: "Speaking of gratitude he once remarked that if you will thank the Lord with all your heart every night for all the blessings of that day, you will eventually find yourself exalted in the kingdom of God.44 This is a powerful statement on the spiritual necessity of gratitude. The scripture says, 'He who receiveth all things with thankfulness [notice the 'all' in that: difficulties, strains, disaster, setbacks] shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.'45 Joseph was one of the most grateful men who ever lived" (Truman G. Madsen, "Joseph Smith Lecture 7: Doctrinal Development and the Nauvoo Era," byuspeeches.com).
The four horsemen of the relationship apocalypse:
What was Pahoran's response to Moroni's letter?
"2 I, Pahoran, who am the chief governor of this land, do send these words unto Moroni, the chief captain over the army. Behold, I say unto you, Moroni, that I do not joy in your great aafflictions, yea, it grieves my soul.
"3 But behold, there are those who do joy in your afflictions, yea, insomuch that they have risen up in arebellion against me, and also those of my people who are bfreemen, yea, and those who have risen up are exceedingly numerous" (Alma 61:2–3).
"9 And now, in your epistle you have acensured me, but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart. I, Pahoran, do not bseek for power, save only to retain my judgment-seat that I may preserve the rights and the liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us cfree" (Alma 61:9).
"19 And now, Moroni, I do joy in receiving your epistle, for I was somewhat worried concerning what we should do, whether it should be just in us to go against our brethren" (Alma 61:19).
Instead of using any of the four horseman of the relationship apocalypse, Pahoran took responsibility for his actions, clarified what was really happening, and then offered what he could to Moroni.
How did Pahoran end his letter?
"21 See that ye astrengthen Lehi and Teancum in the Lord; tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them, yea, and also all those who bstand fast in that liberty wherewith God hath made them free. And now I close mine epistle to my beloved brother, Moroni" (Alma 61:21).
More about Hagoth:
The following references are the opinions of previous Church leaders and are not considered Church doctrine. In fact, the fate of Hagoth and other Nephites who left the promised land are unknown and there is no scriptural reference as to who their descendants could be. According to Brother Dale C. LeCheminant, Ph.D., in the article"Is there any reference in scripture or other sources of information that tells where Hagoth and his ships, referred to in Alma 63, went?” "Wonderment is a great and natural human response to the unknown. It drives us to seek answers! Alas though, in the case of musing over Hagoth’s destiny, our curiosity cannot be satisfied with facts." Therefore, the following resources are simply provided for the interest of those in the Sunday on Monday study group and should not be taken as fact, Church doctrine, or evidence of Lehi's descendants.
Taken from: Charles D. Tate, Monte S, Nyman, Robert E. Parsons, Alma, The Testimony of the Word, Deseret Book, 1992, 249-260)
What happened to these lost ships? Only speculation and theories can be advanced, but the most common is that the ships were lost at sea. This is what the Nephites thought happened to them (Alma 63:8).
A second theory is that they went to Japan. The basis of this theory is the prayer Elder Heber J. Grant offered when he dedicated Japan in 1901 to receive the restored gospel.
According to Alma Taylor's reminiscences of the event, Elder Grant "spoke of those who, because of iniquity, had been cut off from among the Nephites . . . and said we felt that through the lineage of those rebellious Nephites who joined with the Lamanites, that the blood of Lehi and Nephi [and of all Israel] had been transmitted unto the people of this land, . . . [and he] asked the Lord that if this were true that He would not forget the integrity of His servants Lehi and Nephi and would verify the promises made unto them concerning their descendants in the last days upon this [the Japanese] people for we felt that they were a worthy nation" (Palmer 91).
A third theory is that they went to Hawaii. In speaking to the Hawaiians at Laie, Elder Matthew Cowley said to them: "Brothers and sisters, you are God's children—-you are Israel. You have in your veins the blood of Nephi" (Cole 384). Expounding this theory, some believe that they went not only to Hawaii, but also to other Polynesian Islands as well; this theory is the emphasis of this paper. Does the Church have an official position on any connection between Hagoth and the Polynesians? In a letter to the mission president of the Samoan Mission dated September 6, 1972, and signed by N. Eldon Tanner and Marion G. Romney, under the letterhead of the First Presidency, they wrote:
In your letter of September 6, 1972, you ask if the Polynesian people are Lamanites or Nephites. There has been much speculation about the origin of these people. We have, however, no scriptural evidence or revelation from the Lord that would tell us exactly where these people came from or their background.
The building of temples among the Polynesian people has been the source of many statements connecting these people with the Book of Mormon. When the cornerstone was laid at the New Zealand Temple, Elder Hugh B. Brown stated in the closing prayer:
"We thank Thee, O God, for revealing to us the Book of Mormon, the story of the ancient inhabitants of America. We thank Thee that from among those inhabitants, the ancestors of these whose heads are bowed before Thee here, came from the western shores of America into the South Seas pursuant to Thy plan and now their descendants humbly raise their voices in grateful acknowledgement of Thy kindness, Thy mercy, and Thy love for them and those who went before them.
"We humbly thank Thee that this building is erected in this land, so that those faithful Maoris who came here in early days, descendants of Father Lehi, may be remembered by their descendants and saved through the ordinances that will, in this House, be performed in their behalf" (Cummings 63; quoted in Cheesman 14).
In the opening sentences of his dedicatory prayer at the New Zealand Temple, April 20, 1958, President David O. McKay stated:
"We express gratitude that to these fertile islands thou didst guide descendants of Father Lehi and hast enabled them to prosper"(McKay 2).
Later, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley commented upon Europeans being assembled with the Maoris of the Pacific at the dedication of the New Zealand Temple: "Again, there was something prophetic about it. Here were two great strains of the house of Israel the children of Ephraim from the isles of Britain, and the children of Lehi from the isles of the Pacific" (509).
Nearly twenty years later, in a talk to the Samoans in 1976, President Spencer W. Kimball said:
"I thought to read to you a sacred scripture which pertains especially to you the islanders of the Pacific. It is in the sixty-third chapter of Alma." . . . [He then read the account of Hagoth.]
Segment 1 0:00
On a scale of 1 to 10, how busy would you guys say that you are? Like what consumes the majority of your time? What consumes the majority of your children's time? Now listen, I love being busy. I am really good at it too. Like, I love a calendar. Oh, and I love the kind that have the hour slots throughout the day, and I love to fill those hour slots with stuff. And I think I'm pretty good and I'm pretty careful about filling my life and my days with things that are good. However, after this week's scripture study of Alma chapter 53 through 63, I had to wonder if maybe I'm missing the mark. Like what if my perceived duties were really distractions? I mean, I'm doing good things, but I wondered, "What if my busy life was really causing dissension and was part of Satan's intrigue in my life?" Is it a tactic he even uses in all of our lives just to keep us busy? We're going to discuss what "Satan's intrigue" means and more on today's episode. 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 we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
And if you're new to our study group, we want to make sure that you know how to use this podcast. So maybe you're an overachiever who likes to get all your scripture study done in one day. Well, you can listen to the full study group discussion at once, but something else that I think is so cool is you can listen to this in segments. There's one segment per day as you study — six for the week, and they last usually around 10 to 12 minutes. When the segment's over, you're going to hear a little bit of music at the very end. So listen for the music. And another fun thing that I love about our study group is each week we're joined by two of my friends, and it's a little different each week. So today we've got Aliah Hall and Colin Rivera. Hi, friends.
How are you guys doing?
So good. So well.
Colin, you should be doing real real well. Something fun happened for you recently.
Yeah, I got hitched. I'm one of the people who will in the future be able to tell those stories of like, "Oh, yeah, I got married during all of that COVID nonsense." It was a crazy day, but yeah, it was a really fun day.
Oh my gosh, congratulations! And you're married to that Miss Karen Zelnick, who I adore. Hi Karen, if you're listening.
I am married to the Karen Zelnick. She is spectacular and I also adore her.
And Aliah, how are you faring with this quarantine? How you doing?
Yeah, I'm an extreme introvert, so my life hasn't really changed all that much.
It's like your dream come true.
It really is because now I don't have to like turn down appointments or like feel bad when I don't want to hang out with people because nobody's asking me to hang out anyways.
I had to laugh the other day because I heard someone say they don't have “FOMO”, they have “JOMO,” and I was like, "That's me!" The Joy of Missing Out, like don't invite me to stuff, totally fine, I don't need to come.
I want you to invite me, but I don't want you to expect me to come.
Oh, now you're complicated. I love that. Well, if you guys are wondering what my friends look like and you want to read more information about them, be sure to check out their bios at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Alright guys, we're finishing up the war chapters today and there is so much good stuff in here and there's a lot to cover. So friends, grab your scriptures, and let's just dig right in. Aliah and Colin, I asked at the beginning in the introduction, I asked everyone on a scale of 1 to 10, how busy would you say you are? I want to know, how busy are you on a scale of 1 to 10?
As I said before, like I am an extreme introvert. So I know that in the world today, everybody's super busy and has so much to do, but on a scale of 1 to 10 I would say I have maybe a 6.
But you're a working mom. You work.
I know but I also nap every day. I love a nap.
Perfect. How busy are you Colin?
I'm probably between a 6 and 17 out of 10... Yeah, it's just been nonstop. Getting married was awesome, but then moving and I'm going to grad school in the fall... and yes, it's just a whole thing.
Oh wow. If you were to say what consumes the majority of your time, what would it be? Or your kid's time.
Work probably consumes more of my time than I wish it did, but when I'm not at work, I'm just with my family at home and that part I love.
Yeah, definitely. I think I'd say something similar. I mean work for sure, and then yeah, family and then there's kind of a never-ending stream of errands. I don't know. It just feels like, it feels like busy work a lot of the time.
Well, from what you guys said, I'm curious to know, do you find any of those things you listed a distraction? Do they get in the way sometimes?
Yes. And they get in the way of each other. Like I think that both of those things are really important. I love what I do and I love my family, and I think this is something that like working moms struggle with a lot, or at least I hear that working moms struggle with a lot is like when you're at work, you kind of feel guilty that you're not at home, and when you're at home, you feel guilty that you're not at work. They are two big priorities and they're hard to balance sometimes.
I feel it's definitely a distraction in my life. So I suffer from OCD and so I often feel like I'm checking things off just to feel better about not having those things on my list anymore. And then when I act, it's like, I can't do the things I really shouldn't be focusing on or I want to be focusing on because the list itself is a distraction, but then when I finally get to actually spend the moment focusing on the things I want to be focusing on, I also feel bad because I'm not getting things done from my list. So it's like a never ending cycle.
Now, I think a lot of people listening can relate to both of you, to what you have just explained and said about your lives. And I wonder in Alma chapter 51, if maybe Moroni felt the same thing. Colin, I would imagine Moroni being a lot like you. I think he had a lot of lists and a lot of things to check off. And I think maybe Alma 51 was kind of where it all came to a head. Let's go to Alma chapter 51 and we're going to look at verses 22 and verse 26. Colin, will you read these verses for us? So start with just verse 22. Alma chapter 51, verse 22. We're going to read about what's going on now at this time in the war chapters with Moroni. And remember last week, we've talked about the cause of Christians and the title of liberty and how awesome all of that was, and then they had some peace for a couple of years, and then this happened. So go ahead, Colin.
"Behold, it came to pass that while Moroni was thus breaking down the wars and contentions among his own people, and subjecting them to peace and civilization, and making regulations to prepare for war against the Lamanites, behold, the Lamanites had come into the land of Moroni, which was in the borders by the seashore."
I put the word "distracted" next to 22. He got distracted, but it wasn't his fault. He didn't do anything bad. Here he is trying to take care of his people and he has all of these checkmarks that he needs to check off to get these people to come to peace, to come to civilization. Meanwhile, the Lamanites took advantage of this and they had much success. Look at verse 26, and Colin, will you read verse 26 for us.
And the word "he" in verse 26 is Amalickiah, wicked Amalickiah, remember the pot stirrer from last week. So go ahead.
"And thus he went on, taking possession of many cities, the city of Nephihah, and the city of Lehi, and the city of Morianton, and the city of Omner, and the city of Gid, and the city of Mulek, all of which were on the east borders by the seashore."
Ah, I mean that's brutal, and Moroni's feeling pretty bad about this. Now, let's turn to Alma chapter 53 and we're going to read what they're feeling. Go to Alma 53, verses eight through nine because this result of the distraction, I like how it describes it here in these two verses. And Aliah, will you please read Alma chapter 53 verses eight and nine?
"And now it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites, on the west sea, south, while in the absence of Moroni on account of some intrigue amongst the Nephites, which caused dissensions amongst them, had gained some ground over the Nephites, yea, insomuch that they had obtained possession of a number of their cities in that part of the land."
"And thus because of iniquity amongst themselves, yea, because of dissensions and intrigue among themselves they were placed in the most dangerous circumstances."
Okay, I want to spend some time on these two verses. Let's first define the word "intrigue" because it's used twice, and I like this definition. It means to "form a plot or a scheme." It's usually complicated and it's intended to affect some purpose by secret artifices. I thought that was interesting. So let's apply these verses to our lives. I want to know in your guys's opinion, looking at this idea of intrigue, what are some of the Satan's greatest intrigues that he uses with us... his greatest distractions.
It's kind of what you were saying before and even though I don't consider myself like a busy person, sometimes I'm about busy work. And so I'm doing this and I'm doing that, and I'm doing this and I'm doing that and I'm doing this and I'm doing that, and by the end of the day, you know, I've gotten a lot done. I've taking a nap, I've cooked dinner... All of the things that I'm supposed to do, but it's kind of that idea of like good, better, best because I do the best things that I could have done, maybe not, but I did a lot of good things, but sometimes I don't always get to the best things because I'm doing all these things.
I really appreciate that you said that because that's 100% me. Colin, what are your thoughts?
So I've been thinking about this recently. One of the big things that I think we've come out of this summer and kind of this year is feeling overwhelmed. I think it's pretty rare, at least in my experience, it's pretty rare for Satan to work on me by me waking up one day and Satan tempting me to do something really bad that day that's going to completely throw off my spiritual progress. I'm not gonna wake up and he's not going to tempt me to rob a bank that day or attack someone, you know, but there are so many small things that he tries to get us with. They all start to add up and I can often feel paralyzed and overwhelmed and therefore, like Aliah was saying, like distracted from what I should be doing.
And so maybe I don't serve others the way I could because I'm so overwhelmed by what's going on and maybe I'm not attentive to loved ones in my family, maybe I'm slacking on my scripture reading, maybe I'm not doing those things that would help me be more spiritually secure because I feel so overwhelmed and don't know where to even begin. I don't know which problem to even attack first.
Thank you for sharing that Colin. I like this concept of the small things. And Aliah, you brought up this good, better, best concept, which is a talk by Elder Oaks and I love that you brought it up because there's a quote we're going to read from that talk. Here's what he has to say and I think this is a 100% example of intrigue and dissension in our lives. So Aliah, I want you to read it for us.
Segment 2 11:00
“But here is a caution for families. Suppose Church leaders reduce the time required by Church meetings and activities in order to increase the time available for families to be together. This will not achieve its intended purpose unless individual family members—especially parents—vigorously act to increase family togetherness and one-on-one time. Team sports and technology toys like video games and the Internet are already winning away the time of our children and youth. Surfing the Internet is not better than serving the Lord or strengthening the family. Some young men and women are skipping Church youth activities or cutting family time in order to participate in soccer leagues or to pursue various entertainments. Some young people are amusing themselves to death—spiritual death. Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families” (President Dallin H. Oaks, "Good, Better, Best," October 2007 conference).
We try to spend our time with good things. We're good parents, that's what we do. We're good people. And Colin, I like you brought the example, "Am I serving people wisely?" And I think Moroni thought he was, but the result here is found in Alma chapter 51, and then in Alma 52, and I'm just going to give you a little historical background of it. What happened is the Lamanites, they found Amalickiah dead in his tent by Teancum who was my hero. So Amalickiah's brother Ammoron, he takes over, he becomes the king, and he's ordered the Lamanites to maintain the cities that he conquered. Now, Moroni instructs Teancum to retain the prisoners that he captured of the Lamanites, and then he orders Teancum to fortify the land of Bountiful, so we just kind of have to know that that's what's going on at the time. Meanwhile, we got a man by the name of Helaman and we already know about Helaman. He is in Zarahemla and he's faced with going to war. His people that he is overseeing in Zarahemla are the people of Ammon. These are the people who buried their weapons of rebellion. And the problem is, they're faced with this challenge where they feel like we have to dig up our weapons now and fight, and they don't want to do that. Helaman discovers a young group of men who are not distracted, and that's where this word comes in. They were not distracted. In fact, their focus and commitment will prove to be so important in the lives of so many, and we're going to discuss them in the next segment.
Segment 2 13:32
I have a picture to show you two. And as I put this picture up, I want you to describe to the audience what it is that you see. We'll definitely put this picture in our show notes so you guys can see it because it's a fun one. You ready?
An army of hottie, hot-hots.
I couldn't have said it better myself.
What is this picture? Go Colin.
It is the stripling warriors, the 2000 stripling warriors of Helaman.
The Arnold Freeburg painting. Aliah, you said an "army of hot-hots." What is it about this picture though? Give me thoughts.
I always think that's an interesting picture because all of his paintings show the Lamanites and the Nephites as these like super buff like, upper body strength, like manly men. And the word "stripling" actually just means "young," like that they were just young, not that they were like strapping, which I think we sometimes equate those stripping with strapping, we'er like, "Oh, they were hottie, hot-hots," but really, they were just little boys.
I would love for someone to repaint this with the depth... I looked up "stripling" because I thought, just like you, it means "young," but I loved what else it entails. It says, "Tall, slender youth. One that shoots up suddenly, he's in adolescence, or he's just passing from boyhood to manhood."
That's the best definition ever, like, you substitute those with like awkward, newly growth spurted seminary students and it's just like, "Oh my goodness, we're gonna lose this war."
Yeah, and the story is better.
Yeah. And it's like, oh, yeah, you can see that God absolutely had a hand in this because there's no way they could do it on their own, no way.
When I read that I always think of like Peter Pan's Lost Boys and they're just like a bunch of kids like with war paint on and they're like, "We're gonna get you Captain Hook!"
Yes. Whoever is an artist that's listening, please repaint this with Colin's awkward, like skinny...
Like an awkward with braces, an awkward like 15-year-old.
Yeah because you look at this picture and I'm like, "Yeah, I don't see... the miracle's obvious. I mean, yeah, they're gonna win." But our new definition brings a whole new message to this verse of scripture. So let's go in and read about them. Turn to Alma chapter 53. We're going to read about these young men now. Alma chapter 53, and here's what I want you to do, go back to verse nine. In your scriptures, I want you to draw a line at the end of verse nine that separates verse nine from verse 10 because verse 10 is where Mormon now interjects, and he comes in, and he says, "Okay, now I'm going to tell you about the people of Ammon." He kind of stops the story here, he goes, "Let me catch you up on what's been going on."
And what I think is really interesting about this, and the reason why Mormon may have put this in, is because I can imagine that he's reading all of these plates, and he comes upon a story about these young stripling warriors, and he knew what stripling must have meant because remember, Mormon was about 15 years old when he was made a captain. And so there's this idea that maybe this caught his attention because he thought, "Yeah, this is just like me, and look how cool their story is." You can read that in Mormon, chapter one, verse 15, and in Mormon chapter two, verse two. I put those cross references right next to verse 20. So let's read about the stripling warriors. I want you guys to highlight anything that strikes you about these young men, and Colin, will you read for us starting in verse 20.
"And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted."
"Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him."
"And now it came to pass that Helaman did march at the head of his two thousand stripling soldiers, to the support of the people in the borders of the land on the south by the west sea."
Let's do a cross reference next to these verses and read a little bit more about these young men. I want you to put Alma chapter 56, verses 47 and 48, and Aliah, will you read these two verses about these young men.
"Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them."
"And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."
I think there's very few places in the scriptures where they talk about one women and two moms who are mothers, and this is one that we talk about quite a bit. And I have a little boy, I have a little boy that's four, and even if he were 15, even if he were 20, I cannot imagine sending him to war. I could not imagine it. Those moms had to have so very much faith in their Heavenly Father, and to trust that they would come home, and they think of our heavenly parents and that they must have felt likewise, when they sent us down here to Earth.
Oh Aliah, thank you. I like the connection you just made to our Heavenly Parents, and knowing how scary it would be. That was beautiful. Colin, what about you, anything?
Yeah, I mean, so this section in recent times has made me think about the idea of the deliverance, and the idea that they were following through on what they perceived as a promise because we talk about this sometimes in the Gospel, and we kind of misunderstand the gospel. It's like the prosperity gospel, right? If we do the right things, we will be rewarded with X. But it feels almost like kind of reading this again, it almost feels to me, and I don't want to speculate of course, but it almost feels to me like their mothers had this a surety already. Like they had done that spiritual, heavy lifting, and they knew and so then the stripling warriors were trusting their parents that God would deliver them if they didn't doubt, and what spiritual giants their parents were to be able to kind of instill that in them. And, you know, I can't imagine in this situation that it was a simple case of their mothers just like said, "Well, if you just be righteous, you'll come back." I don't think it's that, I think their mothers were sure of it, that their mothers had to trust their relationships with God and they reassured their sons it's going to be okay. And I think that's really powerful.
Can I add some... Oh, sorry.
Yeah, go ahead, Aliah.
Sorry for interrupting, Tammy. I was just thinking as Colin was talking, you have to remember that we're calling them now the "People of Ammon," but previous to becoming the people of Ammon, they were the "Anti-Nephi-Lehies." And these are the people who not only buried their swords, but then when the Lamanites came to slaughter them, they just kind of knelt down and let the Lamanites slaughter them.
Right. They know death.
They know death. These are moms who have seen death. These are fathers who have seen death and destruction and what the Lamanites are capable of because they were those people.
Yes. Okay, brilliant, both of you because what you've just said makes me... I'm so excited to go to this scripture. I want everyone to cross reference verses 47 and 48 with Proverbs chapter 31, verse 21. This is so cool. It is the proverb of a virtuous woman, and it's just verses filled with everything that makes a woman good and virtuous. And I remember reading it the first time and I thought, "Seriously, this makes me virtuous." Look at it. Proverbs chapter 31, verse 21. The verse says, "She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet." And I was like, "Seriously? I was terrified in this storm of 2007 driving home at night. I'm not virtuous." And then I studied it in Hebrew. You guys, this is so cool. The word "snow" in Hebrew means death — physical or spiritual. So she's not afraid of death, physical or spiritual, because all her household are clothed with scarlet. When you read the word "scarlet" or any word about red or crimson in the Bible, it means the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
So it goes back to what you said, Colin, that she has paid the price. She has clothed herself and her entire household in this knowledge of Jesus Christ's atonement. And what we need to know about the word "household" in this verse, it doesn't mean husband, wife, kids. In Hebrew, it's much more broad, and it basically means anyone who falls under your sphere of influence, whoever comes in contact with that you're covering with Scarlet. And I love that verse because I used to always think, "And I have to be married and I have to have kids," but we are clothing people with scarlet all the time. And so I want us to think about this, like how do you clothe someone in Scarlet?
Oh, when I think of clothing, I think of protection. It's protection from the elements, but it's protection to face the elements. It's not necessarily hiding away in an underground bunker, you know, because we're gonna face the elements. Like whether it's us that were clothing, our children, loved ones, siblings, you know, friends and family that we're helping to be covered in that atonement. It's because we will face the elements, we will face Satan's elements, we will face sin and destruction and pain and death, but it's being prepared for that with the knowledge of the atonement and the ability to... I mean, just like you teach someone to tie their own shoes so that their feet are protected, you teach someone to help apply the atonement into their life so that they are protected.
Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate that. Let's go back to Alma chapter 57, and we're going to look at verse 21. This really summarizes how these young men were clothed in scarlet, and so Colin, will you please read chapter 57, verse 21.
"Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them."
Every time I've read that scripture, it has like struck fear and trepidation in my heart.
Because I don't do anything with exactness. You know, and I think even when I was in seminary, when I was in doing Institute, when I've been in young women's and in Relief Society and we've gotten to these chapters and it's like, "And they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness," I just shrink in my seat because I'm just like, "Oh, I suck. Like I think I pay my tithing with exactness and only because that's like mathematical and you know exactly what you're supposed to be doing," but everything else it's like, "How do you do that?" And it wasn't until like, I was older that I kind of like gave myself permission that it like, maybe exactness was more like, you know, how we translate the word "perfect," meaning whole, or like wholehearted, that they did it wholeheartedly and not maybe exactly or perfect, but that was like a revelation specifically to Aliah that maybe observing the commandments with exactness just means wholeheartedly.
Well, I think that could definitely be the case, and I guess the way I read it is a little bit differently. Like where it says like, "Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform..." and in the sense of like, in order to perform, so it's like they did obey, they obeyed, and they observed in order to, or so that they could perform every word of command with exactness. And I'm not, you know, that's just my interpretation of it, but to me, I don't read it necessarily as they definitely did perform, but they obeyed and they observed so that they could. I guess, from learning Spanish, like that's kind of how it would like translate in Spanish. The like "in order to."
Mmhmm. I'm marking that in my scriptures. That's good. I like the idea of that. Thank you, Colin.
That's what I try and do, like, I'm never gonna get it perfect, but I try to obey and I try and observe so that I can.
Well, the thing I like about that is the idea, and Aliah you said, is I teach my children this, clothing them in scarlet looks like this. If you do this and this, it will help you to perform, it will prepare you to be able to do. However that looks, I just think this idea that the atonement then comes in and we get grace, which will make up the difference, and I think that's what it did for these young boys. They weren't perfect, no way, but grace will come in and make up the difference so that they can win all of these battles. That was great. Thank you, both of you for sharing that. That was powerful.
So just a little side note because we usually study all of these in chronological order, and we are going to skip chapter 54 and 55. Those are epistles or letters written between Moroni and Ammoron, and they're negotiating the release of prisoners and that's a whole different conversation. So read that. That's really fun to read. We're going to skip those and continue the story of Helaman and the Stripling Warriors. This picks up again in Alma chapter 56. So go to Alma 56. This is the beginning of a letter written from Helaman to Moroni, where he writes about his 2000 sons as he calls them in Alma chapter 56, verse 10, and the experiences that they have. So in the next segment, we're going to talk about the example of these young men who were clothed in Scarlet, even in difficult times of their lives, and how that is going to lead to miracles.
Segment 3 27:26
All right, I want you guys to think about the trials that you've had in your life, and I'm curious to know, have you ever had a trial in your life that was no fault of your own because of sin or anything like that that turned out to be a blessing.
When you said "trial," I was like, "Oh, yeah. Here, here, here, here, here." And then when you said that what ended up being a blessing I was like, "Hmmm... Blank."
I tricked you. Blank, no trials were blessings.
I'm sure there will be a blessing at some point, but right now, they're just a trial.
They are all just the investments, they haven't cashed out yet. Right?
No yet. But I think every, like every blessing that I've ever received, like has had a little bit of trial in it and every trial that I've ever gone through has had a little blessing in it. They go hand in hand.
Yeah, it's interesting. I wonder sometimes if it's less that we get, I think it does happen in some cases, but I think it's less that God creates something negative that becomes a positive or more he helps us find the positive or create something positive out of the negative.
Oh, I totally agree.
So I've definitely had trials that I have felt an outpouring of blessings afterwards, and I felt God helped me turn a difficult situation that I don't actually believe that necessarily came from him into something positive, but the last It definitely did feel like it came from him.
That's perfect. That's great. You know, in the story about the stripling warriors, we focus so much on how good they were, good, good, good and miracle, miracle, miracle. We're going to look at this because they had a trial and it turned out to be a blessing and it helped them grow, but you guys, I wonder if they struggled with the trial at first because of the miracles they had experienced. And go to Alma chapter 57, and we're going to read verses 25 through 27. Alma 57:25-27, and Colin, will you please read those for us.
"And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds."
"And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power."
"Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually."
So I wanted to point out in these scriptures because this is something that happens in therapy, as some of our listeners know that I'm a therapist by trait, that it really does depend on how you tell the story. So the author of these, these chapters could have told the story... "There were 2000 young men and 10% were horribly wounded, and that 1000 men died as well." But that's not how he told the story. He said, "There were of the 2000, 200 were wounded, but they didn't die, they didn't perish, they did receive some wounds, but not one soul, you know, died." And I think a lot of what we consider a trial and what we consider a blessing is how we decide to tell our story.
Oh I like that. Aliah, thank you for sharing that. Yeah, he did write it as a blessing as opposed to as a trial. I think that's great insight. And so you can imagine, and especially I like the word "astonishment," they were astonished at the way it played out, and they were probably cheering and high fiving and thinking "We did it! Like what our mom said would happen did, like this is awesome." And so going off of that high, they decide they're going to go back and take the city of Manti back, but the Lamanites, they were way too numerous to fight, and Helaman and the Stripping Warriors, they're waiting for supplies from Pahoran. And while they're waiting for supplies, they have this trial come due to no fault of their own. Go to Alma chapter 58, and we're going to read the trial in verses seven through nine. Now, as we read these verses, I want you to explain to me after what you think that they're experiencing, and what is the trial that they're going through, and I'll read these verses. Seven, eight and nine in Alma chapter 58. And this is what Helaman writes to Moroni.
"And it came to pass that we did wait in these difficult circumstances for the space of many months, even until we were about to perish for the want of food."
"But it came to pass that we did receive food, which was guarded to us by an army of two thousand men to our assistance; and this is all the assistance which we did receive, to defend ourselves and our country from falling into the hands of our enemies, yea, to contend with an enemy which was innumerable."
"And now the cause of these our embarrassments, or the cause why they did not send more strength unto us, we knew not; therefore we were grieved and also filled with fear, lest by any means the judgments of God should come upon our land, to our overthrow and utter destruction."
What are they experiencing?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but yeah, so they are in a state of almost famine, they're running out of all of their rations, their desperately trying to hold on, they're injured, they're like, you know, they're kind of depleted in numbers, and they're against an absolutely daunting enemy, and they're not receiving any help from basically from HQ. And they receive a little bit of help, but they're starting to feel a little bit like, "Ah, you know, where's the rest of it? Like we're hanging on here, like what's going on?"
And I want to add to what Colin said because I think they said that they were filled with fear less by any means that judgment of God should come upon our land and to overthrow to utter utter destruction. Because I think they're hungry, they have no more provisions. No provisions are coming to them and they don't know why, and then they're like, "Maybe we did something wrong." Their first assumption is, "Maybe we're doing something wrong." They don't right away think like, "Oh, HQ is messing up." They're like, "Maybe we did something wrong." And I think sometimes we do that, but you know, we don't get the blessing that we think we should get or we're not as prosperous as we think we should be, or, you know, we're doing all the right things, but life is just difficult and hard and bad things happen to good people, and we start to question like, "Did I do something wrong? Like am I not faithful enough? Am I not good enough? Does Heavenly Father hate me?" Instead of just knowing like, sometimes life doesn't go the way we think it's going to go. So when our life isn't going the way we think it should be going, it doesn't necessarily mean that we're in sin, and to flip the other side of that mirror just because other people's lives aren't going the way we think they should be going, doesn't mean they're sinning either.
Thank you for pointing that out. Aliah, what you said is exactly in line with a quote that I found by Elder Richard G. Scott that I want us to read. This is in a talk he wrote called "Trust in the Lord," and he says, "There are two types of trials we experience in life. One is sin based." And so he says, "If anyone has a trial they're experiencing because of sin, repent and move on." But then the second trial, he said is this one, and I want us to read this quote, and Colin, will you read this for us, please.
“Now may I share some suggestions with you who face the second source of adversity, the testing that a wise Heavenly Father determines is needed even when you are living a worthy, righteous life and are obedient to His commandments. "Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain” (Elder Richard G. Scott, "Trust in the Lord," October 1995 general conference).
Does any part of this quote ring true to either one of you or what stands out?
When it rains, it pours.
This is my whole life.
How so? Tell me more.
Sometimes when things are not going the way I think they should be going which is always, I'm like, "Oh, what did I do wrong? Or how can I be doing it better?" And then I remember that we are here on this earth to be tried. Like, we're not meant to be here to have a good time, although, we are meant to have joy, but this isn't like we went on spring break, and we're just supposed to be like hanging out and, you know, drinking cocktails or something, we're supposed to be being tried, and that when we are being tried that it is truly because Heavenly Father feels like we can grow. And so our trials are really a manifestation, you know, it's not because of sin, our trials really are a manifestation of that our Heavenly Father does trust us and love us and want us to grow.
Absolutely. Thank you, Aliah, for sharing that. I appreciate what you've just mentioned.
It's interesting because he says, "He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, compassion." And again, I don't know necessarily that he's saying that the Lord gives us... I don't know that he's not saying this, but I don't know that he's saying the Lord gives us the actual painful experiences, or is he giving us the experiences that help us learn from what we're going through. Does that kind of make sense? Like in my mind, it's almost like this feeling of if someone uses their agency poorly, and that really affects me in my life and causes me pain, perhaps Heavenly Father is allowing it to happen, but also giving me the experiences that help me be able to look at that in a new light and feel stretched and feel that pain still in order to learn from it, but I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive, necessarily. Like, I think sometimes we fall into this trap of like, the Lord causes pain and then we learn from it and it's like, "Why are you causing me this pain, Lord?" And it's like, "No, he's just saying he gives us experiences that help us grow and learn from those trials."
Yeah, I agree Colin because otherwise it makes God mean and hateful and unkind, and that's not the Heavenly Father that I believe in. I believe in the same one as you. And the line that stood out to me was when he says, "That these are evidences that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more, and that we're prepared requires a lot of stretching, a lot of discomfort, and a lot of pain." And it really has in my own life, the trials, but then I think of the blessings. I mean, being single was not easy. There was a lot of stretching and a lot of discomfort and pain, but I look back at that trial, and I learned a ton and it's given me such great insight into my life, and I appreciate married life too. I think that's what the blessing is from all of that.
The thing that I love Tammy about that, quote, is that it says like, "Experience, understanding, and compassion." I think sometimes, you know, when we're like growing or when we are having those trials and then having the blessings and you're like, "Oh, yeah, now I know more," or, "Now, you know, I understand better that gospel." But I love that last part compassion that our Heavenly Father really wants us to be compassionate towards other people because I think the hardest things that have ever happened in my life, I don't know that I have any real understanding of why they happened, and I don't know that I've really grown all that much from them, but I do have an abundance of compassion for other people who are also struggling.
Thank you, Aliah. That was beautiful. What I think was so interesting for me was I thought, "How much more could these stripling warriors really grow?" I mean, from what we've read, it kind of seems like they are exactly as the painting portrays them — Full grown, done, like still delivered, nothing else to do in their lives. So I thought, "How much more could they grow? Did they really need growth because they seemed pretty perfect, and like they were done growing." So in the next segment, we're going to see that all of God's children are capable of growth.
Segment 4 41:05
So a couple of weeks ago, I asked Aliah and Colin to think about this question, and I'm curious to know what you guys came back with. My question is have either of you been a witness or the recipient of a miracle as a result of prayer?
Yeah, good question. So Karen Zelnick, my new "Mrs." she's absolutely a miracle and a blessing to me, and I don't want to frame that as like, I did something righteous to perceive it because I actually don't think that that's true, necessarily, you know, like single people are not less righteous than married people, you know, I was single for a long time. But in my particular case, I felt very strongly that I needed to act in a certain way that would be worthy of someone like that coming into my life and I really prayed hard to feel like that blessing would be honored. And to meet her, of course, felt like an absolute blessing and a miracle.
Thank you. I appreciate you sharing. Aliah, go ahead.
Yeah, I think when I read that question when you sent it to me, Tammy, like I got really nervous about answering that question for some of the reasons that Colin mentioned of like, I don't really want to like, put out there like, "Oh, I'm so great. I prayed and I got this blessing." And the more that I thought about it throughout the week, I thought about like, I've had some really difficult things happen in my life. I've had a lot of loss of loved ones and a lot of loss in general, and the blessing that came from prayer is that I could pray that in those deep, dark, hard times... I also got married later in life, and when things were really hard I could always pray. When I felt lonely, or I felt alone, or I felt overwhelmed, or I felt forsaken, I could always kneel down and pray to my Heavenly Father and feel the spirit and that was the blessing.
Both of you, thank you for your stories. Aliah, specifically you when you said that the ability to pray when you're going through that hard time was the blessing. I think that's what the stripling warriors were experiencing. I want to read their story. Let's go into Alma chapter 58 and we're going to look at verses 10 through 12. The point of the understanding of this is that here we're coming from a place where these boys were... the verse of scripture says "filled with fear and grief." They're starving. If anyone out there feels like they are just starving and barely hanging on, there is absolute hope and it's found in what you just said Aliah. So as we read, and I'm going to read these verses, it's Alma chapter 58, and it's verses 10 through 12. As I read these, here's what I want you guys to do. I want you to mark keywords that are the positive result of the trial they experienced. Okay, so there's some keywords in these verses — mark what they are and what came from the trial and praying. I'm gonna read chapter 58, verses 10 through 12.
"Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people."
"Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him."
"And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty."
What were some of the key words that you marked that were the result of their prayers?
That's what I marked, that first part in 10 where it says, "Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies." I love that like having this spirit with us, having the knowledge of Heavenly parents, having the knowledge that we can pray, just that ability that we have access to our Heavenly parents, to me is such an amazing gift and such an amazing blessing that we have direct access to them and they have direct access to us is so huge.
Yeah, verse 11 is the one that sticks out to me the most because I think often we think that faith, faith is like this process where we are just desperately hoping and waiting. Like to me that's what faith, for a long time, for most of my life, that's what I associate most with faith is waiting. But I love because verse 11 shows that it's a lot more proactive than that. It's not just "be patient, have faith," it can actually be a proactive process that we're engaged in with God as a partnership. And I love when he says that, "God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us." So he didn't deliver them just yet, but he let them know that he would, and I think that's really cool. God was involved in the process. He didn't just say, "Alright, keep praying for it," and, you know, he actually did send them little things to say, "Hey, just let you know. I've got you like, I will deliver you and then it says, "In so much that he did speak peace to ourselves," like that was enough to give us peace and then "did grant unto us great faith." So like, that's where their faith came from. And I think that's powerful. And then eventually, like he actually did deliver them. And I just think that's really cool.
Yeah. Well, thank you, both of you, for sharing that because then verse 12 was mine. When it just says, "And then we did take courage." And then they just went, they they got up, and they moved. They didn't just sit and wait for things to change. They became like you said, Colin, proactive, they started, then they took courage and they went in and decided, "Okay, we're gonna do this." There's a really cool quote by Elder Gene R. Cook, Receiving Answers to Our Prayers, Deseret Book, 156–57). and he writes specifically about this circumstance that we've been talking about. So I want us to read this quote, and Aliah, will you read for us.
“It may be that the Nephites hoped for a miracle. Maybe they wanted angels to come to deliver them, as had happened a time or two in the Old Testament. But what did they receive? The Lord gave them assurance, peace, faith, and hope. He didn’t directly destroy their enemies, but he did give them the gifts they needed so they could deliver themselves. … “In other words, the Lord put inside these men the will and the power to do what they desired—to begin with a strong resolve and then to see it through. After their prayer was answered, the Nephites went on to secure their liberty. “When the Lord instills hope and faith and peace and assurance in people, they can bring great things to pass. This, then, is often what we should look for when we ask for help—not a miracle to solve our problem for us, but a miracle inside, to help us come to the solution ourselves, with the Lord’s help and the Lord’s power” (Elder Gene R. Cook, Receiving Answers to Our Prayers, Deseret Book, 156–57).
How does this quote affect the way you guys look at your trials now? Or when things come?
Every time I come on this podcast and I'm like, "Oh, we're gonna talk about these things, and people are gonna listen and it's going to be helpful for them," and then I come on and I'm like, "Nope, this was for me." Like I'm here because I need it. For those who know me, my son is medically fragile. He was born very premature and has a lot of medical issues. I mean, he is like the most amazing child, but he does have a lot of trials that we have to wade through, and sometimes I get daunted, and sometimes I'm like, "Oh, I don't know how I'm gonna do this, or I don't know how long I can do this," or I just have a lot of fear. And then when people ask me, like, "How do you do that?" And I'm like, "Oh, just one day at a time, like you just get up every day and do you know, whatever comes." And I think that that's like in these verses, with the stripling warriors, and they're like, "We prayed, and then we got up, and then we did what we had to do."
Yeah, thank you for sharing that about your sweet son. Colin, did anything on that quote strike you?
It just kind of, I guess plays off what I was saying a little bit earlier, where that's how I felt recently, especially in this, that when these trials come, God will help us figure out how to process them and how to cope with them. It's not always you know that we pray... and like it's wonderful, you love hearing those amazing stories in conference or the Ensign when, you know, you pray really hard and someone knocks at your door with the exact thing you were praying for, you know, like that's great. That hasn't happened to me, but I'm so grateful for the times that I've been able to think about something in a new light.
Thank you, Colin. And, you know, I don't think that the stripling warriors could have even anticipated when they took courage and went to war what would happen. And go to Alma, chapter 58, and we're going to look at verses 33 and verse 40 because the result of their prayers, the result of the assurance, the peace, the faith, the hope, and the courage came as this.
Verse 33 says, "But behold, we trust in our God who has given us victory over those lands, insomuch that we have obtained those cities and those lands, which were our own."
They had victory. He's talking about in verse 39, that not one of the stripling warriors had been slain, but then he says this, and this kind of goes back to what you said, Aliah, how he writes the story.
"But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come."
I mean, who hasn't received many wounds? I mean, Aliah, you're a therapist, you know that better than anyone. Like, we're all wounded, right? Every one of us, but the ability to go from him saying, "Oh, they all receive wounds, but let me tell you something else about them," is that they just still, they prayed, they stayed faithful. And I love that because there are plenty of times in my life where my wounds have brought me to my knees or not brought me to my knees. I think there's times where my wounds made me want to run.
And that's what I like in that verse 40, like, wow, I look at all my wounds, and I can still do it. I got to get on my knees and just start praying, and I think that there's some truth in that in the story about these boys. So this ends our letter between Helaman and Moroni. This is the last thing that Helaman writes to Moroni and Moroni gets it, and you guys, he's so happy and he's really mad. I like this. He's happy that Helaman and the 2000 stripling warriors have been successful and safe, but then he's super upset that Pahoran has not sent supplies. And so Moroni is going to give Pahoran the "what for" and "why not." And we're going to go over that in the next segment.
Segment 5 52:02
This is a perfect scenario to describe to you because it is hot, at least where we are living in Utah, it's very hot and there are many times when I've gone outside in the heat and I've been thankful I'm not in humidity. So those of you who are bearing in the humidity, bless you all because coming from Missouri, I know humidity. So I want you to think of the hottest you've ever been, the most humid, you're just sweating, you need something to drink so bad, and you're handed a cup that was just filled with ice cold water and it's a beautiful clean cup on the outside, and you're about to take a big refreshing Gulp and you notice little floaties. What do you do? They're just little floaties.
For real? You would just throw it out? You're so thirsty!
I served my mission in Latin America, so you drink whatever was put in front of you, floaties or not floaties.
You would drink the floaties?
I'd drink it. Good protein.
I'm a picky, pompous Brit, so I would throw it out.
Well, I like this because here's what I want us to do. We're going to go into Alma chapter 60 and we're going to see what a beautiful clean glass on the outside has to do with water filled with floaties. So go to Alma chapter 60. We're going to look at verses 22 through 23. Okay, here's the story. So Moroni is now writing Pahoran, and one of the things we have to remember is we like Pahoran. Okay remember he is the chief judge, his dad was Nephihah who was a good man. And chapter 51, there was like a warm dispute with some of the people. They wanted to not have Pahoran be the chief judge, and that's the story where we have the freemen and the king men come about. And so Pahoran wins the vote of the people and he stays the Chief Judge. So he, Moroni is accusing Pahoran of not joining the cause of Christ. He's like, "Why haven't..." This is HQ. "Why haven't you sent supplies to Helaman and the Stripling Warriors? What is your problem? You have all authority, you have control, you can send this in." And so he writes and go to Alma chapter 60 verses 22 through 23, and we're going to see what Moroni accuses Pahoran of and tells him what to do. So Alma chapter 60. And Colin, will you please read verses 22 and 23?
"Yea, will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands, who do also sit in idleness, while there are thousands round about in the borders of the land who are falling by the sword, yea, wounded and bleeding?"
"Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also."
Thank you. We're going to put a cross reference next to verse 23. I want you to put Matthew chapter 23, and it's verses 25 through 26. The Savior gives the same sermon to the Jews, and here's what he has to say to them. Let's turn there. Matthew chapter 23, verses 25 through 26. Do either one of you have that?
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess."
"Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also."
Cleanse the inner vessel. This was a theme one year for all of the seminary teachers, we were challenged to cleanse the inner vessel, but I gotta be honest, this idea that having your couplet clean on the outside, is kind of my life. Don't you think the world we live in is really good at making their outer vessel look beautiful, and floaties inside? How do we cleanse the inner vessel? Like, what are we talking about? Go ahead, Colin.
I was just gonna say as a professional social media person, I can confirm that that is the case. As someone who spends all day on Instagram, yeah, a lot of outward facing cleanliness. And yeah, you never know what people have got going on you know?
As a therapist, I can attest to that too because you see people, you know, they're sitting in the waiting room and they just look like they have it all together, and they come and sit on my couch and they're like, "And this, and this, and this," and I'm like, "Woah. Where is all this coming from?"
What are some steps we take to cleanse our inner vessel? You have the read your scriptures, and say your prayers, and go to church, and the reason I say those is because they work. And sometimes people think, "Well, those are the trite trivia, you know, seminary answers," and I'm like, "Well because they absolutely work."
And therapeutically, the first step to any kind of change is awareness, by being able to be aware of it. And I think I talked about this last time I was on Tammy, and about shame and embarrassment and how that keeps us in secrecy, and when we are cleaning our outer vessel, and we're neglecting our inner vessel, that is a product of shame because we want people to see, we want people to see that we're doing great, and we don't want them to see the things that aren't going great because we feel ashamed of it.
They feel ashamed of the floaties and so we're polishing the outward vessel, you know, we're always looking at the outward vessel. "How do I look? How do I seem? How are people perceiving me? Because I know that there's something not quite right inside and I don't want people to look at it, I don't want people to point it out," instead of being like, and not to everybody, but to those that are close to you and love and like, "I'm really struggling with these floaties," and then being aware of it and reaching out and speaking up about the things that you're struggling with, are really the first step to getting rid of them.
I would 100% agree. I would say when I went to therapy, repenting cleanses it, but therapy made a huge difference. Thank you for pointing that out. I love it. Keep going, any other thoughts on how to cleanse the inner vessel?
There's something about a quote that I read on my mission... it's actually Truman G. Madison was quoting the Prophet Joseph and his faith lecture series. Oh I'm sorry, not the Faith Lecture Series, "The Joseph Smith Lecture Series." Yeah, and he talks about this one quote from Joseph where he says, "If we will all..." and of course, I'm paraphrasing, "If we will all bow ourselves down before the Lord and be thankful before him for everything that we should be thankful for that day. If we do that every day, we'll eventually find ourselves exalted in the kingdom of Heaven." And I just thought I love like the power of thankfulness and humility, the idea of, if we're getting that right, we're it's probably going to have a ripple effect.
Great idea, being more thankful. I love that. This will be a fun one to ask on social media. So those of you listening, I'm going to ask you, "What are some ways you can cleanse your inner vessel?" Anything that has worked for you or any tips? And I want you to kind of think about what your floaties are. Like, what are the things that are distractions in your life? Going back to our story about Moroni, what are some things that have happened that have caused distractions? And what are some of the floaties that we need to get out of our inner vessel? And I want you to think about it and write it in your journal. Colin, will you please read this quote by Ezra Taft Benson and what he has to say about cleansing the inner vessel.
“My beloved brethren and sisters, as we cleanse the inner vessel, there will have to be changes made in our own personal lives, in our families, and in the Church. The proud do not change to improve, but defend their position by rationalizing (President Ezra Taft Benson, "Cleansing the Inner Vessel," April 1986 general conference).
So in that quote, I thought it was really interesting, Tammy, that it says, "The proud do not change to improve but defend their position with rationalizing." So the kind of couples therapy that I do, it was founded by a man named John Gottman, and he says that there are, he calls it the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." He's a Jewish man so he often uses kind of biblical references, but he calls it... there's four things that when they enter in a relationship, start to corrode the foundation of the relationship. And defensiveness is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. And this is it, that the proud do not change to improve but they defend their position by rationalizing. And that's the definition of defensiveness that when our spouse or our children or our parents or a friend say, "Hey, I noticed that there's some floaties in your cup," and you're like, "Hey, I noticed that they're floaties in your cup," or, "Why are you looking at my cup?" You know, or whatever we kind of, instead of being like, "Thank you for pointing that out to me," or, "Yeah, I noticed and I'm working on it," or being humble about it, we defend our floaties and so we can never clean our inner cup if we're defending its dirtiness.
Yeah, boom, drop the mic on that. I'm curious to know what are the other three horsemen though?
So the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling.
Okay, that's really interesting. Especially in light of these two chapters because Moroni is coming at Pahoran full blown, guns a blazing is right, and he is laying it down. In the next segment, we get to study and read Pahoran's response. And if there was anyone with a clean inner vessel, it's going to be Pahoran. He is the perfect example. And using the four things you said, he could have so easily done any one of those. So this is going to be fascinating to read. So we'll study that in the next segment.
Segment 6 1:02:37
So Aliah, I want to start out with what we ended with because I'm fascinated by these four horsemen of the apocalypse in a relationship. So we have this response now. Pahoran is going to respond to Moroni's scathing letter, and you have your own personal experience with this story. Will you tell us... because you shared it with me and I want you to share it with everybody else. Why do you like these two chapters so much?
I love these two chapters because one they remind me of my father. So when we were kids and we'd be doing family home evening, we'd be reading the scriptures as a family and my dad was like, he was kind of stoic, but he was kind of funny to me, he had like a really dry sense of humor. And when we'd be reading the scriptures, he'd be like, "Now kids, let me remind you, we are not the Nephites, we are the Lamanites, and that's why we have the scriptures so that we can clean our inner vessel so that we can become the Nephites."
That is so true. That's my family too. We're like, "Oh, I relate a lot more with the Lamanites than the Nephites sometimes." It's like we want to be Nephites, but oo...
We want to be Nephites but we are actually the Lamanites, and that's why the Lord gave us the scriptures because he's not saying like, "Oh, look how great you guys are." He's like, "You guys kind of suck, but here's an example of people who got their stuff together."
I'm thinking of a lot of moms who can just let it go that your kid's not a stripling warrior, it's okay.
We are the Lamanites. But I love these two chapters also because Pahoran, as related to what I was saying in the previous segment about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, we talk about how Captain Moroni was just this amazing man and if everybody was like Captain Moroni, the very gates of hell would like shake or fall down or do something. But like, I'm like, Pahoran is the main. Like because Moroni just came at him guns a blazing, just came at him, and he does not show any criticism, he doesn't show any contempt, he doesn't stonewall, he doesn't get defensive, he doesn't do anything, or he doesn't do something but he doesn't do any of those things. And the antidote to defensiveness which I think he does so beautiful is he takes responsibility for what his part is, and then he says, "Here's what I have to offer," and he says that perfectly.
Yes, Aliah, let's go into the scriptures and read exactly how he does it then. Thank you for bringing that up. Let's go to Alma chapter 61, and Aliah, will you read verses two and three, and then we're going to skip to some other verses. So let's just start with verses two and three in Alma chapter 61. Here's how Pahoran responds.
"I, Pahoran, who am the chief governor of this land, do send these words unto Moroni, the chief captain over the army. Behold, I say unto you, Moroni, that I do not joy in your great afflictions, yea, it grieves my soul."
"But behold, there are those who do joy in your afflictions, yea, insomuch that they have risen up in rebellion against me, and also those of my people who are freemen, yea, and those who have risen up are exceedingly numerous."
Put verse nine at the end of verse three and let's go to verse nine. So he's kind of setting up the stage like, "Let me tell you what's been happening here," in a very kind way. And then go to verse nine and read that.
"And now, in your epistle you have censured me, but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart. I, Pahoran, do not seek for power, save only to retain my judgment-seat that I may preserve the rights and the liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free."
Can we just talk about that verse right there. Come on, what are you thinking?
I just think like, if somebody sent me a letter like that, I'd be like, "Look, buddy, let me tell you." I'm like, taking my earrings off. I'm ready to fight.
You're gonna fight him for sure, right?
Like, "Whoa, I didn't do anything wrong." And I have done this to my husband. Like, he'll be like, "Well, you said you were gonna do this," and I'm like, "Well, you said you were going to take the garbage out." Like I am the Queen of defensiveness. I just boom right there. I am with like my tongue, sharp like a dagger. Like, I would not have gone this way and that's why I love Pahoran because I'm like, "Okay, like, this is how you do it. Like this is when somebody says something mean to you or says something bad to you or offends you, or whatever, this is how you do it," and you say, "You know, I'm not mad at you." Like, "I hear what you're saying. I understand why you're saying it. It's not true. Here's what's actually going on." But he says it with such meekness and such kindness and such love. Like it does not come... like you read that and you're like, "That does not come from an ugly place, that comes from a beautiful place," and I love that.
I think it's important to note, I think it's fun to note that he does still correct him. He doesn't just say like, "I'm not mad, do whatever you want. You can say those things to me." No way, he's like, "No, I'm not angry, but you should know what's actually going on." That's important too because sometimes we think that like forgiving someone means letting them walk all over us. So you know, like turning the other cheek doesn't necessarily mean you put yourself in that position to be harmed again, you know? Like you can forgive someone while protecting yourself all while correcting, and I think that's how the Savior would have done it.
Oh, absolutely. I think that's a great example, Colin, the Savior would have done it and did do it that way. Let's look at how he ends it. Go to verse 19, and Colin, read that for us.
"And now, Moroni, I do joy in receiving your epistle, for I was somewhat worried concerning what we should do, whether it should be just in us to go against our brethren."
I just think I like how he says that, "I enjoyed your epistle," but then he finds the good in it. "You're all safe," you know? I mean, I would have wanted to put a little subscript, "But I didn't like the way you treated me," but he doesn't even...
He doesn't have to say it like that.
He didn't have to say it like that. Right. So you know, it brought me back to our whole conversation about distractions and how people get offended. I heard a lot of, I still hear a lot of it, that people get offended and then they leave the Church, or we just get offended in general by being human beings. And for many of us, those are our floaties, being offended can be a distraction. And so I thought of you Aliah because I thought, how do you counsel someone who struggles with getting offended easily?
I think sometimes what happens within the Church and when we've had different discourses about not becoming offended, that just because we don't become offended doesn't mean that what the person did wasn't offensive. Like, Moroni really did come for Pahoran. He really did say some harsh and mean things, and Pahoran would have been completely justified in like retaliating or, you know, correcting him in an equally harsh way, but he didn't because that's not who he is, and for a lot of other reasons. And I think sometimes when we're struggling with being offended, we get stuck there because it's like that they were offensive. And I think what I help unwind for them and even for myself, is that I'm not going to let other people's offensiveness keep me from our relationship with my Heavenly Father, my heavenly parents, with Jesus Christ, I'm not going to let other people's offensiveness keep me from the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to whether they're offensive or not, I don't have to take offense. But also, like Colin said, and I love what Colin said because just because you're offensive, and I'm not offended, does not mean I'm going to let you continue to take part in my life or talk to me or influence me or, you know, have say in how I feel about myself or the gospel or the Church or anything else.
Excellent. Thank you.
I think that's so important. Just because we are striving to not be offended, it does not give people a license to go do whatever they want because the real responsibility is on those to not be offended. The responsibility is both, right? And if anything, our major responsibility is to love our neighbor the way we love God.
I think what's helped me in times that people have done or said offensive things to me, especially within the context of Church is that I remember that what people say and do is a reflection of them, not a reflection of me. I know what I say and do is a reflection of me, and so if they want to be offensive, that's about them. That's about their relationship with their Heavenly parents or their relationship with themselves, that's not about me, and I can walk away from it because I'm like, "Oh, that must really be painful to live in your head."
Okay, Aliah, that might be one of the best things I've ever heard you say, and I love everything you say on the podcast, but right now at this moment, that rang true in my heart, when you said, "It must be so painful to live in your head." I'm going to really think through that when I meet people and say that maybe it'll help me have more compassion. I love that you just said that. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. That was powerful. And that ends our discussion you guys. We're done. That is Alma. That is the end of the war chapters. That was a great discussion. Thank you for joining me.
Thank you so much for having us.
Thanks for having us.
So I want you guys to think about what your takeaways were from today, and while you're thinking about it, I really want to quickly plug for those of you... there's still more to read with this in Alma, and to finish it out, and so I recommend reading because you get to read the really cool story about Teancum, which I actually met a man on my mission who joined the Church solely based on the Teancum story, so go and finish reading that. And then I'll include in my show notes stuff about Hagoth, so if you're wondering who he was and where he ended up, now that is very interesting. So you can find those in our show notes and I'll give you more information about them. Okay, tell me what your takeaway was.
My big takeaway is that verse about the stripling warriors how God helped them develop their faith. How having enough faith sometimes is an active process that we can be involved with with God and we can ask for his help to develop that faith.
I think my takeaway today is that what Colin said about that, "As we are obedient and we're striving that helps us to do things with exactness, and that it's not the emphasis isn't on the exactness, the emphasis is on the obedience and the striving."
I would agree, Aliah, that was my takeaway today too when he pointed out the word "to perform," and so I circled that in my verse of scripture. That was really good and that gave us a lot of new insight into those verses that they were able to perform it with exactness. So thank you. Thanks, guys. That was great. Well, we would love to hear, for those of you who are 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 Instagram, you totally should. It's a great place to ask questions as you study and I try to answer anything I can throughout the week. So if you have questions about what we studied, post it out there. And every week at the end of the week, usually on a Sunday, we post a call for your big takeaway. Comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you've learned, and I read every single one of them. It is my favorite part of Sunday because I love learning from what you guys have been learning from.
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 the references and we have the entire transcript of this discussion, so 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 Aliah Hall and Colin Rivera. And you can find more information about these friends at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced and edited by Erika Free and Katie Lambert. 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 please remember everyone, you are God's favorite.
I'd kinda like to say that I enjoy sucking the marrow of life out of bone. No, that's stupid. I'm not even saying it anymore. Cut it. I don't care anymore. That was a stupid... Don't even cut it. Let's just keep going. That was stupid.