The revealed text

The revealed text
The light of revelation at the Whitmer farm where Joseph and Oliver worked upstairs to finish translating the Book of Mormon

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lesson 30: The Great Plan of Happiness

This lesson covers Alma 40-42.

To help class members gain a greater understanding of life after death and the mercy that is available to them through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Points to consider.

Why did Alma teach his sons?

Because he was so concerned about the situation of his society that he wanted to innoculate his own children.

Alma 35:15 Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them; and having been to declare the word, or sent to declare the word, among all the people in every city; and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.

How similar is this to our societies today? The hearts of the people are hardened to the point that they don't want to even hear about God. In the U.S. and other countries, God is effectively banned from schools and public spaces. Many people in society are offended because of the strictness of the word of God. We see this all around us.

Think of what it means to be offended in the first place. "It is reported that President Brigham Young once said that he who takes offense when no offense was intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense was intended is usually a fool." Think of people who have said they're offended by what religious people say and/or do. Do they have a legitimate cause for concern, or do they just not like the message because it may implicate them?

Alma 35:16 Therefore, he caused that his sons should be gathered together, that he might give unto them every one his charge, separately, concerning the things pertaining unto righteousness. And we have an account of his commandments, which he gave unto them according to his own record.

Hopefully none of us are offended by "things pertaining unto righteousness." And do we keep records (journals) of what goes on in our families?


Although this lesson focuses on the resurrection and atonement, I like to think about how it exemplifies the ninth Article of Faith:

9 We believe
-all that God has revealed, (scriptures and what God has told us individually)
-all that He does now reveal, and we believe (living prophets and what God tells us individually)
-that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. (future revelations to the prophets and us as individuals)

Alma cited Abinadi extensively in his teachings to his sons. For example, he cited Abinadi's comments about the blessings and cursings on the land (which I discuss in Lesson 31). He also quoted Abinadi's teachings about the resurrection. There's a nice analysis of this link between Alma and Abinadi here. You can download the .pdf. I put a copy of the chart below. In that chart, the comparison doesn't start until Chapter 39, but in lesson 31, I show Alma started referring to Abinadi sooner than that.

Corianton apparently was influenced by the teachings of Nehor, who "testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life." (Alma 1:4).

Because Alma taught about judgment and good and evil, Corianton was apparently confused by the contradiction between the teachings of Alma and Nehor's teachings. Perhaps Corianton committed sin because he had been persuaded that everyone would have eternal life in the end. This teaching may account for the situation in society that concerned Alma so much.

To respond, Alma clarified what the resurrection is, what the first resurrection is, and what it means to have something restored. In Alma 41:15, Alma clarifies that " the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all."

Alma’s Use of Abinadi When Speaking to Corianton
(Organized in the Order of Alma’s References)

Case #
Alma’s Words
Abinadi’s Words
Times Exact Phrase Is Used Elsewhere in Scripture*
Case 1
Alma 39:8
Mosiah 17:10
Stand as a testi­mony against you at the last day
Case 2
Alma 39:15– 16, 18
Mosiah 15:10–11,18
Salvation unto his people
1 (Luke 1:77)
Case 3
Alma 40:2
Mosiah 16:10
Put on immortal­ity, . . . put on incorruption
1 (1 Corinthians 15:53–54)
Case 4
Alma 40:13
Mosiah 16:2
Gnashing of teeth
23 (but only once in the Book of Mormon)
Case 5
Alma 40:13
Mosiah 15:26
They have no part
Case 6
Alma 40:15–17
Mosiah 15:21–26
First resurrection
9 (Revelation 20:5, 6; Mosiah 18:9; D&C 45:54; 63:18; 76:64; 132:19 [twice], 26)
Case 7
Alma 40:16– 20; 41:2
Mosiah 15:21
Resurrection of Christ
3 (Acts 2:31; Hela­man 14:17; 3 Nephi 6:20)
Case 8
Alma 40:21
Mosiah 16:10
Brought to stand before God . . . be judged . . . accord­ing to their works
Case 9
Alma 40:21– 23, 26
Mosiah 15:24, 26–27
Bringeth about the restoration
0 (but 2 Nephi 30:8 is nearly identical)
Case 10
Alma 42:9–11
Mosiah 16:4
Carnal, sensual, devilish
2 (Moses 5:13, 6:49)
Case 11
Alma 42:11
Mosiah 15:19
Were it not for the redemption
Case 12
Alma 42:15
Mosiah 15:9
Demands of justice
2 (Alma 34:16 [twice], and 2 Nephi 9:26 is nearly identical)
Case 13
Alma 42:26
Mosiah 15:19
Prepared from the foundation of the world
9 (Mosiah 4:6, 7; Mosiah 18:13; Alma 12:30; 13:3, 5; 18:39; 22:13; Ether 3:14)

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