Mormon missionaries curse people
The Anti-Nephi Lehies have vividly demonstrated the mighty change that takes place in those who receive the gospel and make covenants vowing to follow Jesus Christ. They are an example of the profound, comprehensive conversion that results from sincere efforts to emulate the Savior in every way. The sons of Mosiah and Alma, along with the converted Lamanites, exhibited the spiritual power that comes from continually seeking repentance, keeping the covenants, and serving the Lord through missionary work and righteous living. As you study Alma 23–29, you will find certain behaviors and attitudes that will help you consolidate your own conversion. Also, look for the number of times you hear of the joy you feel as you devote yourself to sharing the gospel with others.
Alma 23: 1-5. "So that the word of God would not be hindered"
The Lamanite king lifted the restrictions that had previously prevented the gospel from being preached among his people, and the missionaries went out preaching across the land. President Thomas S. Monson reported on a similar event when he described the circumstances that went hand in hand in the then German Democratic Republic (GDR) with the decision of the government to allow missionaries into the country to preach the gospel there after the Church had only been allowed to operate to a limited extent for years:
“Our ultimate goal was to get permission to open the door to missionary work. Elder Russell M. Nelson, Elder Hans B. Ringger, and I met our local leaders in the GDR - first and foremost President Henry Burkhardt, President Frank Apel, and President Manfred Schütze - first with the Secretary of State for Religious Affairs, Kurt Löffler, who invited us to a wonderful lunch in honor. He turned to our group and said, 'We want to be of service to you. We have been watching you and your members for 20 years. We know you are what you say you are: honest men and women. ‘
High-ranking representatives of the state and their wives took part in the dedication of a stake center in Dresden and a community hall in Zwickau. When the saints sang 'God be with you again ... goodbye, goodbye' we thought of him, the Prince of Peace, who died on Golgotha on the cross. I thought of our Lord and Savior walking a path full of pain, a path full of tears, yes, the road to righteousness. His haunting words came to my mind: 'Peace I leave you, my peace I give you; I do not give you a peace like the one the world gives. Do not worry or despair in your heart ‘(John 14:27.)
Then we returned to Berlin, where the all-important meetings with the state's head of state, Chairman Erich Honecker, took place.
... We were driven to the official residence of the highest state representatives.
After entering the building through the elaborately designed entrance, we were greeted by Chairman Honecker. We handed him the sculpture The first stepsshowing a mother helping her child take the first step towards becoming their father. The gift was very well received by him. Then he took us to his private meeting room. There we were assigned seats at the large, round table. Honecker and his staff sat with us at the table.
Mr. Honecker began: 'We know that members of your church attach great importance to work; you have proven that. We know that your family is very important to you; you showed that. We know that in every country you live in you are good citizens; we observed that. You now have the floor. Tell us what you want. ‘
I said: 'Chairman Honecker, at the dedication and the open days of the temple in Freiberg, 89,890 of your compatriots stood in line - sometimes up to four hours, often in the rain - to see a house of God. In Leipzig, 12,000 people attended the dedication of the stake center for the open house. We had 29,000 visitors in Dresden; in Zwickau 5300. And every week between 1500 and 1800 people visit the temple property in Freiberg. These people want to know what we believe in. We would like to tell them that we believe it is right to honor, obey, and stand up for the law of the land. We would like to explain to people why we stand up for strong families. These are just two of our beliefs. We cannot answer questions or express our feelings because we are not represented here by missionaries as in other countries. The young men and women we would like to send here as missionaries would love your country and your people. In particular, you would be influencing your citizens that would make them better people. We would also like to see young men and women from your country who are members of our Church as missionaries in the United States and Canada and many other countries. When they come back, they will be better prepared for responsible jobs in your country. ‘
Then Mr. Honecker spoke for about thirty minutes and explained his goals and positions and the progress that his country had made. Finally he smiled at us and said, 'We know you. We trust you. We have had good experiences with you. Your request regarding the missionaries is granted. ‘
That literally fired my mind as if it could pierce the ceiling of the room. That ended the meeting. As Elder Russell Nelson left the beautiful office, he turned to me and said, 'Do you see the sunshine falling on this corridor? It's almost as if Heavenly Father said, "I'm happy." ‘
The black, gloomy night was over. The bright light of day had come. The gospel of Jesus Christ would now be brought to the millions of people in this land. Your questions about the Church will be answered and the kingdom of God will move forward.
As I reflect on these events, the words of the Lord come to mind: 'Neither does man offend God, nor inflame his anger against anyone except those who do not acknowledge his hand in everything' (Lub 59:21). I acknowledge the hand of God in these miraculous events that took place in relation to the Church in the German Democratic Republic. "(Spring General Conference 1989.)
Alma 23: 6. Those who were converted to the Lord never fell away
It is noteworthy that not one of the anti-Nephi-Lehies ever left the Church or became less active (see Alma 27:27). President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) has emphasized the importance of keeping new converts in the Church. He said there was no point in missionary work if converts did not stay active:
“As missionary work grows around the world, there must be a comparable increase in efforts to make each new member feel at home in the ward or branch. So many people will attend Church this year that more than 100 new average stakes can be formed. Unfortunately, with the increasing number of new members, we are neglecting some of them. I sincerely hope that a great effort is being made in the Church around the world to work to ensure that each and every new member remains active in the Church.
This is serious business. There is no point in missionizing if we cannot hold onto the fruits of those efforts. One must not separate one from the other. "(The star(January 1998, page 55.)
Alma 23:17. What does the name mean Anti-Nephi-Lehi?
The name Anti-Nephi-Lehi could indicate the amalgamation of the descendants of Nephi and those who followed him with the other descendants of Lehi: “The part of the name 'Anti' in 'Anti-Nephi-Lehi' could be derived from the Egyptian nty, 'He from, the one from', to be derived. Then it would not have the meaning 'against', but rather would mean 'the one of Nephi and Lehi'. ”(Stephen D. Ricks,“ Anti-Nephi-Lehi ”, from: Dennis L. Largey, ed., Book of Mormon Reference Companion, 2003, page 67.)
Alma 24:10. Guilt taken away through the Atonement
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, testified that we can use the Atonement of Jesus Christ to redeem our debts:
“For some reason we believe the Atonement applies just at the end of mortal life, for salvation from fall, from spiritual death. But it is much more than that. It is an omnipresent power that we can also claim in everyday life. When we are torn and tormented by guilt, when grief bows us down, Christ can heal us. While we do not fully know how Christ's Atonement came about, we can experience the peace of God “that is beyond understanding” [Philippians 4: 7]. ...
We all make mistakes. Sometimes we harm ourselves and hurt others so badly that we cannot make amends on our own. We're breaking something that we can't fix. Then we feel guilty, humiliated, suffer, and cannot cope with it on our own. Then the healing power of the Atonement will help.
The Lord said: 'Behold, I, God, have suffered this for all, so that they may not suffer if they repent.' [D&C 19:16] ...
The Atonement is of practical, personal, daily value; claim it! It can be activated with as simple a beginning as a prayer. You will not be free from difficulties and mistakes afterwards, but by repenting you can get rid of guilt and have inner peace. "(Liahona, July 2001, page 26f.)
Alma 24:11. All we could do to repent
The Anti-Nephi-Lehies did "all that [they] could do to repent" (Alma 24:11). At 2 Nephi 25:23, Nephi taught "that by grace we are saved after all that we can do." We learn from the King of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies that all we can do includes repenting "of all our sins."
Alma 24: 17-19. Bury our weapons deep
The Anti-Nephi Lehies buried their weapons deep in the earth, promising the Lord that they would never use them again. The record says that the Anti-Nephi-Lehies "were firm and even preferred to suffer death than commit sin" (Alma 24:19). Their actions show that after sincere repentance, they turned completely away from sin.
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught that turning away from sin often requires lifestyle changes: “Turning away from sin is not just about wishing for more favorable conditions, one must create the conditions. Perhaps one even has to get to the point where one detests the stained clothes and is disgusted with sin. You need to be sure that you have not only given up sin, but that you have changed the realities of sin. One must avoid the places, conditions, and circumstances associated with sin, for it is all too easy for them to recreate it. One must turn away from the people with whom one has committed sin. Perhaps you don't have any aversion to the people involved, but you have to avoid them and everything that has to do with sin ... You have to get rid of everything that could evoke old memories. "(The Miracle of Forgiveness, 1969, page 171f.)
Alma 24: 22-27. The example of the righteous resulted in the conversion of many
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles noted that our determination to keep our covenants can lead to the conversion of others:
“The king of the Anti-Nephi Lehies directed his people to bury weapons deep in the ground so that they would not be tempted to use them when their Lamanite brothers went to battle against them. The people, following the king's instructions, saw it as "a testimony before God and also before men that they would never again use weapons to shed human blood" (Alma 24:18). When the Lamanites attacked, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies “went out to meet them and prostrated themselves to the earth before their attackers” (Alma 24:21). The Lamanites killed Anti-Nephi-Lehies in 1005, then the slaughter came to an end. Why did the slaughter stop and what did it result? We find the answers to these questions in Alma's account. ...
'When the Lamanites saw this, they ceased to kill them, and there were many in whom the heart ... swelled,' for they repented of what they had done. ...
'More was added to the people of God that day than the number of those killed; and those who were killed were righteous people, so we have no reason to doubt that they are saved. ‘(Alma 24: 24-26.) ...
The core message of the story is not that pacifism is always right under all circumstances, but rather that we learn from it that we can exert great influence over others by not paying them back for their hostility towards us with the same coin. We can literally change their hearts if we follow Christ's example and turn the other cheek. Our example as peaceful disciples of Christ inspires others to follow him. ”(Living with Enthusiasm, 1996, page 127f.)
Alma 24:30. You leave neutral ground
If one apostates from the Church after becoming a member, "his condition becomes worse than if [he] never knew any of this" (Alma 24:30). The Prophet Joseph Smith shared this point of view when he was talking to another member. A brother named Isaac Behunin told the Prophet Joseph Smith: “'If I were to leave the Church, I would not do what these men did: I would settle in some remote place where Mormonism had not been heard before and no one would ever know I knew about it. '
The Great Seer immediately replied: 'Brother Behunin, you do not know what you would do. No doubt these men once thought like you. Before joining the Church, you were on neutral ground. As you were taught the gospel, you were presented with good and bad. You could choose one or none. There were two opposing masters whom you invited to serve them. As you joined this church, you volunteered to serve God. With that you left neutral ground and you can never go back there. If you should ever forsake the Lord, whom you are obliged to serve, it will be done at the instigation of the evil one, and with that you will follow his dictation and become his servant.Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Page 359.)
Alma 25: 1-12. Prophecies Fulfilled
Alma 25: 1-12 tells how Abinadi's prophecy about the wicked priests of King Noah was fulfilled (see Mosiah 17: 15-20). Notice how Mormon demonstrates the fulfillment of Abinadi's prophecy for the reader. Consider the consequences for those who reject prophets like Abinadi and claim that the prophet sinned. Also found in modern revelation is a warning to those who “lift up their heels against my anointed ones” (see D&C 121: 16–22).
Alma 25:17. The Lord made his word to her true in every detail
One of the important lessons that emerges from this section of the book of Alma is that God always keeps his promises. The Lord had told King Mosiah that many would believe the words of his sons and that he would “deliver them from the hands of the Lamanites” (Mosiah 28: 7). See Alma 17: 4, 35–39 for the fulfillment of these promises; 19: 22.23; 26: 1-4. This is just one of the many examples in the scriptures that affirms the true doctrine that God is obligated when we do what He says (see D&C 82:10).
Alma 26: 5-7. What are sheaves?
A sheaf is a bundle of corn stalks with ears of wheat.The sheaves that Ammon speaks of in Alma 26: 5 refer to the converts brought into the church by faithful missionaries who break their sickles.
Alma 26:15, 16. "Who could rejoice too much in the Lord?"
Just as Ammon praised the Lord and sang his praises, so should we. When Sister Sheri L. Dew was a counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, she taught the role of Jesus Christ in our daily lives:
„Can to be happy even when life is difficult? Can one feel peace in the midst of uncertainty and hope in the midst of cynicism? Can you change, shake off old habits and become a new person? Can one live honestly and purely in a world that no longer values the virtues that distinguish a disciple of Christ?
Yes. The answer is yes, because Jesus Christ through His Atonement ensures that we do not have to bear the burdens of earthly life alone. ...
Over the years, like you, I have experienced tribulations and disappointments that would have crushed me if I had not been able to draw from a source of wisdom and strength far greater than I could ever muster myself. Jesus never forgot or left me, and I realized for myself that he really is the Messiah and that this is his church. With Ammon I say, 'Who could rejoice too much in the Lord? Yes, who could speak too much of his great power and his mercy ...? Behold, I tell you that I cannot say the smallest part of what I am feeling. '(Alma 26:16) I testify, now that the dispensation of the fulness of the dispensation is drawing to a close and Lucifer is working overtime for ours Endangering journey home and separating ourselves from the atoning power of the Savior is the only answer for everyone of us in Jesus Christ ”(Spring 1999 general conference)
Alma 26:27. Perseverance leads to success
The success of the sons of Mosiah with the Lamanites exceeded their expectations (see Alma 26: 30–31). At the beginning of their mission, the Lord promised: “I will make you an instrument in my hands to save many souls” (Alma 17:11). This promise gave them “courage to go to the Lamanites and teach them the word of God to proclaim ”(Alma 17:12). Success, however, did not come automatically, even when the Lord had promised it. During their fourteen-year mission, they experienced "all kinds of tribulations" (Alma 26:30). It is also said that they were "downcast in heart and ... near to return" (Alma 26:27). Still, they trusted the Lord's promises and continued their efforts. Then the Lord fulfilled his promises, as He always does, and rewarded their perseverance.
Alma 26: 27-30. The realities of missionary service
Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy shared the experience of reading Alma 26 as a young missionary that influenced his testimony of the truth of the Book of Mormon:
“I read again the 26th chapter in Alma and the account of Ammon's mission. I read aloud, as I do sometimes when I am trying to put myself in the shoes of the person in the book, and I imagined that I was there, speaking and hearing the words. I read the report again, and then the spirit spoke to my soul with indescribable clarity, so clearly that someone who has not experienced it himself would find it difficult to grasp. He asked: Did you notice it Everything that happened to Ammon has already happened to you.
It was a completely unexpected sensation. It was astounding, and such a thought had never occurred to me before. I quickly reread the story. Yes, there had been times when I was downcast and thought about going home. I too had gone to a foreign country to preach the gospel to the Lamanites. I had gone out among her, endured hardships, slept on the floor, endured the cold and sometimes had nothing to eat. I too had gone from house to house, knocked on doors for several months in a row without being let in, and trusted in the mercy of God.
There had been other times when we were allowed into the house and talked to people. We had taught them on their streets and on their hills. We even preached in other churches. I remembered being spat at. As a young district leader appointed by the mission president to develop a new city, I remembered going with three other missionaries to the center of this place where missionaries had never been before. We went to the park and sang a hymn. People gathered around us.
Then, because I was the district leader, I had to preach. I climbed on a stone bench and spoke to the people. I told the story of the Restoration of the Gospel, how the boy Joseph went into the forest and the father and son appeared to him. I clearly remembered a group of teenage boys standing in the evening shade throwing stones at us. I remembered how I feared I would be beaten or hurt by those who would not hear our message.
I also remembered the time I had to spend in prison while the police in a particular country were determining my legal right to stay as a missionary. I haven't been in prison long enough to compare myself to Ammon, but I still remember exactly how I felt when the cell door was closed: I was far from home, alone and dependent solely on the mercy of God for to get free again. I remembered going through all of this in the hope that “we might be the means to save some soul” (Alma 26:30).
And then, the day I read this, the Spirit testified again, and the words have stayed with me to this day: No one other than a missionary could have written this story. Joseph Smith could never have known what it was like to be a missionary among the Lamanites, for no one he knew had ever seen anything like it. "(" Ammon: Reflections on Faith and Testimony ", from: Heroes from the Book of Mormon, 1995, p. 124f.)
Alma 27: 21-24. Forgive our enemies
Alma had already called the people of Zarahemla to change their hearts (see Alma 5: 6, 12–14, 26). He also taught that the Lord invites all people (see Alma 5:33). This coincides with a similar invitation the Lord conveyed through Nephi that God should not turn away anyone “who comes to him, black and white, enslaved and free, male and female; ... all are equal before God ”(2 Nephi 26:33). The people of Zarahemla accepted Alma's message and when it became necessary to forgive their enemies, they offered land and protection to the people of Ammon.
President Howard W. Hunter (1907–1995) exhorted each of us to forgive our enemies in similar ways:
“For example, consider the following instruction Christ gave his disciples: He said, 'Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you; pray for those who abuse you ‘(Luke 6: 27,28.)
Just think about what this admonition alone would do in your and my neighborhood, in the community where you live with your children, in the countries that make up our great world family. I understand that this teaching is a great challenge, but it is certainly a more appropriate challenge than the terrible tasks that war and poverty and pain in the world constantly pose to us. ...
We all have real opportunities to practice our Christianity, and we must strive to use every opportunity. For example, we can all be a little more forgiving. "(The star(January 1993, page 15.)
Alma 28: 1-12. When righteous people die, there is cause for hope
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared the experience of a righteous priesthood leader who was critically ill and dying:
“My friend was able to take the phrase 'Thy will be done' for himself when he was facing his trials and painful suffering. As a loyal member of the Church, he now asked himself some serious questions. Above all, he was moved by the questions: 'Have I done everything I have to do to endure faithfully to the end?' 'What will death be like?' 'Will my family be willing to hold on to the faith and cope on their own if I am gone? '
We were able to speak about all of these questions that are clearly answered in our Savior's teaching. We talked about how he had lived his life trying to be faithful, to do what God asked him to do, to be honest with others, and to love and care for his family. Isn't that what is meant when it means enduring to the end? We talked about what happens immediately after death, what God taught us about the spirit world. For those who have lived righteously, it is a place of happiness, a paradise. There is nothing to be afraid of.
After our conversation, he called his wife and family - his children and grandchildren - to teach them again the doctrine of the Atonement that all will be resurrected. All understood that despite the mourning of temporary separation, there is no suffering for those who die in the Lord, as the Lord said (see Revelation 14:13; D&C 42:46). In his blessing he was given consolation and the assurance that he would be in no pain, that he would have more time to prepare his family for his death - even that he would know the time of his death. The family told me that the night before he died he said he would leave them the next day. On the afternoon of the following day, he died peacefully, surrounded by his entire family. Such comfort comes when we know the gospel plan and know that families are forever.
Compare these events to something that happened when I was a young man in my early twenties. When I was serving in the Air Force, a pilot from my squadron crashed during a training flight and was killed in the process. I was assigned to accompany my fallen comrade on his final trip home so that he could be buried in Brooklyn. I was given the honor of standing with his family during the funeral and, as the representative of the state, presenting the flag to the grieving widow at the grave. It was a dark and dreary funeral. Nobody spoke of his kindness and what he had achieved. His name was never mentioned. After the funeral, his widow turned to me and asked, 'Bob, what is really going to happen to Don? ‘
I was then able to share the wonderful doctrine of the resurrection with her and tell her that if they were baptized and sealed together in the temple for time and all eternity, they could be united forever. The clergyman who stood next to her said: 'That is the most beautiful teaching I have ever heard.' "(The star(January 1997, p. 63.)
Alma 29: 4–5. God grants people according to their wishes
Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that our desires influence our personal development and ultimately determine our blessings in eternity:
“The wishes become the really decisive factor, even if we, with regrettable naivety, actually do not want the consequences of our wishes at all. ...
Ultimately, therefore, we will get what we desperately want for a long time, even in eternity. ...
So righteous desires must be tireless because, according to President Young: 'Those who want a place in the celestial kingdom will find that they must struggle for it every day.' (Journal of Discourses11:14.) A true disciple of Christ is not just a weekend Christian. ...
Remember, brothers and sisters, how great and how attractive the temptations are depends on our desires. Regarding our temptations, we set the thermostat ourselves.
Obviously, if we are to educate and train our desires, we must know the truths of the gospel. But there is more to it than that. President Brigham Young affirmed: 'It is evident that many who know the truth do not align themselves with it; As true and beautiful as the truth may be, one must take people's passions and shape them according to God's law. ‘(Journal of Discourses, 7:55.) …
Therefore, as President Joseph F. Smith taught, "it is of great importance to our happiness in this life that we direct our desires in the right direction" (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., 1939, page 297). Such education can lead to sanctification until, says President Brigham Young, "sacred desires result in corresponding outward works." (Journal of Discourses, 6: 170). Only if we direct and train our desires can they become our allies instead of our enemies! "(The star, January 1997, page 20f.)
To think about
How can the example of the anti-Nephi-Lehies help you convert even more sustainably?
The Anti-Nephi Lehies covenanted with God to bury their weapons (see Alma 24: 17–18). What do you regularly do to show the Lord that you too are fully converted?
How could Alma's missionary efforts among the Nephites (see Alma 4-15) prepared him to receive the converted Lamanites taught by the sons of Mosiah?
Suggestions for tasks
Just as the Lamanites buried their weapons of war so that they would never use them again, we must rid ourselves of any sins or weaknesses that prevent us from coming to God. Think of a sin or weakness in your life that you would like to put aside or overcome. Plan how you will achieve that and put your plan into action.
Read Alma 26–28 and look for reasons Ammon and Alma give for their joy. Write these reasons down and choose at least one of them that you want to make a more formative part of your life.
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