Know Your Book of Mormon
The title page of the Book of Mormon tells us that it was restored to “show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.” A book with such a powerful purpose should be understood in its plainness so that all can come unto Christ. The purpose of the “Know Your Book of Mormon” collection is to uncover its plainness and help awaken those with eyes to see and ears to hear to the real power of this message that is contained in this book. The message of the Book of Mormon is illuminated when we read anything contained in it that we ask ourselves, “how is this related to the original covenant?”
Awakening To Your Duty
The the phrase “remembrance of one’s duty toward God” or even the use of “duty toward God” is very unique in the Book of Mormon. The phrase is first used a couple of times in the Book of Mosiah–once by Mormon talking about King Benjamin (Mosiah 1:17) and a second time by Abinadi as he lectures the court of Noah (Mosiah 13:30).
However, there are more instances of this key phrase in the Book of Mormon. So, instead of dissecting these Mosiah verses and chapters and their contexts right now, let’s start with looking at Alma the younger’s use of the phrase starting in Alma chapter 4. Then, we will let him explain what he means by the phrase and then you can come back to these book of Mosiah references later. As we do, look for the personal application with your spiritual eyes and ears.
Alma Called to Serve
2 But the people were afflicted, yea, greatly afflicted for the loss of their brethren, and also for the loss of their flocks and herds, and also for the loss of their fields of grain, which were trodden under foot and destroyed by the Lamanites.
3 And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty.
The people were humbled by their circumstances. As a result, they were “awakened to a remembrance of their duty.” What duty is this and to whom is the duty dedicated?
4 And they began to establish the church more fully; yea, and many were baptized in the waters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God [that’s you]; yea, they were baptized by the hand of Alma, who had been consecrated the high priest over the people of the church, by the hand of his father Alma.
5 And it came to pass in the seventh year of the reign of the judges there were about three thousand five hundred souls that united themselves to the church of God and were baptized [by water; baptism of repentance; sign of beginning their covenant journey]. And thus ended the seventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi; and there was continual peace in all that time.
Just one year later, a division had been created as many fell away from the covenant path. This sorely affected Alma and those “consecrated to be teachers, and priests, and elders over the church” that were teaching, guiding and encouraging individuals to seek for their personal redemption in their journey on the covenant path.
v6-10 And it came to pass in the eighth year of the reign of the judges, that the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches,…and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained by their industry; and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes… Now this was the cause of much affliction to Alma, yea, and to many of the people whom Alma had consecrated to be teachers, and priests, and elders over the church; yea, many of them were sorely grieved for the wickedness which they saw had begun to be among their people…there began to be great contentions among the people of the church…even to exceed the pride of those who did not belong to the church of God….the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church; and thus the church began to fail in its progress.
Alma saw the negative effect of this upon both the church members and the unbelievers:
11 And it came to pass in the commencement of the ninth year, Alma saw the wickedness of the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead those who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus bringing on the destruction of the people.
12 Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted.
There were still some that were trying to keep their duty to God:
13 Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy;
14 Looking forward to that day [future], thus retaining a remission of their sins [receiving baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost]; being filled with great joy because of the resurrection of the dead, according to the will and power and deliverance of Jesus Christ from the bands of death.
Alma decides to do something about it all:
16 And he selected a wise man who was among the elders of the church, and gave him power according to the voice of the people, that he might have power to enact laws according to the laws which had been given, and to put them in force according to the wickedness and the crimes of the people.
17 Now this man’s name was Nephihah, and he was appointed chief judge; and he sat in the judgment-seat to judge and to govern the people.
18 Now Alma did not grant unto him the office of being high priest over the church, but he retained the office of high priest unto himself; but he delivered the judgment-seat unto Nephihah.
Nephihah, according to revelation (v20) was only to be a secular leader or chief judge and did not retain oversight of the church. He also was not yet a high priest after the Holy Order of the son of God:
19 And this he [Alma] did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty [to personally fulfill their covenant path], and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them [The only way he could counter the wickedness, “pride and craftiness and all the contentions” was to share “pure testimony” using the spirit and gift of prophecy that was in him. His witness would have great power because he was a personal witness of the Savior in His glory–having received his baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost and also received his second comforter, the promise of eternal life and calling and election made sure. Alma had the unique ability to not just teach “about” Jesus Christ but to witness of Him personally.].
The entire reason for Alma putting Nephihah in charge was so that Alma could go and serve as a missionary–teaching and testifying with great power to “reclaim” these once covenant people and “stir them up in remembrance of their duty” toward God. We will see this unfold exact message later in his teachings as a missionary.
20 And thus in the commencement of the ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, Alma delivered up the judgment-seat to Nephihah, and confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy.
So Alma, led by the Lord, is going to leave on a mission in an attempt to reclaim the once covenant people and also unbelievers who will listen. Alma says that he wants “to stir them up in remembrance of their duty toward God.” That poses some interesting questions:
- What will be Alma’s and Mormon’s message to reclaim these people?
- And what do they say is their duty toward God?
In Alma chapters 5 through 7 we will begin to figure out just what he meant by that. If you have studied and pondered Christ’s doctrine and have eyes to see and ears to hear you will see the Book of Mormon come alive even more. You will see that just this section is helping to fulfill the purpose of the book. I hope you see it, hear it, understand it and embrace the Lord’s divine message through Alma (original author) and Mormon (chief editor).
First Mission Stop: Zarahemla
Pay close attention to the profound message that Alma offers. The teachings in these chapters (Alma 5-6) to the people of Zarahemla is one of the most powerful in the entire Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon was restored in the latter days to benefit you, so look very closely for you in Alma’s words:
v1-13 In an effort to literally “bring them to a remembrance”, Alma reminds them of the dealings of God with his father, Alma, and Amulek in the court of Noah. He attempts to stir them up to a “remembrance” of the greatness of God and the changes of heart (v12-13; baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost; complete remission of personal sins; salvation) that came upon the parents of the people of Zarahemla.
14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? [received baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost] Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
15 Do ye exercise faith [obedience to personal commandments and will of God] in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption braised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed [those that have received salvation], for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth? [because they would have exercised charity which is the mind and will of God]
17 Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say—Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth—and that he will save you? [no one can lie to the Lord because the Lord would have been the one to offer and authorize their baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost]
18 Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God [personal revelation]?
19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands [complete remission of personal sins]? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
20 I say unto you, can ye think of being saved [receive your baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost; remission of sins] when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil?
21 I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved [didn’t receive your baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost; remission of sins]; for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins [remission of sins through the blood of Christ; redeemed from the blood and sins of that generation].
22 And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you? [the blood and sins of that generation]
23 Behold will they not testify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness?
24 Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God [Church of the Firstborn], with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white?
25 I say unto you, Nay; except ye make our Creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose that he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose that such can have place in the kingdom of heaven; but they shall be cast out for they are the children of the kingdom of the devil.
26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? [fruits of one that has received their baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost]
27 Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God [received complete remission of sins through baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost; remission of sins]? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble [broken heart and contrite spirit]? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ [remission of sins], who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God [receive the presence of the Lord; second comforter]. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life [received their second comforter; received promise of eternal life; calling and election made sure].
29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy [changed]? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly [sufficient hope, faith, repent, have charity], for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless [received complete remission of sins through baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost].
30 And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
31 Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared [sufficient hope, faith], and the time is at hand that he must repent [turn away from the world and toward the Lord with an eye single to His glory (including the glory of His presence)] or he cannot be saved [receive baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost]!
32 Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it!
34 Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely [received their second comforter; received promise of eternal life; calling and election made sure];
36 For behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit , or whosoever doeth not the works of righteousness, the same have cause to wail and mourn [not sanctified with the remission of sins and exercising charity through the gift of the Holy Ghost].
37 O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world [distracted and entertained by the world], ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd [the Lord is the only righteous shepherd], notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you [is this you?], but ye will not hearken unto his voice! [will not heed the call to come unto Him in His presence; will not heed to personal revelation]
38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd [the Lord] doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd [discern His voice from among the 3 voices of eternity] , to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd [their initial baptism of water and church ‘membership’ (association with others that started their covenant path) does not qualify as ‘sheep’].
39 And now if ye are not the sheep [Redeemed by the blood of Christ for a remission of sins through having received your baptism of fire and Holy Ghost] of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil [If not a sheep, why would you be of the fold of the devil? Because the Lord has not claimed you as His son or daughter through His redeeming blood. Thus, you are left to be claimed by the devil.]
40 For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil [He’s saying there are still two great forces only in the eternities–light and dark. If you have not been claimed by light then you are subject to claim by the dark. The mortal probation is THE time to seek for the light or the source of the light (Christ) to claim you. In order for you to be claimed by the light you have to be ‘changed’ by the light (sanctified even unto a baptism of fire and Holy Ghost). So what is left for you but to seek earnestly (crying out) for yours?…or be left to be claimed by the dark. Then there is the person that believes their own good works will help them be sanctified enough to ‘hopefully’ be good enough to be claimed by Christ when in actuality the Lord is asking for a broken heart and contrite spirit and be led by personal revelation to the point when that person will receive a remission of sins and baptism of fire and Holy Ghost. This is touched on in the next two verses (v41-42)].
41 Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him. [The only thing that qualifies as a ‘good work’ is a personal commandment from the Lord. It qualifies as ‘good’ because the source of it is ‘good’ or perfect, omniscient and perfectly just and merciful. Recognizing, receiving and obeying the “voice of the good shepherd” is what sanctifies (bestows a portion of the glory of God upon a person). Everything else is one’s own works/ideas or the work of the devil which do not sanctify us.]
42 And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him; therefore, for his wages he receiveth death, as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works. [He clarifies by saying it is ‘just’ or this is ‘justice’ that a person will receive light, glory and sanctification through obedience to personal revelation from God but according to ‘justice’ the opposite is also true]
43 And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me, for I speak in the energy of my soul; for behold, I have spoken unto you plainly that ye cannot err, or have spoken according to the commandments of God [the spirit and gift of prophecy].
44 For I am called to speak after this manner, according to the holy order of God, which is in Christ Jesus; yea, I am commanded to stand and testify unto this people the things which have been spoken by our fathers concerning the things which are to come.
45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself [“have I not received all from the Lord just as I have been explaining”]? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God [he has received his second comforter, promise of eternal life]. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself [he covenanted, prepared himself and was led on his personal journey by the Lord into the Lord’s presence to receive all]. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit [the Holy Spirit is the power by which God is able to manifest Himself to mortals]; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me [without the Holy Spirit the Lord would not be able to reveal His truth].
47 And moreover, I say unto you that it has thus been revealed unto me, that the words which have been spoken by our fathers are true, even so according to the spirit of prophecy [gift of prophecy] which is in me, which is also by the manifestation of the Spirit of God.
48 I say unto you, that I know of myself that whatsoever I shall say unto you, concerning that which is to come, is true; and I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins [remission of sins through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost] of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name [sufficient hope, faith, repent, exercising charity].
49 And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation [that’s you/us]; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again [receive your baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost; remission of sins; be claimed by the Lord as His].
50 Yea, thus saith the Spirit: Repent, all ye ends of the earth [that’s you/us], for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand; yea, the Son of God cometh in his glory, in his might, majesty, power, and dominion. Yea, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, that the Spirit saith: Behold the glory of the King of all the earth [receive all from the Lord including His presence]; and also the King of heaven shall very soon shine forth among all the children of men.
51 And also the Spirit saith unto me, yea, crieth unto me with a mighty voice, saying: Go forth and say unto this people—Repent [turn away from the world now and toward the Lord with a covenant and an eye single to His glory or presence], for except ye repent ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of heaven [Church of the Firstborn].
52 And again I say unto you, the Spirit saith: Behold, the ax is laid at the root of the tree; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire, yea, a fire which cannot be consumed, even an unquenchable fire. Behold, and remember, the Holy One hath spoken it.
53 And now my beloved brethren, I say unto you, can ye withstand these sayings; yea, can ye lay aside these things, and trample the Holy One under your feet; yea, can ye be puffed up in the pride of your hearts; yea, will ye still persist in the wearing of costly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world [distractions and entertainment of the world], upon your riches?
54 Yea, will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another [that’s you]; yea, will ye persist in the persecution of your brethren, who humble themselves [broken heart and contrite spirit] and do walk after the holy order of God, wherewith they have been brought into this church [Church of the Firstborn], having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit [sanctification is received throughout the entire journey beginning with repenting all the way to the presence of the Lord in a Second Comforter experience], and they do bring forth works which are meet for repentance.
1 And now it came to pass that after Alma had made an end of speaking unto the people of the church, which was established in the city of Zarahemla, he ordained priests and elders, by laying on his hands according to the order of God [Alma did not ordain people to this order, just saying that using the laying on of hands is how things are done within this order], to preside and watch over the church [This is the telestial church; Not the “Church of Christ” and not the “Church of the Firstborn”; This is the telestial equivalent of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; A telestial institution set up to teach people the covenant path and encourage them to personally ascend].
2 And it came to pass that whosoever did not belong to the church who repented of their sins were baptized unto repentance [baptism of water], and were received into the church [see previous comment about church].
3 And it also came to pass that whosoever did belong to the church that did not repent of their wickedness and humble themselves before God—I mean those who were lifted up in the pride of their hearts—the same were rejected, and their names were blotted out, that their names were not numbered among those of the righteous [no longer members of the telestial church receiving teaching of the covenant path and chose not to enter into the covenant path for either the first time or second time].
4 And thus they began to establish the order of the church in the city of Zarahemla.
5 Now I would that ye should understand that the word of God was liberal unto all , that none were deprived of the privilege of assembling themselves together to hear the word of God [all were taught the covenant path in the church].
6 Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God.
7 And now it came to pass that when Alma had made these regulations he departed from them, yea, from the church which was in the city of Zarahemla, and went over upon the east of the river Sidon, into the valley of Gideon, there having been a city built, which was called the city of Gideon, which was in the valley that was called Gideon, being called after the man who was slain by the hand of Nehor with the sword.
8 And Alma went and began to declare the word of God unto the church which was established in the valley of Gideon, according to the revelation of the truth of the word which had been spoken by his fathers, and according to the spirit of prophecy [gift of prophecy] which was in him, according to the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who should come to redeem his people from their sins, and the holy order by which he was called. And thus it is written. Amen.
So here we have Alma previously saying he is going to serve a mission with a message to “stir them to a remembrance of their duty to god” and that entire message, as you just read, captured by Mormon (chief editor of The Book of Mormon) is about restoring people to the covenant path that leads to a complete remission of personal sins (through the baptism of the Holy Ghost) and increased sanctification that leads to the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ (Second Comforter; promise of eternal life). Still not believing the plainness of what you are seeing? Keep reading the continuation of Alma’s missionary message.
Next Mission Stop: The City of Gideon
So Alma left Zarahemla and arrived in the valley and city of Gideon (Alma 7). Notice the Alma’s continual effort to “stir up the people unto a remembrance of their duty to God.” Therefore, notice the message is the same.
1 Behold my beloved brethren, seeing that I have been permitted to come unto you, therefore I attempt to address you in my language; yea, by my own mouth, seeing that it is the first time that I have spoken unto you by the words of my mouth, I having been wholly confined to the judgment-seat, having had much business that I could not come unto you.
2 And even I could not have come now at this time were it not that the judgment-seat hath been given to another, to reign in my stead; and the Lord in much mercy hath granted that I should come unto you.
3 And behold, I have come having great hopes and much desire that I should find that ye had humbled yourselves before God, and that ye had continued in the supplicating of his grace, that I should find that ye were blameless [received a remission of sins through baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost] before him, that I should find that ye were not in the awful dilemma that our brethren were in at Zarahemla.
4 But blessed be the name of God, that he hath given me to know, yea, hath given unto me the exceedingly great joy of knowing that they are established again in the way of his righteousness.
5 And I trust, according to the Spirit of God which is in me, that I shall also have joy over you; nevertheless I do not desire that my joy over you should come by the cause of so much afflictions and sorrow which I have had for the brethren at Zarahemla, for behold, my joy cometh over them after wading through much affliction and sorrow.
6 But behold, I trust that ye are not in a state of so much unbelief [lacking sufficient hope and faith in Jesus Christ] as were your brethren; I trust that ye are not lifted up in the pride of your hearts; yea, I trust that ye have not set your hearts upon riches and the vain things of the world [distractions and entertainments in the world]; yea, I trust that you do not worship idols, but that ye do worship the true and the living God, and that ye look forward for the remission of your sins [through your personal baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost], with an everlasting faith, which is to come.
7 For behold, I say unto you there be many things to come; and behold, there is one thing which is of more importance than they all—for behold, the time is not far distant that the Redeemer liveth and cometh among his people.
8 Behold, I do not say that he will come among us at the time of his dwelling in his mortal tabernacle; for behold, the Spirit hath not said unto me that this should be the case. Now as to this thing I do not know; but this much I do know, that the Lord God hath power to do all things which are according to his word.
9 But behold, the Spirit hath said this much unto me, saying: Cry unto this people, saying—Repent ye, and prepare the way of the Lord, and walk in his paths [the covenant path], which are straight; for behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth.
10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again [receive your baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost]; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven [cannot receive the Second Comforter; Receive the promise of eternal life; Become a member of the Church of the Firstborn]; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance [start your journey with a baptism of water], that ye may be washed from your sins [future event after baptism of water where one can receive a baptism of fire and Holy ghost that provides remission of sins], that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
15 Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant [formally start your journey] with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.
16 And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God [live by personal revelation from the Lord] from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life [Second Comforter; Promise of eternal life; Calling and election made sure], according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me.
17 And now my beloved brethren, do you believe these things [have sufficient hope]? Behold, I say unto you, yea, I know that ye believe them; and the way that I know that ye believe them is by the manifestation of the Spirit which is in me. And now because your faith is strong concerning that, yea, concerning the things which I have spoken, great is my joy.
18 For as I said unto you from the beginning, that I had much desire that ye were not in the state of dilemma like your brethren, even so I have found that my desires have been gratified.
19 For I perceive that ye are in the paths of righteousness [continually on the covenant path/journey back in, through and to the Lord]; I perceive that ye are in the path which leads to the kingdom of God [Church of the Firstborn]; yea, I perceive that ye are making his paths straight.
20 I perceive that it has been made known unto you, by the testimony of his word, that he cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; therefore, his course is one eternal round.
21 And he doth not dwell in unholy temples; neither can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received into the kingdom of God [Church of the Firstborn; Cannot be received there until one has received a complete remission of personal sins through the baptism of fire and Holy Ghost]; therefore I say unto you the time shall come, yea, and it shall be at the last day, that he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness [those that have not received their baptism of fire and Holy Ghost].
22 And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God [duty being to personally fulfill the covenant path], that ye may walk blameless before him [having received a remission of sins], that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received [“after which you have been received” into the presence of the Son (Second Comforter), membership in the holy order comes under the hands of the Father and the Son].
23 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle [broken heart and contrite spirit]; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times [seeking for and obeying personal revelation]; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
24 And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.
25 And may the Lord bless you, and keep your garments spotless, that ye may at last be brought to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began, having your garments spotless [remission of sins] even as their garments are spotless, in the kingdom of heaven [Church of the Firstborn] to go no more out [a “mystery” taught in Alma 12-13 and taught personally by Alma to his son in Alma 40-41].
26 And now my beloved brethren, I have spoken these words unto you according to the Spirit which testifieth in me; and my soul doth exceedingly rejoice, because of the exceeding diligence and heed which ye have given unto my word.
27 And now, may the peace of God rest upon you, and upon your houses and lands, and upon your flocks and herds, and all that you possess, your women and your children, according to your faith [seeking and obeying personal revelation] and good works [charity], from this time forth and forever. And thus I have spoken. Amen.
After teaching in the city of Gideon, Alma returns home. In subsequent missions among the people you will find that he teaches the same message. For the sake of this post, we will not cite the next chapters right now but I do want to point out that this phrase of keeping one’s “duty toward God” is used again later in the Book of Mormon–and it keeps the same meaning that Alma had used it.
However, this time I will let you find it by simply pointing you to Helaman chapter 15.
Then go back and study the phrase used in the Book of Mosiah:
- (Mosiah 1:17) “Therefore, as they were unfaithful they did not prosper nor progress in their journey, but were driven back, and incurred the displeasure of God upon them; and therefore they were smitten with famine and sore afflictions, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty.”
- (Mosiah 13:30) “Therefore there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him.”
Did you have eyes to see and ears to hear it?
- What was Alma’s and Mormon’s message to reclaim you?
- And what do they say is your duty toward God?
Hopefully, from this study of the Book of Mormon, you have been “awakened to a remembrance of your own personal duty toward God.” In the spirit of Alma’s teaching, the Lord asks:
- Have you formally entered into the covenant path with the Lord?
- Have you repented–vowed to turn away from the world and seek the face of the Lord (D&C 93:1) with an eye single to His glory–which is His redeeming power, His truth, His light?
- Have you received a baptism of repentance (water) signifying your repentant heart?
- Have you cried unto the Lord God with sufficient hope, faith in Jesus Christ and charity seeking for a holy change of heart?
- Have you been born again, cleansed in the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, received a complete remission of your sins by receiving your own baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost–subsequently receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost? [be very careful with your answer]
- Have you begun using the gift of the Holy Ghost to learn to become a servant by keeping the personal commandments of the Lord and developing your charity?
- Have you received the presence of the Lord in a second comforter experience–become a personal witness of the marks of His atoning sacrifice, experienced His glory, been personally taught by Him, received the promise of eternal life, received the kingdom of God (membership in the Church of the Firsborn and the holy order after the Son of God)?
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