This post is part of a series and personal assignment titled, “Unveiling the Covenant Path in the Book of Mormon.” Through this we have revealed the Book of Mormon for what it really is. It started with featuring the Savior’s own witness of the doctrine of Christ in the Book of Mormon. Then starting from the beginning, we have demonstrated how other Book of Mormon prophets have taught and shared their own personal witness of the true covenant path (“the Doctrine of Christ”).
Today, I will share yet another witness of the Doctrine of Christ from Alma the Younger in Alma 31. I will always invite you to first read the assignment (Alma 31) on your own first and use the spirit of the Lord to help you see the doctrine of Christ with new eyes. Then feel free to supplement your own reading with mine if you would like. There is so much to comment on in each chapter, but I will try to limit my comments to only those things that are relevant to the doctrine of Christ and this specific project. I invite you to seek the spirit to teach you their meaning. If you have the proper context of the doctrine of Christ, it should be easier. Use the spirit to discern any of my personal messages. My comments are only there to help clarify the simplicity and beauty of Christ’s true saving doctrine.
The Witness of Alma the Younger to Zoramites
1 Now it came to pass that after the end of Korihor, Alma having received tidings that the Zoramites were perverting the ways of the Lord [the pure doctrine (of Christ) that leads a person to the Lord “in and through” a personal relationship with Him.], and that Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to bow down to dumb idols, his heart again began to sicken because of the iniquity of the people [Idolatry is a spiritual plague. Idols are “anything” that comes as a intermediary between a person and their direct relationship with the Lord. People (arm of flesh) are idols. Vices and entertainment can be idols—anything really. In this case Alma is referring to “dumb idols” (statues). Notice that this was not just people bowing to idols but their “hearts” were “converted” to them which means they believed that these idols favored them or gave them favor as a means to something else. “Dependency” is key to idolatry. If you are really honest with yourself, “who” or “what” are your idols?]
2 For it was the cause of great sorrow to Alma to know of iniquity among his people; therefore his heart was exceedingly sorrowful because of the separation of the Zoramites from the Nephites.
3 Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites.
4 Now the Nephites greatly feared that the Zoramites would enter into a correspondence with the Lamanites, and that it would be the means of great loss on the part of the Nephites.
5 And now, as the preaching of the word [the true doctrine of Christ] had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God. [“Preaching the word” had greater effect because “truth” really is “power.” Every word that is truth is like a beam of literal light. God’s truth operates on a frequency that can pierce flesh and connect to souls. Truth is what changes people. This is “the virtue of the word of God.” If a person has yet to have a true change of heart or even receive personal redemption through a baptism of fire and Holy Ghost, it is likely because they have yet to learn the true doctrine of Christ especially laid out in the scriptures. Unbelief keeps people from ever becoming “seekers” of truth. Instead they are satisfied, content and even flattered as being told they are “God’s elect” or “faithful members of God’s true church.” If you understand the doctrine of Christ, you know that these things do not “save.”]
6 Therefore he took Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner; and Himni he did leave in the church in Zarahemla; but the former three he took with him, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, who were at Melek; and he also took two of his sons.
7 Now the eldest of his sons he took not with him, and his name was Helaman; but the names of those whom he took with him were Shiblon and Corianton; and these are the names of those who went with him among the Zoramites, to preach unto them the word [the true doctrine of Christ].
8 Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.
9 But they had fallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God [His personal revelations to each soul], and his statutes, according to the law of Moses. [Remember that the Law of Moses served the purpose of symbolically trying to convert each soul to the Savior, Jesus Christ.]
10 Neither would they observe the performances of the church [Make sure you understand what “a church” really is. See previous posts.], to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation [These are voluntary personal activities that people chose to do in order to support one another in their own respective relationship/journey “in and through” the Lord. The doctrine of Christ binds a person to the Lord to fulfill the first and great commandment—to Love God. These voluntary personal activities bind a person to another to fulfill the second commandment—love thy neighbor. But they are ordered first and second for a reason.]
11 Yea, in fine, they did pervert the ways of the Lord in very many instances [the true doctrine of Christ]; therefore, for this cause, Alma and his brethren went into the land to preach the word unto them [This highlights the majority responsibility of people like Alma and his brethren—to lay hold upon the gifts of the spirit in order to teach the true doctrine of Christ—that’s it. This really is the simplicity of their role—no official church handbook required. Their role was never supposed to administrate or micromanage another person’s relationship with the Lord. The true doctrine of Christ is an empowering truth—one that does not require an “intermediary” with the Lord. It is direct access by very nature or definition. Joseph Smith’s quote is really applicable here when he said, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” Yet, it is still interesting that people claim Jesus Christ as their intermediary or advocate with the Father, but they still want another intermediary or advocate with Jesus Christ—a church leader, etc. This is also something that “perverts the ways of the Lord.”]
12 Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld;
13 For they had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person.
14 Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice, saying:
15 Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever [An incorrect teaching about the divine nature of God. Might seem insignificant to some but having a correct understanding of the divine nature of God is what develops sufficient hope in God. The Lord God is so amazing that one can easily replace hope with unbelief if they don’t understand the divine nature of God. See also Faith, Hope & Why Charity Never Faileth.]
16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren [“We are your chosen, elect people unlike others outside our community.”]; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren [“We don’t believe what those other evangelical Christians believe”], which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ [If there be no Christ, to whom or what does a person lay claim to their “righteousness?” How else could a person become “elect?” Pay close attention to what is coming.]
17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved [Again, how does one become “saved” without a “Christ Savior?”], whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell [“All those other people will not be saved like we will!”]; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee [How do they claim to have received “holiness” from God? What qualifies them?]; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren [“ah, yes, those other inferior Christians”], which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God [Obviously not a correct teaching of the doctrine of Christ since it is false that Christ bind people down, instead the truth is that He liberates, frees and lifts people to new spiritual estates.]
18 And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen.
19 Now it came to pass that after Alma and his brethren and his sons had heard these prayers, they were astonished beyond all measure.
20 For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers.
21 Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand.
22 Now, from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about [Mormon’s boldness about their ignorance and pride].
23 Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand [once per week; they were showcasing their pride while none of it was woven into their hearts], to offer up thanks after their manner. [This was a great example of living the checklist religion—going to church once per week, getting up in front of one another, praising their “elect-ness”, and then rinse and repeat.]
24 Now when Alma saw this his heart was grieved; for he saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people [Mormon’s declaration]; yea, he saw that their hearts were set upon gold, and upon silver, and upon all manner of fine goods. [These are the fruits of their hollow hearts—having no personal relationship with the Lord.]
25 Yea, and he also saw that their hearts were lifted up unto great boasting, in their pride. [Pride is what keeps people from being seekers of not only truth, but from seeking the Lord. Pride is what convinces people that “We have received, and we need no more!” (2 Nephi 28; See also All is Not Well In Zion). Pride feeds unbelief—the spiritual plague of the latter and last days.]
26 And he lifted up his voice to heaven, and cried, saying: O, how long, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that thy servants shall dwell here below in the flesh, to behold such gross wickedness among the children of men?
27 Behold, O God, they cry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths, while they are puffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the world [The “vain things of the world” are the idols (who & what)—the things that will never bring about personal salvation/redemption of your soul.]
28 Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish. [Mormon’s great description of the church today. Remember who the Book of Mormon is for. See also All is Not Well In Zion]
29 Yea, and they say that thou hast made it known unto them that there shall be no Christ [astonished!].
30 O Lord God, how long wilt thou suffer that such wickedness and infidelity shall be among this people? O Lord, wilt thou give me strength, that I may bear with mine infirmities. For I am infirm, and such wickedness among this people doth pain my soul. [Why “infidelity?” Because no man can serve two masters. If you are not 100% focused on the Lord and if the Lord is not your prophet, seer or revelator, then you are a spiritual adulterer and you cannot be personally redeemed.]
31 O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me, because of the iniquity of this people.
32 O Lord, wilt thou comfort my soul, and give unto me success, and also my fellow laborers who are with me [completely dependent upon the Lord for any success. Their success will only come through the gifts of the spirit which must be activated by the Lord.]—yea, Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, and also my two sons—yea, even all these wilt thou comfort, O Lord. Yea, wilt thou comfort their souls in Christ [fill up their souls with the Holy Spirit which enables the gifts of the spirit.].
33 Wilt thou grant unto them that they may have strength, that they may bear their afflictions which shall come upon them because of the iniquities of this people.
34 O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. [Alma knew that the only way to redirect the people was to Christ. Anything or “anyone” less would never have “conversion power” and would never bring about personal salvation through the doctrine of Christ.]
35 Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.
36 Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit [received all the gifts of the spirit the Lord knew they would need].
37 And after that they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on [Even according to the original intent in which D&C 107 was revealed, this was the role of a true servant. They would not be paid or entertain priestcrafts but that they would go in the absolute care and guidance of the Lord to accomplish His great work (Moses 1:31). (See also The Witness of Nephi— Prophets & Priestcrafts (2 Nephi 26)]
38 And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith.
“Always remember for who and why the Book of Mormon was abridged, preserved, and restored”
It should be obvious that any doctrine that does not include the need for a Christ most certainly not the doctrine of Christ. But did you notice what why the Zoramites believed they were “saved?” Was it their belief in Jesus Christ? No, they did not believe in such things. Was it because of their good works? No. They believed in the words of the arm of flesh that at some original point convinced them that they were the elect of God. They believed they were “saved” simply because of their association with this select group of people. Their pride and flattery feeds their unbelief in the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ.
I witness to you that, in accordance with the witness of the Book of Mormon, that there is none other that can offer you personal salvation/redemption and enable you to be spiritually sanctified and justified (Moses 6:59-62). Your membership or association will not save you. Put away any pride and rebuke flattery. Come unto Christ with a broken heart and contrite spirit. He will meet you where you are.
For more understanding of this covenant path and its milestones taught throughout the scriptures, you are welcome to begin your personal study and your own journey in and through the doctrine of Christ through The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide. Also, to help you increase your confidence in personal revelation and develop your own gift of discernment, I invite you to study The 3 Voices of Personal Revelation Study Guide.
JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org is based on free, online study guides to help you learn, believe, live and teach the Doctrine of Christ. The Study Guides invite any and all to see and know this truth for themselves that the Savior, Jesus Christ, has, in fact, introduced His doctrine and He personally invites all to receive personal redemption and to even literally receive Him while in the flesh (mortality).
Blog posts are only intended to supplement the Study Guides. Per all blog posts, seek the understanding and confirmations from the Lord in your own personal revelation. Study guides are intended to point you to both the Lord’s written word and His voice (personal revelation). These study guides will help you uncover what the Doctrine of Christ is and other essential topics that will help you in your journey to literally “come unto Christ” while in mortality. All study guides are available at JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org.