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 32. I will always invite you to first read the assignment (Alma 32) 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 And it came to pass that they did go forth, and began to preach the word of God [the doctrine of Christ via the gifts of the spirit] unto the people, entering into their synagogues, and into their houses; yea, and even they did preach the word in their streets.
2 And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people [more of a broken heart and contrite spirit]; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel—
3 Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God [remember, per chapter 31, they are not worshipping the Savior just a mysterious God without understanding the divine nature of God (see also Faith, Hope and Why Charity Never Faileth)], being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart [broken heart and contrite spirit].
4 Now, as Alma was teaching and speaking unto the people upon the hill Onidah, there came a great multitude unto him, who were those of whom we have been speaking, of whom were poor in heart, because of their poverty as to the things of the world.
5 And they came unto Alma; and the one who was the foremost among them said unto him: Behold, what shall these my brethren do, for they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priests; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands; and they have cast us out because of our exceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God; and behold, what shall we do?
[At first glance, one might think that the modern day equivalent is the homeless or beggar. However, from the previous chapter you will see that these that were “poor in spirit” are simply anyone that is deemed unfit or unorthodox for the institutional/systematic approach to religion. You are starting to see the difference between those that conform to “a religion” and those that are “willing to seek for truth” in spite of nonconformity. Look for how this plays out.]
6 And now when Alma heard this, he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word [discerned through the gift of the spirit].
7 Therefore he did say no more to the other multitude; but he stretched forth his hand, and cried unto those whom he beheld, who were truly penitent, and said unto them:
8 I behold that ye are lowly in heart; and if so, blessed are ye.
9 Behold thy brother hath said, What shall we do?—for we are cast out of our synagogues, that we cannot worship our God [true desire is such a special quality].
10 Behold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only? [“Worship” is little understood. We often think of it (define it) in terms of an institutional culture or norms. Instead, think of worship as any interaction with the Lord including communication, attitude, approach, and more. Worship is something that you can create with the Lord. Your relationship with the Lord is already 100% unique and you can work out your worship with Him keeping in mind the purpose of fulfilling the doctrine of Christ.]
11 And moreover, I would ask, do ye suppose that ye must not worship God only once in a week?
12 I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom [a gift of the spirit]; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren because of your exceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble. [A broken heart and contrite spirit is a true principle and one of the “first principles of the gospel (doctrine of Christ).”]
13 And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.
[So why is it that some can read the Book of Mormon and not see it? Why is it that some see and others don’t? Why is it that some will share what they are learning about the doctrine of Christ but their audience will not listen or understand? Why is it that some who do see the doctrine of Christ in the scriptures and it has been revealed to them through the Holy Spirit but are labeled by others as “apostate.” It is because of humility—a broken heart and contrite spirit. Humility is a gift of the spirit. It is the precursor to dependency upon the Lord for truth as opposed to the arm of flesh. It is the precursor to “seeking”—another key principle of the gospel. Contrast this with a person that is secure in their “idols” (See also chapter 31). As time goes on, those that are not sufficiently humble will be compelled to be humble. The Lord will remove their idols and temporal security including people with notable titles or offices. The Lord does this because he has to put you in a situation where you have nothing left but to default to the Lord when in reality He wanted you to do that all along. This cannot get more plain in terms of the doctrine of Christ—repentance, “findeth mercy”, follows the Lord’s personal revelation (commands) “to the end” which “end” is that they “shall be saved” (personal salvation/redemption through a baptism of fire and Holy Ghost). Then your relationship progresses even further to the point in which you can receive the Lord, Himself. But a person must first be “saved” which is why Alma is teaching this doctrine.]
14 And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word? [Your journey (relationship) is accelerated when you are not compelled.]
15 Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty. [If you have read previous posts you will remember that to be “blessed” means that you receive an increase in the glory of God—He imparts it unto your soul. It is what changes your soul in both micro and macro ways.]
16 Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe. [This is to feel it burn within you without having been taught the entire gospel.]
17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.
18 Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing [through the Holy Spirit] he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.
19 And now, how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of God [taught the doctrine] and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into transgression?
20 Now of this thing ye must judge. Behold, I say unto you, that it is on the one hand even as it is on the other; and it shall be unto every man according to his work [It is upon each person to do what the Lord commands within their own relationship/journey with the Lord. Your work is your doings. Your righteous works are the doings that are commanded of the Lord.].
21 And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. [Hope is to believe and trust in the divine nature of the Lord. Sufficient hope compels a person to action which is what faith is. (See also Faith, Hope & Why Charity Never Faileth)]
22 And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word [doctrine].
23 And now, he imparteth his word by angels [working under the direction of the Lord] unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned [available through the gifts of the spirit].
24 And now, my beloved brethren, as ye have desired to know of me what ye shall do because ye are afflicted and cast out—now I do not desire that ye should suppose that I mean to judge you only according to that which is true—
25 For I do not mean that ye all of you have been compelled to humble yourselves; for I verily believe that there are some among you who would humble themselves, let them be in whatsoever circumstances they might. [The Lord will meet you where you are.]
26 Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge—even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties [stir your soul], even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith [if you really seek to be “saved” then just try], yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words [This is to be humble enough to allow the Holy Spirit to work within you which is allowing the Lord to begin to awaken your soul and even transform your soul. The spiritual gift of “receiving” is so relevant here. It is to eliminate any barriers like “unbelief” and become very sensitive to the workings of the Lord upon your soul. This is to “allow it” to happen. Remember, you cannot be compelled to conversion of the Lord. But this is exactly how a person can become converted to the Lord and none else. Because they allow themselves to “sense” something beyond their own self and recognizing the holiness in it makes a person realize that this is the work, the stirring, the magnifying, and the transforming of something way beyond their own selves—realizing that it can only be the divine (the hand of the Lord). When you come to this first-hand knowledge (through experience) you begin to no longer desire the arm of flesh to lead you.]
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed [This word is the word of God. It is personal revelation.]. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart [Are you open enough to hearing something other than the voice of your own spirit?], behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed [a command or voice of the Lord (even through His angels)], if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold[doubt or second guess this different voice in your mind], it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions [Physical feelings within your body is only “half of receiving personal revelation.”], ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul [The physical feeling tells you that the Lord wants to communicate with you—like an on/off switch.]; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding [This is the other half of personal revelation. This is actually receiving “words” in your mind that educates your soul.], yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me [the fruit of experiencing pure intelligence flowing into your mind.].
[Ok, there is a ton to unpack here. I try to explain this in a plain way and then refer you to The 3 Voices of Personal Revelation Study Guide for more. In the church, we do a pretty good job of talking “about” personal revelation but do a poor job (in my personal experience) of actually teaching “how to” discern personal revelation. There are 3 voices of eternity—the voices of light, your own voice (soul), and the voices of darkness. It is your responsibility to develop your own gift of discernment. This is something that no one else can do for you. Do not be discouraged though. Moroni tells us that “it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night” (Moroni 7:15). This should not be rocket science to determine whether it is day or night outside. Thus, the Lord has provided a way for each person to discern the voices of eternity. If you are going to fulfill the doctrine of Christ, you have to develop this gift of discernment. I dare say “there is no other way.” Also, within the church, we are told a lot to focus on your “feelings” as the end all tell of whether something is true (even good) or not. Hanging your hat on this philosophy can unfortunately just make it more confusing for you, in my opinion. Reread verse 28 again with my notes. Please understand that feeling something within you is only part of receiving revelation. The feelings within your breast or body is really only “an indicator” that the Lord wants to speak “words” to your mind. It is as if the Lord is knocking on your soul to get you to pay attention to the pure intelligence that can flow into your mind. The scriptures are literal when they say that the Lord will speak “the word or words” unto you or even that “the Lord will give you personal commands” (words in your mind) and wants you to “keep His commandments” (words in your mind). Please don’t not study and ponder this further. If it helps, you can specifically study and ponder the following sections in The 3 Voices of Personal Revelation Study Guide: Two or More Witnesses: The Mind and the Heart (p.48); The Realm of the Voices of Light (p.38); The Realm of the Holy Ghost (p.43); Pondering More on the Holy Ghost (p.47). These were developed for the very purpose of helping you develop this gift of discernment. I hope you will find them helpful.]
29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? [Absolutely!] I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge [Still more].
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good [further evidence that it is from the light]; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed [Your own personal witness for your own benefit]; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment [faith], and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
34 And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant [there way more you can do and that is prepared for you]; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand [This is true revelation when pure intelligence (words) flows into your mind.].
35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible [Because you can discern or tell the difference between the 3 voices. If you could not discern voices of light from your own voice or even voices of darkness you would never truly believe the voices of light and you could therefore never completely “receive.”], therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
36 Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.
37 And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit. [“Fruit” is spiritual light like being “blessed.” It is what sanctifies your soul further and enables you to receive more.]
38 But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root [your spirit will be damned (will not grow)]; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out. [When trial or decision comes, you will not be prepared even to the point of being set aside.]
39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof [you cannot progress].
40 And thus, if ye will not nourish the word [“Nourishing” the personal revelation given to you. “Nourish” is such a perfect word here.], looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof [Looking to the Lord with faith knowing what the Lord can help you become.], ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life [A literal event that takes place in the presence of the Lord in the heavenly realm.].
41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life [personal salvation/redemption and beyond].
42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof [everlasting life (v41)], which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. [The Lord will forever be with you, literally, into your eternities.]
43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.
What an incredible chapter of such sweet truths of the doctrine of Christ. Think about it for a moment—by simply allowing the Lord’s words to be received and take root in you can grow from simple communication with the Lord to the point in which you will be taken up to the heavenly realms and partake of the fruit of the tree of life (while in mortality). This is all possible through your own journey/relationship “in and through” the Lord.
It is never too late to start. Do not wait to be compelled to be humble. Seek the Lord. If you do not have that desire, pray for that desire to grow within you. Work out your own salvation with the Lord through your own worship of Him.
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.