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 to his son, Shiblon, in Alma 38. I will always invite you to first read the assignment (Alma 38) 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 Shiblon
1 My son, give ear to my words, for I say unto you, even as I said unto Helaman, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. [Literally, not hearing and obeying personal revelation will stunt your journey. This obedience is faith. Faith is what enables you to progress in your journey as you receive personal redemption and even to come into “His presence” in the heavenly realms.].
2 And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God [He was focused on his own journey “in and through” the Lord since he was young.] and, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end. [There is a false tradition in my church culture (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) that somehow explains the phrase “endure to the end” to mean something like this: “You have already received personal salvation and now you just need offer up your loyalty and undying service to the church at the expense of everything else (as a sign of sacrifice) in order to earn your exaltation.” There are so many things wrong with this false tradition, and I could break this down and discuss so many parts, but I’m not going to right now. If you really have a firm understanding of the true doctrine of Christ, you should ponder this false tradition and try to learn directly from the Lord, but I would like to offer a correct understanding of this phrase as I see it: To “endure to the end” is to wait patiently upon the Lord until He offers you your own personal redemption/salvation experience (which is to make you holy). This same phrase is also applicable in the event that a person has already received this experience, but is continuing to their “next end”–literally to be in the presence of the Lord (Second Comforter). A person can endure to the end by making the Lord their mentor, their director, and their guide. This is done by seeking for personal revelation from the Lord and then acting on that revelation. This is “keeping His commands” or “commandments.” “Enduring to the end” is to learn how to be a servant. This is the entire point of “coming unto Christ”—to become a servant. Therefore, learning His voice is essential. Trusting in His voice and His commands is essential. Acting on His commands (which is faith) is essential. This is why the scriptures, including the Book of Mormon, say that “by faith you will be saved.” It’s because as you act on his commands (exercise faith), it will bring you to your own experience of personal salvation (baptism if fire and Holy Ghost).]
3 I say unto you, my son, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering among the people of the Zoramites. [These are the fruits (results) of exercising faith in the Lord and His commands.]
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”Galatians 5:21-22
4 For I know that thou wast in bonds; yea, and I also know that thou wast stoned for the word’s sake; and thou didst bear all these things with patience because the Lord was with thee [was under the direction, guidance, and command of the Lord the entire time]; and now thou knowest that the Lord did deliver thee [at some point after the trial was concluded].
5 And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God [in His guidance, direction, and command] even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day [“Lifted up at the last day” is to have received personal salvation/redemption in mortality and thereby being of a spiritual estate that allows you to ascend into eternity.]
6 Now, my son, I would not that ye should think that I know these things of myself, but it is the Spirit of God which is in me which maketh these things known unto me [Exercising the gift of prophecy; This is important for any servant to disclaim when they are speaking for themself or on behalf of the Lord.]; for if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things [Alma repeats his own witness that he was “born of God” by having received his own baptism of fire and Holy Ghost experience. He is a first hand witness of the transformational power of the Lord.].
7 But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his angel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of destruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his voice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth.
8 And it came to pass that I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins. But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul. [v.7-8: Repeating the description of his own experience. Definitely not the first time his sons have heard Alma share his witness.]
9 And now, my son [Why is Alma taking the time to repeat this witness to his sons, and Shiblon in particular? He’s going to answer now.], I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me [and receive what I have received] that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ [How plain can the Book of Mormon be on this topic, especially the witness of Alma here? And it is repeated over and over in the scriptures, yet there is much unbelief about this. “There is no other means whereby [you] can be saved, only in and through Christ. Not your own seemingly good deeds. Not your membership in any religious institution. Not through words or oaths of loyalty. Only the Lord’s power can actually “lift your soul from its telestial state (estate) into a terrestrial state (estate). This is “His mercy” which mercy is not just a nice thing to do but it is exercising divine, Godly power to spiritually “lift a soul from one estate to another” (make it Holy).] Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness. [Only He has this ability (power).]
10 And now, as ye have begun to teach the word [the doctrine of Christ] even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things.
11 See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength.
12 Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.
13 Do not pray as the Zoramites do, for ye have seen that they pray to be heard of men, and to be praised for their wisdom.
14 Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times.
[v10-14: Specific guidance from Alma on how to “endure to the end.”]
15 And may the Lord bless your soul [Who actually does the blessing of your soul? Yes, only the Lord.], and receive you at the last day [of our mortal life] into his kingdom [of terrestrial and celestial beings], to sit down in peace [no inner contention having been personally redeemed or make holy.]. Now go, my son, and teach the word [the doctrine] unto this people. Be sober [In good conscience and tuned to the spirit of the Lord to be able to exercise the necessary gifts of the spirit.]. My son, farewell.
As a parent, Alma had a sense for his great responsibility to pass on the knowledge of receiving redemption to his children. Shiblon had already been faithful from his youth and most likely had a personal sense of the importance of this doctrine, and yet Alma still took the time to share his witness of the Lord’s great redemptive power. Any of us, no matter when we began or where we are in our personal journey, are susceptible to pride and thinking that we are better than others. We all sin, but in the Lord’s mercy, he is ever beckoning to us to return to Him. May we always be gracious, see ourselves as fallen and in need of saving, and may we pray for others to seek the Savior. Both the saving power of Christ and Christ Himself are “the end.” May we endure to Him and find Him over and over again.
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.