(September 22, 2013)
I had two thoughts as I read through this chapter. The first was in parsing the language of Alma’s declaration that if we harden our hearts such that the mysteries of God are no longer in us, then we are led down to Hell. One problem in understanding the scriptures is that the word “Hell” is so equivocal, but I take great hope in the order of operations of this statement from Alma. Yes, we may sin and yes, we may harden our hearts. But it is only after we have hardened our hearts sufficiently that the mysteries of God no longer have place within us that we are then led to Hell. I may have a hard heart, and I may be struggling to fully obey the Lord, but I have not yet closed my heart to the point where the mysteries of God no longer have place within me.
The second thought that I had was on Adam and Eve and the Tree of Life. I look at the world and life and think of what a blessing it would be if we could live forever. But receiving that gift today would be nothing more than a horrible curse despite our desires to receive it. I sometimes think that we see the world in that fashion. We see a blessing that we want to receive, and we want that blessing now. If we were to receive that blessing immediately, however, it would more resemble a curse than a blessing. But if we wait to receive it in the due time of the Lord then it truly will be a blessing to our souls. I can think of several areas of my life, and several blessings that I desperately want, where I could use more faith in this principle.