Monday, October 13, 2014

Alma 35-36

(October 12, 2014)
                My mind in my scripture study the past several days has seemed to encounter this principle of justice a number of times.  It struck me again today as I read through these chapters.  Alma explicitly states that he was saved not from any worthiness of his own.  Knowing his history, we see that this was true – he was actively trying to destroy the Church of God, and was doing a good job of it.  He participated in the destruction of souls – there are more than likely children of God who would have returned to Him but for Alma, but because of Alma’s influence these same children are precluded from returning to Him.  It is impossible to judge this with a certainty, of course, but it seems likely.

                If that is the case, what conception of justice allows for Alma to return to the presence of God?  The only reason Alma was saved was because of the prayer and fasting of his father, Alma.  Alma the Elder converted at the words of Abinidi, but Alma the Younger almost seems like a nepotism salvation.

                Of course, this isn’t the case in at least two important ways.  First, we cannot criticize the justice of God because God is merciful to each of us in ways of His choosing.  The demands of justice have been paid through the Atonement in all ways, and whomever mercy extends to deserves it through the merits of Christ.  It is a nepotism salvation, but so are the salvations of each and every one of us – we are saved because of our Brother rather than ourselves.

                The second way it is not the case is the life Alma chose to live after the angel came to him.  An angelic visitation is not a sufficient condition for repentance – see Laman and Lemuel and countless others for this truth.  I have certainly seen things that would seemingly make anyone believe, but yet I was not converted until this last year.  I had a testimony of the Gospel (not as strong of one as I thought, but it was there), but when push came to shove I found that testimony retreating in the face of opposition.  Recalling the prior miracles that I had experienced was not enough for me to turn the tide – I could have been a Laman or a Lemuel.  Fortunately the Lord helped me become an Alma instead.  But that is just the thing – Alma became an Alma as well.  He chose the right path after his experience, and that is why it is entirely appropriate based upon what we know for him to receive the blessing we expect that he is to receive.

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