(October 13, 2014)
I had a number of thoughts as I read through this chapter today. The first was on the Plan of Salvation. I have always looked at the plan as something perfect and inalterable – that every possible contingency has been prepared in advance and the end is inevitable from the beginning. The Lord understands our agency and our personalities and can thus place us in position to respond in such a way that His work is accomplished.
This is what I envisioned when
spoke of small and simple means bringing about great things. There is the idea that the flapping of a
butterfly wing in Mexico 7,000 years ago can set into motion a series of events
that leads to a hurricane in Thailand in our modern day, and I suppose that was
my understanding of the Plan – all of these small things have been perfectly
taken into account and the end result is therefore assured unto the Lord.
But that took a hit today, as I read
counsel to Helaman concerning what would happen if he were to disobey the
Lord. In the past when I had seen
statements like these, it made me think that the Lord had already planned for
everything, but if Helaman made one choice it would affect him one way (the
Plan moving forward) or another choice would affect him a different way (again,
the Plan moving forward).
But I noted this time that Alma chooses to preface his statement here with the language that he is making the fact that Helaman could lose the plates plain by the spirit of prophecy. A prophet, who had accomplished what he had accomplished, was speaking expressly by the spirit of prophecy. There is no other reason for that language there other than
clearly indicating that the Plan could change.
I don’t know that I understand all the implications of this, but it will dramatically affect my worldview.