(September 25, 2015)
It is striking to me that, when the prison walls fell and the chief justice was slain (along with many of the leaders of unrighteousness), that Alma and Amulek didn’t stay. You would think they would never have a better audience – especially in light of the miracles the people had just seen. But instead they were commanded to go elsewhere.
Of course, shortly thereafter, we realize that it was a good thing that they were commanded to leave. For the miracles didn’t convert (they never do). Sometimes we may see things that make perfect sense to us (‘teach the people who have just received a miraculous demonstration of the Lord’s power’) only to find that the Lord has other ideas. We can never have adequate information to make informed decisions, so our only course of safety is to follow the Lord.
The other thought was in the description of the Nehorites – that they “did not believe in the repentance of their sins.” I have long believed that the religion of Nehor exists today in its closest form in the ‘spiritual but not religious’ adherents. These are people who do not believe in the repentance of sins. Notice what it does not say – it does not say they do not believe in the forgiveness of sins. They instead believe in what Bonhoeffer calls cheap grace – forgiveness without repentance. It is in this way that they do not believe in the repentance of their sins – not that they cannot be forgiven but there really is no need for repentance (and, often, there really is no sin).