Sunday, March 5, 2017

Small Chapters, Big Doctrine

This week in my study of the Book of Mormon I was once again taught a profound truth by a simple passage.  Alma Chapter 6 is fairly unassuming as far as chapters go.  Only 8 verses long and it doesn't record the major doctrines or teachings that Alma had conveyed to his people.  This chapter is sandwiched in between two of the great sermons taught by Alma the Younger, the rebuking and internally questioning Alma 5, and the messianic Alma 7.  It would be easy, therefore, to skip over Alma Chapter 6 as merely a connecting chapter without any major doctrines contained therein. 

But in my study of Alma it is clear that at least one heavenly truth is found in verses 5 and 6, which read:
5. Now I would that ye should understand that the word of God was liberal unto all, that none were deprived of the privilege of assembling themselves together to hear the word of God.
6. Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God.
After Alma set the church in order in Zarahemla, the word of God was preached to everyone and made readily available for the common people.  But we learn that even amidst the preaching of the word there are many who miss the opportunity or deny the blessings that come from hearing the word of God.  Our lives can be much the same in our relationship with God.  He is forever liberal with us, blessing us day to day with the breath we have as King Benjamin taught us, but sometimes we miss out on the multitude of blessings for various reasons.

But I love that Mormon takes the time to include in verse 6 that the people of the church gathered in fasting and prayer for the welfare of those who didn't know the great blessings in store from having a relationship with God.  We can be the light that helps someone come to feel of that joy, or we can be the ones to help another notice the shower of heavenly blessings despite what the world may point out in the contrary.  The Book of Mormon truly does teach us how to be happy and how we are able to help others be happy.  We're not in this life alone, but we are here as a part of God's family.  It is our sacred privilege to help our brothers and sisters to experience the blessings of God. 

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