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Book of Mormon Study - Alma 1

Nehor, Nehor, Nehor, oh how you sound like so many out there today! Proclaiming what you term the truth, buying people's allegiance with lies and misperceptions, playing to their vanity. And how easily the people succumbed.

Of course they did. He made the path wide and easy. He removed the struggle, the accountability and humility and replaced it with selfishness, laziness and pride.

Sinning always seems the path of least resistance. But we see in the end of this chapter (and pretty much all cases of sinful behavior) that it is not the path to happiness. Only righteousness is.

This man, Nehor, claimed to be a man of God; killed an elderly hero because he didn't like what he had to say. It's amazing how a wicked and weak mind can justify sinful and destructive behavior!

In comparison, the righteous, in spite of other church members going astray and fighting, held steadfast and immovable, continually living the gospel they knew to be true.

I think of people being offended when I read this. How many people do we know wait, watch and judge other members, then stop coming to church because they have been hurt or offended by someone in the church? I've known quite a few. It's sad, really. In fact, it's really sad. It hits close to home.

There is no eloquence, only truth, to this sentence: People should attend church because of their relationship to Heavenly Father and the Savior, and their willingness to follow them. They shouldn't allow another imperfect person to keep them from that. We go to church because we have covenanted to.

Boyd K. Packer said:

“We can learn from the oyster. Irritations come, and he tries to get rid of them. But if he cannot get rid of them, he handles the irritation by making a pearl. Through patience, faith, and obedience, the irritations that come can be endured and covered, and we can become like beautiful pearls. We wish to make some suggestions as to how you may respond if unfavorable publicity appears in your local area. We do not think it either wise or appropriate to react to all criticisms nor to challenge those responsible for them. Nor is it wise to enter into debates with them either individually or before audiences. In the spirit of the Master, we should turn the other cheek and pray for them which despiteful use you. However, when opportunities arise to present our message which do not involve contention or debate, we suggest you take advantage of them. Members may respond to the inquiries that come to them individually. The following illustrates some positive approaches to handling persecution. Samuel Johnson wrote something that I think has an application here that we ought to remember. ‘A fly can string a stately horse and make it wince, but one is still a stately horse and the other, well…’ Let me give you an example. When I was president of the mission, one of the newspapers in the area in New England published an article about the Church. It had picked it up from another paper that was scurrilous. It was entirely wrong, and it was headlined across an inner page of the paper. The article was a kind of harkback to some of the untruths to which we were subjected a few generations ago. The missionaries got all excited about it. Some of them drove a hundred miles to bring that newspaper for me to see what had happened. I read it and said, ‘Well, thanks; go on back and preach the gospel.’ They couldn’t understand why I wasn’t excited about it. They couldn’t understand that I was excited about it and tried not to show it, I guess. They said, ‘What shall we do?’ And I said, ‘Go about your work; preach the gospel.’ ‘But aren’t you going to call the editor, and aren’t you going to demand equal space and answer this?’ And the answer was no, because I didn’t have time. All it takes is one critic or one heckler to take you right out of commission if you feel the necessity of answering everything that comes your way. If you are bitten by a fly, scratch it and go back to work. You see, if I had called that editor and said, ‘Now look,’ and ‘We demand,’ and so on, I suppose it’s possible that we could have had him print a retraction of it—maybe a two-line retraction of the last corner of that last page in the want ads where nobody would see it—he might have been persuaded to do that much. We did nothing until later; then we began to cultivate his help and suggestions. All we did was have two missionaries go to see him and say, ‘We are two missionaries, and we don’t know very much. We’re here without any compensation, paying our own way. We are supposed to preach the gospel in this town, and nobody seems to want to hear us. Now you are a newspaper editor, and you’re in touch with people and know how they feel and how to communicate with them. Tell us what to do to get our job done. Will you help us?’ Who could resist that? And he didn’t. So the day came within the year when there was another article in that same newspaper, headlined, that said, ‘Latter-day Saints Have Dual Reason for Celebrating Christmas.’ Then in columns side by side were quotations from the New Testament and quotations from the Book of Mormon that sustain and bear witness of Christ; there was an explanation of the fact that we had a double reason for our worship, a double reason for our witness that Jesus is the Christ. Why don’t you stay at your posts and just not get excited?”

These people understood that and, in spite the choices and behavior of some of the members who had been swayed by the words of Nehor, they stayed true to what they believed and continued to stay strong and steadfast in the Church of Christ. They made pearls.

They didn't judge the church by the people. They followed the Lord. And because they did, they were blessed and prospered. They made pearls.

John Taylor said:
“Peace is the gift of God. Do you want peace? Go to God. Do you want peace in your families? If you do, live your religion, and the very peace of God will dwell and abide with you, for that is where peace comes from and it doesn’t dwell anywhere else.” M. Russell Ballard said: “The Lord’s promise of peace comes from knowing and living the principles of our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness.”

What did you think/learn today?


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