Perhaps I will write about this in concepts.
First concept: Remember!
Alma first asks a series of questions designed to stir their hearts and minds up to remembrance of all that God has done. Alma the younger is asking them the same questions the angel asked him when he had his experience.
...and they awoke unto God...their souls were illuminated
What beautiful descriptive words.
Second Concept: Faith in God can lead to a mighty change in our hearts. This spiritual rebirth cleanses us from sin and makes us more like Christ.
I love having a list some of the characteristics shown by those who have experienced this mighty change include the following:
• They “have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2).
• They are “changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness” (Mosiah 27:25).
• They are “awakened . . . out of a deep sleep” and “illuminated by the light of the everlasting word” (Alma 5:7).
• “They humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God” (Alma 5:13).
King Benjamin and Alma both demonstrated the power of the preaching of the word of God in bringing about the mighty change (see Mosiah 4:1–3; 5:1–2; Alma 5:7, 11–13).
I seek this “mighty change” and hope to someday achieve it.
Most people I know want to be “saved.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “As Latter-day Saints use the words saved and salvation, there are at least six different meanings. According to some of these, our salvation is assured—we are already saved. In others, salvation must be spoken of as a future event . . . or as conditioned upon a future event... But in all of these meanings, or kinds of salvation, salvation is in and through Jesus Christ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 76; or Ensign, May 1998, 55).
The following are summaries of the six different meanings of which Elder Oaks spoke:
1. We are saved from the permanent effects of death. Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, all mankind will be resurrected.
2. We are saved from sin through Christ’s Atonement and by following the gospel plan. Repentance is an important part of being saved from the consequences of our sins.
3. We are saved when we are “born again.” This happens when we enter into a covenant relationship with Christ by accepting baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and taking Christ’s name upon us. We must also faithfully keep and renew that covenant relationship.
4. We are saved from the darkness of ignorance as we learn about the gospel plan. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings light into our lives.
5. We are saved from the second death, which is final spiritual death, because of Christ’s Atonement. Everyone, except for those few who become sons of perdition, will enter into a kingdom of glory.
6. Our hope is that we will be finally saved in the celestial kingdom. In addition to the other requirements, this salvation, or exaltation, also requires that we make sacred covenants in God’s temples and remain faithful to them (see Conference Report, pp. 76–78; or Ensign, pp. 55–57).
I think verse 14 could be the central message of this entire passage of scripture.
“… have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change of heart?”
Paul called this the mind of God (1 Cor. 2:16). It is think as Christ thinks; to believe as Christ believes; feel as He feels; to do as He would do. A change of heart could be a symbol of our entire soul… a soul that has a complete commitment to the gospel and is full of the spirit of vigor.
Can I imagine the voice of the Lord taking to me? What would I like Him to say? What would He actually say? Do I have the image of God in my countenance?
I can’t imagine.
For example… yesterday- not so much. Lol. It was kind of a rough day. I wasn't in the best of moods; not as kind as I could be; not as patient, not as good. I feel badly about it, and this chapter didn't help. Just kidding.
Seriously- this chapter did help. It was a beautiful reminder of who and how I should be.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “We can contemplate how far we have already come in the climb along the pathway to perfection; it is usually much further than we acknowledge, and such reflections restore resolve. . . . “. . . We can allow for the reality that God is still more concerned with growth than with geography. . . .“This is a gospel of grand expectations, but God’s grace is sufficient for each of us if we remember that there are no instant Christians” (Notwithstanding My Weakness , 9, 11).
Third Concept: Pure testimony is a real and powerful influence that can change lives.
Alma understood that bearing testimony can change the lives of others just as the pebble changed the surface of the water. Many of the Zarahemla Church members were caught up in pride, craftiness, and contentions (see Alma 4:19).
Alma gave up his position as chief judge to dedicate his time to building up the Church (see Alma 4:11–20). He began in the city of Zarahemla. Alma 5 is similar to a general conference talk from the prophet Alma. The message he gave is one of the most important in the Book of Mormon. Alma went among them to “preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty.”
Prophet Joseph Smith: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. But in connection with these, we believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts according to the will of God, the restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 121).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: “To bear one’s testimony is to make a solemn declaration, affirmation or attestation that personal revelation has been received certifying to the truth of those realities which comprise a testimony” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 786).
Alma used the power of his testimony of the Savior to reclaim Church members who had strayed.
Alma taught these principles:
Vs. 20–21 Only those who are cleansed by Jesus Christ will be saved.
Vs. 22–25 Those who are guilty of wickedness cannot have a place in the kingdom of heaven.
Vs. 28–29 Those who are proud are not ready for the kingdom of God.
Vs. 30–31 Those who mock or persecute others need to repent.
Vs. 33-34 Christ invites ALL men to Come, to eat and to drink freely.
Vs. 38–39 Those who are not of the fold of Christ have the devil as their shepherd. Those who are of Christ’s fold will be called by His name and they will know His voice.
Vs. 40–41 Those who bring forth good works listen to the Good Shepherd.
Vs. 46-48 We can all know for ourselves through the Holy Ghost.
Vs. 48 Jesus Christ will come and take away the sins of those who believe in Him.
It's the Spirit that gives us our testimony- not our experiences. it's how much we open our hearts to the Spirit and allow him to testify of the truthfulness for the gospel. The same things happened to the twelve apostles. Even thought they walked with Jesus, it was when they were pricked in their hearts that they knew.
Sorry this is so long (providing someone is still reading this) It's taken me nearly all day because I'm constantly interupted... kids... school... missionaries for lunch. But I got done just before I needed to head off to rehearsal.
What did you learn today?