One of the main lessons I learned in Alma 22 is to understand our need for a Savior, we must first know that God lives, that He created all things, and that because of the Fall and our own sins, we are cut off from God’s presence.
Pres. Ezra Taft Benson said, “Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ. No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 106; or Ensign, May 1987, 85).
Ammon started with the basics of the gospel and taught Lamoni by first asking him about his believe in the great spirit. Then he taught him about the creation and the Fall so he could understand why we all need Christ. Aaron did the same with Lamoni’s father.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught, “A knowledge of God and of his laws is essential to salvation. No one can be saved in ignorance of God” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 43).
After teaching the king about God, Aaron read and explained the scriptures to him. Elder Henry B. Eyring said, “Aaron taught the word of God in a way that emphasizes God’s love and our need for Him” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 52; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 39).
He focused on the Creation, Fall, and the Atonement.
Verses 10–11. God created the heavens and the earth.
Verse 12. God created man in His own image.
Verses 12–13. Because of transgression, man is fallen and is in a carnal state.
Verse 13. The plan of redemption was prepared during the premortal existence.
Verse 14. Fallen man cannot “merit anything of himself.”
Atonement of Jesus Christ
Verse 14. “The sufferings and death of Christ atone for [our] sins, through faith and repentance.”
Verse 14. Christ’s Atonement breaks the bands of death (all will be resurrected).
I always have to pause when I read things about the Atonement of Christ. It is growing in meaning for me I guess.
I like the questions Pres. Ezra Taft Benson asked us all to ponder: “What personal meaning does the Lord’s suffering in Gethsemane and on Calvary have for each of us? “What does redemption from the Fall mean to us? In the words of Alma, do we ‘sing the song of redeeming love’? (Alma 5:26)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 107; or Ensign, May 1987, 85).
The second great principle I learned from Alma 22 is that giving up our sins and being willing to sacrifice all we have brings eternal life and the joy of knowing God.
Sometimes we are called on to make material sacrifices to receive some of the blessings of the gospel. And though the ordinances are always free, we must meet the requirements to receive them.
King Lamoni’s father was willing to give up EVERYTHING to receive the joy of the gospel. Am I willing to give up everything?
Darn pride! Always gets in the way.
The message has remained the same through the years.
“When we too are willing to give away all our sins to know him and follow him, we too will be filled with the joy of eternal life” (Howard W. Hunter, in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 80; or Ensign, May 1993, 64).
“Giving away all our sins is the only way we can come to know God. In contrast, those who hold back some of their sins will be held back. So will those who refuse to work humbly and honestly with the Lord’s appointed. Partial disclosure to appointed leaders brings full accountability” (Neal A. Maxwell, in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 42; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 32).
“Prayer, fasting, pleading, importuning—all are involved. Striving each day that we live to mirror the Master in our thoughts and actions is necessary. . . .Those who yield ‘their hearts unto God’ (Helaman 3:35), who are willing to give away all their sins to know him (see Alma 22:18), soon find that what they have given up was no sacrifice at all. They feel no sense of loss but rather a deep rejoicing” (Alexander B. Morrison, Feed My Sheep: Leadership Ideas for Latter-day Shepherds , 45, 50).
“Brethren, each of us must surrender our sins if we are to really know Christ. For we do not know Him until we become like Him. There are some, like [the father of Lamoni], who must pray until they, too, have ‘a wicked spirit rooted’ from them so they can find the same joy” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1983, 63; or Ensign, Nov. 1983, 43).
Time for some humble reflection.