Can you imagine if today you opened a mission call and it was for a 14-year mission to a violent people whose aim was to destroy you? You might think twice about that kind of call. Yet, the sons of Mosiah, Nephite princes who could have had a very different life, chose to go to preach to the Lamanites.
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Maurine and Scot Proctor have taught Book of Mormon for many years in Institute and have spent extensive time in the Arabian peninsula, following Lehi’s trail. They are the creators of a foundation that has sponsored a multi-year archaeological study of the best candidate for Nephi’s Bountiful in Oman. They have written a book on the Book of Mormon, as well as immersed themselves in the culture, history, and geography. of the scripture.
Can you imagine if today you opened a mission call and it was for a 14-year mission to a violent people whose aim was to destroy you? You might think twice about that kind of call. Yet, the sons of Mosiah, Nephite princes who could have had a very different life, chose to go to preach to the Lamanites, a people described as “wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites” (Alma 17:14). No wonder Mosiah was concerned about the safety of his sons, and sought counsel from the Lord, who gave him a promise.
“Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will adeliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites’ (Mosiah 28:7). They would need it.
Hello, Welcome to Meridian Magazine Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast. We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and we’re glad you could join us today to study Alma chapters 17-22 in a lesson called “I Will Make an Instrument of Thee”. I am excited also to share with you my new book called Eleven Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Book of Mormon. Right away, as a lifelong reader of the Book of Mormon, you might think that you couldn’t be surprised and learn something more, but this book is full or insights that were hidden in plain sight all along. Just who were Nephi’s sisters? What is the mission of the plates of brass and has it been completed? So much more.
You can buy and immediately download the e-book for just $6.99 at latterdaysaintmag.com/eleventhings. That’s latterdaysaintmag.com/eleventhings with the eleven spelled out. E-L-E-V-E-N.
You wrote this book based on a popular lecture that you have given so many times and people always wanted to know more. It just tickles your mind to know that there is so much more to see in the scriptures than we might usually see.
So, back to the sons of Mosiah. Why would they make a choice to be gone so long and go to a hardened people? They knew the pain of having been the vilest of sinners themselves and they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble” (Mosiah 28:3)
Their motivation was profound and teaches us what to do about our enemies. Instead of nurse enmity and division, we turn enemies into friends. One of their hopes was that they “might cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land”(Mosiah 28:2).
Our story starts when the four sons of Mosiah and their companions are returning after this fourteen-year mission and happen, to all of their astonishment to meet Alma on the road. Alma was joyful that “they were still his brethren in the Lord” and “had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth.” What’s more “they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God” (Alma 17: 2).
They had been protected on this mission, as Mosiah had been promised, and had known breathtaking success, but it did not mean that they hadn’t suffered perils of every kind—imprisonment, hunger, thirst and physical harm. Despite this, “they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God” (Alma 17:3).
There is no question that sacrifice does bring forth the blessings of heaven, and it is sacrifice that has motivated missionary work and the growth of the gospel in all times.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland notes: “In keeping with the Savior’s own experience, there has been a long history of rejection and a painfully high price paid by prophets and apostles, missionaries and members in every generation—all those who have tried to honor God’s call to lift the human family to ‘a more excellent way’.
It is part of the cost and blessings of discipleship. Then Elder Holland quotes from scripture.
“’And what shall I more say [of them]?’ the writer of the book of Hebrews asks.
“’[They] who … stopped the mouths of lions,
“’Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, … waxed valiant in fight, turned [armies] to flight …
“’[Saw] their dead raised to life [while] others were tortured, …
“’And … had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, … of bonds and imprisonment:
“’They were stoned, … were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: … wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, [and] tormented;
“’([They] of whom the world was not worthy:) … wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
Elder Holland said, “Surely the angels of heaven wept as they recorded this cost of discipleship in a world that is often hostile to the commandments of God.” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Cost–and Blessings–of Discipleship” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2014/04/the-cost-and-blessings-of-discipleship?lang=eng
Our devotion to the Lord means that much, that it is worth it.
Missionaries have likewise sacrificed to this day and no doubt have taken this missionary journey of the sons of Mosiah as an example.
Lucius Scovil, who had run one of Nauvoo’s bakeries and sent wonderful smells into the neighborhoods on winter mornings. He had lost everything when he was driven from Missouri; he had arrived in Illinois penniless just in time for his family to be stricken with the bilious fever and malaria and his daughter Sarah to be afflicted with the black canker, which ate a hole through her lip, two teeth, and chin. He had worshiped and suffered with the Saints in Nauvoo, and then, when it was time to leave, driven out by persecution and mobs, even as his friends were packing out, his wife had died while giving birth to twins, Mary and Martha. Ten days later, as some of the earliest wagons were making their way down the road to the river, the twins died too.
The grief would delay his trip, but it would take him longer than he might have imagined to join the main body of the Saints. By May he was ready to travel, but while making final preparations on the 6th, he received a mission call to England. It is hard to conceive that in this hour of desperation, with the Church members scattered and homeless, missionaries were still being called, but Lucius was called. He had not gone this far to ignore what the Lord required of him.
Thus, he traveled with his remaining children a few days into the prairie “to get their property regulated” Having made arrangements for someone to care for them, he blessed them.
Then leaving them collapsed in tears, motherless and soon to be without him, he turned back east to go on a mission six thousand miles away without purse or scrip. “This seemed like a painful duty for me to perform,” said Lucius, “to leave my family to go into the wilderness and I to turn and go the other way. It cost all that I had on this earth…[but] I thought it was best to round up my shoulders like a bold soldier of the crop…and assist in rolling forth the Kingdom of God.”
Elder Neil L. Andersen said, “Missionary service requires sacrifice. There will always be something you leave behind when you respond to the prophet’s call.”
Elder Anderson also told this story, “Those who follow the game of rugby know that the New Zealand All Blacks, a name given because of the color of their uniform, is the most celebrated rugby team ever. To be selected for the All Blacks in New Zealand would be comparable to playing for a football Super Bowl team or a World Cup soccer team.
“In 1961, at age 18 and holding the Aaronic Priesthood, Sidney Going was becoming a star in New Zealand rugby. Because of his remarkable abilities, many thought he would be chosen the very next year for the national All Blacks rugby team.
At age 19, in this critical moment of his ascending rugby career, Sid declared that he would forgo rugby to serve a mission. Some called him crazy. Others called him foolish. They protested that his opportunity in rugby might never come again.
“For Sid it was not what he was leaving behind—it was the opportunity and responsibility ahead. He had a priesthood duty to offer two years of his life to declare the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. Nothing—not even a chance to play on the national team, with all the acclaim it would bring—would deter him from that duty.5
“He was called by a prophet of God to serve in the Western Canadian Mission. Forty-eight years ago this month, 19-year-old Elder Sidney Going left New Zealand to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Andersen said, “Sid told me of an experience he had on his mission. It was evening, and he and his companion were just about to return to their apartment. They decided to visit one more family. The father let them in. Elder Going and his companion testified of the Savior. The family accepted a Book of Mormon. The father read all night. In the next week and a half he read the entire Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. A few weeks later the family was baptized.
“A mission instead of a place on the New Zealand All Blacks team? Sid responded, ‘The blessing of [bringing others] into the gospel far outweighs anything [you] will ever sacrifice.”
You probably want to know the end of this story. Following his mission, he married his sweetheart, Colleen, had five children and a generation of grandchildren. “And rugby,” asks Elder Andersen. “After his mission Sid Going became one of the greatest half backs in All Blacks history, playing for 11 seasons and serving for many years as captain of the team.” (Elder Neil L. Andersen. Preparing the World for the Second Coming)
So this deeply-held impulse to give all you have to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring people to Him moves people in all generations.
So let’s turn back to Mosiah’s sons who put themselves deeply in harm’s way to preach the gospel. I am immediately moved that they separated. Wouldn’t you feel just a bit better if you had your brothers and other companions with you? Comfort and support in numbers? More people to stand with should the people you preach to turn violently against you?
But they “separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken” (Alma 17:13). What a note of faith and hope. If they had been fearful, holding back, timid before the bold challenge they had taken on, surely they couldn’t have done what they did.
First we follow Ammon’s story, and as he enters the land of Ishmael, he is immediately bound and taken to the king. Welcome to Ishmael Ammon. Now think of the irony here. A Nephite prince willingly submitting himself in bonds to a Lamanite king. It certainly would have been easier to be back in Zarahemla eating bon bons, but not for someone as divinely driven as Ammon.
Presented before King Lamoni, Ammon immediately makes such a good impression that the king offers him his daughter’s hand. “Nay, but I will be thy servant” answers Ammon (Alma 17:25).
And as King Lamoni’s servant, he is immediately given a very tricky job to watch over the flocks of the king, particularly at the waters of Sebus. Why tricky? Because, certain Lamanites stood there each day to scatter the king’s flocks. Why they are so rebellious, aggressive and seeking to unravel their own society, we are not told, but obviously they fear not the king, and scattering his flocks is in part a vicious sport for them.
Hugh Nibley suggests this daily scattering of the sheep comes right out of the Middle East where plundering each other in the wilderness is a given. “If ever there was an authentic piece of Bedouin mischief that is it. And of course it led to fights and reprisals in the best desert manner (Alma 18:6). Among others these rascals scattered the flocks of their own king and yet continued active in the social and political life of the community—how weak and poorly organized a government, and how typical of the East!“ (Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon http://www.gospelink.com/library/document/19941?highlight=1
The king’s servants have good reason to be terrified for he has slain those servants who had let his sheep be scattered before, but Ammon gives them a bold directive to encircle the sheep so they flee not and he will take on the entire hostile group alone. They are described as ones “who delighted in the destruction of their brethren,” but now they have met their match.
Ammon had a single goal, that he describes “that I may win the hearts of these my fellow-servants, that I may lead them to believe in my words” (Alma 17:29).
So, Ammon takes on the whole group. They did not fear him and supposed they could slay him at their pleasure “for they knew not that the Lord had promised Mosiah that he would deliver his sons out of their hands; neither did they know anything concerning the Lord” (Alma 17:29). This can be fatal ignorance for these troublemakers.
As they attack, Ammon slings stones at them, slewing some, until they “began to be astonished at his power” (Alma 17:36). More determined that Ammon should die and seeing that their stones never hit him, they now attack him with upraised clubs. To every man who raises his club to kill Ammon, he is able to cut off their arms with his sword.
You might say we have a disarming story here, but the point is that Ammon is under God’s complete protection, and when Ammon had driven his attackers afar off, they returned to the king’s palace.
The king’s servants come bearing the arms that have been severed and with a story to tell. Now, first, if you read the Book of Mormon with a vivid imagination, this is for our modern sensibilities a strange moment, even disgusting. Who comes bearing body parts to meet the king? But this practice of bringing a body part to demonstrate victory is both Middle Eastern and Mesoamerican. It is a right on, authentic moment in an ancient document.
The servants tell the story of the faithfulness of Ammon in tending the king’s flocks and also his great power in withstanding the blows of those who sought to slay him. They have truly not seen anyone like him before.
The king is not just astonished, but exceedingly astonished and said, “Surely, this is more than a man. Behold, is not this the Great Spirit who doth send such great punishments upon this people, because of their murders? (Alma 18:2).
The servants say, “O king, we do not believe that a man has such great power, for we know he cannot be slain” (Alma 18:3).
Meanwhile, Ammon did not return for this moment of glory or to soak in the praise. He is out faithfully feeding the horses and preparing them and the chariots because the king has to attend a great feast. This makes the king even more astonished “Surely there has not been any servant among all my servants that has been so faithful as this man; for even he doth remember all my commandments to execute them” (Alma 18:10).
It is noteworthy that in this culture where fighting and vanquishing your enemy is held in such esteem, that King Lamoni is just as impressed with Ammon’s steady, unwavering attendance to his duties as his invincibility when he is attacked.
Even before Ammon speaks, he has delivered a gospel message in his integrity.
Ammon is called to the king, who is so overcome with what Ammon has done that he cannot speak for the space of an hour, and it is finally, Ammon, whom the Spirit has given to read Lamoni’s thoughts who moves the conversation along.
It is the moment the Lord has divinely orchestrated to begin the conversion of an entire people.
Ammon said to Lamoni,“ Wilt thou hearken unto my words, if I tell thee by what power I do these things? And this is the thing that I desire of thee.
And the king answered him, and said: Yea, I will believe all thy words” (Alma 18:22,23).
Ammon teaches Lamoni about the creation of Adam, the plan of salvation, the coming of Christ and much more, and the king is so overcome by the Spirit that he fell to the earth as if he were dead. Since he lays there for two days and two nights, people, in fact believe that he is dead, begin to greatly lament his loss and look to bury him, saying that he stinketh.
His wife, however, said “to me he doth not stink” and calls for Ammon who understands exactly what this collapse means.
“Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness—yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God” (Alma 19: 5,6).
This idea of having your physical frame so overcome by the Spirit that you lose all strength or faint or appear as if dead shows up many times in these chapters. When Lamoni finally awakens he declares that he has seen his Savior and “his heart was swollen within him, and he sunk again with joy; and the queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit” (Alma 19:13).
So we have the king, his wife, Ammon and then, next , the king’s servants who are overcome with the spirit and fall to the ground. Later when Aaron teaches King Lamoni’s father, he also falls to the ground and is struck as if he were dead. Do we see this anywhere else in scripture and if so, what does it mean? Of course, the answer is going to be yes, or we wouldn’t ask, right?
In the book of Moses we learn that when the presence of god withdrew from Moses and he was left unto himself, that “he fell unto the earth and…that it was the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man” (Moses 1: 9, 10).
After Daniel’s great vision he reports, “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it”(Daniel 8:27).
Joseph Smith describes what happened to him right after the First Vision: “When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home” (Joseph Smith-History 1:20).
When Moroni first visited Joseph Smith, he came three times in the middle of the night, and the next day when he tried to do his chores, he said, “I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable.” His father seeing he looked sick, told him to go home, but then Joseph said, “I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything” (Joseph Smith-History 1:48)
Philo Dibble recorded the receiving of the vision of the three degrees of glory that became Section 76. Both Joseph and Sidney Rigdon received the vision and Dibble said, “Joseph sat firmly and calmly all the time in the midst of a magnificent glory, but Sidney sat limp and pale, apparently as limber as a rag, observing which, Joseph remarked, smilingly, ‘Sidney is not used to it as I am.” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/1973/12/the-greatness-of-joseph-smith-and-his-remarkable-visions?lang=eng
It seems clear that certain spiritual experiences dwell in a light that is more than our physical bodies can bear. We are not capable of entering that light unless we are transformed. It is beyond what we can take.
Perhaps we can get a clue of understanding from Orson Pratt.
He said that the joys and spiritual knowledge we might have are limited because of the imperfect organization of our earthly bodies. He said, “Our happiness here is regulated in a great measure by…the organization of the mortal tabernacle; they are not permitted to rise very high, or to become very great; on the other hand it seems to be a kind of limit to our joys and pleasures, sufferings, and pains, and this is because of the imperfection of the tabernacle in which we dwell.”
He continues, “It takes a long time to get a little into our minds. It seems that our spirits, that once stood in the presence of God, clothed with power, capacities, wisdom, and knowledge, forget what they once knew—forget that which was once fresh in their minds.
“As soon as our spirits were enclosed in this tabernacle all our former knowledge vanished away—the knowledge of our former acts was lost, what we did then we know not; we had laws to govern us; how obedient to them we were we know not…After we have gained all we can here, it is nothing compared with that immense fulness, which it is the privilege of the children of men to obtain in the future state of existence.”
Pratt said, “The more intense is your happiness here; how much more intense would it be hereafter, when this mortal clog with all its imperfections has been laid down…The fact is, our spirits then will be happy, far more happy than what we are capable even of conceiving, or having the least idea of in this world.”
Apparently, as marvelous as our bodies are, they have limitations in experiencing the full range of spiritual experience, and thus the exhaustion or fainting or falling in some of these experiences we’ve just mentioned.
Now, while Lamoni, his wife, Ammon and the servants are all on the ground, overcome by the Spirit, we have an intriguing figure enter the scene in the form of a woman named Abish. We have two rarities here. First her name is mentioned and very few women are mentioned by name in the Book of Mormon. Second, she has been converted to the Lord. And here among the Lamanites who are a disbelieving people we find ourselves asking how? When?
The meaning of her name may give us a clue. The scholars at Book of Mormon Central note: “The name Abish most likely derives from the Hebrew elements ab (“father”) and ish (“man”), and straightforwardly means “father (is a) man.” But more than just that, there appears to be a deliberate pun on her name in this passage that highlights an important doctrinal teaching. Right after Mormon wrote the name Abish (“father is a man”), he immediately follows with the detail that she had “been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father” (Alma 19:16, emphasis added). This could be understood as saying that Abish was converted by a vision that her earthly father had previously had, or that she had seen a vision of her earthly father perhaps after his death. Alternatively, and possibly most likely, it may signal that she herself had a vision of her Heavenly Father, or of Jesus Christ, the “Eternal Father” of heaven and earth, as He is called by Abinadi (Mosiah 15:1–4).”
When Abish sees all those that had fallen to the ground, “she knew that it was the power of God” which gives you insight into her. She didn’t think they had fainted from heatstroke or been killed or anything else. She discerned what was happening and “ran from house to house, making it known unto the people”, thinking “that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God” (Alma 19:16).
But when the people gathered, there was a contention between them. Some said the king had brought evil upon his house. One whose brother had been killed by Ammon at the waters of Sebus, raised his sword to kill Ammon, but fell dead instead. We are reminded yet again that God had promised Mosiah, “I will spare him.” In every situation, God is good to His word.
Abish, alarmed that she has gathered these people who are contending is brought to tears and extends her hand to the queen that she might raise her from the ground. The queen immediately arises, and you might see parallels here to the resurrection as one extends a hand to raise another from the dead.
As the queen and then the others arise, “they did all declare unto the people the selfsame thing—that their hearts had been changed; that they had no more desire to do evil.
“And behold, many did declare unto the people that they had seen aangels and had conversed with them; and thus they had told them things of God, and of his righteousness.
“And it came to pass that there were many that did abelieve in their words; and as many as did believe were baptized; and they became a righteous people, and they did establish a church among them.”
(Alma 19: 33,34)
Both Abish and Ammon play a key role in this remarkable missionary moment, and none of it would be accomplished without the Lord. Now the boldness continues.
Ammon learns, through the Spirit, that Aaron and others are imprisoned in Muloki, and King Lamoni offers to come with him to aid their release because he is a friend of the Lamanite king in that area. As they journeyed, they meet the father of Lamoni who was the king over all the land.
Just an aside, this is an interesting glimpse into the Lamanite political system. We see that there is a king over all the land who appoints tributary kings to rule under him in particular areas.
In this system, the loyalty of these minor kings is paramount to the superior king and would be something he would seek assurance about. The gathering that Lamoni had just missed may have been another opportunity to demonstrate and pledge his loyalty.
Thus, more may have been at stake when Lamoni’s father asks him, “Why did ye not come to the feast on that great day when I made a feast unto my sons, and unto my people?” (Alma 20:8). He is asking this with some concern about Lamoni’s loyalty, and as is clear, where power is concerned, disloyalty is dangerous. He is not just personally angry, he is concerned about political power.
To make matters worse, according to scholars, Lamoni is “traveling with the prince of an enemy state, on his way to use his political clout to liberate others of Nephite nobility in captivity,18 his suspicions were intensified (Alma 20:10–13). He insisted that Lamoni prove his loyalty by slaying the enemy prince (v. 14). Lamoni’s refusal was nothing short of treason, in the high king’s mind, leaving him with no other choice but to exact capital punishment (v. 16).19 https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/knowhy/what-did-it-mean-to-be-king-over-all-the-land
Lamoni’s father feels so betrayed, he raises his sword to slay his son, and when Ammon intervenes, he turns to slay him. But Ammon, who has God’s protection cannot be slain and he smites the king’s arm that he could not use it.
Seeing his life in danger, Lamoni’s father pleads for his life and makes a memorable offer. “Now the king, fearing he should lose his life, said: If thou wilt spare me I will grant unto thee whatsoever thou wilt ask, even to half of the kingdom” (Alma 20:19).
Note, he will only give up half the kingdom to save his life. Of course, he does not know Ammon’s intentions and that he will only ask that Lamoni keep his kingdom and release his brethren from prison. He truly believes that his life is hanging in the balance when he makes this offer.
Then later, in contrast, when this king’s heart has softened and Aaron is teaching him about the gospel he asks,
“What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.”
OK. He will give up half his kingdom to spare his own life, but when he has tasted something of the gospel, he will give up all that he possesses, all of his kingdom to receive this joy.” Half or all gives us a sense of what has come to matter to him.
And then the king goes one more level in his humble and penitent prayer to God: I will give away all my sins to know thee.” (Alma 22:18)
That he will give up all to have this kind of joy reminds us how incomparably sweet God’s gifts are. You wouldn’t just stop at only half to have a gift that is more than can be conceived or has entered into the heart of man.
Elder Robert C. Gay said, “The Savior once asked His disciples the following question: ‘What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’
“This is a question that my father taught me to carefully consider years ago. As I was growing up, my parents assigned me chores around the house and paid me an allowance for that work. I often used that money, a little over 50 cents a week, to go to the movies. Back then a movie ticket cost 25 cents for an 11-year-old. This left me with 25 cents to spend on candy bars, which cost 5 cents apiece. A movie with five candy bars! It couldn’t get much better than that.
“All was well until I turned 12. Standing in line one afternoon, I realized that the ticket price for a 12-year-old was 35 cents, and that meant two less candy bars. Not quite prepared to make that sacrifice, I reasoned to myself, “You look the same as you did a week ago.” I then stepped up and asked for the 25-cent ticket. The cashier did not blink, and I bought my regular five candy bars instead of three.
“Elated by my accomplishment, I later rushed home to tell my dad about my big coup. As I poured out the details, he said nothing. When I finished, he simply looked at me and said, ‘Son, would you sell your soul for a nickel?’ His words pierced my 12-year-old heart. It is a lesson I have never forgotten.
Elder Gay continued,
“Years later I found myself asking this same question to a less-active Melchizedek Priesthood holder. He was a wonderful man who loved his family. He, however, had not been to church for many years. He had a talented son who played on an elite travel sports team that practiced and played games on Sunday. That team had won multiple major championships. As we met, I reminded him that, as a priesthood holder, he was promised that if he magnified his oath and covenant, he would receive ‘all that [our] Father hath.’ I then asked him, ‘Is a national championship worth more than all the Father has?’ He gently said, “I see your point” and made an appointment to visit with his bishop.” (Robert C. Gay, “What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2012/10/what-shall-a-man-give-in-exchange-for-his-soul?lang=eng
Elder Bruce C. Hafen said, “Grace is not cheap. It is very expensive, even very dear. How much does this grace cost? Is it enough simply to believe in Christ? The man who found the pearl of great price gave ‘all that he had’ for it. If we desire ‘all that [the] Father hath,’ God asks all that we have. To qualify for such exquisite treasure, in whatever way is ours, we must give the way Christ gave—every drop He had: ‘How exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.”14 Paul said, ‘If so be that we suffer with him,’ we are ‘joint-heirs with Christ.’ All of His heart, all of our hearts.
“What possible pearl could be worth such a price—for Him and for us? This earth is not our home. We are away at school, trying to master the lessons of ‘the great plan of happiness’ so we can return home and know what it means to be there. Over and over the Lord tells us why the plan is worth our sacrifice—and His. Eve called it ‘the joy of our redemption.’ Jacob called it ‘that happiness which is prepared for the saints.’ Of necessity, the plan is full of thorns and tears—His and ours. But because He and we are so totally in this together, our being ‘at one’ with Him in overcoming all opposition will itself bring us ‘incomprehensible joy.’
Elder Hafen continues, “If we must give all that we have, then our giving only almost everything is not enough. If we almost keep the commandments, we almost receive the blessings. For example, some young people assume they can romp in sinful mud until taking a shower of repentance just before being interviewed for a mission or the temple. In the very act of transgression, some plan to repent. They mock the gift of mercy that true repentance allows.
“Some people want to keep one hand on the wall of the temple while touching the world’s “unclean things”21 with the other hand. We must put both hands on the temple and hold on for dear life. One hand is not even almost enough” (Elder Bruce C. Hafen, “The Atonement: All for All” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2004/04/the-atonement-all-for-all?lang=eng
That’s all for today. We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and this has been Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast. Don’t forget to buy and read Eleven Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Book of Mormon. It is at latterdaysaintmag.com/eleventhings and that is eleven all spelled out. In these podcasts, we aren’t telling you most of the surprises that are found in this book and it is only $6.99.
Thanks to Paul Cardall for the beautiful music and Michaela Proctor Hutchins who produces the show. Next week we’ll be talking about Alma chapters 23-29 called They “Never Did Fall Away.” We’ll see you then.