mighty change
Week 23 is scheduled for study June 1-7, 2020. The mighty change, when it comes, comes mostly in small doses of goodness and conversion. The question for this week’s lessons is about whether or not we have kept that change within us.

Day 1

Alma 5:14-33 – I must experience—and continue to feel—a mighty change of heart.

Alma 5-7 can help you reflect on your ongoing conversion to Jesus Christ. As you read, record what the Spirit teaches you.

Alma 5 is heavy with doctrine – doctrine which can be difficult to understand if you don’t translate it into modern terms and concepts. To help with this process I wrote an article that addresses just what it means to have the change of heart. At the bottom of that article (see the link below) is a link to a PDF file that is a side-by-side commentary of selected passages from Alma 5. I highly recommend reading both the article and the PDF document at the bottom of that article.

Note: I didn’t include the PDF file as part of this article nor the article about a change of heart for one reason only. My word processor has the ability to do parallel columns which allows for the side-by-side commentary. The software I use to write online doesn’t have that capability. It is an inconvenience I have learned to live with.

Day 2

Alma 5:33-62 – I can gain my own witness of the Savior and His gospel through the Holy Ghost.

Alma 5-7 can help you reflect on your ongoing conversion to Jesus Christ. As you read, record what the Spirit teaches you.

Today’s lesson talks about a very unpleasant fact of life that most of us are very reluctant to accept as a fact of life. Alma teaches the people that there are two philosophies of thinking and living that exist in the universe. The first philosophy is based on the goodness and love of God, and all that those entail, the works of good, service, seeking a change of heart, and becoming more godly in our attitudes and behaviors. The second philosophy is basically the hedonistic approach to life. Life is all about pleasure, excess, grasping, selfishness, and gaining power and influence so you have more of whatever it is you want than everyone else. That’s it. These are the two philosophies we have available to us.

It would be nice to believe that we can “do it my way,” like a popular song says, or have a third or even a fourth option, but alas, we only have two options available to us. This is the continuation of the conflict in heaven that got Satan and one third of our brothers and sisters expelled from their heavenly home. The difference is that here we are now playing for “all the marbles”. The choice we make here is the choice we will have to live with for the rest of eternity. When today’s title says, “I can gain my own witness of the Savior and His gospel” it represents God’s choice for us. He wants our happiness, which can only be achieved by living within His laws. Satan’s goal is to get us to forget that God really is in charge of the universe. Satan wants us to believe we can have what we want without having to deal with our Father in Heaven or His Son, the Christ.

Obtaining a witness – read that as a sure knowledge – can only come through the Holy Ghost. The Lord has the Holy Spirit in the Godhead as a testator, one who bears witness of the others in the Godhead, and of all truth. The Holy Ghost’s responsibility towards us is to teach us and guide us back to Christ and our Father. We should cling to our relationship and our companionship with the Spirit like we would cling to a liferaft in a raging ocean storm. He really and truly is our only connection to Christ and our Father. He is the only one who can teach us the way to become like Christ. He lights our path and shows us the way home.

Gaining a witness of the truth about something is not a privilege reserved for a precious few. All of God’s children are continually invited to come to Christ through the baptismal covenant in which we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. None are denied who truly seek God’s blessings. The way is open and free for all. This means that anyone of any capacity, if the desire is there, can be enlarged through the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost.

The point here is that we only have two things from which to choose. If we don’t choose the one then, by default, we have chosen the other. There just is no other available option. We need to make sure we intentionally make a choice of one or the other, for to not choose most certainly will put us in the camp that will deny us entrance back into our heavenly home. Just as we cannot be saved in ignorance, we also cannot be saved in laziness. To return home is going to take lots of hard work and intentional living of the principles revealed to us through the scriptures and the living prophets. This must become something we truly want with all our soul. We must be willing to give up any and all earthly pleasures, treasures, or earthly delights in order to get our main prize, which is life with our Father and His Son in the eternities.

Day 3

Alma 7 – Diligent obedience will help me stay on the “path which leads to the kingdom of God.”

Alma 5-7 can help you reflect on your ongoing conversion to Jesus Christ. As you read, record what the Spirit teaches you.

Precisely because the path back to God is narrow and straight, it is easy to wander off the path. It really doesn’t take much to make a tiny detour. Most any distraction has the ability to make us “turn” just a tiny bit from the straight course we want to be on. But that is exactly why we have the Spirit to teach us and guide us. As long as we are listening to Him and obeying His promptings, we will never stray too far from the path before we are given a course correction. This is why we repent every day, why we seek to be in constant contact with the whisperings of the Spirit in our daily lives. If we wanted the broad road where most anything is allowed, we should not have been baptized. Godhood is not something that everyone desires to have. The covenants are meant to provide everyone who wants to become like our heavenly parents the opportunity. But only those who learn to follow the Spirit will make it back home. There is no other way or means to return home to live with God once again, except through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and by following the Spirit. The Spirit will teach us everything we need to know as we seek knowledge of godly things in the scriptures, and do our best to live the covenants we have made.

Day 4

Alma 7:7-16 – The Savior took upon Himself my sins, pains, and afflictions.

Alma 5-7 can help you reflect on your ongoing conversion to Jesus Christ. As you read, record what the Spirit teaches you.

I hope you will read the verses for today’s lesson carefully, and with a questioning heart. Most of the questions we might come up with about Christ will have no answers. But I believe it is important that we still ask the questions. Here are but a few of the possible questions we might ask as we read this passage.

How did Jesus take upon himself the pains and sicknesses of his people?

How did this help him know how to succor or aid us in our times of trial?

I doubt he ever actually had to deal with things like severe acne, but he may have had to deal with the general cruelty children are capable of in school and at play. How did he handle being excluded or shunned as a child?

Jesus lost his father in death before his own death. This left his mother a widow with children at home to raise. Jesus, as the oldest of the children should have been at home taking care of the needs of his mother, but his work for our Father took priority. What might have Jesus learned about mortal frailty in this situation, and about the pain of loss and separation, despite what he probably already knew about God’s plan for our ultimate happiness? Was it the lessons he learned from his own father’s death that led him to weep when Lazarus died?

As you look at the statements about Jesus and his ministry in mortality, try to make it personal, intimate. After all, we are being told in this passage that he took upon himself all of our infirmities so that his bowels would be filled with mercy for us. Evidently Jesus took his assignment on earth very seriously. And thank the heavens he did. How would it be if our final judge had never experienced the pains and disappointments so common to the rest of us? How flawed might that judgment have felt coming from someone who couldn’t possibly understand what we went through while down here in mortality. But we do have someone who understands. And he took upon himself all of these things, not because he had to, but because he wanted to so he could better understand how to apply his own healing salve on our mortal and emotional wounds and hurts.

Scripture Study and Family Home Evening

Alma 6:4-6 – Why do we gather together as Saints?

Verse 6 in this passage raised the question in my mind as to what I really believe. Verse 6 tells us that the Saints gathered themselves together oft so they could pray and fast for “those who knew not God.” Questions started pouring through my head. Is that why we are supposed to meet together at church each Sunday? Do I know God? Why are we to be so concerned for others to know Him as well? Etc., etc.

As I contemplated what we actually do when we gather together on Sundays, I realized that much of what we do is for the welfare of others. We have Ward Council to discuss the needs of both the members and the members of other faiths within our boundaries. We have Bishopric meetings where many of the same topics are discussed. We have Priesthood and Relief Society meetings where the welfare of others is supposed to be discussed on a regular basis. We partake of the sacrament where we renew our baptismal covenant to stand in the place of Christ in all places and at all times, seeking to lift others, help them bear their burdens, and to mourn with those who are mourning.

At no time in this process of covenant renewal do we covenant or promise to look only on the needs of our fellow Saints. Our soul purpose in this life is to help save all of God’s family we have the opportunity to save. This is what Jesus did as he taught for three years. He uplifted anyone he came into contact with. He loved and served every soul presented to him to serve. His miracles were not for him or just the members of the Church, but for all to see so they could praise God and come to Him through Christ.

Think of what our youth leaders are doing in their classes and meetings. Are they only concerned with themselves? No. They concern themselves with their friends and neighbors who aren’t currently coming to church or who haven’t been properly introduced to the gospel of Christ yet. The purpose of our Sunday meetings hasn’t really changed all that much from what the Nephites experienced on whatever day of the week they met. The gathering of Saints is still focused on the universal salvation of all of God’s children, not just those who have already found the truth.

Here is a PDF of this week’s study material.
Print it out for greater convenience in your studies.

BoM Week 23

(Alma 5-7)