Monday, May 07, 2007

Alma 12

The Mysteries of God

One of the things I learned throughout my finance courses during the MBA program was that there are many theories on how to beat the market. One of the things discussed was the fact that if everyone worked from the same theory, everyone would do the same thing and the market could not be beaten. But the reality is that people are working from different known theories. Also there is the possibility that some people are working from proven unknown (not publicly shared) theories. Since some of these unknown theories are working, those practicing them are not willing to share their knowledge because then everyone would know and the theory would no longer hold. So instead of sharing their knowledge, they quietly practice what they've learned and consistently beat the market.

From what we learn from Alma, the mysteries of God are not to be shared publicly either.

"It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men; according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him." (Alma 12:9)

Alma further instructs that as we do not harden our hearts to those mysteries, we are given more until we know them in full. But if we harden our hearts to them, then they are taken away until we know nothing concerning they mysteries of God.

There are prophets and people in the world who have real knowledge concerning the mysteries of God. How did they obtain this knowledge? They faithfully studied the scriptures, prayed and asked God for knowledge. I do not think that they exclusively studied the scriptures. Rather, they also kept the commandments and faithfully served in the Gospel.

Elder Oaks said, "The idea that scripture reading can lead to inspiration and revelation opens the door to the truth that a scripture is not limited to what it meant when it was written but may also include what that scripture means to a reader today. Even more, scripture reading may also lead to current revelation on whatever else the Lord wishes to communicate to the reader at that time. We do not overstate the point when we say that the scriptures can be a Urim and Thummim to assist each of us to receive personal revelation." (Dallin H. Oaks, “Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, Jan 1995, 7)

Judgment Day

Some teachers and professors throughout my college days seemed to derive joy in tricking up the final exam. Perhaps it was my lack of study, but sometimes it seemed to me that I'd encounter a question on an exam and it would be the first time in my life that I had heard of the topic at hand! Other professors (and they were few) would explicitly tell us what we needed to know for the final exam. This helped significantly in study time because I knew exactly what I needed to concentrate on. Despite being told, we were still required to have an in-depth knowledge of each subject.

Thankfully, our Father in Heaven has explicitly told us how to prepare for our final exam or our life on this earth.

"For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; our thoughts will also condemn us." (Alma 12:14) In other words, in order to pass the final exam of this life, we need to make sure our thoughts are God's thoughts and that our words are God's words and that our works are God's works. If not, then our thoughts, words and works will condemn us.

Life - a Probationary State

"There was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead." (Alma 12:24)

Sometimes we become complacent and think that we have a long time to prepare … to repent. Two of the deadliest words in our spiritual thinking are "some day." We have this opportunity to repent and to prove ourselves in this life, but we must start now and if we have already started, then we must continue and endure.

"I beseech of you that ye do no procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed." (Alma 34:33)

Elder Eyring gave a great talk in the April 2007 General Conference about not procrastinating (Henry B. Eyring, “This Day,” Ensign, May 2007, 89–91)

The Plan of Redemption Revealed

Going back to the point that Heavenly Father reveals to us what we need to prepare for, we learn from Alma 12:28-30 how He did this.

"Therefore he sent angels to converse with them, who caused men to behold of his glory."

"And they began from that time forth to call on his name; therefore God conversed with men, and made known unto them the plan of redemption."

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