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Book of Mormon – Lesson 22

“Have Ye Received His Image in Your Countenances?”

Taught By Jeff Stone

June 22, 2008

Scriptures:

Alma 5, 6, 7

Supplemental Video:

“Can You Imagine (7:23)” – In this seven minute presentation, a young man asks himself some of the questions in Alma 5.

Warning: You may need high-speed internet to play this video:

Lesson Details:

Last week, we learned that Alma retired as the chief judge so that he could spend more time preaching the gospel. During his preaching and establishing of the church, we learn a very important principle he refers to as a “Mighty Change of Heart.” Conceptually, Alma is trying to teach us the following:

  1. What is a Mighty Change of Heart?
  2. How do you get a Mighty Change of Heart?
  3. How do you keep a Mighty Change of Heart?

Those are the three concepts we will be reviewing.

Why retire and preach the gospel:

http://gospel-doctrine.com/images/ezra_taft_benson.jpg So why was it important to Alma that he retire from his position of Chief Judge and preach the gospel? President Ezra Taft Benson ha and excellent answer to this question.

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. … The world would mold men by changing their environment.

Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1985, 5; or Ensign, Nov. 1985, 6).

The Lord works to change our hearts which would in-turn inspire us to change our surroundings and environment.

Remember:

The very beginning of Alma’s sermon to the people in Alma 5 he reminds the members of the congregation of the many inspiring stories of their fathers. He recounts the story of his father Alma and his escape from King Noah, and the building of the church, and how their faith protected them.

This is a very important lesson to us. We must remember the “success stories” of the past such as the Moses, Joseph of Egypt, or Joseph Smith, the Pioneers, etc. We must remember the times that The Lord has protected and Blessed us. We are taught to Count our Many blessings rather than our miseries.

When we remember our former blessings, it helps us to prevent that Change of Heart from fading.

What is the Change:

http://gospel-doctrine.com/images/bruce_r_mcconkie.jpg The Change that Alma speaks of is simply us choosing to give our free will back to The Father, the one who gave it to us.

It is the faith to truly follow and desire to obey The Savior. It the conversion of our hearts from Pride to Humility. It is a process, not an overnight happening.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “Except in … unusual circumstances, as with Alma (Mosiah 27), spiritual rebirth is a process.

It does not occur instantaneously. It comes to pass by degrees. Repentant persons become alive to one spiritual reality after another, until they are wholly alive in Christ and are qualified to dwell in his presence forever” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966–73], 3:401).

How do you Get it:

The change of heart starts with desire. If you have the desire, then you will begin to assess yourself. Alma provides a list of questions to ask yourself. The list is not an easy one, but if you will ask yourself and answer honestly, you will quickly discover where you stand and what you need to do to change.

The questions are found in Alma 5:14–22. Below is just a small sample:

  • Have ye spiritually been born of God?
  • Have ye received his image in your countenances?
  • Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
  • Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you?
  • Can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands?
  • Can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
  • Can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil?

Make sure you take the time to read the entire chapter of Alma 5. It contains a lot of great information and insight into making and keeping that change of heart.

The Most Important Question:

In Alma 5:26, we read the most important question of all. Alma asks us if we, at one point, felt the Mighty Change of Heart, do we still feel it now? It’s hard to imagine that after having such a might change wrought in ourselves that we might forget, but we do. Remember Laman and Lemuel? Moments after seeing an angel and feeling somewhat repentant, they began to murmur again.

In order to prevent this from happening to us, we must constantly ask ourselves these questions in Alma 5, and we must constantly remember our past blessings and the blessings of others.

Conclusion:

President Benson gave an excellent discourse on making and keeping the Mighty Change of Heart:

“The antidote for pride is humility—meekness, submissiveness (see Alma 7:23). … Let us choose to be humble.

We can choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are. …

We can choose to humble ourselves by receiving counsel and chastisement. …

We can choose to humble ourselves by forgiving those who have offended us. …

We can choose to humble ourselves by rendering selfless service. …

We can choose to humble ourselves by going on missions and preaching the word that can humble others. …

We can choose to humble ourselves by getting to the temple more frequently. …

We can choose to humble ourselves by confessing and forsaking our sins and being born of God. …

We can choose to humble ourselves by loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 6; or Ensign, May 1989, 6–7).

Notice how each direction was about a choice we must make. It all comes down to us. We must have the desire to choose to do the right. With that desire comes the first principles of the gospel, Faith in The Lord Jesus Christ and Repentance.