Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Clean up your act

Sunday in sacrament meeting my husband and I were watching a little boy who looked so handsome in his pinstriped Sunday dress shirt when suddenly he picked his nose and wiped it on his shirt.  Twice.  My husband and I chuckled.  We remember seeing our own kids do that more than we'd like to admit.  We continued to watch him.  Obviously he was unable to relieve himself of  bothersome nasal content because he lifted his shirt to his nose and blew.  Rather than a chuckle we had to stifle a laugh - Out of courtesy for the speaker, of course.  I had sympathy for his mom who has to do the laundry.  But that's what moms (and dads) are for right?  To help us clean up.  As parents we help our kids clean up and as their understanding grows we teach them how to clean themselves as well as to stay away from things that will dirty them in the first place.  We may get frustrated at times, but we keep trudging along because we love our kids.

 After sacrament meeting I taught gospel doctrine.  The lesson was about Alma the younger's conversion.  (Read it here.)  I love that story.  I love the example of his loving father who prayed for his son who'd lost his way.  This week I've thought a lot about Alma Sr.  He must have grieved deeply for his son's soul.  Understanding, himself, what it's like to feel the bitterness of sin in comparison to freedom of the burdens of sin and joy in the Lord.  We all want what's best for our children.   I'd imagine he tried to teach his son and felt like his words fell on deaf ears.

New Era Poster,” New Era, Aug. 2003, 19 
Considering that only a decade after Alma the younger's conversion Alma Sr. died at the age of 82, young Alma was potentially well into his adulthood before the Lord finally intervened.  There is a good chance that Alma prayed for years for deliverance for his son.  If the prayer Alma the younger said 20-30 years later for the Zoramites was any indication of the type of prayers his father said, Alma Sr. would have cried to the Lord for strength and for his son.  Alma 31:30, 34-35  "O Lord God, how long wilt thou suffer that such wickedness and infidelity shall be among this people?  O Lord, wilt thou give me strength, that I may bear with mine infirmities.  For I am infirm, and such wickedness among this people doth pain my soul...O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.  Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee."
He must have wondered at times if his pleas to the Lord would be answered the way he hoped.  

My favorite part of the story is when Alma the younger receives deliverance through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  I don't think it was a coincidence that it was his father's teachings that finally he turned to, that finally freed him from sin and bondage to the adversary.  Alma 36:17-20  And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.  Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.  And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.  And Oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as my pain!

What a beautiful story full of hope, the love of a father for a son and of the atonement of Jesus Christ. 
Years later Alma the younger spoke to his people... Alma 5:21
 I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot beasaved; for there can no man be saved except his bgarments are washed white; yea, his garments must be cpurified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.


  1. Good perspective. I hadn't thought about how old Alma the younger was when he was converted. That is comforting -- in a way. It shows that we should never give up on the Lord's intervention. I like that.

  2. I love the story of Alma.


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