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|
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.