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Gospel Doctrine, Lesson 28: The Word Is in

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Christ unto Salvation, Alma 32-35

#1 There are some who say that, if the evidence were sufficient, they would be compelled to believe; but this is not truethe evidence may be sufficient and yet they may refuse to examine it; or they may examine it with prejudiced minds, or they may be careless in their examination, or they may refuse to examine it in the manner in which God has directed; or they may examine it with a determination not to embrace it, even though it be true; or they may be partial in weighing the evidence for, and apparently against it, with a most anxious desire and hope that they shall find it false. All these obstacles, and many others that might be named, prevent them from believing that which an honest, candid, unprejudiced and prayerful mind would believe. Therefore it is not for the lack of evidence that they disbelieve, but it is their own evil hearts and the darkness which they bring with them in their investigation. When God reveals a truth, as it is always accompanied with sufficient evidence, all people, because of their agency, can believe or disbelieve it, as they choose: and herein is the condemnation of man, because they prefer unbelief to faith, and disobedience to obedience. (True Faith, by Orson Pratt) #2 Elder Neal A. Maxwell: The overwhelming majesty of the universe suggests a major communication problem God has with man. Our limited, finite minds could not contain many answers even if God chose to give them to us Living by faith, then, is not simply a test, but a necessityuntil we are ready to receive more divine data When we often cant frame the right question, and could not contain the answer if it were given, silence must be Gods only response at times.
(For the Power is in Them, p. 29)

#3 President James E. Faust: A person who is humble is teachable.

(CR, April 2003)

#4 Bishop Richard C. Edgely of the Presiding Bishopric: Many of us live or work in an environment where humility is often misunderstood and considered a weakness. Not many corporations or institutions include humility as a value statement or a desired characteristic of their management. Yet as we learn about the workings of God, the power of a humble and submissive spirit becomes apparent. In the kingdom of God, greatness begins with humility and submissiveness. These companion virtues are the first critical steps to opening the doors to the blessings of God and the power of the priesthood. It matters not who we are or how lofty our credentials appear. Humility and submissiveness to the Lord, coupled with a grateful heart, are our strength and our hope (CR, Oct. 2003) #5 He reads them that story because he was the outcast, and they were the outcasts. So he reads them the story of the outcast Zenos. Zenos was an outcast prophet who lived between Moses and Elijah. About 1906 in a work called the Pseudo-Philo the writings of this Zenos were discovered. I wrote quite a bit about them in Since Cumorah. There was a prophet called Zenos. He was cast out and he wrote a long allegory on the olive tree. When Jacob gave his long story of the olive tree, he said he was quoting Zenos. He was a real person, a prophet who was lost and was found again in the early twentieth century. (Hugh Nibley,
Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 2, Lecture 55)

Other thoughts too great not to include:

David J. Ridges have probably heard of people in whose heart a seed was planted by a kind deed or act on the part of a member of the Church, which grew over the years into a desire to investigate the gospel and join the Church. One such person was an acquaintance of mine. I became acquainted with him very late in his life. He had been deserted by his mother at birth and abandoned by his father in early childhood. He survived by cleaning a store and eating bakery goods which were out-dated. He also stored up walnuts in the fall from trees around town. As he reached his twenties, he traveled around the country working on farms in the summers and often sleeping in irrigation ditches at night. As he worked for one particular family on their farm, he was surprised to be invited to eat meals with them. Not only that, but they apologized that they had no extra beds in their house because of their large family, and invited him to sleep in a comfortable spot in their barn, giving him clean bedding for it. Somewhere along the way, he became aware that they were Mormons, but had no idea what that meant, other than that it was some kind of religion. As the years went on, he turned to crime for a living and ultimately ended up in a federal maximum security prison for 35 years. While there, the only friend he had ever had, one of the prisoners, died. Since the man had no family and officials werent even sure of his real name, he was buried on prison property in an unmarked grave in a rainstorm. As my friend returned to his cell, he thought to himself that unless something changed, he was awaiting the same fate. Determined to change, he decided that his only hope lay in turning to religion. He vaguely remembered being treated kindly (the seed) by some people called Mormons, so he approached the prison chaplain and told him he wanted to study about Mormons. According to what he told me, the chaplain quickly told him that he should study any religion but that of the Mormons, because they made you work for salvation. He insisted that he be given something about Mormons, so the chaplain got him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He didnt know how to read so another prisoner helped him learn to read by reading

the Book of Mormon with him. Finally, because of good behavior, he was transferred to another federal prison. He was told that he would never qualify for parole, but he did. Church policy stated that a person couldnt be baptized until he was off of parole. In spite of this, he began attending meetings, telling the bishop and stake president what his situation was so they wouldnt be caught off guard. Before long he was attending the high priests quorum and they even had him teach the quorum occasionally, even though he was not yet a member. Finally, the day came when special permission was granted by the First Presidency for him to be baptized, in his seventies. He proudly showed me that letter some years later when I first met him. All of this happened because some faithful saints planted a seed in his heart. Others nourished it along the way, and he is plucking the fruit daily and feasting on it. (The Book of Mormon Made Easier 2, 292-94) Lets examine how Almas experiment on the word follows the scientific method. The scientific method has 5 steps: 1. Observe some aspect of the universe. 2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed. 3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions. 4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results. 5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation. In order to develop real faith, these 5 steps can be applied. 1. Observe some aspect of the universe. The observation is that there are individuals who claim to have faith in God which gives them purpose and joy. 2. Invent a tentative description or hypothesis. The hypothesis is that the seed is good, or in other words, faith is a hope in something real and true which has the power to bring purpose and joy. 3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions. Based on our hypothesis, we could predict that a particle of faith given place in the heart of the individual will enlarge the soul just as a seed sprouts and begins to grow. (v. 27-28) 4. Test those predictions by experiments and modify the hypothesis accordingly. The hypothetical must be tried in the laboratory. The faith must be exercised; the seed must be planted and nourished. If the seed does grow as predicted, it is appropriate to conclude that it is a good seed (v. 32). Simi larly, if the exercised faith does begin to enlarge the soul and enlighten the understanding, it must be a real spiritual phenomenon. 5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and observation. After the first particle of faith has been exercised, the process must continue in order to continue the spiritual development, now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was goodAnd now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit (vs. 36-7). ( Elder Winslow Farr Smith It is a strange thing that many of our members are always looking for something absolutely extraordinaryHas it ever occurred to you that perfect knowledge is what the devil himself possesses? Has it ever occurred to you that many men, who fight against God and his kingdom, know beyond the question of a doubt that the Gospel is true. Has it ever occurred to you that in this fighting, the one thing that is lacking in their make-up is that very vital thing, faith in Almighty God? I beg of you to consider this question, weigh it very, very seriously. (CR, October 1919)

President Harold B. Lee While I was attending a stake conference, I was to interview some of the prospective missionaries. Before one boy came to see me, the stake president said, Now here is a boy that has just come through a serious experience. He is just out of the service. He suffered shell- shock in battle, and I think we need to talk pretty carefully to him and make certain that he is prepared to go. So as I talked with the young man, I said, Why do you want to go on this mission, son? Are you sure that you really want to go, after all the harrowing experiences you have had? He sat thoughtfully for a few moments and then said, Brother Lee, I had never been away from home when I went into the service, and when I got out into the camps, every waking hour I heard filthy, profane language. I found myself losing a certain pure-mindedness, and I sought God in prayer to give me the strength not to fall into that terrible habit. God heard my prayer and gave me strength. Then we went through the basic training, and I asked Him to give me physical strength to continue, and He did. He heard my prayer. As we moved up toward the fighting lines and I could hear the booming of the guns and the crackling of the rifles, I was afraid. Again I prayed to God to give me the courage to do the task that I was there to do and He heard my prayer and gave me courage. "When I was sent up with an advance patrol to search out the enemies and to send back for the reinforcements, telling them where to attackand sometimes the enemy would almost hedge me around until I was cut off, and it seemed that there was no escapeI thought that surely my life would be taken. I asked for the only force of power to guide me safely back, and God heard me. Time and again through the most harrowing experiences He led me back. Now, he said, I am back home. I have recovered, and I would like to give thanks to that power to which I prayedGod, our Heavenly Father. (Ye Are the Light of the World, chap. 13) Stephen R. Robinson Life, like a computer, has default settings, conditions that will automatically apply unless we take positive action to avoid them. Thus, if we refuse to make Christ our Lord by taking positive steps to enter into his covenant, then Satan becomes our lord by default. Christ by choice or Satan by defaultthere are no other options. Christ shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety. (Alma 34:15-16.) The choice before us is mercy or justice. Either choice can be accommodated, and either choice is compatible with the nature and plan of God, but, as in the choice between the Lord and Satan, there are no third alternatives. Again, life has default settings, and they are set for justice. We can choose the mercy that is offered through the gospel covenant, but if we refuse that mercy, we will receive justice. Now here is an odd thing about the nature of mercy: by definition, mercy can only be mercy if we don't deserve it. For if we deserve something, then it becomes a matter of justice that we receive it. So it ceases to be a matter of mercy. Thus, in this sense at least, to give or to receive mercy is always somewhat unfair. But one of the great beauties of the gospel, some of the best news of all, is that Jesus Christ does not mind this unfairness. He is willing to suffer unfairly and compensate justice himself out of his own person in order to extend mercy to weaker beings like us. This willingness on his part to pay more than his fair share and to carry more than his fair load in order to grant mercy to others constitutes the grace of Christ. (Believing Christ, p. 60) Elder S. Dilworth Young The revelations given to Joseph Smith on this subject are numerous and were among the early ones. To care for the poor is one of the first and early obligations. To help the needy and those who mourn follows close behind. All of us have some time, but those who are not given great responsibility in the organi-

zations have more time to seek out the poor, needy, and helpless. And this help is badly needed. All about us are those in need of encouragement, assistance, and help help of a kind we can all give, not money, but time and attention and personal encouragement, especially to those who must bear great responsibility for loved ones and who cannot pass it to others for the simple reason there are no others to whom to pass it. Those with no ward assignments have more time to pursue this great work of the salvation of souls. Let us not sit back jealous of those giving attention to the stake, the ward, the auxiliaries, but seek our salvation where the Lord appointed us, among those who, weak in spirit, weak in body, or weak in desire, need to be encouraged, need to be raised up in the kingdom of God on this earth. ( Ensign, Dec. 1971, p. 66) Elder Jeffrey R. Holland I mean only to] say what so many have said before: that if Joseph Smithor anyone else, for that mattercreated the Book of Mormon out of whole cloth, that to me is a far greater miracle than the proposition that he translated the book from ancient records with an endowment of divine power to do so Has anyone here ever tried to write anything? Have you ever, with your degrees and libraries and computers and research assistants, ever tried to write anything anyone could stand to read? Even if you have my guess is you havent succeeded at writing anything anyone would read more than once, or say it changed their lives, or say that were willing to leave family and fortune and future forand then do it. You thought it was tough to have your dissertation committee grill you for a couple of hours. How about tossing your piece of work to the most hostileand learnedof enemies for, say, 164 years (just to pull a number out of the air). Go ahead. Put that terrific masters thesis of yours out there under a microscope for everyone to kick and gouge and attack for a century or two, and lets see how marvelous that university-produced accomplishment of yours really was. After a little of that are you still standing by the divinity and immortality of your work? Is anybody still reading it? Furthermore Id live to read anything else this elusive figure has ever written. Id love to talk to the whole research team who must have produced it. If theyve got anything else theyve ever put their pen to, Ill pay any amount of money to get hold of it. This is writing that moves millions so more of it could certainly make millions. Lets talk contracts. Surely in 164 years there must be someone willing to step for forwardyou know, the Areal" authorclaiming credit for such a remarkable document and all that has transpired in its wake. Or at least those descendants of such an author should have come forth by now willing to cashier the whole thing. Where are they? Well the simple fact of the matter is no other origin for the Book of Mormon has ever come to light because there isnt one. A bad man could not have fabricated such an inspiring book and a good man would not have done so. (CES Symposium, BYU Marriott Center, 9 August 1994) Elder Marvin J. Ashton ...the speed with which we head along the straight and narrow path isnt as important as the direction in which we are traveling. (CR, April 1989) Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy We grow in two waysremoving negative weeds and cultivating positive flowers. The Saviors grace blesses both partsif we do our part. First and repeatedly we must uproot the weeds of sin and bad choices. It isnt enough just to mow the weeds. Yank them out by the roots, repenting fully to satisfy the conditions of mercy. But being forgiven is only part of our growth. We are not just paying a debt. Our purpose is to become celestial beings. So once weve cleared our heartland, we must continually plant, weed, and nourish the seeds of divine qualities. And then as our sweat and discipline stretch us to meet His gifts, the flowrs of grace appear (There is Sunshine in My Soul Today, Hymns, no. 227), like hope and meek-

ness. Even a tree of life can take root in this heart-garden, bearing fruit so sweet that it lightens all our burdens through the joy of his Son (Alma 33:23). And when the flower of charity blooms here, we will love others with the power of Christs own love (see Moroni 7:48). (CR, April 2004) Elder Robert E. Wells Just how much faith do I need for the atonement of Christ to work for me?...The prophet Amulek taught this simple but grand principle: The Son of God,...bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance (Alma 34:14-15)...Apparently faith great enough to move mountains is not required; faith enough to speak in tongues or to heal the sick is not needed; all that we need is just enough faith to recognizes that we have sinned and to repent of our sins...Then the greatest miracle of all, the Atonement, whereby Christ rescues us from our deserved punishment, is in effect in our behalf ( Book of Mormon Student Manual, 2009, 229-30). Cheryl Brown Look in Alma 32, verses 16 and 25-29, to see that humility is the soil in which the seed of faith is planted. In fact, humility and humus (material...coming the organic portion of soil) come from the same root word. And we are commanded, as I said earlier, to seek learning, even by study and also by faith (D&C 88:118). We must plant our faith in our humility. A few years back I served on the Faculty Advisory Committee with Dana Griffen, a professor in the Geology Department...Dana told of an experience he had had in his research...I have asked his permission to tell you that story today because I think it illustrates so clearly the relationship between humility, study, and faith. At the time of this experience, Dana was involved in a research project in which he was trying to make a synthetic variety of a common mineral with uncommon elements...He was using equipment that would go to very high levels of pressure and temperature, and he had been working on this problem for quite a while. He tried every level of temperature and pressure that seemed reasonable, based, as all good research is, on the work presented by others. But nothing Dana tried was working, although he was totally convinced that the synthesis could be done. One night, after trying everything he could think of, he was totally frustrated with the work. He knew that finding the right temperature and pressure was probably not a matter of great import in the eternal scheme of things, but he also knew that it was important to him, so he felt that the Lord would help him in some way. At his home, in his frustration, he humbly went to the Lord in prayer: Father, Ive done everything I know how to do. I know you know how to do this. Immediately he had a clear impression, almost like a voice, that gave a specific temperature and pressure, and the pressure was at least 50 percent higher than what anyone had thought reasonable. The next morning Dana went quickly to the lab. He took the elements, set the equipment to the pressure and temperature he had heard the night before, and, within 20 minutes, produced the long-soughtfor synthesis If we do the work, seeking learning by study, and are humble, we can also seek learning by faith. (Bright Minds and Broken Hearts, BYU Devotional, John Coulter No one should ever look out upon the world from the bottom of his own particular well and imagine that his own patch of sky is all there is for him to see. (as quoted by Spencer W. Kimball, Humility, BYU Devotional, 1963) Richard G. Scott Humility is a fertile soil where spirituality grows and produces the fruit of inspiration to know what to do. It gives access to divine power to accomplish what must be done. (How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life, Ensign, May, 2012.)

Marlin K. Jensen True humility will inevitably lead us to say to God, Thy will be done. (CR, April 2001) Jeffrey R. Holland [Alma 34:28-29 the royal law] To worthy causes and needy people, we can give time if we dont have money, and we can give love when our time runs out. Sister Drusilla Hendricks and her invalid husband, James, who had been shot by enemies of the Church in the Battle of Crooked River, arrived with their children at a hastily shaped dugout in Quincy, Illinois to live out the spring of that harrowing year. Within two weeks the Hendrickses were on the verge of starvation, having only one spoonful of sugar and a saucerful of cornmeal remaining in their possession. In the great tradition of LDS women, Drusilla made mush out of it for James and the children, thus stretching its contents as far as she could make it go. When that small offering was consumed by her famished family, she washed everything, cleaned their little dugout as thoroughly as she could, and quietly waited to day. Not long thereafter, the sound of a wagon brought Drusilla to her feet. It was their neighbor Reuben Allred. He said he had a feeling they were out of food, so on his way into town hed had a sack of grain ground into meal for them. Shortly thereafter Alexander Williams arrived with two bushels of meal on his shoulder. He told Drusilla that hed been extremely busy but the Spirit has whispered to him that Brother Hendricks family is suffering, so I dropped everything and came running. May we hear the whisperings of the Holy Spirit when any neighbor anywhere is suffering, and drop everything and come running. (CR, April 1996)

Excerpts from Lectures on Faith

from the School of the Prophets of Kirtland, Ohio Joseph Smith, Jr.

Lecture First:
Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown, if you had not believed that you would reap?... In a word, is there anything that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? ...As we receive by faith all temporal blessings that we do receive, so we in like manner receive by faith all spiritual blessings that we do receive. ...all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth exist by reason of faith as it existed in Him. ...Take this principle or attribute for it is an attribute from the Deity, and he would cease to exist. ...Who cannot see, that if God framed the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power? And if the principle of power, it must be so in man as well as Deity? This is the testimony of all the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have been endeavoring to teach to man. ...God spake, chaos heard, and worlds came into order by reason of the faith there was in Him. So with man also ...Faith, then is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeable to the will of God. Without it there is no power, and without power there could be no creation nor existence! What is theology? It is that revealed science which treats of the being and attributes of God, his relations to us, the dispensations of his providence, his will with respect to our actions and his purposes with respect to our end. (Bucks Theological Dictionary, 582) ...Why is faith the first principle in this revealed science? Because it is the foundation of all righteousness. ...Is faith anything else beside the principle of action? It is. What is it? It is the principle of power the Deity as well as in man.

Lecture Second:
...we shall proceed to show, secondly, the object on which [faith] rests. ...God is the only supreme and independent being in whom all fullness an perfection dwell he is the Father of lights; in him the principle of faith dwells independently, and he is the object in whom the faith of all other rational and accountable beings center for life and salvation. ...We shall now proceed to examine the situation of man at his first creation. ...Two important items are shown from the former quotations, [from Genesis 1]. First, after man was created, he was not left without intelligence or understanding, to wander in darkness and spend an existence in ignorance and to the real fact by whom he was created, or unto whom he was amenable for his conduct Secondly, ...his transgression did not deprive him of the previous knowledge with which he was endowed relative to the existence and glory of his Creator...neither did God cease to manifest his will unto him.And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam ...Adam, thus being made acquainted with God, communicated the knowledge which he had unto his posterity...which laid the foundation for the exercise of their faith, through which they could obtain a knowledge of his character and also of his glory. ...after any portion of the human family are made acquainted with the important fact that there is a

God, who has created and does uphold all things, the extent of their knowledge respecting his character and glory will depend upon their diligence and faithfulness in seeking after him, until, like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they shall obtain faith in God and power with him to behold him face to face. We have now clearly set forth upon what foundation the testimony was based which excited the inquiry and diligent search of the ancient saints to seek after and obtain a knowledge of the glory of God; and we have seen that it was human testimony, and human testimony only, that excited this inquiry [and the inquiry] always terminated when rightly pursued, in the most glorious discoveries and eternal certainty. ...How do men obtain a knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections and attributes? By devoting themselves in his service, through prayer and supplication incessantly strengthening their faith in him, until, like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they obtain a manifestation of God to themselves. Is the knowledge of the existence of God a matter of mere tradition, founded upon human testimony alone, until persons receive a manifestation of God to themselves? It is.

Lecture Third:
...three things are necessary in order [to] exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. First, the idea that he actually exists. Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes. Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which [we are] pursuing is according to his will. ...without the revelations which he has given to us, no man by searching could find out God ...merciful...gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth...exerciseth righteousness and judgment...slow to anger and plenteous in mercy...thou art the same and thy years shall not fail.with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning...God does not...vary from that which he has said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.God is respecter of persons...cannot lie ...those who know their weakness and liability to sin would be in constant doubt of salvation if it were not for the idea which they have of the excellency of the character of God, that he is slow to anger and long-suffering, and of a forgiving disposition, and does forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin ...with the idea that he changes not, faith lays hold upon the excellence in his character with unshaken confidence ...the idea that he is not man, that he cannot lie, it gives power to the minds of men to exercise faith in him ...if he were a respecter of persons, they could not tell what their privileges were, nor how fart they were authorized to exercise faith in him...every man in every nation has an equal privilege. If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves. (from the King Follet discourse)

Lecture Fourth:
...the real design which the God of heaven had in view in making the human family acquainted with his attributes, was, that they, through the ideas of the existence of his attributes, might be enabled to exercise faith in him, and through the exercise of faith in him, might obtain eternal life ...We have, in the revelations which he has given to the human family, the flowing account of his attributes: ...Knowledge...Faith or power...Justice.Judgment.Mercy...Truth ...Let the mind once reflect sincerely and candidly upon the ideas of the existence of the beforementioned attributes in the Deity, and it will be seen that, as far as his attributes are concerned, there is a sure foundation laid for the exercise of faith in him for life and salvation. For inasmuch as God possesses

the attribute knowledge, he can make all things known to his saints necessary for their salvation ; and as he possesses the attribute power, he is able thereby to deliver them from the power of all enemies; and seeing, also, that justice is an attribute of the Deity, he will deal with them upon the principles of righteousness and equity, and a just reward will be granted unto them for all their afflictions and sufferings for the truths sake. And as judgment is an attribute of the Deity also, his saints can have the most unshaken confidence that they will, in due time, obtain a perfect deliverance out of the hands of their enemies, and a complete victory over all those who have sought their hurt and destruction. And as mercy is also an attribute of the Deity, his saints can have confidence that it will be exercised towards them, and through the exercise of that attribute towards them comfort and consolation will be administered unto them abundantly, amid all its trials and temptations, in hope of that glory which is to be brought at the revelation of Jesus Christ, and in view of that crown which is to be placed upon the heads of the saints in the day when the Lord shall distribute rewards unto them, and in prospect of that eternal weight of glory which the Lord has promised to bestow upon them, when he shall bring them in the midst of his throne to dwell in his presence eternally.

Lecture Fifth:
...There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing, and supreme power over all things...They are the Father and the Son ...all those who keep his commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of him who fills all in all; being filled with the fullness of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. ...Philippians 2:2-8: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but...humbled himself, and became obedient unto death

Lecture Sixth:
...we next proceed to treat of the knowledge which persons must have, that the course of life which they pursue is according to the will of God, in order that they may be enabled to exercise faith in him unto life and salvation. ...It was this that enabled the ancient saints to endure all their afflictions and persecutions, and to take joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing (not believing merely) that they had a more enduring substance. Hebrews 10:34. [without this knowledge] they will grow weary in their minds and faint For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor, and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also...requires more than mere belief or supposition that he is doing the will of God; but actual knowledge ...a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation ; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those...who have offered their all in sacrifice...unless they, in like manner, offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.

...from the days of righteous Abel to the present time, the knowledge that men have that they are accepted in the sight of God is obtained by offering sacrifice. ...that persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence; and where unshaken confidence is not there faith is weak; and where faith is weak the persons will not be able to contend against all the opposition, tribulations, and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.

Lecture Seventh:
...when a man works by faith he works by mental exertion instead of physical force. It is by words...and with these its mightiest works have been, and will be, performed. .It is only necessary for us to say that the whole visible creation, as it now exists, is the effect of faith. [is]...the principle upon which [Gods] creatures here below must act in order to obtain the felicities enjoyed by the saints in the eternal world...all the blessings of eternity are the effects of faith without faith it is impossible for men to be saved; and as God desires the salvation of men, he must, of course, desire that they should have faith ...When men begin to live by faith they begin to draw near to God; and when faith is perfected they are like him ...they must have faith to enable them to act in the presence of the Lord, otherwise they cannot be saved. And what constitutes the real difference between a saved person and one not saved is the difference in the degree of their faith ones faith has become perfect enough to lay hold upon eternal life, and the others has not. ...the glory which the Father and the Son have is because they are just and holy beings...and if the Savior gives this glory to any others, he must do it in the very way set forth in his prayer to his Father by making them one with him as he and the Father are one. ...he proposed to make them like unto himself, and he was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings; and for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed; and on this hinge turns the door of salvation. Who cannot see, then, that salvation is the effect of faith? For, as we have previously observed, all the heavenly beings work by this principle; and it is because they are able so to do that they are saved ...the plan of salvation...was a system of faith it begins with faith, and continues by faith; and every blessing which is obtained in relation to it is the effect of faith ...every man received according to his faith according as his faith was, so were his blessings and privileges; and nothing was withheld from him when his faith was sufficient to receive it. He could stop the mouths of lions, quench the violence of fire, escape the edge of the sword, wax valiant in fight, and put to flight the armies of the aliens; women could by their faith, receive their dead children to life again; in a word, there was nothing impossible with them who had faith.By their faith they could obtain heavenly visions, the ministering of angels...see and hear things which were not only unutterable, but were unlawful to utter. ...there is a great difference between believing in God and knowing him knowledge implies more than faith. And notice, that all things that pertain to life and godliness were given through the knowledge of God...and, having power by faith to obtain the knowledge of God, they could with it obtain all other things which pertain to life and godliness. ...Paul counted all things but filth and drosswhat he formerly called his gain he called his loss Because to obtain the faith by which he could enjoy the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord, he had to suffer the loss of all things. For when faith comes it brings its train of attendants with it apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, gifts, wisdom, knowledge, miracles, healings, tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc...For where faith is, there will the knowledge of God be also, with all things which pertain

thereto revelations, visions, and dreams, as well as every necessary thing, in order that the possessors of faith may be perfected, and obtain salvation There are some who say that, if the evidence were sufficient, they would be compelled to believe; but this is not truethe evidence may be sufficient and yet they may refuse to examine it; or they may examine it with prejudiced minds, or they may be carless in their examination, or they may refuse to examine it in the manner in which God has directed; or they may examine it with a determination not to embrace it, even though it be true; or they may be partial in weighing the evidence for, and apparently against it, with a most anxious desire and hope that they shall find it false. All these obstacles, and many others that might be named, prevent them from believing that which an honest, candid, unprejudiced and prayerful mind would believe. Therefore it is not for the lack of evidence that they disbelieve, but it is their own evil hearts and the darkness which they bring with them in their investigation. When God reveals a truth, as it is always accompanied with sufficient evidence, all people, because of their agency, can believe or disbelieve it, as they choose: and herein is the condemnation of man, because they prefer unbelief to faith, and disobedience to obedience. (True Faith, by Orson Pratt)


On the handout youll find a picture of two trees. ~Which one did Alma compare to faith? (the fruit tree) ~Why not the shade tree? (because true faith bears fruit) ~And what are the fruits of faith? (Joseph Smith said, Miracles are the fruits of faith, HC, 5:355;signs, gifts of the Spirit, knowledge of God, every conceivable good thing, ministering angels, burdens made light, eternal life and exaltation) ~So if we arent seeing these fruits, what might be the reason? not enough timefruit trees dont bear fruit immediately: receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. Ether 12:6 not enough nourishment read Alma 32:38-39 Quotation #1 I really like Hugh Nibleys definition of faith, just two words: Intellectual honesty. ~In Alma 32, Alma is speaking to an apostate group of Nephites. Do you remember who they were? (Zoramites) ~Did the Zoramites believe in Christ? (no, their religion was after the order of the Nehors) ~So why did some accept Almas message and not others? (the poor were humble, see v. 6) ~Why is humility so important? Can you learn anything without being humble? (no, humility is the foundation for all learning, since to learn something you have to admit you didnt know it before) Alma 32:6 When I was in Jr. High, I remember having some trouble with a math assignment. In desperation I asked my dad for help. I only asked him for help when I was desperate because he was a physicisthe loved math. I didnt. I just wanted to get through the assignment. He wanted me to learn. ~Was I capable of true learning in that state of mind? I remember being frustrated with him and saying: Dad, I just want to know how to solve the problem, I dont want to know all the theory behind it. ~Was I showing humility, or pride? (prideI thought I knew best) He knew that if I understood the theory, I wouldnt depend on memorizing equations that I would soon forget anyway. He wanted to empower me so Id be able to do similar problems in the future even if Id forgotten the steps. But I wasnt ready for that. I was far from humble enough to submit to my vastly superior-in-all-things-mathematical dad! ~Now, if my dad was vastly superior to me in math, consider the infinitely vast differences between all of us and our Father in Heaven, the creator of the universe! Are we properly humble before Him? Quotation #2

Humility is the only way to reduce our communication problem with Heavenly Father. The 2 next quote tells us why: Quotation #3 ~Does anyone know what the Latin root word humus means? (soil, earth, or ground) So to be humble literally means down to the earth. Hugh Nibley said: The Egyptians call it grinding your forehead in the dirt. You are lowering yourself as low as you can get in the dust. (Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 1, p. 441) ~The word human also has this root, since man was formed out of what? (the dust of the earth) ~And what do we plant seeds in? (the earththe soil) In other words, we must plant our faith in our humility. There is no other way. President Benson said: God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble, or we can be compelled to be humble. (CR, April 1989) ~That sounds a bit harsh, doesnt it? ~But we know God is love, so why does He insist that we be humble? (so that He can teach us) ~And why does He want to teach us anything? (because He loves us and wants us to be like Him, and be with Him forever) ~Have any of you had to teach a teenage boy to drive? (just a heads upIm now on number four!) Its interesting how each of my boys has been a different kind of student. One pretty much ignored me, wanting to learn on his own. Another thought he knew it all already. Another tried to do everything I asked, and now I have one who sees instruction as criticism, so I have to be very careful in how I phrase things so as not to discourage him. ~If we are easily discouraged or offended, what is that a sign of? Humility? (no, pride) I think its worth considering what kind of a learner each of us is! Fortunately, unlike me, Heavenly Father is a perfect teacher, so we dont need to second guess Him. But do we anyway? One last point about humility. Often, I think, we berate ourselves because of our weaknesses. And havent you found that the more you learn in the gospel, the more weaknesses youre able to see in yourself? Can it be discouraging? Should it be discouraging? We tend to see our weaknesses as our enemies, dont we? But isnt that like starting a class in, say, Calculus, and being upset with ourselves because we dont know everything in the textbook yet? Kind of silly to see our weaknesses that way. Lets see how Heavenly Father views our weaknesses: Ether 2:27 (after the 1st sentence: What must be our state of mind in order for us to come unto Him? (humble) How blessed we are to have a Heavenly Father who loves us enough to correct us! When we see our weaknesses, we ought to rejoice that we are humble enough to now learn a better way.

Quotation #4 3 I realize we haven't even gotten to the part where Alma talks about planting the seed and using the scientific method to experiment with spiritual things. I hope youll read more about that in your handout. After explaining how to plant the seed and nourish it and recognize if its a good seed or not, Alma addresses how Christ fits into all of this by quoting from the prophet Zenos. ~Have we heard about Zenos before? (Jacob 5: Allegory of the olive tree. Hes talked about 12 different times in the Book of Mormon!) Lets go down to verse 10 of chapter 33, where Zenos talks about being cast out and despised. ~Who else has been cast out and despised? (the poor Zoramites) Quotation #5 Next, in chapter 34, Amulek stands and adds to Almas teachings of the necessity of a Savior and repentance. But then he talks about what I would call how to fertilize the tree. Up to this point, the planting of faith has been focused inward: be humble, study the scriptures, pray, be patient in afflictions, repent. All of these are necessary and good, but they are self-centered. ~What, then, might be the fertilizer? (service) Alma 34:28 I dont know a lot about fruit trees, but Ive learned from Mark that fertilizer can affect the sweetness of oranges. Apparently oranges can be made sweeter by giving the tree the proper amount of nitrogen. I like the idea that the fruit of our trees of faith becomes sweet as we serve others. ~Lastly, can we plant the seed of faith for others? I believe we can. It will lie dormant until the soil is humble enough for them to begin to nourish the seed, however! Id like to conclude with a story that touched me: See handout: Other Thoughts Too Great Not to Include Heavenly Father loves each of us. I know that He lives, and that we can trust Him to help us obtain the sweet fruits of the gospel...