These were our family scripture study verses last night.
We are in Alma 30, and these verses start with “the bad guys” talking (remember, we have first graders) to the priesthood leaders:
25 Ye say that this people is a guilty and a fallen people, because of the transgression of a parent. Behold, I say that a child is not guilty because of its parents.
Nathan and I were shocked at how parallel they were to things we have seen people saying on social media in the last week or last year. We have read these verses hundreds of times, but it has never seemed so applicable as right now. We have a verse here of people arguing with priesthood leaders, saying that children cannot be “guilty and fallen” because of their parents, while priesthood leaders are saying we are all “guilty and fallen” and in need of redemption.
26 And ye also say that Christ shall come. But behold, I say that ye do not know that there shall be a Christ. And ye say also that he shall be slain for the sins of the world—
The people complaining and murmuring and arguing with priesthood leaders know the plan. They know! They are not people from the outside who don’t have any idea what is going on or haven’t heard the gospel yet. These “bad guys” are people who know and understand what are being taught.
27 And thus ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands, that they durst not look up with boldness, and that they durst not enjoy their rights and privileges.
The people arguing with priesthood leaders demand “rights and privileges” and murmur against rules and ordinances, saying that rules for ordinances are oppressive. Too ancient. Too foolish. Too out of touch. Too hard. Too old school. They complain, saying that the rules of ordinances keep children in bondage instead of freeing them, and make people work too hard instead of just enjoying the life God gave them at their own pleasure.
28 Yea, they durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God—a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be.
These people, the ones murmuring against the priesthood, do not see obedience as something that develops their relationship with God. They see it as something that restricts their passion. They do not believe in the testimony of prophets, or the vision of the priesthood leadership, or seek to gain their own understanding of its truths. They say the ordinances are pretend because they do not have a testimony of the priesthood itself. These people, the ones who know the plan, these people who know better, do not have a testimony of the priesthood because they have lost their faith in God.
29 Now when the high priest and the chief judge saw the hardness of his heart, yea, when they saw that he would revile even against God, they would not make any reply to his words; but they caused that he should be bound; and they delivered him up into the hands of the officers, and sent him to the land of Zarahemla, that he might be brought before Alma, and the chief judge who was governor over all the land.
These people who have continued to argue against the priesthood, so much that they deny God even while they can verbalize God’s plan, these people are stirring up the people in contention and with a divisive spirit, and they decline correction, and they refuse to repent, and they keep teaching the people wrong-ness.
And so they are taken before the prophet for ex-communication, in verses 30 and 31 that follow:
30 And it came to pass that when he was brought before Alma and the chief judge, he did go on in the same manner as he did in the land of Gideon; yea, he went on to blaspheme.
31 And he did rise up in great swelling words before Alma, and did revile against the priests and teachers, accusing them of leading away the people after the silly traditions of their fathers, for the sake of glutting on the labors of the people.
This is what we have seen in the last year with different movements, and now the complaints in the last week, where people who become distracted by world-philosphies even though they know the plan, who end up losing faith because of hardened hearts.
And thus it is that the pattern of Korihor is established. Those who are after the pattern of Korihor are those who seek evidence of God before believing in Him (the evidence always comes after believing, and miracles always follow faith) and those who offend instead of discuss, and ridicule instead of respect (verse 30), and accuse instead of uniting on common ground (verse 31). And, if we go back to verse 18, we see how this pattern is always connected to sexual sin….
This is the pattern of Korihor, the sexual sin, the offending others, the refusing to discuss issues to resolve them, and sign-seeking. Pride, as we learn later in verse 53, is always a part of this….
It is always a trading of porridge (birthright/celestialness) for porridge (immediate gratification in mortality).
It seemed like a stern warning to us as we navigate careful waters these days, where the Savior calls us to love and care for all around us, but where He also invites us all to return home with him, and that very returning home comes through ordinances set by Him the way Father has said it is to be done.
All these things, even priesthood things, and even ordinance things, must be done in wisdom and in order (Mosiah 4:27).
We are trying really hard to be wise, and to set our home in order, and – as my patriarchal blessing reminds me to do – further align our will with His. D&C 109 says:
7 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith;
8 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
9 That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord, that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord, that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High—
And that, I know, is covenant-keeping in our home, besides just covenant-making in the temple.