This post is based on a sacrament meeting talk that I gave a few months ago that I have felt prompted to share on here:
One of the most dramatic stories in the Book of Mormon involves the four hundred and fifty individuals who follow Alma the Elder after he is converted by Abinadi’s powerful testimony of the Savior. Alma and his people came from a society that was riven by deep inequality, materialism, sexual transgression, and pride. And yet, when they gathered together at the waters of Mormon, Alma and the other fledgling converts were able to form a society where the people “[had] their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.”
How were they able to do so?
We also live in a society that is riven by deep inequality, materialism, sexual transgression, and pride. We too have made similar covenants to serve each other “in unity and in love.” And yet we too often we fall short of that ideal. In our church community, in our families, and in our own relationship with God, we are often divided by contention and pride.
Today, I would like to talk about the ways that Alma ensured that his people would be “knit together in unity and in love one towards another” and how we can do likewise.
To start, I want to quickly list ten things that Alma and his people did in order to maintain that kind of unity. I will then return to discuss in greater detail some of those that stood out to me
- The people made sacred covenants and relied on God’s covenantal promises (Baptism in Mosiah 18; Story of Mosiah 23)
- The people were devoted to serving one another. (Mosiah 18: 8-9)
- The people taught each other (Mosiah 18:25)
- The people sacrificed for one another (Mosiah 18:27-29)
- The people were led by inspired leaders and unified in their understanding of doctrine (Mosiah 18: 18-20)
- The people honored the sabbath day together (Mosiah 18:23)
- The people avoided contention and Pride
- Mosiah 23:7 – “Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another”
- Mosiah 23:15 – “Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them.”
- Mosiah 27: 3-4 And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men; That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support.
- Alma 1: 30 And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were a thirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.
8) They were grateful
- Mosiah 25:10- And again, when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and his power in delivering Alma and his brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of bondage, they did raise their voices and give thanks to God.
- Mosiah 26 And they did admonish their brethren; and they were also admonished, every one by the word of God, according to his sins, or to the sins which he had committed, being commanded of God to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things.
9) They had a missionary spirit
- Mosiah 25:11 And again, when they thought upon the Lamanites, who were their brethren, of their sinful and polluted state, they were filled with pain and anguish for the welfare of their souls.
- Mosiah 28:3 Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not abear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.
10) The people forgave one another