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THE BOOK OF ALMA
The Most Precious, Sweet, White, Pure Fruit
Alma preaches to the Zoramites who weren't allowed in the synagogues "because of the coarseness of their apparel"--He tells them to try an experiment:
believe and see how it feels--If it feels good, believe it--The fruit of the tree of faith is "white above all that is white."
Version - Chapter 28: The Zoramites and the Rameumptom
Alma Teaches about Faith and the Word of God
My Book of Mormon Podcast - Episode 44: Alma 31-33
|32:1 aAnd it came to pass that they did go forth, and began to preach the word of
God unto the people, entering into their synagogues, and into their houses; yYea, and even they did preach the word
in their streets. ||
(32:1-2) They were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel.|
Alma and his brethren went among the Zoramites, and started to try to convert them. They preached in their houses, synagogues, and even in the
street. After a lot of work, they started to have success, but mostly just with the poorer Zoramites. They were easy targets, because they weren't
allowed in the Zoramite synagogues on account of the "courseness of their apparel".
|32:2 aAnd it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have
success among the poor class of people; for bbehold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness
of their apparel --
|32:3 Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as
filthiness; therefore they were poor; yyea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor
as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart. ||
(32:3-4) Also they were poor in heart.|
Not only were they poor "as to the things in the world", they were also poor in heart. Luckily, Alma was there to help. While he was preaching to
others on the hill Onidah, the poor people started gathering around the hill, too.
|32:4 Now, as Alma was teaching and speaking unto the people upon the hill Onidah, there came a great
multitude unto him, who were those of whom we have been speaking, of whom were poor in heart, because of their
poverty as to the things of the world. ||
|32:5 And they came unto Alma; and the one who was the foremost among them said unto him: bBehold, what
shall these my brethren do, for they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yyea, and more especially by
our priests; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own
hands; and they have cast us out because of our eexceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God; and
bbehold, what shall we do? ||
(32:5-6) Behold, what shall we do? |
The poor people asked Alma what they should do. They wanted to worship their God, but they weren't allowed into their synagogue. The same
synagogue that they had built with their own hands! Alma was happy to hear this, because it meant that they were ready to hear his preaching.
|32:6 And now when Alma heard this, he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld
with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them and that they were in a preparation to
hear the word. ||
|32:7 Therefore he did say no more to the other multitude; but he stretched forth his hand, and cried unto
those whom he beheld, who were truly penitent, and said unto them: ||
|32:8 I bbehold that ye are lowly in heart; and if so, blessed are ye. ||
|32:9 bBehold thy brother hath said, What shall we do? -- for we are cast out of our synagogues, that we
cannot worship our God. ||
|32:10 bBehold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues
|32:11 Moreover, I would ask, do ye suppose that ye must not worship God only once in a week? ||
|32:12 I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that
ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye
are despised of your brethren because of your eexceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye
are necessarily brought to be humble. ||
|32:13 And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is
compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and phe that
findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved. ||
|32:14 And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye
not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word? ||
(32:14-16) Or rather, in other words......|
Alma stopped preaching to the other people, and focused on the poor newcomers. He started off asking why they thought that they could only
worship in the synagogue, and why only once a week? Then he goes on and on and on. The main thrust of his argument is that one has to humble oneself
in order to truly know God. Luckily for his audience, they were already pretty humble.
(32:17) If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven ... then we shall believe.
He throws a little reference to the late great Korihor, by explaining the difference between faith and proof.
(32:18) If a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.
Alma agrees with
Archie Bunker, who said: "It ain't supposed to make
sense; it's faith. Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe."
|32:15 yYea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and
pendureth to the end, the same shall be blessed -- yyea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their
|32:16 Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble;
in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yyea,
without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.
|32:17 yyea, there are many who do say:
If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of
a surety; then we shall believe.
|32:18 Now I ask, is this faith? bBehold, I say unto you, Nay; for
if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.
|32:19 And now, how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not, than he that
only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into transgression? ||
|32:20 Now of this thing ye must judge. bBehold, I say unto you, that
it is on the one hand even as it
is on the other; and it shall be unto every man according to his work. ||
(32:20) It is on the one hand even as it is on the other.|
Alma also gives us this puzzling line. I think the only person who knows what he is talking about is Tevye
from Fiddler on the Roof.
|32:21 And now as I said concerning faith -- faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of
things; therefore pif ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. ||
|32:22 And now, bbehold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all
who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yyea, even on his word. ||
|32:23 And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yyea, not only men but women also. Now this is
not all; little children do have words given unto them many times which confound the wise and the learned. ||
|32:24 And now, my beloved brethren, as ye have desired to know of me what ye shall do because ye are
afflicted and cast out -- now I do not desire that ye should suppose that I mean to judge you only according to
that which is true -- ||
|32:25 For I do not mean that ye all of you have been compelled to humble yourselves; for I verily believe
that there are some among you who would humble themselves, let them be in whatsoever circumstances they might. ||
|32:26 Now, as I said concerning faith -- that it was not a perfect knowledge -- even so it is with my
words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge. ||
|32:27 But bbehold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and
exercise a particle of faith, yyea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you,
even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. ||
|32:28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in
your heart, bbehold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will
resist the Spirit of the Lord, bbehold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these
swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves -- It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that
the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yyea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yyea,
it beginneth to be delicious to me. ||
(32:28-29) When you feel these swelling motions|
But then Alma gets to the heart of his sermon. You see, the word is like a seed. If you make a little space for it in your heart,
and give it a chance, and believe in it a little bit, then it will grow and you'll start to believe in it a little more. As you convince
yourself more and more, you'll be more and more convinced. Wouldn't this convince you?
Eventually the seed will swell within your breasts, and when you feel these swelling motions, you'll know that it's a good seed.
|32:29 Now bbehold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, yYea; nevertheless it hath
not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
|32:30 But bbehold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs
say that the seed is good; for bbehold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now bbehold, will
not this strengthen your faith? yYea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good
seed; for bbehold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow. ||
|32:31 And now, bbehold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, yYea; for every seed
bringeth forth unto its own likeness. ||
|32:32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, bbehold it is not good, therefore
it is cast away. ||
|32:33 And now, bbehold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and
sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good. ||
|32:34 And now, bbehold, is your knowledge perfect? yYea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your
faith is dormant; and this because ye know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that
it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand. ||
|32:35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, yYea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is
good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now bbehold,
after ye have tasted this
light is your knowledge perfect? ||
(32:35) After ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?|
Here's how you know that your knowledge is real and perfect: It's real
because it's light. Whatever is light is good, because it is discernible. So since the light is good, it's good. After you taste the light is
your knowledge perfect? Of course it is.
(32:36) Try the experiment to know if the seed was good.
When it comes to religion, Mormons believe in experimenting. Just believe and see what happens. If it feels good, believe it.
|32:36 bBehold 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 good.
|32:37 And bbehold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that
it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now bbehold, if ye nourish it with much
care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.
|32:38 But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, bbehold it will not get
any root; pand when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye
pluck it up and cast it out. ||
|32:39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not
be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have
the fruit thereof. ||
|32:40 And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit
thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life. ||
|32:41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith
with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and bbehold it
shall be a tree pspringing up unto everlasting life. ||
|32:42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it,
that it may take root in you, bbehold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which
is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is
pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. ||
(32:42) White above all that is white|
Alma describes how good the fruit of the tree of faith is going to taste: "sweet above all that is
sweet, white above all that is white, and pure above all that is pure". Oh boy!
|32:43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and
long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.
And it came to pass (32:1, 2)
Exceedingly (32:5, 12, 15)
Behold [32:2, 5(2), 8, 9(2), 10,
18, 20, 22, 27, 28(2), 29,
30(4), 31, 32, 33, 34, 35,
36, 37(2), 38, 41, 42]
Yea [32:1, 3, 5, 15(2), 16, 17,
22, 23, 27, 28(2), 29, 30, 31,
34, 35, 41, 42]
(32:13, 15) But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 24:13
(32:21) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
(32:38) And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Matthew 13:6
(32:41) A well of water springing up into everlasting life John 4:14
- The Annotated Book of Mormon
- Alma 32