Thursday, January 22, 2009

"I tried to live that/the Commandment/s and it Didn't work," some say - Why Not?

I have had people tell me that they tried living as God said and it didn't work. Considering that God is promising us joy and peace as we do as he says, surely as we do right we will gain a happiness inside.

Alma chapter 32 has Alma likening faith to a grain of seed that is planted and grown. The first time I read this I viewed it as being a bit long winded (unnecessarily long). It seemed somewhat repetitious. But re-reading has made me view it differently. I have found that each step he has outlined is important in learning the truth of what God has presented.

While this is from the Book of Mormon, and I realise not all readers believe in this volume as being from God, I would urge all to continue reading, as these steps he outlines work regardless of what religious beliefs you may have - its a non-denominational claim. I'll put it into understandable language for those not used to old English.

Verses 26-29 "Now, as I said concerning faith--that it was not a perfect knowledge--even so it is with my words. You cannot know of their surety at first, to perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge. But note, if you will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yes, even if you can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until you believe in a manner that you can give place for a portion of my words.

Now, we will compare the word to a seed. Now, if you give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, consider, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if you do not cast it out by your unbelief, that you will resist the Spirit of the Lord, note, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, you will begin to say within yourselves--It must be a good seed, or that the word is good, for it begins to enlarge my soul; yes, it begins to enlighten my understanding, yes, it begins to be delicious to me. Now consider, would not this increase your faith? I say to you, Yes; nevertheless it has not grown up to a perfect knowledge."

The problem that can arise here is that people will start to feel they have reached the end of the investigation. But Alma presents that this isn't all there is to it. And so when it eventually fails (as they haven't completed all the steps Alma mentions) they end up saying it didn't work. But let's go on with what Alma states.

Verses 30-33 "But note, as the seed swells, and sprouts, and begins to grow, then you would have to say that the seed is good; for look it swells, and sprouts, and begins to grow. And now consider, will not this strengthen your faith? Yes, it will strengthen your faith: for you will say I know that this is a good seed; for look it sprouts and begins to grow. And now, consider, are you sure that this is a good seed? I say to you, Yes; for every seed brings forth to its own likeness. Therefore, if a seed grows it is good, but if it doesn't grow, see it is not good, therefore it is cast away. And now, note, because you have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swells and sprouts, and begins to grow, you must needs know that the seed is good."

So there is a need to continue having this growing of the seed (concept) and examining the your feelings.

Verses 34-36 "And now, consider, is your knowledge perfect? Yes, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for you know that the word has swelled your souls, and you also know that it has sprouted up, that your understanding does begin to be enlightened, and your mind does begin to expand. O then, is not this real? I say to you, Yes, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore you must know that it is good; and now consider, after you have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect? Note I say to you, No; neither must you lay aside your faith, for you have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that you might try the experiment to know if the seed was good."

So here he has presented that even though you now know it to be true the learning still isn't over: You are still in the learning stage. Again, if a person quits here they will eventually say that it didn't work.

Verses 37-39 "And see, as the tree begins to grow, you will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit to us. And now note, if you nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit. But if you neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, note it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun comes and scorches it, because it has no root it withers away, and you pluck it up and cast it out. Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit of it would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and you will not nourish the tree, therefore you cannot have the fruit of it."

So we must actually wait to see the full end of our efforts and the fruit that comes from following God. Only then will our testimony of that thing have full strength.

verses 40-41 "And thus, if you will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, you can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life. But if you will nourish the word, yes, nourish the tree as it begins to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit of it, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up to everlasting life."

I have seen people come alive upon reading the Book of Mormon, only to see them fade back and become worse than when they started, by rejecting it due to an assumed inability to live some commandment. The truth requires effort to find AND come to know it is true. I wish you all well in your pursuit of truth.


*Fêfah Ribeiro* said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
*Fêfah Ribeiro* said...

Good article. I met people who had no real desire to put the words of The Book of Mormon to proof. I think it is very important. So, we can help these people with our testimonies. I'm ward missionarie and I often see them in some difficulty. We really do need to help them with our example and testimony.

Fernanda Ribeiro
p.s.: sorry because of my English.
I'm still a LDS student of English. *

Doug Towers said...

Fernanda Ribeiro

Thanks for the positive comments.

As to your English. It is very easy to understand. The only mistake is that we write "ward missionary". And I spell words wrongly often enough myself.