Alma the Younger was a very influential man. He became idolatrous, or a well-known leader, a false priest of sorts, and caught the attention of many people. He flattered people with erroneous ideas and led many hearts away from God. Through him and the sons of Mosiah, Satan accomplished a great divide among the people as he sought to destroy God’s church. However, the Lord intervened and sent an angel to stop Alma and his friends. The angel spoke “with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood.” (Mosiah 27:11) Alma was admonished to repent and commanded to stop destroying the church. This angelic encounter left Alma in a paralyzed stupor for two days and two nights. When he came to, he shared that he had been visited by the Lord and was taught that he needed to be born again and changed from his carnal, fallen state. Through Christ he would become a “new creature” (Mosiah 27:26). Alma repented and spent the rest of his life ministering to the people he had previously led astray. He became a perfect example of what it looks like to be a follower of Christ.
No doubt Alma had to sacrifice a lot of habits, personality traits, deeply held beliefs, and of course, his reputation in order to fully repent and follow Christ. What things in our lives do we need to repent of? What habits, traits, beliefs, and guilty pleasures do we each hold onto that are keeping us from fully repenting each day and following Christ?
Not all of us are deliberately being disobedient the way Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah were. Most of us have a desire to follow Christ but still stumble because of our own shortcomings. President Gordon B Hinckley once said, “It is easy to be a [member of Christ’s restored church] and accept the theology. It is difficult to be a Christian and follow Christ in word and deed.”
Where do you rank Jesus Christ in your life? Where do you calibrate yourself as a follower of Jesus Christ’s teachings? Can others see by your actions that you are a follower of Christ? If He were here on the Earth today, would He recognize himself in you?
A couple of weeks ago, our prophet President Russell M. Nelson said, “When Jesus asks you and me to repent, He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit – even the way we breathe. He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat [our families,] and even care for our bodies.”
“When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy – the joy of redemption in Him. When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ!” Repentance is not a punishment. It is a merciful gift that eases our burdens and brings light into our lives. It allows us to understand truth and see our Heavenly Father’s plan in clearer light.
Like in Alma’s time, there is a great divide in the world today. We see it all over the news, on social media, in politics, in business. Everywhere, there is corruption. We have the chance to fight this and be the good we want to see in the world. We have the answer to achieve peace on Earth. The answer is through Jesus Christ. The church He established with His apostles nearly 2000 years ago is here again, purely restored. We may not all be perfect at following Christ every day, but we have the restored gospel keys that allow us to fully devote ourselves, receive revelation, and partake of sacred ordinances that help us to constantly repent and turn our hearts back to our Savior. We all have access to the same redeeming atonement that changed Alma, and we can all be transformed into faithful followers like Alma.
Jesus Christ sacrificed everything for us. In return, He asks us to sacrifice our worldly ways and follow Him. It is that simple and that beautiful.
• “Follow Christ in Word and Deed” Elder Rex D. Pinegar, October 1991
• “We Can Do Better and Be Better” President Russell M. Nelson, April 2019
• “Yielding Our Hearts to God” Neill F. Marriott, October 2015
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