I'm an early morning seminary teacher to 31 awesome juniors & seniors. Join us on our journey through the Book of Mormon.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Stepping-Stones or Stumbling-Blocks?
This is my class. We're different shapes, sizes, and colors. But we're all stones, building the kingdom, one by one.
We identified a pride cycle in Alma 4 today. The Nephites had just been humbled by war with the Amlicites/Lamanites. They became "awakened to a remembrance of their duty". As they were successful in performing their duty (to "establish the Church more fully"), there were many souls baptized into the Church, and they were blessed with prosperity because of their faithfulness and righteousness. THIS IS WHERE THINGS GO BAD. Pride and arrogance follows just after they enjoy the comfort of their wealth. Their hearts are set on their riches and worldly things. Their inequality sets them apart from one another, and contentions build between them. I think we just found ourselves all the way around the pride cycle, on the verge of war again.
We noticed that when the saints were humble, they were stepping-stones to those who were not in the Church of God. Their positive examples, their duty to "bear one another's burdens, that they may be light" to "mourn with those that mourn" and to "comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places", brought others to Christ, as evidenced in the baptism of about 3,500 people (Alma 4:5).
But our other observation was that when the saints became proud, "there were envyings, and strife, and malice, and persecutions, and pride, even to exceed the pride of those who did not belong to the church of God." (Alma 4:9) Their negative examples became a stumbling block to those outside of the Church, leading them away from Christ.
A real struggle in this PRIDE CYCLE seems to be when we are blessed with prosperity. That is a big part of our test here on the earth. What will we do with what we've been given? Do we use it all on ourselves? What does keeping it do to us? How will it feel to give it away? Since that's a test we all have to face, you'll have to decide on an answer that suits you. But in the scriptures, those who have been promised exaltation while in mortality, have willingly let go of their worldly wealth and prosperity.
Entertain the thought of each of us, lining up together, side-by-side, bearing pure testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel, one by one. Picture yourself allowing others to lean on you and your testimony, using you as a stepping-stone to Christ. Imagine the strength of the Spirit as this is all happening, and the joy of those who are finding Christ for the first time through your example and the truth being taught. Try to imagine how uplifting and unifying it would feel to be a part of that! Now THAT feeling is "true prosperity".
I serve as an early morning seminary teacher in the Murrieta, California Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I'm happily married to Joe; we have 4 lovely daughters and an amazing son-in-law.