Monday, August 11, 2008

Thoughts on Alma 40-42

by Rene Allen

Part of yesterday’s gospel doctrine lesson was about Alma teaching his son, Corianton, about restoration. “Carnal for carnal,” Alma said. “Evil for evil, good for good.” It makes no sense that good would replace evil. And in clarification, Bruce R. McConkie was quoted as saying The resurrection is a restoration, both a restoration of body and spirit and a restoration to the individual of the same mental and spiritual acquirements and attitudes he had in this life.

Considering the struggles I have bridling my tongue, thinking kind thoughts, striving to be charitable when I’m actually feeling contrary and self-centered, I asked if anyone found this idea as terrifying as I did. I may be in fair shape with my mental acquirements, but it’s those darn attitudes that are going to get me in a lot of trouble. “It gives new meaning to Alma 34:32, that this life is the time to prepare to meet God,” I told the class.

Agreeing with me, the bishop, responded, “Well, that’s what they mean when they say ‘that’s the hell of it.’”

I’ve given more thought to this. Apparently, the neural synapses that makes us who we are will not undergo a more pleasing rearrangement when we, meaning our spirits, get back together with our bodies. We will be who we are.

In order to stand in God’s presence, we must be perfect, even as He is. What does that mean?

The word perfect itself has some surprising meanings other than the most common: being without flaw or defect. According to Webster’s dictionary perfect also means

satisfying all requirements:accurate

corresponding to an ideal standard

faithfully reproducing the original

expert, proficient

pure, total

lacking in no essential detail: complete

There are magnificent ideas here, hidden in the simple meanings of an ordinary word, perfect. The one I am most intrigued with at this time is faithfully reproducing the original. We are, after all, created in His image.

I believe becoming like God, means we must first come to know Him. And to know Him, is to understand His great love for us, that somehow, with all of our imperfections, we are vastly important in the grand scheme of eternity.

What do you think? I invite your participation. I would love to read your understanding of these principles, that on this Monday morning are almost too profound for words.


5 comments:

  1. Great message, Rene. We had the same lesson yesterday and our teacher said many of the same things. He made the comparison/contrast between our works; that is how we live our lives in the gospel and our testimonies. While a testimony is important to have, it is not what the Lord will be judging us on. It is clear (at least to me) that the person we are here in this probationary life is what we carry forward with us.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts.

    Charlie

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  2. Thanks for this post. I was in Primary, teaching the children to sing the chorus to "Called to Serve" in Japanese, so I missed the discussion in RS. But I'd still like to comment.

    Christ told his apostles and followers, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect." But when he told the Nephites the same thing he added himself: "Be ye therefore perfect even as I and. . ." Even he, who was without flaw, seemed not to consider himself perfect until after he died. Therefore, I go with the definition of 'finished'.

    My children, speaking at their father's funeral, all called him 'perfect' and it took me a while to realize how right they were. I'm also reminded of a favorite saying of a former stake president we had, Wilburn Brown, who talked of 'being safely dead' as meaning about the same thing. Of course, it takes a good life, and 'enduring to the end' to become perfect.

    Just a thought.

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  3. Of course you were teaching the children the chorus to Called to Serve in Japanese, Anna! I am always amazed at what I learn next about you. Thank you Anna and Charlie for your thoughts. I'm not sure there is an endpoint to this journey. What do you think?

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  4. Sobering thoughts here. It's tough to look at myself and think I'm supposed to be like Him and what does that mean to me. I've always carried that old 80s thought around of God loves you and I'm trying. But shouldn't that really be God and I love you? Thought provoking blog Rene. BTW out here on the Gulf Coast that was our SS lesson as well.

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  5. Great lesson. Great thoughts. Great questions! Somewhere in the margin of my scriptures I have "perfect" notated with "fully developed." Our Sunday school class discussed the idea that we can accomplish more in our short lifetime here in our bodies than we can in a thousand years without them. Terri described it well...sobering thoughts.

    On a lighter side...do you think there's chocolate in the next life????

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