Alma, Chapter 18

What did the Lamanites believe about God?

God is our eternal Father in Heaven.  He is all-knowing and all-powerful.  He loves me and wants me to be able to live with Him again, so much so that he allowed his Son, Jesus Christ, to come and be sacrificed to save us all.  He knows what is the best thing for me.  He can allow miracles to happen and can give man the power to do anything.  He wants me to be like him.  He looks just like we look and is a living God.  In D&C 130:22 we read, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.”  I think other churches believe that God, His Son, and the Holy Ghost are one being.  I think that they believe that this being is a spirit of sorts, or some unknown power.  I’m glad that I know what God is because I don’t think I would know how to believe or pray to some unknown being or anything other than what He is.

“And it came to pass that king Lamoni caused that his servants should stand forth and testify to all the things which they had seen concerning the matter (v. 1).  And when they had all testified to the things which they had seen, and he had learned of the faithfulness of Ammon in preserving his flocks, and also of his great power in contending against those who sought to slay him, he was astonished exceedingly, and said: Surely, this is more than a man. Behold, is not this the Great Spirit who doth send such great punishments upon this people, because of their murders (v. 2)?  And they answered the king, and said: Whether he be the Great Spirit or a man, we know not; but this much we do know, that he cannot be slain by the enemies of the king; neither can they scatter the king’s flocks when he is with us, because of his expertness and great strength; therefore, we know that he is a friend to the king. And now, O king, we do not believe that a man has such great power, for we know he cannot be slain (v. 3).  And now, when the king heard these words, he said unto them: Now I know that it is the Great Spirit; and he has come down at this time to preserve your lives, that I might not slay you as I did your brethren. Now this is the Great Spirit of whom our fathers have spoken (v. 4).  Now this was the tradition of Lamoni, which he had received from his father, that there was a Great Spirit. Notwithstanding they believed in a Great Spirit, they supposed that whatsoever they did was right; nevertheless, Lamoni began to fear exceedingly, with fear lest he had done wrong in slaying his servants (v. 5);”

The Lamanites called God, the Great Spirit.  King Lamoni thought that Ammon was the Great Spirit (or God) because of his power.  He thought the Great Spirit was mad at him for killing the servants who had not been able to protect his sheep.  Lamoni’s ideas came from the traditions of his ancestors, who had thought that everything they did was right.  When we do not know truly who God is, we cannot truly know who we are.  We cannot possible know the meaning of our lives, without understanding true principals about God.  If I just felt that God was something that had created me, but not my Heavenly Father, I don’t think I would try very hard to please him.  If I did not believe that I could ever become like him, I would probably never think about trying to be “God-like” because it would be an impossible thing that would probably just make me feel inadequate all the time.  I am very grateful for the testimonies in the scriptures, that bear witness of who God is.  I am so glad that Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son and that he shared what he witnessed with so many.  I love my Father in Heaven and am so grateful to Him for this opportunity to prove myself worthy to return and be with Him again.

I’ll listen to you when I know I can trust you

It is easier to trust people we know rather than those we do not.  We live with our family members every day and know them so well, that we develop either a great trust in them, or not.  We build relationships of trust when we allow others to get to know us and we serve them and show them that we love them.

“And the king answered him, and said: Yea, I will believe all thy words. And thus he was caught with guile.”  Lamoni said that he would believe all of Ammon’s words, which showed that he trusted Ammon.  Ammon had earned his trust by protecting his sheep and shepherds.  If more missionaries could gain this trust from those they try to serve, so many more would be willing to listen to their testimonies of the gospel.  Trust is a barrier that missionaries have to break in order to be able to teach people.  It is one reason why member missionaries are so important.  Because our families and neighbors have already learned to trust us and will be more willing to hear us.

“And it came to pass that king Lamoni inquired of his servants, saying: Where is this man that has such great power (v. 8 )?  And they said unto him: Behold, he is feeding thy horses. Now the king had commanded his servants, previous to the time of the watering of their flocks, that they should prepare his horses and chariots, and conduct him forth to the land of Nephi; for there had been a great feast appointed at the land of Nephi, by the father of Lamoni, who was king over all the land (v. 9).  Now when king Lamoni heard that Ammon was preparing his horses and his chariots he was more astonished, because of the faithfulness of Ammon, saying: Surely there has not been any servant among all my servants that has been so faithful as this man; for even he doth remember all my commandments to execute them (v. 10).”  Here Ammon has earned an even greater trust from King Lamoni.  Ammon could have done anything at this time, because He had shown such great power, but he continued on working and serving the King.

“Now I surely know that this is the Great Spirit, and I would desire him that he come in unto me, but I durst not (v. 11).  And it came to pass that when Ammon had made ready the horses and the chariots for the king and his servants, he went in unto the king, and he saw that the countenance of the king was changed; therefore he was about to return out of his presence (v. 12).  And one of the king’s servants said unto him, Rabbanah, which is, being interpreted, powerful or great king, considering their kings to be powerful; and thus he said unto him: Rabbanah, the king desireth thee to stay (v. 13).  Therefore Ammon turned himself unto the king, and said unto him: What wilt thou that I should do for thee, O king? And the king answered him not for the space of an hour, according to their time, for he knew not what he should say unto him (v. 14).  And it came to pass that Ammon said unto him again: What desirest thou of me? But the king answered him not (v. 15).  And it came to pass that Ammon, being filled with the Spirit of God, therefore he perceived the thoughts of the king. And he said unto him: Is it because thou hast heard that I defended thy servants and thy flocks, and slew seven of their brethren with the sling and with the sword, and smote off the arms of others, in order to defend thy flocks and thy servants; behold, is it this that causeth thy marvelings (v. 16)?  I say unto you, what is it, that thy marvelings are so great? Behold, I am a man, and am thy servant; therefore, whatsoever thou desirest which is right, that will I do (v. 17).  Now when the king had heard these words, he marveled again, for he beheld that Ammon could discern his thoughts (v. 18 )…”.  This again increased King Lamoni’s trust in Him, because Ammon could tell what he was thinking.

“… but notwithstanding this, king Lamoni did open his mouth, and said unto him: Who art thou? Art thou that Great Spirit, who knows all things (v. 18 )?  Ammon answered and said unto him: I am not (v. 19).  And the king said: How knowest thou the thoughts of my heart? Thou mayest speak boldly, and tell me concerning these things; and also tell me by what power ye slew and smote off the arms of my brethren that scattered my flocks (v. 20)—And now, if thou wilt tell me concerning these things, whatsoever thou desirest I will give unto thee; and if it were needed, I would guard thee with my armies; but I know that thou art more powerful than all they; nevertheless, whatsoever thou desirest of me I will grant it unto thee (v. 21).  Now Ammon being wise, yet harmless, he said unto Lamoni: Wilt thou hearken unto my words, if I tell thee by what power I do these things? And this is the thing that I desire of thee (v. 22).”

We can teach the principals of the gospel to those around us, when we gain their trust, just as Ammon did.  If we trust in the Lord and use the power of the priesthood to bear witness of God and Jesus Christ, anything is possible.  When we truly love and serve others, they will see the light of Christ in us and want to know what it is.

How to be a great missionary

President Hinckley said the following to those who were not members of the church, “To these we say in a spirit of love, bring with you all that you have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and come and let us see if we may add to it.”  There are many good people out there who are living good lives because of what they have learned, but have not been introduced to the fullness of the gospel.  Most other religions have some or even a lot of truth in their teachings, but not all of the truth.  Our church and the gospel that we have can fill the gaps they may have in the truth.  What these souls can bring with them to us, can be a great blessing in our lives as well.  As a good missionary, it is important to use these true beliefs and build upon them.  If they believe in the resurrection, as many do, explaining that there is more details in the plan of salvation about what happens after we die that we believe, is just taking their belief one step further.  At times they may believe in something that is not true, such as the trinity.  In these cases, it is important to teach what we know to be true because the false teachings can lead people away from God.

“And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness, and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God (v. 24)?  And he answered, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth (v. 25).  And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit (v. 26)?  And he said, Yea (v. 27).  And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth (v. 28 )?”  Lamoni and Ammon both believe in God.

“And he said: Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth; but I do not know the heavens (v. 29).  And Ammon said unto him: The heavens is a place where God dwells and all his holy angels (v. 30).”  Ammon taught Lamoni that God created all things which are in heaven where God lives.

“And king Lamoni said: Is it above the earth (v. 31)?  And Ammon said: Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning (v. 32).”  We learn precept upon precept, so because he already believe in God and that God had created everything on the earth, it was just the next step to believing that God had created everything in heaven and man also.

“And king Lamoni said: I believe all these things which thou hast spoken. Art thou sent from God (v. 33)?  Ammon said unto him: I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true (v. 34);  And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God (v. 35).”  Next Ammon taught him that man is created in God’s image and can have the spirit of God in them.

“Now when Ammon had said these words, he began at the creation of the world, and also the creation of Adam, and told him all the things concerning the fall of man, and rehearsed and laid before him the records and the holy scriptures of the people, which had been spoken by the prophets, even down to the time that their father, Lehi, left Jerusalem (v. 36).  And he also rehearsed unto them (for it was unto the king and to his servants) all the journeyings of their fathers in the wilderness, and all their sufferings with hunger and thirst, and their travail, and so forth (v. 37).  And he also rehearsed unto them concerning the rebellions of Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, yea, all their rebellions did he relate unto them; and he expounded unto them all the records and scriptures from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem down to the present time (v. 38 ).”  Ammon taught Lamoni that Laman and Lemuel who were the ancestors of the Lamanites, had rebelled.  The Lamanites had believed that they had done nothing wrong, and this was just one false teaching that Ammon corrected with his teachings.

“But this is not all; for he expounded unto them the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world; and he also made known unto them concerning the coming of Christ, and all the works of the Lord did he make known unto them (v. 39).”  Ammon had already taught about the beginning of man on the earth and then he taught him about Christ and the plan of redemption.  I think it is easier for people to hear the parts of the plan of salvation that are to come, after they understand what has already happened.  A lot of religious people believe in Adam and that he transgressed, so teaching that Christ would bring about the ability for even Adam to be forgiven for what he had done against God, is important.

“And it came to pass that after he had said all these things, and expounded them to the king, that the king believed all his words (v. 40).”  Lamoni believed the words of Ammon, because Ammon was being led by the spirit and understood how these things needed to be taught.

At this point, king Lamoni pleaded to God for his sins and he was overcome by the spirit and fell to the earth.  His servants believing he was dead, took him to the queen and everyone began to mourn for 2 days and 2 nights (v. 41-43).

Ammon had been a great missionary and had taught king Lamoni true principles of the gospel through the spirit of God.  We can all be as great a missionary as Ammon, if we prepare ourselves and then seek for those who are ready.  The Lord will guide us, because he wants all people to have the opportunity to hear the gospel.  We need to have faith and courage to go outside of whatever comfort zones we may have.  In Ether 12: 27 we read, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”  The Lord will make up the difference if we teach others with a willing and a humble heart.

And it came to pass that king Lamoni caused that his aservants should stand forth and testify to all the things which they had seen concerning the matter.
2 And when they had all testified to the things which they had seen, and he had learned of the faithfulness of Ammon in preserving his flocks, and also of his agreat power in contending against those who sought to slay him, he was astonished exceedingly, and said: Surely, this is more than a man. Behold, is not this the Great Spirit who doth send such great punishments upon this people, because of their murders?
3 And they answered the king, and said: Whether he be the Great Spirit or a man, we know not; but this much we do know, that he acannot be slain by the enemies of the king; neither can they bscatter the king’s flocks when he is with us, because of his expertness and cgreat strength; therefore, we know that he is a friend to the king. And now, O king, we do not believe that a man has such great power, for we know he cannot be slain.
4 And now, when the king heard these words, he said unto them: Now I know that it is the Great Spirit; and he has come down at this time to preserve your lives, that I might not aslay you as I did your brethren. Now this is the Great Spirit of whom our fathers have spoken.

5 Now this was the atradition of Lamoni, which he had received from his father, that there was a bGreat Spirit. Notwithstanding they believed in a Great Spirit, they supposed that cwhatsoever they did was right; nevertheless, Lamoni began to fear exceedingly, with fear lest he had done wrong in slaying his servants;

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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