This chapter goes into how Aaron’s and his brethren had a lot harder time among the people they taught (during the time when Ammon was hanging out with the sheep in King Lamoni’s land). The Lamanites in Jerusalem (named after where their fathers came from) are mixed with Amalekites and Amulonites (breakoffs of the Nephites), who have hardened them even more than they would be on their own.
One of the Amalekites taunts Aaron, saying how does he know they need to repent. How does he know they aren’t righteous already, since they’ve built synagogues to preach to their people?. Aaron asks him one question in return:
Believest thou that the Son of God shall come to redeem mankind from their sins?”Alma 21:7
The man says they don’t believe in these foolish traditions of their fathers.
Now Aaron began to open the scriptures unto them concerning the coming of Christ, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and that there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ, and the atonement of his blood.” (9)
Powerful stuff. He opened up the scriptures.
Do I open up the scriptures when I have a question or doubt?
There are so many questions that pop up every day. During this confusing time of strife in the world, several questions have popped into my head. Mask wearing/or not wearing, how to treat others fairly, who to vote into offices of power and leadership, how to stay safe during this pandemic, how to connect with others without risking mine or their health.If I only rely on the world for information, it gets really confusing to answer them.
It takes humility to study things out and open the scriptures and be willing to give up false beliefs we might hold onto before the Spirit whispers truth in our hearts.
A personal note
A few years ago, I was struggling to know who to vote for in the presidential election. There seemed to be no good choices. I considered just casting a protest vote, knowing the third party guy would never have a chance at winning, but not wanting to put my support behind either of the other two candidates.
The day of the election came, and I felt immense conflict. I finally prayed (something I probably should’ve done months earlier, but I’d stubbornly felt I already KNEW who to vote for, so I didn’t need to ask). I humbled myself enough to open my mind (which had been closed politically) and asked God to grant me His Spirit to know who to vote for. I was ready to give any candidate a chance and agreed to read one more article about each, before making a final decision.
I opened the scriptures, which I believe can open minds to truth, and I found new articles about each candidate as well. Then, over the next couple hours, I studied those articles while praying at the same time to be open to truth. And the Spirit did tell me who I should vote for. He also very clearly gave me a second answer: that God could tell other people someone completely different to vote for—and that did not make me wrong, or them wrong. God isn’t a politician, nor does He sanction one party over another. He promotes good, and all men and women are His children.
That day, He taught me a lesson about keeping my mind open to truth, and not shutting it by thinking I knew it all already. My vote surprised even me. It was a candidate I’d been totally closed off to, before humbling myself to even read anything about him/her. But I have never felt such peace with my vote and choice that day, even when family and others have ridiculed me for it after the fact.
Maybe I’ll never be able to stand up and debate my choice with anyone with any kind of eloquence, but that’s okay. Because I knew it was the right choice for me to make that day…and that’s all that matters.
Opening up the scriptures and opening up our minds to God’s truth is a uplifting and powerful experience. .
The best thing about knowing real truth from the Spirit is that you never want to condemn others for their beliefs. You love and respect differing opinions, you are even willing to listen to them, even if you don’t agree. The Spirit helps you divine truth from error in any philosophy and make wise decisions without contention.
To me, when someone bashes, bullies, or puts down those that don’t believe as they do, that is a sign they do not have the Spirit with them and are using Satanic tactics to force their will on others.
Now, back to Aaron
Aaron and his fellow missionaries suffered much persecution, and even imprisonment, before Ammon and King Lamoni freed them. They had a trial of their faith, before the blessings came. And we can expect trials of our faith as well in life. But like them, don’t give up when the going gets hard. Trust in God. Open your minds to Him. Open the scriptures to hear Him.
And it came to pass that the Lord began to bless them, insomuch that they brought many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, they did convince many of their sins and of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct.”Alma 21:17
- Am I willing to open up my mind to test the values, cultural beliefs, and the rest of my worldview against what the Spirit testifies to me is true?
- Am I willing to change beliefs or practices that I come to realize are wrong? Or will I stubbornly persist in holding onto something I’ve been taught or believed all my life (even if it is a misbelief)?