Alma entrusts his son, Helaman, with the plates and repeats that “it is for a wise purpose that they are kept.” (2) These spiritual accounts—called scripture—are what make up eternal treasures for us today. The Book of Mormon prophets safeguarded this treasure for us! That “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people…shall know of the mysteries contained thereon.” (4)
…behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.”Alma 37:6
He lists out the reasons the plates are of worth, and why they are sacred and must be protected and handed down as the Lord hath commanded.
Here are three of the reasons this eternal treasure is so valuable to us.
William Tyndale in the 1600’s was strangled and burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English and publishing it, so the common man could partake of this eternal treasure. People in his day paid enormous sums and ran grave personal risks for access to a Bible.
What did they understand about this eternal treasure that we should also understand?
Through the scriptures, God does indeed ‘show forth his power’ to save and exalt His children. By His word, as Alma said, He enlarges our memory, sheds light on falsehood and error, and brings us to repentance and to rejoice in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.”D. Todd Christofferson – The Blessing of Scripture (2010)
God’s words enlarge our memory by helping us remember the Lord and our relationship to Him and the Father. They remind us of what we knew in the premortal life. They expand our memory in another sense by teaching us about epochs, people, and events that we did not experience personally.
I’ve been studying a writing book called Story Genius, written by Lisa Cron. She talks about the value of stories in our lives—how they let us vicariously try out difficult situations we haven’t yet experienced to see what it would REALLY feel like, and what we’d need to learn in order to survive.
Our brain registers an effective story the same way it registers the things that actually do happen to us out here in the good old analog world. This is what allows us to instantly channel the info we’re always on the hunt for. To wit: we come to every story we hear—not just novels…—hardwired to ask one question in what’s known as our cognitive unconscious: What am I going to learn here that will help me not only survive, but prosper?”Story Genius by Lisa Cron
God has gifted us His words in the form of stories we find in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and other venues He provides. These stories truly are a treasure, in that they expand our memory and give us vicarious experiences to help us know how to prosper in our own lives.
The scriptures also enlarge our memory by helping us not forget what we and earlier generations have learned. Those who either don’t have or ignore the recorded word of God eventually cease to believe in Him and forget the purpose of their existence.”D. Todd Christofferson – The Blessing of Scripture (2010)
Scriptural stories are vital to our remembering what we need to in order to return back to God someday.
In Tyndale’s day, scriptural ignorance abounded because people lacked access to the Bible, especially in a language they could understand. Today the Bible and other scriptures are readily at hand, yet there is a growing scriptural illiteracy because people will not open the books. Consequently they have forgotten things their grandparents knew.”D. Todd Christofferson – The Blessing of Scripture (2010)
Let us NOT be in that group that has forgotten. Open the scriptures. Feast upon God’s words. Experienced vicariously what others have gone through before us to stand true and fast in their faith of Jesus Christ. And then allow that enlarged memory to lead us to faith-filled action and compassion.
Convinces of error
A second reason this eternal treasure is of utmost importance to us today is that it can help us discern between truth and error in this chaotic world.
God uses scripture to unmask erroneous thinking, false traditions, and sin with its devastating effects.”D. Todd Christofferson – The Blessing of Scripture (2010)
The Book of Mormon is full of stories about people who taught false doctrines to try to deceive the people of God. These false doctrines are listed so that we can see them for what they are and recognize them when they are taught today—and SHUN them.
In a complete reversal from a century ago, many today would dispute with Alma about the seriousness of immorality. Others would argue that it’s all relative or that God’s love is permissive. If there is a God, they say, He excuses all sins and misdeeds because of His love for us—there is no need for repentance. Or at most, a simple confession will do. They have imagined a Jesus who wants people to work for social justice but who makes no demands upon their personal life and behavior. But a God of love does not leave us to learn by sad experience that ‘wickedness never was happiness.’ (Alma 41:10) His commandments are the voice of reality and our protection against self-inflicted pain. The scriptures are the touchstone for measuring correctness and truth, and they are clear that real happiness lies not in denying the justice of God or trying to circumvent the consequences of sin but in repentance and forgiveness through the atoning grace of the Son of God.”D. Todd Christofferson – The Blessing of Scripture (2010)
Am I using God’s words to measure correctness and truth in all the information thrown at me each day?
Brings saving knowledge of God
The last reason Alma lists for why the scriptures are so crucial to our souls is that they bring the knowledge of God into our lives.
Because they expound the doctrine of Christ, the scriptures are accompanied by the Holy Spirit, whose role it is to bear witness of the Father and the Son. Therefore, being in the scriptures is one way we receive the Holy Ghost.”D. Todd Christofferson – The Blessing of Scripture (2010)
Elder Christofferson goes on to say that “Scriptures are revelation, and they will bring added revelation.”
Alma tells his son that without this record preserved by the hand of God, Ammon would not have been able to convince the Lamanites of their incorrect traditions and bring “them unto repentance; that is, they brought them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer.” (9)
Alma again instructs Helaman about the strictness of the commandments of God and that he will prosper in the land ONLY if he keeps them, and be cut off if he doesn’t. (13)
And now remember, my son, that God has entrusted you with these things, which are sacred, which he has kept sacred, and also which he will keep and preserve for a wise purpose in him, that he may show forth his power unto future generations.”Alma 37:14
God’s words are indeed eternal treasures. We are so blessed to live in a day when we have them so easily at our fingertips.
How do we treat this treasure?
Do we ignore it, never opening up the stories God has entrusted to us?
Or do we savor this treasure and feast upon it each day?
Alma said by small and simple means would great things come to pass. Am I filling my soul with eternal treasure each day, or am I starving it with worldly junk that will fade away with the whims of society?