Wed - Dec 17, 2008 : 10:31 am
Alma : 4
Verses 5 and 6 are cause for simple reinforcement that external events do not necessarily cause internal changes. Yes, they had a horrific war which caused the death of so many husbands, fathers, sons, etc... And yes, that caused a lot of people to become baptized.... but, that didn't seem to matter much. The very next year, it seems a lot of the Nephites forgot all that and went back to their wicked ways.
Internal change to righteousness, I believe, is best done on internal levels. External events might cause one to temporarily view the world differently through a shock to the system - but after the shock wears off, where is the motivation to maintain the change? Unless one is changed internally, once the external influence wears off (which it always does), the internals will rule over whatever might have happened externally. I hope that made sense.
Verse 10 always brings back the light of "we are an example to the world". If we are a bad example as a church (being the only true church on earth), then how can we expect people to come to Christ at all? Yes, some will, but the majority of human kind relies on external influences to make the change to the true church. If the members of the true church shed a negative light upon themselves, many will look elsewhere for the truth.