Thu - Jun 11, 2009 : 09:52 am
Chapter 29 of Alma is such a good chapter - on so many levels, too.
How would it feel like to want the good of mankind so badly, that it caused you to take time to carve your feelings out in brass plates? Putting all the doctrine of this wonderful chapter aside, the beginning verses give me a tiny glimpse into the type of desires living a purely righteous life will bring - and it makes me see just how far I've got to go.
Service brings Love. Love brings Charity. A charitable life brings the light of Christ. The Light of Christ increases one's capacity to Love, which insreases Charity, which brings more light, and soon, like Alma, your love for humanity causes you to wish for the salvation of all mankind - and not in a general sense. You wish it because you honestly and truly love everyone... as Christ does.
Man, that's a vicious cycle. Definitely a cycle I'd love to be in, but sadly, I've still got some hurdles to overcome.
Now, the doctrine of this chapter is equally interesting as the explanation of Alma's love.
Verse 4 certainly is a doozy for most people who read it as literally as I believe it was written. There is no evidence of parable, or metaphor when he says, "...for I know that He granteth unto men according to their desire.", and continues on to confirm the statement by declaring, "I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction."
I've tried to translate that into so many different things, and the one thing I keep coming back to, is precisely what Alma said: God grants unto men according to their desire. Do what you may with it, I believe Alma meant exactly what he said - taken, of course, to the level of depth which God knows each of us. True desire is much, much different than "Man, I wish I had a cookie right now."
Anyway... That pretty much sums up this chapter. Living the Gospel is the true joy of life.