Alma’s counsel to his sons

In Alma 36-39, Alma the Younger counsels his sons Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton. I’ve been reading and studying these chapters and find them fascinating as to what he chose to mention to his sons.

What I did was read what he said to each child and compare the content in a venn diagram.

Helaman:

  • If you trust in God you will be supported in your trials
  • If you keep the commandments you’ll prosper in the land
  • Keep a record, the importance of record
  • Teach against wickedness
  • Do good works
  • Prayer
  • Secret Combinations
  • Liahona
  • Importance of faith
  • Follow words of Christ
  • Moses serpent storyy
  • Story of angel

Shiblon:

  • If you keep the commandments you’ll prosper in the land
  • Praised for righteousness
  • If you trust in God you will be delivered from your trials
  • Angel story
  • Saved through Christ
  • Bridle passions
  • Teach the people
  • Acknowledge unworthiness before God

Corianton:

  • Addresses his rebellion
  • Sadness of parent
  • Importance of Holy Ghost
  • Counsel with brothers
  • Refrain from iniquities
  • Turn to God
  • Christ is coming
  • Don’t seek riches
  • Every soul is precious unto God
  • Called unto ministry
  • Worried about resurrection

Read these chapters and study it yourself!

The Importance of Journaling

On March 21, 2012 I wrote in my journal that my crush had accepted my friend request on facebook. I write, “Yes, I did scream and yell and jump up and down. And then I ran to tell mom.”

In 3 Nephi 23, the Savior asks to see the records the Nephites have been keeping. After reading them, He reminds the Nephites of a prophecy that had come to pass. The Savior then asks them, “How be it that ye have not written this thing?” And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written.

The Savior chastises the Nephites for the incompleteness of their records. I’ve always thought it interesting that in the few chapters we have of Christ visiting the Nephites, this little story was included.

All through the scriptures and throughout time, Heavenly Father has asked His children to keep faithful records. Because of this: we have four first-hand accounts of the Savior’s life, we have details on wars and knowledge of peoples, we have timelines, miracles recorded, genealogy written.

President Kimball said,

“Where would we be if Moses hadn’t written his history of the world, those first five vital books of the Old Testament?

How grateful we are that Abraham wrote his own life story,

And then we must not forget or minimize the great efforts of our modern prophet, Joseph Smith, to write the history of the Restoration of the gospel and also his own personal experiences in great detail. What a mass of confusion we would have without those authentic, personal, and carefully written records!”

Because a journal is a continuous record of meaningful experiences that affect our lives, they bless us now and in the future. And consistent with the history of the world, The Lord, through his prophets, has commanded each of us to keep a journal.

In General Conference, President Kimball said, “I urge all the people of this church to give serious attention to their family histories, to encourage their parents and grandparents to write their journals, and let no family go into eternity without having left their memoirs for their children, their grandchildren, and their posterity. This is a duty and a responsibility.(General Conference. April 1978)

Writing in a journal helps us remember the Lord in our daily lives. Journals are a way we can count our blessings. In moments of crisis or when our faith is struggling, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to read in detail how evident the Lord has always been in our lives?

Our lives are busy and we move at a fast pace. Sometimes I find that I most clearly recognize tender mercies as I am actively writing about my day. This is because when writing journal entries, we are making time to pause for once in our lives, ponder and reflect on the day.

Journals can help you remember pivotal experiences, and when you reread those entries you will remember exactly how you felt.

On August 19, 2013 I write, “I went downstairs to get ready to go to seminary at like 5:25 AM. I wondered where dad was. Then I saw the porch light on. I peeked out the window and there dad was in the early morning reading and marking his scriptures. He is such a good example to me. And do you know how special that is to find your dad- to catch him doing THAT when he is all alone? Such a testimony to me.”

Journals are also a great way to teach future generations about who came before them.

“A life that is not documented is a life that within a generation or two will largely be lost to memory. What a tragedy this can be in the history of a family.” (source)

In President Kimball’s talk on journals he says, “Your own private journal should record the way you face up to challenges that beset you. Do not suppose life changes so much that your experiences will not be interesting to your posterity.

Experiences of work, relations with people, and an awareness of the rightness and wrongness of actions will always be relevant.

Your own journal, like most others, will tell of problems as old as the world and how you dealt with them.

What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved?

Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity.”

Journals are often talked of when it comes to family history, but we need to remember how much keeping a journal can help you in the present. When I was younger I would start a journal, then the next year I would write in it for the second time saying something like, “I am so sorry I haven’t written in a year, so much has happened.”

I knew that that kind of a journal entry did nothing for me. So I worked hard at it. I love life and I want to remember accurately the things I experience. I made a goal and in that year I missed only three days of writing. Since then, writing in my journal has become a habit and it has blessed me immensely. My journals are very special and dear to me and when I read through them, I clearly see how I’ve grown throughout the years in my testimony, in my maturity, and in my relationships. They also help my siblings and I remember all our inside jokes.

President Kimball pleads with us, “Get a notebook, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events.”

What Must We Protect?

*This is a very important topic, and I ask that you read to the very end. There is a long passage from a church talk, but I break it down and add my testimony afterwards.*

“Throughout the ages, evil forces have attacked the family. Why do you suppose Satan is so obsessed with its dissolution? Because it stands for everything he wants and cannot have. He cannot be a husband, a father, or a grandfather. He cannot have posterity now or ever. Satan cannot even keep those he has led away from God. He has no eternal kingdom or inheritance.” (J. Richard Clarke, Ensign, May 1989, p. 60)

Find where Satan is attacking the most and that’s what we should focus on protecting. What is he attacking the most?

The Family.

We have to know what we’re fighting against. If our young people don’t understand what they’re fighting against, then they can’t prepare for the battle, and neither can you. We see evidence all around us that the family is not important. It’s becoming less important in all societies. We know that because marriage rates are declining, the age of marriage is rising, divorce rates are rising, and more than a fourth of all births are out of wedlock. We see lower birth rates, and they’re dropping every year worldwide. Abortion is rising…and we see unequal relationships with men and women, and we see a lot of cultures that still practice abuse of some kind within family relationships. Many times a career is gaining importance over the family.”

“We know, from our studies here at Church headquarters, concerning the rising generation, that our youth are increasingly less confident in the institution of families. They are less confident in their ability to form a successful eternal family. Because they are less confident in families, they’re placing more and more value on education and less and less importance on forming an eternal family.”

“We know, from visiting with them and conducting studies, that they show a lack of faith in their ability to be successful in families. They don’t see forming families as a faith-based work. For them, it’s a selection process much like shopping. They don’t see it as something that the Lord will bless them and help them to accomplish. They also distrust their own moral strength and the moral strength of their peers. Because temptations are so fierce, they aren’t sure they can be successful in keeping covenants. They also have insufficient and underdeveloped social skills, which are an impediment to them in forming eternal families.”

“This is the world our young people are growing up in. They are in this world where there is “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Public policies are being made every day that are anti-family, and the definition of family is changing legally around the world…There are media messages everywhere that are anti-family, and our young people are very connected with media-Internet, television… (Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter) Increasingly, our youth are seeing no reason to form a family or get married in spite of all the teaching you give them. They are being desensitized about the need to form eternal families.

Sister Julie B. Beck, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, August 4, 2009 (I suggest reading the whole talk-it’s a good one)

I know that was a long passage from Sister Beck’s talk in 2009. But here’s what we learn from it:

  • The family is not important in the world and there is evidence of it. Even if people say family is important to them, it shows how important family is in their priorities and how much time they are spending on this sacred institution.
  • Younger generations are growing up in this world that the family is more often something to joke about or lie to, and so that is what they know.
  • Youth are not confidence in their ability to form eternal families with the help of the Lord.
  • Anti-family messages are everywhere and they desensitize us.

We are becoming desensitized about the NEED for a family.

What we can do:

  • If we believe the family is important, let it show in how we spend our time. How much time are we spending with our families? How is that time spent? Let us not set aside time for our family members, later looking back knowing we never looked in their eyes but were intent on looking at our screens. My take-away: I will spend more time with my family members, doing wholesome things-playing with them. I will put my phone far away, and look in their eyes instead.
  • Though I am not a parent, I am blessed with many little siblings. It bothers me when they are watching a show and all the plot is the kids lying to their parents, making fun of them, or joking at their family members expense. I have an influence over my siblings, and I need to use it more. I will teach them about families to admire and aspire to, and together we can compare them to what they see everyday.
  • I wish to be completely confident in my ability to form an eternal family someday. Confidence I think, is something easily crushed. So to continually fortify our confidence on this topic, I can study in the scriptures and from the words of Latter-Day Prophets the divine origin of the family. I am not of this world and I do not wish to be of this world, and neither is the family. Learning more about family, spending more time with mine, and preparing myself for my future will increase my confidence.
  • I wish to never be desensitized by the things I don’t believe in. Anti-family messages are so apparent and I worry that I am desensitized to them. One thing we can do is go through all the media we intake. If we really understand the importance of the family, it will not be a hard choice to sacrifice some television show or a social media page. Another thing is to watch the jokes we laugh at. I’ve always loved thinking, “You can tell a lot about a person by what they laugh at.” Well what are we laughing at? Are the jokes we encourage hurting our Spirits?

The family is so important. No matter what kind of family we all come from, we know that people are supposed to be together, man is not supposed to be alone. No matter the past experiences we have with family, we always have the future. God’s plan is centered around families, and so the fight to win over evil has also had the family at the center of the attack. There is a lot of things to aspire to in the world: job titles, fame, followers on social media, world influence, money. But I know the one that really matters most is the family. I don’t know about you, but I wish it to be said of me,

“She really worked hard to protect her family.”

family