Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Alma 4:11-13 -- On Equality and Zion

"And it came to pass in the commencement of the ninth year, Alma saw the wickedness of the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead those who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus bringing on the destruction of the people.
Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted.
Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy;"
Alma 4:11-13

This is a good reminder, I think, that church is not enough.  In these verses many of the church people were wicked and setting a bad example.  Luckily, as it discusses in the last verse, there were others that were doing the right thing... but the bad example of the people of the church was detrimental not only to those who were doing evil, but it led others astray as well.

Inequality is mentioned specifically, I think because it is antithetical to what we are working toward.  If we do God's work, then we are moving towards the ideal of Zion, the city of Enoch where there was "no poor among them" (Moses 7:18-19).  This is not something that we have already achieved, and it wasn't / isn't just a city (JST Genesis 9:21, 14:34; Moses 7:63-64).  It is the ideal of becoming / joining with a society and people who have learned how to love--how to *be* equal and how to follow in Christ's footsteps.

Today, let's be all about the last verse of the selection rather than the first two.  Let's give and love and help rather than hoarding and despising and ignoring.  Let's learn more about how to love others--the ones that we already love and the ones that we don't yet.  Let's go to church and live the gospel, but let's remember that just going to or belonging to a church is not enough.  We have to be humble and helpful and learn how to be Zion people.

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