Before I read over this lesson, one question comes to mind:
How much are we as members of the Church like the Zoramites?
What I remember about the Zoramites:
- that they thought they were so much better than everyone else
- they said a prayer to be heard of men in the public
- they basically worshiped one day a week and then didn’t talk of the Gospel or their spiritual beliefs at all during the week
- they thought God loved them more than everyone else and blessed them more than everyone else
The Purpose of this Lesson
To teach the children to worship Heavenly Father in humility and sincerity.
The Scripture References
- Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to abow down to dumb bidols,
- [Alma's] heart again began to csicken because of the iniquity of the people.
- For it was the cause of great asorrow to Alma to know of iniquity among his people; therefore his heart was exceedingly bsorrowful because of the separation of the Zoramites from the Nephites.
5 And now, as the apreaching of the bword had a great tendency to clead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.
8 Now the Zoramites were adissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.
9 But they had afallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statutes, according to the law of Moses.
10 Neither would they observe the aperformances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation.
The Zoramites KNEW the truth but had strayed from it.
The Zoramites were apostate members of the Church.
The Zoramites had stopped doing the basic things like Prayer.
And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things.
…the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did aworship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld;
How the Zoramites were Worshipping
14 Therefore, whosoever desired to aworship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice, saying:
15 Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a aspirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever.
16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast aelected us to be thy bholy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that cthere shall be dno Christ.
17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast aelected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bbind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.
20 For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same aprayers.
22 Now, from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about.
23 Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, anever speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their manner.
- Wanting to be seen of men when they were praying
- Believing that God is a spirit as opposed to a perfected being, we being created after His image
- Believing that they have been elected to be the “holy children”
- Believing that there will be no Christ
- They will be saved and others will be cast down to hell
- Believing that a belief in Christ “binds them down” and leads their hearts to wander from God
- They all said the exact same prayer
- After offering their memorized prayer, they never spoke of God again until the next time they assembled themselves together
So how often do we fall into these beliefs?
…their hearts were alifted up unto great boasting, in their pride.
I believe if we’re not careful, we can have the same attitude that we are saved and others who don’t believe what we believe are damned. Although I know that we have all the saving ordinances and completeness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if we don’t live the Gospel and strive to share it with others and love others, I feel we’re missing the mark and are acting just as the Zoramites.
Another error is saying a similar prayer all the time. Not really “conversing with God”, just telling him what we need and asking for similar things all the time. I feel that prayers like this are a sign that I’m not relying on God, that I feel like I have it all figured out and don’t need His help. Obviously this ISN’T the case. I don’t question the Gospel, but my questions can relate to how I can live the Gospel better, how I can overcome the will of man and follow God’s will in everything I do, both temporally and spiritually.
Finally, we can often be found doing what the Zoramites do: talking about God and the Gospel on Sunday and doing nothing Gospel related during the week.
Pride is the core issue with all of these errors. Putting my will before God’s, comparing myself to others, feeling I’m better than others, not relying on God or asking for His help, not relying on faith.
27 Behold, O God, they acry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths, while they are bpuffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the cworld.
28 Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their abracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish.
Their hearts are set on the vain things of the world. They want to show their “worldly success” by their toys and apparel.
Alma shows the opposite intent when he prays:
31 O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul ain Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these bafflictions which shall come upon me, because of the iniquity of this people.
32 O Lord, wilt thou comfort my soul, and give unto me success, and also my fellow laborers who are with me—yea, Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and also aAmulek and Zeezrom, and also my btwo sons—yea, even all these wilt thou comfort, O Lord. Yea, wilt thou comfort their souls in Christ.
33 Wilt thou grant unto them that they may have strength, that they may abear their afflictions which shall come upon them because of the iniquities of this people.
34 O Lord, wilt thou grant aunto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
It’s interesting that Alma doesn’t ask God to take away his afflictions, but simply to comfort him in his affiliations, that he may suffer them with patience and deal with them in strength.
Alma’s “success” is based on bringing souls unto Christ.
8 And now, behold, I will atestify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the btransgressions of his people, and that he shall catone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
9 For it is expedient that an aatonement should be made; for according to the great bplan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are cfallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
This is really the theme of AtonementToday.com – that only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can we be saved.
How did the “popular” part of the Zoramites respond?
3 And it came to pass that after the more popular part of the Zoramites had consulted together concerning the words which had been preached unto them, they were angry because of the word, for it did destroy their acraft; therefore they would not hearken unto the words.
8 Now the people of the Zoramites were angry with the apeople of Ammon who were in Jershon, and the bchief ruler of the Zoramites, being a very wicked man, sent over unto the people of Ammon desiring them that they should cast out of their land all those who came over from them into their land.
9 And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; therefore they did not cast them out, but they did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did anourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance; and they did administer unto them according to their wants.
This reminds me of the scripture that says, “…the guilty take the truth to be hard.”
…I knew that I had spoken ahard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the bguilty taketh the ctruth to be hard, for it dcutteth them to the very center.
3 And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might awalk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.
Ultimately, the Zoramites had stopped doing a few important things that had led them to these attitudes of rebellion and wickedness:
- Keeping the Commandments: “…they had afallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statutes…”
- Doing the Little Things: “Neither would they observe the aperformances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation.”
Important Questions to Ask Myself
How can we make our prayers more sincere?
In what ways might we sometimes feel we are better than others?
Why is pride a serious sin?
How can we help those who do not know the truth?
How can we help less-active members?
How can praying for specific things help make our prayers more sincere?
I really liked reviewing this lesson today.
I want to be better about praying always, that I may come off conqueror (D&C 10:5).
I want to be more patient with my children.
I want to continue to fight off temptations to lust and follow tendencies of the natural man.
I want to serve others and not think of myself as better than others.
I want to be the person Heavenly Father wants me to be.
I want to be the best husband and father I can be.
I want to have the Spirit with me at all times.