by Lisa Rector
I’m a firm believer in being able to find a lesson or reason for every chapter of scripture in the Book of Mormon, even the war chapters. It’s the same with fiction; only write the parts people want to read, so there must be a reason God wanted some parts included in the scriptures, even if we think they are boring. If we prayerfully seek, we can find hidden meanings.
I had to look carefully to find the meaning for me in Alma 1. The chapter is about Nehor, who goes about teaching false doctrine. His teachings led many in the church astray, and they started persecuting their own brethren of the gospel because of their pride. The hearts of many saints hardened, and they withdrew from the church.
Did the trial of their persecution cause their hearts to harden because they were unable to bear their afflictions? What could have been done to prevent this?
Many saints remained steadfast in the faith. How?
Alma 1:25 says, “They were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.” The rest of the chapter goes on to tell how the saints were blessed for their selflessness and obedience.
We can have peace, despite persecution. Our steadfastness will lead to blessings and prosperity, but our persecutions can harden our hearts if we are not careful and don’t humble ourselves.
The key is being steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments. The saints also worked hard, laboring to have the necessities of life. And through their efforts, they were blessed.
I feel comfort in knowing that, though trials in life may come, my determination and diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord gives me peace. Everything I do is an extra buffer of protection; my heart is less likely to harden when faced with overwhelming adversity. And patience with persecution is not something to frown upon. It is a blessing beyond measure.