In chapters 40-42, Alma (the younger) is talking to his son, Corianton, who had committed serious sexual sin while serving a mission among the Zoramites. His son was confused about many points of doctrine. By clarifying these points, Alma will help his son want to repent.
Chapter 40 –Resurrection and Spirit World
V2 – Nobody will be resurrected until Christ comes.
- Corruption not putting on incorruption means the body will not be resurrected
VS4–10 – Only God knows when we will be resurrected, all will rise, there will be more than one resurrection and there is a space of time after we die before we are resurrected.
- V8 – “All Is as One Day with God” The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “the great Jehovah contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth, pertaining to the plan of salvation, before it rolled into existence, or ever ‘the morning stars sang together’ for joy; the past, the present, and the future were and are, with Him, one eternal ‘now’” (History of the Church, 4:597).
VS11-15 – Spirit World
- V11 – Back to that God who gave them life – President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) explained that Alma did not necessarily mean that we are brought back into God’s presence: “These words of Alma [40:11] as I understand them, do not intend to convey the thought that all spirits go back into the presence of God for an assignment to a place of peace or a place of punishment and before him receive their individual sentence. ‘Taken home to God’ [compare Ecclesiastes 12:7] simply means that their mortal existence has come to an end, and they have returned to the world of spirits, where they are assigned to a place according to their works with the just or with the unjust, there to await the resurrection. (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 2:85).
- VS13 – Outer darkness means spirit prison in this verse
- The State of the Soul between Death and the Resurrection “When the physical body dies, the spirit continues to live. In the spirit world, the spirits of the righteous ‘are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow’ (Alma 40:12). A place called spirit prison is reserved for ‘those who [have] died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets’ (D&C 138:32). The spirits in prison are ‘taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and all other principles of the gospel that [are] necessary for them to know’ (D&C 138:33–34). If they accept the principles of the gospel, repent of their sins, and accept ordinances performed in their behalf in temples, they will be welcomed into paradise” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 46–47).
- President Brigham Young (1801–77) helped us better understand the difference between the location of the spirit world and God’s abode: “When you lay down this tabernacle, where are you going? Into the spiritual world. Are you going into Abraham’s bosom? No, not anywhere nigh there but into the spirit world. Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes, they do. Do they both inhabit one kingdom? Yes, they do. Do they go to the sun? No. Do they go beyond the boundaries of the organized earth? No, they do not. They are brought forth upon this earth”
VS16-22 – First resurrection (Alma was talking about the first resurrection before the 2nd coming (at Christ’s resurrection.)
- Bruce R McConkie said only celestial resurrections have happened so far. Terrestial resurrections won’t happen until after the 2nd
- Joseph Fielding Smith: “While there was a general resurrection of the righteous at the time Christ arose from the dead, it is customary for us to speak of the resurrection of the righteous at the Second Coming of Christ as the first resurrection. It is the first to us, for we have little thought or concern over that which is past. The Lord has promised that at the time of his Second Advent the graves will be opened, and the just shall come forth to reign with him on the earth for a thousand years. …“At the time of the [second] coming of Christ, ‘They who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven—They are Christ’s, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God’ [D&C 88:97–98]. These are the just, ‘whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all. These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood’ [D&C 76:68–69].“Following this great event, and after the Lord and the righteous who are caught up to meet him have descended upon the earth, there will come to pass another resurrection. This may be considered as a part of the first, although it comes later. In this resurrection will come forth those of the terrestrial order, who were not worthy to be caught up to meet him, but who are worthy to come forth to enjoy the millennial reign” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:295–97).
V23 – “Proper and Perfect Frame”
- President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) had the following to say in relation to deformities in the Resurrection: “Deformity will be removed; defects will be eliminated, and men and women shall attain to the perfection of their spirits, to the perfection that God designed in the beginning. It is his purpose that men and women, his children, born to become heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, shall be made perfect, physically as well as spiritually, through obedience to the law by which he has provided the means that perfection shall come to all his children” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. , 23).
- Alma 11:45 – I say unto you that this mortal body is craised to an dimmortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can edie no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming fspiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.
V26 “An Awful Death Cometh upon the Wicked” “The scriptures sometimes speak of salvation from the second death. The second death is the final spiritual death—being cut off from righteousness and denied a place in any kingdom of glory (see Alma 12:32; D&C 88:24). This second death will not come until the Final Judgment, and it will come to very few (see D&C 76:31–37). Almost every person who has ever lived on the earth is assured salvation from the second death (see D&C 76:40–45)” (True to the Faith, 15
* Dregs are matter that has settled at the bottom of wine (to drink them means to drink the worst part)
Chapter 41 – State after resurrection, wickedness never was happiness. Corianton may have wondered why it was important to live righteously if everyone receives the blessings of resurrection.
VS1 – Wrested means to change the meaning of or distort
VS3-10 – All things restored to proper order – evil for evil and good for good
- VS8 – Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Seventy : “There are absolute truths of eternity. They do not change as a society drifts from them. No popular vote can change an absolute, eternal truth. Legalizing an act does not make it moral. Don’t be fooled by the argument ‘Everybody’s doing it.’ Your spirit should be offended and your intelligence insulted by such reasoning. (Ensign, 1987, 40).
VS11 – Gall of bitterness means feelings of remorse or sorrow for doing wrong
- Not everyone lets themselves to feel this remorse. President Kimball said: “those who choose this alternative eventually become calloused and lose their desire to repent. The other alternative is to permit remorse to lead us to total sorrow, then to repentance, and finally on to eventual forgiveness.
VS15 – Justifieth means forgiveth
Chapter 42 – Purpose of mortal life, Fall, Atonement, Mercy vs justice
VS1-10 – “A Probationary Time”
- VS2 – Cherubim is an angelic being
- Purpose of this life:
- Elder L. Tom Perry : “With our bodies, we pass through a certain amount of trial in what is termed a probationary state of our existence. This is a time of learning and testing to prove ourselves worthy of eternal opportunities. It is all part of a divine plan our Father has for His children” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 16; or Ensign, May 1989, 13–14).
- Elder Ronald E. Poelman (70): “…we experience opposites, make choices, learn the consequences thereof, and prepare to return to the presence of God. Experiencing adversity is an essential part of the process. Knowing this, we elected to come into mortality. (See 2 Nephi 2:11–16.)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 29; or Ensign, May 1989, 23).
- Elder William R. Bradford (70): “It is a marvelous gift of time during which we can learn to be like our Heavenly Father by following the teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ.” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 40; or Ensign, May 1992, 29).
VS11–31 – The Laws of Justice and Mercy
- Read story from Gospel Principles
- President Boyd K. Packer: “The extension of mercy will not be automatic. It will be through covenant with Him. It will be on His terms, His generous terms, which include, as an absolute essential, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. All mankind can be protected by the law of justice, and at once each of us individually may be extended the redeeming and healing blessing of mercy” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1977, 80; or Ensign, May 1977, 55–56).
- Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “The justice and mercy of God will have been so demonstrably perfect that at the Final Judgment there will be no complaints, including from those who once questioned what God had allotted in the mortal framework (see 2 Nephi 9:14–15; Alma 5:15–19; 12:3–14; 42:23–26, 30)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2000, 92; or Ensign, May 2000, 74).
VS18-20, 29-30. Remorse of Conscience
- President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) “How wonderful that God should endow us with this sensitive yet strong guide we call a conscience! Someone has aptly remarked that ‘conscience is a celestial spark which God has put into every man for the purpose of saving his soul.’ Certainly it is the instrument which awakens the soul to consciousness of sin, spurs a person to make up his mind to adjust, to convict himself of the transgression without soft-pedaling or minimizing the error, to be willing to face facts, meet the issue and pay necessary penalties—and until the person is in this frame of mind he has not begun to repent. To be sorry is an approach, to abandon the act of error is a beginning, but until one’s conscience has been sufficiently stirred to cause him to move in the matter, so long as there are excuses and rationalizations, one has hardly begun his approach to forgiveness. This is what Alma meant in telling his son Corianton that ‘none but the truly penitent are saved.’ ( 42:24.)” (The Miracle of Forgiveness , 152).
- “You cannot do wrong and feel right. It is impossible!” (President Ezra Taft Benson).
- Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Seventy: “… Don’t mistake telestial pleasure for celestial happiness and joy. Don’t mistake lack of self-control for freedom. Complete freedom without appropriate restraint makes us slaves to our appetites. Don’t envy a lesser and lower life… The commandments you observe were not given by a dispassionate God to prevent you from having fun, but by a loving Father in Heaven who wants you to be happy while you are living on this earth as well as in the hereafter” (“They’re Not Really Happy,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 39–40).
VS23 – “The Atonement Bringeth to Pass the Resurrection”
- President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008): “The magnificent expression of His love came in His death, when He gave His life as a sacrifice for all men. That Atonement, wrought in unspeakable pain, became the greatest event of history, an act of grace for which men gave nothing but which brought the assurance of the Resurrection to all who have or would walk the earth.
“No other act in all of human history compares with it. Nothing that has ever happened can match it. Totally unselfish and with unbounded love for all mankind, it became an unparalleled act of mercy for the whole human race.
“Then with the Resurrection that first Easter morn came the triumphal declaration of immortality. Well was Paul able to declare, ‘For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive’ (1 Corinthians 15:22). He not only granted the blessing of the Resurrection to all, but opened the way to eternal life to those who observe His teachings and commandments” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1999, 92; or Ensign, Nov. 1999, 73).
- Mosiah 15:7-9 – 7 Yea, even so he shall be led, acrucified, and slain, the bflesh becoming subject even unto death, the cwill of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father. And thus God breaketh the abands of death, having gained the bvictory over death; giving the Son power to make cintercession for the children of men—Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon ahimself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and bsatisfied the demands of justice.
Dallin H Oaks – May 2000 Talk called Resurrection
IV. The Resurrection Changes Our View of Mortality
The “lively hope” we are given by the resurrection is our conviction that death is not the conclusion of our identity but merely a necessary step in the destined transition from mortality to immortality. This hope changes the whole perspective of mortal life. The assurance of resurrection and immortality affects how we look on the physical challenges of mortality, how we live our mortal lives, and how we relate to those around us.
The assurance of resurrection gives us the strength and perspective to endure the mortal challenges faced by each of us and by those we love, such things as the physical, mental, or emotional deficiencies we bring with us at birth or acquire during mortal life. Because of the resurrection, we know that these mortal deficiencies are only temporary!
The assurance of resurrection also gives us a powerful incentive to keep the commandments of God during our mortal lives. Resurrection is much more than merely reuniting a spirit to a body held captive by the grave. We know from the Book of Mormon that the resurrection is a restoration that brings back “carnal for carnal” and “good for that which is good” (Alma 41:13; see also Alma 41:2–4 and Hel. 14:31). The prophet Amulek taught, “That same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world” (Alma 34:34). As a result, when persons leave this life and go on to the next, “they who are righteous shall be righteous still” (2 Ne. 9:16), and “whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life … will rise with us in the resurrection” (D&C 130:18).
The principle of restoration also means that persons who are not righteous in mortal life will not rise up righteous in the resurrection (see 2 Ne. 9:16; 1 Cor. 15:35–44; D&C 88:27–32). Moreover, unless our mortal sins have been cleansed and blotted out by repentance and forgiveness (see Alma 5:21; 2 Ne. 9:45–46; D&C 58:42), we will be resurrected with a “bright recollection” (Alma 11:43) and a “perfect knowledge of all of our guilt, and our uncleanness” (2 Ne. 9:14; see also Alma 5:18). The seriousness of that reality is emphasized by the many scriptures suggesting that the resurrection is followed immediately by the Final Judgment (see 2 Ne. 9:15, 22; Mosiah 26:25; Alma 11:43–44; Alma 42:23; Morm. 7:6; Morm. 9:13–14). Truly, “this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32).
The assurance that the resurrection will include an opportunity to be with our family members—husband, wife, parents, brothers and sisters, children, and grandchildren—is a powerful encouragement for us to fulfill our family responsibilities in mortality. It helps us live together in love in this life in anticipation of joyful reunions and associations in the next.
Our sure knowledge of a resurrection to immortality also gives us the courage to face our own death—even a death that we might call premature. Thus, the people of Ammon in the Book of Mormon “never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection; therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it” (Alma 27:28).
The assurance of immortality also helps us bear the mortal separations involved in the death of our loved ones. Every one of us has wept at a death, grieved through a funeral, or stood in pain at a graveside. I am surely one who has. We should all praise God for the assured resurrection that makes our mortal separations temporary and gives us the hope and strength to carry on.
Oaks – We are living in a glorious season of temple building. This is also a consequence of our faith in the resurrection. Just a few months ago I was privileged to accompany President Hinckley to the dedication of a new temple. In that sacred setting I heard him say:
“Temples stand as a witness of our conviction of immortality. Our temples are concerned with life beyond the grave. For example, there is no need for marriage in the temple if we were only concerned with being married for the period of our mortal lives.”
This prophetic teaching enlarged my understanding. Our temples are living, working testimonies to our faith in the reality of the resurrection. They provide the sacred settings where living proxies can perform all of the necessary ordinances of mortal life in behalf of those who live in the world of the spirits. None of this would be meaningful if we did not have the assurance of universal immortality and the opportunity for eternal life because of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.