Presentation on theme: "Alma 39. Our Moral Environment Our moral environment is far more polluted than our physical environment. It seems as though good and evil are being homogenized."— Presentation transcript:
Our Moral Environment Our moral environment is far more polluted than our physical environment. It seems as though good and evil are being homogenized out of existence by a generation largely led by foolish and blind guides (Helaman 13:29). What was once whispered in shame is now electronically shouted from the housetops as the famous and the foolish appear on television to parade their sins, like so many medals, before laughing, applauding audiences. Every aspect of modern communication seems to have been appropriated by Satan to legitimize the everlasting illegitimate. It is imperative that Latter-day Saints view these times from a gospel perspective and follow the counsel of our prophet by taking warning from the teachings, and the fate, of an earlier generation of Americans, the Nephites.
Alma 39 Alma is to Corianton! This was a long P.P.I. (Personal Priesthood Interview) Alma 39:1-13 “The way we live outweighs any words we may profess to follow” (Delbert L. Stapley, Ensign, November 1974, 20). Pres. Benson said, “The plaguing sin of this generation is sexual immorality” (TETB, 277).
The good news and the news that Mormon evidently wanted us to know was that Corianton had repented and was back on his mission in Alma 43. There is a way back! Alma 39:3 Corianton wasn’t the only one who fell! “Much of the happiness that may come to you in this life will depend on how you use this sacred power of creation (Elder Packer, C.R., Apr. 1972, ).
Isabel is one of three women mentioned in the Book of Mormon: 1.Abish (Alma 19)A convertAbish (Alma 19)A convert 2.IsabelA prostituteIsabelA prostitute 3.SariahA righteous MotherSariahA righteous Mother
Alma 39:5 1. Denying the Holy Ghost 2. Murder 3. Sexual sin The three sins cited by Alma share a common element: They all violate the principle of life!
Sexual sin: “Think of it, un-chastity is second only to murder. Perhaps there is a common element in those two things un-chastity and murder. Both have to do with life, which touches upon the highest degree of divine powers. Murder involves the wrongful taking of life; sexual transgression may involve the wrongful giving of life, or the wrongful tampering with the sacred fountains of life-giving power” (Bruce C. Hafen, New Era, Feb. 2002, 10).
The Unpardonable Sin To deny the Holy Ghost is to deny the un- doubtable witness of the third member of the Godhead. It is the ultimate blasphemy. Consequently, as Alma told young Corianton, it is “a sin which is unpardonable” (Alma 39:6). It is unpardonable because it is a total repudiation of pure knowledge, perfect light.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said that to commit this sin a man, “must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him” (Teachings, 358). Thus it is willful rebellion against that rare and priceless truth one has received through the Holy Ghost when the heavens are opened and all doubt concerning the divinity and mission of Jesus Christ disappears (Teachings, ).
It is unpardonable rather than unforgivable because the one committing it is apparently incapable of repenting. Said Joseph Smith: “After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance, there is no pardon, and where there is no pardon, there is no salvation. To commit this ultimate offense is to become a knowing traitor to God. It is to be an unregenerate, incorrigible liar. ‘Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell’ (2 Nephi 9:34).” Such individuals are sons of perdition who, having partaken of the very essence of Lucifer, are sealed up to him as surely as the sons of God are sealed up to Christ. Remaining forever unrepentant, Lucifer and his companions will, following the last judgment, “remain filthy still” (D&C 88:35, 102).
“What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it: he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Teachings, 358).
Murder Elder McConkie wrote: “We do know that there are murders committed by Gentiles for which they at least can repent, be baptized, and receive a remission of their sins” (New Witness, 231). The light and knowledge that the murderer possesses will be a factor in determining his or her eternal condition….
Elder Spencer W. Kimball wrote: “Even among willing murderers there are grades and categories… There are those who kill in drunkenness, in rage, in anger, in jealousy. There are those who kill for lust. They certainly will suffer different degrees of punishment hereafter (Miracle of Forgiveness, ). Why? Because he had been a murderer. If the ministers of religion had a proper understanding of the doctrine of eternal judgment, they would not be found attending the man who has forfeited his life to the injured laws of his country, by shedding innocent blood; for such characters cannot be forgiven, until they have paid the last farthing (Teachings, ).
“In the final analysis, only God, who can discern the thoughts of the heart, can judge whether a particular killing is an unforgivable murder or not” (Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:971, s.v. “Murder”). Elder McConkie suggests that it appears that they “shall eventually go to the Telestial Kingdom” (DNTC 3:584).
In General Priesthood Session, Oct. ’94, Elder Richard G. Scott spoke on “Making the Right Choices.” He answered the following questions: 1.How can we resist peer pressure? 2.How can we resist bad thoughts? 3.Why is the Law of Chastity so important? 4.What are the limits of intimacy? 5.How far is too far before marriage? 6.How does a person repent of sexual sin? 7.How does one stay morally clean? Alma 39:9 “Forsake…the lusts of your eyes.”
“The body has defenses to rid itself of unwholesome food. With a few fatal exceptions bad food will only make you sick but do no permanent harm. The brain won’t vomit back filth. Once recorded, it will always remain subject to recall, flashing its perverted images across your mind and drawing you away from the wholesome things in life” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Things They’re Saying,” New Era, Feb. 1974, 18).
“Movies, television programs, and video recordings that are both suggestive and lewd. Magazines and books that are obscene and pornographic. The mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, 45). President Benson said “Pornography is printed and pictorial material designed to excite us into areas that will only bring regret (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley , 460). Alma 39:11 How great will be our sorrow and condemnation if through our acts we have led away one soul from true principles (Doctrine of Salvation 1:314).
The Constitution of the High Council D&C 102 Joseph Smith declared that Church councils or courts were to be conducted according to an ancient pattern which had been “shown to him by vision.” “Jerusalem was the seat of the Church Council in ancient days,” said the Prophet, “the apostle, Peter, was the president of the Council and held the keys of the Kingdom of God on earth.” To clarify the matter of guilt, the Prophet added….
…It was not the order of heaven in ancient councils to plead for and against the guilty as in our judicial courts (so called) but that every counselor when he arose to speak, should speak precisely according to evidence and according to the teaching of the Spirit of the Lord, that no counselor should attempt to screen the guilty when his guilt was manifest (Kirtland Council Minute Book, 30).
If the member in question holds the Melchizedek Priesthood, the Stake President must determine whether the bishopric or the Stake Presidency will proceed with the disciplinary council. In general, the bishopric will proceed, unless excommunication appears to be a likely decision.
Why Church Discipline? 1.To preserve the good name of the Church. 2.To help the sinner repent so that they can continue to progress. 3.To restore blessings, it is an act of love!
Grounds for Church Discipline 1.Deliberate disobedience to the rule of the Church 2.Moral transgressions a. Murder b. Adultery c. Fornication d. Homosexuality e. Incest f. Child Molestation g. Plural Marriage h. Embezzling of church funds i. Cruelty to spouse or children
Not grounds 1.Inactivity 2.Membership in another church 3.Name removed from church records 4.Word of Wisdom Types of courts 1.Bishops 2.High Council 3.First Presidency 4.Twelve Apostles Types of Decisions 1.No action 2.Formal probation 3.Dis-fellowship 4.Excommunication
Alma 39:13 Acknowledge your faults and that wrong which ye have done. Thomas Carlyle put it this way: “The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none” (In McKay, Gospel Ideals, 13).