Friday, March 27, 2015

Dungeons and Fires

And Alma went forth, and also Amulek, among the people, to declare the words of God unto them; and they were filled with the Holy Ghost.
And they had power given unto them, insomuch that they could not be confined in dungeons; neither was it possible that any man could slay them; nevertheless they did not exercise their power until they were bound in bands and cast into prison. Now, this was done that the Lord might show forth his power in them.
And it came to pass that they went forth and began to preach and to prophesy unto the people, according to the spirit and power which the Lord had given them. - Alma 8:30-32

We read these verses this past week during our family scripture-reading time.  I really love the experiences we have of Alma and Amulek's mission together.  I say mission, not like the current interpretation, but the sense that they had a mission or a task they were to accomplish.  Alma was pretty much ready to wipe the dust from his feet when it came to the city of Ammonihah, but an angel of the Lord stopped him, told him to return, and he was led to Amulek's house.  Little did he know, Amulek would be pre-alerted likewise by an angel to receive him.  Their mission together is so remarkable, it is amazing to me that it is so often overlooked.

The parts highlighted above.  What do they mean?  They could not be confined in dungeons.  How?  Why?  Can you imagine what that looks like?

It was impossible to kill them.  IMPOSSIBLE!  Meaning someone or some people tried, possibly at least once, but probably on more than one occasion (to ensure the first attempt was not just a fluke).  Those who wished them harm had no power over them.  No weapon could be formed to harm them.

BUT, unlike magicians and master showmen, they weren't about magic tricks, to amaze and tease their audience.  They did not show forth their power until the very last moments, when they were bound and cast into prison.  (I guess that could resemble some magicians, who like to lock themselves up and get stuck in water tanks.)  But this was not entertainment, as they had a REAL message to share, beyond sheer shock and awe.  The Lord wanted to show forth his power.  But since it was not the appointed time for him to come directly, he showed forth his power in them, by proxy.

Why does God use servants like Alma and Amulek?  And how do we know when we encounter true servants?  A few thoughts, following the pattern of Alma and Amulek.

  • True servants will be humble.
  • They will follow the pattern of scripture.
  • They seek not their own, but are endowed with power to be preserved, when appropriate.
  • They will receive angels.
  • They preach repentance.
I did not intend to take this post this direction, but will trust that someone needs those words.  I intended to write about the wonders of how they escaped the dungeons.  How did they?  Have you ever stopped to think HOW this happened?  Was their body changed, to be able to escape?  

In the book, Visions of Glory, we learn of how "Spencer" becomes translated.  When I read this verse this past week, I wondered if Alma and Amulek of necessity experienced translation.  If I recall correctly, it seems that the body is quickened, and it may happen slowly or quickly.  I thought it really cool to wake up and read this post this morning, grateful someone else had some thoughts on the matter.  

Additionally, perhaps the use of portals was used, as Spencer describes in Visions of Glory as well.  Portals are something I think of akin to watching Star Trek, but it's not hard to imagine.  It's a conduit or opening, allowing someone to move from one geographic location to another.  If God can walk through walls, appear in spaces without coming through doors, and float down from the heavens, I think it's entirely plausible that such a thing as a portal to travel between locations would be possible.

When I opened up my scriptures this morning, I asked God where I should read.  I always like this method of knowing where to read, as some really great things are opened up when I trust that I can hear the voice of God.  It gives me joy to feel a connection in this way, as often the verse I read is undeniably sent from Him.  Helaman 5:23 came to mind.  Here's what it says:

And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned.  Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned.  
This is ANOTHER perfect example of two souls who were obviously changed, somehow, so their bodies could permit the miraculous to be happening around them.  They were not burned!  Even though they were standing in the middle of a blazing fire, or so it appeared to all present.

How wonderous are the dealings of our God.  How does one attain such faith, to become so changed?  If he have faith as a grain of a mustard seed, you can move mountains.  It appears that understanding the true nature of faith would be the first step in the right direction.

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