I am so excited to be able to post today! This section is just perfect for me to be able to share my feelings about.
My name is Paige Kenyon and Cortney asked me to guest post today. Although I have met most of Cortney's family, I have never personally met her. So I found out about this challenge through my sister-in-law when she invited our whole family to do this challenge along with her. And despite the face I knew it really would be a difficult challenge with my schedule (like all of us), I knew I would benefit from delving into the Book of Mormon for a month straight more than I could even comprehend.
I am currently in my last semester at BYU-Idaho. I thought I was done taking religion classes two semesters ago and then found out they changed the number of credits leaving me 1 credit short. Hence, the Old Testament class I am taking in 7 weeks time before graduation in a month! I was slightly annoyed by this fact seeing as class is at 7:45-10:00 two days a week. But I will admit, I have been greatly humbled. I am absolutely loving the class and all I am learning. I am loving even more that I am reading the Book of Mormon and the Old Testament at the same time. I have found so many parallels between the two that has given me a greater love for the Old Testament as well as the Book of Mormon. I will share some of my findings later.
The first thing I found while reading was that Chapter 36 is a complete chiasmus. In writing, chiasmus' are used when you want to show a bigger point. Basically it is an inverted parallelism. So verse 1 parallels verse 30, verse 2 parallels verse 29 and so forth with the center being verses 17 and 18. Chiasmus' are actually used many times in the Book of Mormon but I found this one particularly interesting because I think that Alma is trying to show his son, Helaman, how important his testimony is to him. I particularly loved part of verse 3 that reads:
"... for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."
What a wonderful principle to remember in our lives when times are tough. The chapter also portrays the great joy one feels upon true repentance, as Alma did when he repented.
The main principle I gained from Chapter 37 was prayer. I love verse 37 that reads:
"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good..."
I think that verse really speaks for itself. We will never go wrong if we simply include the Lord in our lives and in every decision we make. This doesn't mean fasting and prayer need to be taken into consideration when choosing what cereal to eat in the morning or other small decisions, but I do believe that even those small choices that don't need fasting and prayer do come from the Lord indirectly because we are already turning out lives towards him daily. I believe that the more we keep the light of Christ in our lives, the easier some answers to hard decisions will come.
Chapters 39-41 are the chapters we actually talked a little bit about in my Old Testament class this week. Coincidence? Probably not. After discussing Lot in Genesis 19 and how he was commanded by angels to leave Soddom before it was destroyed, we talked about how Lot's family even got into this position. It all started with him facing his tent towards Soddom and Gomorrah. In other words, he began putting things of the world first in his life. As his children were raised there they also did the same. And, as we know, Lot's wife went back to Soddom because she could not let go of worldy possessions and "became a pillar of salt" or died.
This brought us to talk about Corianton and how he had also been taken up by the things of the world. It's interesting how Alma points out Coriantons' sins to us in the beginning of chapter 39 and then from the middle of 39 to 41 we read about how Alma is worried about Coriantons' testimony of Christ, the resurrection, the restoration, and justice/mercy. What hit me the most was something my teacher said to us. He told us that you can relate this to a tree. If the tree has gone bad, we do not pick off the fruits hoping the tree will magically become better, we must uproot the whole tree. It's the same with our lives (or our children's lives in Alma's instance). We have to change from the roots up. If we have fallen into the things of the world or other such temptations, we need to find where we first began to fall away and make that change. We must dig deep and find where we first went astray and make the changes or reconciliation's there in order to make true changes.
Alma 42 and 43 have amazing principles as well but I will just share one since this post is already long. Look at how many times chapter 42 says "..if so, God would cease to be God". Verse 25 really stuck out to me and kind of summarizes the whole chapter.
"What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God."
Keep up the good work everyone! Less than two weeks left!