In the majestic words of Alma the younger to his righteous son Helaman in Alma 36 and 37, he begins with a carefully composed, elaborate, even majestic example of chiasmus, a type of parallelism now known to be characteristic of ancient Semitic poetry. His words in the following chapter are highly literary as well, structured around three references to specific, miraculous “small means” that the Lord uses to bring us to Him: (1) the metal plates of the Nephites (including the ancient plates of brass) with scriptural writings (verses 1-20), (2) the Jaredite relics of the 24 gold plates and the “interpreters,” the ancient revelatory tools that we might call the Urim and Thummim or seerstones (verses 21-37), and (3) the Liahona, the divine compass of sorts that guided Lehi’s group on their journey to the New World, a device that can point the way when faith is exercised (verses 38-47).
In treating these relics (in the chiastic order of Nephite, Jaredite, Nephite again), there is a steady theme of gaining eternal life through revealed guidance and grace from the Lord. There is a course we must navigate in this life, and these small revelatory means can help. We must constantly seek revelation and exercise faith in Christ to stay on course. Here is some beautiful counsel from Alma 37:
 Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.
 Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls.
 O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.
 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
Alma 37 is a chapter well worth reading and pondering in detail, as is my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon, Alma 36.
3 thoughts on “Lessons from Ancient Relics: Alma’s Counsel in Alma 37”
Those are some of my favorite verses. Those are the pages I have had to tape back in because I’ve read them so much.
Thanks for having a blog that is a breath of fresh air in this darker and darker world.
So sorry for not saying something about the election. But I looked outside and the sky wasn’t falling yet (just a few chunks of the moon), so I figured I could come out of the bunker and get back to normal.
A little silver lining came out of yesterday with the passing of prop 8.