Stung by Alma’s Words to Corianton

Tonight the youth and their parents in our ward had a “Standards Night” event that centered around watching a DVD of a John Bytheway presentation to youth on morality. I must admit that I learned a lot from his perspectives and really enjoyed it. He explained how “Satan is the enemy of romance” – a good way of expressing an important truth in a world that has almost no idea of how wonderful real love and romance can be. And I really appreciated his discussion on the three ways that we might approach the standards of the Church on morality: (1) How bad can I be? (2) How good do I actually have to be? (3) I want to be valiant.

But for me the main learning came in his discussion of Alma 39, where Alma confronts his son, Corianton, after he has departed from his ministry to pursue a prostitute. Bytheway noted that he did not begin by chastising his son for violating the principle of morality, but for his pride:

[2]. . . Now this is what I have against thee; thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom.

[3] And this is not all, my son. Thou didst do that which was grievous unto me; for thou didst forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron, among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel.

[4] Yea, she did steal away the hearts of many; but this was no excuse for thee, my son. Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry wherewith thou wast entrusted.

Corianton’s fall apparently began with his pride and trusting in his own wisdom, followed by abandoning his duties in his ministry, and then the fall into immorality, which Brother Bytheway generalized as associating with the wrong crown or pursuing the wrong things. And as I pondered his points, I realized that Alma 39 applies to me much more than I thought. I considered my own challenges with pride, my own recent tendencies to neglect some aspects of my callings and other duties, and the danger of pursuing things that are detrimental or of little value. It was a timely wake-up call – one of several I’ve had recently. Maybe now is the time to actually wake up!

I love how the Book of Mormon can become alive and wonderfully current when we ponder it and apply it to our own lives. There are so many subtle and powerful points in that inspired book.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

6 thoughts on “Stung by Alma’s Words to Corianton

  1. Thank you for the Words of Wisdom, Jeff. I’ve been reading your blog for the past week or so and I’ve found so many great insights and other things that I’ve overlooked (in the BoM).

    Keep on-a truckin’. I appreciate the work that you put into your blog.

    Soon to be,

    Elder Connor

  2. With only the purest respect for Mormanity, I suggest that describing Corianton’s sin as a violation of the principle of “morality,” as well as using the word “morality” throughout the first paragraph, is a much narrower definition of the word than we ought to use. “Morality” has, for some reason, become common parlance among church members for “chastity” or “sexual cleanliness.” But there’s much more about life that is moral–or immoral–than sexual conduct. For example, in the Lord’s parable of the good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite were acting immorally. I respectfully and humbly recommend that we abandon the pure equation of “morality” with “chastity.”

  3. One of the benefits of posting under your Blogger ID is that you can delete posts later if you want to.

    After reading some of Jeff’s later entries, I realized the futility of complaining about the long-ago past, especially when the church has taken steps to improve things in the areas I was complaining about. Moreover, I realized I still have a beam in my eye and shouldn’t be complaining about others’ splinters.

    I agree with you ltbugaf, in that there is more to morality than just chastity, and that they are definitely not synonymous.

    I would go further and say there is more to chastity than just being a virgin. Immodest behavior, dress, and speech sure gives an unchaste impression, and leads to being unchaste.

    I’m not involved with the youth of the church today. But, I saw some disturbing false traditions among some missionaries in my day. Today it looks like the “raise the bar” thing is addressing those issues. Hopefully. Conference talks by the Brethren in the past 3 years also have addressed those things.

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