Alma 41:1 I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration
"When we hear the term restoration we typically think of the latter-day return of the Church and the revelation of the gospel in its fullness. Book of Mormon prophets, however, use this term in a rather different sense. They teach that every individual will receive a temporal as well as a spiritual restoration, good for good, evil for evil." (Richard O. Cowan, Alma, TheTestimony of the Word, p. 184 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 343)
Alma 41:1 some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray
"[Corianton] used the points of doctrine for a pretext [to commit sin], as many people do. I get them all the time. A confusion of doctrine, something that isn't clear, they take as an excuse for not committing themselves, for not resolving to do right, because "I don't know yet about this, that, and the other." When people become hypercritical of doctrine, you know they are misbehaving. I've done it myself." (Teachings From the Book of Mormon, Lecture 56, p. 472)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"Bad habits are easily formed, but not so easily broken. Are we yielding to our evil habits, thinking they are only trifles after all, and we will get rid of them in the grave? Do we expect that our bodies will be cleansed in the grave, and we shall come forth with perfect end sanctified bodies in the resurrection? There are some among us who teach such things and excuse themselves for their practices, saying that they will be cleansed in the grave.
"Alma taught a very different doctrine." (Conference Report, Apr. 1969, p. 121)
Alma 41:3 men should be judged according to their works...and the desires of their hearts
Dallin H. Oaks
"The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that on the way to perfection we must lose 'every desire for sin.'
"The nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker, and is caught up to dwell with Him (History of the Church 2:8).
"We will be judged on the basis of our desires. In modern revelation the Lord explained, 'For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts' (D&C 137:9).
"The prophet Alma taught that when we are 'brought before the bar of God, to be judged,' our 'works' will condemn us, 'and our thoughts will also condemn us' (Alma 12:12,14). When Alma explained this principle to his wayward son, Corianton, he called it 'the plan of restoration [which] is requisite with the justice of God' (Alma 41:2)" (Pure in Heart, pp. 52-3)
Alma 41:5 one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness
Dallin H. Oaks
"Just as we will be accountable for our evil desires, we will also be rewarded for our righteous ones. Our Father in Heaven will receive a truly righteous desire as a substitute for actions that are genuinely impossible. My father-in-law was fond of expressing his version of this principle. When someone wanted to do something for him but was prevented by circumstances, he would say: 'Thank you. I will take the good will for the deed.'
"This is the principle that blessed Abraham for his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac. The Lord stopped him at the last instant (see Genesis 22:11-12), but his willingness to follow the Lord's command 'was accounted unto him for righteousness' (D&C 132:36).
"This principle means that when we have done all that we can, our desires will carry us the rest of the way. It also means that if our desires are right, we can be forgiven for the unintended errors or mistakes we will inevitably make as we try to carry those desires into effect. What a comfort for our feelings of inadequacy!" (Pure in Heart, p. 59)
"No matter what the outward appearance is--if I can know of a truth that the hearts of the people are fully set to do the will of their Father in heaven, though they may falter and do a great many things through the weaknesses of human nature, yet, they will be saved. . . .
"If their motives are pure--no matter whether their outward appearance is particularly precise, their acts will be discerned by the Spirit of the Lord, and will be appreciated for what they were intended. If people act from pure motives, though their outward movements may not always be so pleasant as our traditions would prefer, yet God will make those acts result in the best good to the people. (Journal of Discourses 5:256.)" (Dallin H. Oaks, Pure in Heart, pp. 59-60)
Alma 41:5 the other [raised] to evil according to his desires of evil
Dallin H. Oaks
"The scriptures contain many commands to avoid evil desires. For example, latter-day revelations identify telestial wickedness not only in he who 'makes a lie' but also in he who 'loves' a lie (D&C 76:103; 63:17).
"'Thou shalt not covet' (Exodus 20:17) is clearly a command addressed to a state of mind rather than to an action. In modern times the Lord reemphasized this principle by commanding the Saints to cease from their 'lustful desires, from all [their] pride and light-mindedness' (D&C 88:121), and to repent 'of all their covetous desires, before me, . . . for what is property unto me? saith the Lord' (D&C 117:4).
"Despite these commands, there are many whose desires are fixed so firmly on the acquisition or use of property, or on other worldly things, that they have no desire for righteousness or the things of God. In the parable of the sower, Jesus indicated that some of the sower's seed 'fell by the way side' (Matthew 13:4). He explained to his disciples that this circumstance represented those who 'heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not' (Matthew 13:19). The Prophet Joseph Smith attributed this lack of understanding of the gospel to a lack of desire:
'Men who have no principle of righteousness in themselves, and whose hearts are full of iniquity, and have no desire for the principles of truth, do not understand the word of truth when they hear it. The devil taketh away the word of truth out of their hearts, because there is no desire for righteousness in them.' (History of the Church 2:266)
"The seeds representing the word of God will always fall 'by the way side' for those who give their priority attention to traffic on the highway of worldly things. If there is no desire for the principles of truth, the seed that represents the word of God can never bear fruit." (Pure in Heart, pp. 54-5)
M. Russell Ballard
"If you have a bad habit, do you think death is going to change it? Do you think that habit will simply dissolve in some miraculous way and will no longer be with you? I believe that the Lord impresses upon you and me the need to repent and live the law, keep the commandments, and keep our lives aligned to the celestial goal; because it is when we are here in mortality that the body and the spirit can learn together.
"For example, when a man who smokes dies and his body is placed six feet into the ground, is there any reason for us to believe that when his body comes back up out of the ground it will no longer have the desires that it had when it was laid down? I do not think so. I think that the body will rise in the resurrection with the same desires and that the body and the spirit together must work out this matter of eternal salvation. (B.Y.U. Speeches of the Year, 1979, pp. 157-8.)" (Dallin H. Oaks, Pure in Heart, pp. 54-5)
Alma 41:7 they are their own judges
"Because in that day of judgment the works of man will be evident, because there will be nothing hidden, and because we will have a perfect knowledge of our uncleanness as well as of our happiness, it will not be necessary for a designated person to consider our case and adjudicate our life. We will be what we have become. Our natures will have been prepared for that kingdom of glory which is most appropriate to the decisions we have made in mortality." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 306)
"The great misery of departed spirits in the world of spirits, where they go after death, is to know that they come short of the glory that others enjoy and that they might have enjoyed themselves, and they are their own accusers." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 311)
Spencer W. Kimball
"Many people have a difficult time in assuming the blame for their misfortunes. There must always be a scapegoat. If they fall, they look about to see who pushed them. If they fail, they assess the failure to others who prevented them or did not help them. Thus if what they call 'bad luck' attends them, they are prone to blame fortune rather than themselves. And in the ultimate, the Lord gets blamed for many of our woes and seldom gets thanked for our achievements.
"Two Book of Mormon prophets help to set the record straight on this. Alma told his son, Corianton: '. . . And thus they stand or fall; for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or do evil.' (Al. 41:7.) And from Mormon we learn that 'it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished.' (Morm. 4:5.)
"But however he tries, a man cannot escape the consequences of sin. They follow as the night follows the day. Sometimes the penalties are delayed in coming, but they are as sure as life itself. Remorse and agony come. Even ignorance of the law does not prevent, though it may mitigate, the punishment. Remorse may be pushed aside with bravado and brainwashing, but it will return to prick and pinch. It may be drowned in alcohol or temporarily shocked into numbness in the increasing sins which follow, but the conscience will eventually awaken, and remorse and sorrow will be followed by pain and suffering and finally torture and distress in the exquisite degree...And the longer repentance is pushed into the background the more exquisite will be the punishment when it finally comes to the fore." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.141-142)
Alma 41:9 do not risk one more offense against your God
Serious sin is like playing Russian Roulette. Brandishing bravado might inspire the participant to spin the barrel, raise the gun to the temple, and pull the trigger. But it doesn't take a Russian rocket scientist to figure out that this sort of behavior is destructive and stupid. Yet, Russian Roulette is the game being played by the sinner who dares to risk another grave offense against God. It's a game that no one wins and everyone who plays it long enough loses everything.
"Theodore M. Burton, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, was serving on a special committee. The assignment of that committee, he explained, was to 'assist the First Presidency in bringing back into full Christian fellowship those individuals who have strayed from the fold and who now have reached a point in their lives where they feel a need to regain their full priesthood and temple blessings.'
"Elder Burton said he had been asked if he found it depressing to review the sins and transgressions of people involved in difficulties. He answered: 'It would be if I were looking for sins and transgressions. But I am working with people who are repenting. These are sons and daughters of God who have made mistakes - some of them very serious. But they are not sinners. They were sinners in the past but have learned through bitter experience the heartbreak that results from disobedience to God's laws. Now they are no longer sinners. They are God's repentant children who want to come back to Him and are striving to do so. They have made their mistakes and have paid for them. Now they seek understanding, love and acceptance.
"I often wish that in the first place they had believed the words of the prophet Alma which he spoke to his wayward son, Corianton: 'And now behold, my son, do not risk one more offense against your God upon those points of doctrine, which ye have hitherto risked to commit sin.'" (Church News, 07/06/96)
Alma 41:10 wickedness never was happiness
There are certain passages in the Book of Mormon which the Bible cannot equal. This is one of them. The phrase "wickedness never was happiness" encompasses all of the plan of salvation in four words. It applies to the pre-mortal life, the mortal experience, and the final state of man. It demonstrates that all of Satan's temptations are actually lies intended to bring us nothing but misery. Likewise, it shows that all of God's commandments are given for our benefit and happiness. In the words of Samuel the Lamanite, we cannot seek for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head (Hel 13:38).
"Happiness is the object and design of our existence, and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God." (History of the Church, vol. 5, pp. 134-135)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"It is very important to be happy in this work. We have a lot of gloomy people in the Church because they do not understand, I guess, that this is the gospel of happiness. It is something to be happy about, to get excited about." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, "Happiness")
Hugh B. Brown
"Our individual dignity and self-respect are based upon, and our hopes and ambitions are justified by, the fact that we are the offspring of Deity. You cannot afford to forget that fact. It is permanently, unavoidably, and sometimes painfully true. That relationship makes it impossible to do wrong and feel right. Sin and evil are repugnant to our inner, better selves. 'Wickedness never was happiness.'" (The Abundant Life, p. 49)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"The way of the Lord is the way of happiness. Wickedness never was happiness. Transgression never was happiness. Sin never was happiness. Disobedience never was happiness. The way of happiness is following the way of the Lord. I believe this with all my heart. If there is any message that runs through all of the Book of Mormon, it is this great transcendent message, that when the people lived in righteousness they were happy and they were prospered. And when they fell into wickedness they were miserable, they were at war, they were in poverty, they were in trouble. That theme goes all the way through the Book of Mormon. As it was true then, so it is true now. The way of happiness for the people of this Church lies in following the ways of the Lord." (Church News, 06/01/96)
A. Theodore Tuttle
"it is not nearly so hard to live the standards as not to live them.
"This was impressed upon me some years ago as I interviewed a young girl of seventeen or eighteen years of age. She said: 'I have broken all of the Ten Commandments, except the sixth one, and lots of other laws besides.' During the course of the interview, which incidentally, was conducted behind bars, she confessed ashamedly some of the sins which she had committed. Near the close of the interview she pulled up the sleeve of her sweater and pointed to the telltale puncture wounds left by a hypodermic needle. 'Those aren't mosquito bites,' she said pathetically. I asked her if she had found happiness in the type of life she had lived. As she shook her head negatively, tears began to fill her eyes. She buried her head in her arms and sobs literally racked her body. As I watched her suffer, helpless at the moment to bring much comfort, I thought of the statement of Alma made in the Book of Mormon: 'Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.' (Alma 41:10.)
"I have thought since of the statement Cecil B. DeMille made at the beginning of the film The Ten Commandments. Most of you have seen it. You will recall how, at the beginning of the motion picture, he walked through those large curtains and came onto the stage to give a short introduction to the film. As I remember he said something like this: 'The history of mankind teaches us that we cannot break God's laws, rather we break ourselves against them.'" (Conference Report, Oct. 1965, p. 31)
Ezra Taft Benson
"Do not be misled by Satan's lies. There is no lasting happiness in immorality. There is no joy to be found in breaking the law of chastity. Just the opposite is true. There may be momentary pleasure. For a time it may seem like everything is wonderful. But quickly the relationship will sour. Guilt and shame set in. We become fearful that our sins will be discovered. We must sneak and hide, lie and cheat. Love begins to die. Bitterness, jealousy, anger, and even hate begin to grow. All of these are the natural results of sin and transgression." (Morality, p. 86)
Hugh B. Brown
"I remember in my early days coming in contact with opponents of the Book of Mormon who charged, for instance, that it had no aphorisms of any importance, and that it was in this respect in strong contrast with the Jewish scriptures. I want to call your attention, however, to a few aphorisms that are of great worth, and that enrich the sacred literature of the world.
"For instance, there is that sharp-cut sentence: 'Wickedness never was happiness.'
"I think it would be difficult to find an epigram more important than that, and a truth that the world ought to know." (Conference Report, Apr. 1928, p. 108)
Alma 41:13 the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil...good for that which is good
Moroni reminds us that the plan of restoration is the most just reward system possible, Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws? Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell (Mormon 9:4).
"In the next world we guarantee maximum satisfaction; you will get exactly what you want. What you want and what pleases you may be horrendously shocking to somebody else, but if that's what you want you'll have it." (Teachings From the Book of Mormon, Lecture 56, p. 472)
Jeffrey R. Holland
"The spiritual impact of that doctrine of restoration is sobering for those who may have believed that Christ's atonement and their resurrection would somehow bring something more than was deserved. Alma made it very clear that if our works are good in this life, and the desires of our hearts are good, then in the Resurrection we will be restored to that which is good. But, by the same token, if our works are evil, then our reward will be the restoration of evil in the Resurrection."(Christ and the New Covenant, p. 242)
Alma 41:14 deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually
The law of Restoration requires that the Lord will reward mercy with mercy, and justice with justice. Therefore, if we want to be judged with fairness and mercy at the last day, then we must judge with fairness and mercy in mortality. On this subject, someone will usually quote, judge not that ye be not judged (Matt 7:1). This means that we should not be judgmental. However, in the world we live in, we are required to appropriately pass judgment all the time. The bishop passes judgment on ward members. All parents pass judgment on the behavior of their children and do it on a regular basis. Business and work decisions require judgment and fairness. This is why the Joseph Smith Translation alters this verse as follows, judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgment.
The Lord doesn't expect us to live a life without ever passing judgment. He is the Great Judge and we are to emulate him in all things-including righteous judgment. This concept is encapsulated in the word of the Lord to the 12 disciples in the New World, know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am (3 Ne 27:27). Therefore, the phrase, judge not that ye be not judged, is impractical. The more correct statement is that we should judge righteous judgment. Certainly, this must be done with the utmost care and wisdom. Otherwise we may find ourselves concerned with another's mote at the expense of our own beam, For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again (Matt 7:2).