Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, July 13

“Book of Mormon: Does Belief Come through Faith and the Holy Ghost or also through Seeing?” by grego

Book of Mormon: Does Belief Come through the Holy Ghost or also through Seeing?

grego
(c)2011

Is seeing believing? We often say it’s not, that true belief needs to come by way of faith and the Holy Spirit. Let’s see what the Book of Mormon says about it.

This is a list off the top of my head:

–Ammon and king Lamoni (Alma 18)
When the king sees all those arms, and hears the stories about what Ammon did, something happens!

–Ammon and king Lamoni’s wife (Alma 19)
Alma 19:2 Now the queen having heard of the fame of Ammon, therefore she
sent and desired that he should come in unto her.
3 And it came to pass that Ammon did as he was commanded…
4 And she said unto him: The servants of my husband have made it
known unto me that thou art a prophet of a holy God, and that
thou hast power to do many mighty works in his name;
5 Therefore, if this is the case, I would that ye should go in and
see my husband, for he has been laid upon his bed for the space of
two days and two nights… but as for myself, to me he doth not stink.
7 Therefore, what the queen desired of him was his only desire…
8 And he said unto the queen: He is not dead, but he sleepeth in
God, and on the morrow he shall rise again; therefore bury him not.
9 And Ammon said unto her: Believest thou this? And she said
unto him: I have had no witness save thy word, and the word of
our servants; nevertheless I believe that it shall be according
as thou hast said.
(Interestingly, Ammon commends her great faith…)

–Ammon and king Lamoni’s father (Alma 20)
When the king is almost killed, he begs for mercy; the act of sparing his life, and asking for little in return, helps him believe.

–The Beaten Lamanites (Alma 25:6)
The Lamanites, after seeing themselves get beat time and time again by the fewer Nephites, put 2 and 2 together, and believe.
Alma 25:6 For many of them, after having suffered much loss and so many
afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words
which Aaron and his brethren had preached to them in their land;
therefore they began to disbelieve the traditions of their
fathers, and to believe in the Lord, and that he gave great power
unto the Nephites; and thus there were many of them converted in
the wilderness.

–Korihor’s followers (Alma 30:57-58)
“Hey, look what happened to Korihor!” and those following his teachings repent.
Alma 30:57 Now the knowledge of what had happened unto Korihor was
immediately published throughout all the land; yea, the
proclamation was sent forth by the chief judge to all the people
in the land, declaring unto those who had believed in the words
of Korihor that they must speedily repent, lest the same
judgments would come unto them.
58 And it came to pass that they were all convinced of the
wickedness of Korihor; therefore they were all converted again
unto the Lord; and this put an end to the iniquity after the
manner of Korihor. And Korihor did go about from house to house,
begging food for his support.

–The 300 Lamanites (Helaman 5:22-)
These Lamanites, ready to kill Nephi and Lehi, suddenly see them surrounded by a fire that doesn’t burn them; many scary real “theatrics” later, they start to exercise faith in God by crying for mercy.

–The Five sent to ascertain the truthfulness of Nephi’s story of the chief judge (Helaman 7,8)
They don’t believe, but say if it’s like Nephi says, then they’ll believe.
Helaman 9:2 Behold, now we will know of a surety whether this man be a
prophet and God hath commanded him to prophesy such marvelous
things unto us. Behold, we do not believe that he hath; yea, we
do not believe that he is a prophet; nevertheless, if this thing
which he has said concerning the chief judge be true, that he be
dead, then will we believe that the other words which he has
spoken are true.
3 And it came to pass that they ran in their might, and came in
unto the judgment-seat; and behold, the chief judge had fallen to
the earth, and did lie in his blood.
4 And now behold, when they saw this they were astonished
exceedingly, insomuch that they fell to the earth; for they had
not believed the words which Nephi had spoken concerning the
chief judge.
5 But now, when they saw they believed, and fear came upon them
lest all the judgments which Nephi had spoken should come upon
the people; therefore they did quake, and had fallen to the
earth.

–Samuel the Lamanite (Helaman 16:1-3)
When people see that Samuel can’t get hit by stones and arrows, they believe.
Helaman 16:1 And now, it came to pass that there were many who heard the
words of Samuel, the Lamanite, which he spake upon the walls of
the city. And as many as believed on his word went forth and
sought for Nephi…
2 But as many as there were who did not believe in the words of
Samuel were angry with him; and they cast stones at him upon the
wall, and also many shot arrows at him as he stood upon the wall;
but the Spirit of the Lord was with him, insomuch that they could
not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows.
3 Now when they saw that they could not hit him, there were many
more who did believe on his words, insomuch that they went away
unto Nephi to be baptized.

So, is seeing believing? No, it’s not, but it *can* lead to it, and it sure helps sometimes!! It seems the difference between seeing and believing is a very short step, but a necessary one.

As Alma says, before we can believe, we need to make space for belief to take root:
Alma 32:28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, *if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart*, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

And sometimes it takes this to do it:
Alma 32:13 And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are
ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh
repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy;
and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall
be saved.

Or through a shocking/ stunning/ amazing/ insightful event.

However, just having that kind of experience will not *make* anyone believe or repent. Here is just one example (there are many more!):
Helaman 16:22 And many more things did the people imagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and vain; and they were much disturbed, for Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come.
23 And notwithstanding the signs and the wonders which were wrought among the people of the Lord, and the many miracles which they did, Satan did get great hold upon the hearts of the people upon all the face of the land.

Alma says this to those who seek signs to believe:
Alma 32:17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a
sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall
believe.
Alma 32:18 Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for
if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he
knoweth it.

And if those people receive signs:
Alma 32:19 And now, how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of
God and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath
cause to believe, and falleth into transgression?

and:
Helaman 14:19 Therefore repent ye, repent ye, lest by knowing these things and not doing them ye shall suffer yourselves to come under condemnation, and ye are brought down unto this second death.
28 And the angel said unto me that many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men—
29 And this to the intent that whosoever will believe might be saved, and that whosoever will not believe, a righteous judgment might come upon them; and also if they are condemned they bring upon themselves their own condemnation.

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