1 Now after Alma had spoken these words, they sent forth unto him desiring to know whether they should believe in one God, that they might obtain this fruit of which he had spoken, or how they should plant the seed, or the word of which he had spoken, which he said must be planted in their hearts; or in what manner they should begin to exercise their faith. [That is a reasonable question. How do you begin? Where do you start?]
2 And Alma said unto them: Behold, ye have said that ye could not worship your God because ye are cast out of your synagogues. But behold, I say unto you, if ye suppose that ye cannot worship God, ye do greatly err, and ye ought to search the scriptures; if ye suppose that they have taught you this, ye do not understand them. [There are some today that believe this, that they cannot worship God except in a chapel or temple environment. Or at least that they would be unworthy without such participation to approach the Throne of Heaven.]
3 Do ye remember to have read what Zenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or worship?
Zenos was a popular prophet to the Nephites who was quoted in the writings of Lehi. He lived after the days of Isaiah and before Jeremiah. He preached of Jesus Christ, which was not popular amongst the Jews and led to his being slain.
4 For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness [completely separated from God]; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine enemies, and thou didst turn them to me. [released me from the bondage of sin]
5 Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my field [When I was dealing with the hardship of life.]; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me.
6 And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer. [When I was dealing with the hardship of raising a family and home.]
7 And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me. [When I learned to pray intimately to you concerning my deepest desires.]
8 Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou wilt hear them. [The Lord hears your prayer when no one else will hear.]
9 Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations. [The God of Heaven can hear me in an infinite ocean of voices. He knows you!]
10 Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been cast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst visit them in thine anger with speedy destruction. [This can be related to earthly foes, but more likely it means to give you strength to overcome your weakness of sin and be forgiven.]
11 And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity [real intent]; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son. [The power of the Atonement of Christ unto forgiveness of sins.]
12 And now Alma said unto them: Do ye believe those scriptures which have been written by them of old?
13 Behold, if ye do, ye must believe what Zenos said; for, behold he said: Thou hast turned away thy judgments because of thy Son. [Alma is teaching the Zoramites the power of repentance to come unto Christ.]
14 Now behold, my brethren, I would ask if ye have read the scriptures? If ye have, how can ye disbelieve on the Son of God? [The Zoramites had a tradition of denying the reality of Christ. Alma points out that Christ is the fundamental tenent of the Gospel.]
15 For it is not written that Zenos alone spake of these things, but Zenock also spake of these things— [Zenock lived before Zenos, a contemporary of Isaiah.]
16 For behold, he said: Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son.
17 And now, my brethren, ye see that a second prophet of old has testified of the Son of God, and because the people would not understand his words they stoned him to death.
18 But behold, this is not all; these are not the only ones who have spoken concerning the Son of God.
19 Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live. [Moses clearly taught that the “type” was the son of God, the Messiah which would come. But, those teaching were removed from scripture by the Jews during the first Diaspora to Babylon.]
20 But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them. [A hard heart is a symptom of unbelief. Many today will not seek Christ because their hearts are set upon the things of the world, or they are cemented with the traditions of their fathers.]
21 O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish? [How to begin? Just look toward Christ! Just believe, and allow the blessings to manifest themselves.]
22 If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works. [Here is the fundamental essence of what a person new to the faith must know about Christ: That He is the Son of God, sent to redeem His people, suffered and died for their sins, raised from the dead, that all men could also be raised up to stand before Him at the last day and be judged. From here you would need to explain the nature of God, sin, and judgment.]
When the Gospel is taught by the Gatherers for the last time before Christ’s coming it will be a speedy process. There will be no focus on teaching the Restoration, Joseph Smith, Institutional Church hierarchy, Word of Wisdom, or any other peripheral commandments. It will be simple. It will mostly consist of this:
- An introduction and provide for their immediate physical needs.
- Will you repent and come unto Christ?
- Turn your hearts to God, who will make you clean and save you from this hell on earth. At this point they will answer questions and teach the fundamentals of Christ’s mission, of sin, resurrection, and judgement.
- Listen to the Voice of His messenger, choose to have faith, and believe, and I will baptize you in the name of the Father.
- In the name of Christ I give unto you the gift of the Holy Ghost. Ye are clean! (It will be instantaneous, because the Lord has personally touched them and given them the power to perform this ordinance by the laying on of hands.)
- Come, we must go to safety.
23 And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen. [How are our burdens “light” through Christ? He lifts the damning effects of sin, that we may be made clean. The effects of the atonement are that we can rise above this world to stand in holiness before the Throne of Heaven and partake of a fullness of God. One cannot ascend in glory unless our burdens of sin are taken away.]