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A Library Tour of Alma 40-42
1 Now my son, here is somewhat more I would say unto thee; for I perceive that thy
mind is worried concerning the resurrection of the dead.
2 Behold, I say unto you, that there is no resurrection -- or, I would say, in other
words, that this mortal does not put on immortality, this corruption does not put
on incorruption -- until after the coming of Christ.
3 Behold, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead. But behold, my son, the
resurrection is not yet. Now, I unfold unto you a mystery; nevertheless, there are
many mysteries which are kept, that no one knoweth them save God himself. But I show
unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know -- that
is concerning the resurrection.
4 Behold, there is a time appointed that all shall come forth from the dead. Now
when this time cometh no one knows; but God knoweth the time which is appointed.
5 Now, whether there shall be one time, or a second time, or a third time, that men
shall come forth from the dead, it mattereth not; for God knoweth all these things;
and it sufficeth me to know that this is the case -- that there is a time appointed
that all shall rise from the dead.
6 Now there must needs be a space betwixt the time of death and the time of the resurrection.
7 And now I would inquire what becometh of the souls of men from this time of death
to the time appointed for the resurrection?
8 Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth
not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God,
and time only is measured unto men.
9 Therefore, there is a time appointed unto men that they shall rise from the dead;
and there is a space between the time of death and the resurrection. And now, concerning
this space of time, what becometh of the souls of men is the thing which I have inquired
diligently of the Lord to know; and this is the thing of which I do know.
10 And when the time cometh when all shall rise, then shall they know that God knoweth
all the times which are appointed unto man.
11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection -- Behold,
it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon
as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether
they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are
received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a
state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care,
Chapter 38: Alma’s Use of State in the Book of Mormon. Research by Philip A. Allred,
originally published in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/1 (1996): 140-46.
What’s in a word? Alma’s use of the word “state” is unique among Book
of Mormon writers. He and Lehi are the two authors who concentrate the word. Alma
is the only writer with a tendency – more than once – to reword with “state.” And
Alma alone uses the word “state” when speaking of agency, a topic covered by several
The author concludes, “[They] all point to [Alma] as a unique writer
within the Book of Mormon. Also, the differences between the Book of Mormon and
the other scriptures produced by Joseph Smith in relation to the use of state are
what one would expect to find in the various publications of a prophet who both translated
others’ writings and received his own prophetic material.”
13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil
-- for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold,
they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter
into them, and take possession of their house -- and these shall be cast out into
outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this
because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.
14 Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state
of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them;
thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time
of their resurrection.
15 Now, there are some that have understood that this state of happiness and this
state of misery of the soul, before the resurrection, was a first resurrection. Yea,
I admit it may be termed a resurrection, the raising of the spirit or the soul and
their consignation to happiness or misery, according to the words which have been
16 And behold, again it hath been spoken, that there is a first resurrection, a resurrection
of all those who have been, or who are, or who shall be, down to the resurrection
of Christ from the dead.
17 Now, we do not suppose that this first resurrection, which is spoken of in this
manner, can be the resurrection of the souls and their consignation to happiness
or misery. Ye cannot suppose that this is what it meaneth.
18 Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but it meaneth the reuniting of the soul with the
body, of those from the days of Adam down to the resurrection of Christ.
19 Now, whether the souls and the bodies of those of whom has been spoken shall all
be reunited at once, the wicked as well as the righteous, I do not say; let it suffice;
that I say that they all come forth; or in other words, their resurrection cometh
to pass before the resurrection of those who die after the resurrection of Christ.
20 Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of
Christ; but behold, I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited,
of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven.
21 But whether it be at his resurrection or after, I do not say; but this much I
say, that there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a
state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of
God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and be brought
to stand before God, and be judged according to their works.
22 Yea, this bringeth about the restoration of those things of which has been spoken
by the mouths of the prophets.
23 The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every
limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall
not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.
24 And now, my son, this is the restoration of which has been spoken by the mouths
of the prophets --
25 And then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of God.
26 But behold, an awful death cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining
to things of righteousness; for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit
the kingdom of God; but they are cast out, and consigned to partake of the fruits
of their labors or their works, which have been evil; and they drink the dregs of
a bitter cup.
1 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has
been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray
because of this thing. And I perceive that thy mind has been worried also concerning
this thing. But behold, I will explain it unto thee.
2 I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice
of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order.
Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ,
that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body
should be restored to itself.
3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according
to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their
hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which
4 And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore,
all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame
-- mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption -- raised to endless
happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom
of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other --
5 The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according
to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for
as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of
evil when the night cometh.
6 And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness
until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness.
7 These are they that are redeemed of the Lord; yea, these are they that are taken
out, that are delivered from that endless night of darkness; and thus they stand
or fall; for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or do evil.
8 Now, the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever
will may walk therein and be saved.
9 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.
10 Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall
be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.
11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal
state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without
God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they
are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.
12 And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural
state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its
13 O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to
bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish --
good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that
which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.
14 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly,
judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall
ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall
have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored
unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
15 For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore,
the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at
1 And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind,
which ye cannot understand -- which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment
of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should
be consigned to a state of misery.
2 Now behold, my son, I will explain this thing unto thee. For behold, after the
Lord God sent our first parents forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground,
from whence they were taken -- yea, he drew out the man, and he placed at the east
end of the garden of Eden, cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way,
to keep the tree of life --
3 Now, we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; and lest he
should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever,
the Lord God placed cherubim and the flaming sword, that he should not partake of
the fruit --
4 And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary
time, a time to repent and serve God.
5 For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree
of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space
for repentance; yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great
plan of salvation would have been frustrated.
6 But behold, it was appointed unto man to die -- therefore, as they were cut off
from the tree of life they should be cut off from the face of the earth -- and man
became lost forever, yea, they became fallen man.
7 And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and
spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to
follow after their own will.
8 Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal
death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.
9 Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind
a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence
of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual
10 Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary
state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state.
11 And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it
aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the
presence of the Lord.
12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had
brought upon himself because of his own disobedience;
13 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about,
only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory
state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except
it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed;
if so, God would cease to be God.
14 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice;
yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.
15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should
be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about
the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect,
just God, and a merciful God also.
16 Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which
also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan
of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.
17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was
no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?
18 Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse
of conscience unto man.
19 Now, if there was no law given -- if a man murdered he should die -- would he
be afraid he would die if he should murder?
20 And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.
21 And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either,
for they would have no claim upon the creature?
22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted;
which repentance mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth
the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would
be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
23 But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh
because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of
the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of
God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their
works, according to the law and justice.
24 For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which
is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.
25 What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit.
If so, God would cease to be God.
26 And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared
from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption
of men, and also their destruction and misery.
27 Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of
life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in
the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds.
28 If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall
be done unto him, according to the restoration of God.
29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more,
and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down
30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor
to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice
of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering
have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.
31 And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And
now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest
bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them.
And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.