Alma 32 to 35 – “Plant This Word in Your Hearts”

July 13, 2020 to July 19, 2020

Alma’s masterful teachings on faith in chapters 32-34 evoke the Creation and the Word as well as linking faith to repentance, baptism, receiving the Spirit, and enduring to the end.

“Seeds of Faith: A Follower’s View of Alma 32,” Elaine Shaw Sorensen, The Book of Mormon: Alma, the Testimony of the Word
Correct behavior alone does not save us. Love, charity, humility, seeking goodness, and discernment provide the foundation for faith. Faith is a gift, it is action, and it is not perfect knowledge. Woven throughout Alma’s analogy of the seed is the point that faith relies on truth, agency, and diligence.

“Watermelons, Alma 32, and the Experimental Method,” Joseph Thomas Hepworth, BYU Studies, Vol. 23, no. 4
This short essay compares the cultivation of watermelons and Alma 32’s experiment of nourishing seeds.

“The Word and the Seed: The Theological Use of Biblical Creation in Alma 32,” David E. Bokovoy, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 23. The account incorporates creation imagery from the opening chapters of Genesis. Alma’s sermon follows a theological pattern in the Hebrew Bible where creation is used to encourage audiences to exercise faith in the present by considering the primordial past.

“Look to God and Live,” Kristian S. Heal, Insights 26, no. 2
Kristian Heal points out that the story of Moses and the brazen serpent comes up in the Book of Mormon several times. However, in 1 Nephi 17 and Alma 33, the story is expanded from what we read in the King James Bible. It is from Alma 33 that we learn that those that did not look at the serpent did indeed perish.

“Zenos,” Daniel H. Ludlow,  Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Zenos (discussed in Alma 33) is one of four Israelite prophets whose writings appear in the Book of Mormon but not in the Old Testament. He taught powerfully about the mission of Christ.

“Book of Mormon Critical Text Project Continues with New Volume,” Royal Skousen, Insights 27, no. 4
The Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon for Alma 33:21 reads, “If you could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might behold, would ye not behold quickly?” Oliver Cowdery miscopied this verse in the Printer’s Manuscript, writing, “If you could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly?”

“Scriptural Insight: Do Not Procrastinate the Day of Your Repentance,” John A. Tvedtnes, Matthew Roper, Insights 20, no. 10
One way to read the teaching about the “same spirit” that will possess one’s body at death (Alma 34) is that this spirit is not the person’s spirit, but for the wicked it is rather the spirit of the devil; those who do the devil’s will on earth will fall under his power in the world to come.

“The Zoramites and Costly Apparel: Symbolism and Irony,” Parrish Brady, Shon Hopkin, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 22, no. 1
The Zoramite narratives of Alma 31–35 and Alma 43–44 are richly symbolic accounts woven with many subtle details regarding the importance of costly apparel and riches as an outward evidence of pride. This literary analysis focuses on how Mormon as editor structured the Zoramite narrative and used clothing as a metaphor to show the dangers of pride and the blessings afforded by humble adherence to God’s teachings and covenants.

“‘See That Ye Are Not Lifted Up’: The Name Zoram and its Paranomastic Perjuration,” Matthew L. Bowen, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 19
The most likely etymology for the name Zoram derives from the Hebrew, meaning, “He [God] has poured forth in floods.” However, the name could also have been heard and interpreted as something like “the one who is high.” This article examines the possible implications for the rest of the narrative.

Chart 43: “Consistent Elements in Nephite Declarations of Faith” Charting the Book of Mormon
Alma 32:22’s teachings of Christ are consistent with the words of Nephi, Jacob, Benjamin, Abinadi, Amulek, and Moroni.