Sunday, February 14, 2010

Miracles don't make the Testimony

In Alma chapter 30, it talks about Korihor, the anti-Christ. He ridicules the atonement and the Spirit of Prophecy. He taught people that it was foolish to look for a Christ, and that no man could know of anything to come. He criticized those who believed in the prophets by saying that they blindly followed the foolish traditions of their fathers. He questioned how they could know of things that they could not see. He taught that man prospered according to his own strength and genius and that no atonement was made for man. Because of his teachings, Korihor was able to lead many away from the truthfulness of the gospel. However, some recognized that his teachings were completely false and threw him out of their city. He tried to teach in another city, and they took him to Alma, who was governor of the land. Korihor condemned Alma by saying that he glutted on the labors of his people and accused him of teaching his people silly traditions. Alma corrected Korihor by telling him that he (Alma) worked alongside his people and did not glut on their labors. He even says, "and notwithstanding the many labors which i have performed in the church, I have never received so much as even one senine for my labor..." He then continues by saying, "and now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicing in the joy of our brethren?" He basically tells Korihor that he receives absolutely nothing for the work he does except the joy of bringing his brethren to the gospel of truth. Alma then proceeds to ask Korihor if he believes that there is a god, to which Korihor says no, that he does not believe that there is a god. Korihor then asks, "If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be conviced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words." Alma denounces this behavior, saying that there are signs all around him and that he should not tempt God. Korihor then says that he will continue to lead people away unless he is shown a sign. Alma relents and says, "it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction." He then warns Korihor that if he continues to deny God, that God will strike him dumb. Anyways, the moral of the story is that Korihor is indeed struck dumb because of his unwillingness to accept the truth. When this happens, Korihor immediately sees the error of his ways, and tries to go back to being able to speak again, but Alma refuses, saying that he will only continue to lead people away.

When I first read this, I didn't quite understand why Alma refused based on the idea that Korihor would still lead people away. When I discussed however, I came to a better understanding. The problem was not whether or not Korihor believed that the miracle came from God or not, it was more that he did not experience a change of heart. And even more, if he had been allowed to speak again, he most likely would have forgotten the experience and gone back to teaching false doctrine and continued to lead people away to wickedness.

Now this is what I want to say concerning miracles. I know that I have experienced many in my life and heard about even more. Regardless of your faith or whether or not you believe in God, everyone experiences miracles. Most of the time we do not recognize them, but they're still there. Just think of how many times you made it home from work safely. Remember all the storms that you made it through without harm or accident befalling you. I mean, so many of my friends have been in horrible accidents and walked away with mere scratches or less. I heard of incredible medical miracles, feats of physical strength that would seem impossible, miracles of people changing to be a better person. But miracles don't have to be big or grandiose to be miracles. Anything from a healthy newborn child to making a new friend can be miracles. Just a small example from my life. The other day I was feeling awful, and when I got to work, I felt even worse. The whole time I was there, I cried. I was frustrated and remorseful. I knew I wasn't being myself. One of my managers saw me, and worked it out so that I could go home (miracle #1). Then after going to my grandparents house, a friend of mine came over and just made me feel a million times better. He was definitely what I needed at that time (miracle #2). Now some of these things probably just seem like blessings and they definitely are, but it was really a miracle that I had someone there for me in my time of need.

However, although miracles are amazing and have a purpose in our lives, we cannot base anything off them. Faith does not come from witnessing or experiencing a miracle, and this is why: We're human, and we forget. It's so hard to remember the wonderful sense of awe we feel after experiencing a miracle. We may remember that it happened, but we won't always remember what it felt like. That's why we need to have a sincere faith and CONTINUE to strive for its growth. Just as the primary song says, "faith is like a little seed, if we plant it, it will grow." If we don't plant our faith, it will never grow. And just like a seed, if we don't continue to nourish it daily, it will die.

I hope this wasn't too long and scatter brained, I just have a lot to say.

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