A Few Thoughts on Alma 1

(v. 19-20):  It seems strange that the proud persecute the humble.  But the proud are acutely and naggingly aware of the distance between who they are and who they purport to be and they become convinced they can narrow the gap by continually reinforcing the difference between their supposed selves and the people they make out the humble around them to be.

The people of God, on the other hand, freely share with all around them their most precious possesions.  Their attitude of abundance informs them there is always enough and to share.

In this way, those of the Church (in their hearts) are like men at a fountain doling out water by the quart while the belittled cling to their teacups chanting “this is mine.”

Vs. 22 will soon point out that an attitude of abundance resides in both those within the Church and without and that not all abundant souls belong to the body of Christ.  Still, the Atonement–in its infinity–provides special access to abundance; indeed, only through it is the ultimately abundant universe accessible.

***

There is beauty in the equality and adundance of the people of Nephi in the first years of the reign of the judges.  They shared not only their material goods but the things of God, as well.

It occurs to me that abundance is, to some extent, a comparative term: it refers not to an objective measure of goods but to what we have in relation to what we want.  Hence, a poor man who wants for nothing lives in abundance while a rich man who lusts for more lives in scarcity.  The abundance of Zion, then, lies not necessarily in its material wealth–though that, too, may be present– but in the largesse of the hearts of the Christians who are Zion’s inhabitants.

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Published in: on July 12, 2007 at 2:51 am  Comments (4)  

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  1. This idea of abundance is probably an important concept if we are to become a Zion people. Otherwise things can become like a kind of competition for a scarse resource.

    Interesting few thoughts.

  2. I appreciate your analysis. Discovering the true meaning of abundance in the last few years has been a truly liberating process.

  3. Thank for your comments, Eric and John.

  4. I love the rare times in the Book of Mormon where there is peace and that the people shared freely with each other.

    It is always easier as an outsider to see an error in anothers’ thinking. I have known people who were quite rich or their parents were quite rich. Their expectations of what their parent or parent-in-law would give them is very different from what I would expect to be given. I just can’t understand how they think this is normal. Yet, I have not lived their life or had their experiences.

    I had not really thought of a motivation for cruelty towards the poor being the proud individuals’ realization of the distance between who they are and who they purport to be. I know there are those who actively seek to put up fronts. And such people will go to lengths to keep their true selves from being discovered

    I believe there are others who really think they are better than others and justified in opressing others.

    The caste system in India is an example of people thinking they are born high or low and anciently nothing could change this. I thought that Ghandhi had changed this and was surprised to see a special a few years ago showing the plight of the “untouchables.” In some instances, they were only allowed to use the filthy water. The people would get sick and people of a higher class would use that as proof that the “untouchables” were unclean.


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