Alma 34: 32, LeGrand Baker, “to prepare to meet God”
Alma 34: 32
32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
The operative word here is “prepare.” For some this life is the time to meet God, but even for such, the are necessary preparations to be made. For the rest of us, that meeting will come later, and this life truly is the time to prepare.
Speaking of our time, Nephi wrote,
14 ….wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved (1 Nephi 15:14).
One must know how to come. As we approach the great mountain, those familiar with it’s heights can tell us that there is only one way to get to the top. We must walk that path, and that path only, or we will never reach the Holy of Holies at the summit.
What follows this is a whole bunch of scriptures that make a pattern. I arranged it into the pattern, then decided it was too good. But they are all there, so if you wish, you can recreate the pattern yourselves. It’s a bit long, so I have put it in an attachment. [Attachment follows:]
The path is described in brief this way:
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am (D&C 93:1).
The way is described in much greater detail elsewhere. The following are examples:
26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved (Omni 1:26).
The “power of his redemption” is the power to bring us back to him. In the Book of Mormon, “redeem” often means to be brought into the presence of the Saviour. (See the chapter about “redeem” from Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord.)
There is a drama that contains the signposts that marks the way. The story is told in brief in 2 Nephi 10:1
10 …. after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise (2 Nephi 1:10).
The drama is described in greater detail in Alma 12:28-35, Moroni 10:28-31, Job 38-42, Isaiah 61, and in the context of 3 Nephi 20:30-40. It is deeply encoded in 1 Nephi 1:1-6.
Congregations also prayed in mighty prayer, as these three scriptures teach us:
6 Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God (Alma 6:6).
1 And it came to pass that as the disciples of Jesus were journeying and were preaching the things which they had both heard and seen, and were baptizing in the name of Jesus, it came to pass that the disciples were gathered together and were united in mighty prayer and fasting.
2 And Jesus again showed himself unto them, for they were praying unto the Father in his name; and Jesus came and stood in the midst of them, and said unto them: What will ye that I shall give unto you? (3 Nephi 27:1-2)
13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts 1:13–14. See also: Moroni 2:1-3).
There is an often repeated command in the scriptures. Here is only one example:
28 And now I go unto the Father. And verily I say unto you, whatsoever things ye shall ask the Father in my name shall be given unto you.
29 Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened (3 Nephi 27:28-29).
Jacob describes the same concept:
41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them (2 Nephi 9:41-42).
To be redeemed in the Book of Mormon usually means to be brought into God’s presence. It is likely that Alma had Psalm 21 in mind when he asked:
9 And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they are saved.
26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? (Alma 5:9, 26)
In his sermon reported in Moroni 7, Mormon creates a chiasmus whose high point is:
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ (Moroni 7:19. See Psalm 2).
Nephi suggested this in not unique, but has an eternal continuity:
17 And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
18 For he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round (1 Nephi 10:17-19).
One must also communicate with God, or one cannot know the path. Thus we learn from Nephi:
5 Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people.
6 And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly (1 Nephi 1:5-6).
Later, in Nephi’s psalm, he reminds himself:
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the nighttime.
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me (2 Nephi 4:23-24. Other examples are: Enos 1:1-7, Alma 8:10).
The mountain becomes a reality in the story of the brother of Jared. Three times he and the Lord spoke together, but each time the Lord remained behind a cloud (Ether 2:4-5,14). Then the fourth time this is what happened:
6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.
13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters (Ether 3:6, 13-14).
In this scene in the Psalms, the members of the congregation (who are symbolically participants in the events) describe what is happening as the king approaches the veil of Solomon’s temple:
1 The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
2 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. 3 For thou preventest [Bible footnote says: “thou will meet him”] him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.
4 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.
5 His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.
6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.
7 For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved (Psalms 21:2-13).
The next verses of the psalm is the words spoken by God and is a promise of invulnerability that the king can keep the covenants he made at the Council. It is the same promise the Lord explained to Moroni:
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them (Ether 12:27. See also v. 37-39 1-41).
The Lord explained to the Prophet Joseph:
23 Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved;
24 Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day;
25 Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father (D&C 18:23-25).
Moroni’s last words were these:
28 I declare these things unto the fulfilling of the prophecies. And behold, they shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the everlasting God; and his word shall hiss forth from generation to generation.
29 And God shall show unto you, that that which I have written is true.
30 And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.
31 And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
34 And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.(Moroni 10:28-34)