By Elder José A. Teixeira, Portugal
Europe Area President
Europe Area President
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel outlined in the Articles of Faith. It is the brick that lays the foundation upon which everything in the Plan of Salvation is built.
Alma likens faith to a seed. Faith takes root through a desire to obtain faith and then, through effort and work on our part, that faith grows and becomes stronger. Alma explains this principle to the faithless people of Ammonihah when he says, “It is given unto many to know the mysteries (the word) of God…which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.”[i] So faith grows according to the heed and iligence we give to the truths we receive.
Alma goes so far as to say, “He that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries”.[ii]
Alma’s message could not be clearer. As we receive the truth, we must give heed and diligence to it ... water the seed. And how do we do that? By acting on it, serving, and building a testimony of truth. The Lord will then give us more faith. But, if we do not heed and give diligence, we lose faith until the time comes that we have no faith left.
The key is to act, to give heed and diligence. Even a small act can have great benefits. An example of this is Zeezrom, the wicked lawyer who tried to ensnare Amulek by offering him a fortune in silver if he would deny the existence of God. Zeezrom wanted to nullify the message of Christ that Amulek taught by destroying the testimony of Amulek.
Then a very interesting thing occurred. As Zeezrom continued to listen to the messages given by Amulek and Alma he began to tremble. Instead of being proud and clinging to his objective to destroy these two prophets, he humbled himself enough to feel his trembling and realized these two men had the power of God. The small seed had been planted.
With his desire, Zeezrom allowed the seed to take root. Then Zeezrom did something else. Instead of asking questions in an effort to trick Alma and Amulek and destroy their message, he “began to inquire of them diligently, that he might know more concerning the kingdom of God.”[iii]
diligently, that he might know more concerning the kingdom of God.
In the instant that Zeezrom began asking sincere questions to know the truth instead of asking questions to destroy the truth, his seed of faith took root. As he continued to give heed and diligence to what Alma and Amulek taught, his faith and conversion continued to grow, eventually culminating in his baptism and going with Alma on a mission to the Zoramites.
My dear Brothers and Sisters if we act on the knowledge we have received, regardless of where we are or how small or inadequate we think that knowledge is, a simple thing like saying a prayer, attending church or reading in the scriptures will have enormous positive consequences.
As we keep even small commandments, conversion will take place and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will increases commensurately. As our faith in Jesus Christ increases, our desire to keep His commandments will increase and so the cycle goes on, each lifting the other.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.