Alma 38

What’s happening?  Alma is giving advice to his son, Shiblon.

Why does it matter?  Alma is directing not only his son, but the mission efforts of the church in his words here.

Between the lines: Shiblon’s instruction is very short, yet teaches a lot.

Quote of the day: “Shiblon was one of the sons of Alma the Younger. We are more familiar with his brothers Helaman, who would follow his father as the keeper of the records and the prophet of God, and Corianton, who gained some notoriety as a missionary who needed some counsel from his father. To Helaman, Alma wrote 77 verses (see Alma 36–37). To Corianton, Alma dedicated 91 verses (see Alma 39–42). To Shiblon, his middle son, Alma wrote a mere 15 verses (see Alma 38). Yet his words in those 15 verses are powerful and instructive. In addition to speaking to Shiblon, Alma also spoke about him to Corianton. It appears that Shiblon was a son who wanted to please his father and went about doing what was right for right’s sake rather than for praise, position, power, accolades, or authority. Helaman must have known and respected this about his brother, for he gave Shiblon custody of the sacred records he had received from his father. As seems truly characteristic of Shiblon, there is not much recorded about him from the time he took possession of the sacred records until he gave them to Helaman’s son, Helaman (see Alma 63:11). Shiblon was truly good and without guile. He was a person who sacrificed his time, talents, and effort to help and lift others because of a love for God and his fellowmen (see Alma 48:17–19; 49:30). He is described perfectly by the words of President Spencer W. Kimball: “Great women and men are always more anxious to serve than to have dominion.” ~ MT Ringwood, 2015

Read the following verses then ask yourself the questions. If there are any corresponding quotes, read them and see how they relate to the verses above it.

38:2-3 What does it mean to have “steadiness” and “faithfulness”?

38:4-5 How do we put our trust in God and what are the rewards when we do?

“It isn’t as bad as you think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry-I say that to myself every morning. it will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us…. If we will put our trust in him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings. He will hear our prayers.” ~ GB Hinckley

38:8-9 Nearly every plan has a backup plan, but why does salvation only have one plan and it is only through Jesus?

38:10-12 What kind of missionary was Shiblon?

“If a missionary or member really believes that he or she is an agent of the Lord and engaged in the Lord’s business, that person’s confidence and boldness will wax strong, providing he or she is doing things according to the will of the Lord.” ~ CE Asay

38:12 What does a bridle do and how does it work?

“Bridling increases strength, increases power, increases love. There are absolutely two ways you can control a horse. One is to kill it; one is to bridle it. Alma never said kill your passions. The implication is not that passions are evil, that we shouldn’t have them. On the contrary, we bridle something we love, something whose power we respect. A horse is stronger than a man, so the man bridles it, thus controlling its power and using that power for good. Passions are stronger than we are, so we bridle them, thus controlling their power and using that power.” ~ PH Dunn, 1981

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