Are They With Us? (Alma 2)
In Alma 2, a man named Amlici campaigns to become a king over the Nephite people, actually forcing a vote on the issue. When Amlici and the proposal to have a king are defeated in the election, Amlici takes his supporters and forms his own little kingdom anyway, eventually coming to battle against the Nephites. After the battle, Alma sends some spies to follow the remaining Amlicites and they return with the following report:
“Behold, we followed the camp of the Amlicites, and to our great astonishment…we saw a numerous host of Lamanites; and behold, the Amlicites have joined them” (Alma 2:24)
Up until this time, Amlici and his followers had been considered fellow Nephites who had some disagreements with the government. However, this report told Alma that the Amlicites were actually not with them at all but had joined the enemy — so they needed to be dealt with accordingly.
In The Church of Jesus Christ, we want to feel that all of our members are “with us,” not only in the U.S. but also in all countries where the gospel has been spread. The challenge is not trivial, as we deal with the various cultures and different needs of the people in all of these countries. The U.S.-based evangelists and missionaries can only visit the various countries for short periods of time, so we must depend upon the local leadership in each country to lead the congregations in an appropriate way.
To assist The Church in determining who is with us and who may not be, the International Missionary Operating Committee (IMOC) has developed a series of six questions that the Evangelists assigned to each country use to make sure that the local leaders — and therefore their congregations — are with us. Here are the questions:
- Do they understand and accept the Restored Gospel?
- Are they dedicated to The Church of Jesus Christ, not associating with other organizations?
- Do they correctly practice all ordinances of The Church?
- Do they study regularly and hold classes for the membership?
- Do they understand and support revisions to the Law and Order?
- Are they working toward self-sufficiency?
If the answer to any of the above questions is “No,” the evangelists work with the in-country leaders to remedy the situation, perhaps through additional training or oversight. In extreme cases where it becomes clear that a leader is not with us, appropriate actions are taken.
As we look at the above questions, we can also use them for self-examination, as we all should want to make sure that we stand with The Church of Jesus Christ:
- Do we understand and accept the Restored Gospel? It is what makes us different from other churches.
- Do we dedicate our personal time and energy to The Church of Jesus Christ, attending all services and other activities? Or is our personal time and energy given more to other pursuits in life?
- Do we participate in all of the ordinances? Do we make it a priority to attend church every Sunday so we can regularly partake of the Lord’s Supper? Do we participate in feet washing? Or is that a good Sunday to skip church?
- Do we study the scriptures, both personally and in church classes? Are the pages of our scriptures puffy, or do the books still look brand new? Do we use the church app on our phones or tablets? Do we know that there is a church app?
- Rather than be put off by the term “Law and Order,” do we take advantage of the counsel offered by our church leaders who have prepared guidelines to help us apply the scriptures to various life situations?
- Do we do our best to manage our finances such that we can donate our fair share to the church? Or do we instead depend on the church welfare fund to help support us?
Just as with our international congregations, if we find ourselves lacking in any of the above, we should do our best to improve in our service to God and strengthen our association with The Church of Jesus Christ. If The Church were to ask you, “Are you with us?” your actions should indicate an emphatic “YES!”
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.