Monday, May 24, 2010

40i - Abinadi's Gospel Teachings and Valiant Sacrifice Led Alma and The Lord's People Forward, Despite Much Adversity!

To Access This Blog's Index, Please Scroll Down To the Fifth Paragraph From the End of This Post!


Note: In this post I am altering somewhat, Post 14 which I published in early 2008. In a recent post, Post 40f we learned of the role that the Nephite prophet, Abinadi played in the conversion of Alma, a priest of the wicked king Noah, who was called to repentance by Abinadi and who (Alma) wrote down all of the words that he had heard Abinadi speak to the king and his priests. As reported in that post Alma was soon afterwards directed by the Lord to set up His church among the people who, along with him, Alma, believed in the words of Abinadi.

The painting just below illustrates an experience Alma initiated while setting up the Lord's Church at the Waters of Mormon. In my Post 40f, I showed this same Arnold Friberg painting which shows Alma baptizing at that location, with their guards keeping a keen lookout for the possibility of King Noah's troops finding them.
Here is a smaller version of that painting to give you a feel for what was happening there.
Painting: Arnold Friberg
Alma Baptizing at the Waters of Mormon -by Arnold Friberg

Photo: Virginia Jensen Birch (My Mother)
Neil Birch at about age seven in front of the First Primary Childrens Hospital of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -photo by Virginia Jensen Birch, Neil's mother.
(I will refer to that photo later.) In this post we will first check on Alma the Elder and those who had been baptized as members of the Church of Jesus Christ at the Waters of Mormon. Please read the following scripture to learn what they did soon after being baptised and had founded Christ's church.

A question for you. Why didn't the Lord arrange matters so that this faithful group of 450 saints would not have to speedily travel away from the Waters of Mormon into the wilderness to escape King Noah's army?

What about the strong words of prophecy that Abinadi uttered about the downfall of King Noah and his priests and the people who continued to follow them? Why should King Noah still be able to continue in his evil ways of preventing true believers from worshipping as they wish? Does the Lord have a purpose in allowing adversity to come upon His people? If so, why?

Examine your own life! Has any adversity you may have faced actually turned out to have had a beneficial effect on you? While you are trying to answer my question let me tell you about some adversity I experienced in a early part of my life.

On a Friday in about April of 2008 on a Friday afternoon while doing my forty minute elliptical exercise (six days a week routine, keeping my heart rate under 141 beats a minute as my doctor told me 76 year-olds should do, and using two medically implanted new knees - one on December 13, 2002 and the other on February 6, 2008), I saw and heard a good sized group of boys on the basketball court just behind me down on the first floor making all kinds of happy noises while working out in a basketball camp. They were really shouting for joy, the joy of using their bodies to develop skills needed in playing basketball.

I remembered right then, that at the age of those boys, I would have never been "shouting for joy" like those boys were doing because my doctor, Lucas W. Empey, had on purpose made my left knee stiff. At age five I had contracted Tuberculosis of the left knee which brought on a case of osteomyelites because of raw milk that turned out to be infected with TB bacteria we had been buying from a dairy near Roseville, California where I grew up.

To achieve my having a stiff left knee, Doctor Empey put me in traction for most of the rest of my fifth year by attaching pulleys to the outside end of my crib with weights on the ends of ropes that ran over the pulleys and stretched my left knee straight during much of the daytime hours for about half a year. This was done because the medical opinion was that by so doing my leg would be able to grow normally in length. And it did, but it remained stiff for 65 years until a new knee was implanted in my left leg.

During part of my sixth and seventh years I had a caste on my left knee and spent 14 months away from my family as a patient at the LDS Primary Children's' Hospital which was then located across North Temple Street from Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The photo at the beginning of this post was taken by my mother in the front yard of that hospital.

My parents felt that was the only thing they could do to have my knee treated by specialists and for me to be able to begin attending the first grade (which was taught right there in the hospital).
My Mother and Father and my brother who was two years younger than me lived 700 miles to the West from me. Whenever my mother would kiss me goodbye after visiting me for several days at the Children's' Hospital most every month, I cried, at times, almost uncontrollably.

Here is a second photograph of me as a seven year old. It was taken by a Deseret News photographer for an article in their March 18, 1939 issue. The cake was given to the children at the Primary Children's' Hospital to eat. This cake memorialized the Salt Lake Exchange Club's sixteenth anniversary. I'm the second boy from the right. My mother drew an arrow above me. I guess I was supposed to have a happy look on my face, but I don't think that is the kind of look I'm showing. Being away from home for fourteen months was tough.

I did very well in the first grade that was held at the hospital and there were many loving, caring nurses and I developed some good relationships with other children. Church meetings including Primary were held regularly. I learned to love our Savior, Jesus Christ, while there.

The adversity I went through during that time and to some extent all the time I was growing up because of that stiff knee, was actually something that shaped my life in a positive direction. In the Church of Jesus Christ there is a worthy man in every stake of the church whose responsibility it is to give patriarchal blessings from the Lord to individuals in the Church who desire to receive one. I received such a blessing when I was ten years old.

Let me quote a small portion of that blessing:
"...these things which have come unto you (my stiff knee and the challenges that came with that) will be for your good. For you shall develop patience and shall have a kindly spirit towards your fellow man, and love for your fellow man in his affliction shall be great in your heart." (I added that which is parenthesized.)
I shed some tears as I typed those words just now. That Patriarchal Blessing was a true prophecy of what did actually happen in my life!

I'm adding this paragraph later. Yesterday at a family reunion two female cousins of mine reminded me of a song my mother had sung to each of them as they were growing up, telling them each that it was what she would sing to me when I was down emotionally. This is it: (Note: "Kathleen", one of my blog viewers (on January 15, 2009) made several corrections in a "Comment" at the end of that original post of some of the words and part of the song title which was given in the original post - Thanks very much, Kathleen! I really appreciate her Comment. I welcome such helpful comments readers choose to make!)
Now back to my goal of reporting on the outcome of the adversity that came to the people of the Lord who were led by the prophet, Alma, the First. Also, you will want to know about the fulfilling of the prophecies regarding the downfall of King Noah and his priests. Please click on this link to learn some answers to these questions. Because this link is to a full chapter I suggest that after the scripture page comes up you scroll up and click on the word, Listen, which is on the left side (You don't need to do anything with the sound window that comes up.)

Mosiah 19:1-29 Reading and listening at the same time helps us to focus better.

Now we've just learned that the prophecies against King Noah had begun to be fulfilled. His army was reduced in size and therefore can't continue pursuing Alma the First and The People of the Lord. Also, serious trouble with the Lamanites is reported. King Limhi, Noah's more righteous son along with a strong advisor, Gideon, negotiates a peace with the Lamanite King. The Lamanites demand and receive a huge tribute of 50% of everything King Limhi's people earn. King Noah is killed by fire as prophesied by Abinadi. He was cowardly in commanding the men to leave their wives and children in the hands of the Lamanites and escaping into the wilderness. The Lord's prophecy through Abinadi is really coming through now!

I find it time to close this post. I eagerly look forward in Part 15 (Post 40j) in continuing to help us learn about how the Lord helped His people who are led by his prophet, Alma the First, through their adversities. I particularly want us to learn how these adversities helped them to grow and develop spiritually. Bright futures are often the result of having gone through tribulation.

By the way, what was the answer you gave to the question I asked you above, "Has any adversity you may have faced actually turned out to have had a beneficial effect on you?" If you would like you could e-mail your answer to me at: I will keep your answer confidential and not share it on my blog unless you ask me to do so.

I look forward to publishing Post 40j in five days from now. The Book of Mormon, this book of books, teaches great lessons the Lord Jesus Christ wants each of us to learn. Thank you Mormon, and thank you, Lord for directing Mormon to put that book together. I hope you recognize as we go through these writings of Mormon, how similar in style and in culture the accounts are to those in the Old Testament. After all the Nephite -Lamanite culture originated in the culture of ancient Israel.
Special Note: Dear Readers of this blog, at the end of my Post 40d - "SAINTS" (Published April 25, 2010) in the COMMENTS section at the end of that post, I suggest that you read the three Comments there. The first Comment was made by Yeti, one of the 22 who has listed himself as a follower of this blog. I followed up with a comment of my own that I made on May 26, 2010 that I would like each of you to read because of the significance of the subject. The third comment was a delayed thank you from me to Yeti for his very excellent comment.

My dear mother, Virginia Jensen Birch taught me to sing this song from the LDS Primary Association's song book used when I was a child to give me courage to face the challenges with my knee. Its Title is: HAPPINESS. (Words and Music by Mr. and Mrs. N.W. Christiansen.

I am hap-py to-day for the sunshine, for skies of gray or blue;
For with-in my heart is the song of life, I'll live! I'll work! I'll do! 
No cloud can cast a shad-ow o-ver courage such as mine.
I'll sing my song as I go a-long, I'll live! I'll work! I'll do!
(It appeared in the LDS Primary Song Book: "The Children Sing.")
For your further enlightenment and spiritual strengthening please watch this video from: Mormon Messages


TO ACCESS NEIL BIRCH'S BLOG INDEX: To Either Read the Full Index Item Which Refers to This Blog Post, (Or To Search The Index For Any Other Blog Post You Desire To Access); After You Have Read All of This Paragraph, Please Scroll Back Up and Click On The Following: Abinadi's Teachings and Valiant Sacrifice Allowed Alma - Post 40i; When The Picture of Our Savior, Jesus Christ Sitting Next To a Little Boy Comes Onto Your Screen, Please Scroll Down To Your Target Item, Or Use the Automatic Scrolling Device (When It Has Been Installed).

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I deeply appreciate your readership and very much hope you you will find that which was presented to you in this blog post, very beneficial.

If you have any questions about what you have read or viewed in this post or in any previous posts of mine, or if you even have a curiosity about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and or its teachings, please e-mail me. I'm Neil and my e-mail address is: If you contact me I'll get back to you just as soon as possible.

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Neil Birch

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