And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.
And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.
I have a lot more questions than ideas this post.
1) First, I think I’ve found a reading of “cite your minds forward” that I like, but let me know what you think. I think Alma is saying, “Okay, you brought up Adam and Eve and the angel blocking the way. We’ve talked about that part of the story. Now, jump ahead in the story to the part where God gave commandments and set up people to teach them.” That is, he uses “cite” to mean we should all focus our attention together on one point in the story, and “forward” to mean a time after Adam and Eve were blocked by the angel, which was the point that Antionah was focused on originally. Thoughts?
2) “these commandments” – I think what these are is pretty murky. I see in Alma 12:31-32 that God gave commandments, but I don’t see what they are. (The fact that Alma has already talked about giving commandments is the only wrench I see in my reading of point #1, but my reading might still hold up.)
3) And here’s the introduction to priesthood: “I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests.” There are two points I want to bring up on this. First, “remember”? When have the people been taught about this? I haven’t found it in Alma’s discourse, or Amulek, or anywhere previous in the Book of Mormon (though I didn’t do an extensive search). It isn’t in the Book of Genesis as we have it, but it is in our Book of Moses. Perhaps their brass plates were more like our Book of Moses? Second, remember that when Alma first got to Ammonihah, the people told him, “Behold, we know that thou art Alma; and we know that thou art high priest over the church which thou hast established in many parts of the land, according to your tradition; and we are not of thy church, and we do not believe in such foolish traditions. And now we know that because we are not of thy church we know that thou hast no power over us; and thou hast delivered up the judgment-seat unto Nephihah; therefore thou art not the chief judge over us” (Alma 8:11-12). So, I think we should also read this as Alma trying to show them that a high priest is called to teach everyone, not just those in the Church. Whether they like it or not, he does have authority and a responsibility for them. That could probably be drawn out better. Thoughts?
4) “after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son.” I’d like to understand better why we use the word “order” for groups. I should probably look elsewhere as well (monastic orders, etc.) but for now I’ll start with Alma. I found a few other references to “order” in the preceding chapters, and they don’t always use the same preposition, and I thought this might shed a little light on how the word “order” is used. Or maybe it won’t, but I thought it was interesting still. 🙂 Here are a few of them:
Alma 4:20 – “the high priesthood of the holy order of God”
Alma 5:44 – “called to speak after this manner, according to the holy order of God, which is in Christ Jesus”
Alma 5:49 – “this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren”
Alma 5:54 – “who humble themselves and do walk after the holy order of God, wherewith they have been brought into this church,”
Alma 6:1 – “he ordained priests and elders, by laying on his hands according to the order of God,”
Alma 6:4 – “establish the order of the church” (also, is this the same “order” or a different one?)
Alma 6:8 – “Alma went and began to declare the word of God … according to … the holy order by which he was called.
Alma 7:22 – “that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received.” (also, why “received”??)
The references in Alma 13 use “after” or “according to” except Alma 13:6 – “thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments”
5) “to teach these things unto the people.” As we are reading this chapter to learn about Priesthood, I think we ought to note that the first purpose that Alma lays out is to teach commandments. The Priesthood here is a group of messengers.
6) “in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.” Kim, others, good luck. Tell me what this means, please! 🙂 I’ve been stumped for years on this one. The only idea I have right now is that by calling it “the order of the Son,” the people know that the Priests aren’t the ones saving them, they’re only messengers of the Son. The “manner,” then, is simply that there is an order, and the order is called “of the Son.” That’s my best reading, and I’d love some help.