15 Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever.
16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ.
-This notion of being “separate” is something to read with caution. Being separate is often what happens to God’s people. The Israelites leave Egypt, Nephi’s people leave the Lamanites, Alma & the church escape into the wilderness, etc.
-And also, there are many times where traditions are handed down that are not good, such as with the Lamanites. So far, both of these things are things we ourselves would talk about – we are a “peculiar” people and are grateful to not have some traditions passed down to us and our children.
-“there shall be no Christ.” obviously here we run into some problems. God has communicated to them, somehow – they don’t say how – that they are 1, a holy people & His children, and 2, there will be no Christ.
17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.
-“the same yesterday, today, and forever” – this of course comes from many places in our scripture and is in itself not a bad thing to say.
-“elected us to be saved” – interesting. Based on anything? Do they think the rest all around them are actually evil? “for which holiness” they say – do they thank God for their holiness, or do they see the act of God casting the rest down to hell as a holy act?
-They have been elected also to not have the traditions. The rest can’t help but be led away from the real God, apparently. But God has elected it to be so. He has chosen to blind them. (Unfortunately, or interestingly, this also sounds like Isaiah 6, where Isaiah is called to blind the people…)
-“their hearts” – their hearts wander away, so does that mean that these people are elected because their hearts are not wandering? It seems though that God has elected to give them certain knowledge, which keeps their hearts from wandering. Why hearts?
18 And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen.
-It is a prayer full of thanks and declarations of certain knowledge. No asking or petitioning. It’s a hard prayer to hear sometimes, since some of the elements sound exactly like what we do, say, or are told to do – in I hope good ways, of course! – but it’s eerie in some sense. They thank, they acknowledge, they talk about being God’s children, they have additional knowledge, they feel free from other traditions – all of these things are things we too talk about and even mention in prayers! The format of the prayer – the structure, layout, construction – is interestingly not the problem, but the points of doctrine are obviously something that concern Alma, and also that the people say it, go home, and never think of God during the week (and we will hope none of us in our church do that either…)
-It seems that what ties all the problems together is Christ and the resurrection. Bodies are not holy. We don’t need a Savior for salvation. Those seem to be the two basic tenants. I wonder where they claimed to get this information from?