“The Rameumptom Conundrum,” New Era, October 2016, 10–13
“Look how much better I am than everybody else! Everybody look! Cast your eyes upon the pure awesomeness that is ME!”
OK, so that’s not exactly what the Zoramites said when they were standing on the Rameumptom with their arms thrown high in the air, but it was awfully close.
Do you ever read about these people in Alma 31 and then think something along the lines of, “Whoa. That’s odd. Glad that’s not me”? Fair enough if you do. It’s indeed bizarre. But before you zip past that scene and plow into the oh-so-cool seed-and-faith analogy in Alma 32, hang tight for a moment.
What can you learn from those high-climbing, platform-praying Zoramites? Is there anything at all you can apply to your own life from what you read there?
You bet there is. And the neat thing is, you can do this with anything in the scriptures.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of lessons we can learn from the examples of others: what to do and what not to do. Examples: Your friend has perfected a technique for asking a girl to dance with minimal awkwardness. That’s a positive example you can learn from. Your other friend, the budding electrician, tried to see if he could charge his phone faster by tapping into 220 voltage instead of 110. His phone exploded. Now you know this is not a wise course to follow.
Nephi getting the plates from Laban is an example from the first category. This account teaches us by positive example about faith, determination, and obedience.
The Rameumptom is an example from the latter category. And while you can rest easy knowing you’ll never walk into a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse and find a Rameumptom set up for use, there are still lessons you can find and apply to your own circumstances.
Try this one on for size: “Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again” (Alma 31:23).
Ponder that for a moment. Their religious practices took place every week. They even called it “the day of the Lord” (Alma 31:12). For the rest of the week, however, they didn’t spend much time thinking about God.
Is that a trap we can fall into?
Or how about this one? These Zoramites loved money and liked buying nice things to show off (see Alma 31:24). Here’s one more. They spoke the same words over and over again in their prayers instead of truly talking with God (see Alma 31:20).
We don’t have to climb a high platform to see that those are real risks for each of us. So, we can read, think about the situation, and apply it. If those Zoramites ended up in a place we don’t want to be—and they did—for starters, we can try doing the opposite of what they did. In other words, choose to think about God throughout the week. Focus on eternal things over worldly things. Pray sincerely, and pray often.
This idea of reading scriptures and applying principles learned into your own life might sound so overly simple that it’s tempting not to spend much time thinking about it. But that would be a mistake. Searching the scriptures for clues on how to adjust your daily habits can transform life for the better, top to bottom.
If after reading about the Zoramites, for example, you decided to put more thought and time into your personal prayers, that single decision would bless you the rest of your life.
And you can keep doing that. All accounts from the scriptures are in there for a reason. We can and should learn from each of them.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, “Immerse yourself in the scriptures. You will find your own experiences described there. You will find spirit and strength there. You will find solutions and counsel.”1
As we continue to read and apply, bit by bit we transform into the person Heavenly Father knows we can be. Don’t fall for Satan’s lie that you’re too flawed or too far gone for this powerful change to take place. With our Heavenly Father’s help, you can find your way back. You can try again. You can start anew.
President Thomas S. Monson has said, “Should there be anyone who feels he is too weak to change the onward and downward course of his life, or should there be those who fail to resolve to do better because of that greatest of fears, the fear of failure, there is no more comforting assurance to be had than these words of the Lord: ‘My grace,’ said He, ‘is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them’ [Ether 12:27].”2
Search the scriptures for clues on how to live your life, as well as how not to live your life. Put those lessons into practice.
You’re going to make it. Just wait and see.