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The Value of the One


The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, as seen from Battery East; photograph 24 June 2017 by Frank Schulenburg

 

Where Science Meets the Book of Mormon: Come Follow Me Lesson: June 24-30; Alma 13-16


We are told in Alma 13:1-3 and 6 that Alma said to the people of Ammonihah, “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. And this is the manner after which they were ordained — being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such….And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest—”

 

These verses tell us that all priests were “called and prepared from the foundation of the world.” This also is true for priestesses. The “highest dignity of womanhood” is “to stand as a queen and priestess...”1 These are individual people — called and set apart one at a time.

 

Then, in Alma 16: 13-14, we are told, “…Alma and Amulek went forth preaching repentance to the people [the Nephites] in their temples, and in their sanctuaries, and also in their synagogues, which were built after the manner of the Jews. And as many as would hear their words, unto them they did impart the word of God, without any respect of persons, continually.”

 

I am going to depart from my usual analysis of these scriptures and discuss the importance of one person: “without any respect of persons.” A few days ago, as we were driving toward northern Idaho to teach at a retreat, I was driving and Kathleen was reading from her book of April 2024 General Conference talks. She read the talk by Elder Gary E. Stevenson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Bridging the Two Great Commandments.”2 As she read, I contemplated the purpose for which the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed. It was built to convey traffic from one side of The Golden Gate Strait, which connects the Pacific Ocean with the San Francisco Bay, to the other. In reality, it was built to convey individual automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles.

 

The weight of the Bridge, supported by those two enormous towers, is 840 million pounds.3 The average weight of a car crossing the bridge is 4,094 pounds.4 Therefore, the ratio of a car to the bridge is 1:205,178.3. But the bridge was not built to convey cars only; it was built to convey the people in the cars. The average weight of a person in the United States is 185.3 pounds.5 The ratio of a person to the car is 1:22.1. Therefore, the ratio between the weight of a person crossing the bridge and that of the bridge itself is 1:4,533,189.4. The bridge weighs over 4.5 million times that of the person crossing it. None-the-less, that enormous bridge has one purpose: to convey individual people, one at a time from one side of the strait to the other — people who are miniscule compared to the size of the bridge.         

 

Likewise, the Savior has paid the ultimate price for each one of us, one person at a time. The one person is so important that our Savior paid the ultimate price of His death for each one of us. His resurrection affects each one of us — one person at a time.

 

  

Trent Dee Stephens, PhD

 

References

 

1.     Pratt, Parley P., He Taught Me the Heavenly Order of Eternity; Ensign, August 2015; churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2015/08/he-taught-me-the-heavenly-order-of-eternity?lang=eng; retrieved 16 June 2024; a full appreciation of such a promise can only be realized and understood in the Temple

4.     autolist.com/guides/average-weight-of-car; retrieved 13 June 2024

5.     cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/body-measurements.htm; retrieved 13 June 2024

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