I can’t take credit for this insight, but I was made aware of it just yesterday by another missionary… who is very awesome. It’s another one of those ‘simple yet profound’ things. Let’s go to the Book of Mormon…
We find here a Nephite missionary named Ammon teaching a Lamanite king named Lamoni. Ammon had been defending Lamoni’s flocks against thieves, and in doing so cut off the arms of the thieves and saved the sheep from being stolen. Lamoni was amazed and desired to speak to Ammon. He thought that Ammon was the Great Spirit the Lamanites believed in, but Ammon taught him about the true God. He asks Lamoni if he believes in God. Lamoni doesn’t understand what Ammon means by that word, so Ammon says something he knows Lamoni will understand.
And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit?
And he said, Yea. (Alma 18:26-27)
Lamoni eventually became converted, which resulted in the conversion of much of his kingdom. He went on to prosperity and happiness. His answer to Ammon’s question was short and simple. Ammon basically asked him, in his own terms, if he believed in God. Lamoni answered “yes.” That simple answer set the course for what would happen later.
Now we go to a different part in the Book of Mormon. Alma, the prophet and high priest of the Church, is ‘facing off’ with an anti-Christ named Korihor. Korihor not only denied the Christ, but denied the existence of God, claiming that there was no proof that a Messiah would come. Alma asked Korihor a very simple question, to which came a simple answer.
And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?
And he answered, Nay. (Alma 30:37-38)
Korihor claimed he did not believe in God, though in reality he did. He demanded a sign, and as a sign he was struck dumb and became a beggar. After this, he admitted that he was teaching false doctrines, and that Satan had tricked him. He was eventually trampled down and killed.
Lamoni’s answer and Korihor’s answer are the two shortest verses in the Book of Mormon. Each person gave a simple reply. Yes or no. One said yes and led a happy life. The other said no and led a life of misery until he was killed.
And so, with us, the simple decisions we make in life can be profound and make more of an impact in our lives than we think. There are critical times in our lives when a decision needs to be made. It can be a matter of “yes I will do this” or “no I won’t do this.” It’s important that we don’t overlook these moments, for they can dramatically affect the course of our lives.
This same Alma once counseled one of his sons, saying, “…behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass…” It’s so true, and it can go both ways. Great and wonderful things can be brought to pass by small things, and great and terrible things can result in the same manner. The little decisions we make do matter. So when we arrive at those decisions, will we be like Lamoni and choose God, or will we be like Korihor and reject Him? One ends in happiness, the other will get us trampled.