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The Address of Alma the High Priest
to the People in Gideon
composed ca. 80 bc
Behold my beloved brethren!
Seeing that I have been permitted to come unto you, therefore
I attempt to address you in my language
Yea, by my own mouth, seeing that it is the first time that I have
Spoken unto you by the words of my mouth,
I having been wholly confined to the judgment-seat,
Having had much business, that I could not come unto you.
And even I could not have come now at this time
Were it not that the judgment-seat hath been given to another,
To reign in my stead. And the Lord in much mercy
Hath granted that I should come unto you.
And behold, I have come having great hopes and much desire
That I should find that ye had humbled yourselves before God,
And that ye had continued in the supplicating of his grace,
That I should find that ye were blameless before him,
That I should find that ye were not in the awful dilemma that
Our brethren were in at Zarahemla. But
Blessed be the name of God!
That he hath given me to know, yea, hath given unto me
The exceedingly great joy of knowing that they are
Established again in the way of his righteousness.
And I trust, according to the Spirit of God which is in me,
That I shall also have joy over you. Nevertheless I do
Not desire that my joy over you should come by the cause
Of so much afflictions and sorrow which I have had for
The brethren at Zarahemla, for behold, my joy cometh over them
After wading through much affliction and sorrow.
But behold, I trust that ye are not in a state of so much
Unbelief as were your brethren, I trust that ye are not lifted up
In the pride of your hearts. Yea, I trust that ye have not set
Your hearts upon riches and the vain things of the world;
Yea, I trust that you do not worship idols, but that ye do
Worship the true and the living god, and that ye look forward
For the remission of your sins, with an everlasting faith, which is
For behold, I say unto you, there be many things to come!
And behold, there is one thing which is of more
Importance than they all. For behold, the time is not far
Distant that the redeemer liveth and cometh among his people.
Behold, I do not say that he will come among us at
The time of his dwelling in his mortal tabernacle, for behold,
The spirit hath not said unto me
That this should be the case. Now as to this thing I do not know
But this much I do know, that the Lord God hath power to do
All things which are according to his word.
But behold, the spirit hath said this much unto me, saying:
Cry unto this people, saying,
Repent ye, and prepare the way of the Lord,
And walk in his paths, which are straight!
For behold, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,
And the Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth.
And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem
Which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin,
A precious and chosen vessel, who shall be
Overshadowed and conceive by the power
Of the Holy Ghost and bring forth a son,
Yea, even the Son of God.
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions
And temptations of every kind, and this that the word might be fulfilled
Which saith he will take upon him the pains
And the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death! That he may loose the bands of death
Which bind his people and he will take upon him
Their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy,
According to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh
How to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Now the spirit knoweth all things.
Nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh
That he might take upon him the sins of his people,
That he might blot out their transgressions according
To the power of his deliverance, and now behold,
This is the testimony which is in me.8The spirit gives a succinct statement of atonement: at-one with man in birth, God takes on sorrows and suffering, and finally death to succor us in the flesh and to loose those bands he set upon fallen man, in mercy. Like all mortals, Alma admits to an imperfect understanding.
Now I say unto you, that ye must repent, and be born again!
For the spirit saith, if ye are not born again
Ye cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
Therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be
Washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God,
Who taketh away the sins of the world,
Who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
Yea, I say unto you, come and fear not!
And lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you,
Which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come
And go forth, and show unto your god that ye are willing
To repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him
To keep his commandments, and witness it unto him
This day, by going into the waters of baptism.
And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God
From thenceforth, the same will remember that I say
Unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him,
He shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of
The holy spirit which testifieth in me.
And now my beloved brethren, do you believe these things?
Behold, I say unto you, yea, I know that ye believe them!
And the way that I know that ye believe them
Is by the manifestation of the spirit which is in me.
And now because your faith is strong concerning that, yea,
Concerning the things which I have spoken, great is
My joy. For as I said unto you from the beginning,
That I had much desire that ye were not in the state of dilemma
Like your brethren, even so I have found that my desires
Have been gratified. For I perceive that ye
Are in the paths of righteousness
I perceive that ye are in the path which leads to
The Kingdom of God, yea, I perceive that ye are making his paths
Straight. I perceive that it has been made known unto you,
By the testimony of his word, that he cannot walk in crooked
Paths, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said.
Neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left,
Or from that which is right to that which is wrong.
Therefore, his course is one eternal round.
And he doth not dwell in unholy temples, neither
Can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received
Into the Kingdom of God. Therefore I say unto you
The time shall come, yea, and it shall be at the last day,
That he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness.
And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you
That I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God,
That ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk
After the Holy Order of God, after which ye have been received.
And now I would that ye should be humble, and be
Submissive and gentle, easy to be entreated
Full of patience and long-suffering, being temperate in all things
Being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times
Asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need,
Both spiritual and temporal, always returning
Thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity,
And then ye will always abound in good works.
And may the Lord bless you, and keep your garments spotless,
That ye may at last be brought to sit down with Abraham, Isaac,
And Jacob, and the holy prophets
Who have been ever since the world began,
Having your garments spotless, even as their garments are spotless,
In the Kingdom of Heaven to go no more out.
And now my beloved brethren, I have spoken these words
Unto you according to the spirit which testifieth in me
And my soul doth exceedingly rejoice, because
Of the exceeding diligence and heed which ye
Have given unto my word.
And now, may the peace of God rest upon you!
And upon your houses and lands, and upon your flocks and herds,
And all that you possess, your women and your children,
According to your faith and good works,
From this time forth and forever.
And thus I have spoken. Amen.
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