The Sorrow and Joy of Alma
And this is the account of the wars and contentions among the Nephites,
and also the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites.
composed ca. 74 BC
And the fifteenth year of the reign of the judges is ended. And from the first year to the fifteenth has brought to pass the destruction of many thousand lives. Yea, it has brought to pass an awful scene of bloodshed. And the bodies of many thousands are laid low in the earth, while the bodies of many thousands are moldering in heaps upon the face of the earth. Yea, and many thousands are mourning for the loss of their kindred, because they have reason to fear, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are consigned to a state of endless wo. While many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness.
And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression, and the power of the devil, which comes by the cunning plans which he hath devised to ensnare the hearts of men. And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord! And thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing: sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life.
O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart,
That I might go forth and speak with the trump of God,
With a voice to shake the earth, and cry
Repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare
Unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder,
Repentance and the plan of redemption!
That they should repent and come unto our god, that there
Might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.
But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish!
For I ought to be content with
The things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.
I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree
Of a just god, for I know that he granteth unto men
According to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life.
Yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them
Decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether
They be unto salvation or unto destruction.
Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men
He that knoweth not good from evil is blameless
But he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given
According to his desires, whether he desireth good or evil,
Life or death, joy or remorse of conscience.
Now, seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more
Than to perform the work to which I have been called?
Why should I desire that I were an angel,
That I could speak unto all the ends of the earth?
For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own
Nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea,
In wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have
Therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom,
According to that which is just and true.
I know that which the Lord hath commanded me,
And I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory
In that which the Lord hath commanded me!
Yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be
An instrument in the hands of God, to bring some soul
To repentance: and this is my joy.
And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent,
And coming to the Lord their god, then is my soul filled
With joy! Then do I remember what the Lord has done
For me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer! Yea,
Then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended
Towards me. Yea, and I also remember the captivity
Of my fathers. For I surely do know that the Lord did
Deliver them out of bondage, and by this did establish
His church, yea, the Lord God, the God of Abraham,
The God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, did deliver them
Out of bondage. Yea, I have always remembered the captivity
Of my fathers, and that same God who delivered them out
Of the hands of the Egyptians, did deliver them out of bondage.
Yea, and that same god did establish his church among them!
Yea, and that same god hath called me by a holy calling:
To preach the word unto this people,
And hath given me much success, in the which
My joy is full. But I do not joy in my own success alone,
But my joy is more full because of the success
Of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi.
Behold, they have labored exceedingly, and have
Brought forth much fruit and how great shall be their reward!
Now, when I think of the success of these my brethren my soul
Is carried away, even to the separation of it from the body,
As it were, so great is my joy.
And now may God grant unto these, my brethren, that they may
Sit down in the Kingdom of God, yea, and also all those who are
The fruit of their labors that they may go no more out,
But that they may praise him forever. And may God
Grant that it may be done according to my words,
Even as I have spoken. Amen.