The Words of Alma the High Priest
to the People of Zarahemla
composed ca. 80 bc
Now it came to pass that Alma began to deliver the word of God unto the people, first in the land of Zarahemla, and from thence throughout all the land. And these are the words which he spake to the people in the church which was established in the city of Zarahemla, according to his own record, saying:
I, Alma, having been consecrated by my father, Alma,
To be a high priest over the Church of God, he having
Power and authority from God to do these things,
Behold! I say unto you that he
Began to establish a church in the land which was in the borders of Nephi.
Yea, the land which was called the land of Mormon.
Yea, and he did baptize his brethren in the Waters of Mormon.
And behold, I say unto you, they were delivered out of the hands
Of the people of King Noah, by the mercy
And power of God. And behold,
After that, they were brought into bondage by the hands
Of the Lamanites in the wilderness. Yea, I say unto you,
They were in captivity, and again the Lord did deliver them
Out of bondage by the power of his word.
And we were brought into this land, and here we began
To establish the Church of God throughout this land also.
And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, you that belong
To this church, have you sufficiently retained in remembrance
The captivity of your fathers? Yea, and have you sufficiently retained
In remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them?
And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance
That he has delivered their souls from Hell?
Behold, he changed their hearts!
Yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep,
And they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst
Of darkness. Nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light
Of the everlasting word. Yea, they were encircled about by the bands
Of death, and the chains of Hell, and an everlasting
Destruction did await them.
And now I ask of you, my brethren, were they destroyed?
Behold, I say unto you, Nay, they were not.
And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of Hell
Which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea,
They were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing
Redeeming love. And I say unto you, that they are saved.
And now I ask of you: On what conditions are they saved?
Yea, what grounds had they to hope for salvation? What is
The cause of their being loosed from the bands of death,
Yea, and also the chains of Hell? Behold, I can tell you.
Did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered
By the mouth of Abinadi? And was he not a holy prophet?
Did he not speak the words of God,
And my father Alma believe them? And according to his faith
There was a mighty change wrought in his heart.
Behold I say unto you, that this is all true.
And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers,
And a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts,
And they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true
And living god. And behold, they were faithful until the end.
Therefore they were saved.
And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church,
Have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received
His image in your countenances? Have ye experienced
This mighty change in your hearts?
Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you?
Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view
This mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised
In incorruption, to stand before God to be judged
According to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear
The voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come
Unto me, ye blessed! For behold, your works have been the works
Of righteousness upon the face of the earth?
Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord
In that day, and say, Lord, our works have been righteous works
Upon the face of the earth — and that he will save you?
Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before
The tribunal of God with your souls filled
With guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt,
Yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea,
A remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?
I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart
And clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up,
Having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
I say unto you, can ye think of being saved when you have yielded
Yourselves to become subjects to the devil?
I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved!
For there can no man be saved, except his garments are washed
White, yea, his garments must be purified, until they are cleansed
From all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken
By our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.
And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if
Ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments
Stained with blood and all manner of filthiness?
Behold, what will these things testify against you?
Behold will they not testify that ye are murderers,
Yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness?
Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can
Have a place to sit down in the Kingdom of God, with Abraham,
With Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets,
Whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white?
I say unto you, Nay !
Except ye make our creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose
That he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose
That such can have place in the Kingdom of Heaven
But they shall be cast out for they are
The children of the Kingdom of the Devil.
And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have
Experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing
The song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God?
Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves,
That ye have been sufficiently humble?
That your garments have been cleansed and made white through
The blood of Christ, who will come to redeem
His people from their sins? Behold, are ye stripped of pride?
I say unto you, if ye are not, ye are not
Prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare
Quickly! For the Kingdom of Heaven is soon at hand,
And such an one hath not eternal life.
Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy?
I say unto you, that such an one is not prepared
And I would that he should prepare quickly,
For the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when
The time shall come, for such an one is not found guiltless.
And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make
A mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared,
And the time is at hand, that he must repent or he cannot be saved!
Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity! Repent,
Repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it!
Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men:
For the arms of mercy are extended towards them,
And he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.
Yea, he saith: Come unto me, and ye shall partake of the fruit
Of the Tree of Life, yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread
And the waters of life, freely.
Yea, come unto me, and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye
Shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire.
For behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth
Forth not good fruit, or whosoever doeth not the works of
Righteousness, the same have cause to wail and mourn.
O ye workers of iniquity!
Ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world,
Ye that have professed to have known the ways of
Righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep
Having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called
After you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken
Unto his voice! Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd
Doth call you. Yea, and in his own name he doth call you,
Which is the name of Christ, and if ye will not hearken unto
The voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called,
Behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of
What fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the
Devil is your shepherd, and ye
Are of his fold, and now, who can deny this? Behold,
I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar
And a child of the Devil.
For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God,
And whatsoever is evil cometh from the Devil.
Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works, he
Hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and
He doth follow him. But whosoever bringeth forth evil
Works, the same becometh a child of the Devil,
For he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.
And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him.
Therefore, for his wages he receiveth death, as to things
Pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works.
And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me!
For I speak in the energy of my soul!
For behold, I have spoken unto you plainly, that ye cannot err,
Or have spoken according to the commandments of God.
For I am called to speak after this manner,
According to the Holy Order of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
Yea, I am commanded to stand and testify unto this people
The things which have been spoken by our fathers concerning
The things which are to come. And this is not all.
Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself?
Behold, I testify unto you, that I do know that these things
Whereof I have spoken are true. And how do
Ye suppose that I know of their surety?
Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me
By the holy spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed
Many days that I might know these things of myself.
And now I do know of myself that they are true, for
The Lord God hath made them manifest unto me
By his holy spirit and this is the spirit
Of revelation which is in me.
And moreover, I say unto you that it has thus been revealed unto me,
That the words which have been spoken by our fathers are true,
Even so according to the spirit of prophecy which is in me,
Which is also by the manifestation of the spirit of God.
I say unto you, that I know of myself that whatsoever I shall say
Unto you, concerning that which is to come, is true
And I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come,
Yea, the son [of] the only begotten of the Father, full of grace,
And mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh
To take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man
Who steadfastly believeth on his name.
And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called,
Yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one
That dwelleth in the land. Yea, to preach unto all, both old
And young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you
The aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation
Yea, to cry unto them, that they must repent and be born again.
Yea, thus saith the spirit: Repent, all ye ends of the earth
For the Kingdom of Heaven is soon at hand!
Yea, the Son of God cometh in his glory, in his might, majesty,
Power, and dominion. Yea, my beloved brethren, I say unto you,
That the spirit saith: Behold the glory of the king of all the earth!
And also the King of Heaven shall very soon shine
Forth among all the children of men.
And also the spirit saith unto me, yea, crieth unto me
With a mighty voice, saying: Go forth and say unto this people
Repent, for except ye repent ye
Can in nowise inherit the kingdom of heaven.
And again I say unto you, the spirit saith: Behold, the ax is laid
At the root of the tree, therefore every tree
That bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn
Down and cast into the fire, yea, a fire which cannot be consumed,
Even an unquenchable fire.
Behold, and remember, the Holy One hath spoken it.
And now my beloved brethren, I say unto you, can ye
Withstand these sayings? Yea, can ye lay aside these things,
And trample the Holy One under your feet? Yea, can ye be
Puffed up in the pride of your hearts? Yea, will ye
Still persist in the wearing of costly apparel and setting
Your hearts upon the vain things of the world, upon your riches?
Yea, will ye persist in supposing that ye are better
One than another? Yea, will ye persist in the persecution
Of your brethren, who humble themselves and do walk
After the Holy Order of God?
Wherewith they have been brought into this church,
Having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and they do
Bring forth works which are meet for repentance.
Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor?
And the needy, and in withholding your substance from them?
And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say
Unto you, that these are they who shall be hewn
Down and cast into the fire, except they speedily repent.
And now I say unto you, all you
That are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come
Ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not
Their unclean things, and behold, their names shall be blotted out,
That the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among
The names of the righteous, that the word of God may be
Fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be
Mingled with the names of my people, for the names of the righteous
Shall be written in the Book of Life, and unto them will I grant
An inheritance at my right hand. And
Now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this?
I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not,
For the word of God must be fulfilled.
For what shepherd is there among you, having
Many sheep doth not watch over them,
That the wolves enter not and devour his flock?
And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not
Drive him out? Yea, and at the last,
If he can, he will destroy him.
And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call
After you, and if you will hearken unto his voice, he will
Bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep;
And he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter
Among you, that ye may not be destroyed.
And now I, Alma, do command you in the language
Of him who hath commanded me, that ye observe to do
The words which I have spoken unto you.
I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church!
And unto those who do not belong to the church
I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come
And be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be
Partakers of the fruit of the Tree of Life.
And now it came to pass that after Alma had made an end of speaking unto the people of the church, which was established in the city of Zarahemla, he ordained priests and elders, by laying on his hands according to the Order of God, to preside and watch over the church. And it came to pass that whosoever did not belong to the church, who repented of their sins, were baptized unto repentance, and were received into the church. And it also came to pass that whosoever did belong to the church that did not repent of their wickedness, and humble themselves before God – I mean those who were lifted up in the pride of their hearts — the same were rejected. And their names were blotted out, that their names were not numbered among those of the righteous. And thus they began to establish the order of the church in the city of Zarahemla.
Now I would that ye should understand that the word of God was liberal unto all, that none were deprived of the privilege of assembling themselves together to hear the word of God. Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God. And now it came to pass that when Alma had made these regulations, he departed from them, yea, from the church which was in the city of Zarahemla. And went over upon the east of the river Sidon into the valley of Gideon, there having been a city built which was called the city of Gideon; which was in the valley that was called Gideon, being called after the man who was slain by the hand of Nehor with the sword.
And Alma went and began to declare the word of God unto the church which was established in the valley of Gideon according to the revelation of the truth of the word which had been spoken by his fathers. And according to the spirit of prophecy which was in him according to the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who should come to redeem his people from their sins, and the Holy Order by which he was called. And thus it is written. Amen.