The Words of Ammon
composed ca. 75 BC
And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus:
My brothers and my brethren,
Behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice!
For could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla
That God would have granted unto us such great blessings?
And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
Behold, I answer for you. For our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness,
Yea, even in the darkest abyss,
But behold, how many of them are brought to behold
The marvelous light of God!
And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us,
That we have been made instruments in the hands of God
To bring about this great work. Behold, thousands of them do rejoice,
And have been brought into the fold of God. Behold, the field was ripe,
And blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might!
Yea, all the day long did ye labor. And behold the number of your sheaves!
And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.
Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day! Yea,
Neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds!
But when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place,
That the storm cannot penetrate to them. Yea, neither shall they be driven
With fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them. But behold,
They are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his.
And he will raise them up at the last day. Blessed be the name of our god!
Let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name!
For he doth work righteousness forever. For if we had not come up
Out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren,
Who have so dearly beloved us, would still have been racked with hatred
Against us, Yea, and they would also have been strangers to God.
And it came to pass that when Ammon had said these words, his brother
Aaron rebuked him, saying: Ammon, I fear that thy joy doth
Carry thee away unto boasting.
But Ammon said unto him:
I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom!
But behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy,
And I will rejoice in my god!
Yea, I know that I am nothing as to my strength
I am weak! Therefore I will not boast of myself,
But I will boast of my god, for in his strength I can do all things
Yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land,
For which we will praise his name forever. Behold,
How many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of Hell!
And they are brought to sing redeeming love,
And this because of the power of his word which is in us,
Therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?
Yea, we have reason to praise him forever!
For he is the Most High God!
And has loosed our brethren from the chains of Hell.
Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting
Darkness and destruction. But behold, he has brought them
Into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation!
And they are encircled about with the matchless bounty
Of his love, yea, and we have been instruments
In his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.
Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord!
Yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full! Yea, we will praise our god forever!
Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord?
Yea, who can say too much of his great power,
And of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards
The children of men? Behold, I say unto you,
I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
Who could have supposed that our god would have been
So merciful as to have snatched us from our awful,
Sinful, and polluted state? Behold, we went forth
Even in wrath, with mighty threatenings to destroy his church.
Oh then, why did he not consign us to an awful destruction?
Yea, why did he not let the sword of his justice fall upon us?
And doom us to eternal despair?
Oh, my soul, almost as it were, fleeth at the thought.
Behold, he did not exercise his justice upon us,
But in his great mercy hath brought us over that everlasting gulf
Of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls.
And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there
That knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none
That knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.
Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith,
And bringeth forth good works, and prayeth
Continually without ceasing: unto such it is given
To know the mysteries of God, yea, unto such it shall be given
To reveal things which never have been revealed
Yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls
To repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring
These our brethren to repentance.
Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren
In the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach
Unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn?
For they said unto us: Do ye suppose
That ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth?
Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness
Of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people
As they are? Whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood?
Whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity?
Whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning?
Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language.
And moreover they did say: Let us take up arms against them!
That we destroy them and their iniquity
Out of the land, lest they overrun us and destroy us.
But behold, my beloved brethren, we came
Into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren,
But with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls.
Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about
To turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said:
Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites,
And bear with patience thine afflictions,
And I will give unto you success.
And now behold, we have come!
And been forth amongst them!
And we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered
Every privation, yea, we have traveled from house to house,
Relying upon the mercies of the world — not upon the mercies of the world
Alone but upon the mercies of God.
And we have entered into their houses and taught them,
And we have taught them in their streets, yea,
And we have taught them upon their hills ,
And we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues,
And taught them! And we have been cast out, and mocked,
And spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks
And we have been stoned, and taken and bound
With strong cords, and cast into prison!
And through the power and wisdom of God
We have been delivered again.
And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this,
That perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul.
And we supposed that our joy would be full, if perhaps
We could be the means of saving some.
Now behold, we can look forth and see
The fruits of our labors, and are they few?
I say unto you, Nay, they are many, yea,
And we can witness of their sincerity,
Because of their love towards their brethren and also
Towards us. For behold, they had rather sacrifice
Their lives than even to take the life of their enemy
And they have buried their weapons of war deep in the earth,
Because of their love towards their brethren.
And now behold, I say unto you,
Has there been so great love in all the land?
Behold, I say unto you, Nay, there has not,
Even among the Nephites.
For behold, they would take up arms against their brethren
They would not suffer themselves to be slain.
But behold how many of these have laid down their lives!
And we know that they have gone to their god,
Because of their love and of their hatred to sin.
Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you,
There never were men that had so great reason to rejoice
As we, since the world began! Yea, and my joy is carried away,
Even unto boasting in my god! For he has all
Power, all wisdom, and all understanding!
He comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful being,
Even unto salvation, to those who will repent
And believe on his name.
Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast!
For this is my life and my light, my joy
And my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo!
Yea, blessed is the name of my god!
Who has been mindful of this people,
Who are a branch of the tree of Israel,
And has been lost from its body in a strange land
Yea, I say, blessed be the name of my god!
Who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people,
Whatsoever land they may be in, yea, he numbereth his people,
And his bowels of mercy are over all the earth.
Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving!
Yea, and I will give thanks unto my god forever! Amen.