Thursday, May 31, 2007

Alma 29

I Ought to be Content

Alma's famous and much quoted line is in Alma 29:1 … "O that I were an angel." Alma and the sons of Mosiah have taught virtually every people in the Nephite and Lamanite nation and now he desires to expand beyond his calling by calling the whole world to repentance.

Later in Alma 29:3 he says, "I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me." In other words, he says that he has plenty of work to do among the Nephites and Lamanites without having to go to the whole world.

But we really can't blame Alma. He has been preaching for many years and sees the reality of the long hard labor of calling all to repentance. He sees that all the work could be done if everyone were to experience what he experienced when an angel of the Lord called him to repentance. He thinks that if he could be an angel, like the one who has visited him multiple times, then he could quickly and easily call everyone to repentance. Don't we all daydream about streamlining our jobs and callings and making life easier and happier?

Good and Evil Before All Men

The reality is that the Lord has his own timetable for everyone. Also the Lord will never take away our agency to choose. Ultimately we are responsible for our own choices and we must exercise our faith in this life. If everything were revealed to everyone, then everyone's faith would be weak.

Alma understands this and explains in Alma 29:5, "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."

Everyone will be given a chance to choose for himself. We will each have the opportunity to choose what and who we will be.


One of Alma's greatest motivations is knowing what the Lord has done for him. Every time he sees someone repent, he remembers his own turning point. He remembers the angel of the Lord visiting him and the Lord extending mercy to him. He also remembers what the Lord has done for his fathers. He realizes that the Lord is indeed merciful.

What has the Lord done for you? How has the Lord blessed you and been merciful to you? Do you always remember what the Lord has done for you?

Alma's Joy

Ammon falls down from exhaustion when he is really happy. Alma experiences an out-of-body sensation when he feels the joy of the Spirit. (Alma 29:16) The point: we all feel the Spirit differently.

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