The Bitterness of Sin, the Miracle of Forgiveness, the Joy of Redemption

American Scripture with Steve Farrell

Of all the accounts of the bitterness of sin, the miracle of forgiveness, and the joy of redemption through Jesus Christ, perhaps the greatest of all is the account of one Alma the Younger who, while engaged with his fellow laborers in sin (the Sons of King Mosiah) in the diabolical work of seeking to destroy both the Church of God and the souls of men, is rebuked by an angel from Heaven, an angel who came in answer to the fervent prayers of Alma’s faithful Father (also named Alma) and other concerned members of the Church, and, who after three days of the most bitter anguish experienced a change of heart, a change that was as sincere, and would it would become complete, enduring, and remarkable. Remarkable in large part, because not unlike Old World Saul (who became Paul), this New World Alma the Younger would become one of the most zealous and successful advocates for Jesus Christ the world has ever known.

Years later, Alma the Younger relates the remarkable story of his conversion to his son Helaman, and because he wrote down this precious conversation, to us today. We read in the 36th Chapter of Alma:

 1 My ason, give ear to my words; for I swear unto you, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.

 2 I would that ye should do as I have done, in remembering the captivity of our fathers; for they were in abondage, and none could bdeliver them except it was the cGod of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he surely did deliver them in their afflictions.

 3 And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their atrust in God shall be supported in their btrials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be clifted up at the last day.

 4 And I would not that ye think that I aknow of myself—not of the temporal but of the spiritual, not of the bcarnal mind but of God.

 5 Now, behold, I say unto you, if I had not been aborn of God I should bnot have known these things; but God has, by the mouth of his holy cangel, made these things known unto me, not of any dworthiness of myself;

 6 For I went about with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to adestroy the church of God; but behold, God sent his holy angel to stop us by the way.

 7 And behold, he spake unto us, as it were the voice of thunder, and the whole earth did atremble beneath our feet; and we all fell to the earth, for the bfear of the Lord came upon us.

 8 But behold, the voice said unto me: Arise. And I arose and stood up, and beheld the angel.

 9 And he said unto me: If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God.

 10 And it came to pass that I fell to the earth; and it was for the space of athree days and three nights that I could not open my mouth, neither had I the use of my limbs.

 11 And the angel spake more things unto me, which were heard by my brethren, but I did anot hear them; for when I heard the words—If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself, seek no more to destroy the church of God—I was struck with such great fear and amazement lest perhaps I should be destroyed, that I fell to the earth and I did hear no more.

 12 But I was racked with aeternal btorment, for my soul was charrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.

 13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was atormented with the bpains of hell; yea, I saw that I had crebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.

 14 Yea, and I had amurdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.

 15 Oh, thought I, that I acould be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my bdeeds.

 16 And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the apains of a bdamned soul.

 17 And it came to pass that as I was thus aracked with torment, while I was bharrowed up by the cmemory of my many sins, behold, I dremembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.

 18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, ahave mercy on me, who am bin the cgall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting dchains of edeath.

 19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my apains bno more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

 20 And oh, what ajoy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

 21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.

 22 Yea, methought I saw, even as our father aLehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and bpraising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.

 23 But behold, my limbs did receive their astrength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been bborn of God.

 24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto arepentance; that I might bring them to btaste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be cborn of God, and be dfilled with the Holy Ghost.

 25 Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth agive me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my blabors;

 26 For because of the aword which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have btasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.

 27 And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has adelivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still bdeliver me.

 28 And I know that he will araise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in bglory; yea, and I will cpraise him forever, for he has dbrought our fathers out of Egypt, and he has swallowed up the eEgyptians in the Red Sea; and he led them by his power into the promised land; yea, and he has delivered them out of bondage and captivity from time to time.

 29 Yea, and he has also brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem; and he has also, by his everlasting power, delivered them out of abondage and captivity, from time to time even down to the present day; and I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity.

 30 But behold, my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I do know, that ainasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall bprosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Now this is according to his word.


Source: Alma 36; The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.


American Scripture is a project of Steve Farrell and The Moral Liberal. Copyright © 2012 Steve Farrell


The Moral Liberal, Publisher and Editor In Chief, Steve Farrell is one of the original pundits at Silver Eddy Award Winner, NewsMax.com (1999-2008),  and the author of the highly praised inspirational novel Dark Rose.


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