Verse 26: And it came to pass that it did cause great joy among them. And they went down into the land of Jershon, and took possession of the land of Jershon; and they were called by the Nephites the people of Ammon; therefore they were distinguished by that name ever after.
Verse 27: And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.
Verse 28: And they did look upon shedding the blood of their brethren with the greatest abhorrence; and they never could be prevailed upon to take up arms against their brethren; and they never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection; therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it.
Verse 30: And thus they were a zealous and beloved people, a highly favored people of the Lord.
Joy came to the converted Lamanites from sharing their conversion stories with others and from the acceptance of the Nephites who allowed these Lamanites to join them. The Lamanites had eagerness and enthusiasm in worshipping God and serving others. They had faith in Jesus Christ and did all they could to be His disciples. They kept their covenants and were firm in mind and faith toward Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness.
I like Mormon’s summary of these people – they were a highly favored people of the Lord. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t have challenges, but I believe they sought God during their trials and sought to do His will in all things. I appreciate their example of changing their priorities and lives once they learned and understood the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Chapter 29, Verse 2: 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.
I like Alma’s expression of what became important to him after his conversion. He wanted people to hear clearly and loudly God’s plan of happiness for them. He wanted all to have the opportunity to change their ways to God’s ways that there would be no more sorrow.
What an awesome existence life would be if people sought only righteousness and repentance from things that were not good. God does give all people who want it that opportunity to hear His plan, but it is usually softly through the Spirit that He reaches out to them and through the kindness and service of others. It is through sacrifice of missionaries going two by two that He offers His way to people.
Verse 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.
All who can reason and understand have the opportunity to choose. We can choose good and God’s ways or evil and spiritual death. Each person has the choice. Our thoughts and our lives show our choices. What we become is a result of our choices.
I choose joy but it comes at high cost of God’s will over my natural tendencies. I want to do God’s commandments but sometimes it’s hard to let go of the natural physical woman within me. I’ll keep seeking and striving to choose good, life, and joy because I know that through Jesus Christ’s grace, my sincere desires for right will overcome my weaknesses.
Verse 8: 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.
Trusting the Lord helps us learn to focus on His word, His ways, and to do what we can, where we are, to live right and serve Him.
Verse 9: 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.
Verse 10: 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.
Alma’s experiences from wicked to righteous taught him of God’s mercy and love and joy. He learned repentance and forgiveness and to desire for others the blessings God gave him because of the prayers of his father and the church members on his behalf.
Experiencing the process of the gospel and understanding the power of repentance, enable our desire to share these miracles, that come individually through the power of Christ’s Atonement, with others. When we have been forgiven, we want to share the joyful change with others. We want to tell of this miracle so that all can experience it. When we have learned by our own experience that God hears and answers prayers, we want our loved ones to have their prayers answered too.
I have joy in my life because the power of Jesus Christ’s Atonement works within me helping to change, to heal, to forgive, and lending me strength, when I am weak, to be stronger. It is a real power to me which I use as I live. I need it because I make mistakes, because I want to do better than I do, and because I want to live the vision given by the Lord’s prophets and apostles of serving with sacrifice as Jesus did. Jesus Christ’s Atonement is precious to me; it is a priceless gift.
May we each utilize His sacrifice in our lives to become the best child of God that we can be.