Joy in Our Relationships (Alma 53:2)

We are still knee-deep in the “war chapters” of the Book of Mormon. Sometimes joy is hard to come by in these war-ridden chapters.

But in Alma 53, we read:

“And Moroni went to the city of Mulek with Lehi, and took command of the city and gave it unto Lehi. Now behold, this Lehi was a man who had been with Moroni in the more part of all his battles; and he was a man like unto Moroni, and they rejoiced in each other’s safety; yea, they were beloved by each other, and also beloved by all the people of Nephi.” – Alma 53:2

Moroni and Lehi rejoiced in each others’ safety and success. They were blessed by the Nephites. This verse is a great reminder to me that love and relationships bring us joy. Sometimes we get caught up in our goals, chores, jobs, etc. We can forget that we must nurture our friendships. We feel like we’ll have time for it later.

But if we want joy in our lives, it is good to remember the connection between our joy and our relationships and to nourish these connections.

A Righteous Society is a Happy Society (Alma 50:21-23)

Mormon teaches us a little lesson during these stories about the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites:

” And we see that these promises have been verified to the people of Nephi; for it has been their quarrelings and their contentions, yea, their murderings, and their plunderings, their idolatry, their whoredoms, and their abominations, which were among themselves, which brought upon them their wars and their destructions.

And those who were faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord were delivered at all times, whilst thousands of their wicked brethren have been consigned to bondage, or to perish by the sword, or to dwindle in unbelief, and mingle with the Lamanites.

But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni, yea, even at this time, in the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges.” – Alma 50:21-23

In this scripture passage we see that:

One

Wickedness results in destruction. This doesn’t sound super joyful. Even in verse 21, before the destruction occurs, we read about “quarrelings, contentions, murderings, plunderings, idolatry, whoredoms, and abominations. Even if destruction never came – this sounds like a pretty miserable state. Fighting, murdering, robbing, broken families. Sad, sad, sad.

Two

Righteousness will protect us and enable the Lord to use His power to deliver us.

Three

Even during times of difficulty, when we are righteous, we can be happy through the blessings of God. Why not, right? We all have to endure this life. Why not choose to have joy even in the midst of trial? Why not protect our joy by remembering the Lord and His tender mercies and letting the lives we live be a reflection of this knowledge.

A Chilling Warning (Alma 45:8-10)

It’s time for more commentary from Mormon (who abridged this historical record of his people).

“Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one.

Yea, and we also see the great wickedness one very wicked man can cause to take place among the children of men.

Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake. – Alma 46:8-10

This is a chilling warning for our own day. It’s crazy to see how the people who were subjected to war – who fought and rejoiced for their liberty when they won the war – would quickly forget this blessing of liberty.

It is indicative of a very ignorant and naive people. However, this attitude is more than mere naïveté. It is also insidious at its most extreme. Okay. and depending on the person who rejoices in his/her liberty but then wants to limit it – this attitude is also hypocritical.

I feel pretty safe in saying that we all want liberty. We all want to be free. But then there are people who feel like liberty shouldn’t be extended to all. (Not that they want their liberty limited. They want the liberty of others to bear the limitation).

This is the same hypocrisy of the war in heaven. Satan wanted to have agency while simultaneously crushing ours. You can’t have it both ways, though.

Trusting those who have the desire to have liberty while limiting others’ liberty is pride, ignorance, and maybe even complete stupidity. We ought to fight for liberty the way that we fight for life. The loss of liberties and privileges always has a terrible, miserable, and painful outcome. Often, we can’t regain this loss without a serious and bloody revolution.

We are at a political crossroads right now – it is election year, and this year seems to be particularly depressing. I would never tell you how to vote, but I do think that we need pay attention to our liberties and how each candidate respects the liberty of every person in this country. Once we give up our liberties, the cost to get them back may seem too high.

Pride – A Block to Our Happiness (Alma 42:30)

In Alma 42, Alma is still teaching his son, Corianton. He says something very interesting to his son:

“O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.” – Alma 42:30

Pride so often stands in the way of happiness.

Instead of changing, so many people excuse their sins by denying the justice of God, instead. I can see why this is a common pattern, but it doesn’t work!

We can deny God and His justice all we want, but our denial of God doesn’t make God non-existent. We can deny God and His justice all we want, but we are still subject to it.

Think of it this way. We may “disagree” with gravity. We may even let our pride in the matter wrap and distort our minds so much that we then deny the law of gravity. Despite such denial, if we stood at the edge of a cliff and jumped, we’d soon find that we were still subject to it.

Instead of denying God’s justice as a way to “justify” ourselves, we ought to simply accept the justice of God. The beauty of accepting God’s justice is that we can also accept the companion blessing He has offered us through Christ: His mercy.

Through accepting God’s justice and Christ’s atonement, we then will humble ourselves to let Christ’s Atonement take place in our lives. We do this by submitting to Him – by being righteous. And the result…HAPPINESS!!!

Denial gets us nowhere. Accept. Be humble. Obey. Be happy!