Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2018, November 12

“Book of Mormon: How to Have Joy in Others’ Successes” by grego

“Book of Mormon: How to Have Joy in Others’ Successes”

by grego
(c)2018

The more we have the Spirit, the less we will look at someone else accomplishing good and feel sorrow or despair. We shouldn’t wish our grass were as green as we perceive theirs to be. Sometimes we can get to work and make our grass greener, or find out how they’re doing it and give it a try; but other times, we have to accept that God wants us to work on other things, or have a garden, or even a patio, and use it as He intended us to use it.

Alma has the perfect attitude regarding this. At first he says:
Alma 29:1 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
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.

But then he says:
3 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.
4 I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.
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.
6 Now, seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?
7 Why should I desire that I were an angel, that I could speak unto all the ends of the earth?
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.
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.
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.
11 Yea, and I also remember the captivity of my fathers; for I surely do know that the Lord did deliver them out of bondage, and by this did establish his church; yea, the Lord God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, did deliver them out of bondage.
12 Yea, I have always remembered the captivity of my fathers; and that same God who delivered them out of the hands of the Egyptians did deliver them out of bondage.
13 Yea, and that same God did establish his church among them; yea, and that same God hath called me by a holy calling, to preach the word unto this people, and hath given me much success, in the which my joy is full.
14 But I do not joy in my own success alone, but my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi.
15 Behold, they have labored exceedingly, and have brought forth much fruit; and how great shall be their reward!
16 Now, when I think of the success of these my brethren my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it from the body, as it were, so great is my joy.
17 And now may God grant unto these, my brethren, that they may sit down in the kingdom of God; yea, and also all those who are the fruit of their labors that they may go no more out, but that they may praise him forever. And may God grant that it may be done according to my words, even as I have spoken. Amen.

Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it; and if you do, maybe it will interfere with God’s plan for you—and others. This might include your spouse, children, other family, friends, and many more. And if you don’t get what you wished for, you will have wasted resources on trying to accomplish your will instead of God’s.

That does not mean that it’s bad to wish or desire, because we don’t know if maybe there’s space and it will fit well. Sometimes, it might be a matter of timing. Perhaps that was the case with Alma, because we read:
Alma 45:18 And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of.
19 Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial.

It sounds like he did become an angel.

Concentrate on your current mission, instead of discontentedly dreaming of your future mission—that might or might not be. (My life has greatly improved after I decided not to deal in hypotheticals anymore.)

How is it possible to feel joy in others’ successes and missions?

I think Ammon helps us understand this even further. When he leads his people to the Nephites, he runs into Alma:
Alma 27:17 Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth.
18 Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.

Note that if you are truly penitent and humbly seek happiness, you will find joy (and not necessarily happiness?)…

Ammon had spent 14 years among the Lamanites, preaching the gospel. What were the Lamanites like? Alma 17:14 And assuredly it was great, for they had undertaken to preach the word of God to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them; and their hearts were set upon riches, or upon gold and silver, and precious stones; yet they sought to obtain these things by murdering and plundering, that they might not labor for them with their own hands.
They had tried to kill him twice the first short period he was there, and they would have succeeded without God’s intervention! And when God worked miracles through and around him, some thought he was “a monster, who had been sent from the Nephites to torment them” (Alma 19:26). It was hard and difficult work, and many rejected the message he and his group had brought. How was it possible he filled with joy?

Like Alma, he received his calling and gloried in it, and did his best to bring souls and glory to God:
Alma 26:1 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?
2 And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
3 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.

What was the key to their success? We are clearly told:
26 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.
27 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.
28 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.
29 [We labored diligently,] 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.
30 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.

When we have that love, you will find joy in the success of people doing good things.

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