Amulek, Zeezrom, Lamoni.*
I LOVE these characters because each one was a far cry from holy. Amulek chose comfort over sacrifice (Alma 8), Zeezrom made moral compromises for an income (Alma 15), and Lamoni inherited leadership over a violent people and perpetuated the poor traditions of his predecessors (Alma 18).
That’s how their stories began. But each was befriended by a disciples of Jesus Christ. And when introduced to Jesus and to God’s redeeming plan, their lives transformed. They became powerful advocates, missionaries, and leaders.
That transformation fascinates me. How can I experience this restoration of soul? How can I become an earnest servant of God when I sometimes behave in ways that are complacent or morally compromising? Or when I participate in the false traditions of my fathers?
Lately I’ve been talking to friends lately who feel STUCK—swirling around the vortex of painful decisions, haunted by their pasts.
I feel that way sometimes.
For them and for myself, I long to see clouds of darkness dispelled, for an infusion of light to the soul (Alma 19:6).
This is the truth that I want for us–
“There are times you cannot mend that which you have broken. … [Y]ou are trapped. It is easy to understand how helpless and hopeless you then feel and why you might want to give up,
[But remember this:]
Restoring what you cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that which you broke and you cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonement of Christ.
… Do not give up if at first you fail. Often the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive yourself. Discouragement is part of that test. Do not give up.
… there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness.”
-Elder Boyd K. Packer, The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness, October 1995
*Book of Mormon characters with crazy names and even better stories.