“O ye workers of iniquity”(1) Alma (2) rebuked a fallen people, “if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye?”(3) “Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd; for … whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil … therefore if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd … but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil”, and “for his wages he receiveth death.”(4)
Have you walked blameless before God, Alma asks them; are you stripped of pride and envy? Do you persecute your brother? Repent, Alma tells them, for God “sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and He saith: Repent, and I will receive you … come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire.”(5)
That was 83 B.C. and this is 2023 A.D. Life is different now. We have electricity and motors and vehicles and computers and internet and science. But the purpose of life has not changed. This life is our one big chance to become the children of Christ. “The good shepherd doth call after you;”, Alma said to them, “and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep…that ye may be partakers of the tree of life”(6). And so it is.
Footnotes – from “The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ”
(1) Alma 5:37, p. 220 (2) Alma was the high priest over the church among the Nephites, descendants of a group of Jews led out of the corrupt Jerusalem of 600 B.C., to the Americas where their civilization waxed and waned for a thousand years. “The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ” documents the more spiritual parts of their history, including the visitation of Jesus Christ to these “sheep of another fold”(John 10:16) (3) Alma 5:39, p. 220 (4) Ibid., v. 39-42 (5) Ibid., v. 33-35 (6) Alma 5:60, 62, p. 222-223