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.
It is wonderful to see old friends and to discover that they are doing well. Mormon previously described this same experience from Alma’s perspective and described the joy he felt on seeing Ammon and his brothers after 14 years apart, “and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth” (Alma 17:1-2
The kind of joy that Alma and Ammon felt on this occasion is inaccessible to the wicked. They may think they know what will make them happy; they may break the commandments of God in the pursuit of happiness again and again, but they will find themselves disappointed every time. If they find something outside of themselves to blame for their unhappiness, then the cycle can repeat indefinitely. Laman and Lemuel lamented:
Behold, these many years we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy (1 Nephi 17:21).
I would prefer to follow the example of people who have actually experienced happiness, rather than those who think they understand happiness and who blame others for their misery.
Remember that Ammon’s happiness did not come without sacrifice and struggle. He tells us in the prior chapter that he and his brothers were at times depressed and discouraged (Alma 26:27
). But they were committed to a worthy goal, they were living humbly, and they were working hard. No wonder they experienced great joy.
Today, I will follow Ammon’s example of humbly working to achieve righteous goals. I will remember that happiness is a consequence of righteous living, and I will avoid blaming other people when I am unhappy.