A Time of Solemnity – Alma 28:4-6

4 And now this was a time that there was a great mourning and lamentation heard throughout all the land, among all the people of Nephi—
5 Yea, the cry of widows mourning for their husbands, and also of fathers mourning for their sons, and the daughter for the brother, yea, the brother for the father; and thus the cry of mourning was heard among all of them, mourning for their kindred who had been slain.
6 And now surely this was a sorrowful day; yea, a time of solemnity, and a time of much fasting and prayer.
(Alma 28:4-6)

After the Nephites agreed to host the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, a group of religious refugees, they were attacked by the persecutors of those refugees. Many Nephite soldiers were killed. You could imagine the families of those soldiers being angry and even wondering whether they had made the wrong decision to accept these people into their land. But in Mormon’s account of the aftermath of the battle, we see no hint of anger or regret. Instead, he tells us that this was “a sorrowful day; yea, a time of solemnity, and a time of much fasting and prayer.”

In yesterday’s post, we discussed the need to avoid becoming angry when we experience adversity. In today’s passage, we see a group of people modeling an appropriate response: let your sorrow turn you to God. Let your mourning be solemn–serious, dignified, and sincere–and let it lead to actions like fasting and prayer which will bring you closer to God.

As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has testified, those burdens which cause us great sadness can be lifted when we turn toward the Savior:

Are you battling a demon of addiction—tobacco or drugs or gambling, or the pernicious contemporary plague of pornography? Is your marriage in trouble or your child in danger? Are you confused with gender identity or searching for self-esteem? Do you—or someone you love—face disease or depression or death? Whatever other steps you may need to take to resolve these concerns, come first to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Trust in heaven’s promises…. I testify that the Savior’s Atonement lifts from us not only the burden of our sins but also the burden of our disappointments and sorrows, our heartaches and our despair (“Broken Things to Mend,” General Conference, April 2006).

Today, when I encounter disappointments or face daunting challenges, I will turn to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will choose to do things which will bring me closer to the Savior, and will adopt an attitude of solemnity, of serious and sincere seeking, trusting that the Savior has the power to strengthen and heal me.

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