Ancestral Forgiving Has Its Roots In Godliness!


I was reading in the scriptures early this morning and came across a 2073 year old letter. Actually two letters. The letters are recorded in the fifty-forth chapter of Alma. One was sent by Moroni the General of the Nephite armies, to the leader of the invading Lamanites, Ammoron. Moroni’s letter is admonishing Ammoron to cease and desist from the unrighteous invasion of his army. But I was most interested in Ammoron’s letter of response. Quoting a bit of his letter to Moroni:

“For behold, your fathers did wrong their brethren, insomuch that they did rob them of their right to the government when it rightly belonged unto them. And now behold, if ye will lay down your arms, and subject yourselves to be governed by those to whom the government doth rightly belong, then will I cause that my people shall lay down their weapons and shall be at war no more. (vs. 17-18)

Note that Ammoron states very clearly in his letter that the Nephites have wronged their brethren. Ammoron is a Zoramite, not a Lamanite, so he is speaking on behalf of the army. But just for good measure, he wants to point out that he has also been wronged. Why? Because “I am Ammoron, and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem” (vs.23).

It appears Ammoron has some perceived injustices that have not been righted. An old story with a familiar tune! This war is being waged in the year 63 B.C.. Ammoron is referring to two historic events that have long since passed but apparently not forgotten!

Ammoron was justifying the invasion because his father was “pressed” and brought out of Jerusalem over 500 years earlier by Nephi. And of course we know about Laman and Lemuel being the oldest in the family. No doubt the Lamanities were taught to hate the Nephites because the younger brother, Nephi, did take away their right to govern.

According to Nephi’s account,  his life was in danger so he fled with all those who wanted to follow him. He didn’t force anyone and certainly didn’t try to overthrow his older brothers. But, no matter! When you want to justify hate, look to the forefathers to feed and justify it.

Sadly, as a human race we have been using the sins of the fathers to justify hate and prejudice since the beginning of time. I am grateful to a church that has never fallen into the trap of using the sins of the fathers to justify and feed hate. Despite the fact that the history of the church is laden with unjustified violence and prejudice towards my forefathers, I was never taught to hate the ancestors of those who perpetuated such unwarranted violence. How sad it is that some men cannot leave past sins alone. They use them for their advantage and reign with death and destruction. The spirit of revenge and retribution is of the Devil. Remember “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Rom. 12:19). Forgiveness of our enemies as commanded by the Lord, is not just meant for the living, but we must also forgive the sins of  the dead and bury them in the past. It is only after we forgive both the living and the dead that true healing can take root in our hearts.


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