Alma 29:1-4 Alma 42:31 Alma 62:45 Doctrine and Covenants 14:8 Doctrine and Covenants 15:6 Doctrine and Covenants 16:6
"Oh, that I were an angel," cried Alma, "and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!"
And why did he wish to be an angel? For glory, for power? No, it was "that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth."
As a mom, I sometimes wish that I could speak with a voice that would shake my children. "Look. You're not happy. This is the way."
When I was growing up, whenever repentance was taught in church, the lesson was accompanied by a picture of a man in agony on his knees. Perhaps you remember this picture. It was heart wrenching, and you could see the man was in great pain. It taught me that repentance was hard, and it was painful.
Once I had learned to repent, however, I realized that this picture was wrong, wrong, wrong. Sure, there's a measure of difficulty and pain involved, but it comes from the sins you are forsaking, not from the repentance process itself.
The picture that comes to my mind when I think about repentance is my old home teacher, a relatively young man with tattoos up and down his arms that peeked out from the sleeves of his white shirt, who taught with humility and love, and when he looked at you, he looked you in the eyes with a clear, blameless gaze. He talked about the life that Christ saved him from. I felt the gratitude in his voice. He was happy. He was free.
You can see a person's burdens in their eyes, in the corners of their mouths, in lines burrowed in their foreheads, in shoulders bent and arms hanging down. You can see repentance in the twinkling of their eyes, the smile of their mouths, their shoulders back and strong, their arms reaching out to others.
Oh, that I were an angel, and could give this gift to others, that there would be no more sorrow in the world.