Source:Rediscovering the Book of Mormon:Ch:10:6:Poetry:Alma to Helaman

Poetry in the Book of Mormon text: Alma to Helaman

Poetry in the Book of Mormon text: Alma to Helaman

Alma's instruction to his son Helaman contains this elevated poetic exhortation:

1 O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth;
2 yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.
3 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support;
4 yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord,
5 and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord;
6 yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord;
7 yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
8 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings,
9 and he will direct thee for good;
10 yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord,
11 that he may watch over you in your sleep;
12 and when thou risest in the morning
13 let thy heart be full of thanks unto God;
14 and if ye do these things,
15 ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
(Alma 37:35-37)
The second line adds to the kind of learning found in the first. Line three sets up a relationship with God that in the next four lines receives greater importance and emphasis, moving from crying, to doing, to going, and, in lines six and seven, from thoughts to affections. The relationship advocated between Helaman and the Lord in the second half of the poem is more intimate, starting with "counsel with the Lord" (contrast with the more distant "cry unto God" in the first half). The paired opposites of times of day are used in the climax of the poem. The actions of lying down at night unto the Lord and rising in the morning with thanks unto God are followed by being lifted up at the last day.[1]


  1. Richard Dilworth Rust, "Poetry in the Book of Mormon," in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, edited by John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co.; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991), Chapter 10.