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"The Ballad of Abinadi" by Mario R. Montani

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

The Ballad of Abinadi

by Mario R. Montani

translated by Whitney Hemsath

Back in the land of Nephi

and the borders of Shilom,

the people had perverted

all the ways of Chist, their Lord.

So God sent forth Abinadi

in wicked Noah’s day

to preach of virtue and the law

and help them to obey.

“Behold, saith the Lord of Hosts

to you who won’t repent,

Wo, wo unto this people!

The commandments must be kept.

Jehovah has revealed his arm

in ev’ry land and nation,

showing that His name alone

can bring to men salvation.

How beautiful upon the mount,

the feet of those who bring

good tidings to the sons of men

and make known Zion’s king.

Break forth in joy and sing aloud

from every desert place.

Jerusalem has been redeemed,

consoled by Christ’s embrace.”

They brought him to King Noah then

with all the wicked priests,

and though they hated what he said,

the prophet did not cease.

“Are you really priests who claim

to teach this people doctrine?

Who claim to have prophetic gifts

Yet these things you’ve forgotten?

You pay no heed to all the truths

That you’ve already have learned

And seek instead for me to give

The answers you’ve not earned.

I say again Wo, wo to you

who won’t apply your minds

to understanding God’s great love

and nurturing designs.

If you believe in Moses’s law,

why do you not teach it?

Why do you commit such sins?

You know it’s truth I’m speaking.

Remember the commandments

and keep each one with respect.

The Law is but a schoolmaster

for hard and stiffened necks.

Our God will bring salvation

when he steps down from his throne.

It’s for your very sins that he

will suffer and atone.

They’ll call him the Messiah.

No deceit will touch his lips.

His hour on earth will come to pass--

Isaiah promised this.

In ev’ry tribe and ev’ry tongue,

they’ll state before the Lord

that there is only justice

in his judgements and rewards.

Through his redemption, he’ll defeat

the power of the grave,

and death will lose its bitter sting;

we’ll be no more its slaves.”

The priests accused Abinadi

of sland’ring the King’s name

and did not fear to sentence him

to death amongst the flames.

But one man they called Alma,

who himself was Noah’s priest,

believed the words the prophet said

and felt his faith increase.

While suffering within the flames,

Abinadi revealed

in days to come, they’d share his fate.

Then death his witness sealed.

From that fire’s great light arose

A blaze of faith once dormant

In the fountain, pure and clear—

The waters they called Mormon.

This piece was published in 2023 as part of the Around the World in Mormon Literature contest by the Mormon Lit Lab. Sign up for our newsletter for future updates.

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