“O Ye Fair Sons and Daughters”

Brant Gardner

Quite recently, Mormon had characterized his people as no longer “delightsome” (Morm. 5:17). However, in death, he recalls them, not as wicked, but as the righteous people they had once been. Here they are not “dark and loathsome” (unrighteous) but “fair ones” (righteous). Life is always ended by death, so death itself is not inherently tragic. What is tragic is the demise of a formerly righteous people who could have altered their fate by accepting the mercy of Yahweh, “who stood with open arms to receive” them.

Literature: Rescanning the lament highlights the textual parallels.

O ye fair ones,
how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord!
O ye fair ones,
how could ye have rejected that Jesus,
who stood with open arms to receive you!
if ye had not done this,
ye would not have fallen.
But behold,
ye are fallen,
and I mourn your loss.
O ye fair sons and daughters,
ye fathers and mothers,
ye husbands and wives,
ye fair ones,
how is it that ye could have fallen!
But behold, ye are gone,
and my sorrows cannot bring your return.
And the day soon cometh
that your mortal must put on immortality,
and these bodies which are now moldering in corruption
must soon become incorruptible bodies;
and then ye must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ,
to be judged according to your works;
and if it so be that ye are righteous,
then are ye blessed with your fathers who have gone before you.
O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you. But behold, ye are gone,
and the Father,
yea, the Eternal Father of heaven,
knoweth your state;
and he doeth with you
according to his justice and mercy.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6