Book of Mormon
Than One Witness”
Alma calls the people of Ammonihah to repentance, but they reject him.
Amulek preaches to the people of Ammonihah.
Amulek contends with Zeezrom and testifies of Christ.
Alma further explains Amulek's words and warns against hard-heartedness.
A study of this lesson will increase our understanding of the plan of redemption
and the power of having more than one witness to testify of gospel truths.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
notes: Click on links for expanded information.
Lesson 23 Handout (PDF)
After having taught his mighty sermon on spiritual rebirth, Alma set the
church in order in Zarahemla. He did this prior to beginning a journey to other parts of
the land to preach the gospel (see
Alma went to the land of Gideon where he (see
Testified of the mission of Jesus Christ.
Taught the necessity of faith, repentance, baptism.
Encouraged the qualities of faith, hope, and charity.
Alma preaches in the land of Melek with great success.
Alma continued his mission in the land of Ammonihah.
"Now Satan had gotten great hold
upon the hearts of the people of the city of Ammonihah; therefore they
would not hearken unto the words of Alma." (Alma 8:9)
The people "withstood
all his words, and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should
be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey towards
the city which was called Aaron." (Alma 8:13)
On his way to the land of Aaron an angel appeared to Alma, gave him a warning
about the people and their intentions, and commanded him to return to the
land of Ammonihah.
Alma did not question the angel, but "returned
speedily to the land of Ammonihah" (Alma 8:18).
Upon returning to the land of Ammonihah, he entered "the city by another
way" and was met by Amulek who had received instructions from an angel
to host Alma.
LIKE THE PREPARATIONS MADE FOR ALMA'S MISSION,
HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THE LORD PREPARE A WAY FOR YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE TO HELP
DO HIS WORK?
There is much evidence of this in Church history.
Consider Wilford Woodruff's mission to England and the great conversions
in Herefordshire. The people of this area had been searching for
truth. Their hearts had been prepared. In just a few months,
Elder Woodruff was responsible for the baptisms of nearly 2000 people.
Each missionary that goes out seems to have doors opened to assist him
or her in getting on the mission and then finding those the Lord would
have them find.
Alma, accompanied by Amulek, went out and began to preach to the people
Alma returns to his preaching to the people of Ammonihah.
ALMA 9:1-6. The response of the Ammonihahites
WHAT ARGUMENTS DID THE PEOPLE OF AMMONIHAH USE IN ATTEMPTING TO REJECT ALMA
AS HE BEGAN PREACHING TO THEM A SECOND TIME?
"Who art thou?" (v2).
They did not recognize the authority and standing of Alma as the high priest
of the church, nor did they recognize the nature of this divinely appointed
mission. It was an excuse.
"We will not believe thy words if thou shouldst
prophesy that this great city should be destroyed in one day"
Another statement that they did not recognize Alma's authority and also
a statement about their lack of faith.
"Who is God, that sendeth no more authority than
one man among this people, to declare unto them the truth of such great
and marvelous things?" (v6).
Just another excuse. They said they were unwilling to believe the
testimony of one man.
WHY DO MANY PEOPLE TODAY IGNORE THE IMPORTANT TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL?
Many, like the people of Ammonihah, are so caught up in their lifestyles
and sins, that they will use any convenient excuse to justify their behavior
and refuse to listen to the truth.
The people forget the tradition of their fathers.
As you recall from Lesson 22 (Alma
5), Alma was concerned
about the members of the church remembering the experiences of their fathers.
We see in Alma's visit to Ammonihah the results of not holding in remembrance
those that went before.
"Behold, O ye wicked and perverse generation,
how have ye forgotten the tradition of your fathers; yea, how soon ye have
forgotten the commandments of God." (v8).
Again we see the importance of remembering those who went before and the
importance of recording our sacred experiences in our journals.
It may be our written words that might motivate or provoke some
future family member to repent and/or to stay faithful.
Sinning against light and knowledge.
WHY DOES GOD EXPECT MORE FROM THOSE WHO HAVE THE GOSPEL THAN FROM THOSE
WHO DO NOT?
"...after having had all things made known unto
them, according to their desires, and their faith, and prayers"
They had received sacred and eternal truths, pearls of great price. Once they have been given this valuable knowledge, why should they be able to turn away from these truths without consequence?
"And now behold I say unto you, that if this people,
who have received so many blessings from the hand of the Lord, should transgress
contrary to the light and knowledge which they do have, I say unto you
that if this be the case, that if they should fall into transgression,
it would be far more tolerable for the Lamanites than for them."
Brigham Young: "Those who do not profess to know
anything of the Lord are far better off than we are, unless we live our
religion, for we who know our Master's will and do it not will be beaten
with many stripes; while they who do not know the Master's will and do it
not will be beaten with few stripes. This is perfectly reasonable. We cannot
chastise a child for doing that which is contrary to our wills, if he knows
no better; but when our children are taught better and know what is required
of them, if they then rebel, of course, they expect to be chastised, and
it is perfectly right that they should be." (JD, 16:110-11)
HOW CAN WE COME TO VIEW THIS EXPECTATION AS AN OPPORTUNITY RATHER THAN
We need to remember and consider the blessings and positive consequences
that come from living righteously.
"Therefore, prepare ye the way of the
Lord, for the time is at hand that all men shall reap a reward of their
works, according to that which they have been--if they have been righteous
they shall reap the salvation of their souls, according to the power and
deliverance of Jesus Christ; and if they have been evil they shall reap
the damnation of their souls, according to the power and captivation of
the devil." (Alma 9:28)
- Remember what eventually happened to the city of Ammonihah (see
Amulek begins teaching.
He talks of his own conversion.
Amulek says he is a man "of no small reputation" and that he has many kindreds and friends. Further, he acquired many riches by
the hand of his industry (v4).
Amulek continued by stating that he had never "known much of the ways of
the Lord" (v5).
He said, "I did harden my heart, for I was called
many times and I would not hear" (v6).
DO WE EVER HARDEN OUR HEARTS AND TUNE OUT THE WHISPERINGS OF THE SPIRIT
(WHICH ARE THE WORDS OF THE LORD DIRECTLY TO US)?
HOW CAN WE BECOME MORE RECEPTIVE TO HIS COMMUNICATIONS?
Obedience, prayer, scripture study, etc.
We must give heed to his words when we hear them. This is absolutely
essential. Why would the Lord continue to bless us with revelation
and communication if we ignore his counsel?
Receiving revelation and communication from the Lord requires practice.
The prayers of the righteous.
ALMA 10: 22-23.
WHAT DID AMULEK TEACH ABOUT THE POWER OF THE PRAYERS OF THE RIGHTEOUS?
There is great power in prayer and righteous living, even to the
preservation of a society.
Spencer W. Kimball speaking of our day said: "There
are many many upright and faithful who live all the commandments and whose
lives and prayers keep the world from destruction." (CR, Apr
HOW DO YOU THINK THE PRAYERS OF THE RIGHTEOUS HAVE HELPED COUNTER THE EFFECTS
OF WICKEDNESS TODAY?
"And now behold, I say unto you, that the foundation
of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness
of your lawyers and your judges." (v27)
Remember that the Book of Mormon is written to us in our day.
DO WE SEE THIS HAPPENING IN OUR OWN SOCIETY?
- Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet: "One
of the signs of moral decay, of apostasy and corruption within a society, is an
emphasis on technicalities of law. This comes about when, in order to advance
their cause, people seek to play the letter against the spirit of the law and in
effect to legalize chicanery. Among the pure in heart God's laws are etched on
the soul; they are found written in the countenances and inscribed on the inward
parts. Among the perverse, however, law is a means of accomplishing the
manipulation of others. Both anciently and in our own day, lawyers who seek to
uphold the law, who strive to bring the lawless to account, who earnestly
endeavor to protect the rights of all-these perform a valuable and appreciated
service in society. On the other hand, when lawyers undertake to generate
business for themselves by encouraging litigation in instances when patience and
long-suffering would be more appropriate; when they cover up the truth; when
their manipulations result in the guilty not being brought to justice, thereby
penalizing and punishing the innocent; and when they employ the witchery of
words or the sophistry of speech to deceive the unwary or the trusting-when they
do such things they have become pawns in the hand of the Father of all lies.
They have sold their souls. Amulek stated the matter simply: 'The foundation of
the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of
your lawyers and your judges'." (Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of
Mormon, 3: 72)
"Now the object of these lawyers was to get gain;
and they got gain according to their employ." (v32)
"Now, it was for the sole purpose
to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ,
therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of
disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might
get money according to the suits which were brought before them." (Alma
IF THIS IS HAPPENING IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY, WHAT IS
Judges are either elected or they are appointed by
elected officials. We must be more active in the political process:
voting, campaigning, and supporting worthy candidates. We need to
do all of this prayerfully and not be caught up in the hype that attends
"And this Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying:
Will ye answer me a few questions which I shall ask you? Now Zeezrom was
a man who was expert in the devices of the devil, that he might destroy
that which was good; therefore, he said unto Amulek: Will ye answer the
questions which I shall put unto you?" (v21).
Amulek's response: "Yea, if it be according to
the Spirit of the Lord, which is in me; for I shall say nothing which is
contrary to the Spirit of the Lord" (v22).
WHAT WAS ZEEZROM'S FIRST REQUEST?
"Behold, here are six onties of silver, and all
these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being"
Here we see evidence of a corrupt lawyer and man. It would seem that Zeezrom's most effective tool for dealing with judges and witnesses was
to buy their testimony. He could once again demonstrate his "great
skill" as a lawyer by getting Alma's chief witness to change or deny his
HOW DID AMULEK RESPOND?
"O thou child of hell, why tempt ye me? Knowest
thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations? Believest
thou that there is no God? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there
is a God, but thou lovest that lucre more than him" (v23-24).
Zeezrom was a man who denied the truth. Amulek was the absolute opposite,
he simply told the truth in plain terms. That is easy to do when
you act "according to the Spirit."
Zeezrom learned that Amulek was a man of conviction. Since bribery did not work, he then attempted to trap Amulek through a line
After asking some questions about God, Zeezrom asked
if the Son of God would save the people in their sins.
"And Amulek answered and said unto him: I say
unto you he shall not, for it is impossible for him to deny his word"
Zeezrom attempts to set the trap by catching Amulek
in a contradiction: "Now Zeezrom said unto
the people: See that ye remember these things; for he said there is but
one God; yet he saith that the Son of God shall come, but he shall not
save his people--as though he had authority to command God"
Amulek continues to tell the plain truth: "Behold
thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority
to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins. And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I
cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit
the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit
the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins"
Amulek then went on and taught Zeezrom and the people
about the Atonement, the resurrection, and the judgment.
"Now, when Amulek had finished these words the
people began again to be astonished, and also Zeezrom began to tremble"
Apparently the truth was a rare thing in Ammonihah. The people were "astonished" and Zeezrom knew that he had been the one
Alma begins speaking.
Snares of the devil.
If Zeezrom had not heard enough of the truth, Alma painted the picture
even more clearly.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN ABOUT SATAN FROM ALMA'S RESPONSE TO ZEEZROM?
He will use any means necessary to thwart the work of salvation.
President Harold B. Lee: "Note
carefully that . . . our most deadly contest in life is not with human
enemies which may come with guns, with army tanks, or bombing planes to
destroy us, but that our eternal struggle is with enemies which strike
out of darkness and may not be perceived by human senses." (Stand
Ye In Holy Places, p.330)
HOW CAN WE PROTECT OURSELVES AGAINST SATAN'S SUBTLE DEVICES?
HOW CAN WE TEACH CHILDREN TO RECOGNIZE AND REJECT SATAN'S INFLUENCE?
Knowledge of the Lord.
HOW DOES THE CONDITION OF OUR HEARTS AFFECT OUT RESPONSE TO GOD'S WORD?
Joseph Smith: "Many men will say, 'I will never
forsake you, but will stand by you at all times.' But the moment
you teach them some of the mysteries of the kingdom of God that are retained
in the heavens and are to be revealed to the children of men when they
are prepared for them they will be the first to stone you and put you to
death." (TPJS, p309)
Joseph Smith: "I could explain a hundred fold
more than I ever of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to me in the
vision, were I permitted, and were the people prepared to receive them. The Lord deals with this people as a tender parent with a child, communicating
light and intelligence and the knowledge of his ways as they can bear it."
HOW CAN WE DEVELOP HEARTS THAT RECOGNIZE, UNDERSTAND, AND ACCEPT THE WORD
Consider Nephi's words: "And it came to pass that
I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature,
and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore,
I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my
heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father;
wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers." (1
"Do ye not remember the things
which the Lord hath said?--If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me
in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my
commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you." (1
The plan of redemption.
WHAT INSIGHTS INTO GOD'S PLAN FOR OUR REDEMPTION DO YOU GAIN FROM ALMA'S
WHY DO YOU THINK ALMA EMPHASIZED THAT GOD PREPARED THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION
"FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD"? (v25 & 30)
WHAT DOES THIS DISCOURSE TEACH US ABOUT WHY GOD GAVE US COMMANDMENTS?
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the teachings of Alma and Amulek. What have you
learned that can become part of your life? How do we respond to the Zeezrom's
Resources Used In This Lesson
Conference Reports (CR).
Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Volume 3, by Joseph Fielding
McConkie and Robert L. Millet.
Journal of Discourses (JD).
Stand Ye In Holy Places by Harold B. Lee.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS).
Gospel Doctrine Class
Page created by: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please E-Mail comments.
Changes last made on:
18 April 2016