Scriptural Giants: Martyr for Truth


King Noah was a very wicked man. When he became king of Lehi-Nephi, he taxed the people heavily so that he could build an elegant palace and temple. He also rid the land of all the priests that had been consecrated by his father, King Zeniff, and had appointed new ones who were sinful and selfish. The people were taught by the wicked priests to worship idols and to do evil things.

Now, there was one man among the people who was a prophet. His name was Abinadi. He could see that the priests were teaching the people to do things that were displeasing to the Lord. Wanting to help the people, Abinadi went among them, teaching them the gospel and telling them to repent.

“And it shall come to pass,” Abinadi prophesied, “that except this people repent and turn unto the Lord their God, they shall be brought into bondage; and none shall deliver them, except it be the Lord the Almighty God.”

But instead of believing and repenting, the people became angry and tried to kill Abinadi. However, the Lord delivered Abinadi out of their hands.

When the people told King Noah about the prophesying of Abinadi, the king was angry and commanded them “to bring Abinadi hither, that I may slay him.”

But Abinadi had gone into hiding. For two years the king’s men searched for Abinadi, but they could not find him.

Then one day Abinadi disguised himself and began to teach the gospel to the people again. He told them that if they didn’t repent, famines and other afflictions would come to them.

The people still refused to listen. Instead, they grabbed Abinadi, tied him up, and carried him to King Noah. “Behold, we have brought a man before thee who has prophesied evil concerning thy people,” the angry mob told Noah. “And he also prophesieth evil concerning thy life.”

The more King Noah heard of what Abinadi had said, the angrier he became. He had Abinadi imprisoned, then called his priests to a council to ask them what he should do with Abinadi.

“Bring him hither that we may question him,” the priests answered.

When the priests questioned Abinadi, they worded their questions very carefully. They hoped to trick Abinadi into saying something for which they could accuse him of evil.

But Abinadi confounded them. “Are you priests,” he questioned, “and pretend to teach this people … ?” Then he asked, “If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it?”

Then Abinadi tried to teach them the gospel. But they would not listen.

“Away with this fellow, and slay him,” King Noah angrily commanded his priests.

But when the priests went to take Abinadi, he cried out, “Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver.”

King Noah and the priests drew back, for the Spirit of the Lord was with Abinadi; his face shone brightly, and he spoke with great power. “Ye see that ye have not power to slay me, therefore I finish my message,” Abinadi declared. He told the priests to repent. He told them about God and the commandments that Moses had taught. And he prophesied about the coming of Jesus Christ and the Atonement and the Resurrection.

Abinadi spoke for a long time, and no one dared to stop him. But when he finished, the king was still angry. Once more he commanded the priests to seize Abinadi and kill him.

However, one of the young priests, a man named Alma, had been touched by Abinadi’s words. He stepped forward and began to plead with Noah to let Abinadi go.

This made King Noah even angrier, and he ordered Alma to leave. As soon as the young priest had gone, Noah commanded his servants to follow Alma and kill him. Turning back to Abinadi, he commanded his guards to bind Abinadi and throw him into prison.

Three days later King Noah called for the prisoner to be brought before him. He told Abinadi, “Thou hast said that God himself should come down among the children of men; and now, for this cause thou shalt be put to death unless thou wilt recall all the words which thou hast spoken evil concerning me and my people.”

Abinadi replied boldly, “I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you.”

Abinadi’s words frightened King Noah so much that he would have released Abinadi if the priests hadn’t shouted, “He has reviled the king.”

King Noah’s anger returned, and he commanded that Abinadi be killed. The men took hold of Abinadi, bound him, placed bundles of sticks around him, and set them afire. As the smoke and flames lashed about him, Abinadi prophesied, “Ye shall be taken by the hand of your enemies, and then ye shall suffer, as I suffer, the pains of death by fire.” Then he said, “O God, receive my soul,” and died.

[illustration] Painting by Arnold Friberg