Scriptural Giants: A Change of Heart


Although Alma’s father was the high priest, Alma did all that he could to destroy the Church. Then an angel appeared to him, and Alma repented and did all that he could to guide the people in righteousness.

When Alma went to the city of Ammonihah, the people reviled him and cast him out. The angel came to him again and told him to return to Ammonihah. As he entered the city the second time, he met Amulek, a man who fed him and became his friend. Together they went to preach to the people of Ammonihah.

Alma stretched forth his hand and cried, “Now is the time to repent, for the day of salvation draweth nigh. …

“And now we only wait to hear the joyful news declared unto us … of his coming. …

“And now, my brethren, I wish … that ye would … cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance.”

Some of the people began to believe, but most of them hardened their hearts. Angrily they seized Alma and Amulek, bound them with strong ropes, and dragged them to their chief judge. They threw rocks at the believers and cast them out of the city. Then they took Alma and Amulek to a place where a large fire had been started.

The hate-filled mob had gathered the wives and children of the men who had been cast out of the city and threw them into the fire along with the holy scriptures.

Alma and Amulek were horrified. “How can we witness this awful scene?” Amulek cried. “Let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.”

But Alma answered, “The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing … that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just.”

“Perhaps they will burn us also,” Amulek said.

“Be it according to the will of the Lord,” Alma answered, adding, “But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not.”

As the horrible flames died away, the chief judge of Ammonihah slapped Alma and Amulek and said, “After what ye have seen, will ye preach again unto this people?”

Alma and Amulek stood bravely without answering. Hitting them again, the judge ordered that they be cast into prison. After three days many judges, lawyers, and wicked priests came to question Alma and Amulek. But still they would not speak.

“Why do ye not answer?” the judge asked.

But even when he commanded them to speak, Alma and Amulek answered nothing.

Alma and Amulek were given no food or water, and they were stripped of their clothes. The wicked men returned often to mock and persecute the prophets. During one of these visits the chief judge hit Alma and Amulek and cried out mockingly, “If ye have the power of God deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe.”

Laughing and cursing, the other men also hit the prophets. Then, when the last one had spoken, the power of God filled Alma and Amulek, and they rose to their feet. “O Lord,” Alma cried, “give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance.” And he and Amulek broke the heavy ropes that bound them.

The wicked mob tried to flee, but so great was their fear that they fell helplessly. Then the earth began to tremble, and the walls of the prison crumbled to the ground, killing them but not Alma and Amulek, who walked unharmed out of the demolished prison.

Hearing the terrible noise, the rest of the people of Ammonihah came running. When they saw Alma and Amulek, and the prison in ruins, they, too, were filled with fear and fled.

The Lord now commanded Alma and Amulek to leave Ammonihah. They went to the city of Sidom, where they found the believers who had been stoned and cast out of Ammonihah. Once more Alma and Amulek began to preach and to establish the Church.