Alma 14: The Gospel Message Angers the Wicked

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 107–108

It often takes courage to follow the teachings of the Lord’s servants. The challenges faced by the humble in Alma 14, however, are truly remarkable. You may be surprised at how much new converts and other righteous people must endure for their faith. Make special note of how Amulek felt about what he saw and of Alma’s strength and wisdom. In addition, try to imagine what the wicked thought when they saw what eventually happened to Alma and Amulek.

Understanding the Scriptures

Alma and Amulek at burning

Alma 14

Reviled (vv. 2, 5, 7)Criticized, insulted
Privily (v. 3)Secretly, privately
Harrowed up (v. 6)Tormented, pained
Martyrdom (v. 9)Suffering and dying because of one’s faith or beliefs
Consumed, consuming (vv. 9–10, 14)Destroyed, burned to death
Constraineth (v. 11)Forced, commanded
Smote (vv. 14–15, 17, 20, 24–25)Hit
Brimstone (v. 14)Burning sulfur; symbolic of the anguish and torment the wicked suffer
Rent in twain (v. 27)Torn into two pieces
Straightway (v. 28)Immediately

Alma 14:8–11—Why Does the Lord Allow the Righteous to Suffer?

Spencer W. Kimball

Many of us might feel like Amulek when he saw the suffering of righteous, humble people. Alma, however, helped him (and us) understand that Heavenly Father has a greater vision of what seems like tragedy to mortal men and women. Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained:

“We find many people critical when a righteous person is killed, a young father or mother is taken from a family, or when violent deaths occur. Some become bitter when oft-repeated prayers seem unanswered. Some lose faith and turn sour when solemn administrations by holy men seem to be ignored. … But if all the sick were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. …

“Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death; and if these were not, there would also be an absence of joy, success, resurrection, eternal life, and godhood” (“Tragedy or Destiny,” Improvement Era, Mar. 1966, 180, 210; see also Alma 60:13; D&C 98:13).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you study Alma 14.

Activity A iconExplain the Principles

  1. 1.

    Study Alma 14:8–11; 60:13; and the quotation from Elder Kimball found in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Alma 14:8–11, and then explain why you believe Alma and Amulek did not use priesthood power to save the righteous who were being killed. Note particularly the direction Alma followed from the Spirit.

  2. 2.

    What insight does the statement from Elder Kimball provide to explain why Alma and Amulek had to wait so long before they were given the power to deliver themselves from prison? (see Alma 14:26–29).

Activity B iconUnanswered Questions

After forcing Alma and Amulek to watch the burning of faithful believers, the wicked judges of Ammonihah asked them many questions, seven of which are recorded in Alma 14:14–21.

  1. 1.

    Find those questions and write them in your notebook, and then write the answer you think Alma and Amulek might have given had they thought it was right to answer.

  2. 2.

    Review Alma 14:2–5 and then read 3 Nephi 14:6 and Matthew 27:11–14 and explain why you think they refused to answer the questions of the wicked judges.

  3. 3.

    Is it necessary to answer every person who mocks you for your beliefs or who criticizes the Lord’s work? Why or why not?

Alma and Amulek in destroyed prison

© 1991 Gary L. Kapp