After hearing Alma and Amulek preach, some of the people in Ammonihah believed and repented, including Zeezrom. Others were angry and caused Alma and Amulek to be imprisoned. The wicked people in Ammonihah cast out the men who believed and burned their wives and children. After many days, the Lord delivered Alma and Amulek from prison and destroyed the wicked leaders of Ammonihah. In Sidom, Zeezrom was suffering physically and spiritually. He professed his faith in Jesus Christ to Alma and was healed. In fulfillment of prophecy, a Lamanite army destroyed the city of Ammonihah. Alma’s prophetic guidance allowed the Nephite armies to stop the Lamanites’ aggression. Alma, Amulek, and many others strengthened the Church throughout the land of the Nephites.
Think of an instance when you may have seen or heard about someone who was innocent suffer at the hands of another person—an incident of someone being persecuted for his or her beliefs, for example. Ponder the following questions:
What feelings did you have for the person who was suffering?
How did you feel toward the person inflicting the suffering?
Why do you think bad things sometimes happen to innocent and righteous people?
As you read Alma 14, relate these questions to the experiences of Alma and Amulek.
Read Alma 14:1–10, looking for who suffered and how they suffered. Then complete the following chart:
How Did They Suffer?
As recorded in Alma 14:10, what did Amulek want to do? Read Alma 14:11, and identify a truth that might help someone who is struggling with understanding why the wicked are sometimes allowed to harm those who are innocent or righteous.
One way to convey a truth from Alma 14:11 is: The Lord permits the righteous to suffer at the hands of the wicked so that His judgments may be just. Note that it was revealed to Alma that those who died were received by the Lord “in glory” (Alma 14:11). Teaching about this event with an eternal perspective, President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency said: “Amulek was given the blessing to see the goodness and fairness of God in even so horrible a tragedy” (“Amulek: The Blessings of Obedience,” in Heroes from the Book of Mormon , 110).
Read Alma 60:12–13, and cross-reference it to Alma 14:10–11. We learn that among the reasons the righteous are permitted to suffer are to seal their testimonies with their lives (see D&C 135:3) and to stand as witnesses against the wicked.
Understanding why God allows the righteous to suffer can be a difficult principle for us to understand. Reflect upon the following statement from President Spencer W. Kimball to further understand why God allows people to exercise their agency, even if they make wrong choices:
“If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective. …
“… 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. No man would have to live by faith” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball , 15).
In your scripture study journal, record how the truths you learned in Alma 14:11 and President Kimball’s statement help you to understand why God sometimes allows the righteous to suffer at the hands of the wicked.
Read Alma 14:12–13, and look for what Alma taught Amulek to help him endure the trials they were experiencing. Why do you think Alma was able to respond with such confidence?
Read the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to help you understand what Alma was teaching Amulek about trusting in the Lord: “This life is an experience in profound trust—trust in Jesus Christ, trust in His teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings for happiness now and for a purposeful, supremely happy eternal existence. To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Prov. 3:5–7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience” (“Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).
It may be helpful to emphasize this truth by writing next to Alma 14:12–13 in your scriptures: When we trust in the Lord, He strengthens us during our trials.
Choose one or more of the following situations and, in your scripture study journal, explain how the principle you just wrote in your scriptures could help the individuals described:
Several players on a young man’s sports team shun him and openly mock or tease him about his adherence to gospel standards. They seem to deliberately plan activities together outside of practice that they know he will not attend because of his convictions.
A young woman applies for a job at a store where a good friend works. She does not get the job, and her friend tells her later that the owner of the store said he would never hire a Mormon.
When a young man asks a group of other young men at school to stop using profane language around him, they push him around and threaten to hurt him more if he tells them again how to talk.
Read Alma 14:14–17, and think about how Alma’s and Amulek’s faith helped them as they continued to suffer at the hands of the wicked leaders in Ammonihah. Why do you think giving no answer in that situation was the best response? (See also Matthew 27:11–14.)
Alma 14:18–28 tells how Alma and Amulek suffered many things before God delivered them and destroyed many of the wicked leaders of Ammonihah. The phrase “gnashing their teeth” (verse 21) means striking their teeth together in anger or rage.
In your scripture study journal, record which of the things that Alma and Amulek suffered in Alma 14:18–25 would have been most difficult for you, and explain why. Then write about a personal experience or an experience of someone you know who was striving to live righteously but still faced trials.
As recorded in Alma 14:25, what enabled Alma and Amulek to stand on their feet? Read Alma 14:26–29, and mark phrases and words that you feel best confirm this truth: If we call upon the Lord in faith, He will strengthen us in our afflictions and deliver us in His way and His own time.
The Lord can extend His power and deliver you from trials and afflictions in His own way and time. As we learn to trust in the Lord’s will, we will find greater strength and power to endure difficulties throughout our lives.
After leaving Ammonihah, Alma and Amulek went to the nearby city of Sidom, where they found the believers from Ammonihah, including Zeezrom. Read Alma 15:3–5 to discover Zeezrom’s condition.
Consider the following: What caused Zeezrom’s illness? What did Zeezrom do to obtain relief and peace?
Carefully read Alma 15:6–10, and underline two or three phrases that show that Alma helped Zeezrom focus on Jesus Christ and His Atonement. To understand one way priesthood leaders can help people receive mercy through the Atonement, read the following experience from Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy:
“While serving as a bishop, I witnessed the blessings of the Atonement in the lives of Church members who committed serious transgressions. …
“A young single adult in our ward was dating a young woman. They allowed their affections to get out of control. He came to me for counsel and help. Based on what was confessed and the impressions of the Spirit to me, among other things, he was not permitted to partake of the sacrament for a time. We met regularly to ensure that repentance had happened, and, after an appropriate time, I authorized him to again partake of the sacrament.
“As I sat on the stand in that sacrament meeting, my eyes were drawn to him as he now partook of the sacrament worthily. I witnessed arms of mercy, love, and safety encircling him as the healing of the Atonement warmed his soul and lifted his load, resulting in the promised forgiveness, peace, and happiness” (“Arms of Safety,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 49).
Bishops and other priesthood leaders can help us receive the mercy and strength we need through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. What evidence do you find in Alma 15:11–12 that Zeezrom repented and received the Lord’s mercy?
One principle you could write in your scriptures or scripture study journal for Alma 15:6–12 is: Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we can be healed and strengthened. According to Alma 15:16, 18, how is this principle evident in Amulek’s life?
Alma and Amulek established the Church among the people of Sidom and then returned to Zarahemla.
In Alma 16 we read that a Lamanite army invaded the Nephite lands and destroyed the city of Ammonihah, fulfilling the prophecy of Alma and Amulek that if the people did not repent they would be destroyed (see Alma 9:12). As you read Alma 16, look for whom the Nephites turn to for help so they can defeat the Lamanite army. Liken this experience to your own battles and enemies you face.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Alma 14–16 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: