Alma

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Alma 10-11

Amulek son of Giddonah gave his testimony, confessing that he hardened his heart against the knowledge of the Lord until the fourth day of the seventh month of the tenth year of the reign of the judges. An angel appeared to him and told him to go home and feed a prophet of the Lord who has fasted many days because of the sins of the people. Then the blessing of the Lord would rest upon Amulek.

So Amulek obeyed the angel and ran across Alma, and he knew he was a holy man because the angel said so. And this testimony astonished the crowd people he was speaking to, but there were lawyers among them who tried to trip up Amulek and Alma with words so they would have reason to cast them into prison or slay them outright.

Amulek called the lawyers hypocrites in a wicked and perverse generation that avoided destruction by the Lord only through the prayers of the righteous, and if they succeeded in their plan to cut off the righteous from among them, then the Lord would not stay his hand, and they would be smitten by famine and pestilence and the sword.

"And there was one among them whose name was Zeezrom. Now he was the foremost to accuse Amulek and Alma, he being one of the most expert among them, having much business to do among the people."

Judges in the time of Alma received wages in the amount of a senine of gold per day, or a senum of silver, which was the same value. Either one could purchase a measure of barley or any other kind of grain.

A seon of gold was twice the value of a senine, and a shum of gold was four times the value of a senine. A limnah of gold was equal to a senine plus a seon plus a shum.

An amnor of silver was as great as two senums of silver. An ezrom of silver was as great as four senums. An onti was as great as a senum plus an amnor plus an ezrom. A shiblon of silver is half of a senum. A shiblum is a half of a shiblon. And a leah is the half of a shiblum.

An antion of gold is equal to three shiblons of silver.

Because the judges were paid by the day for the suits which were brought before them, they stirred the people up to riot against and disturb Amulek's peace in order to gin up their own work.

Zeezrom said unto Amulek: "Behold, here are six onties of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being."

Amulek refused to yield to this temptation despite the six onties dangling in front of him, which could buy 42 measures of barley. He said there is a a true and living God.

Zeezrom asked if there was more than one God, and Amulek said no. This was before the Mormons came up with the idea of an eternal progression of millions of gods, as men were born and worked their way up to godhood on endless planets.

Zeezrom asked him: "Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?" and Amulek affirmed that he was. Thus Amulek espoused the nontrinitary heresy of Sabellianism, also known as modalism, or modal monarchism. It had a brief run about 200 years after Christ came, but was rejected by most of Christianity, and survives today mainly among Oneness Pentecostals. As for Joseph Smith, it is difficult to say if he was teaching modalism, because he flipped back and forth. At the end of this very chapter, Alma 11, he has Amulek say that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one eternal God, which is the trinitarian belief.


Alma 34 is a sermon from Amulek about the first advent of Christ. Amulek takes over when Alma stops speaking. He says that Christ must come and make atonement for the sins of the world, or the souls of men will perish. It must be a final and great sacrifice, neither of beast nor bird nor human sacrifice, but an infinite and eternal sacrifice.

Outside of the Book of Mormon, in the Doctrine & Covenants, Mormonism makes murder the unforgivable sin:

"And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. " (D&C 42: 18)

But Alma 34:11-13 says Christ's death on the cross (still in the future when written) will fulfill the law of life-for-life.

Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.

But the law requireth the life of him who hath murdered; therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world.

Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.

Excellent stuff. Sometimes the BoM comes through very well. This is in line with Christ's call in 3 Nephi 30:2 when he tells the Gentiles to stop committing murders and be baptized, and then he will number them with Israel.

Amulek says every precept in the Law of Moses points to Christ's sacrifice on the cross, which will satisfy the justice of God. And he warns the people not to delay their repentance, because their eternal fate depends on the state of their soul at the time of their death. But it is not the person's objective holiness or lack of holiness that seals their fate, but who they have allowed to possess them, whether the Holy Spirit or the devil:

". . . that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world."

It is as though life was a giant poker game between God and Satan, and the rules say that both God and Satan have the power to keep whatever winnings they end up with at the end of the day. And if it's all a matter of possession, it makes me wonder what free will has to do with it.

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