As recorded in the Book of Mormon, Alma asked the people of Zarahemla a series of
thought-provoking and introspective questions: “And now behold, I ask of you, my
brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his
image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?”
Paintings from the Church’s Second International Arts Competition. Award of Merit.
God chose to save his servants Alma and Amulek from the wicked men who were ready
to kill them, as they had martyred many of the believers in Christ:
“And Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord?
O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance.
And they broke the cords with which they were bound; and when the people saw this,
they began to flee, for the fear of destruction had come upon them.
“And it came to pass that so great was their fear that they fell to the earth, and
did not obtain the outer door of the prison; and the earth shook mightily, and the
walls of the prison were rent in twain, so that they fell to the earth; and the chief
judge, and the lawyers, and priests, and teachers, who smote upon Alma and Amulek,
were slain by the fall thereof.”
Artist’s notes: “I have attempted to capture the power of that terrible moment when
the chief judge and his evil accomplices came to a sure knowledge of the Lord’s power
and of their own guilt after mocking God.”
“And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the
Lord had granted unto them power, according to their faith which was in Christ. And
they straightway came forth out of the prison; and they were loosed from their bands;
and the prison had fallen to the earth, and every soul within the walls thereof save
it were Alma and Amulek, was slain; and they straightway came forth into the city.”
Two prophets emerge from prison, having suffered unspeakable torment. Their faith
remained undimmed, the miraculous ruin of their jail a testimony to their source
The Book of Mormon records that Ammon began his intrepid missionary service in the
land of the Lamanites by volunteering to be the king’s servant. This was actually
a dangerous position, because in the Lamanite culture of the time the king had a
habit of killing his sheep-herding servants when their sheep were scattered and stolen.
And local inhabitants had a habit of scattering and stealing the sheep.
“And those men again stood to scatter their flocks; but Ammon said unto his brethren:
Encircle the flocks round about that they flee not; and I go and contend with these
men who do scatter our flocks.”
The hero in the next picture, AMMON DEFENDS THE FLOCKS OF KING LAMONI is Ammon. He
is described as, “a strong and mighty man.” He had to be, to do the superhuman deeds
It takes just such a man to stand alone against an enraged mob and to conquer them.
It is a scene almost reminiscent of Samson standing alone against the Philistines.
Each stood forth in the strength of the Lord! Such pictures as this, or such men
as this, are the basis for all hero stories, from Moses to Tarzan. For that lone
hero figure strikes some- thing deep within us, something to which we aspire, something
larger than we can ever achieve. One man viewing this painting told the artist, “If!
were there, that’s the way I’d stand, true and faithful.” I have here chosen to depict
the tense moment just before the actual fight. The ensuing action described in the
book is too gory [to depict] —the hacking off of every arm lifted against him, then
laying the stack of arms before the king as evidence of his faithful service. Apparently
that’s the way they did missionary work in those days.
Ammon’s father had received a promise of protection for his son from the Lord, so
Ammon had the power of God. When the sheep-scatterers showed up and began their
work, Ammon was pro-active:
“Behold, every man that lifted his club to smite Ammon, he smote off their arms with
his sword, for he did withstand their blows by smiting their arms with the edge of
his sword, insomuch that they began to be astonished, and began to flee before him;
yea, and they were not few in numbers. And he caused them to flee by the strength
of his arm.”
Real Hero Posters strives to capture the spirit of real heroes, the uniqueness of
their world, the strength of their character, and the reality of their heroism.
When Ammon taught the gospel to King Lamoni, he was so overcome that he fell to the
ground, and was unconscious for several days. The queen called for Ammon. Ammon
told her that the king would awaken the next day, and the queen expressed her belief
in Ammon’s words. Ammon recognized great faith in this answer, and said, “Blessed
art thou because of thy exceeding faith.” Her husband was raised according to the
word of Ammon, and her faith was verified.
In fact, when the king arose he testified of God’s works and plan. The Spirit came
upon the queen and all those who listened, and they all fell to the earth. This
was witnessed by a lone individual - Abish, who had already been converted to the
Lord on account of a vision.
The Book of Mormon records, “Therefore, when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni
had fallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen, and the king, and Ammon
lay prostrate upon the earth, she knew that it was the power of God; and supposing
that this opportunity, by making known unto the people what had happened among them,
that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God,
therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people.”
Aaron, one of the sons of Mosiah, went to the king over all the Lamanites to teach
him the gospel. The king had observed the behavior of the missionaries and wanted
to understand their beliefs. As Aaron began to teach him, he asked the king if he
believed. The king’s answer showed great faith:
“Yea, I believe that the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should
tell me concerning all these things, and I will believe thy words.”
He heard Aaron’s words, the great Lamanite king,
The words of redemption and hope.
They touched the king’s heart and he hungered for truth;
in meekness he fervently spoke:
“If you say that God lives, I’ll believe, I’ll believe, . . .
I’ll believe what you teach, I’ll believe, I’ll believe.”