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A Library Tour through Alma 13-15
1. And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord
God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember
that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order
of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.
2. And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby
the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.
3. And this is the manner after which they were ordained -- being called and prepared
from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account
of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose
good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great
faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared
with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.
4. And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith,
while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts
and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have
had as great privilege as their brethren.
5. Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren;
thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as
would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten
Son, who was prepared --
6. And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood
of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that
they also might enter into his rest --
7. This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the
foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end
of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge
of all things --
8. Now they were ordained after this manner -- being called with a holy calling,
and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the
holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is without beginning
or end --
9. Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten
of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace,
equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen.
Topics covered: Simple chiasms – Complex chiasms – Combinations chiasms and alternates
– Chiasms within a chiasm – Alma 13:1-9 – Alma 32:35-42 – How many chiasms?
“One of the most notable and complex passages of scripture in the Book of Mormon
is found in Alma 13:1-9. This passage is poetic at its very heart. It presents
a series of remarkable revelations concerning the priesthood, the pre-existence,
and the ‘preparatory redemption’ in a complex poetic form. This is the first chiasm
that I personally discovered, and came as a result of several weeks of reading and
rereading this passage, pondering on its meaning, and attempting to diagram the chiasm
I had found. The trigger for me was that in the middle of his sermon concerning
the priesthood to the people in Ammonihah, Alma inserted the phrase ‘And thus it
is. Amen.’ I had previously read Noel Reynolds analysis of the arrangement of First
Nephi, and his specific assertion that each section was closed with this same phrase.
I was motivated to look for a chiasm, and after much study was able to identify
the basic elements of it.
“After later study, the passage became much more complex to me.”
Dr. Duke presents the complex diagram of this passage of scripture. Since it includes
alternates, it is easier to follow after one has read chapter 10 as well.
10. Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were
many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their
exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing
to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish;
11. Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their
garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.
12. Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made
white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with
abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered
into the rest of the Lord their God.
13. And now, my brethren, I would that ye should humble yourselves before God, and
bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest.
14. Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek, who was
also a high priest after this same order which I have spoken, who also took upon
him the high priesthood forever.
15. And it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes; yea, even our father
Abraham paid tithes of one-tenth part of all he possessed.
16. Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might
look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order,
and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that
they might enter into the rest of the Lord.
17. Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed
strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full
of all manner of wickedness;
18. But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the
high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his
people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land
in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of
Salem; and he did reign under his father.
19. Now, there were many before him, and also there were many afterwards, but none
were greater; therefore, of him they have more particularly made mention.
20. Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the
scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction.
21. And now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words unto them, he stretched
forth his hand unto them and cried with a mighty voice, saying: Now is the time to
repent, for the day of salvation draweth nigh;
22. Yea, and the voice of the Lord, by the mouth of angels, doth declare it unto
all nations; yea, doth declare it, that they may have glad tidings of great joy;
yea, and he doth sound these glad tidings among all his people, yea, even to them
that are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth; wherefore they have come unto
23. And they are made known unto us in plain terms, that we may understand, that
we cannot err; and this because of our being wanderers in a strange land; therefore,
we are thus highly favored, for we have these glad tidings declared unto us in all
parts of our vineyard.
24. For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this
is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his
word at the time of his coming in his glory.
25. And now we only wait to hear the joyful news declared unto us by the mouth of
angels, of his coming; for the time cometh, we know not how soon. Would to God that
it might be in my day; but let it be sooner or later, in it I will rejoice.
26. And it shall be made known unto just and holy men, by the mouth of angels, at
the time of his coming, that the words of our fathers may be fulfilled, according
to that which they have spoken concerning him, which was according to the spirit
of prophecy which was in them.
27. And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great
anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins,
and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;
28. But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name,
and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can
bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient,
full of love and all long-suffering;
29. Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having
the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and
enter into his rest.
30. And may the Lord grant unto you repentance, that ye may not bring down his wrath
upon you, that ye may not be bound down by the chains of hell, that ye may not suffer
the second death.
31. And Alma spake many more words unto the people, which are not written in this
1. And it came to pass after he had made an end of speaking unto the people many
of them did believe on his words, and began to repent, and to search the scriptures.
2. But the more part of them were desirous that they might destroy Alma and Amulek;
for they were angry with Alma, because of the plainness of his words unto Zeezrom;
and they also said that Amulek had lied unto them, and had reviled against their
law and also against their lawyers and judges.
3. And they were also angry with Alma and Amulek; and because they had testified
so plainly against their wickedness, they sought to put them away privily.
4. But it came to pass that they did not; but they took them and bound them with
strong cords, and took them before the chief judge of the land.
5. And the people went forth and witnessed against them -- testifying that they had
reviled against the law, and their lawyers and judges of the land, and also of all
the people that were in the land; and also testified that there was but one God,
and that he should send his Son among the people, but he should not save them; and
many such things did the people testify against Alma and Amulek. Now this was done
before the chief judge of the land.
6. And it came to pass that Zeezrom was astonished at the words which had been spoken;
and he also knew concerning the blindness of the minds, which he had caused among
the people by his lying words; and his soul began to be harrowed up under a consciousness
of his own guilt; yea, he began to be encircled about by the pains of hell.
7. And it came to pass that he began to cry unto the people, saying: Behold, I am
guilty, and these men are spotless before God. And he began to plead for them from
that time forth; but they reviled him, saying: Art thou also possessed with the devil?
And they spit upon him, and cast him out from among them, and also all those who
believed in the words which had been spoken by Alma and Amulek; and they cast them
out, and sent men to cast stones at them.
8. And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or
had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast
into the fire, and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy
scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed
9. And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to
the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were
consumed by fire.
10. And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in
the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful
scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which
is in us, and save them from the flames.
11. But Alma said unto him: 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, or that the people may do this thing unto them,
according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise
upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as
a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.
12. Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.
13. And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work
is not finished; therefore they burn us not.
14. Now it came to pass that when the bodies of those who had been cast into the
fire were consumed, and also the records which were cast in with them, the chief
judge of the land came and stood before Alma and Amulek, as they were bound; and
he smote them with his hand upon their cheeks, and said unto them: After what ye
have seen, will ye preach again unto this people, that they shall be cast into a
lake of fire and brimstone?
15. Behold, ye see that ye had not power to save those who had been cast into the
fire; neither has God saved them because they were of thy faith. And the judge smote
them again upon their cheeks, and asked: What say ye for yourselves?
16. Now this judge was after the order and faith of Nehor, who slew Gideon.
17. And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek answered him nothing; and he smote them
again, and delivered them to the officers to be cast into prison.
18. And when they had been cast into prison three days, there came many lawyers,
and judges, and priests, and teachers, who were of the profession of Nehor; and they
came in unto the prison to see them, and they questioned them about many words; but
they answered them nothing.
19. And it came to pass that the judge stood before them, and said: Why do ye not
answer the words of this people? Know ye not that I have power to deliver you up
unto the flames? And he commanded them to speak; but they answered nothing.
20. And it came to pass that they departed and went their ways, but came again on
the morrow; and the judge also smote them again on their cheeks. And many came forth
also, and smote them, saying: Will ye stand again and judge this people, and condemn
our law? If ye have such great power why do ye not deliver yourselves?
21. And many such things did they say unto them, gnashing their teeth upon them,
and spitting upon them, and saying: How shall we look when we are damned?
22. And many such things, yea, all manner of such things did they say unto them;
and thus they did mock them for many days. And they did withhold food from them that
they might hunger, and water that they might thirst; and they also did take from
them their clothes that they were naked; and thus they were bound with strong cords,
and confined in prison.
23. And it came to pass after they had thus suffered for many days, (and it was on
the twelfth day, in the tenth month, in the tenth year of the reign of the judges
over the people of Nephi) that the chief judge over the land of Ammonihah and many
of their teachers and their lawyers went in unto the prison where Alma and Amulek
were bound with cords.
24. And the chief judge stood before them, and smote them again, and said unto them:
If ye have the power of God deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will
believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words.
25. And it came to pass that they all went forth and smote them, saying the same
words, even until the last; and when the last had spoken unto them the power of God
was upon Alma and Amulek, and they rose and stood upon their feet.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. 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
29. Now the people having heard a great noise came running together by multitudes
to know the cause of it; and when they saw Alma and Amulek coming forth out of the
prison, and the walls thereof had fallen to the earth, they were struck with great
fear, and fled from the presence of Alma and Amulek even as a goat fleeth with her
young from two lions; and thus they did flee from the presence of Alma and Amulek.
1. And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek were commanded to depart out of that
city; and they departed, and came out even into the land of Sidom; and behold, there
they found all the people who had departed out of the land of Ammonihah, who had
been cast out and stoned, because they believed in the words of Alma.
2. And they related unto them all that had happened unto their wives and children,
and also concerning themselves, and of their power of deliverance.
3. And also Zeezrom lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever, which was caused by
the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness, for he supposed
that Alma and Amulek were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because
of his iniquity. And this great sin, and his many other sins, did harrow up his mind
until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance; therefore he began to
be scorched with a burning heat.
4. Now, when he heard that Alma and Amulek were in the land of Sidom, his heart began
to take courage; and he sent a message immediately unto them, desiring them to come
5. And it came to pass that they went immediately, obeying the message which he had
sent unto them; and they went in unto the house unto Zeezrom; and they found him
upon his bed, sick, being very low with a burning fever; and his mind also was exceedingly
sore because of his iniquities; and when he saw them he stretched forth his hand,
and besought them that they would heal him.
6. And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest
thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?
7. And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.
8. And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed.
9. And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words.
10. And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this
man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.
11. And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to
walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge
of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.
12. And Alma baptized Zeezrom unto the Lord; and he began from that time forth to
preach unto the people.
13. And Alma established a church in the land of Sidom, and consecrated priests and
teachers in the land, to baptize unto the Lord whosoever were desirous to be baptized.
14. And it came to pass that they were many; for they did flock in from all the region
round about Sidom, and were baptized.
15. But as to the people that were in the land of Ammonihah, they yet remained a
hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people; and they repented not of their sins, ascribing
all the power of Alma and Amulek to the devil; for they were of the profession of
Nehor, and did not believe in the repentance of their sins.
16. And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek, Amulek having forsaken all his gold,
and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the
word of God, he being rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his
father and his kindred;
17. Therefore, after Alma having established the church at Sidom, seeing a great
check, yea, seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts,
and began to humble themselves before God, and began to assemble themselves together
at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar, watching and praying continually,
that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction --
18. Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and
came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer
unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.
19. And thus ended the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.