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A Library Tour through Alma 16-17
1. And it came to pass in the eleventh year of the reign of the judges over the people
of Nephi, on the fifth day of the second month, there having been much peace in the
land of Zarahemla, there having been no wars nor contentions for a certain number
of years, even until the fifth day of the second month in the eleventh year, there
was a cry of war heard throughout the land.
2. For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side,
into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay
the people and destroy the city.
3. And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to
drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of
Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into
4. Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been
carried away captive into the wilderness.
5. Therefore, he that had been appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites,
(and his name was Zoram, and he had two sons, Lehi and Aha) -- now Zoram and his
two sons, knowing that Alma was high priest over the church, and having heard that
he had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and desired of him to
know whither the Lord would that they should go into the wilderness in search of
their brethren, who had been taken captive by the Lamanites.
6. And it came to pass that Alma inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And
Alma returned and said unto them: Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon
in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti. And behold
there shall ye meet them, on the east of the river Sidon, and there the Lord will
deliver unto thee thy brethren who have been taken captive by the Lamanites.
7. And it came to pass that Zoram and his sons crossed over the river Sidon, with
their armies, and marched away beyond the borders of Manti into the south wilderness,
which was on the east side of the river Sidon.
8. And they came upon the armies of the Lamanites, and the Lamanites were scattered
and driven into the wilderness; and they took their brethren who had been taken captive
by the Lamanites, and there was not one soul of them had been lost that were taken
captive. And they were brought by their brethren to possess their own lands.
9. And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been driven
out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every living soul
of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God
could not destroy, because of its greatness.
10. But behold, in one day it was left desolate; and the carcasses were mangled by
dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness.
11. Nevertheless, after many days their dead bodies were heaped up upon the face
of the earth, and they were covered with a shallow covering. And now so great was
the scent thereof that the people did not go in to possess the land of Ammonihah
for many years. And it was called Desolation of Nehors; for they were of the profession
of Nehor, who were slain; and their lands remained desolate.
12. And the Lamanites did not come again to war against the Nephites until the fourteenth
year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. And thus for three years
did the people of Nephi have continual peace in all the land.
13. And Alma and Amulek went forth preaching repentance to the people in their temples,
and in their sanctuaries, and also in their synagogues, which were built after the
manner of the Jews.
14. And as many as would hear their words, unto them they did impart the word of
God, without any respect of persons, continually.
15. And thus did Alma and Amulek go forth, and also many more who had been chosen
for the work, to preach the word throughout all the land. And the establishment of
the church became general throughout the land, in all the region round about, among
all the people of the Nephites.
16. And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all
the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their
hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming
17. That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving,
and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a
branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the
Lord their God.
18. Now those priests who did go forth among the people did preach against all lyings,
and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and malice, and revilings, and stealing,
robbing, plundering, murdering, committing adultery, and all manner of lasciviousness,
crying that these things ought not so to be --
19. Holding forth things which must shortly come; yea, holding forth the coming of
the Son of God, his sufferings and death, and also the resurrection of the dead.
20. And many of the people did inquire concerning the place where the Son of God
should come; and they were taught that he would appear unto them after his resurrection;
and this the people did hear with great joy and gladness.
21. And now after the church had been established throughout all the land -- having
got the victory over the devil, and the word of God being preached in its purity
in all the land, and the Lord pouring out his blessings upon the people -- thus ended
the fourteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
1. And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon southward,
away to the land of Manti, behold, to his astonishment, he met with the sons of Mosiah
journeying towards the land of Zarahemla.
2. Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto
him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more
to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong
in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they
had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
3. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore
they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught,
they taught with power and authority of God.
My favorite parts of this book are where Brother Myers recalls discrete anecdotes
in his life, and especially when he shares his wisdom, borne of his own unique thought
processes and experiences. Having been called of God from an early age to preach
the gospel, he’s thought a lot about that, practiced it, and developed helpful ideas
From the book:
As a member of the LDS Church who is often blessed with the opportunity to preach,
I pattern my teaching preparation after these words and fine examples. I prepare
to teach by studying the scriptures and other preparatory material, and as I have
done so, the word of God has come to life and has found a place deep in my heart.
. . .
Most people would rather go to the dentist than deliver public speeches. As members
of the LDS Church, however, it’s our responsibility to take our turn to speak in
sacrament meeting. This truth makes it imperative for us to take the time to learn
how to speak and communicate our thoughts and feelings to a congregation from the
The way I see it, there’s always somebody in the Church audience that’s in need.
. . . Every time I’ve stood at the pulpit to speak – whether as a Baptist preacher
or Mormon teacher- I feel the congregation’s need. The members need me to follow
the direction of the spirt and to speak inspiring words from our Father in Heaven.
Preparing for the sacred responsibility of speaking in sacrament meeting is vital
when we accept an invitation from the bishopric to address the ward. Think about
it. When you’re in the audience, you don’t ant to sit through a talk where it’s
obvious the speaker did little to prepare. This is why praying, studying, fasting,
and following the Spirit’s direction is so important when giving a talk in sacrament
meeting. Another key ingredient when preparing for a speaking assignment is practice,
practice, practice! Did I mention you should also practice?
Do you think speakers who deliver a talk with the tongue of angels didn’t prepare
and practice? I make it a habit to practice giving a talk, even when I don’t have
an assignment to speak. I practice in the mirror while shaving. I practice in my
car while driving. If I have some extra time to kill in the morning, I give a talk.
As I deliver these impromptu talks, I focus on how to communicate my thought and
on what words are the best to use. When I do have a speaking assignment, the thoughts
and words formed in these practice talks serve as the tools the Spirit uses to help
me speak God’s words to my brothers and sisters.
Simply put, effective speakers practice. . . .
The difference between a good sacrament meeting speaker and a not-so-good sacrament
meeting speaker is practice and perspective. If our perspective is that we have
a sacred responsibility to prepare and speak the Lord’s word to the congregation
– and we practice – we will become better speakers with each and every assignment.
The pulpit is a sacred place. As a Baptist preacher, I understood that the people
sitting in the pews were in spiritual need. I understood that my role as a preacher
was to be a conduit through which the Lord uplifted and edified His children . .
When I prepare a talk, I never write out the talk. I’ll write out a basic outline
of what I want to talk about, but the words the Spirit gives me to speak come from
hours of studying, praying, practicing, and fasting. This is one of the many reasons
that studying scripture, good books, and general conference talks is so important.
The things we study and learn will be the words and impressions the Spirit brings
t our minds while we’re at the pulpit.
When we look at the pulpit as sacred ground, we’ll put more into our preparation
for that next speaking assignment. You never know when it’s coming, so start preparing
4. And they had been teaching the word of God for the space of fourteen years among
the Lamanites, having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth;
yea, by the power of their words many were brought before the altar of God, to call
on his name and confess their sins before him.
5. Now these are the circumstances which attended them in their journeyings, for
they had many afflictions; they did suffer much, both in body and in mind, such as
hunger, thirst and fatigue, and also much labor in the spirit.
6. Now these were their journeyings: Having taken leave of their father, Mosiah,
in the first year of the judges; having refused the kingdom which their father was
desirous to confer upon them, and also this was the minds of the people;
7. Nevertheless they departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and took their swords,
and their spears, and their bows, and their arrows, and their slings; and this they
did that they might provide food for themselves while in the wilderness.
8. And thus they departed into the wilderness with their numbers which they had selected,
to go up to the land of Nephi, to preach the word of God unto the Lamanites.
9. And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they
fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his
Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in
the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to
the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of
their fathers, which were not correct.
10. And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto
them: Be comforted. And they were comforted.
11. And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren,
and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions,
that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument
of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.
12. And it came to pass that the hearts of the sons of Mosiah, and also those who
were with them, took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them
the word of God.
13. And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites,
that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord
that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that
great was the work which they had undertaken.
14. And assuredly it was great, for they had undertaken to preach the word of God
to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering
the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them; and their hearts were set upon riches,
or upon gold and silver, and precious stones; yet they sought to obtain these things
by murdering and plundering, that they might not labor for them with their own hands.
This book isn’t about the Book of Mormon at all. However, it is about
a missionary who undertook to preach the message of Christ to the head-hunting cannibals
of the Sawi tribe in New Guinea in the 1960’s. The culture may have been more depraved
than Lamanite culture, and this book is not suitable to read to children. It’s a
fascinating account - a great adventure story. More than that, it shows God’s love
for all His children, and gives insights into sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ
with those of other cultures.
15. Thus they were a very indolent people, many of whom did worship idols, and the
curse of God had fallen upon them because of the traditions of their fathers; notwithstanding
the promises of the Lord were extended unto them on the conditions of repentance.
16. Therefore, this was the cause for which the sons of Mosiah had undertaken the
work, that perhaps they might bring them unto repentance; that perhaps they might
bring them to know of the plan of redemption.
17. Therefore they separated themselves one from another, and went forth among them,
every man alone, according to the word and power of God which was given unto him.
18. Now Ammon being the chief among them, or rather he did administer unto them,
and he departed from them, after having blessed them according to their several stations,
having imparted the word of God unto them, or administered unto them before his departure;
and thus they took their several journeys throughout the land.
19. And Ammon went to the land of Ishmael, the land being called after the sons of
Ishmael, who also became Lamanites.
20. And as Ammon entered the land of Ishmael, the Lamanites took him and bound him,
as was their custom to bind all the Nephites who fell into their hands, and carry
them before the king; and thus it was left to the pleasure of the king to slay them,
or to retain them in captivity, or to cast them into prison, or to cast them out
of his land, according to his will and pleasure.
21. And thus Ammon was carried before the king who was over the land of Ishmael;
and his name was Lamoni; and he was a descendant of Ishmael.
22. And the king inquired of Ammon if it were his desire to dwell in the land among
the Lamanites, or among his people.
23. And Ammon said unto him: Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time;
yea, and perhaps until the day I die.
24. And it came to pass that king Lamoni was much pleased with Ammon, and caused
that his bands should be loosed; and he would that Ammon should take one of his daughters
25. But Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became
a servant to king Lamoni. And it came to pass that he was set among other servants
to watch the flocks of Lamoni, according to the custom of the Lamanites.
26. And after he had been in the service of the king three days, as he was with the
Lamanitish servants going forth with their flocks to the place of water, which was
called the water of Sebus, and all the Lamanites drive their flocks hither, that
they may have water --
27. Therefore, as Ammon and the servants of the king were driving forth their flocks
to this place of water, behold, a certain number of the Lamanites, who had been with
their flocks to water, stood and scattered the flocks of Ammon and the servants of
the king, and they scattered them insomuch that they fled many ways.
28. Now the servants of the king began to murmur, saying: Now the king will slay
us, as he has our brethren because their flocks were scattered by the wickedness
of these men. And they began to weep exceedingly, saying: Behold, our flocks are
29. Now they wept because of the fear of being slain. Now when Ammon saw this his
heart was swollen within him with joy; for, said he, I will show forth my power unto
these my fellow-servants, or the power which is in me, in restoring these flocks
unto the king, that I may win the hearts of these my fellow-servants, that I may
lead them to believe in my words.
30. And now, these were the thoughts of Ammon, when he saw the afflictions of those
whom he termed to be his brethren.
31. And it came to pass that he flattered them by his words, saying: My brethren,
be of good cheer and let us go in search of the flocks, and we will gather them together
and bring them back unto the place of water; and thus we will preserve the flocks
unto the king and he will not slay us.
32. And it came to pass that they went in search of the flocks, and they did follow
Ammon, and they rushed forth with much swiftness and did head the flocks of the king,
and did gather them together again to the place of water.
33. 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.
34. Therefore, they did as Ammon commanded them, and he went forth and stood to contend
with those who stood by the waters of Sebus; and they were in number not a few.
35. Therefore they did not fear Ammon, for they supposed that one of their men could
slay him according to their pleasure, for they knew not that the Lord had promised
Mosiah that he would deliver his sons out of their hands; neither did they know anything
concerning the Lord; therefore they delighted in the destruction of their brethren;
and for this cause they stood to scatter the flocks of the king.
36. But Ammon stood forth and began to cast stones at them with his sling; yea, with
mighty power he did sling stones amongst them; and thus he slew a certain number
of them insomuch that they began to be astonished at his power; nevertheless they
were angry because of the slain of their brethren, and they were determined that
he should fall; therefore, seeing that they could not hit him with their stones,
they came forth with clubs to slay him.
37. But 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 number; and he caused them to flee by the
strength of his arm.
38. Now six of them had fallen by the sling, but he slew none save it were their
leader with his sword; and he smote off as many of their arms as were lifted against
him, and they were not a few.
39. And when he had driven them afar off, he returned and they watered their flocks
and returned them to the pasture of the king, and then went in unto the king, bearing
the arms which had been smitten off by the sword of Ammon, of those who sought to
slay him; and they were carried in unto the king for a testimony of the things which
they had done.