In a previous 5-part series entitled, “The Covenant Path Unveiled”, we uncovered the Savior’s personal teaching of what His true saving doctrine is (3 Nephi 11-26). Though the term “covenant path” is not found in scripture, His saving doctrine is referred to by other names in scripture including “my doctrine,” “the doctrine of Christ,” “the gospel” and others. He teaches some important characteristics of His doctrine. He also includes the very few, yet essential steps or milestones that you personally have to fulfill or receive. If you have not yet studied through that 5-part series, I encourage you to do that first before studying this additional witness.
The purpose of that 5-part series was to clarify what the covenant path really is, to unveil the simplicity and beauty of the true covenant path so that it does not lose its meaning, and that you might know the true way to personal redemption. As I stated about the Savior’s own teachings (3 Nephi 11-26), my witness is that any other teaching of what the covenant path is other than what is taught by the Savior is rooted in darkness and will frustrate your personal journey “in and through Jesus Christ.”
By now you should be reading the Book of Mormon with new eyes. If you have yet to see that the Book of Mormon was restored as an additional witness of the Everlasting Covenant and the doctrine of Christ, I invite you to study The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide. A person that reads the Book of Mormon without this critical understanding may miss the mark all together.
There are some who still might respond to previous posts of this same collection (“Unveiling the Covenant Path”) saying, “This is not how a person receives salvation or exaltation” and yet, they claim to believe the Book of Mormon, the need for its restoration, and its promises. Also, ironically, they also claim to believe God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Awaken! How can you not see what the Book of Mormon really is? Urgently, I plead with you to cease your unbelief!
In addition to the Savior’s own witness there are other Book of Mormon prophets that add their own personal witness of the true covenant path. We have recently unveiled the following additional witnesses:
- Witness of Nephi
- Witness of Jacob
- Witness of Enos
- Witness of Jarom, Omni & their posterity
- Witness of King Benjamin
- Witness of Abinadi part one & part two
- Witness of Alma
- Witness of Alma the Younger to the church in Zarahemla
- Witness of Alma the Younger to the church in Gideon & Melek
In these next few posts we will unveil the witness of Alma the Younger and Amulek as they witnessed together in the land of Ammonihah (Alma chapters 9-16). Part one will only be unveiling chapters 9-11. I will always invite you to first read it on your own and use the spirit of the Lord to help you see the doctrine of Christ with new eyes. Then feel free to supplement your own reading with mine if you would like. Use the spirit to discern any of my personal messages. My comments are only there to help clarify the simplicity and beauty of Christ’s true saving doctrine.
IMPORTANT: Sometimes in order to understand what somethings is, it can be helpful to also identify what something is not. With that in mind, just as you did with the teaching of the Savior (3 Nephi 11-30), as you study Alma & Amulek’s witnesses here, identify what the covenant path is not or at least what it is not compared to what you thought it was or what you have been previously taught that it is. In other words, salvation and exaltation do not come through any institution or person other than personally in and through Jesus Christ.
The People & Doctrine of Ammonihah
To better understand why Alma & Amulek were commanded by the Lord to teach the true doctrine of Christ among the people of Ammonihah it is important to first understand their beliefs and doctrines. Many of the people of the land of Ammonihah were of the order of Nehor. To understand what this means I am providing some of the notable things from the first few chapters of the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon. The fundamental ideas, philosophies and doctrines taught by Nehor and his followers are:
- Nehor “had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people (1:3).”
Keep in mind that the church of God stood in contrast to Nehor and his teachings. The church of God was simply a group of common believers that were taught to independently “go and work out their own salvation with the Lord” (Mormon 9:27). There was even “a strict law among the people of the church [of God], that there should not any man, belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church, and that there should be no persecution among themselves” (1:21).” This strict law existed to allow each person to develop their own unique relationship with the Lord and that there is never a comparison. The teachings of Nehor also included:
- “… all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life” (1:4).
There are many things wrong with this doctrine. Nehor taught that because Jesus Christ will come and fulfill the atonement (Everlasting Covenant) that everyone has salvation, personal redemption, and remission of sins. You are going to see throughout these chapters (Alma 9-16) that their doctrine was such that there was no need for repentance because their salvation had already been prepared and taken care of. The doctrine of Nehor was not a doctrine of personal salvation—rather it was a doctrine of group salvation. As noted by Mormon (1:4), they believed that the Lord saved all those that He created—as if because a they were part of the Lord’s creation that salvation was automatic. The result of Nehor’s efforts were:
- “… he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money. And he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching” (1:5-6).
Do not forget that these were Christians. So, why would people gravitate to this doctrine and church membership? Because it was the Christian path of least resistance—not the kind of “path of least resistance” associated with atheism or agnosticism but the “path of least resistance” of a Christian. It offered a sense of goodness without actually having to have a personal relationship with the Lord, not having to become dependent upon the Lord, and not having to be obligated to actually receive all things personally from the Lord (truth, gifts of the spirit, salvation, eternal life). Their association and their numbers offered them great pride—elitism—even to the point in which they rationalized their behaviors away—from contending with the people of God (1:7), to persecuting the people of God (1:19-21,25,28,32), to Nehor killing Gideon (a servant of the Lord; 1:9) to desiring to “destroy the church of God” (2:2), and even to raising an army to come to battle against the the people of God (2:10-19).
In many ways the “order of Nehor” was akin to the condition of the children of Israel after their exodus. They did not choose personal sanctification and the Lord’s presence through a personal relationship (D&C 84:23-27). Instead they chose Moses to represent them (as a group) at Mount Sinai which was in the literal presence of the Lord. Abinadi reminds us, that as a result, the Lord gave the children of Israel the Mosaic Law to learn by symbols to develop hope and faith in the Lord and to help them individually develop their relationship with the Lord. The doctrine of Christ existed in parallel to the Mosaic Law and allowed for people individually to receive all things through that same personal relationship.
There is a pattern of people choosing leaders (prophets, priests, kings) throughout the scriptures in place of the Lord, Himself and the Lord allowing the people to have what they choose (e.g. 1 Samuel 8). Again, this is the Christian path of least resistance. It is the delusional choice in which a person wants to absolve themself from the personal accountability and responsibility of developing their relationship with the Lord in order to receive all things. This is also part of the order of Nehor and the pattern was repeated when the people of Ammonihah “did consecrate Amlici to be their king” (2:9) after Nehor was put to death.
As you study through the witness of Alma & Amulek, I encourage you to ponder the following:
- Do you subscribe to the teachings and doctrines of the order of Nehor to any degree?
- Why would Mormon include these select details in the Book of Mormon?
- Do you really believe that the Book of Mormon was divinely restored for the last days?
Alma & Amulek Correctly Teach The Doctrine of Christ
In part one (Alma 9-11), look for how Alma and Amulek counter the false doctrines of the people of Ammonihah. Also, specifically in these chapters, notice how Alma and Amulek do a masterful job of highlighting reasons to have sufficient hope in the divine nature of the Lord and faith unto repentance. Remember that hope is belief and trust in the divine nature of God. Desire is to seek, knock, ask. Faith is to act, do, or obey personal revelation.
Do your own study but I will pull out selected verses below to highlight the counter witness of Alma and Amulek (the doctrine of Christ):
…9:4 And they said also: We will not believe thy words if thou shouldst prophesy that this great city should be destroyed in one day.
5 Now they knew not that God could do such marvelous works, for they were a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people. [To not know God in this way is to not have hope or at least sufficient hope in the divine nature of God. Hope is something that comes from knowledge and learning about God or from the witness of others and even hands on experience type of knowledge. Hope is the precursor to desire which is the precursor to exercising faith. Marvelous works of the Lord include being able to offer personal salvation through a baptism of fire and Holy Ghost—to change a person, to alter their spiritual state. Do you believe? Or do you believe it is you doing it? Or do you believe another arm-of-flesh has the power to do it? Or do you even deny the power of God? (2 Nephi 28)]
…8 Behold, O ye wicked and perverse generation, how have ye forgotten the tradition of your fathers; yea, how soon ye have forgotten the commandments of God [to come and be personally redeemed].
9 Do ye not remember that our father, Lehi, was brought out of Jerusalem by the hand of God? Do ye not remember that they were all led by him through the wilderness? [reasons to have sufficient hope in the Lord]
10 And have ye forgotten so soon how many times he delivered our fathers out of the hands of their enemies, and preserved them from being destroyed, even by the hands of their own brethren? [More reasons to have sufficient hope]
11 Yea, and if it had not been for his matchless power, and his mercy, and his long-suffering towards us [all characteristics of His divine nature—evidence of hope], we should unavoidably have been cut off from the face of the earth long before this period of time, and perhaps been consigned to a state of endless misery and woe.
12 Behold, now I say unto you that he commandeth you to repent; and except ye repent, ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God [the minimum requirement to receive anything from the Lord is to repent which is to turn or return to Him with an eye single to His glory. This is why it is so obvious because without turning or returning to the Lord how could a person receive anything from Him?]. But behold, this is not all—he has commanded you to repent, or he will utterly destroy you from off the face of the earth; yea, he will visit you in his anger, and in his fierce anger he will not turn away.
13 Behold, do ye not remember the words which he spake unto Lehi, saying that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments [personal revelation], ye shall prosper in the land? And again it is said that: Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments [personal revelation] ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord [literal presence of the Lord is the glory of God manifesting itself in many ways including the divine hand of protection, angelic messengers, gifts of the spirit and even the literal physical presence of the Lord].
14 Now I would that ye should remember, that inasmuch as the Lamanites have not kept the commandments of God, they have been cut off from the presence of the Lord. Now we see that the word of the Lord has been verified in this thing, and the Lamanites have been cut off from his presence, from the beginning of their transgressions in the land.
15 Nevertheless I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for them in the day of judgment than for you, if ye remain in your sins, yea, and even more tolerable for them in this life than for you, except ye repent.
16 For there are many promises which are extended to the Lamanites; for it is because of the traditions of their fathers that caused them to remain in their state of ignorance; therefore the Lord will be merciful unto them and prolong their existence in the land. [More reasons to have sufficient hope; The traditions of our fathers can keep us in a state of ignorance and even blindness. Each person has to awake and arise for themself. Just as you are not held accountable for another’s transgressions, sins or even shortcomings so you are also personally accountable to awake and arise unto the Lord on your own.]
17 And at some period of time they will be brought to believe in his word [Whose word? Yes, that’s the Lord’s word—personal revelation], and to [personally] know of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers [detailed answers to prayers will always equal to the detailed questions asked]; and many of them will be saved [personal salvation], for the Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name [so much depth to calling upon the Lord’s name. I invite you to ponder it and know what it means for you today—right now.].
18 But behold, I say unto you that if ye persist in your wickedness [opposition to really repenting and turning to the Lord for everything] that your days shall not be prolonged in the land, for the Lamanites shall be sent upon you; and if ye repent not they shall come in a time when you know not, and ye shall be visited with utter destruction; and it shall be according to the fierce anger of the Lord [justice; Maybe you see this as a threat but it is also reason to have sufficient hope.].
19 For he will not suffer you that ye shall live in your iniquities, to destroy his people. I say unto you, Nay; he would rather suffer that the Lamanites might destroy all his people who are called the people of Nephi, if it were possible that they could fall into sins and transgressions, after having had so much light and so much knowledge given unto them of the Lord their God; [More reasons to have sufficient hope; The knowledge was made available to them. They were taught. They knew the teachings of the Everlasting Covenant and the means of fulfilling it (the Doctrine of Christ). Just as we have had the Everlasting Covenant restored through Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon restored as a witness of it.].
20 Yea, after having been such a highly favored people of the Lord; yea, after having been favored above every other nation, kindred, tongue, or people; after having had all things made known unto them, according to their desires, and their faith, and prayers, of that which has been, and which is, and which is to come; [More reasons to have sufficient hope; Being highly favored is to have knowledge of the Everlasting Covenant and the means of fulfilling it (the Doctrine of Christ). It was known from first-hand witnesses and records they had been given. The records revealed what has been, is, and is to come].
21 Having been visited by the Spirit of God; having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation; [More reasons to have sufficient hope; The gifts of the spirit are treasures from God. We should seek after them all. Some are made available to us as a person ascends. To think otherwise or that any of these gifts mentioned are only for some or a few elect is “unbelief” (Moroni 10:18-26).].
22 Yea, and after having been delivered of God out of the land of Jerusalem, by the hand of the Lord; having been saved from famine, and from sickness, and all manner of diseases of every kind; and they having waxed strong in battle, that they might not be destroyed; having been brought out of bondage time after time, and having been kept and preserved until now; and they have been prospered until they are rich in all manner of things— [Wow, how many more reasons to have sufficient hope (belief & trust in the divine nature of the Lord?]
23 And now behold I say unto you, that if this people, who have received so many blessings from the hand of the Lord, should transgress contrary to the light and knowledge which they do have, I say unto you that if this be the case, that if they should fall into transgression, it would be far more tolerable for the Lamanites than for them. [Apply this to today. It may require you to think outside your box. Ponder this deeply.]
24 For behold, the promises of the Lord are extended to the Lamanites, but they are not unto you if ye transgress; for has not the Lord expressly promised and firmly decreed, that if ye will rebel against him that ye shall utterly be destroyed from off the face of the earth? [Do you really believe the Lord’s promises and decrees?]
25 And now for this cause, that ye may not be destroyed [mercy], the Lord has sent his angel to visit many of his people [not just one person or two—many—all with certain gifts of the spirit needed to fulfill the Lord’s purposes. Not necessarily with titles or prominence or notoriety.], declaring unto them that they must go forth and cry mightily unto this people, saying: Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand; [time is short]
27 And behold, he cometh to redeem those who will be baptized unto repentance, through faith on his name. [Don’t you see it? This was the entire reason for the Lord’s work—to personally redeem each person on their own unique journey. The journey only starts with a baptism of repentance (water) which is part one of the “baptism in the name of the Son.”]
28 Therefore, prepare ye the way of the Lord [to change your heart and redeem your spirit and soul; “the way” is the doctrine of Christ—see study guide], for the time is at hand that all men shall reap a reward of their works, according to that which they have been—if they have been righteous [The only righteous works are commands of personal revelation from the Lord. Contrast that with the desires of your own heart.] they shall reap the salvation of their souls [How plain is this?], according to the power and deliverance of Jesus Christ [Of Who?—yes, only Jesus Christ, literally the only source to receive it.]; and if they have been evil they shall reap the damnation of their souls [no progression or ascension], according to the power and captivation of the devil [the devil stands between each person and redemption from the Lord. Not receiving redemption from the Lord leaves you subject to his power and captivity.].
29 Now behold, this is the voice of the angel, crying unto the people.
30 And now, my beloved brethren, for ye are my brethren, and ye ought to be beloved, and ye ought to bring forth works which are meet for repentance [preparatory for a baptism of repentance], seeing that your hearts have been grossly hardened against the word of God [written and personal revelation], and seeing that ye are a lost and a fallen people [fallen away from the path which is “the way” which is the doctrine of Christ].
31 Now it came to pass that when I, Alma, had spoken these words, behold, the people were wroth with me because I said unto them that they were a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people. [Their elitism made them proud to not even entertaining the need to repent and get back on “the way.”]
32 And also because I said unto them that they were a lost and a fallen people they were angry with me, and sought to lay their hands upon me, that they might cast me into prison. [Institutional control of the narrative to the point of trying to remove them from the ear of the people.]
…10:5 Nevertheless, after all this, I never have known much of the ways of the Lord, and his mysteries and marvelous power. I said I never had known much of these things; but behold, I mistake, for I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people. [Now Amulek’s reasons to have sufficient hope in the Lord]
6 Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear [is this you?]; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart, even until the fourth day of this seventh month, which is in the tenth year of the reign of the judges.
7 As I was journeying to see a very near kindred, behold an angel of the Lord appeared [gift of the spirit available to all; another reason to have sufficient hope in the Lord] unto me and said: Amulek, return to thine own house, for thou shalt feed a prophet of the Lord; yea, a holy man, who is a chosen man of God; for he has fasted many days [evidence of great faith rooted in hope in God] because of the sins of this people, and he is an hungered, and thou shalt receive him into thy house and feed him, and he shall bless thee and thy house; and the blessing of the Lord shall rest upon thee and thy house.
8 And it came to pass that I obeyed the voice of the angel [this is faith], and returned towards my house. And as I was going thither I found the man whom the angel said unto me: Thou shalt receive into thy house—and behold it was this same man who has been speaking unto you concerning the things of God. [a witness of the fruits of his faith (obedience, action)]
…19 Yea, well did Mosiah say, who was our last king, when he was about to deliver up the kingdom, having no one to confer it upon, causing that this people should be governed by their own voices—yea, well did he say that if the time should come that the voice of this people should choose iniquity, that is, if the time should come that this people should fall into transgression, they would be ripe for destruction.
20 And now I say unto you that well doth the Lord judge of your iniquities; well doth he cry unto this people, by the voice of his angels: Repent ye, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [your earthly mortal probation is so short]
…23 But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand except ye repent.
…25 But Amulek stretched forth his hand, and cried the mightier unto them, saying: O ye wicked and perverse generation, why hath Satan got such great hold upon your hearts? Why will ye yield yourselves unto him that he may have power over you, to blind your eyes, that ye will not understand the words which are spoken, according to their truth?
…28 And now it came to pass that when Amulek had spoken these words the people cried out against him, saying: Now we know that this man is a child of the devil, for he hath lied unto us; for he hath spoken against our law. And now he says that he has not spoken against it. [No gift of discernment used here—just simply reacting to anything that is condemning, is uncomfortable or is even unfamiliar. Note that their response was to try to discredit Alma and Amulek by name-calling (“child of the devil”). This is the equivalent of the people calling them “apostate” and therefore making them guilty and subject to their cultural laws.]
29 And again, he has reviled against our lawyers, and our judges. [It is in these culturally anointed leaders (formally and informally) that the people placed their hope, desires and faith instead of the Lord. If their hope, desires and faith were in the Lord (the absolute source of all truth) they would have been using spiritual gifts like discernment and personal revelation to know the Lord’s will about Alma and Amulek’s message. A person should always be discerning which is to make the Lord your Prophet, Priest, and King. One of the hardest things to do is to be open to discernment and the Lord’s revelation when the message is “uncomfortable” or even “unfamiliar” or “confusing.”]
30 And it came to pass that the lawyers put it into their hearts that they should remember these things against him. [told the people present to remember what they witnessed so they could formally testify against them.]
11:21 And this Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying: Will ye answer me a few questions which I shall ask you? Now Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the devil, that he might destroy that which was good; therefore, he said unto Amulek: Will ye answer the questions which I shall put unto you?
22 And Amulek said unto him: Yea, if it be according to the Spirit of the Lord, which is in me; for I shall say nothing which is contrary to the Spirit of the Lord. And Zeezrom said unto him: Behold, here are six onties of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being.
23 Now Amulek said: O thou child of hell, why tempt ye me? Knowest thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations?
24 Believest thou that there is no God? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there is a God, but thou lovest that lucre more than him.
25 And now thou hast lied before God unto me. Thou saidst unto me—Behold these six onties, which are of great worth, I will give unto thee—when thou hadst it in thy heart to retain them from me; and it was only thy desire that I should deny the true and living God, that thou mightest have cause to destroy me. And now behold, for this great evil thou shalt have thy reward.
26 And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God?
27 And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God.
28 Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God?
29 And he answered, No.
30 Now Zeezrom said unto him again: How knowest thou these things?
31 And he said: An angel hath made them known unto me.
[To this point, Zeezrom is testing the spiritual foundation of Alma and Amulek. He is targeting their hope by questioning them about the divine nature of the Lord. The existence of a God is the basic level of hope. The divine nature (character) of God is built on top of that.]
32 And Zeezrom said again: Who is he that shall come? Is it the Son of God?
33 And he said unto him, Yea.
… Part 2 will pick up from here
Alma the Younger and Amulek were master teachers and personal witnesses of the doctrine of Christ. They were using the gift of prophecy in this entire experience in Ammonihah. What made it so powerful is that it challenged understanding of the divine nature of the Lord. The beauty of the doctrine of Christ is that it is set on a rock foundation. When a person learns, understands and believes in the divine nature of the Lord, not only does everything just work the way it is supposed to but everything and anything is possible through the Lord. It enables a person to exercise faith which is seeking for personal revelation and acting on the words of the Lord. It leads a person to repent and begin their personal journey with the Lord. This correct version of the doctrine of Christ (covenant path) is so powerful!
For more understanding of this covenant path and its milestones taught throughout the scriptures, you are welcome to begin your personal study and your own journey in and through the doctrine of Christ through The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide. Also, to help you increase your confidence in personal revelation and develop your own gift of discernment, I invite you to study The 3 Voices of Personal Revelation Study Guide.
JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org is based on free, online study guides to help you learn, believe, live and teach the Doctrine of Christ. The Study Guides invite any and all to see and know this truth for themselves that the Savior, Jesus Christ, has, in fact, introduced His doctrine and He personally invites all to receive personal redemption and to even literally receive Him while in the flesh (mortality).
Blog posts are only intended to supplement the Study Guides. Per all blog posts, seek the understanding and confirmations from the Lord in your own personal revelation. Study guides are intended to point you to both the Lord’s written word and His voice (personal revelation). These study guides will help you uncover what the Doctrine of Christ is and other essential topics that will help you in your journey to literally “come unto Christ” while in mortality. All study guides are available at JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org.