Wednesday, June 23, 2010

40o - Evidence that Other Righteous Nephites, Like Abinadi Before, Were Willing to Risk Their Lives to Teach Their Enemies the Gospel of Jesus Christ

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Preparation for TODAY'S THEME

You will be viewing my post 35q in this post. I have decided to insert this past post at this point as a follow-up to fairly recent related posts beginning with Post 40i, in which the Prophet, Abinadi allows himself to be killed by King Noah because of his firm commitment to teach of Jesus Christ and to testify boldly and clearly of His birth, life mission, atonement, crucifixion and resurrection.

The second closely related post is Post 40j in which the conversion of Alma the Younger, along with the four sons of King Mosiah, is expounded.

Post 35q which I am repeating today tells the rest of the story that began with the valiant Abinadi and his willingness to do that which the Lord wanted him to do.

This is one of my longer posts, but I hope you will bear with it and go through all of it. It is a very faith promoting account! It will be worth your time!

The events told about in this post are great evidence from the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, that His Gospel changed many lifes of previously wicked individuals because of men and women becoming converted to Christ and then under the Lord's guidance teaching and helping the Lord to convert many others.

As you read in one of the posts mentioned above, I have theorized that all of this success in converting hard-to-convert people to Christ, most likely began with a younger Abinadi being among those who in 124 B.C. was converted to Jesus Christ by by the inspired words of righteous King Benjamin in his final sermon to his people before turning over his kingdom to his son, Mosiah. Here is an artist's depiction of that great historic event in Nephite history:

Painting: Gary Kapp
King Benjamin Speaks to His People From a Tower Built on the Wall of the Temple -by Gary Kapp

Now with that preparation for what follows is my Post 35q which reports the amazing results of the mission of the Four Sons of Mosiah along with the missionary companions they had chosen to take with them. This was a very dangerous mission because there had been much bloodshed over many centuries between the Nephites and their close relatives, the Lamanites. The Lord promised King Mosiah that each of his sons would be protected on their mission and would be saved from death while among their nation's enemies serving the Lord Jesus Christ!
(A Repeat of )Post 35q

Alma Safeguards the Flocks of Lamanite King Lamoni -by Arnold Friberg

Alma 17: (about 90 B.C.) 26 And after he (Ammon) 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 scattered already.
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 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. (as in the scene depicted in the painting above illustrates)
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. (clarification and emphasis added)
Dear Readers, the previous Book of Mormon scripture was given you to prepare you for:


Please read and listen to Alma, Chapter 18 which contains that which comprises TODAY'S THEME. After you have read and listened to Chapter 18 and then returned to this post, I will explain the key verses of that which you will have read in Chapter 18.

Remember as you read and listen to this account that you look for evidence of Ammon leading King Lamoni to accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior and Redeemer. Also remember that you can also Listen to this chapter.

Now I will review with you several portions of Chapter 18 which you have just read and listened to:
3 And they answered the king, and said: Whether he be the Great Spirit or a man, we know not; but this much we do know, that he cannot be slain by the enemies of the king; neither can they scatter the king's flocks when he is with us, because of his expertness and great strength; therefore, we know that he is a friend to the king. And now, O king, we do not believe that a man has such great power, for we know he cannot be slain.
4 And now, when the king heard these words, he said unto them: Now I know that it is the Great Spirit; and he has come down at this time to preserve your lives, that I might not slay you as I did your brethren. Now this is the Great Spirit of whom our fathers have spoken.
5 Now this was the tradition of Lamoni, which he had received from his father, that there was a Great Spirit. Notwithstanding they believed in a Great Spirit they supposed that whatsoever they did was right; nevertheless, Lamoni began to fear exceedingly, with fear lest he had done wrong in slaying his servants;
6 For he had slain many of them because their brethren had scattered their flocks at the place of water; and thus, because they had had their flocks scattered they were slain. (emphasis and clarification added)
Through some special circumstances, the Lord, through his servant, Ammon (a son of the Nephite King, Mosiah) was bringing about the preparation of King Lamoni (without Lamoni realizing it) for a mighty change in heart which would soon lead him to actually become a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. We then read these words of King Lamoni to Ammon.
Alma 18: 21 And now, if thou wilt tell me concerning these things, whatsoever thou desirest I will give unto thee; and if it were needed, I would guard thee with my armies; but I know that thou art more powerful than all they; nevertheless, whatsoever thou desirest of me I will grant it unto thee.
22 Now Ammon being wise, yet harmless, he said unto Lamoni: Wilt thou hearken unto my words, if I tell thee by what power I do these things? And this is the thing that I desire of thee.
23 And the king answered him, and said: Yea, I will believe all thy words. And thus he was caught with guile.
24 And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness, and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?
25 And he answered, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth.
26 And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit?
27 And he said, Yea.
28 And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth?
29 And he said: Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth; but I do not know the heavens.
30 And Ammon said unto him: The heavens is a place where God dwells and all his holy angels.
31 And king Lamoni said: Is it above the earth?
32 And Ammon said: Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning.
33 And king Lamoni said: I believe all these things which thou hast spoken. Art thou sent from God?
34 Ammon said unto him: I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true;
35 And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me (did it ever! - Neil's clarification), which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God. (emphasis and clarification added.)
I realize that you have read and listened to all of this, but I desired that you could really focus on these very inspired, (on the part of Ammon, who possessed the Spirit of Prophecy and Revelation), words of this son of a king who, along with his three brothers and with a very close friend, Alma the Younger, had given up their previous terrible mischief of trying to actually destroy the Church of Christ in their father's (King Mosiah's) land.

The picture I am about to show you is an artist's depiction of an experience those five young men had several years before with an Angel of God. This jolting experience actually brought about a mighty change in all five of them.
I showed you this picture to assist you to really begin to appreciate what caused these sons of a king, Ammon and his three brothers, to repent of their previous wickedness and then, of their own free will, to strongly request of their father, the king, a mission to the Lamanites. They knew full well they were getting themselves into an assignment that would be exceedingly difficult! Nonetheless, their conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ because of that experience was such that it made them willing to face any worthy challenge the Lord might allow them to face.
They had truly been converted to the Lord and learned of the power of His atonement in allowing them to change their lives!

After you learned of Lamanite King Lamoni's discussion with Ammon, you can see that the mission that he along with his brothers, had been given, had presented him, Ammon with the kind of teaching opportunities they had expected to get.

I'm sure Ammon viewed this experience with the Lamanite King, Lamoni as a great opportunity to do what he knew the Lord wanted of him. I'm sure Ammon felt great gratitude to the Lord as he went about doing that which could rightly be termed, miraculous!

Each of these four sons of a king knew quite well the kind of challenges they would be getting themselves into. They had to work hard to persuade their father, King Mosiah, to send them on such a mission. Their father, after much deliberation and prayer, relented and allowed them to serve the desired mission to the very dangerous (especially to Nephites) Lamanite people.

I now will quote from the Alma, Chapter 17, verse 35 above, the promise that King Mosiah had received from the Lord regarding their dangerous mission to the Lamanites.
Alma 17:35 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. (emphasis and clarification added.)
After thinking the above through and thinking about the experience these four young men and their close friend, Alma, had with the Lord's Angel, I think you will appreciate the great change which had come about in Ammon. He had become an inspired and experienced servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, instead of tearing down the Lord's church as he and his brother's had done along with their friend, Alma, Ammon and his brothers (we will mention the brothers' successes in another post) were actually preparing the way for Christ's Church to be established among the Lamanites (their former enemies who had now become to them, their brethren).

I invite you to read the scripture below in order that you come to understand what Ammon was able to do with the King and his queen, and eventually with their people too, to actually have them come to being witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ and being deeply grateful for that which He (Jesus) has done for them and all of us.

Afterwards when you have returned to this post from that scripture reading and listening, I will help you see the details of the amazing change that was taking place in the king and his queen and in their people too.
Alma 19:1-36

Now I'll explain briefly what happened after that. This Abish, having been converted to the Lord for many years without telling others about it, wanted the people of the kingdom to be just like she secretly had been, knowing about the power of God so she went actively about inviting people to come to the house of the king. In Verse 18 we are told that a multitude arrived and saw their king and queen, and their servants "prostrate on the earth," as though they were dead. Then they saw Ammon laying there also. They quickly realized he was a Nephite. Some of the people blamed all of these apparent deaths on their king for having allowed a Nephite to remain in their land.

2 Now the queen having heard of the fame of Ammon, therefore she sent and desired that he should come in unto her.
3 And it came to pass that Ammon did as he was commanded, and went in unto the queen, and desired to know what she would that he should do.
4 And she said unto him: The servants of my husband have made it known unto me that thou art a prophet of a holy God, and that thou hast power to do many mighty works in his name;
5 Therefore, if this is the case, I would that ye should go in and see my husband, for he has been laid upon his bed for the space of two days and two nights; and some say that he is not dead, but others say that he is dead and that he stinketh, and that he ought to be placed in the sepulchre; but as for myself, to me he doth not stink.
6 Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness—yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God—
7 Therefore, what the queen desired of him was his only desire. Therefore, he went in to see the king according as the queen had desired him; and he saw the king, and he knew that he was not dead.
8 And he said unto the queen: He is not dead, but he sleepeth in God, and on the morrow he shall rise again; therefore bury him not.
9 And Ammon said unto her: Believest thou this? And she said unto him: I have had no witness save thy word, and the word of our servants; nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said.
10 And Ammon said unto her: Blessed art thou because of thy exceeding faith; I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites.
11 And it came to pass that she watched over the bed of her husband, from that time even until that time on the morrow which Ammon had appointed that he should rise.
12 And it came to pass that he arose, according to the words of Ammon; and as he arose, he stretched forth his hand unto the woman, and said: Blessed be the name of God, and blessed art thou.
13 For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name. Now, when he had said these words, his heart was swollen within him, and he sunk again with joy; and the queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit.
14 Now Ammon seeing the Spirit of the Lord poured out according to his prayers upon the Lamanites, his brethren, who had been the cause of so much mourning among the Nephites, or among all the people of God because of their iniquities and their traditions, he fell upon his knees, and began to pour out his soul in prayer and thanksgiving to God for what he had done for his brethren; and he was also overpowered with joy; and thus they all three had sunk to the earth.
15 Now, when the servants of the king had seen that they had fallen, they also began to cry unto God, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them also, for it was they who had stood before the king and testified unto him concerning the great power of Ammon.
16 And it came to pass that they did call on the name of the Lord, in their might, even until they had all fallen to the earth, save it were one of the Lamanitish women, whose name was Abish, she having been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father—(emphasis and clarification added)

How is that for some reverse racial prejudice! I now quote some scriptural verses.

Alma Chapter 19: 22 Now, one of them, whose brother had been slain with the sword of Ammon, being exceedingly angry with Ammon, drew his sword and went forth that he might let it fall upon Ammon, to slay him; and as he lifted the sword to smite him, behold, he fell dead.
23 Now we see that Ammon could not be slain, for the Lord had said unto Mosiah, his father: I will spare him, and it shall be unto him according to thy faith—therefore, Mosiah trusted him unto the Lord.
24 And it came to pass that when the multitude beheld that the man had fallen dead, who lifted the sword to slay Ammon, fear came upon them all, and they durst not put forth their hands to touch him or any of those who had fallen; and they began to marvel again among themselves what could be the cause of this great power, or what all these things could mean. (emphasis added)
Now let me stop right here at this pre-climax point in this deeply touching historical account and suggest that if the "scholar" from the Utah Valley University who was quoted in the May 2007 PBS Prime Time Video, "The Mormons", as saying that every time he reads the Book of Mormon he sees the writings of a young, unschooled 19th Century farm boy; were with us right now reading the thing you and I are now reading, he ought to be ashamed of his ever having intimated that the young man, Joseph Smith, could have ever made up this true and intriguing historical account.
In truth, this and all of the other accounts recorded in the Book of Mormon were either written by, or selected from, the writings of other Nephite prophets, by this great prophet, Mormon. In about 400 A.D. he, through the spiritual guidance he was receiving from the resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, was selectively including those matters he found in the historical accounts of his Nephite people, in his record which would become, The Book of Mormon, Another testament of Jesus Christ.

Mormon knew full well that these records would be hidden up in the earth in due time by his prophet son, Moroni, and then brought forth for the enlightenment of the Lord's people in our time of the world. I'm sure this Mormon knew that the book, which would bear his name, would be a key factor in the restoration of the Lord's Church in preparation for His Second Coming!

Let me now quote more from Alma Chapter 19 to let us know what happened!
Alma 19:24 And it came to pass that when the multitude beheld that the man had fallen dead, who lifted the sword to slay Ammon, fear came upon them all, and they durst not put forth their hands to touch him or any of those who had fallen; and they began to marvel again among themselves what could be the cause of this great power, or what all these things could mean.
25 And it came to pass that there were many among them who said that Ammon was the Great Spirit, and others said he was sent by the Great Spirit;
26 But others rebuked them all, saying that he was a monster, who had been sent from the Nephites to torment them.
27 And there were some who said that Ammon was sent by the Great Spirit to afflict them because of their iniquities; and that it was the Great Spirit that had always attended the Nephites, who had ever delivered them out of their hands; and they said that it was this Great Spirit who had destroyed so many of their brethren, the Lamanites.
28 And thus the contention began to be exceedingly sharp among them. And while they were thus contending, the woman servant (Abish) who had caused the multitude to be gathered together came, and when she saw the contention which was among the multitude she was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto tears.
29 And it came to pass that she went and took the queen by the hand, that perhaps she might raise her from the ground; and as soon as she touched her (the queen's) hand she arose and stood upon her feet, and cried with a loud voice, saying: O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell! O blessed God, have mercy on this people!
30 And when she had said this, she clasped her hands, being filled with joy, speaking many words which were not understood; and when she had done this, she took the king, Lamoni, by the hand, and behold he arose and stood upon his feet. (emphasis and clarification added)
In the previous post I promised that you would learn from the following post (this post) of a Lamanite woman who had become a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. You just read about it! There weren't many words, but the Queen's witness of Him was a sure witness!

The witness of King Lamoni about Jesus Christ being their Savior and Redeemer was equally powerfull:
Alma 19:
And it came to pass that he arose, according to the words of Ammon; and as he arose, he stretched forth his hand unto the woman, and said: Blessed be the name of God, and blessed art thou.
13 For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name. Now, when he had said these words, his heart was swollen within him, and he sunk again with joy; and the queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit. (emphasis and clarification added)
Again, the purpose of this post and the other posts in this series of posts of mine is to vividly demonstrate that the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ is just what its title says it is.

I, J. Neil Birch bear my personal testimony to you that I surely know that Jesus is the Christ and the Redeemer of my soul. Words can't express the depth of my gratitude that I have for Him!

You have been with me for quite a while with this post and I try very hard to keep these posts as short as possible, but I feel it important to give you just a quick glimpse at what great things occurred among these Lamanites because of the mission of Ammon, (one of the sons of King Mosiah), among them.

I'll use another one of the great paintings that are made available to me by followed by an explanation:
Lamanite Families Burying Their Swords Deep in the Earth as Hostile Lamanites Advance Toward Them to Kill Them (men, women and their children) -by Del Parson
As a Result of King Lamoni (and his queen's) Conversion to Jesus Christ, families of their kingdom were willing to sacrifice their lives rather than to break the sacred covenant they had made with Christ to never ever shed the blood of their fellow man again.

It surely takes an "eternal perspective" on the part of anyone reading this account from the Book of Mormon, to view these dear Lamanite families giving up their very lives to be faithful to their determination to be killed, along with their families, rather than to arm themselves and kill their attackers!

Alma 24:
5 Now when Ammon and his brethren and all those who had come up with him saw the preparations of the Lamanites to destroy their brethren, they came forth to the land of Midian, and there Ammon met all his brethren; and from thence they came to the land of Ishmael that they might hold a council with Lamoni and also with his brother Anti-Nephi-Lehi, what they should do to defend themselves against the Lamanites.
6 Now there was not one soul among all the people who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms against their brethren; nay, they would not even make any preparations for war; yea, and also their king (Lamoni) commanded them that they should not.

7 Now, these are the words which he said unto the people concerning the matter: I thank my God, my beloved people, that our great God has in goodness sent these our brethren, the Nephites, unto us to preach unto us, and to convince us of the traditions of our wicked fathers.
8 And behold, I thank my great God that he has given us a portion of his Spirit to soften our hearts, that we have opened a correspondence with these brethren, the Nephites.

9 And behold, I also thank my God, that by opening this correspondence we have been convinced of our sins, and of the many murders which we have committed.
10 And I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and also that he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son. (emphasis added.)

Was Ammon and his brethren's mission to the Lamanites a success? The picture above is a sure witness that it was!

If you are able to agree with what the Lamanite families depicted in the picture above decided to do, you have taken a huge leap forward spiritually! Congratulations!


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Neil Birch