Alma 11

Alma 11:2 the man was compelled to pay...or be cast out from among the people as a thief

This may seem to be harsh treatment for the thief but it is according to the Law of the Lord, both in Old Testament times and today. The Lord commanded the church, Thou shalt not steal and he that stealeth and will not repent shall be cast out (DC 42:20). See also Zech 5:3.

Alma 11:3-19 Why does Mormon take time to explain the monetary system of the Nephites?

The only apparent reason for us to know their monetary system is to give us a frame of reference for how large the bribe is that Zeezrom offers to Amulek (v. 22). A brief explanation will put this amount (six onties) into perspective. The gold coins were based on the senine, and the silver coins were based on the senum.

GOLD COINS

SILVER COINS

Senine=judges daily wage (v. 3)

Senum=judges daily wage (v. 3)

Seon=2 senines

Amnor=2 senums

Shum=4 senines

Ezrom=4 senums

Limnah=7 senines

Onti=7 senums

Therefore, Zeezrom's bribe of 6 onties is equal to 42 days of pay for a judge or 42 measures of barley (v. 7).

Hugh Nibley

"This was the system established by King Mosiah...They had a system which ran in sevens instead of fives and tens; or sixes and twelves, as the English [system] does; or the decimal system as we use it. It ran in sevens, and Richard Smith pointed out it was the best possible system that could be devised. It used the least coins for any necessary transaction. If you want to figure out a system that will use a minimum amount of coins and save you a lot of trouble, this is the system." (Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Lecture 48, p. 316)

Alma 11:20 it was for the sole purpose to get gain...therefore, they did stir up the people

These lawyers had one thing on their minds-money. They had perfected the art of instigating legal disputes that would support themselves. For them, it didn't matter if there were too many lawyers to go around. They would simply create enough conflict that their services would be needed. Imagine lawyers making more work that only lawyers could perform!

So why would these lawyers enter this primarily religious debate? There seems to be no offended party that is likely to bring a suit, yet all the lawyers are interested in confronting these two prophets. The reason is to further their reputations and engender some conflict that will end up requiring their services, that they might have more employ. This is a public debate with large crowds in attendance. If Zeezrom can humiliate Alma and Amulek with his wit and reason, he can further his reputation as a great lawyer and increase his clientele. So his battle cry is "conflict for the sake of conflict," which translates into more money for him.

Dean L. Larsen

"The account of the dialogue between Zeezrom and Alma and Amulek in the eleventh chapter of the book of Alma provides additional insight into Zeezrom's worldly self-assurance. He has an audience to play to, and he intends, with his practiced sophistry and cunning, to make a game of his denigration of the two missionaries. After all, the audience is completely prejudiced in his favor, and he relishes the opportunity to add to his reputation among his peers. His questions to Alma and Amulek reflect his courtroom skills. They are designed for entrapment." (Heroes From the Book of Mormon, p. 113-4)

Richard L. Evans

"The further a difficulty spreads, brethren, the more bitterly entrenched does it become, and the greater is the cost in time and in money and in feelings--sometimes even in the disaffection of our families, which is an experience that has been repeated altogether too many times. In the words of Paul--in the words of John Taylor--settle your difficulties among yourselves, if you have them. Don't worry about the lawyers. They have plenty to do without becoming embroiled in differences among brethren, and the court dockets are crowded. Settle your differences among yourselves. I hope we haven't any Zeezroms in the Church, of whose kind it was said:

   '. . . because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people. . . that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them.' (Alma 11:20)

"If we have any such I hope they are not making a living at their profession." (Conference Report, Oct. 1943, p. 37)

Alma 11:22 Yea, if it be according to the Spirit

Amulek only agrees to answer Zeezrom's questions according to the Spirit. He would not answer the question or teach without this constant companion, for if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach (DC 42:14).

Alma 11:22 all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being

Dean L. Larsen

"Zeezrom's offer to pay the missionaries six onties of silver if they will deny that there is a Supreme Being exposes his conviction that everyone is as corruptible as himself. It is a revealing demonstration of the debauched condition into which the people have fallen. Zeezrom obviously expects no disapproval from his fellow lawyers or the people for his proffered bribe. It is a practice to which they are accustomed." (Heroes From the Book of Mormon, p. 114)

Alma 11:24 thou knowest that there is a God

Amulek knows the heart of Zeezrom. He knows that his attacker has been taught the doctrine of the kingdom but will not repent because of his love of filthy lucre. The very questions that Zeezrom asks reveals that he knows there is a God and much more. As a key element in his devious trap, he only asks questions to which he already knows the answers. The subsequent verses reveal that Zeezrom knew that there is a God, that there is only one God, that the Son of God will come to redeem the people from their sins, and that the Son of God, who becomes the Redeemer, is the same as the very Eternal Father (v. 38). 

Thus Zeezrom's wickedness is symbolic for all in Ammonihah. They know better, they have been taught the doctrine of the kingdom, and they have received of the Lord's blessings and mercy. But they rejected the Lord so that they could lay up for themselves treasures upon earth (3 Ne 13:19).

Alma 11:34 Shall he save his people in their sins?

Zeezrom knows that the Son of God will come to redeem the people from their sins not in their sins. This is obviously a trap. At first, Zeezrom thinks he has his prey tangled in his wicked web but Amulek is not to be confounded, proclaiming that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven...Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins (v. 37). See also Hel 5:10.

Alma 11:38 Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?

The Son of God is known to us as Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament. He is also the God of the Nephites, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

We are used to differentiating Elohim from Jehovah with the terms "Father" and "Son." To refer to the Son as "the Father" can be confusing. Nevertheless, understanding those scriptures which refer to the Jehovah as the Father will help the reader better understand the great role of our Redeemer. The doctrine is simple if you remember the three ways in which Jehovah is referred to as the Father.

First, he is referred to as the Father by virtue of divine investiture. If one is the Son of God, given all his power, authority, and grace, then one is also God and should also be referred to as "the Father." Abinadi describes it with the phrase, because he was conceived by the power of God (Mosiah 15:3). Jesus explained that He is the Father because he gave me of his fulness (DC 93:4).

Second, Christ is the Father by virtue of his role as the Creator of heaven and earth. He is, in effect, the Father of creation and therefore retains the title "the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth." No one would argue that He created under the direction of Elohim, but if He, as a pre-mortal Spirit, could create all things in heaven and earth, then he is, indeed, the Father of Creation. Accordingly, Samuel the Lamanite prophesied of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and of earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning (Hel 14:12, italics added).

Third, Christ is the Father by virtue of his redeeming sacrifice. All those who are born again through the mighty power of the atonement become the sons and daughters of Christ. As logic would have it, this spiritual rebirth is not without parentage. The Lord, Jesus Christ, becomes the Father of our Spirits. Benjamin's people experienced this mighty change. Therefore, they were called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters (Mosiah 5:7). As Abinadi explains the meaning of Isaiah, he repeats this doctrine, And who shall be his seed?...they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed? (Mosiah 15:10-12)

Alma 11:40 he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe

In contrast to the resurrection which comes to all regardless of their individual effort, the doctrine of redemption from sin is contingent upon faith in Christ. He will not redeem the wicked from spiritual death if they will not believe in his name. This is a fundamental doctrine which is so often misunderstood in Christianity.

"This is an important principle which must be viewed properly in order to avoid confusion.  There are persons who teach that Christ suffered only for those who will repent.  This is false.  It is incorrect The Lord suffered for every soul, 'yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam' (2 Nephi 9:21; see also D&C 18:11; D&C 19:16).  His suffering and atonement are efficacious, however, only for those who repent and come unto him.  Thus to refuse to repent is to mock his pain and shun his sufferings.  It is, in the words of Paul, to do 'despite unto the spirit of grace' (Hebrews 10:29)." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 77)

Alma 11:43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form

Amulek gives us the quintessential passage on the nature and perfection of the resurrected body. Along with the words of Alma which state, The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame (Alma 40:23), we are to understand that the Lord will give us an incredible, completely free gift-a completely flawless, perfect, immortal body.

If our goal is to become perfect even as our Father in Heaven is perfect, then one of the most important elements in that quest has been taken care of for us in the great Resurrection. We are to receive a perfect body. This perfect body is to be united with that spirit body which was created in a state of innocence for us in the beginning. In the beginning, our spirit bodies were perfect but they could not remain in innocence as they were all marred by the unrighteous exercise of agency. Therefore, the union of these two bodies, never again to be separated, does not make us perfect. It is not enough. That perfect body will still be controlled by the individual who controlled it in mortality. Amulek later explains, that same spirit which doth posses your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world (Alma 34:34). True perfection, then, will depend upon the perfection of the spirit by a) the perfect submission of individual will to the will of the Father, b) the mastery of the spirit of obedience, and c) the cleansing of the inner vessel from all impurities. Otherwise, we will stand before God, with our perfect bodies, having a bright recollection of all our guilt.

Joseph F. Smith

"(speaking of the resurrection) Deformity will be removed; defects will be eliminated, and men and women shall [return] again to the perfection of their spirits, to the perfection that God designed in the beginning. It is his purpose that men and women, his children, born to become heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ shall be made perfect, physically as well as spiritually through obedience to the law by which he has provided the means that perfection shall come to all his children." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 4, p. 187)

Joseph Fielding Smith

"A little sound thinking will reveal to us that it would be inconsistent for our bodies to be raised with all kinds of imperfections. Some men have been burned at the stake for the sake of truth. Some have been beheaded, and others have had their bodies torn asunder; for example, John the Baptist was beheaded and received his resurrection at the time of the resurrection of our Redeemer. It is impossible for us to think of him coming forth from the dead holding his head in his hands; our reason says he was physically complete in the resurrection, He appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery with a perfect resurrected body." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, p. 289)

Dallin H. Oaks

"Many living witnesses can testify to the literal fulfillment of these scriptural assurances of the resurrection. Many, including some in my own extended family, have seen a departed loved one in vision or personal appearance and have witnessed their restoration in 'proper and perfect frame' in the prime of life. Whether these were manifestations of persons already resurrected or of righteous spirits awaiting an assured resurrection, the reality and nature of the resurrection of mortals is evident. What a comfort to know that all who have been disadvantaged in life from birth defects, from mortal injuries, from disease, or from the natural deterioration of old age will be resurrected in 'proper and perfect frame.'" (Conference Report, Apr. 2000, May Ensign, p. 15)

Alma 11:43 a bright recollection of all our guilt

In the resurrection, we will not suffer the limitations of memory which we have in mortality. Our personal computers will be able to find files much better than they do now. There is scientific and anecdotal evidence that the brain stores everything which happens to us in our lives. Our inability to recall certain events does not mean the information is not there.

Neurosurgical experiments, done on awake patients, have shown that electrical stimulation to different portions of the brain can stimulate the recall of events in the subject's life that had long since been forgotten. The experiments bring the memories back with the same vividness as if the events took place yesterday. Placing the electrical stimulation on different portions of the human cerebral cortex will produce the recall of different events, suggesting that all events in one's life are recorded somewhere in the brain.

We commonly hear of people who believed they were about to die say, "my life flashed before my eyes." How could these memories flash into one's consciousness if they were not already stored in the brain? If this is the case, and the scripture suggests it is so, we would be wise to repent of those things which we do not want to remember at that day. Then we will be as the righteous who shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness (2 Ne 9:14).

John Taylor

"God has made each man a register within himself, and each man can read his own register, so far as he enjoys his perfect faculties. This can be easily comprehended.

"...Let your memories run back, and you can remember the time when you did a good action, you can remember the time when you did a bad action; the thing is printed there, and you can bring it out and gaze upon it whenever you please.

"...Man sleeps the sleep of death, but the spirit lives where the record of his deeds is kept--that does not die--man cannot kill it; there is no decay associated with it, and it still retains in all its vividness the remembrance of that which transpired before the separation by death of the body and the ever-living spirit. Man sleeps for a time in the grave, and by-and-by he rises again from the dead and goes to judgment; and then the secret thoughts of all men are revealed before Him with whom we have to do; we cannot hide them; it would be in vain for a man to say then, I did not do so-and-so; the command would be, Unravel and read the record which he has made of himself, and let it testify in relation to these things, and all could gaze upon it. If a man has acted fraudulently against his neighbor--has committed murder, or adultery, or any thing else, and wants to cover it up, that record will stare him in the face, he tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself. It is written that Jesus will judge not after the sight of the eye, or after the hearing of the ear, but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity the meek of the earth. It is not because somebody has seen things, or heard anything by which a man will be judged and condemned, but it is because that record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind--that record that cannot lie--will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who shall sit as judges." (Journal of Discourses, pp. 77-9)

Orson Pratt

"In this life there are many things that people, whether righteous or wicked, forget. Our memories are so weak that many things done in years passed are obliterated; but when they come forth in the morning of the resurrection, the wicked as well as the righteous, their memories will be restored, so that every act of their lives, whether good or evil, will be perfectly remembered, and the wicked will have a perfect knowledge of all their guilt. Will not this be sufficient to create an unquenchable fire in their breasts, and with this recollection, to behold the face of the Lord? Will not this cause them to shrink from his presence? I think it will." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 331)

Alma 11:44 this restoration shall come to all, both old and young

Dallin H. Oaks

"Resurrection is much more than merely reuniting a spirit to a body held captive by the grave. We know from the Book of Mormon that the resurrection is a restoration that brings back 'carnal for carnal' and 'good for that which is good (Alma 41:13)." (Conference Report, Apr. 2000, May Ensign, p. 15)

Alma 11:44 What about the resurrection of little children?

"Joseph Smith declared that the mother who laid down her little child, being deprived of the privilege, the joy, and the satisfaction of bringing it up to manhood or womanhood in this world, would after the resurrection, have all the joy, satisfaction and pleasure, and even more than it would have been possible to have had in mortality, in seeing her child grow to the full measure of the stature of its spirit. If this be true, and I believe it, what a consolation it is ... It matters not whether these tabernacles mature in this world, or have to wait and mature in the world to come, according to the word of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the body will develop, either in time or in eternity, to the full stature of the spirit, and when the mother is deprived of the pleasure and joy of rearing her babe to manhood or womanhood in this life, through the hand of death, that privilege will be renewed to her hereafter, and she will enjoy it to a fuller fruition than it would be possible for her to do here. When she does it there, it will be with certain knowledge that the results will be without failure; whereas here, the results are unknown until after we have passed the test.

"Children will come forth from the grave as children, be raised to maturity by worthy parents, and be entitled to receive all of the ordinances of salvation that eventuate in the everlasting continuation of the family unit." (Robert Millet, Joseph Fielding McConkie, The Life Beyond, pp. 118-9)

Joseph F. Smith

"Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her: 'You will have the joy, the pleasure, and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.' There is restitution, there is growth, there is development, after the resurrection from death. I love this truth. It speaks volumes of happiness, of joy and gratitude to my soul. Thank the Lord he has revealed these principles to us." (Gospel Doctrine, p. 455)

Alma 11:44 there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost

Elder LeGrand Richards taught that this was one of his favorite passages. Elder Richards lost his hair when he was quite young and kidded that he looked forward to the time when he could again enjoy the companionship of those many hair follicles which suffered such an early demise.

Alma 11:45 the whole becoming spiritual and immortal

The resurrected body is not a "physical body." By this, I do not mean to say that it is not a tangible body of flesh and bones for it most assuredly is. The scriptures speak of the resurrected body as being "spiritual" not "physical." This is because it is no longer a mortal, corruptible body, subject to death and full of the corruptible substance of blood. Joseph Smith taught:

"Concerning resurrection, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, or the kingdom that God inherits or inhabits, but the flesh without the blood and the Spirit of God flowing in the veins instead of the blood, for blood is the part of the body that causes corruption. Therefore we must be changed in the twinkle of an eye or have to lay down these tabernacles and leave the blood vanish away. . . . Blood is the corruptible part of the tabernacles." (Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 370-71; standardized)

If a physical body has blood coursing through its veins, then a spiritual body must have the Spirit of God flowing in its veins, as Joseph Smith taught. That a resurrected body is spiritual is taught in both the New Testament and D&C, so also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption...It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body (1 Cor 15:42-44), and they also shall rise again, a spiritual body (DC 88:27).

Therefore, it is important to make the distinction between "a spiritual body" and a "spirit body." The former is a tangible resurrected body; the latter is an unembodied personage of spirit.

Joseph Fielding Smith

"After the resurrection from the dead our bodies will be spiritual bodies, but they will be bodies that are tangible, bodies that have been purified, but they will nevertheless be bodies of flesh and bones. They will not be blood bodies. They will no longer be quickened by blood but quickened by the spirit which is eternal, and they shall become immortal and shall never die." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, p. 285)