23 April 2014

Alma 15: The Healing of Zeezrom

In the last chapter, Alma and Amulek used the power of God to escape from prison in Ammonihah. The walls of the prison split open and fell on their enemies, killing them instantly. 

Right after they busted out of the joint, though, they were commanded to go to the city of Sidon. The Book of Mormon doesn't specify who commanded them, but it must have been God because everyone else in the city was either already dead or shaking with fear. 

When they arrived in Sidon, they found their followers who had been thrown out of the city.
And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek were commanded to depart out of that city; and they departed, and came out even into the land of Sidom; and behold, there they found all the people who had departed out of the land of Ammonihah, who had been cast out and stoned, because they believed in the words of Alma. 15.1 
They explained what had happened to their wives and children (they had been burned to death). They also told them about their daring escape. I'm sure that even in their moment of grief, they were pretty impressed with the prison break story.
And they related unto them all that had happened unto their wives and children, and also concerning themselves, and of their power of deliverance. 15.2
 As it turns out, Zeezrom was in Sidon, too. He was sick with a fever that was caused by guilt. He thought that Alma and Amulek were dead, and he blamed himself for their death. When he saw them come into town, he sent a message calling for them to come see him.
And also Zeezrom lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever, which was caused by the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness, for he supposed that Alma and Amulek were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because of his iniquity. And this great sin, and his many other sins, did harrow up his mind until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance; therefore he began to be scorched with a burning heat. 15.3 
Now, when he heard that Alma and Amulek were in the land of Sidom, his heart began to take courage; and he sent a message immediately unto them, desiring them to come unto him. 15.4

When Alma and Amulek arrived at Zeezrom's bed, they saw he was in pretty bad shape. He asked them to heal him, and Alma asked him if he believed in Christ's power of salvation.
And it came to pass that they went immediately, obeying the message which he had sent unto them; and they went in unto the house unto Zeezrom; and they found him upon his bed, sick, being very low with a burning fever; and his mind also was exceedingly sore because of his iniquities; and when he saw them he stretched forth his hand, and besought them that they would heal him. 15.5
And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? 15.6
Zeezrom answered: "Yup! I believe everything you taught me."
And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.  15.7
But that didn't quite do it for Alma. He wanted to make sure, so he asked him again.
And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed. 15.8
Zeezrom probably would have agreed to anything at this point. He answers, again, "Yup! I believe."
And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words. 15.9
Alma asks God to heal him "According to his faith". Apparently Zeezrom's faith passes the test, because he instantly leaps out of his bed. Glory! Alma then baptizes Zeezrom, and from then on Zeezrom preached to the people.
 And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ. 15.10 
And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom. 15.11 
And Alma baptized Zeezrom unto the Lord; and he began from that time forth to preach unto the people. 15.12
Alma established a church in Sidon, and baptized everyone there who wanted to be baptized. Nobody in Ammonihah wanted to be baptized, because they were all still wicked sinners.
And Alma established a church in the land of Sidom, and consecrated priests and teachers in the land, to baptize unto the Lord whosoever were desirous to be baptized. 15.13 
And it came to pass that they were many; for they did flock in from all the region round about Sidom, and were baptized. 15.14
But as to the people that were in the land of Ammonihah, they yet remained a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people; and they repented not of their sins, ascribing all the power of Alma and Amulek to the devil; for they were of the profession of Nehor, and did not believe in the repentance of their sins. 15.15
Amulek had left all of his gold and silver, his house, and his father in Ammonihah. Alma wanted to help him start a new life, so he took him back to his home in Zarahemla. First, though, he made sure that the church was off to a good start, and that the people weren't going to become wicked again. He made sure they were praying enough, and that they were humble... and then Alma and Amulek took off for Zarahemla.
And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek, Amulek having forsaken all his gold, and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the word of God, he being rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his father and his kindred; 15.16 
Therefore, after Alma having established the church at Sidom, seeing a great check, yea, seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts, and began to humble themselves before God, and began to assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar, watching and praying continually, that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction -- 15.17 
Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord. 15.18
This all happened in 82 BC (according to the Book of Mormon footnote).
And thus ended the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. 15.19


Lifestyles 2012 said...

Hi Philip - so - I noticed something interesting lately. You and your brother Steve are atheists. And that's cool. Got no problem. I happen to be a Christian. You appear to continuoisly point out flaws of Mormans. Ok - get over it. Don't blame Jesus for someone who say they know Jesus. I am still working on how to "prove God exists." Thank your brother Steve for that. But quit the Morrman stuff and be men. Quit taking the easy road and pick on the weak religion. And oh yeah - look forward to meeting you one day.

Stephen said...

Philip is Steve's son. His project is blogging the Book of Mormon.

Mormonism isn't really any more ridiculous than Christianity, but it's of such recent origin that its provenance is much more accessible to inspection and criticism. Christianity is much older, so its origins aren't as easily studied. However, there *is* quite a lot of good scholarship on the bible: Bart Ehrman and Steve Wells have some good material, for example.

As for the Wells (and me) being atheists, I would say you are as well! Do you believe in Zeus? Thor? Baal? Molech? There are literally thousands of gods who were at one time revered by millions of people. When you think about the reasons why you reject those gods, you will understand why I reject YHWH. I just believe in one less god than you.

BTW, have you told any Mormons (only one "r", two "o"s, and the second "m" is silent) that theirs is a "weak religion"?
Steve Weeks

Unknown said...

Sometimes I also wonder if spending so much time reading the Book of Mormon is worth it...

I'm trying not to necessarily ridicule it, just to go through it, explaining what is going on in plain English, and question the claims it is making.

Since I began this project, I have met many former Mormons who have since left the church. They always are supportive of the project, and wished that they might have ran across a resource such as this earlier in their lives, so they wouldn't have spent so much time worshipping a god that (most likely) doesn't exist. Since Mormonism is such a huge time/financial commitment, if I can convince only a few Mormons to take a second look at their beliefs it is probably worth it.

So I keep trudging through the blue book. I've been trying not to sound too sarcastic or mean-spirited, and to just stick to the story (and always provide links to the direct source).

By the way, if you figure out a way to prove that God exists, please leave it in a comment here. You'll probably find it quite hard... I'm still trying to find that damn teapot that Bertrand Russell left somewhere between Earth and Mars. I think I'm getting close.


Stephen said...

Philip, we *know* that the teapot exists, because we know that it's as probable as the existence of a god.
Sooner or later, one of the orbiting high-resolution telescopes will identify it. Hallelujah!
Steve Weeks