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The relationship of Chapter 8 to the rest of Chapters 8-16 the book is discussed at Chapters 8-16.
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- Alma 10:5: Marvelous. Webster's 1828 dictionary gives three definitions, including: 1. Wonderful; strange; exciting wonder or some degree of surprise (eg. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Ps.118), 2. Surpassing credit; incredible, 3. The marvelous, in writings, is that which exceeds natural power, or is preternatural; opposed to probable. The term translated marvelous in Ps 118:23 is the Hebrew Pala', which occurs 69 times in the Old Testament, and seems to refer to something being hard, difficult, extraordinary, beyond one's power.
- Alma 10:10. Amulek tells us in verse 10 that while Alma was at his house an angel came to visit him. The verse tells us that the reason the angel was sent was "to make these things manifest unto me." Since Alma was already in Amulek's house and Alma knew the things, it doesn't seem like the angelic visit was necessary just to tell these things to Amulek. Neverthless, the Lord did choose to deliver his message in this miraculous means. And, like Paul and Alma the Younger, it doesn't seem from the scriptures that Amulek received this angelic witness due to his personal faith or righteousness. It may be that the Lord choose this miraculous means to give the people a second witness whose testimony was independent from the first's.
- Alternatively, "while this Alma hath dwelt at my house" may be read more broadly to encompass the time immediately prior to Amulek's first encounter with Alma, in which case this visitation may refer to the visit in 10: 7. If so, the Angel let Amulek know that Alma was a prophet, and Alma then taught things that had been pre-verified by the first angelic visit.
- Alma 10:11-15. That the people intend to "deliver them to their judges that they might be judged according to the law" (v. 13, emphasis added) could be seen as symptomatic of an emphasis on the political in this society. (See also Alma 8:12, Alma 10:24, and Alma 10:19-20.
- Alma 10:19-20. It is interesting that Amulek addresses the political realm to which the people are bound (see Alma 8:12, Alma 10:13, and Alma 10:24). He makes particular mention of Mosiah--a profoundly political figure in the Book of Mormon--and places the Lord in the role of judge. Amulek's attempt to interweave the call to repentance with their favored political language fails, however, and is only finally distracted by teachings of the resurrection in the following chapters.
- Alma 10:22-23: Cast out the righteous. Here Alma warns the people of Ammonihah that they will be destroyed if they cast out the righteous. For a discussion of the principle behind that statement, see the discussion at Hel 13:14 and also Alma 9:19.
- Alma 10:24. It's clear that the people are particularly incensed at Amulek's attack on the realm of law and its officers, betraying a focus on the political. (See also Alma 8:12, Alma 10:13, and Alma 10:19-20.)
- It is interesting to see that they feel their laws and lawyers are beyond criticism, and the reasons they give for it, namely, their laws are just and their lawyers are selected by the people. Quite a contrast with today's world. Laws and lawyers are readily criticized, and we don't put as high a value on the justice of our laws.
- Alma 11:34. Helaman comments directly on this verse, interpreting Amulek to mean that God wouldn't save his people in their sins because it is their very sins they are to be saved from. Zeezrom's question and Amulek's answer show that they don't initially have this kind of salvation in mind. It seems clear from v37 that for Amulek salvation amounts to inheriting the kingdom of heaven, but there's a hint of Helaman's interpretation in v40 when he says Christ shall take upon him the transgressions of believers.
- Also, any discussion of salvation while they are in Ammonihah needs to be looked at through the lens of the Nehor doctrine. Remember the Nehors believe God created all, so saves all. This sort of distinction made by Helaman is helpful for the church, but would make no difference to a Nehorite.
- Alma 11:35. Verse 35, as well as this entire encounter with Zeezrom, needs to be read in light of the Nehors (see Alma 1:4). The main doctrinal point in Alma 1:4 is that they believe in universal salvation - all will inherit eternal life. Thus, any person coming to preach repentance seems pointless to a Nehor. Also, it seems the Zeezrom is also arguing about the existence of a Christ (Son of God) but Alma 1 does not bring up the question of a Christ. Sherem and Korihor both teach there is no Christ, but nowhere do have it recorded that the Nehors do not accept a Christ. However, it is certainly interesting to see Zeezrom so picky about whether there is one God or two. And their belief in universal salvation might also exclude the need for a Savior (might, because they could believe that a Savoir saves all, or, they might believe that a Savior is unnecessary because we are all already guaranteed eternal life.)
- As mentioned in a question for Alma 1:4, we do have some other hints of Nehor doctrine. See Alma 15:15 ("did not believe in the repentance of their sins") and 21:6-8 ("Now Aaron said unto him: Believest thou that the Son of God shall come to redeem mankind from their sins? And the man said unto him: We do not believe that thou knowest any such thing.")
- Alma 11:41-46: Narrator. It is not clear when Alma's direct narration, taken over by Mormon into his own abridgment beginning with chapter 9, comes to an end. Since Alma is never mentioned in the third person before the first verse of the next chapter, it is possible that Alma is the actual author/narrator of all material up through the end of chapter 11. At the same time, the "or this is all that I have written" with which verse 46 ends, if that phrase is Mormon's rather than Alma's, may indicate that Mormon himself had carefully abridged Amulek's words. (It would certainly seem likely that the summary of Nephite monetary systems inserted earlier in chapter 11 would have been Mormon's, rather than Alma's, work.) At any rate, it is clear that Alma has fully given way to Mormon when the turn is made from chapter 11 to chapter 12, since Alma becomes at that point a character in, rather than the teller of, the story.
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Prompts for further study
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- Does this fit with the pattern of preaching we have seen Alma use? (See the questions for Alma 8:9-11.)
- Alma 10:2: Why don't we have more written about Aminadi and this incident of the writing on the wall of the temple? Which temple did this happen at?
- Alma 10:2: Why does Amulek give his genealogy here?
- Alma 10:3: Why was it important for Amulek to establish his descent from Nephi, and to give the lineage of Lehi and Nephi?
- Alma 10:3: What do we know about the blessing promised to the tribe of Manasseh?
- Alma 10:4: What does it mean for Amulek to say he is "a man of no small reputation"?
- Alma 10:4: Why does Amulek reference his family, friends, and riches?
- Alma 10:4: What does it mean for Amulek to have "acquired much riches by the hand of my industry"? Whereas most people would have been subsistence farmers, does this indicate that Amulek is perhaps of a more noble class or perhaps some kind of craft specialist, rather than a farmer?
- Alma 10:4: What does Amulek mean by "industry"?
- Alma 10:4: What constitutes "riches" in Nephite or Ammonihah society?
- Alma 10:5: Why does Amulek say that he has not "known much of the ways of the Lord"?
- Alma 10:5: What does Amulek mean by "mysteries and marvelous power" of the Lord?
- Alma 10:5: What does the "preservation of the lives of this people" have to do with the "mysteries and marvelous power" of the Lord?
- Alma 10:5: What does Amulek mean by "marvelous" power? Is this just a flowery adjective, or does it have a greater significance?
- Alma 10:10: Why would an angel visit Amulek in his house (v. 10) if Alma was already there to preach the gospel to him? Is there a chance that he is referring to Alma as an angel as mortal missionaries are sometimes lovingly called by their converts?
- Alma 10:11: My women. Is it possible that Amulek had more than one wife? Or possibly, these are his sisters?
- Alma 10:12: In what sense has more than one person testified of the things the people of Ammonihah are accused of? Why does Alma accuse them and mention things to come, but Amulek doesn't?
- Alma 10:13-15, 27, 32: How are the conditions described here similar to those found today?
- Alma 10:22: Why does Amulek feel the need to distinguish the threatened destruction from the method of Noah's day?
- Alma 11:2: What does "stripped" mean in verse 2? It sounds like this is a punishment for not paying someone when you owe them money.
- Alma 11:4-19: Why do you think the Book of Mormon includes these monetary units? Why are they put here in the middle of the story of Alma and Amulek’s preaching? Why do you think the compilers of the Book of Mormon chose to include them? What purpose might this account of money serve us in the latter-days?
- Alma 11:21: What does “devices of the devil” mean?
- Alma 11:22: Why might Zeezrom begin with such an obvious and insulting temptation? Why not begin with something more subtle?
- Alma 11:25: For what sin does Amulek say Zeezrom will be destroyed? For tempting him?
- Alma 11:28-29: More than one God? How can one reconcile and what can we learn from Amulek's emphatic "no" in response to Zeezrom, and the uncertainty Joseph Smith expresses in D&C 121:28 (see also verse 32) about "whether there be one God or many gods"?
- Alma 11:34: What does Zeezrom have in mind with this question? Does he perhaps have Alma 9:27 in mind, where Alma says only those that are baptized unto repentance (through faith in Christ) will be redeemed?
- Alma 11:34: Do the Nehors believe in a Christ?
- Alma 11:37: This verse speaks of something that God cannot do. How does it explain that limitation on his power?
- Alma 11:38-39: Why doesn't Amulek do a more careful job of explaining the relationship between God the Father and his son Jesus Christ?
- Alma 11:38ff: Notice how Zeezrom’s one question brings a long, detailed response from Amulek? Why does Amulek answer as he does? Why not give Zeezrom a shorter, more simple answer?
- Alma 11:38-39: What does it mean to say that Christ is the Eternal Father? What does it mean to say that he is the beginning and the end? What does it mean to say that he is the first and the last? Given our understanding of the eternal nature of spirits, how do you make sense of these statements about God?
- Alma 11:38-39: What is significant about the phrase "very Eternal Father"? How is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? Is Zeezrom asking this question because he was aware of Abinadi's teachings on the subject (cf. Mos. 15:4, 16:15). How does this relate and compare to Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni's understanding of God the Father as the Eternal Father (cf. 1 Nep. 11:21, 13:40, Mormon 6:22, Moroni 4:3, 5:2, 10:4, 10:31)?
- Alma 11:39: Why does the exact same phrase, "the beginning and the end, the first and the last" show up here and in Rev 22:13?
- Alma 11:42-45: Why does Alma tell them of the redemption of the body? How does this function in his call to repentance?
- Alma 11:44: There are five lists of opposites like this one in the Book of Mormon that include "female" in the list. In each case, "female" is on the "positive" side - it is here paired with "young," "free," "righteous." With specific references to females being so limited in the Book of Mormon, what do we learn from this interesting pairing?
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- Alma 10:17. Anthony D. Perkins, "‘The Great and Wonderful Love’," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 76–78. Elder Perkins suggests three snares used by the adversary: the snare of false inadequacy, the snare of exaggerated imperfection, and the snare of needless guilt.
- Alma 11:6-10. See the following link for a discussion of how the Nephite monetary system relates to the Fibonnaci sequence, sometimes called the "signature of God": http://mormondefense.blogspot.com/2010/10/nephite-money-and-signature-of-god.html
- Alma 11:41-46. Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Sunday Will Come," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 28–30. Elder Wirthlin reminds us that "the Resurrection is at the core of our beliefs as Christians. Without it, our faith is meaningless."
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