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Accusations in Alma 14:1-5
Having counted 6 accusations in these verses, I went back through Alma 8-13 to collect what I intend to be a complete list of possible justifications (in the text) for these accusations. Here are the actual verses with summaries. Accusations 3-5 kind of run together, but I've differentiated them a bit, as you'll see. I mainly did this to help me (and anyone who this might be helpful to) see all the accusations at once, to better participate in the discussion of accusations on the Alma 14:1-5 page.
V2 Alma speaks plainly to Zeezrom
- Alma 12:3-5
- Zeezrom caught in lying and craftiness
- Zeezrom lied to men and God.
- Zeezrom's plan was subtle like the Devil, to deceive the people and set them against Alma & Amulek so they'd revile them and cast them out.
V2 Amulek lied
- Alma 10:7
- Amulek claims to have seen an angel.
- Alma 10:26
- Amulek says he hasn't spoken against their law, even though they think he just did.
The people react immediately to the second statement, saying he just lied to them, so it's plain Alma 14:2 is referring to this second statement.
V2 Amulek reviles law, lawyers, and judges
- Alma 10:17-23,27
- Lawyers are a wicked and perverse generation.
- They're hypocrites because they lay the foundations of the devil, i.e. traps/snares to catch Alma & Amulek.
- They plan to pervert the ways of the righteous, which would bring down God's wrath on their heads to the destruction of the people.
- They are the wicked majority Mosiah warned about.
- The Lord judges their iniquities and calls them to repent.
- God will come down with equity and justice.
- Prayers of the rigtheous are the only thing between them and utter destruction.
- Foundation of destruction of the people is laid by unrighteousness of lawyers and judges
Much of this diatribe sounds more directed at the people generally than the lawyers specifically, but v24 is the actual moment when the people begin to accuse him of reviling their law and lawyers. What I can't find is what they mean by an attack on their law.
- Alma 11:23-25,36
- Zeezrom called a child of hell and accused of of tempting Amulek.
- Zeezrom loves lucre more than God.
- Zeezrom accused of lying about not believing in God and about intending to give Amulek money and trick him into denying God so he could destroy him.
- "For this great evil thous shalt have thy reward."
- Zeezrom lies about Amulek trying to command God.
V3 Alma & Amulek testify plainly against Lawyers' wickedness Since we've chosen to interpret v3 to be from the lawyer's perspective, I'll save Alma's harsh words to the people generally for the v5 accusation. However, I can't find any instance of Alma speaking harshly against the lawyers, except for what's already been mentioned against Zeezrom. Amulek's harsh words are already listed above.
V5 Alma and Amulek revile the people
- Alma 9:8,12,15,18-19,23-24,30
- Wicked, perverse generation. They've forgotten the tradition of their fathers and God's commandments
- Repent or be destroyed by the Lamanites
- Lamanites are better off than Ammonihahites because of their sins.
- Ammonihahites accused of destroying God's people.
- More threats of destruction
- Their hearts grossly hardened against God's word and they are a lost and fallen people.
With this last remark the people are outraged and interrupt Alma and try to lay hands on him.
- Alma 10:5,25
- It's a mystery they haven't been destroyed yet.
- Wicked and perverse generation. Satan has great hold on their hearts.
- Alma 12:6,16-18,36
- Ammonihahites have fallen into Satan's snare and are being led into destruction.
- The wicked (Ammonihahites by implication) will be tormented in a lake of fire and brimstone.
The chief judge had this in mind in Alma 14:14
- Alma 13:13-14,20-21,27,30
- Humble yourselves and repent.
- Destruction threatened if they wrest the scriptures.
- More exhortations to repent and warnings against destruction and the second death.
V5 Alma and Amulek teach that there's only one God, who will send his Son among the people, but won't save them. This accusation feels a bit convoluted. Certainly they seem upset by the teaching that Christ won't save the people, but are they also upset about there being only one God? And/or that he will send his Son? For now I've dealt only with the first accusation.
- Alma 9:26-27
- Son of God will redeem anyone who is baptized unto repentance.
- Alma 11:32-34,36-37,40
- Christ won't save his people in their sins.
- Christ will only save the believers.
Problem of Evil
Alma 14 raises the problem of evil (I think that may actually be why we decided to study this chapter), and I think C.S. Lewis has an interesting response to the question, "Why does God let bad things happen to good people?", as he noticeably does in Alma 14. I think Lewis's answer is not the same as [Alma 14:11] and I also think his answer is a bit more subtle than just, "God has to let us have free will," but that is essentially his point. Anyway, here's the quote...
- We can, perhaps, conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of this abuse of free will by His creatures at every moment: so that a wooden beam became soft as grass when it was used as a weapon, and the air refused to obey me if I attempted to set up in it the sound-waves that carry lies or insults. But such a world would be one in which wrong actions were impossible, and in which, therefore, freedom of the will would be void; nay, if the principle were carried out to its logical conclusion, evil thoughts would be impossible, for the cerebral matter which we use in thinking would refuse its task when we attempted to frame them. All matter in the neighbourhood of a wicked man would be liable to undergo unpredictable alterations. That God can and does, on occasions, modify the behaviour of matter and produce what we call miracles, is part of Christian faith; but the very conception of a common, and therefore stable, world, demands that these occasions should be extremely rare. In a game of chess you can make certain arbitrary concessions to your opponent, which stand to the ordinary rules of the game as miracles stand to the laws of nature. You can deprive yourself of a castle, or allow the other man sometimes to take back a move made inadvertently. But if you conceded everything that at any moment happened to suit him—if all his moves were revocable and if all your pieces disappeared whenever their position on the board was not to his liking—then you could not have a game at all. So it is with the life of souls in a world; fixed laws, consequences unfolding by causal necessity, the whole natural order, are at once limits within which their common life is confined and also the sole condition under which any such life is possible. Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself. - C.S. Lewis