Saturday, September 12, 2015

Amulek worries about suffering martyrdom at Ammonihah

While Alma and Amulek are forced to watch the wicked people of Ammonihah burn the righteous women and children and scriptures, we can tell that Amulek worries that he’ll be thrown in the flames next. His observant and Alma’s answer are very helpful to anyone worrying they will suffer martyrdom or persecution.

12 Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.
13 And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not. (Alma 14:12-13)

In the past, I have always focused on Alma’s spiritual impression that their work was not yet finished, but this time I noticed his previous statement, “Be it according to the will of the Lord.”

Alma recognized it was possible that the wicked people of Ammonihah could subsequently turn on him and Amulek, but rather than seeing it as the possibility of suffering at the will of the mob, he looked higher and saw it as possible that it might be the Lord’s will that they suffer.  He knew the Lord was more powerful than their persecutors.

Now, this is a painfully difficult, but ultimately more liberating view. 

Alma had faith that the Lord could and would protect them as long as that would bring about His righteous purposes, and that if it brought more righteous purposes about, the Lord would also allow them to suffer.  With this faith—and it took very strong faith—Alma would stick to his convictions and not abandon them just because others with similar convictions were being subjected to a horrifically painful death.

I think this is good to remember if we ever see others who hold our same beliefs subjected to persecution, suffering, and martyrdom. Yes, we may suffer too, but if so, even though it appears to be the will of the mob, it could be prevented easily by God. If the suffering is allowed to reach us, we can know that somehow God means it to bring about some righteous, yet mysterious purpose, whether it is to qualify the wicked for future punishment, or to refine us through suffering or other purposes.

I tremble as I write these things because it is one thing to comprehend it intellectually, and quite another to experience it. I only hope that if I were so subjected that I would be as faithful as Alma or those who were martyred at Ammonihah.