On Thursday at Pathway gathering, the study skill presented was visualization. I have tried before using this skill and it works, but I have found that it is up to the individual reader to be able to use their own imagination to put themselves in the setting. Therefore, this week from Alma 8 through Alma 16, please take the time to close your eyes and imagine you are Alma and see how you would feel, believe and act if you were him.
From Alma 7 we know that Alma was in the land of Gideon and he found there a righteous people. He tarried there long enough to ensure that the church was set in proper order. Upon finishing in Gideon, he returned to Zarahemla to rest and at the beginning of the next year he left Zarahemla and went to the land of Melek.
In Melek, Alma shared the gospel and taught the people there to believe on Christ. He baptized people throughout the land and when he finished his work in Melek, he traveled to Ammonihah.
The people of Ammonihah were not nearly as receptive as the people of Melek. They knew who Alma was when he arrived and knew that he was no longer the chief judge of the land and therefore he had no authority over them in a governmental sense. Alma discovered that the people here were in a wicked state, verse 9 states: “Now Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people of the city of Ammonihah; therefore they would not hearken unto the words of Alma.” They were far enough away from the words of Christ that they spit on Alma and threw him out of the city walls. Alma accepted this with a heavy heart and set his way for the city of Aaron.
As Alma was on his way to Aaron, he was again visited by an angel of the Lord. Take into consideration that Alma has been recipient of a visit by an angel before and at that time, he was not being righteous and he was struck dumb for several days. The angel brings Alma good tidings and tells him that he is blessed for keeping the Lord’s commandments, but he needs to go back to Ammonihah to preach repentance unto the people. Alma “returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah.” Perhaps he was quick to return because he was afraid of the powers of the angel from his previous experience, but most likely, he was being a faithful and obedient prophet of God who with a full heart wanted the people of Ammonihah to be saved.
As Alma enters into the city of Ammonihah again, he uses a different gate and comes upon a man and asks him to help a servant of God with something to eat. This man is Amulek, who is a Nephite and tells Alma that he knows that he is a prophet of God because he had been visited by an angel and takes Alma to his home for rest, food and drink. After Alma is well rested, he shares his story with Amulek and then Alma is told to take Amulek out into the city and begin to preach repentance unto the people.
I love the last few verses of this chapter. Visualize this:
“And Alma went forth, and also Amulek, among the people, to declare the words of God unto them; and they were filled with the Holy Ghost. And they had power given unto them, insomuch that they could not be con fined in dungeons; neither was it possible that any man could slay them nevertheless they did not exercise their power until they were bound in bands and cast into prison. Now this was done that the Lord might show forth his power in them. And it came to pass that they went forth and began to preach and to prophesy unto the people, according to the spirit and power which the Lord had given them.”
I love the feeling of closing my eyes and feeling the warmth wash over me as I am filled with the Holy Ghost and see myself preaching to people in a far away land. I enjoy knowing that God will preserve me and that His will be done.
Close your eyes and see.
I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.