There's a LOT of juicy information to glean from Alma's mission to preach repentance throughout the land, particularly in Ammonihah. I will only touch on some of the basics:
I believe he knew that he was in for a challenge in Ammonihah, they had very hardened hearts there. He fasted and prayed mightily before entering it. And everyone obviously knew who he was.
Alma 811 Nevertheless, they hardened their hearts, saying unto him: Behold, we know that thou art Alma; and we know that thou art high priest over the church which thou hast established in many parts of the land, according to your tradition; and we are not of thy church, and we do not believe in such foolish traditions.
12 And now we know that because we are not of thy church we know that thou hast no power over us; and thou hast delivered up the judgment-seat unto Nephihah; therefore thou art not the chief judge over us.
Now Alma, could have retained his chief judge status and sent declaration that the gospel could be preached throughout the land unhindered and the people, although not obligated to listen to the prophets, had to respect the law and not so much as hurt or harm and servant of the Lord. We see this happen in other cities.
But rejected, he leaves Ammonihah for good. But not quite!14 And it came to pass that while he was journeying thither, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, it came to pass while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying:
15 Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you.
16 And behold, I am sent to command thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.
17 For behold, they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people, (for thus saith the Lord) which is contrary to the statutes, and judgments, and commandments which he has given unto his people.
Apparently, the people of Ammonihah were educated and learned and also well connected rulers, judges, lawyers and officers. And they were ambulance chasers. They had a system of creating bogus lawsuits to make money. Here in this story, we have an actual court case:The People vs. God
I have to preface this with the fact that Alma does indeed return to Ammonihah to find Amulek, who had been called by the same angel to be Alma's second witness as they preach the word.
32 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.
So Alma begins preaching to them, the same Alma, who everyone was keenly aware, was their former chief judge and high priest over the church of the land. They rebuke him with the following question:
2 Who art thou? Suppose ye that we shall believe the testimony of ONE MAN, although he should preach unto us that the earth should pass away?
4 And they said also: We will not believe thy words if thou shouldst prophesy that this great city should be destroyed in one day.
They have challenged the Lord.
6 And they said: Who is God, that sendeth no more authority than ONE MAN among this people, to declare unto them the truth of such great and marvelous things?
Little did they know what God was way ahead of them. Consider the following scriptures:
2 Ne 29:8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God
, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
D&C 42:81 But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesse
s; and the elders shall lay the case before the church, and the church shall lift up their hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God.
D&C 6:28 And now, behold, I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph, the keys of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry; and in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
D&C 128:3 ...in the mouth of two or three witnesses
every word may be established.
2 Cor 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses
shall every word be established.
1 Tim 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
Alma begins to present his case, which comprises the rest of chapter nine. They need to repent or they will be destroyed. So far he is just one man (Amulek is on stand-by).
When Alma is done telling them how wicked they are, they were angry and wanted to throw him in prison, but they couldn't. Now Amulek steps up to the plate and introduces himself and his credentials.1 Now these are the words which Amulek preached unto the people who were in the land of Ammonihah, saying:
2 I am Amulek; I am the son of Giddonah, who was the son of Ishmael, who was a descendant of Aminadi; and it was that same Aminadi who interpreted the writing which was upon the wall of the temple, which was written by the finger of God.
3 And Aminadi was a descendant of Nephi, who was the son of Lehi, who came out of the land of Jerusalem, who was a descendant of Manasseh, who was the son of Joseph who was sold into Egypt by the hands of his brethren.
4 And behold, I am also a man of no small reputation among all those who know me; yea, and behold, I have many kindreds and friends, and I have also acquired much riches by the hand of my industry.
So by this we know that everyone there knows Amulek. He is one of them. Rich, hard hearted, loves money, has lots of money, etc. He then begins to tell them about his account of an angel appearing to him and telling him to receive a prophet of the Lord, etc. 9 And the angel said unto me he is a holy man; wherefore I know he is a holy man because it was said by an angel of God.
12 And now, when Amulek had spoken these words the people began to be astonished, seeing there was MORE THAN ONE WITNESS who testified of the things whereof they were accused, and also of the things which were to come, according to the spirit of prophecy which was in them.
Ok, so not only did their former chief judge and high priest over the church of the land testify to them, being only one man, but a second man, whom they all knew and very likely did a lot of business with, is now a second witness. The prosecution rests.
But not so fast. 14 Now it was those men who sought to destroy them, who were lawyers, who were hired or appointed by the people to administer the law at their times of trials, or at the trials of the crimes of the people before the judges.
15 Now these lawyers were learned in all the arts and cunning of the people; and this was to enable them that they might be skilful in their profession.
16 And it came to pass that they began to question Amulek, that thereby they might make him cross his words, or contradict the words which he should speak.
They are so corrupt, they don't even know they're corrupt. They think they're smart and can use their laws to their advantage. It makes me wonder what points of law they were studying to overthrow the liberty of the the land. I think they were going to try and weaken the position of the chief judges, but who knows for sure.
24 And now it came to pass that the people were more angry with Amulek, and they cried out, saying: This man doth revile against our laws which are just, and our wise lawyers whom we have selected.
Amulek just throws it right back at them:
26 For behold, have I testified against your law? Ye do not understand; ye say that I have spoken against your law; but I have not, but I have spoken in favor of your law, to your condemnation.
They forgot already that they challenged God's authority to send only one man to testify against them, when God, the ultimate attorney at law, sent them two witnesses to testify against them using their own law.
The lead ambulance chaser, Zeezrom of Zeezrom and associates, decides to take the role of prosecutor and asks questions to catch them in their words, but they're on to him.
He asks them if there is a one true God. They answer, "Yup!"
34 And Zeezrom said again: Shall he save his people in their sins? And Amulek answered and said unto him: I say unto you he shall not, for it is impossible for him to deny his word.
35 Now Zeezrom said unto the people: See that ye remember these things; for he said there is but one God; yet he saith that the Son of God shall come, but he shall not save his people—as though he had authority to command God.
36 Now Amulek saith again unto him: Behold thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins.
Zeezrom is trying to subtly make Amulek bear false witness by putting words in his mouth. Of course God doesn't save us IN our sins. He saves us FROM our sins. Zeezrom is smooth, but not too smooth for Alma and Amulek. Amulek, while, answering Zeezrom, is using Zeezrom's own tactics to bury Zeezrom. And Zeezrom knows it. He knows that he is trying to dig a pit for Alma and Amulek and for the people of Ammonihah, but he only finds himself sinking into his own pit.
46 Now, when Amulek had finished these words the people began again to be astonished, and also Zeezrom began to tremble. And thus ended the words of Amulek, or this is all that I have written.
This is important to note:
Alma 12 1 Now Alma, seeing that the words of Amulek had silenced Zeezrom, for he beheld that Amulek had caught him in his lying and deceiving to destroy him, and seeing that he began to tremble under a consciousness of his guilt, he opened his mouth and began to speak unto him, and to establish the words of Amulek, and to explain things beyond, or to unfold the scriptures beyond that which Amulek had done.
2 Now the words that Alma spake unto Zeezrom were heard by the people round about; for the multitude was great, and he spake on this wise:
3 Now Zeezrom, seeing that thou hast been taken in thy lying and craftiness, for thou hast not lied unto men only but thou hast lied unto God; for behold, he knows all thy thoughts, and thou seest that thy thoughts are made known unto us by his Spirit;
4 And thou seest that we know that thy plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people that thou mightest set them against us, to revile us and to cast us out—
5 Now this was a plan of thine adversary, and he hath exercised his power in thee. Now I would that ye should remember that what I say unto thee I say unto all.
6 And behold I say unto you all that this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction, according to the power of his captivity.
7 Now when Alma had spoken these words, Zeezrom began to tremble more exceedingly, for he was convinced more and more of the power of God; and he was also convinced that Alma and Amulek had a knowledge of him, for he was convinced that they knew the thoughts and intents of his heart; for power was given unto them that they might know of these things according to the spirit of prophecy.
Anyway, Zeezrom knows his goose is cooked. Not only have two witnesses testified against their wickedness, but they cannot be confounded by Ammonihah's laws, of which Zeezrom is an expert. They begin teaching everyone, but they get really ticked off because they're evil, they imprison Alma and Amulek against Zeezrom's protests, and a lot of stuff happens. You can study it out. Ultimately in the end, the people of Ammonihah (who by the way, beat the stuff out of them, ask how they will look when they are damned), who challenged God, saying there is NO WAY their great city could be destroyed in one day, are in the end, destroyed in one day.
1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, on the fifth day of the second month, there having been much peace in the land of Zarahemla, there having been no wars nor contentions for a certain number of years, even until the fifth day of the second month in the eleventh year, there was a cry of war heard throughout the land.
2 For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.
9 And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been driven out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness.
10 But behold, IN ONE DAY it was left desolate; and the carcasses were mangled by dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness.
11 Nevertheless, after many days their dead bodies were heaped up upon the face of the earth, and they were covered with a shallow covering. And now so great was the scent thereof that the people did not go in to possess the land of Ammonihah for many years. And it was called Desolation of Nehors; for they were of the profession of Nehor, who were slain; and their lands remained desolate.
Case closed! The moral of the story is repent and never counter sue the Lord.
Gyrlgeek, yes, this is similar to what is happening today. Much of the book of Alma and Helaman is a parallel of what is happening today and is precisely why Mormon included the conflicts between the free men and the king men, all their wars, contentions, judicial system, monetary system, etc. Moroni exhorts us to learn from them that perhaps we can be "wiser than they were." Moroni also warns us in Ether 8 that such secret combinations will be among us today. The Book of Mormon is a guide, a road map, a mirror, if you will, of what is going on in our own world today. We are repeating history and making all the same mistakes prior to Christ's coming.