Sunday, September 21, 2014

Alma 11

(September 21, 2014)
                As I read through this, one thing stood out to me – why did Zeezrom tremble in fear?  We look at him questioning Amulek, and the responses that he generates and the questions he asks makes him seem to be firmly in control (or, at least, so he thinks) of the conversation. Then Amulek goes off on a little speech for a short time and Zeezrom is terrified.  Is it because of part of the speech that Alma redacted?  I suppose that is possible, but I doubt it.  While Alma admits to redacting Amulek here, I would think he would have included everything we need to understand the narrative.

                If that is the case, then the only thing that we have to go on is the short speech that we have.  The only thing within that speech that would seem to have the capacity for terrifying Zeezrom would be the understanding of the final judgment and the eternal nature of life (both the righteous and the unrighteous).  Of course, that was all mere assertions from Amulek (true assertions, but as an unbeliever it would appear that he could easily have refuted them).  They were not internally so logically compelling that no listener could help but be persuaded when he heard – obviously not, as most listeners were not persuaded.

                But that is where this gets really interesting.  Amulek testified of a truth – simply stated that it was true.  Most of those listening disbelieved, but Zeezrom was clearly pricked in his heart – he felt the Spirit testify of the truth.  We can tell that by the fact that he ultimately converted, while so many did not.  It wasn’t the argument that convinced Zeezrom that made him afraid – no, most of the listeners were able to ignore the Spirit.  No, Zeezrom felt the Spirit from simple, direct testimony (without the need of a cogent argument) and once he heard the truth and had the truth confirmed to him by the Spirit, he became terrified as he realized what he had done.

                There is a powerful lesson to be learned here for each of us as we work with others in the Gospel.  In my life, I often want to find just the right words or just the right argument to bring others to an understanding of the truth. This is putting too much of the emphasis on me.  While I need to craft the argument to the best of my ability (so as to help those listening to listen with an open heart), no argument that I present on any issue will be convincing.  All it can do is invite the Spirit and the Spirit does the convincing.

                No matter how clever the listener, nor how wicked they are, they may (like Zeezrom) be only one born testimony away from feeling the Spirit and starting their lifelong journey of conversion.  May we each do our best to present the Gospel in the best way we can, but ultimately may we do our best simply to present the Gospel and our testimony and rely on the Spirit to confirm its truth.

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