Have you ever thought about Alma and Amulek watching the believers in Ammonihah burn? It is not just the pain that these are their tender converts. Could it be that Amulek’s own family was among that group because he is in particular anguish after the event?


Hello.  We are Scot and Maurine Proctor and this is Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast on the teachings and doctrine of the Book of Mormon.  We’re so excited to study this week’s material—Alma, chapters 13 through 16 and called “Enter into the Rest of the Lord.”


Now, this week’s lesson brings to mind a part of our own early Latter-day Saint history. Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum and others unjustly incarcerated in the Liberty Jail have parallels to Alma and Amulek unjustly thrown into the prison at Ammonihah.


I’ve often thought about those parallels and have taught about them for years.  Before we talk about those, let’s look at the remarkable approach Alma uses to teach this hardened people who are after the order of Nehor.  It almost feels like Alma is casting his pearls before swine to talk about such sacred things, but let’s look more closely at his approach.

As Alma is calling the people of Ammonihah to repentance, he talks about the pre-mortal world and those who exercised exceeding great faith there. He then points to the example of righteous Melchizedek, the great high priest from ancient times. What an interesting way to call a wicked city to repentance!


It really is quite the approach, but you’ll see why he did this.  It is clear from the ancient scriptural accounts that we are missing an immense amount of material concerning Melchizedek and his city.  Between the account here in Alma chapter 13 and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible in Genesis 14—we gain some incredible insights that will make sense for this setting in wicked Ammonihah.

Let’s talk about Melchizedek for a moment.

Melchizedek was evidently a prince by birth, for he became king of Salem (later Jerusalem- Genesis 14:18; Psalms 76:2), where he reigned “under his father” (Alma 13:18). “Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire” (JST Genesis 14:26). (


We learn in Alma’s words to the people here in Ammonihah that Melchizedek’s “people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness…” (Alma 13:17)

So, Alma is drawing a parallel between the wicked people of ancient Salem and the wicked people of Ammonihah.  The people of Ammonihah had the scriptures, and those who had studied them would have known the famous story of righteous Melchizedek and his wicked city of Salem.

18 But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father. (Alma 13:18)


Alma and Amulek certainly hoped that their listeners in Ammonihah would see the parallel of the city of Salem with them—and  that they, too, would take the path of repentance to spare them from destruction.

Melchizedek means “king of righteousness,” an apt name, because we know from the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 14 that the people of Salem under righteous Melchizedek not only repented, but continued in their righteous ways…”And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world;” (JST Genesis 14:34)

Let’s be clear:  The people of the City of Melchizedek became so righteous, they were translated and obtained the City of Enoch and joined with that righteous people.


This was the hope of Alma and Amulek, that there would be this great miracle in Ammonihah—that the people would see this example and repent of their sins and turn to the Lord as the people of Salem with all their hearts and be saved.

And Alma ends this part of his preaching by saying:

20 Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction.

In other words, they did have the scriptures, they did know this story, if they set it aside and continued in their apostate direction it would lead to their destruction.


Unfortunately, they did not repent, their hearts were even further hardened, and they continued in their extreme wickedness.  But in the midst of all this, Alma taught the truths about the pre-mortal world and the exercise of faith in those realms in Alma 13, starting with verse 1:

And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.

And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.

We know from section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants that…

There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood.

Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest.

Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.

But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood.

(D&C 107: 1-4)


I think sometimes we don’t realize this tremendous blessing that has been extended to us—that God has generously extended His great power to us and allows us to exercise this power in serving, blessing and lifting His children.

It humbles me so much to think of this being “the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.”

Alma continues:

And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.


I have always loved this view into the pre-mortal realms.  We clearly had the opportunity to exercise faith in that world, but wait, how was it that we were exercising faith, when we were right there in the presence of the Father and the Son?  That is knowledge, not faith, isn’t it?

We were exercising faith in their Plan, the great plan of happiness, the plan of salvation—the plan for our coming to this earth and being left here with a veil drawn over our minds so that we could not see them anymore, but we could have the assurance of things hoped for and not seen.


I love how Alma gives us the truth of different levels of faith that were exercised in this pre-mortal world.  There was faith and there was “exceedingly great faith”—and these—and we are talking about men who were fore-ordained to the high priesthood—were given this calling to come to earth and serve, bless, lift and minister to others.

Does this apply to women as well?  Did they too exercise faith and “exceedingly great faith” in the pre-mortal world?  Of course they did!

We know that women were fore-ordained to come forth in these tumultuous and difficult times.  President Kimball prophesied:

“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world. (Spencer W. Kimball, The Role of Righteous Women, General Conference, October 1979).


And President Nelson recently reminded us as women:

“My dear sisters, you who are our vital associates during this winding-up scene, the day that President Kimball foresaw is today. You are the women he foresaw! Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith, and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!…

“The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God!…

He continued:  “Attacks against the Church, its doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase. Because of this, we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation. We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.” (Russell M. Nelson, A Plea to My Sisters, General Conference, October 2015, emphasis added)


And back to Alma and the pre-mortal high priest fore-ordinations:

And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren.

Again, Alma is appealing to the people in Ammonihah to NOT reject the Spirit of God, to NOT turn away from His teachings, to NOT turn away from the scriptures and from the Savior and Redeemer who was reaching out to them through this prophet with outstretched arms of mercy and love.

Please carefully study Alma 13:1-9—this is the first part of a series of things to read, ponder and study to come to really understand the priesthood of God.


That’s right and we actually have a number of talks and references that we have gathered that are our go-to manual for obtaining a deeper understanding of the priesthood and its power.  Please know that this is not an exhaustive list. It is only a group of things we want to recommend to you to help you in your studies of the uses, power, authority, keys, blessings and exercise of the priesthood.  A thorough study of these will greatly bless you and your family and extended families.

First of all, an understanding of the priesthood comes from a thorough study of the following sections of the Doctrine and Covenants:

Section 84 (which includes the oath and covenant of the priesthood)
Section 107
Section 20: specifically verses 38-67.
And Section 121: specifically verses 26-46 (which teaches us about the powers and righteous use of the priesthood)
And we can’t leave out this week’s studies of Alma 13: 1-20.


Maurine, I have found that you can take weeks just studying, pondering and praying about the oath and covenant of the priesthood in Section 84: verses 33-48 alone.  It is marvelous.  Now, here are some specific talks you can study, ponder about, meditate and reflect upon in your studies of the priesthood:

Russell M. Nelson: The Price of Priesthood Power, April 2016

He teaches:  “Think of this: the priesthood conferred upon us is the very same power and authority through which God created this and numberless worlds, governs the heavens and the earth, and exalts His obedient children.

“I urgently plead with each one of us to live up to our privileges as bearers of the priesthood. In a coming day, only those men who have taken their priesthood seriously, by diligently seeking to be taught by the Lord Himself, will be able to bless, guide, protect, strengthen, and heal others. Only a man who has paid the price for priesthood power will be able to bring miracles to those he loves and keep his marriage and family safe, now and throughout eternity.”


And here are two talks from President Dallin H. Oaks:

The Melchizedek Priesthood and the Keys, April 2020

where he teaches:

“If fathers would magnify their priesthood in their own family, it would further the mission of the Church as much as anything else they might do.”

And The Powers of the Priesthood in April 2018.

President Oaks taught: “A father who holds the priesthood presides in his family by the authority of the priesthood he holds. He has no need to have the direction or approval of priesthood keys in order to counsel the members of his family, hold family meetings, give priesthood blessings to his wife and children, or give healing blessings to family members or others.”


And of course I love this classic talk from President Boyd K. Packer in April 2010:

The Power of the Priesthood.

It was in this talk that he taught: “The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be…

“You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home. There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary’s mischief will be that power. You will receive direction from the Lord by way of the gift of the Holy Ghost.”


And we have to include this talk from Elder Neil L. Andersen, in October 2013:

Power in the Priesthood.

He taught us: “We sometimes overly associate the power of the priesthood with men in the Church. The priesthood is the power and authority of God given for the salvation and blessing of all—men, women, and children.

“A man may open the drapes so the warm sunlight comes into the room, but the man does not own the sun or the light or the warmth it brings. The blessings of the priesthood are infinitely greater than the one who is asked to administer the gift.”


And I often refer to President Thomas S. Monson’s talk entitled Priesthood Power, from April 2011, where he said:  “The gift of the priesthood is priceless. It carries with it the authority to act as God’s servants, to administer to the sick, to bless our families, and to bless others as well. Its authority can reach beyond the veil of death, on into the eternities. There is nothing else to compare with it in all this world. Safeguard it, treasure it, live worthy of it.”


And we have to include Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s April 2016 address:

Where are the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood.

He taught:  “I testify that priesthood authority and priesthood keys start the engine, open the gates of heaven, facilitate heavenly power, and pave the covenant pathway back to our loving Heavenly Father.”


And I always refer to two classic talks by Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

The Doctrine of the Priesthood, April 1982,

and The Ten Blessings of the Priesthood, October 1977.

Elder McConkie boldly declared:  “Priesthood is power like none other on earth or in heaven. It is the very power of God himself, the power by which the worlds were made, the power by which all things are regulated, upheld, and preserved.

“It is the power of faith, the faith by which the Father creates and governs. God is God because he is the embodiment of all faith and all power and all priesthood. The life he lives is named eternal life.

“And the extent to which we become like him is the extent to which we gain his faith, acquire his power, and exercise his priesthood. And when we have become like him in the full and true sense, then we also shall have eternal life.”

“We have power to govern all things, both temporal and spiritual kingdoms of the world, and the elements and storms and powers of the earth.”


And two more talks we love to study on priesthood are this one from President James E. Faust:  Power of the Priesthood,

given in April 1997 where he taught “The priesthood of this Church carries the responsibility to help move the work of righteousness in all the world. Priesthood service requires us to set aside our selfish interests and desires.”

And this one from President Gordon B. Hinckley: Personal Worthiness to Exercise the Priesthood, given in April 2002.

Here he said: “God has bestowed upon us a gift most precious and wonderful. It carries with it the authority to govern the Church, to administer in its affairs, to speak with authority in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to act as His dedicated servants, to bless the sick, to bless our families and many others. It serves as a guide by which to live our lives. In its fulness, its authority reaches beyond the veil of death into the eternities that lie ahead.

“There is nothing else to compare with it in all this world. Safeguard it, cherish it, love it, live worthy of it.”


And we have one more, which makes twelve talks altogether, our personal priesthood manual of understanding.  This last one is from Elder Dale G. Renlund and it’s a stunner.  It’s entitled:  The Priesthood and the Savior’s Atoning Power, given in October 2017.

His teachings moved me so much this past week in my studies for this lesson and podcast:

“This teaches that the purpose of the priesthood is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel. We have the priesthood so that we can help Heavenly Father’s children be relieved of the burden of sin and become like Him. Through the priesthood, the power of godliness is manifest in the lives of all who make and keep gospel covenants and receive the associated ordinances. This is the way each of us comes unto Christ, is purified, and is reconciled to God. Christ’s atoning power is made accessible through the priesthood…

“In return, God promises that a Melchizedek Priesthood holder will receive keys to understand the mysteries of God. He will become perfect so that he can stand in the presence of God. He will be able to fulfill his role in the work of salvation. Jesus Christ will prepare the way before the priesthood holder and will be with him. The Holy Ghost will be in the priesthood holder’s heart, and angels will bear him up. His body will be strengthened and renewed. He will become heir to the blessings of Abraham and, along with his wife, joint-heir with Jesus Christ to Heavenly Father’s kingdom. These are ‘exceeding great and precious promises.’ No greater promises can be imagined.”


And we highly recommend that you read an Ensign article from December 1996 by Larry C. Porter, a dear friend and a professor emeritus from BYU, called:

The Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods.

This will give you additional understanding and insights into the priesthood.

Now, lest you couldn’t keep up taking notes or you want to just reference these talks we have referred you to, we have put hotlinks in our podcast notes so that you can click on any of them and go to the original source.  Of course, you can access our scripts at: that’s


And Maurine, I was just finishing my studies for writing this podcast and there is another article that we have to add to our personal priesthood manual of understanding.  It was just released and it is wonderful, from Elder Gary E. Stevenson in the June 2020 Ensign, entitled:  The Priesthood’s Vital Role in the Restoration.

I am so inspired by his insights:

“I testify that the heavens remain open and that there is much more to come as the Lord prepares us for the exciting days ahead. The restoration of the priesthood allows God’s children to administer and receive saving ordinances, and it authorizes modern prophets, seers, and revelators to direct the Lord’s kingdom.

“Countless blessings come daily to the Church and its members because of the accessibility of the Lord’s priesthood.”


Wow.  That is quite the study list.  We hope you will access these talks and truly immerse yourself in obtaining a deeper understanding of the priesthood.

Now I want to just mention something about the Prophet Joseph Smith in relation to our studies of Alma 13.  He said: “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose that I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 365.)

The Prophet Joseph also taught:

“The work of the Lord in these last days, is one of vast magnitude and almost beyond the comprehension of mortals. . . . It is truly the dispensation of the fullness of times, when all things which are in Christ Jesus, whether in heaven or on the earth, shall be gathered together in Him, and when all things shall be restored, as spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began; for in it will take place the glorious fulfilment of the promises made to the fathers, while the manifestations of the power of the Most High will be great, glorious, and sublime” (History of the Church, 4:185).


We truly are seeing this ongoing restoration in our day and time.  We are seeing the work hastened and moving forward on both sides of the veil.  We are taking our vitamins and holding on as we watch this great work unfold.  Even in the midst of this corona virus pandemic, we are watching as the Lord does His work.  I loved what our own bishop said recently when he was prayerfully deciding how much to gather our ward on Zoom meetings.  He has been hesitant to meet too often because he had the distinct impression whispered to him: “Don’t get in the way of what I’m doing.”

The Lord can do His great work in the midst of a pandemic or in the face of riots or unrest or earthquakes or unseasonal storms.  He is in charge and we must do all in our power to listen to the promptings of the Spirit and to follow the words, teachings and admonitions of the Prophet today.


And He was doing His work in the midst of extreme persecutions and trials at Ammonihah.

I want to talk about one verse in Alma 13.  Verse 16 about priesthood ordinances.

Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order, and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord. (Alma 13:16)

This means that all the ordinances in the Gospel point us to Jesus Christ.  Each one is a type of the Savior.  As we perform or receive the ordinances we should keep that in mind.

Baptism points us to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that through His atoning sacrifice our sins are washed clean.


The laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost is a fulfillment of the promise He gave to His disciples:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14: 16)

When we go through the temple the initiatory ordinances are the most intimate symbol of being washed and anointed and clothed by the Savior and His atoning sacrifice.  We literally wear the armor of the atonement.


The endowment is a gift of great knowledge and teaches us that through the Savior and His atoning sacrifice, which came about because of the fall, we can once again be brought back into the presence of the Father.

The sealing ordinance is done with a man and a woman kneeling at the altar of sacrifice, a reminder of the last and great sacrifice of the Lamb of God, the sacrifice that binds us to one another for eternity.

So, Alma’s teachings are spot on that all the ordinances of the priesthood are given so that we might look forward to the Son of God.  It’s all very wonderful.


There is another symbol that we sometimes miss in Alma Chapter 14.  Alma and Amulek have been forced to be witnesses to the martyrdom of many of the faithful, especially women and children, who were burned by fire.  Amulek pleads with Alma to use the power of God to stop this killing, but the Spirit restrains them and they watch as untold numbers are burned to death.  This is a most horrible event.  Now they are thrown in prison and for many days they have been slapped and ridiculed and spit upon and mocked (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) and now they have been stripped naked and have had food and water withheld from them.

At the apex of their suffering, they cry “How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord? O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance.” (Alma 14:26). At that moment they broke the cords with which they were bound.


And that is the symbol we sometimes miss:  Through our faith in Christ and through His merits and mercy we are delivered from the cords that bind us—and the prison walls with which WE have become encompassed will fall all around us and we will be made free.  Deliverance is in and through the Savior and Redeemer of the world—and this story truly is about that very same deliverance.

And if we miss the message there, we will see it again in the story of Zeezrom who had been the one who had harangued Alma and Amulek so much at Ammonihah.  He had seen his evil ways but could not endure his guilt.

He now “lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever, which was caused by the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness, for he supposed that Alma and Amulek were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because of his iniquity. And this great sin, and his many other sins, did harrow up his mind until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance; therefore he began to be scorched with a burning heat.” (Alma 15:3)


There is that need for deliverance yet again!  And at Zeezrom’s moment of greatest need, and hearing that Alma and Amulek were yet alive, he sent for them to come to him. And they came immediately.

And… Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?

And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.

And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed.

And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words.

10 And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.

11 And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.


There again is this incredible power of deliverance through Jesus Christ.  It’s one of the prominent messages of the Book of Mormon and it permeates these chapters this week.

And as we mentioned in the beginning of this podcast, there is a parallel with this story and the Liberty Jail in our time.  Joseph Smith was falsely incarcerated.  He was treated poorly, sometimes food was harsh, rotten or withheld.  The situation was dire at times.  In those moments one wonders if the story of Alma and Amulek in the prison at Ammonihah didn’t go through the Prophet Joseph’s mind.  Could he, with his own faith and the help of his brethren who were with him, bring down the Liberty Jail by the power of God as did Alma and Amulek?

Isn’t it significant that in the midst of such trials and extreme conditions, and perhaps those thoughts, the Lord would teach the Prophet Joseph about the righteous use of the priesthood?  He would teach him—and us—the true power of the priesthood:

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasionby long-sufferingby gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindnessand pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— (D&C 121:41-42)


That is stunning to me.  What we’re taught is that we are to become more and more like the Savior Himself to be able to exercise the true power of His priesthood.  In these prison settings, we see the true nature of the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God.

In closing, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared his feelings of gratitude and praise for this Savior who so permeates the text, teachings and stories of our lesson this week and of the Book of Mormon as a whole:

“I declare…that Jesus of Nazareth was and is that Savior of the world…

“So today we celebrate the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced—to say nothing of our resurrection from death and forgiveness for our sins. That victory is available to us because of events that transpired on a weekend precisely like this nearly two millennia ago in Jerusalem.


Elder Holland continued:

“Beginning in the spiritual anguish of the Garden of Gethsemane, moving to the Crucifixion on a cross at Calvary, and concluding on a beautiful Sunday morning inside a donated tomb, a sinless, pure, and holy man, the very Son of God Himself, did what no other deceased person had ever done nor ever could do. Under His own power, He rose from death, never to have His body separated from His spirit again. Of His own volition, He shed the burial linen with which He had been bound, carefully putting the burial napkin that had been placed over His face “in a place by itself,” the scripture says.

“That first…sequence of Atonement and Resurrection constitutes the most consequential moment, the most generous gift, the most excruciating pain, and the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet, General Conference, April 2015)


What a glorious testimony.  We, too, know that He lives, that He is the one and only way for deliverance from the world’s fetters and chains and cords that bind us.  He is the Savior, Redeemer and the Deliverer.


That’s all for today.  We love you and we hope that you know that we think about you as we prepare these podcasts each week.  Next week we will be studying Alma, chapters 17-22 and the lesson is entitled “I Will Make an Instrument of Thee.”  Until then, blessings to you each and every one and have a wonderful week.