Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, February 12

“Book of Mormon: Alma’s Meaning of ‘Murderers’ in Alma 5” by grego

Book of Mormon: Alma’s Meaning of ‘Murderers’ in Alma 5

(c) 2010

Alma, speaking to a church congregation in Zarahemla, says this:
Alma 5:22 And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you?
23 Behold will they not testify that ye are *murderers*, yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness?

Were these members really murderers? Is this what Alma is saying?
First, if they were members and murderers, there wouldn’t be much use in preaching salvation to them, right? And the law would have them, and the language seems a little strong for what is going on. So, how does “murderer” fit?

The key is in Alma 36:
Alma 36:13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
14 Yea, and I had *murdered* many of his children, or rather *led them away unto destruction*; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.

When we look back at Alma 4, we read this:
Alma 4:6 … the people of the church began to wax proud… lifted up in the pride of their eyes…
8 … the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure.
9 …there began to be great contentions among the people of the church; yea, there were envyings, and strife, and malice, and persecutions, and pride, even to exceed the pride of those who did not belong to the church of God.
10 … the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church; and thus the church began to fail in its progress.
11 …Alma saw the wickedness of the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead those who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus bringing on the destruction of the people.
12 Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted.
13 Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy;
15 And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful…
19 …that he (re:Alma) might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them.

I think there are two things in particular here that relate to murder: 1. belittling, devaluing, and persecuting others; 2. being a bad example and giving an excuse to someone. These are things that Alma did himself in his youth. Doing these things is, in essence, murder.

Crime is, basically, speaking of law, to take away someone’s freedom; the largest/ most serious crime, so to say, being murder.

Those who use a lower crime to arrive at the same end, could in essence be called murderers, though they never shot or killed someone directly. We all know there is more than one way to murder someone, other than with just a gun… For example, King David didn’t technically murder Uriah with a sword, yet he was still guilty of murder.

Spiritually speaking, it’s the same; all sins (crimes) are linked to an end: eternal life, and what one does to keep someone (self or another) from it.

Alma’s meaning is to spiritually murder someone, by causing them to not arrive at eternal life.

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