See also: Sacrament Talk Helps
Topics: social injustice, persecution, anger, peace, indignation, blaming, emotions, addictions
Choose the sections you want and put them in any order.
Time: 7 minutes plus up to 8 minutes worth of possible add-ons (in purple).
Section 1: The Heroes
Alma and Amulek suffered horrific persecution in Ammonihah (Am-ah-nigh-hah). Nonetheless, their peaceful response to their tormentors is inspirational. Whereas, sometimes, I have so much to say for much less of a violation. For example…
Optional (1-2 mins) – If you want people to engage with your talk and absorb more – share your truthful self for the sake of teaching a higher principle. Share something you got upset about recently and said (or did) that you now regret.
>>My example…” for example, just yesterday, I had a few words for my husband who turned off the irrigation water on the wilting tomatoes…”<<
The grace Alma and Amulek demonstrated is a masterful lesson in human relations. Their story has me paying a visit to my own soul. How much more powerful would all of us be if we took our cues from them?
Section 2: Here’s The Backstory
Optional: Read the verses or paraphrase them – whichever flows the best for you.
All the men who believed on Alma and Amulek’s preaching were cast out and chased with stones clear to Sidon. Immediately after, their women and children are gathered and burned by fire along with their sacred writings. Alma and Amulek are made to watch the cruel death of the innocents.
“And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene”? (Alma 14:10)
This is followed by imprisonment, nakedness, starvation, hitting, and crowd taunting of the worst kind.
“And many such things did they say unto them, gnashing their teeth upon them, and spitting upon them, and saying: How shall we look when we are damned”?
“And many such things, yea, all manner of such things did they say unto them; and thus they did mock them for many days. And they did withhold food from them that they might hunger, and water that they might thirst; and they also did take from them their clothes that they were naked; and thus they were bound with strong cords, and confined in prison.” (Alma 14:21-22)
Section 3: Their Response?
This is amazing…
18…they came in unto the prison to see them, and they questioned them about many words; but they answered them nothing.
This happens several times, accompanied mainly by physical and emotional abuse. Alma and Amulek said nothing when they had every right to tell quite a bit. Interestingly, Christ did the same thing.
Read these verses or put them in your own words:
12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. (Matthew 27:12-14)
Section 4: Our Reality
Optional: Quote this or tell it in your own words.
The human race habitually throws out verbal darts, shaming, guilting, public humiliation, and accusations. There will always be a few lost, mean-spirited souls in every crowd. On top of that, mortals (even the best of them) have weak, selfish moments which impact others. It’s a guaranteed experience. Our unwanted encounters may not be on the same life-and-death threat level as our heroes. Nonetheless, it makes for misery.
For all the lesser infractions with regular people and daily situations, how do we get to the point that we can respond with Alma and Amulek’s kind of peace? How does this compare to the cultural norm of screaming injustice?
Section 5: It Helps to Understand Some Emotions Are Really Addictions
Optional: Quote this or tell it in your own words.
Indignation, anger, fault-finding, ranting and raving, resentment, ill-will, blaming…those are all emotional appetites and passions. They are also addictions. In addition, they are often not completely honest nor introspective and sometimes give one a false sense of self-importance. Recognizing them as bad habits to be broken helps.
The apostle James hits this principle spot on. (Key phrases are highlighted for your preparation).
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body…it is set on fire of hell.“
“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. [Righteous indignation is a fairy tale.]
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:6, 14-18)
Author’s note: When either Peter, James, or John speak, I give strict heed (yes, as the temple movie instructs). I adore their books in the Bible. They are the First Presidency of this world. Even though their books are short, they are full of instructions for the highest, most potent level of mortal being that can be attained. Peter teaches how to get a calling and election made sure. John teaches the true nature of the most profound kind of love and relationship with Christ; James teaches us how to carry out our daily lives, including this bit about our tempers and a dash of faith and works.
It takes practice to replace our knee-jerk reactions with better responses. Please don’t give up when your 20/20 hindsight realizes you should have tempered your answer instead of stooping to someone’s compromised emotions and engaging with them.
(Optional 1-4 minutes) Share a maddening moment that you conquered and tried a more peaceful response. Or talk about some of your own tendencies you now plan to change and what you plan to do. What have you found that works?
(Optional 1-2 mins) Close with your appreciation/testimony for Alma and Amulek’s example and/or the specific guidance from the apostle James and/or how it all applies to our present culture of anger and resentment.