Do you try to live under the radar in hopes that you won’t be asked to do anything outside of your comfort zone? Do you wonder whether you’re as engaged in the Gospel as you need to be? Then you could probably learn a lot from Amulek from the Book of Mormon.
Considering the fact that he ended up as one of Alma the Younger’s mission companions, Amulek led a surprisingly comfortable and even rebellious life before meeting the prophet. He openly admitted that he’d spent years of his life ignoring God’s attempts to reach out to him. He knew God needed him to do more, but he didn’t want to do more. And so, as he recounts, “I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart” (Alma 10:6). Despite all this, Amulek ended up traveling, testifying, and participating in miracles with the prophet.
So what changed? The short answer is that Amulek did. Much like his mission companion, Amulek was visited by an angel and told that God had a plan for him. To Amulek’s credit, he believed the angel’s promise that Alma was a man of God. He also noted the blessings God granted to him and his family after Alma came to his home. He realized that obeying God was improving his life.
Perhaps that’s why Amulek agreed to travel and teach with Alma, and he made a great companion! Not only did he back up everything Alma said, but he used his good reputation and testimony to gain the attention and trust of many listeners. His sermon in Alma 34 is one of the most masterful explanations of Christ’s Atonement in all of scripture.
Unfortunately, Alma, Amulek, and the other believers had to go through some terrible trials. We don’t know for sure, but if Amulek’s family was converted along with him, they may have been among those cast into a fire by wicked men of Ammonihah. Can you imagine watching your family be tortured and killed before your eyes, knowing that you could do something but that God had asked you not to? And yet Amulek held his peace.
“Hang on,” you may say. “What happened to God blessing Amulek for doing the right thing?” It’s a fair question. We have a hard time understanding why God would allow such terrible things to happen to good people. Perhaps God’s promise to Alma that He would receive the righteous martyrs unto Himself (Alma 14:11) doesn’t feel like enough to us.
But it was apparently enough for Amulek. While he spent some time recovering either physically or spiritually after escaping prison (Alma 15:18), Amulek returned to his missionary work with Alma. At some point, he must have learned that while temporal blessings often come when we do God’s work, the most important reward of that work is knowing that we are doing everything God asks of us.
We are sometimes tempted to stand in the shadows and avoid hard work in the Gospel. But what do we gain from that? When we hide from God, we can’t improve or receive all of God’s blessings. Yes, stepping up to the plate is intimidating. But when we are afraid, we can follow Amulek’s example of focusing on our testimony that “the word is in Christ unto salvation” (Alma 34:6).
|What Amulek Did||What We Can Do|
|Received Alma into his house (Alma 8:20-22)||Do all we can to sustain our leaders|
|Went to preach with Alma (8:30)||Give up personal priorities to magnify our callings|
|Testified that God had blessed him (10:10-11)||Recognize and testify of God’s blessings|
|Didn’t retaliate against wicked men (14:10-18)||Patiently accept God’s will and endure trials|
|Escaped prison through faith (14:25-28)||Have faith in God’s plan and ask Him for help|
|Finished his mission despite trials (16:13-15)||Don’t give up when life gets hard|