Do you remember how Alma and a bunch of people were happy because they trusted God? Well not everyone was happy. Alma was only one of the priests of Noah. And he wasn’t even the head priest.

The head priest was Amulon. And after Alma had run away, Amulon was left to convince Noah that they had done nothing wrong. Everything was still okay. Great actually. Just like before. Before what? Before Abinadi. That’s what Amulon really wanted. He wanted things to go back to how they were before Abinadi had stood up bravely and told them the truth.   

But it was hopeless. Because one person acting bravely is powerful. And that power quickly got out of Amulon’s control. First Alma saw Abinadi being brave and that inspired him to be brave. Then people saw Alma being brave and so they decided to be brave too. And more and more people were being brave. How were they being brave? They were all taking a good look at themselves in a mirror. 

They were looking right into their own eyes. And they were seeing a whole body of imperfections. Imperfect nose, eyes, face, and heart. When you look at the mirror and this is what you see, you will probably want to look away. Because it’s embarrassing. But they did not look away. Instead they were brave and they looked harder and harder and harder. And then they saw it. Right there, in the eyes. It was God. God was in them.

This was a problem for Noah and Amulon and the other priests. The people were finding God in their own eyes and so they no longer needed a king like Noah. They didn’t need a king to tell them what to do or what to believe. They had God. And God told them the truth and helped them to be brave. 

Amulon tried to show the people that they still needed a king like Noah. But the people wouldn’t listen. They wanted to get rid of the king. And they fought and argued and grew more and more divided. And guess what, this is just what the Lamanties had been hoping would happen. You see, they wanted their lands back. And now that the Nephites were weak because they were fighting with each other. It was a perfect time to go and chase them out. And that’s what they did. 

Amulon and Noah and the other priests were so scared they ran into the forest, leaving their wives and children behind. Amulon must have been ashamed. But he still could not be brave. He still could not admit that what he had done was wrong even though it was so so so wrong. 

He did not go back. He could not face his wife or his kids or his people. Instead, he started a new city with the other priests and a new family with a Lamanite girl he found and took without even asking if she wanted to marry him. And they ran away into the forest. As you can imagine, the Lamanties did not take kindly to this. It took them a while, but they eventually captured Amulon and his wife and their new kids. 

And Amulon just kept telling himself that he was right. That he had done nothing wrong. 

He was so good at persuading himself, that he actually managed to persuade the Lamanites that everything he did was okay. And because they believed him, it was a little easier to believe himself all over again.

And so Amulon wanted to become a king like King Noah. He wanted his own priests and his own servants so that they could tell him that there was nothing wrong with him. He wanted people to subjugate.

Subjugate a definition

To put other people below you. Standing on them like a ladder. Sitting on them like a chair. Crawling on them like a sandbox. Anything is subjugation that treats other people like things instead of like people. And this is bad because people are people.    

Amulon and the Lamanites found the people of Alma. Remember the people of Alma? They were happy and humble and hard working and kind and forgiving. And Amulon wanted to be their king. The Lamanties said okay. And that was that. Except it wasn’t. Because Alma’s people did not like it at all. So they prayed to God. They said, “God, you are our king. We don’t need another person. And we don’t like Amulon stepping on our backs. Please take him off.”

This made Amulon angry. He told the people to stop praying. But there was nothing he could do because God was inside of them. And so they just kept on praying silently and patiently that Amulon would repent and let them go free. 

But they quickly learned that Amulon would not let them go because he could not face himself in the mirror. He needed them. He needed to be their King so that he could feel good about himself. It was sad. But he was not going to be brave. He just could never look in the mirror long enough because he hated to see his imperfections. So he broke all the mirrors so he never had to see himself truly, and he looked down his nose at the people he subjugated instead of looking himself straight in the eye.

Amulon would never be brave enough to stare those imperfections down. To look at them hard and long and honest enough to see that who he was really trying to control, the person subjugated below them all was God. 

And so God told Alma and his people to run away. And they did. And God led all the righteous Nephites back to where they had come from years and years ago. Back to king Mosiah who lived in a place called Zarahemla. And they were all safe and happy at last. At least for a little while.

All artwork by Lauren Blair.

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