My Favorite Scripture From The Book Of Mormon: Alma 22:8

02.12.12

The scripture I love more than any other isn't my favorite because of what the actual verse says. It's my favorite because of the story behind what is written.

"And now when Aaron heard this, his heart began to rejoice, and he said: Behold, assuredly as thou livest, O king, there is a God." Alma 22:8

When Ammon and his brothers set out on a quest to convert the Lamanites to the gospel, they seperated and the first story we hear about is Ammon's. We all love the story of Ammon, the oldest brother who had quick success in converting King Lamoni and all his people to the gospel.

I've noticed, however that not many people think about how difficult a time his brother's had in trying to convince the Lamanites to convert to the gospel. While Ammon was enjoying success and making friends with a king, Aaron, Muloki and Ammah were thrown into prison. When Ammon finally found out what happened to his brothers he came to their rescue as quickly as possible:

"And it came to pass that Ammon and Lamoni proceeded on their journey towards the land of Middoni. And Lamoni found favor in the eyes of the king of the land; therefore the brethren of Ammon were brought forth out of prison.

And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were patient in all their sufferings.

And, as it happened, it was their lot to have fallen into the hands of a more hardened and a more stiffnecked people; therefore they would not hearken unto their words, and they had cast them out, and had smitten them, and had driven them from house to house, and from place to place, even until they had arrived in the land of Middoni; and there they were taken and cast into prison, and bound with strong cords, and kept in prison for many days, and were delivered by Lamoni and Ammon." Alma 20:28-30

I love how it mentions that "it was their lot to have fallen into the hands of a more hardened and a more stiffnecked people" because it shows that it wasn't just chance that Ammon had more success than they did. This was a trail that the Lord knew they would face. I also want to point out that it mentions "they were patient in all their sufferings" but I have a feeling this was the most difficult trail any of them had ever faced. On top of it all, how frustrating would it be to learn that Ammon was completely successful in converting hundreds of people while they were stripped naked and thrown into prison.

Even though the scriptures don't emphasize it, I find it really incredible just how much the Lord blesses Aaron, Muloki and Ammah after they were released from prison. With all they had been through, instead of heading back home, they decide to take on the biggest challenge of all. They head straight to the king of all the Lamanites, Lamoni's father. After such utter failure so far, I honestly don't know how they found the courage to attempt something so bold. Unknown to Aaron and his brothers, at the time they decided to do this, the king of the Lamanites was searching his heart for answers. An encounter with Ammon had left him with many questions so he was ready to hear and believe everything they had to say. After entering the house of the king and introducing themselves, the king said:

"I will insist that ye shall administer unto me; for I have been somewhat troubled in mind because of the generosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother Ammon... What is this that ye have said concerning the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, this is the thing which doth trouble me." Alma 22:3,5

After more discussion, Aaron steps forward and asks the king:

"Believest thou that there is a God? And the king said: I know that the Amalekites say that there is a God, and I have granted unto them that they should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves together to worship him. And if now thou sayest there is a God, behold I will believe." Alma 22:7

Can you imagine just how much joy Aaron is feeling at that moment? He has experienced nothing but failure from the moment his journey began. Now he has been given the opportunity of standing before the king of all the land; a king who has decided to put his complete faith in everything Aaron has to say. When he set out on his journey into the land of the Lamanites, Aaron's one desire was to be a successful missionary. At this moment, the Lord finally blesses him with success; not with just any Lamanite, but the one Lamanite who has more influence and power than any other in all the land.

That's why the next verse is my favorite scripture:

"And now when Aaron heard this, his heart began to rejoice, and he said: Behold, assuredly as thou livest, O king, there is a God." Alma 22:8

This is my absolute favorite scripture because Ammon's journey may have been far easier, but in the end Aaron and his brother's had far more success. The voice of the king of all the land has the potential to convert an entire people to the gospel and the Lord chose to give Aaron the opportunity to teach that king. Ammon may have stirred some questions in the king's heart, but in the end Aaron was given the blessing of answering them.

I also love this scripture because it's a demonstration of just how much the Lord loves Aaron. He knows what he's been through and the reward for his suffering is far greater than Aaron could have ever imagined. We also get a chance to experience a little bit of what Aaron is feeling in that moment. It says Aaron's "heart began to rejoice". I love when a scripture mentions what a prophet is feeling. It brings the scripture to life and makes it easier to relate to what they're going through. I've never been cast it to prison, but I've had times in my life when it feels like everyone around me is succeeding with ease while I'm experiencing only failure. I love the story of Aaron and his brothers because not all of us have an easy time when we set out to accomplish something, even if our intentions are completely righteous.

No one can truly understand why some of us have an easier time while others suffer, but one thing this is for sure. The rewards given to those who are truly tested are far sweeter than the rewards given to those who've had it easy.

Article written by Shelly Allen.
Photo by Shelly Allen Photography

TAGS: book, mormon, LDS, church, scripture, verse, Ammon, Alma, Aaron, Muloki, Ammah, Lamoni, Lamanites, Nephites, missionary, work, blessed, Lord, Jesus, Christ, God, Christianity, convert, gospel, 22:8, "Book of Mormon", suffering, afflictions, trials, faith, patience, king, influence, rewards, easy, hard, difficult, frustrating, believe, favorite

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