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1 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek were commanded to depart out of that city; and they departed, and came out even into the land of Sidom; and behold, there they found all the people who had departed out of the land of Ammonihah, who had been cast out and stoned, because they believed in the words of Alma.
2 And they related unto them all that had happened unto their wives and children, and also concerning themselves, and of their power of deliverance.
In Alma 14:7 we learned that some believers in Ammonihah had been cast out, apparently forced out by casting stones at them to encourage them to leave. They went to Sidom, and Alma and Amulek went to Sidom. This suggests that Sidom was friendly to both the Nephite government and religion, and that it was the most logical way to travel to another city. It was probably reasonably close, and may have been connected by known paths, if not actual roads.
The immigrants to Sidom meet with Alma and Amulek and exchange stories.
3 And also Zeezrom lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever, which was caused by the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness, for he supposed that Alma and Amulek were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because of his iniquity. And this great sin, and his many other sins, did harrow up his mind until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance; therefore he began to be scorched with a burning heat.
4 Now, when he heard that Alma and Amulek were in the land of Sidom, his heart began to take courage; and he sent a message immediately unto them, desiring them to come unto him.
5 And it came to pass that they went immediately, obeying the message which he had sent unto them; and they went in unto the house unto Zeezrom; and they found him upon his bed, sick, being very low with a burning fever; and his mind also was exceedingly sore because of his iniquities; and when he saw them he stretched forth his hand, and besought them that they would heal him.
Among the refugees was Zeezrom, who lay sick. What we learn of his sickness is that Zeezrom attributed it to spiritual, rather than physical causes. He had a fever, but perhaps saw the feverish burning as a physical manifestation of the burning of fire and brimstone that he felt might be the fate of his soul.
In a state where he felt that his illness had a spiritual cause, he was encouraged to know that Alma and Amulek were in Sidom, for he likely felt that they had the power to heal the spiritual sickness. Zeezrom has them brought to him, and begs them to heal them, clearly believing that they could.
6 And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?
7 And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.
8 And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed.
9 And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words.
10 And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.
11 And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.
12 And Alma baptized Zeezrom unto the Lord; and he began from that time forth to preach unto the people.
Asking a feverish patient if they believe in the power of Christ unto salvation is not standard modern medical procedure. Nevertheless, Zeezrom was certain that this was a physical manifestation of a spiritual illness, and so the question is appropriate. It was a signal of his repentance from the former teachings of the Order of the Nehors and his willingness to accept the Nephite religion as Alma and Amulek had explained it.
When Zeezrom confesses faith in the redemption of Christ, Alma asks God to heal Zeezrom. It was done. The end of this episode sees Zeezrom not only healed, but also converted, from defending the Order of the Nehors, into a preacher of the Nephite religion.
13 And Alma established a church in the land of Sidom, and consecrated priests and teachers in the land, to baptize unto the Lord whosoever were desirous to be baptized.
14 And it came to pass that they were many; for they did flock in from all the region round about Sidom, and were baptized.
The closing of the story emphasizes the successes that Alma and Amulek had. They had converted Zeezrom, they had converted many who had physically left Ammonihah. While those who left certainly felt the loss of homes and lands and perhaps friends, they would find out soon that leaving will also have saved their lives. Better the loss of their homes, rather than of their lives.
In addition to those converted from Ammonihah, there were others in the land of Sidom who were converted. We do not learn why they had not already been converted. Perhaps they were believers in the general idea of the Nephite religion, but had not formally associated with this new concept of a church. Their baptism was not only for cleansing from sin, but was also a witness of their entry into the church.
15 But as to the people that were in the land of Ammonihah, they yet remained a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people; and they repented not of their sins, ascribing all the power of Alma and Amulek to the devil; for they were of the profession of Nehor, and did not believe in the repentance of their sins.
16 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek, Amulek having forsaken all his gold, and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the word of God, he being rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his father and his kindred;
17 Therefore, after Alma having established the church at Sidom, seeing a great check, yea, seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts, and began to humble themselves before God, and began to assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar, watching and praying continually, that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction—
18 Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.
19 And thus ended the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
The ending of this story shows the contrast between those who remained unbelieving in Ammonihah and those who were converted and fled Ammonihah, as well as those converted in the land of Sidom. The righteous pray “that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction,” the very things that the next chapter will demonstrate happening to those who remained in Ammonihah and remained believing after the Order of the Nehors.
This ends the chapter from the 1830 edition. The ending is probably triggered by the statement of that it was the end of the tenth year of the reign of the judges. When Mormon had no other more important reason to end a chapter, he often looked to a period of five years. See also the comments on Alma 1:1 and 3:25–27 for more information on the use of five-year periods.
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