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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Remembering Zeezrom

When it comes to rapid repentance and forgiveness of sins, we often recall the story of Alma the Younger, the great rebel who fought against the way of God and yet became one of the great prophets of the Lord after his miraculous conversion. But the story of Zeezrom should also be remembered. Zeezrom was the corrupt lawyer in Ammonihah who tried to publicly discredit Alma and Amulek and sought to destroy them. But in their responses to him, his lying ways were exposed and his heart was somehow touched by the simply preaching of the word. When the other elite rulers chose to arrest Alma and Amulek and to persecute the believers, Zeezrom tried to speak out for them but was himself driven out of town. And then he began feeling the pain for his crimes and sins, tortured with the knowledge that two prophets of God may have been killed because of his opposition, and that many others have been persecuted and harmed as well. But Alma and Amulek would be miraculously delivered from the prison where they were meant to die. We read of Zeezrom's state in Alma 15 in the Book of Mormon:
[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.

[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.

[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.
Zeezrom probably was among those priests and teachers Alma ordained in Sidom. We don't know the rest of his story, apart from being mentioned in Alma 31 as part of Alma's missionary team that went among the apostate Zoramites. But like Alma, the rebel who also found immediate relief from the pains of sin when he turned his heart to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Zeezrom also may have labored with all his heart for the rest of his life to serve God and to help heal some of the people he once had injured.

Unlike Alma, his repentance was not triggered by the miraculous visit of a mighty angel calling him to repentance, but by the brave testimony of a neophyte to the Gospel, Amulek, a man who himself had rejected religion until shortly before his "reactivation" with Alma's help.

Cunning, crafty, vile, corrupt, wealthy Zeezrom, one of the worst men in the wicked city of Ammonihah, repented of his sins and became a follower of the Messiah, a saint and fellow Christian. Keep him in mind when you encounter others who seem hopelessly lost and vile. All that may stand between their lost state and the repentance of their sins and receiving the grace of Jesus Christ may be a few inspired words from a humble servant of God at the right time and place.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"repented of his sons and became ..."

probably should be:

"repented of his sins and became ..."

Thanks for the nice article.

Duke of Earl Grey said...

We do know a little more of Zeezrom's history after Sidom. He know he was part of Alma's missionary Dream Team to the Zoramites in Alma 31.

Zeezrom was always a favorite BoM hero of mine. Thanks for the shout out!

Hans said...

Zeezrom's story let's us lawyers know that we still have a chance to be saved. Otherwise, I wouldn't feel too comfortable with my profession's chances.

Mark LDS Music said...

I think the story of Zeezrom would make a GREAT movie.

MRKH

Mormanity said...

Thanks Duke - I forgot about Alma 31 and updated the post to mention it.

And Mark, I really agree: Zeezrom would make a great movie. That would be a terrific role for a talented actor. Maybe have a scene where he, hidden in the outskirts of the town, sees the believers being thrown into the fire and Alma and Amulek hauled off to prison and then wanders off, disconsolate, and is pretty and ill the time he stumbles into Sidom. I can hear a lot of great parts for the bassoon in the score.

Mormanity said...

Fixed the typo. I hope none of us repents of their sons.

bassooner said...

Jeff,

Thanks for the plug for the basson - maybe they could even have me play it ...

Drew said...

True, no one is beyond the enabling power of the Atonement, although they must make the decision to repent on their own. Testimony a is powerful thing.

Dan and Wendy said...

Great post Jeff.

While on my mission in Montreal, I interviewed a candidate for baptism that used to be a member of the mafia. He never killed anyone, but he had been involved in some less than honest behavior. Once he was converted to the truth, he was the strongest convert I ever met. You never know who will accept the gospel.

Thanks for the reminder.

King Family said...

Jeff,

Do you have a site that I could ask some specific questions on behalf of my sister?
Thx,
Laurel King

Ryan said...

Cunning, crafty, vile, corrupt, wealthy Zeezrom, one of the worst men in the wicked city of Ammonihah, repented of his sins and became a follower of the Messiah, a saint and fellow Christian. Keep him in mind when you encounter others who seem hopelessly lost and vile.

++

I'd never made that connection with Zeezrom before, but one of my favorite missionary scriptures has the same theme. In Alma 26 Ammon and co. are looking back over their *very* successful mission among the Lamanites:

[23] Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn?

[24] For they said unto us: Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth? Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning? Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language.

...

[31] Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.

[32] For behold, they had rather sacrifice their lives than even to take the life of their enemy; and they have buried their weapons of war deep in the earth, because of their love towards their brethren.