Lawyers are an important part of our justice system. They know the law and its loopholes better than the average citizen. A lawyer’s job is to argue over a person’s guilt or innocence. Many even enjoy it. However, some lawyers are out to do more harm than good, like Zeezrom, a Nephite lawyer.
Who was He?
Zeezrom (ze-ez-rum) was a lawyer among the Nephites. He, along with his peers, were “hired or appointed by the people to administer the law at their times of trials, or at the trials of the crimes of the people before the judges.” (Alma 10:14). Now, Zeezrom lived in the city of Ammonihah, which was filled with wicked people, because “Satan had gotten great ahold upon the hearts of the people.” (Alma 8:9).
Alma, high priest over the church, was coming to Ammonihah from Melek to preach the word of God. The Ammonihahites, unlike the people of Melek, were a hardhearted people. Like most wicked people of the day, they wanted to remain that way. Alma 10:31 tells us that after Alma met Amulek and started preaching (again), Zeezrom “was the foremost to accuse [them], he being one of the most expert among them.”
Zeezrom conversion happened rather quickly, in the span of just a few days. His conversion happens in 3 phases: trembling, questioning, and believing.
1: Trembling. After attempting to bribe Amulek with money to deny Christ and twisting his words against him, Amulek confounds him. He tells of the resurrection and what would happen to Zeezrom should he die in his sins (Alma 11:43). He “began to tremble” (Alma 11:46) “under a consciousness of his guilt” (Alma 12:1) and became “convinced more and more of the power of God.” (Alma 12:7).
2: Questioning. Zeezrom’s conscience began to recollect his sins and wickedness. To further understand their words, he asked Alma and Amulek more about “the kingdom of God” and the “resurrection of the dead.” (Alma 12:8). When the Ammonihahites lied to convict Alma and Amulek, Zeezrom “was astonished at the words which had been spoken. . .and his soul began to be harrowed up under a consciousness of his own guilt.” (Alma 14:2-6).
3: Believing. Zeezrom started to believe Alma and Amulek’s words. In Alma 14:7, he tells the people that “I am guilty, and these men are spotless before God.” The people stoned and cast him out of Ammonihah for it. Upon hearing of the martyrdom of those who believed, he fell sick of a “burning fever.” (Alma 15:3). “His soul began to be harrowed up under a consciousness of his own guilt” which “was caused by. . .his wickedness” and he “began to be encircled about by the pains of hell.” (Alma 14:6, 15:3).
Repentance and then Faith?
Usually, we develop faith, come to know of God’s goodness, realize we have sinned, then repent and do better. For Zeezrom, this process happened slightly out of order. From Alma 12 to 15, we see this happen firsthand. First, in Alma 12:1-6, Zeezrom starts to understand that he has sinned. Then, in verse 7, he knew that Alma and Amulek knew his thoughts, increasing his anxiety about his soul. By Alma 15:7, he is willing to “believe all the words that thou [Alma] hast taught.” Only then was he able to be free of the torment of his sins.
After confessing to Alma that he believes in Christ and His power, he is healed. He jumps up and starts teaching the people. Zeezrom is baptized by Alma, completing the conversion process. He later served a mission with Alma to the apostate Zoramites. Once a man who get what he could to get paid, Zeezrom became truly converted. Faith and repentance are the morals of this story.
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