After Amulek’s words brought Zeezrom “to tremble under a consciousness of his guilt” (Alma 12:1), Alma stood to expound on what Amulek had taught. Because the people in Ammonihah had become wicked, Alma focused on truths that would help them repent of the hardness of their hearts and other sins. He emphasized the subtle snares of Satan, the judgments that befall the wicked, and the plan of redemption, which makes it possible for those who repent to be forgiven of their sins.
When Alma first taught the rebellious people of Ammonihah, they contended with him, asking, “Who art thou?” and questioning his authority (see Alma 9:1–6). They were in a state of apostasy, having embraced the order of Nehor—priestcraft, with its goal of personal gain (see Alma 1:2–15; 15:15; 16:11). In contrast to Nehor’s teachings, Alma taught them about “the high priesthood of the holy order of God,” with its goal to help others repent and enter into the rest of the Lord (see Alma 13:6). Alma also taught about premortal existence and foreordination. He cited the example of Melchizedek, who preached faith and repentance and helped his people live in peace. Alma tried to teach the people of Ammonihah to have faith and hope and to encourage them to change so they could prepare to enter into the rest of the Lord.
In Alma 13:17 we see how Alma described the people in Salem when Melchizedek became their king. These words also describe the people of Ammonihah (see Alma 8:9; 9:28). It appears that Alma’s hope is that the people of Ammonihah will hearken to Amulek the same way that the people in Salem did as a result of Melchizedek’s efforts (See Alma 13:18).
It’s the tale of two cities. So, which city will you be, Salem or Ammonihah?