The story of Alma and Amulek in Ammonihah provides fascinating insight into the corruption a civilized society can face when wicked and wealthy men modify and exploit the law for their advantage. Crafty lawyers are the problem in this city, which appears to have been in an advanced state of social decay with amazing parallels to our own society today. In fact, the parallels to our generation seem much stronger than they were to the world Joseph Smith knew, suggesting again that the Book of Mormon truly is a prophetic volume of scripture written for our age. The parallels between Alma 8-12 and our day struck me after reading a speech by Walter Olson, “The Threat from Lawyers is No Joke,” given to Hillsdale College.
I frequently work with a number of fine and highly ethical lawyers — patent law seems to be an especially good place for ethical lawyers — and I know many ethical lawyers in other areas. But I think most of them agree that the bad apples in the profession can do and have done a great deal of harm to our society. If they were to read the story of Ammonihah, I think they also might be impressed with the insights that the Book of Mormon provides for our day.