Alma 47 tells the story of a wicked and cunning man named Amalickiah who plots (successfully) to eventually become king of the Lamanites. The first part of his plot is to gain control of the Lamanite army. Having a smaller army already under his control, Amalickiah agrees to turn over his army to Lehonti, the Lamanite general, as long as Lehonti agrees to make Amalickiah the second in command of the entire army. The next step of this wicked man is obvious:
“Amalickiah caused that one of his servants should administer poison by degrees to Lehonti, that he died. Now, when Lehonti was dead, the Lamanites appointed Amalickiah to be their leader and their chief commander.” (Alma 47:18-19)
It is not mentioned what type of poison was used for this murder, but clearly the people involved knew what they were doing as they administered the poison very carefully, little by little, until it had its desired effect.
There have been many types of poison in existence throughout time and many exist today. One medical website describes poison as follows:
“A poison is any substance that is harmful to your body. You might swallow it, inhale it, inject it, or absorb it through your skin. Any substance can be poisonous if too much is taken. The effects of poisoning range from short-term illness to brain damage, coma, and death. To prevent poisoning, it is important to use products appropriately. Keep dangerous products where children can’t get to them. Treatment for poisoning depends on the type of poison. If you suspect someone has been poisoned, call your local poison control center right away.”
If you read the above with a spiritual mindset, you can easily see many spiritual parallels regarding things that may act as poison to our spiritual lives. Here’s some general advice for spiritual poison control based on the above:
A poison is any person, place, thing or activity that is harmful to your soul. You can be exposed to it in many ways — visually, audibly, in person, or via any electronic device.
Anything can be poisonous if it is overdone or if too high a priority is given to it in our lives. It may not be something that is bad in and of itself, but if it takes our focus away from God and our spiritual lives, it can become poisonous.
The effects of poisoning can range from short-term inactivity to leaving the church or even denying the existence of God (whether in word or action). Poison is not something to fool around with.
To prevent poisoning, it is important to keep our priorities in order. Serving God must truly be No. 1 in our lives. Activities that take our focus away from God should be minimized. Sinful actions should be eliminated.
As much as possible, we need to protect our children from poisonous teachings. They are being exposed to spiritual poison in school and among their friends. We need to counter that with sound spiritual teaching and solid spiritual examples in our own lives.
Treatment for poisoning depends on the type of poison. Sometimes, you can just make a decision to put aside the source of the poison, and it won’t be a problem any longer. Other times, you may need assistance to recover — perhaps from your local ministry. Repentance may be required. There are too many different types of spiritual poison to list all of the possible treatments, but do whatever is necessary to restore your spiritual life if it has been poisoned.
If you suspect someone has been poisoned, don’t be afraid to alert your local ministry or someone else who can assist. Don’t look at it as squealing on the person but rather as a loving attempt to help the person recover.
With so much spiritual poison surrounding us in the world today, it’s very possible that some of us will feel the effects of this poison from time to time. The enemy knows what he’s doing and can administer this poison very carefully, little by little, until it has its desired effect. Let’s not hesitate to take whatever poison control actions are necessary so we can maintain a healthy spiritual life.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.