The unbelievers keep persecuting the saints, so much that Alma takes the matter to King Mosiah. He sends a proclamation out that everyone needs to stop bothering each other and that there “should be an equality among all men; (3) That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that everyman should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support.” (4)
When the people obeyed this edict, “they did abound in the grace of God.” (5) and “they became a large and wealthy people.” (7)
The sons of Mosiah are numbered among the unbelievers. Also one of Alma’s sons, who is named Alma.
Nevertheless, he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man. And he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities.” (8)Mosiah 27:8
Alma had rebelled against God and his father. He was not just wicked, but very wicked. His story is one of hope, to show that anyone at any point in their lives, no matter how wicked they are, can turn their lives around and become a saint, through Christ’s Atonement.
Alma was “a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them.” (9)
He went about secretly trying to destroy the Church and “rebelling against God.” (11) Then an angel “appeared unto them” [and his group of friends]. His voice is like thunder and shakes the ground. The angel didn’t descend gently, like a dove. This is war, and God has drawn the battle lines.
Alma is told that God has heard the prayers of the saints and of his father, Alma, who has prayed “with much faith concerning thee that thou mightiest be brought to the knowledge of the truth.” (14)
The angel asks him:
Can ye dispute the power of God? For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth? And can ye not also behold me before you? And I am sent from God.”Mosiah 27:15
Then the angel gives him these commands:
- Remember the captivity of your fathers
- Remember how great things the Lord has done in delivering them
- Go and seek not to destroy the church any more
Remembering seems to be a theme in the Book of Mormon. Remembering the past is vital to faith. That’s why writing down things we learn is so important.
It’s easy to forget if we don’t record spiritual experiences. Satan does his best to distract us so we forget or minimize the blessings we have, or the miracles we’ve seen, or the inspiration and answers we’ve felt.
The angel tells Alma to remember how the Lord answered the prayers of his own people and delivered them out of bondage. Alma is in spiritual bondage, but he hasn’t recognized that until this moment maybe. The angel helps him, by telling him to remember. There was hope for Alma the elder’s and Limhi’s people when they were in bondage. There is still hope for Alma the younger.
After the angel departs, Alma can’t move or speak. He’s carried unto his father by the sons of Mosiah.
- Do we carry others when they are down in life?
- Do we carry those who are spiritually weak, bringing them to the Living Water and the Bread of Life so that they can drink and eat and be filled?
After the sons of Mosiah tell Alma the elder what happened, he “rejoiced, for he knew that it was the power of God.” (20)
This shows his great faith. Alma believes his prayers have been answered.
He assembles his people and “they began to fast, and to pray to the Lord their God that he would open the mouth of Alma, that he might speak, and also that his limbs might receive their strength.” (22)
When someone we love has gone astray, remember this story. God never gives up on His children. Neither should we. We can pray, we can fast, we can strengthen our faith through service and keeping covenants with God. We can seek for more patience in God’s timing.
Alma the elder’s prayers weren’t immediately answered. Alma the younger had gone his own way for years possibly, breaking his father’s heart. We might be broken by the choices of those we love as well, before healing comes.
After two days, Alma “stood up and began to speak unto them bidding them to be of good comfort: (23) For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.” (24)
Repentance makes us born again, which means “born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters.” (25) We become “new creatures.” (26)
This qualifies us to “inherit the kingdom of God.” (26) Alma describes the state of sin he was in, before God rescued him.
My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity, I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more.”Mosiah 27:29
Alma bears testimony that Christ “will make himself manifest unto all. (30) Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him.” (31)
Restore and Repair
He begins a new life, preaching to all he meets, telling them of his experience and urging them to repent. He suffers “much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them.” (32)
Roles are reversed. He used to persecute. Now, he is the persecuted. Yet, now he is empowered by belief that he has chosen.
Isn’t it ironic that our greatest joy can come from tribulation? Joy came from doing God’s work, even if Alma suffered from his used-to-be friends.
But notwithstanding all this, they did impart much consolation to the church, confirming their faith, and exhorting them with long-suffering and much travail to keep the commandments of God.”Mosiah 27:33
Part of repentance is restoring or repairing wrongs to the best of one’s ability. The sons of Mosiah and Alma do this. They “traveled throughout all the land of Zarahemla, and among all the people who were under the reign of king Mosiah, zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done to the church, confessing all their sins, and publishing all the things which they had seen, and explaining the prophesies and the scriptures to all who desired to hear them.” (35)
They zealously strive to repair what they had broken. They don’t just halfway try. They are ALL the way in now.
- Am I all the way in?
- Do I zealously strive to serve God by strengthening others with my talents, abilities, and blessings from God?
This story, and many others throughout the scriptures, show an example of people “becoming” more than they are on their own, through Christ’s redemptive power.
That is the purpose of life, to become new creatures through Christ. We repent and are baptized and then we continually renew our covenants with Him through priesthood ordinances for the rest of our life and let Him make more of us than we could ever become on our own.
- Are you becoming a new creature in Christ?
- What sacrifices could you make to have a closer relationship with your Savior?
- What could you consecrate to the Lord to more fully do His will?