1 And now it came to pass that the persecutions which were inflicted on the church by the unbelievers became so great that the church began to murmur, and complain to their leaders concerning the matter; and they did complain to Alma. And Alma laid the case before their king, Mosiah. And Mosiah consulted with his priests. [Of the temple]
2 And it came to pass that king Mosiah sent a proclamation throughout the land round about that there should not any unbeliever persecute any of those who belonged to the church of God. [This persecution was similar to how anti-Semitism demonstrates itself in other countries shy of murder.]
3 And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men; [It had become an activist mindset by the unbeliever that they would not assist or do business with a believer of Christ and even harass and anger the people up against them by means of propaganda and lies.]
4 That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support.
5 Yea, and all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support, in all cases save it were in sickness, or in much want; and doing these things, they did abound in the grace of God. [Remember, this was a monarchy/theocratic society that was moving quickly away from that way of thinking.]
6 And there began to be much peace again in the land; and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth, yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land.
7 And the Lord did visit them and prosper them, and they became a large and wealthy people.
8 Now the sons of Mosiah were numbered among the unbelievers; and also one of the sons of Alma was numbered among them, he being called Alma, after his father; 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.
“I wanted to understand more clearly who was Alma the Younger. This was the son of Alma who led the people out of the land of Nephi to Zarahemla. I saw that he was caught up in a kind of politics of his day, the belief that the people were being controlled by religion to suppress those who had the talents and gifts to succeed in life. It reminded me of how science and secularism today uses great arguments and mockery to prevent religion from having any place in the government of the land. The difference was that they felt the poor deserved their status and they shouldn’t be compelled by religion to do anything for them. This was my impression from what I saw. Alma, with the sons of Mosiah, were deeply entrenched in this movement. They spoke at rallies, and sought to convert many to their way of thinking. It was considered an intellectual pursuit. It had become a great hindrance to the church and Alma the Elder had prayed daily that the Lord would intervene.” From my personal journal.
9 And he became 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.
10 And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God, for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king—
11 And as I said unto you, as they were going about rebelling against God, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud [It was a cloud of light in their minds and they could hardly tell whether it was in their minds or physical.]; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood;
12 And so great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth, and understood not the words which he spake unto them.
13 Nevertheless he cried again, saying: Alma, arise and stand forth [the angel is telling Alma to awake and arise!], for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people. [Only an apostasy, or changing the doctrine and laws from within shall cause the church to be lost.]
14 And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith. [The power of prayer and faith in behalf of others accomplishes much.]
15 And now behold, 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. [A direct example of what Alma and the sons of Mosiah had been teaching the people was impossible.]
16 Now I say unto thee: Go, and remember the captivity of thy fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi; and remember how great things he has done for them; for they were in bondage, and he has delivered them. And now I say unto thee, Alma, go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered, and this even if thou wilt of thyself be cast off.
“As Alma and the sons of Mosiah were traveling to a city, they were walking between two fields of tall grass. They became dizzy, there was a flash of light and all fell to the ground. The Spirit of God overwhelmed them and the sons of Mosiah heard a voice in their minds calling them to repentance. He saw the angel of the Lord identify himself and explain his circumstances and why this was happening. Alma eventually became incapacitated and lay on the ground. Alma was left to himself and felt the pains of hell for two nights and two days. He eventually remembered how repentance was possible and was forgiven. The reason that this incredible event occurred was that the Lord answered the prayers of the righteous and also that these young men were anointed servants, 4th estate. The Lord, knowing the end from the beginning, would not allow Satan to have them without intervening so they could understand what they were doing.” From my personal journal.
17 And now it came to pass that these were the last words which the angel spake unto Alma, and he departed.
18 And now Alma and those that were with him fell again to the earth, for great was their astonishment; for with their own [physical] eyes they had beheld an angel of the Lord; and his voice was as thunder, which shook the earth; and they knew that there was nothing save the power of God that could shake the earth and cause it to tremble as though it would part asunder.
19 And now the astonishment of Alma was so great that he became dumb, that he could not open his mouth; yea, and he became weak, even that he could not move his hands; therefore he was taken by those that were with him, and carried helpless, even until he was laid before his father. [The experience had effected his nervous system.]
20 And they rehearsed unto his father all that had happened unto them; and his father rejoiced, for he knew that it was the power of God. [Alma had requested such a physical manifestation to his son that he would know the power of God.]
21 And he caused that a multitude should be gathered together that they might witness what the Lord had done for his son, and also for those that were with him.
22 And he caused that the priests should assemble themselves together; 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—that the eyes of the people might be opened to see and know of the goodness and glory of God. [This was given to Alma to do by revelation.]
23 And it came to pass after they had fasted and prayed for the space of two days and two nights, the limbs of Alma received their strength, and he stood up and began to speak unto them, bidding them to be of good comfort: [The power of prayer and fasting unto healing.]
24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. [Received the gift of the Holy Ghost and “born again.”]
25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. [This is the purpose of life, why we are here. Alma gives six different ways of describing the process: to be born again, in the image of God, changed from a carnal (telestial) state, to a righteous (terrestrial) state, redeemed from the world, and made sons and daughters to Christ. This is the Gift of the Holy Ghost.]
27 I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off [Not allowed to come into the presence of God.]; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off.
28 Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.
29 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. [A beautiful description of the repentance process.]
30 I rejected my Redeemer, and denied that which had been spoken of by our fathers; but now that they may foresee that he will come, and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all. [All shall witness the power of their creator.]
31 Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye. [Every creature shall be judged, which is to be separated and organized according to its glory and destiny.]
32 And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them, traveling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God in much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them. [Now that they had a personal witness, they stood against the core argument of these secularists, that there was no such witness. They were accused of being liars and traitors to the cause.]
33 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.
34 And four of them were the sons of Mosiah; and their names were Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni; these were the names of the sons of Mosiah.
35 And 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 prophecies and the scriptures to all who desired to hear them. [They often began their sermons by confessing who they had been, what they did, and how the great miracle changed their lives and brought them to repentance. they had a great story to tell and the power of the Holy Ghost was with them in great measure.]
36 And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer. [There is nothing greater than to be an instrument in the hand of God to help save another.]
37 And how blessed [Anointed] are they! For they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth.
This chapter demonstrates the power of repentance upon an individual, particularly Alma the younger. It is rare to see someone who has fallen that far come back to the extent that we see with Alma the younger. It reminds me of Paul of the New Testament. Some may ask, “Why did they receive such powerful manifestations of God to help correct them, while others do not?” Remember, the Lord always looks upon the heart. In both cases, these men felt they were doing good in behalf of the people. Their hearts were not evil in the sight of God. But, had they not repented, they would have gone down a dark path. These men were 4th estate, which means they are anointed servants of God. Many wonder how someone so highly considered of the Lord could fall this way. All men and women come into this world without the knowledge of who they are. Sometimes, we get lost and the Lord helps us find our way back. Everything is carefully orchestrated, more than you can imagine. Many of the chosen of God have great stories of redemption.