Mosiah 18:1-10, 19-29 Alma’s Teachings
In Mosiah 17:2-4, Alma escaped from King Noah, went into hiding, and wrote “all the words which Abinadi had spoken,” no doubt with the help of the Holy Ghost (see John 14:26, wherein the Savior taught that the Holy Ghost will “bring all things to your remembrance”). Then Alma began to teach privately—taking his message from the words of Abinadi—and his message follows the same pattern used by all true ministers of God’s word: Resurrection, redemption, atonement, repentance, faith, gathering, charity, enduring to the end, eternal life, baptism, covenants, obedience, commandments, Holy Ghost (18:2, 7-10). After baptizing his followers and establishing the church among them, Alma continued teaching them the ways of discipleship: Repentance, faith, redemption, unity, love, sabbath, gratitude, lay ministry, caring for the needy (verses 19-29).
(Note that 18:13, 18 mention Alma’s “authority” to baptize and ordain others, which he apparently received as a priest of King Noah, through the priesthood line of Noah’s father, Zeniff. Even though Noah was a wicked man, this would not necessarily invalidate priesthood ordinances he may have performed; see also 23:16.)
Mosiah 18:9, 13 “Even Until Death”
Particularly powerful is Alma’s expression of enduring to the end in verse 9: “…to stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death.” He expressed it similarly in verse 13: “Ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body.” Alma may have become aware that shortly before, Abinadi had exemplified this very principle of standing as a witness of God, even unto death (see 17:20). We, too, are committed to obey and serve God to the very end of our days on earth; willing even to sacrifice our own lives, if called upon to do so.
Mosiah 18:12 “With Holiness of Heart”
As Alma prepared to perform the baptism of Helam, his prayer is a beautiful lesson for us all: “O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.” We must follow this example in all our efforts to love, serve, and minister, for we can only do things in the Lord’s way as we have His Spirit with us and as we move forward with holiness in our hearts.
Mosiah 21-22 “There Was No Way That They Could Deliver Themselves”
The scriptures present numerous accounts of people who find themselves in difficult circumstances. Often, they are miraculously delivered by the Lord, but not always. And sometimes deliverance doesn’t come until the trials are prolonged or become more severe, or both. Mosiah 21-24 contains the accounts of two groups of people who endured great trials before being delivered by the Lord. After the revolution that resulted from the ministry of Abinadi, the people of Limhi (son of King Noah) left the land of Nephi—as did Alma and his people—to seek peace and freedom elsewhere. Their experiences provide powerful examples of faith, hope, patience, and prayer. First, the people of Limhi:
|Their Trials||Their Efforts||The Results|
|Smitten and burdened by Lamanites||Attack the Lamanites||Failure and great loss of life (21:2-10)|
|Great mourning, crying, and fear||Attack Lamanites twice more||Two more devastating losses (21:11-12)|
|In bondage; smitten and driven||Humbly cry to God all day||Enemies soften, ease burdens (21:13-16)|
The people of Limhi had come to a point of feeling powerless and entirely dependent upon the Lord. After these protracted sufferings, Ammon and the fifteen others sent from Zarahemla arrived (as previously recounted in Mosiah 7:1-7), bringing hope that they would help Limhi’s people escape Lamanite bondage and join the people of King Mosiah II (see 21:22-24, 32, 36). They finally succeeded in planning and carrying out their escape and journey to Zarahemla (see chapter 22).
What About Us?
Mortality brings trials and suffering to all, of varying depth and duration. We cannot fully know the causes and purposes, nor the timing and manner of deliverance; and some trials may not be resolved until the next life. In this life we walk by faith, not seeing all. But that which we do know and feel is more than sufficient to remain true and faithful “at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death” (Mosiah 18:9).
Mosiah 23-24 “The Lord Seeth Fit to Chasten His People”
Now for the account of the people of Alma, who suffered greatly in spite of the fact that they had accepted the teachings of Abinadi, repented, were baptized, and formed a church of disciples:
|Their Trials||Their Efforts||The Results|
|Threatened by Lamanites||Prayed for protection||Fell under Amulon’s rule (23:25-39)|
|Great burdens and persecutions||Cried mightily to God||Threatened with death (24:8-12)|
|Continued burdens||Great faith and patience||Burdens lightened; escape (24:13-20)|
After counseling His people to “lift up your heads and be of good comfort,” the Lord gave them tremendous promises: “I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage” (24:13); “I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your back” (verse 14); “Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage” (verse 15). The Lord fulfilled His promises and the people of Alma were led to the land of Zarahemla and also joined the people of King Mosiah II (see verses 17-25).
Mosiah 23:21-22 Our Patience and Our Faith
These verses teach that the Lord “seeth fit to chasten his people; yea he trieth their patience and their faith,” but the promise that follows is that “whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day.” How can we better see the Lord’s goodness and kindness in our lives, even as we are being chastened and tried? Are we prepared to be patient enough and faithful enough, even if we are not “lifted up” until “the last day”?
Mosiah 24:9-16 “So Great Were Their Afflictions”
In the October 1995 general conference, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: “Challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit.”
This appears to be the case with Alma and his followers. After all, these were the ones who accepted Abinadi’s invitation to repent, as taught by Alma. In the midst of their troubles, they “did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts” (verse 12). Perhaps in our own dark moments the Lord will reply to us as He did to them: “Lift up your heads and be of good comfort” (verse 13). Subsequently, “they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (verse 15).
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