Alma 23:1-7, 17-18; 24:1-19 100% Convert Retention
As instruments in the Lord’s hands, the sons of Mosiah and other Nephite missionaries were able to establish congregations of new converts throughout the land of the Lamanites (verse 4), featuring the following remarkable results:
- “Thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord” (23:5).
- They were “converted unto the Lord” and “never did fall away” (23:6).
- “They did not fight against God any more” (23:7).
- They “were no more called Lamanites,” but instead took upon themselves the name of “Anti-Nephi-Lehies” (23:17).
- “They began to be a very industrious people; yea, and they were friendly with the Nephites” (23:18; see also 24:18).
- Most significantly, “the curse of God did no more follow them,” which means that they were blessed with the presence and influence of the Lord’s spirit (23:18; see also Alma 3:14).
- “There was not one soul among all the people who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms” (24:6; see also verses 12-18).
- “They were firm” (24:19; see also Alma 21:23; 27:27, 30).
These Lamanites are an example of what it means to be born again and become “new creatures” in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Mosiah 27:26). Have you observed new converts to the true church of Jesus Christ who reflected such attitudes and behaviors? Do you see these things in your own life? What does it mean to you to be truly “converted”?
Alma 24:1-2, 20-27; 25:1-8, 13-14 The Killing Continues, But So Does the Converting
Mormon observed: “Thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people” (Alma 24:27; see also Alma 37:7). In Alma 24-25 there are murderous aggressions by the Lamanites against their brethren who have become newly-converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. But these events also led to additional converts. Note the twists and turns in these chapters, and how the Lord “worketh in many ways”:
- The Amalekites and Amulonites (former Nephites who had dissented to the Lamanites) stirred up the unconverted Lamanites to hatred against the new Lamanite converts (the Anti-Nephi-Lehies), and they “took up arms” against the “people of God” (24:1-2).
- When the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi saw the attacking Lamanites coming against them, they laid down, prayed, and allowed themselves to be killed by the sword (24:20-22).
- Over a thousand of the attacking Lamanites felt “stung” after killing fellow Lamanites, so they “threw down their weapons of war” and joined “the people of God” (24:23-27).
- The remaining attacking Lamanites became “more angry” because they had killed their fellow Lamanites and thus “swore vengeance” against the Nephites; blaming them for the wrongs they themselves had just committed. So, they took vengeance against the Nephites in the land of Ammonihah, entirely destroying them (25:1-2; thus contradicting the boast of the people of Ammonihah against Alma that “we will not believe thy words if thou shouldst prophesy that this great city should be destroyed in one day” (Alma 9:4; see also Alma 16:9-10).
- Many of these same Lamanites “after having suffered much loss and so many afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words which Aaron and his brethren had preached to them,” and this led to rejection of their traditions and true belief in the Lord; many of them becoming converted (25:6).
- Unfortunately, these latest converts were then put to death by the Amulonites because of their conversion (25:7), but this in turn led to many more of the unconverted Lamanites being “stirred up to anger” and they began to hunt and kill the Amulonites (25:8).
- Then, the Lamanites who had destroyed Ammonihah realized that they could not completely “overpower the Nephites,” so they gave up and went to join the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, thus adding even more to the number of converted Lamanites (25:13-14).
This is an amazing series of events, resulting in many thousands of additional converts among the Lamanites. In the latter days we have seen and surely will continue to witness and participate in astounding events that will one day lead to the coming of Jesus Christ.
Alma 26-29 Joy and Rejoicing
In chapter 26 Ammon and his brothers reflect upon their experience as instruments in the Lord’s hands to bring thousands to repentance (including themselves). Note that their efforts were not without difficulties: “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us and said: Go amongst thy brethren the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success…. And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul” (Alma 26:27, 30; see also 28:8, which mentions “sufferings,” “sorrows,” and “afflictions”).
Go through the following references, looking for all the occurrences of the words rejoice and joy:
- Alma 25:17
- Alma 26:1-37
- Alma 27:16-19, 26
- Alma 28:8, 12, 14
- Alma 29:5, 9-10, 13-14, 16
Think about times you have felt joy as you labored to help others follow Christ. Like Alma and the sons of Mosiah, your efforts may also have resulted in depressions or afflictions, yet you can be comforted by the Lord, whose work you are doing. Consider Alma 28:14, wherein Mormon editorializes: “And thus we see the great call of diligence of men [and women!] to labor in the vineyards of the Lord.”
Alma 29:1-3, 9-14 Remember
Like Ammon in chapter 26, Alma also expresses great joy as he glories in the Lord and his role in that work (verse 9), and feels even greater joy “because of the success of my brethren” (verse 14). Alma had briefly wished to have the voice of an angel to proclaim the gospel message (verses 1-2; remember that Alma himself had been “shaken” by an angel, who spoke “with a voice to shake the earth”; see Mosiah 27:8-19), but Alma readily admits that this is not usually the Lord’s way (verse 3).
Note the things Alma said he always wanted to “remember,” as expressed in verses 10-13. What things must we always remember, to keep us close to the Lord? (See Elder Dale G. Renlund, “Consider the Goodness and Greatness of God,” April 2020 general conference.)