When I was growing up and first learning about the story of Alma the Younger’s conversion in the Book of Mormon, I always pictured him as a rebellious teenager who hung out with the four sons of Mosiah and together, the five of them wreaked havoc on the Church.  If you look closely at the record and put the facts together, you come to know something altogether different.


Hello we are Scot and Maurine Proctor and this is Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast.  This week’s lesson covers Mosiah chapters 25 through 28 and is entitled “They Were Called the People of God.”  We’re so happy to be with you again this week.

We picture you in your homes listening as individuals, couples and families and it makes us so happy to join you in your studies.  We were looking at some of your faces this week—from among those who have clicked that they follow the podcast—and we were drawn to one person particularly.  His name is Rodrino Decaprio Amon and he is from Malawi.  We put his name into Facebook to see if we could learn more about him.


That’s right and it didn’t take long to see from his posts that he is a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. He loves the Church, He loves the leaders of the Church. He participates in the Light the World campaign and he is trying to live the Gospel.  Thanks, Rodrino, for being an example to so many from your beautiful country, Malawi. Our daughter served a mission to Malawi and loves the people there.  We, too, have been there and came to love that beautiful nation and people.

We encourage all of you listeners to share the podcast with your friends and family.  Send a note to someone this week and invite them to listen.  You can find the podcast at that’s  You dear listeners are the ones that can spread the word so that more and more people are blessed by the podcast.


We begin this week’s lesson with a very unique gathering of people.  Remember, Zeniff and his people had broken away from the main body of the Nephites in Zarahemla in 200 BC.  They had been gone for three generations, or about 80 years.  In this first scene, we have a re-gathering of the Nephites.  Limhi and his people have escaped from the bondage of the Lamanites and they have arrived in Zarahemla.  Alma and his people have also been able to escape the bondage of Amulon and the Lamanites and have arrived in Zarahemla.  The Nephites who had remained in Zarahemla are gathered and the people of Zarahemla who are not Nephites are also gathered into one body.  We learn a fascinating demographic from the record here.


We learn in Mosiah chapter 25, verses 2 and 3 that those who were descendants of Nephi were not so numerous as the people of Zarahemla who were descendants of Mulek—sometimes we refer to them as Mulekites although they are never called that in the record.  And then we learn that the combined population of the Nephites and all the descendants of Mulek are not so numerous as the Lamanites—in fact, they are not even half as numerous.

We can make some pretty solid assumptions here after 480 years of history of Lehi and Sariah’s family.  Here are the facts:

The Lamanites consisted of the descendants of Laman, Lemuel and the two sons of Ishmael.

The Nephites consisted of the descendants of Nephi, Sam, Jacob, Joseph and Zoram and the sisters of Nephi.  They have a larger gene pool to start with.


And now, after nearly five centuries, the Lamanites have more than doubled the population of not only the Nephites but the Nephites and the descendants of Mulek combined.  What happened?  Are the Lamanite women just more fertile?  A solid assumption is that the Lamanites dominated the indigenous populations—those people who were already in the Promised Land—and they, too, became numbered among the Lamanites.  Thus we not only have a population issue, but this sets up a greater emphasis on the need for the Nephites and the people of Zarahemla to be righteous—to remain true to the Gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ– and to have the power and blessings of the Lord to be upon them and to protect them in the event of conflicts and war.


And let’s just give a footnote on the people of Zarahemla—who are the descendants of Mulek.  Who is Mulek?


Mulek was the surviving royal son of King Zedekiah in Jerusalem as the Babylonians destroyed the city and took many captives.  We have very little knowledge of how he escaped the destructions.


His name means “little King” in Hebrew—so, likely, he was taken by others and escaped and then they all made their way from the old world to the new, brought by the hand of the Lord. (See Omni 1:16).  They did not bring any records with them so, before long, their language became corrupted and their knowledge of God was lost. (See Omni 1:17)


In the early part of their time in the new world, the people of Mulek, who were living in Zarahemla, discovered one Coriantumr, the last survivor of the Jaredite nation.  He dwelt with the people of Mulek for nine moons.


And the people of Mulek were not discovered by the Nephites until Mosiah, the father of King Benjamin, made his way with his righteous band of people from the land and city of Nephi, through the wilderness and to the city of Zarahemla.  This was sometime around 210 BC.

Does all of this make sense to you?

So we have these five groups together at this assembly: the people of Limhi, the people of Alma. The children of Amulon and the wicked priests of King Noah. The Nephites under Mosiah and the descendants of Mulek—all in this vast assembly.


And they did a fascinating thing—they read aloud the records that had been kept.  This is very Old Testament-like.  They read the records on Zeniff and his people who had been gone for 80 years.  They read the records of Alma and his people.  They ready all about the death of Abinadi by fire.  This caused the people to feel great emotions—sometimes they were in tears and sometimes they rejoiced.  Alma went among the people—especially to Limhi’s people—and wanted to make sure they understood that it was by the hand of the Lord that they were released from bondage—not by any other means.

This is a theme throughout the Book of Mormon, you can only get out of bondage by the intervention of the Lord.


And our acknowledging that fact is a critical part of our devotion to the Lord.  Isn’t that what we do every week as we faithfully partake of the sacrament?  We are witnessing that we always remember him—that it is by and through the power and Atonement of Jesus Christ that we are released from the bondage of sin.  We do this every week so that we never forget the power and the person by which we are delivered out of bondage.  And Alma says the same thing to Limhi’s people—and their response is that they gratefully and humbly submit themselves to baptism, following the example of their King Limhi—so that they might covenant with the Lord that they will follow Him all their days.


And because the assemblage was so large, Alma, with King Mosiah’s legal permission, organized the believers into seven different churches—or large congregations.  He wanted to make sure that everyone would have access to hearing the word of the Lord each week and to draw even nearer to Him.

And I love the last verse that describes this gathering:

24 And they were called the people of God. And the Lord did pour out his Spirit upon them, and they were blessed, and prospered in the land.


The brilliant prophet and abridger, Mormon, wanted to make sure we didn’t miss the message of bondage and deliverance and so now, he is going to make it very personal. We’ve seen Alma and his people delivered from bondage in the land of Helam.  We’ve seen Limhi and his people delivered from bondage in the land of Nephi.  And now we will see this deliverance on a very personal level.

The conversion of Alma the Younger is not only an actual story, it is archetypal as well.  Haven’t we all had someone in our lives that we love and care about who has drifted or gone away and we have prayed for them to “come back”?  Sometimes it has been for weeks, sometimes for months, and sometimes for years—or even a lifetime of faith and prayers.  And, in many cases, we are talking about our own personal journey.


Which brings us to a closer look at this story.  I think, Scot, like you said at the beginning, we’ve always thought that Alma the Younger was a rebellious teenager who is giving his parents fits and we see Alma the Elder earnestly hoping for him to come back around.  A careful reading of the record reveals something more poignant.

We know that Alma is one of the sons of Alma the Elder.  We can only assume he could be the oldest because of his name, but that may not be the case.

We know that Alma the Younger is working together with the four sons of Mosiah, Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni, to wreak havoc upon individuals and to try to destroy the Church. Remember, these four sons are the heirs apparent for the throne of their father, Mosiah.

We know there are others that are also going around with them in this rebellious group of apostates.

But we know more.


That’s right. It wasn’t all that many years after Alma the Younger’s conversion, perhaps 3 or 4 years, that his father, Alma the Elder, passes away at age 82.  If Alma the Elder fathered Alma the Younger at age 30, for example, then Alma the Younger could have been 58 years old at the time of his conversion.  We know from the record that Alma the Younger is translated towards the end of 75 BC, perhaps only 20 years after his conversion.  If he was a teenager at the time of his conversion, he would have only been in his 30’s when he was translated.  Alma the Younger had three sons; Helaman, Shiblon and Corianton—and Helaman is deemed old enough to be entrusted with all the sacred records and treasures of the Nephite nation before Alma the Younger’s death.  With these and many other clues from the record, it appears that Alma the Younger was an older, mature, seasoned sinner at the time of his conversion.


Exactly, which means that Alma the Elder may have been offering prayers of faith for many, many, many years that Alma might see the light and be converted.  It’s possible that Alma the Elder had prayed that he would not see death before his son, Alma, was brought into the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This would make sense. All this taken together helps us see the tender and poignant story of a father’s love for his son.  And we don’t even have the record of Alma’s wife’s prayers and faith, but I am certain they were every bit as powerful and efficacious. I’ve often thought about her and even longed to know her name.  How much pain she must have suffered because of her son, Alma.


So, we have quite the scene of these four royal sons, sons of the well-beloved King Mosiah, going around with Alma, the son of the high priest over the whole Church, and they are doing everything in their power to destroy people’s faith and destroy the Church.  Look at the description Mormon gives of them in Mosiah 27 verses 8 and 9:

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.

He is obviously very talented like his father, Alma.

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.


I’ve always loved that last line, Scot —“giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them.”  I’m fascinated by the tactics and strategies Satan uses to deceive us.  Doesn’t that line of scripture say a lot about the actions of others—and our own actions for that matter, for good or for ill?  We can certainly play a role in opening the door for goodness or for evil.  There is an inference in that line that the adversary, Satan, the Accuser, the enemy of God, is just waiting for the chance to exercise his evil influence and power over the people.

It reminds me of that story of the Logan Temple from many years ago:

President Marriner W. Merrill (who served as the first Logan Temple president for 22 years) was sitting in his office one morning in the early 1890’s when he heard a commotion outside. Stepping to the window, he saw a great congregation of people coming up the temple hill, some on foot, and others on horseback and in carriages. President Merrill’s first thought was, “What will we do with so many people? If we fill every room in the temple, it will not begin to hold them all.”

The riders tied their horses up at the hitching posts or turned them loose on the temple corrals, and walked complacently about the front grounds, without seeming to have much purpose in mind. They were rather an odd-looking group, and were dressed quite shabbily.


They made no effort to enter the temple, so President Merrill went out to greet them and see what he could do for the group. He said to their leader: “Who are you, and who are these people who have taken possession of the temple grounds unannounced?”

He answered: “I am Satan, and these are my people.” Brother Merrill asked: “What do you want, and why have you come here?” Satan replied: “I don’t like what is being done in the Logan Temple and have come to stop it.” That was a bit of a shock to President Merrill, and he answered: “No, we will not stop it. This is the work of the Lord and must go on. You know that you or anyone else cannot stop the work of the Lord.”

“If you refuse to stop it, I will tell you what I propose to do,” the adversary said. “I will scatter this congregation of people throughout these valleys, and we will keep people from coming to the temple. We will whisper in their ears and discourage them from attending the temple. This will stop your temple work.”


President Merrill then used the power of his priesthood and commanded Satan and his followers to depart from holy ground. He said that within four or five minutes there was not a person, horse or buggy in sight. They just disappeared into thin air and were gone.

Then for the next ten or twelve years we could have closed the Logan Temple, for very little work was accomplished. (From Nolan Olsen, Logan Temple, The First 100 Years.”)

That certainly reminds us that we have to be ever vigilant to not let Satan work his tactics on us or upon our families.

Now back to Alma the Younger:

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; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood;

Don’t you sometimes wish that the Lord would send angels like this in every circumstance to bring about the conversion of our wayward ones?

12 And so great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth, and understood not the words which he spake unto them.


That’s such an interesting comment by Mormon:  they were so overwhelmed with surprise and astonishment they couldn’t even understand what the angel was saying to them.

13 Nevertheless he cried again, saying: Alma, arise and stand forth, 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.

And I so love this next verse—we’re in Mosiah 27: 14:

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. (emphasis added)


We have so much to learn from that one verse!  We, as parents, are to pray with much faith.  And where do we place our faith?  Our faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His power and atoning sacrifice.  Our faith is in His merit and mercy and that His love and caring overcame the world—and that through Him our wayward ones can overcome the grasp of that evil one who holds them bound.  Do we believe that the Lord can heal us of our sicknesses and weaknesses and sins?  Of course, we do!  Do we believe He can exercise that power in behalf of those we love?  Of course, we do!

Is there sometimes a waiting period, a period of trying and testing us in our faith?  There often is. I think the Lord wants a people who are not only tried and tested but are purified as gold seven times refined.


That’s right.  And I love Alma the Elder’s very specific prayer, that his son Alma might be brought to the knowledge of the truth—and the angel said, “therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God” and then I love this line from the angel, “that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.”  You know that makes me want to pray with more faith.  It makes me want to be more specific in my prayers.  It makes me want to plead with the Lord with very, very specific requests in behalf of my loved ones and circle of friends.


I feel the same way exactly.  And what happens here is not exactly what you would expect.  The angel says:

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.

That reminds me of the power that was with Gabriel when he was talking to Zacharias in the Temple in Jerusalem, “I am Gabriel that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee!” (See Luke 1:19)

Then the angel instructs Alma:

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. (Mosiah 27:11-16)


At this point, Alma the Younger is overcome completely.

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.

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.

I can only imagine the joy of Alma the Elder and his wife at this point.  Here are the four sons of Mosiah, for whom I’m sure they had also been praying all those years, who have brought their son who is in a spiritual coma and laid him in their home.  What a scene of great joy for these faithful parents.  You’d think this would be a tender, private moment for Alma and for his wife and immediate family.


No, that’s not how Alma was thinking.

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.

Alma is willing to make this public.  He is going to leverage this experience to bless as many people as possible.  He knows that the Lord is working on the soul of his son and he wants as many as possible to be touched by what is about to happen.

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.


See, now his prayers are being answered for his son and he is asking that the eyes of the people also might be opened to see and know of the goodness and glory of God.

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:

24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.

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.

We all must be converted.  We all must be born again.  We all must throw off the shackles of this world and give ourselves to the Lord.  It begs the question: Have we been born again?  Have we been converted to the Lord and His Gospel?


And there are two more lines here we want to emphasize—one is in verse 28 of Mosiah 27:

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.

As a writer and an editor, I love that word “snatch”—because that is exactly what happened in the case of Alma and Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni.

The word “snatch” means “to make a sudden effort to seize something, as with the hand, to grab” or “to seize by a sudden or hasty grasp.”

I picture someone losing their balance on the edge of a cliff and just at the point of no return, a hand is thrust forward and saves the person from sure death.

These five and the others who were with them were absolutely snatched from everlasting destruction.


Another line from the record that is so powerful here is from verse 29, we’re still in Mosiah chapter 27:

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.

That contrast between the darkest abyss and that marvelous light of God is wonderful.  The Gospel is all about the discernment of light and dark, the division of good and evil, the contrast between God’s works and the works of the adversary.


And the Gospel is not only about discerning the light—it is about choosing the light of Jesus Christ and His commandments and then staying true to them to the end of our days.  Many, including Joseph Fielding Smith, have called endurance the fifth and critical principle of the gospel—adding to faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

And we see this endurance in faith to the end so clearly with this Alma the Younger. He serves faithfully as the High Priest of the Church and as the Chief Judge.  He leaves the position of Chief Judge to spend full time preaching the Gospel.  He heads up a mission among the apostate Zoramites and has great success.  He is faithful to the end of his days and, according to the record, he is finally translated or taken up by God without tasting of death, even as Moses. (See Alma 45:18,19)


Alma the Younger’s conversion is quite dramatic and unlike most of our own conversions which are quiet and personal.  The Bible dictionary states that conversion:

Denotes changing one’s views, in a conscious acceptance of the will of God (Acts 3:19). If followed by continued faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism in water for the remission of sins, and the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, [there’s that endurance to the end principle] conversion will become complete and will change a natural man into a sanctified, born again, purified person—a new creature in Christ Jesus (see 2 Cor 5:17). Complete conversion comes after many trials and much testing (see Luke 22:32; D&C 112:12-13).

Alma the Younger truly was changed from the natural man that he was into a sanctified, born again, purified person—a new creature in Jesus Christ.


And that invitation is to each of us to come unto Christ and to be perfected in Him, to come to know that He is the light and life of the world.  It begs the question for each of us:  Have we been born again?  Have we had our own conversion?  Have we given our hearts and our souls over to Christ, relying wholly upon the merits and mercy of Him who is mighty to save? (See 2 Nephi 31:19)


And Maurine, I think we need to note that conversion is a process not just an event.  It appears from Alma the Younger that it’s only an event—but even in his case, it was an ongoing process throughout his life.  For each of us, we receive line upon line, precept upon precept, truth upon truth, spiritual experience upon spiritual experience.  All of these things, taken together, grow into what we call conversion and a testimony.  I remember the moment in my life that I received an absolute witness by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon was true.  I know the date, the time, the place, the experience that led to it.  I remember every detail so well.  But that night in Missouri, so many years ago, I didn’t yet have my own firm testimony and witness by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ.  Yes, I knew it by deduction and I knew it because I never doubted it and I knew it because I knew my parents knew it, but I didn’t know bone and marrow deep.  That would come about a year and a half later.


And my testimony and conversion, too, Scot, has come over a period of many years of study, and prayer, and fasting and living the principles and commandments of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I’m kind of one that follows John 7:17—If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine…. That’s the way I’ve learned things and come to know they are true. I just forge ahead with faith and trust in the Lord and I have come to know absolutely that I can count on Him.  I have come to know absolutely that He is true to His word in every circumstance in my life.  His timing and my timing are not always synced, but His promises are sure.  This I know.  This I believe in. This I am sure of.


That’s all for this week.  What amazing materials we get to study together.  Next week’s lesson is entitled:  “They Were Steadfast and Immovable” and comprises Mosiah 29 and Alma Chapters 1-4.  Thanks to Paul Cardall for the wonderful music that accompanies this Podcast and thanks to Michaela Proctor Hutchins who produces this show.  Until next time:  Blessings to you, our dear listeners—spread the word—and see you next time.