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A Library Tour through Alma 4-6
1. Now it came to pass in the sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people
of Nephi, there were no contentions nor wars in the land of Zarahemla;
2. But the people were afflicted, yea, greatly afflicted for the loss of their brethren,
and also for the loss of their flocks and herds, and also for the loss of their fields
of grain, which were trodden under foot and destroyed by the Lamanites.
3. And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they
believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness
and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty.
4. And they began to establish the church more fully; yea, and many were baptized
in the waters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God; yea, they were baptized
by the hand of Alma, who had been consecrated the high priest over the people of
the church, by the hand of his father Alma.
5. And it came to pass in the seventh year of the reign of the judges there were
about three thousand five hundred souls that united themselves to the church of God
and were baptized. And thus endeth the seventh year of the reign of the judges over
the people of Nephi; and there was continual peace in all that time.
6. And it came to pass in the eighth year of the reign of the judges, that the people
of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches, and their fine
silks, and their fine-twined linen, and because of their many flocks and herds, and
their gold and their silver, and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained
by their industry; and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their
eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel.
7. Now this was the cause of much affliction to Alma, yea, and to many of the people
whom Alma had consecrated to be teachers, and priests, and elders over the church;
yea, many of them were sorely grieved for the wickedness which they saw had begun
to be among their people.
8. For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began
to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and
upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another,
and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will
9. And thus, in this eighth year of the reign of the judges, there began to be great
contentions among the people of the church; yea, there were envyings, and strife,
and malice, and persecutions, and pride, even to exceed the pride of those who did
not belong to the church of God.
10. And thus ended the eighth year of the reign of the judges; and the wickedness
of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church;
and thus the church began to fail in its progress.
11. And it came to pass in the commencement of the ninth year Alma saw the wickedness
of the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead those
who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus bringing on the
destruction of the people.
12. Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with
their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and
those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted.
13. Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were
abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting
their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all
manner of afflictions, for Christ's sake, who should come according to the spirit
14. Looking forward to that day, thus retaining a remission of their sins; being
filled with great joy because of the resurrection of the dead, according to the will
and power and deliverance of Jesus Christ from the bands of death.
15. And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble
followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder
of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful; nevertheless
the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him.
16. And he selected a wise man who was among the elders of the church, and gave him
power according to the voice of the people, that he might have power to enact laws
according to the laws which had been given, and to put them in force according to
the wickedness and the crimes of the people.
17. Now this man's name was Nephihah, and he was appointed chief judge; and he sat
in the judgment-seat to judge and to govern the people.
18. Now Alma did not grant unto him the office of being high priest over the church,
but he retained the office of high priest unto himself; but he delivered the judgment-seat
19. And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the
people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up
in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all
the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing
no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony
20. And thus in the commencement of the ninth year of the reign of the judges over
the people of Nephi, Alma delivered up the judgment-seat to Nephihah, and confined
himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony
of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy.
1. Now it came to pass that Alma began to deliver the word of God unto the people,
first in the land of Zarahemla, and from thence throughout all the land.
The Book of Mormon Miracle: 25 Reasons to Believe, by Randal A. Wright.
Chapter 25 – The Alma 5 Challenge
“The Alma 5 Challenge,” is a vastly simplified version of Hugh Nibley’s challenge
to Book of Mormon unbelievers, which was, (with many more details), to write a religious
book similar in length to the Book of Mormon, with no historical or internal inconsistency.
Dr. Wright’s simplified challenge is to “Write an inspiring religious speech of
any length that includes a minimum of seventy-five original phrases [which Alma 5
has] (being four to seven words in length) that have never been used by anyone before.
You cannot use a search engine for help in completing the challenge.”
In addition to the challenge, this chapter presents several ways of viewing the
attitude of Book of Mormon critics. I found it fascinating to read a comparison
of those who do not believe in the Apollo moon landings with those who do not believe
Joseph Smith translated an ancient record.
Another comparison was a few comments from tripadvisor.com of certain visitors to
the Taj Mahal, like “overall pathetic place to visit.” Of course, the vast majority
of comments said things like “Words really can’t express the utter magnificence of
the Taj Mahal.” Dr. Wright says, “I wonder if these negative comments say more about
the person writing them than they do about the building. To me the Book of Mormon
is the Taj Mahal of books. When I read it with real intent I always feel like those
who loved the Taj Mahal. The Book of Mormon is ‘breathtaking’ and the ‘most beautiful’
book in the world to me.”
2. And these are the words which he spake to the people in the church which was established
in the city of Zarahemla, according to his own record, saying:
3. I, Alma, having been consecrated by my father, Alma, to be a high priest over
the church of God, he having power and authority from God to do these things, behold,
I say unto you that he began to establish a church in the land which was in the borders
of Nephi; yea, the land which was called the land of Mormon; yea, and he did baptize
his brethren in the waters of Mormon.
4. And behold, I say unto you, they were delivered out of the hands of the people
of king Noah, by the mercy and power of God.
5. And behold, after that, they were brought into bondage by the hands of the Lamanites
in the wilderness; yea, I say unto you, they were in captivity, and again the Lord
did deliver them out of bondage by the power of his word; and we were brought into
this land, and here we began to establish the church of God throughout this land
6. And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, you that belong to this church, have
you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers? Yea, and
have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards
them? And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered
their souls from hell?
7. Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and
they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their
souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word; yea, they were encircled
about by the bands of death, and the chains of hell, and an everlasting destruction
did await them.
8. And now I ask of you, my brethren, were they destroyed? Behold, I say unto you,
Nay, they were not.
9. And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which
encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and
their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that
they are saved.
10. And now I ask of you on what conditions are they saved? Yea, what grounds had
they to hope for salvation? What is the cause of their being loosed from the bands
of death, yea, and also the chains of hell?
11. Behold, I can tell you -- did not my father Alma believe in the words which were
delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? And was he not a holy prophet? Did he not speak
the words of God, and my father Alma believe them?
12. And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold
I say unto you that this is all true.
13. And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also
wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true
and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were
14. And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually
been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced
this mighty change in your hearts?
15. Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward
with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption
raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which
have been done in the mortal body?
16. I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord,
saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have
been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?
17. Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and
say -- Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth -- and
that he will save you?
18. Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with
your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt,
yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have
set at defiance the commandments of God?
19. I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean
hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your
20. I say unto you, can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves
to become subjects to the devil?
21. I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved; for there can
no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified
until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been
spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.
22. And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand
before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of
filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you?
23. Behold will they not testify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are
guilty of all manner of wickedness?
24. Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down
in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the
holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white?
25. I say unto you, Nay; except ye make our Creator a liar from the beginning, or
suppose that he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose that such can have
place in the kingdom of heaven; but they shall be cast out for they are the children
of the kingdom of the devil.
26. And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change
of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can
ye feel so now?
As the authors point out in the introduction, Alma chapter 5 is the question chapter,
with 42 questions. Alma the Younger asks the most questions in the Book of Mormon,
103, or 19% of all questions in the book. Even without Alma 5, his questions would
total more than anyone else’s.
Quoted from the book:
[excerpt from] Question 30: Can ye feel so now?
Speaking to members of the Church today, Elder Quentin L. Cook also asked, “Can ye
feel so now?” He said, “some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants.
Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some
allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel
of Jesus Christ. Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify,
exaggerate, and, in some cases, invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then
they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony.” . . .
No matter what has dulled the drive that once led to a changed heart and originally
motivated us to sing the song of redeeming love, those feelings can be revived. This
applies across a wide variety of circumstances. For the teenager who misses the
feelings he had at youth conference, the question is “What were you doing then that
you are not doing now?” For the individual who doubts his testimony, the question
is “What were you doing differently when you felt a firm testimony that the gospel
is true?” For the former bishop who has left the Church because he no longer feels
needed, the question is “What were you doing when you acted in your calling that
you stopped doing when you were released?” For the married couple who believes their
marriage has lost its spark, the question is “What were you doing earlier in your
relationship that you are no longer doing?”
One young man left the Missionary Training Center because he had never had the courage
to confess previous sins to priesthood leaders. When the truth surfaced, the young
man spent the next few years repenting and striving to break bad habits. Though
he never met the man who would have been his mission president in person, the two
corresponded regularly by email and phone calls. The young man never served in the
boundaries of the mission, but the mission president still considered him “his missionary.”
Several years later, the mission president accompanied the young man when he finally
received his recommend and returned to the temple. Later, the mission president
was thrilled to be invited to the young man’s sealing to his wife. Some years later,
the two saw each other again. The young man had a calling and was moving forward
with his education. Still, he felt remorseful at having missed his mission. In
private, he told his mission president, “I just can’t shake the feeling that I let
the Lord down because I never served.”
His president explained, “The past is important and the regrets we feel re very real
consequences of the poor choices we have made. Still, I think the Lord is more concerned
about what is than what was.” The president told the discouraged young man that
he knew of another elder who served valiantly, was released honorably, but had since
left the Church. He said, “You feel bad because you didn’t make it through your
mission, but he made it through and did not continue after that. He can’t show me
a current temple recommend the way you can. He has not chosen to marry in the temple
the way you have. He is not active and contributing in his ward the way you are.”
Sometimes our regretful remorse can almost overpower the song we currently want to
sing. We can’t change the past, but we can repent, learn from it, and move forward.
Elder Quentin L. Cook said, “My sincere prayer is that each of us will take any
necessary action to feel the Spirit now so we can sing the song of redeeming love
with all our hearts.”
27. Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye
were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently
humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of
Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
28. Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared
to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at
hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
29. Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto
you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly,
for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such
an one is not found guiltless.
30. And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his
brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
31. Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he
must repent or he cannot be saved!
32. Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord God
hath spoken it!
Chapter 18 – Doctrinal Terms, Names of Christ, New Words, Duplication, Colophons
Dr. Duke presents a number of duplications of words, which give emphasis to the
message being presented, such as “peace, peace be unto you” (Helaman 5:47), “dreamed
a dream” (1 Nephi 3:2), and “wo, wo unto this people” (2 Nephi 28:15).
33. Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended
towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.
34. Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of
life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;
35. Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be
hewn down and cast into the fire --
36. For behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit,
or whosoever doeth not the works of righteousness, the same have cause to wail and
37. O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world,
ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have
gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called
after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!
38. Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his
own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken
unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold,
ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
39. And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold,
I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now,
who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a
child of the devil.
40. For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is
evil cometh from the devil.
41. Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of
the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works,
the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth
42. And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him; therefore, for his wages
he receiveth death, as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all
43. And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me, for I speak in the energy
of my soul; for behold, I have spoken unto you plainly that ye cannot err, or have
spoken according to the commandments of God.
44. For I am called to speak after this manner, according to the holy order of God,
which is in Christ Jesus; yea, I am commanded to stand and testify unto this people
the things which have been spoken by our fathers concerning the things which are
45. And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold,
I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true.
And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
46. Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God.
Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself.
And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest
unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.
47. And moreover, I say unto you that it has thus been revealed unto me, that the
words which have been spoken by our fathers are true, even so according to the spirit
of prophecy which is in me, which is also by the manifestation of the Spirit of God.
48. I say unto you, that I know of myself that whatsoever I shall say unto you, concerning
that which is to come, is true; and I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ
shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy,
and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea,
the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.
49. And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to
preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; yea,
to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the
aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them
that they must repent and be born again.
50. Yea, thus saith the Spirit: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, for the kingdom
of heaven is soon at hand; yea, the Son of God cometh in his glory, in his might,
majesty, power, and dominion. Yea, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, that the
Spirit saith: Behold the glory of the King of all the earth; and also the King of
heaven shall very soon shine forth among all the children of men.
51. And also the Spirit saith unto me, yea, crieth unto me with a mighty voice, saying:
Go forth and say unto this people -- Repent, for except ye repent ye can in nowise
inherit the kingdom of heaven.
52. And again I say unto you, the Spirit saith: Behold, the ax is laid at the root
of the tree; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn
down and cast into the fire, yea, a fire which cannot be consumed, even an unquenchable
fire. Behold, and remember, the Holy One hath spoken it.
53. And now my beloved brethren, I say unto you, can ye withstand these sayings;
yea, can ye lay aside these things, and trample the Holy One under your feet; yea,
can ye be puffed up in the pride of your hearts; yea, will ye still persist in the
wearing of costly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world,
upon your riches?
54. Yea, will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another; yea, will
ye persist in the persecution of your brethren, who humble themselves and do walk
after the holy order of God, wherewith they have been brought into this church, having
been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and they do bring forth works which are meet
for repentance --
55. Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy,
and in withholding your substance from them?
56. And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that
these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily
57. And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the
good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their
unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the
wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God
may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with
the names of my people;
58. For the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto
them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have
ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for
the word of God must be fulfilled.
59. For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them,
that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock
doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him.
60. And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you
will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep;
and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye
may not be destroyed.
61. And now I, Alma, do command you in the language of him who hath commanded me,
that ye observe to do the words which I have spoken unto you.
62. I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those
who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be
baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree
1. And now it came to pass that after Alma had made an end of speaking unto the people
of the church, which was established in the city of Zarahemla, he ordained priests
and elders, by laying on his hands according to the order of God, to preside and
watch over the church.
2. And it came to pass that whosoever did not belong to the church who repented of
their sins were baptized unto repentance, and were received into the church.
3. And it also came to pass that whosoever did belong to the church that did not
repent of their wickedness and humble themselves before God -- I mean those who were
lifted up in the pride of their hearts -- the same were rejected, and their names
were blotted out, that their names were not numbered among those of the righteous.
4. And thus they began to establish the order of the church in the city of Zarahemla.
5. Now I would that ye should understand that the word of God was liberal unto all,
that none were deprived of the privilege of assembling themselves together to hear
the word of God.
6. Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves
together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the
souls of those who knew not God.
7. And now it came to pass that when Alma had made these regulations he departed
from them, yea, from the church which was in the city of Zarahemla, and went over
upon the east of the river Sidon, into the valley of Gideon, there having been a
city built, which was called the city of Gideon, which was in the valley that was
called Gideon, being called after the man who was slain by the hand of Nehor with
8. And Alma went and began to declare the word of God unto the church which was established
in the valley of Gideon, according to the revelation of the truth of the word which
had been spoken by his fathers, and according to the spirit of prophecy which was
in him, according to the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who should come
to redeem his people from their sins, and the holy order by which he was called.
And thus it is written. Amen.