The Book of Mormon tells of beloved King Benjamin, who taught his people by word
and deed. He spoke of his reign, and how he himself had labored, so that he people
would not be taxed to support him, and then taught them this wonderful truth:
“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn
that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service
of your God.”
The Book of Mormon tells the happy story of a time in Nephite history when they had
a very good leader, King Benjamin. He led his people to live peacefully; he set
an example of righteous living for them; he didn’t even tax his people to support
him, but worked for his own support. Finally, before he died, he taught them about
their Savior Jesus Christ, and encouraged them to make a covenant to follow their
Lord, a profound discourse remembered for generations, and one which can still instruct
King Benjamin, a holy man, in righteousness he reigned.
By strength of faith and might of will, the victory he gained.
On plains of war and fields of peace he crushed the serpent’s head;
With wisdom, hope, and selfless life – with virtue pure he led.
During a time of great wickedness the Lord sent the prophet Abinadi among a group
of people, as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Although he taught with clarity and
purity of the need for a Redeemer, and that He would come, his message was rejected,
and he was put to death at the command of the wicked king.
Abinadi, Abinadi, could I be brave like you?
Abinadi, Abinadi, could I be strong and true?
Could I stand up to wicked men and testify of Christ?
Could I refuse to call words back, regardless of the price?
Book of Mormon prophet Abinadi had been threatened with death previously, and, though
God gave him special protection while he delivered his message of repentance to the
wicked king and his court, he knew that when his mission was completed he would be
killed. Nevertheless, he said, “I must fulfill the commandments wherewith God has
commanded me. . . . Therefore I finish my message.”
“Real People – Real Power. Real Hero Posters strives to capture the spirit of real
heroes, the uniqueness of their world, the strength of their character, and the reality
of their heroism.
The Book of Mormon records that Abinadi taught King Noah and his priests about the
coming Messiah: “And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory
over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men – Having
ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards
the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of
death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed
them, and satisfied the demands of justice.
“In his book, Classic Scenes from the Book of Mormon, Friberg tells of a man he called
‘Altop.’ This man befriended and introduced the gospel with Friberg's family in Arizona
when he was a boy. He also worked as a carpenter alongside Arnold’s father for a
time. Thirty years after losing contact, Friberg wrote that Altop showed up at his
home one day for a visit, and at the same time he was painting ‘Abinadi Delivers
His Message to King Noah.’ Impressed by Altop’s remarkable health at age 70, Friberg
took Altop into his studio and used him as a model for Abinadi.
“It’s also interesting to note that when painting Abinadi, Friberg grew his own beard
and long hair for greater insight. He also used this method when painting Moses.”
Although wicked King Noah and most of his priests rejected the testimony of the prophet
Abinadi, Alma believed. The Book of Mormon says,
“But there was one among them whose name was Alma, he also being a descendant of
Nephi. And he was a young man, and he believed the words which Abinadi had spoken,
for he knew concerning the iniquity which Abinadi has testified against them; therefore
he began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Abinadi, but suffer
that he might depart in peace”
After Abinadi’s martyrdom, Alma took up God’s work in delivering the message of repentance
and salvation to the people. When his listeners were ready, he taught them the significance
of the baptismal covenant, saying,
“And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon
(for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of
God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens,
that they may be light;
“Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against
being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered
into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that
he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?”
The Book of Mormon describes how Alma secretly taught people the gospel of Christ.
He then invited them to make a covenant with Christ, through the ordinance of baptism,
to follow Him.
“And after this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon;
and they were in number about two hundred and four souls; yea, and they were baptized
in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God.”
The scene in King Noah’s court leads directly to the next picture, ALMA BAPTIZES
IN THE WATERS OF MORMON. For it was one of Noah’s priests, one called Alma, who was
so impressed with the words of Abinadi that, with repentance, he in turn became a
mighty spiritual leader, drawing unto himself an attitude hungering to hear his words
and to be baptized in the waters of Mormon.
Rather than a picture of Alma preaching, the artist has chosen to paint the lovely
seen of baptism. Both Alma and his followers were in great danger. We see in the
foreground armed guards, alert to any threat from the soldiers of King Noah. Yet
even with its danger, it is a scene of transcendent tranquility. Friberg here sought
to drench the whole scene, from one corner of the canvas to the other, in the divine
spiritual beauty of the scene. While the physical facts are there, the more important
is the invisible part, the part more felt than seen, that portion that we hold within
In painting this picture, the artist’s deepest inspiration sprang from the eloquent
words of Mosiah: “Yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon,
how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their
“And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon; yea, by the waters of
Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon,
the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon – how beautiful are they to the eyes of
them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer! Yea, and how blessed are
they, for they shall sing to His praise forever!”
“At first glance, this scene appears to be a celebration of innocence and purity—beautiful
Lamanite maidens adorned in white dresses and floral leis dance along the shimmering
water’s edge. But a closer examination exposes an ominous situation. The sinister
priests emerge– a faceless evil– to abduct their victims. Their operation is carried
out quickly and quietly, for the maidens in front are unaware of what is happening
behind them. Nor do they notice a man about to capture one of them. Another priest
creeps through the bushes on the left to grab the legs of his unsuspecting victim.
Tension is heightened by the backdrop of foliage and volcanic mountains, which allow
no room for the maidens’ escape.”
Much like the persecutor Saul in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon records that
Alma and the sons of King Mosiah spent their days mocking and persecuting the believers
in Christ. Their parents had prayed for them, and the result of those prayers is
described in the Book of Mormon:
“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.”
The artist’s sister Janice Kapp Perry describes Brother Kapp’s experience in painting
this picture, in an article she wrote for Meridian magazine. The painting is the
5th of 9 reproductions.
The Book of Mormon records the reaction of these young men to the angelic visitation:
“And so great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth, and understood
not the words which he spake unto them.
“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.”
After the angelic visitation, Alma the Younger was struck dumb, and left in an unconscious
state, to wrestle through his conversion from darkness to light. He must have looked
like a dead person. The Book of Mormon records his father’s reaction to seeing his
son in this state:
“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.”
The Book of Mormon describes how Alma the Younger rejected the teachings of his
father and rebelled against the Lord. After he and his wicked companions were visited
by an angel, Alma was left unconscious for some time. During this period of apparent
inactivity he repented of his sins, and when he arose, he exclaimed, “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.”
After Alma and the sons of Mosiah were converted to the Lord, the Book of Mormon
says that “They traveled throughout all the land of Zarahemla, and among all the
people . . . 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
This scripture study and preaching would ultimately lead to their preparation to
serve a mission among the Lamanites.