Chapter 11

    An account of Alma and the people of the Lord who were driven into the wilderness by the people of king Noah.

  1. Now Alma having been warned of the Lord that the armies of king Noah would come upon them and had made it known to his people, therefore they gathered together their flocks, and took of their grain, and departed into the wilderness before the armies of king Noah. And the Lord did strengthen them, that the people of king Noah could not overtake them to destroy them. And they fled eight days’ journey into the wilderness, and they came to a land, yea, even a very beautiful and pleasant land, a land of pure water. And they pitched their tents, and began to till the ground, and began to build buildings, etc. Yea, they were industrious and did labor exceedingly.
  2. And the people were desirous that Alma should be their king, for he was beloved by his people. But he said unto them, Behold, it is not expedient that we should have a king, for thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another. Therefore I say unto you, it is not expedient that ye should have a king; nevertheless, if it were possible that ye could always have just men to be your kings, it would be well for you to have a king; but remember the iniquity of king Noah and his priests. And I myself was caught in a snare, and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me sore repentance. Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth. Nevertheless, in this I do not glory, for I am unworthy to glory of myself. And now I say unto you, you have been oppressed by king Noah, and have been in bondage to him and his priests, and have been brought into iniquity by them; therefore, ye were bound with the bands of iniquity. And now as ye have been delivered by the power of God out of these bonds, yea, even out of the hands of king Noah and his people, and also from the bonds of iniquity, even so I desire that ye should stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and that ye trust no man to be a king over you; and also trusting no one to be your teacher nor your minister except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments. Thus did Alma teach his people that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them.
  3. And now Alma was their high priest, he being the founder of their church. And it came to pass that none received authority to preach or to teach except it were by him from God; therefore he consecrated all their priests and all their teachers, and none were consecrated except they were just men. Therefore they did watch over their people and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness. And it came to pass that they began to prosper exceedingly in the land, and they called the land Helam. And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city which they called the city of Helam. Nevertheless, the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless, whosoever putteth his trust in him, the same shall be lifted up at the last day; yea, and thus it was with this people. For behold, I will shew unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. And it came to pass that he did deliver them, and he did shew forth his mighty power unto them; and great were their rejoicings.
  4. For behold, it came to pass that while they were in the land of Helam, yea, in the city of Helam, while tilling the land round about, behold, an army of the Lamanites were in the borders of the land. Now it came to pass that the brethren of Alma fled from their fields and gathered themselves together into the city of Helam, and they were much frightened because of the appearance of the Lamanites. But Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but that they should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them. Therefore they hushed their fears and began to cry unto the Lord that he would soften the hearts of the Lamanites, that they would spare them, and their wives, and children. And it came to pass that the Lord did soften the hearts of the Lamanites. And Alma and his brethren went forth and delivered themselves up into their hands, and the Lamanites took possession of the land of Helam.
  5. Now the armies of the Lamanites which had followed after the people of king Limhi had been lost in the wilderness for many days. And behold, they had found those priests of king Noah in a place which they called Amulon, and they had began to possess the land of Amulon and had began to till the ground. Now the name of the leader of those priests was Amulon. And it came to pass that Amulon did plead with the Lamanites, and he also sent forth their wives, who were the daughters of the Lamanites, to plead with their brethren that they should not destroy their husbands. And the Lamanites had compassion on Amulon and his brethren and did not destroy them, because of their wives. And Amulon and his brethren did join the Lamanites, and they were traveling in the wilderness in search of the land of Nephi when they discovered the land of Helam, which was possessed by Alma and his brethren.
  6. And it came to pass that the Lamanites promised unto Alma and his brethren that if they would shew them the way which led to the land of Nephi, that they would grant unto them their lives and their liberty. But after Alma had shewn them the way that led to the land of Nephi, the Lamanites would not keep their promise, but they set guards round about the land of Helam over Alma and his brethren, and the remainder of them went to the land of Nephi. And a part of them returned to the land of Helam, and also brought with them the wives and the children of the guards who had been left in the land. And the king of the Lamanites had granted unto Amulon that he should be a king and a ruler over his people who were in the land of Helam; nevertheless, he should have no power to do anything contrary to the will of the king of the Lamanites.
  7. And it came to pass that Amulon did gain favor in the eyes of the king of the Lamanites; therefore, the king of the Lamanites granted unto him and his brethren that they should be appointed teachers over his people, yea, even over the people who were in the land of Shemlon, and the land of Shilom, and in the land of Amulon. For the Lamanites had taken possession of all these lands; therefore, the king of the Lamanites had appointed kings over all these lands. And now the name of the king of the Lamanites was Laman, being called after the name of his father; and therefore, he was called king Laman. And he was king over a numerous people. And he appointed teachers of the brethren of Amulon in every land which was possessed by his people. And thus the language of Nephi began to be taught among all the people of the Lamanites. And they were a people friendly one with another. Nevertheless, they knew not God; neither did the brethren of Amulon teach them anything concerning the Lord their God, neither the law of Moses, nor did they teach them the words of Abinadi. But they taught them that they should keep their record, and that they might write one to another. And thus the Lamanites began to increase in riches, and began to trade one with another and wax great, and began to be a cunning and a wise people as to the wisdom of the world — yea, a very cunning people, delighting in all manner of wickedness and plunder, except it were among their own brethren.
  8. And now it came to pass that Amulon began to exercise authority over Alma and his brethren, and began to persecute him, and cause that his children should persecute their children. For Amulon knew Alma, that he had been one of the king’s priests, and that it was he that believed the words of Abinadi and was driven out before the king; and therefore he was wroth with him. For he was subject to king Laman, yet he exercised authority over them, and put tasks upon them, and put taskmasters over them. And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God. And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries, and put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death. And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.
  9. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying, Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me. And I will covenant with this my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage. And this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them, that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
  10. And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying, Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage. And he said unto Alma, Thou shalt go before this people, and I will go with thee and deliver this people out of bondage.
  11. Now it came to pass that Alma and his people in the nighttime gathered their flocks together, and also of their grain; yea, even all the nighttime were they gathering their flocks together. And in the morning, the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon the Lamanites; yea, and all their taskmasters were in a profound sleep. And Alma and his people departed into the wilderness. And when they had traveled all day, they pitched their tents in a valley; and they called the name of the valley Alma, because he led their way in the wilderness. Yea, and in the valley of Alma they poured out their thanks to God because he had been merciful unto them, and eased their burdens, and had delivered them out of bondage — for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it were the Lord their God. And they gave thanks to God — yea, all their men, and all their women, and all their children that could speak, lifted their voices in the praises of their God.
  12. And now the Lord said unto Alma, Haste thee and get thou and this people out of this land, for the Lamanites have awoke and do pursue thee; therefore get thee out of this land. And I will stop the Lamanites in this valley, that they come no further in pursuit of this people. And it came to pass that they departed out of the valley and took their journey into the wilderness. And after they had been in the wilderness twelve days, they arrived to the land of Zarahemla; and king Mosiah did also receive them with joy.
  13. And now king Mosiah caused that all the people should be gathered together. Now there were not so many of the children of Nephi, or so many of those who were descendants of Nephi, as there were of the people of Zarahemla, who was a descendant of Muloch and those who came with him into the wilderness. And there were not so many of the people of Nephi and of the people of Zarahemla as there were of the Lamanites; yea, they were not half so numerous. And now all the people of Nephi were assembled together, and also all the people of Zarahemla, and they were gathered together in two bodies.
  14. And it came to pass that Mosiah did read, and caused to be read, the records of Zeniff to his people; yea, he read the records of the people of Zeniff from the time they left the land of Zarahemla until the time they returned again. And he also read the account of Alma and his brethren, and all their afflictions from the time they left the land of Zarahemla until the time they returned again. And now when Mosiah had made an end of reading the records, his people who tarried in the land were struck with wonder and amazement, for they knew not what to think. For when they beheld those that had been delivered out of bondage, they were filled with exceeding great joy. And again, when they thought of their brethren who had been slain by the Lamanites, they were filled with sorrow, and even shed many tears of sorrow. And again, when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and his power in delivering Alma and his brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of bondage, they did raise their voices and give thanks to God. And again, when they thought upon the Lamanites, who were their brethren, of their sinful and polluted state, they were filled with pain and anguish for the welfare of their souls.
  15. And it came to pass that those who were the children of Amulon and his brethren, who had taken to wife the daughters of the Lamanites, were displeased with the conduct of their fathers, and they would no longer be called by the names of their fathers. Therefore, they took upon themselves the name of Nephi, that they might be called the children of Nephi and be numbered among those who were called Nephites. And now all the people of Zarahemla were numbered with the Nephites, and this because the kingdom had been conferred upon none but those who were descendants of Nephi.
  16. And now it came to pass that when Mosiah had made an end of speaking and reading to the people, he desired that Alma should also speak to the people. And Alma did speak unto them when they were assembled together in large bodies; and he went from one body to another, preaching unto the people repentance and faith on the Lord. And he did exhort the people of Limhi and his brethren — all those that had been delivered out of bondage — that they should remember that it was the Lord that did deliver them. And it came to pass that after Alma had taught the people many things, and had made an end of speaking to them, that king Limhi was desirous that he might be baptized; and all his people were desirous that they might be baptized also. Therefore, Alma did go forth into the water and did baptize them; yea, he did baptize them after the manner he did his brethren in the waters of Mormon. Yea, and as many as he did baptize did belong to the church of God, and this because of their belief on the words of Alma.
  17. And it came to pass that king Mosiah granted unto Alma that he might establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla, and gave him power to ordain priests and teachers over every church. Now this was done because there were so many people that they could not be all governed by one teacher, neither could they all hear the word of God in one assembly. Therefore, they did assemble themselves together in different bodies, being called churches, every church having their priests and their teachers, and every priest preaching the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma. And thus, notwithstanding there being many churches, they were all one church, yea, even the church of God; for there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God. And now there were seven churches in the land of Zarahemla. And it came to pass that whosoever were desirous to take upon them the name of Christ, or of God, they did join the churches of God; 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.
  18. Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers. They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ. And now, because of their unbelief, they could not understand the word of God, and their hearts were hardened. And they would not be baptized, neither would they join the church. And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state, for they would not call upon the Lord their God. And now in the reign of Mosiah, they were not half so numerous as the people of God; but because of the dissensions among the brethren, they became more numerous. For it came to pass that they did deceive many — with their flattering words — who were in the church, and did cause them to commit many sins. Therefore, it became expedient that those who committed sin, that were in the church, should be admonished by the church.
  19. And it came to pass that they were brought before the priests and delivered up unto the priests by the teachers, and the priests brought them before Alma, who was the high priest. Now king Mosiah had given Alma the authority over the church. And it came to pass that Alma did know concerning them, for there were many witnesses against them; yea, the people stood and testified of their iniquity in abundance. Now there had not any such thing happened before in the church. Therefore, Alma was troubled in his spirit, and he caused that they should be brought before the king. And he said unto the king, Behold, here are many whom we have brought before thee, who are accused of their brethren. Yea, and they have been taken in divers iniquities, and they do not repent of their iniquities. Therefore we have brought them before thee, that thou may judge them according to their crimes. But king Mosiah said unto Alma, Behold, I judge them not; therefore I deliver them into thy hands to be judged. And now the spirit of Alma was again troubled. And he went and inquired of the Lord what he should do concerning this matter, for he feared that he should do wrong in the sight of God.
  20. And it came to pass that after he had poured out his whole soul to God, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, Blessed art thou Alma, and blessed are they who were baptized in the waters of Mormon. Thou art blessed because of thy exceeding faith in the words alone of my servant Abinadi. And blessed are they because of their exceeding faith in the words alone which thou hast spoken unto them. And blessed art thou because thou hast established a church among this people. And they shall be established, and they shall be my people. Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name, for in my name shall they be called, and they are mine. And because thou hast inquired of me concerning the transgressor, thou art blessed. Thou art my servant, and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life.
  21. And thou shalt serve me, and go forth in my name, and shall gather together my sheep. And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church, and him will I also receive. For behold, this is my church. Whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance, and whosoever ye receive shall believe in my name, and him will I freely forgive. For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world, for it is I that hath created them. And it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand. For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me, they shall come forth and shall have a place eternally at my right hand. And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound, then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before me. And then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, that I am their Redeemer, but they would not be redeemed. And then will I confess unto them that I never knew them, and they shall depart into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. Therefore I say unto you that he that will not hear my voice, the same shall ye not receive into my church, for him will I not receive at the last day.
  22. Therefore I say unto you, go, and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed. And if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also. Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me. And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses. For verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation. Now I say unto you, go, and whosoever will not repent of his sins, the same shall not be numbered among my people. And this shall be observed from this time forward.
  23. And it came to pass when Alma had heard these words, he wrote them down that he might have them and that he might judge the people of that church according to the commandments of God. And it came to pass that Alma went and judged those that had been taken in iniquity, according to the word of the Lord. And whosoever repented of their sins and did confess them, them he did number among the people of the church. And those that would not confess their sins and repent of their iniquity, the same were not numbered among the people of the church; and their names were blotted out. And it came to pass that Alma did regulate all the affairs of the church. And they began again to have peace and to prosper exceedingly in the affairs of the church, walking circumspectly before God, receiving many and baptizing many. And now all these things did Alma and his fellow laborers do who were over the church, walking in all diligence, teaching the word of God in all things, suffering all manner of afflictions, being persecuted by all those who did not belong to the church of God. And they did admonish their brethren, and they were also admonished, everyone by the word of God, according to his sins, or to the sins which he had committed, being commanded of God to pray without ceasing and to give thanks in all things. And now it came to pass that the persecutions which were inflicted on the church by the unbelievers became so great that the church began to murmur and complain to their leaders concerning the matter; and they did complain to Alma. And Alma laid the case before their king, Mosiah, and Mosiah consulted with his priests.
  24. And it came to pass that king Mosiah sent a proclamation throughout the land round about that there should not any unbeliever persecute any of those who belonged to the church of God. And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men, that they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace, that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support. Yea, and all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support in all cases, save it were in sickness or in much want; and doing these things they did abound in the grace of God. And there began to be much peace again in the land. And the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth — yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land. And the Lord did visit them and prosper them, and they became a large and a wealthy people.
  25. 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. 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.
  26. And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God — for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church and to lead astray the people of the Lord contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king — 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. 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 persecuteth 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 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. 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. 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. And now it came to pass that these were the last words which the angel spake unto Alma, and he departed.
  27. And now Alma and those that were with him fell again to the earth, for great was their astonishment; for with their own eyes they had beheld an angel of the Lord, and his voice was as thunder which shook the earth. And they knew that there was nothing save the power of God that could shake the earth and cause it to tremble as though it would part asunder. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  28. 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. For, said he, I have repented of my sins and have been redeemed of the Lord. Behold, I am born of the spirit. 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. And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off. And this I know because I was like to be cast off. 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. 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. My soul was racked with Eternal torment, but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more. I rejected my Redeemer and denied that which had been spoken of by our fathers. But now, that they may foresee that he will come and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all. Yea, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them. And they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye.
  29. And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them: traveling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God in much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them. But notwithstanding all this, they did impart much consolation to the church, confirming their faith, and exhorting them with long-suffering and much travail to keep the commandments of God. And four of them were the sons of Mosiah. And their names were Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni — these were the names of the sons of Mosiah. And they traveled throughout all the land of Zarahemla, and among all the people who were under the reign of king Mosiah, 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 them. And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer. And how blessed are they, for they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good, and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth.