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THE BOOK OF ALMA
Alma's message to Helaman
Version - Chapter 30: Alma Counsels His Sons
My Book of Mormon Podcast - Episode 45: Alma 34-37
In the last chapter we were promised details of the war, Alma's speech to the multitude, and his individual speeches
to each of his sons. From the first verse in Alma 36 it seems clear which one we are going to get: his speech to his eldest son, Helaman.
This comprises chapters 36 and 37.
|36:1 My son, give ear to my words; for I swear unto you, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments
of God ye shall prosper in the land.||
(36:1) My son, give ear to my words.|
Alma begins by telling Helaman to listen up, because if you keep God's commandments, you'll prosper.
|36:2 I would that ye should do as I have done, in remembering the captivity of our fathers; for they
were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it was the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God
of Jacob; and he surely did deliver them in their afflictions. ||
|36:3 And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that
thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported
in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day. ||
|36:4 And I would not that ye think that I know of myself -- not of the temporal but of the spiritual,
not of the carnal mind but of God. ||
|36:5 Now, behold, I say unto you, if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things;
but God has, by the mouth of his holy angel, made these things known unto me, not of any worthiness of myself. ||
(36:5-8) By the mouth of his holy angel,|
Alma wishes that his son believes this stuff right from the beginning, without having to go through the painful ordeal that he did.
Remember back in Mosiah 16, when Alma was first convinced of the truth of God by Abinadi? Before that, he was running with the wrong crowd,
and trying to take down the church with the rest of the sons of Mosiah. But then something amazing happened. They were visited by an angel!
|36:6 For I went about with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church of God; but behold, God
sent his holy angel to stop us by the way.
|36:7 And behold, he spake unto us, as it were the voice of thunder, and the whole earth did tremble
beneath our feet; and we all fell to the earth, for the fear of the Lord came upon us. ||
|36:8 But behold, the voice said unto me: Arise. And I arose and stood up, and beheld the angel. ||
|36:9 And he said unto me: If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of
(36:9) If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed|
The angel told Alma that he could destroy himself if he wanted to, but that he had to stop trying to destroy the church.
|36:10 And it came to pass that I fell to the earth; and it was
for the space
of three days and three nights that I could not open my mouth, neither had I the use of my limbs.
(36:10-13) For the space of three days and three nights that I could not open my mouth,
neither had I the use of my limbs. |
Alma fell down to the ground for three days, and he couldn't move. Apparently the angel kept talking to him, but Alma couldn't even hear what
the angel was saying. He was racked with all of his sins and was "tormented with the pains of hell."
According to the story in Mosiah 27:23, Alma was only paralyzed for two days and two nights.
Was Alma Jr. paralyzed for two or three days?
|36:11 And the angel spake more things unto me, which were heard by my brethren, but I did not hear
them; for when I heard the words -- If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself, seek no more to destroy the church of
God -- I was struck with such great fear and amazement lest perhaps I should be destroyed, that I fell to the
earth and I did hear no more.
|36:12 But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree
and racked with all my sins. ||
|36:13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of
hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments. ||
|36:14 Yea, and
I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea,
and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack
my soul with inexpressible horror. ||
(36:14-18) I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction.|
This 3-day punishment was because he had led so many of the people away from the church. Alma describes this as "I had murdered many of his children",
but then he quickly clarifies that he actually just "led them away unto destruction." So he was scared to face God. But after three days, he decided
to ask Jesus for forgiveness, and to stop with all the tormenting.
|36:15 Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might
not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds.
|36:16 And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned
|36:17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while
I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy
unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the
|36:18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son
of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains
of death. ||
|36:19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed
up by the memory of my sins no more. ||
(36:19-21) Yea, my soul was filled with joy as eexceeding as was my pain! |
And, as luck would have it, Alma's pain went away the very second he asked Jesus!
|36:20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy
as exceeding as was my pain! ||
|36:21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were
my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite
and sweet as was my joy. ||
methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God
sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and
praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there. ||
(36:22-23) Methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne.|
But, right before his limbs started working, Alma saw God! Or he thought he did, just for a second. He was hanging out with a bunch
of angels up in heaven! But he didn't really get a good view, because all of the sudden he was healed and up on his feet.
|36:23 But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did
manifest unto the people that I had been born of God.
|36:24 Yea, and
from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring
souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they
might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. ||
(36:24) From that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing.|
And those three days were more than enough to convince Alma. He worked tirelessly for the church for the rest of his days.
|36:25 Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great
joy in the fruit of my labors; ||
|36:26 For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God,
and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these
things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God. ||
|36:27 And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of
afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust
in him, and he will still deliver me. ||
(36:27-30) I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind.|
Alma finishes up his speech by telling Helaman all of the great things that God has done for him, and that he will do for Helaman, as long as he follows the rules.
|36:28 And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory; yea, and
I will praise him forever, for he has brought our fathers out of Egypt, and he has swallowed up the Egyptians
in the Red Sea; and he led them by his power into the promised land; yea, and he has delivered them out of
bondage and captivity from time to time. ||
|36:29 Yea, and he has also brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem; and he has also,
by his everlasting power, delivered them out of bondage and captivity, from time to time even down to the
present day; and I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain
in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity. ||
|36:30 But behold, my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I do know, that inasmuch as
ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch
as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Now this is according to
his word. ||
And it came to pass (36:10, 17)
Exceedingly (36:20, 24, 25)
Behold (36:3, 5, 6, 7, 8,
17, 19, 20, 23, 25, 26, )
Yea [36:13, 14(2), 19, 20, 21(2),
22(2), 24, 25, 27(3), 28(2), 29(2)]
(36:18) Thou art in the gall of bitterness Acts.8:23
(36:28) And I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:40
- The Annotated Book of Mormon
- Alma 36