Alma

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Alma 4

Alma Appoints Nephihah
The people are afflicted--They repent and many are baptized--They become proud and begin to wear fancy clothes--The church becomes very wicked--Nephihah is made chief judge and Alam makes himself high priest.

LDS.org Cartoon Version - Chapter 22: Alma’s Mission to Ammonihah


4:1 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; (4:1-2) The people were afflicted, yea, greatly afflicted.
The Nephites began to enjoy peace in the sixth year of the reign of the Judges (86 BCE). They were still recovering from the nasty war, in which so many of their people had died and much of their economy was destroyed (flocks, herds, fields of grain, etc.)
4:2 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.
4:3 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. (4:3-5) They believed that it was the judgments of God.
Everyone decided that God must have sent the destruction upon them because of their bad behavior. It made sense--he was always doing stuff like that. For a while everyone was on their best behavior. Many new church members were added during this time, and it was a time of peace and prosperity.
4:4 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.
4:5 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.
4:6 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. (4:6) They began to wear very costly apparel.
But, one short year later, the people became proud. You see, everyone managed to get REALLY rich in the three years since the war. They had abundance of fine-twilled linen, and silks, and silver, and gold, and flocks... They had all manner of precious things. And as if being proud wasn't bad enough, they started wearing costly apparel.
4:7 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. (4:7-8) Lifted up in the pride of their eyes
All of the usual things follow: Some of the people resist the urge to be proud and wear fancy clothes, and they took care of the needy and continued to be good people.
4:8 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 and pleasure.
4:9 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. (4:9-11) The wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block.
The whole situation was getting so bad that the church members were actually becoming more wicked than the nonbelievers. That doesn't happen too often!
4:10 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.
4:11 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.
4:12 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.
4:13 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 of prophecy;
4:14 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.
4:15 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.
4:16 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. (4:16-18) He retained the office of high priest unto himself.
Alma decided to appoint someone else as chief judge, so he could focus all of his energy on preaching. He selected a wise elder of the church named Nehpihah. Alma retained the position of high priest for himself.
4:17 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.
4:18 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 unto Nephihah.
4:19 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 against them.
4:20 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.

* 86 BCE according to the official LDS footnote.

And it came to pass (4:1, 5, 6, 11, 15)

Exceedingly (4:6)

(4:19) To stir you up by putting you in remembrance -- 2 Peter 1:13


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Dwindling in Unbelief
What the Book of Mormon says about the poor (and why Mitt Romney should be concerned about them) (Alma 4:12

The Annotated Book of Mormon
Alma 4