Approximately 120-73 B.C.
A son of Alma, also a Nephite prophet, he was a major detractor of the church until he underwent a remarkable conversion. He became as devoted to the church as he was unruly prior to his conversion, and consequently had a tremendous influence upon not only the faithful of his religion but also his people and the Nephite nation. He ultimately served as the first chief judge in Zarahemla (a replacement government structure engineered by Mosiah, the previous king), commander-in-chief of the Nephite army, and high priest and prophet.
Preparation and Calling
As a rebellious young man, he joined with four sons of King Mosiah to attempt to overthrow the church. Their efforts came to a halt one day when an angel appeared to them and called them to repentance. Alma went into an unconscious state for the next three days and nights, during which he suffered intensely for his sins and eventually received not only forgiveness but also the peace that can come only from Jesus Christ. From that point on, Alma and the sons of Mosiah became devoted disciples and legendary missionaries for their Redeemer and His gospel.
Interaction with God
Alma’s conversion centered on the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which brought about his spiritual rebirth and the direction and motivation that drove him for the remainder of his life. He became a passionate disciple of Christ, an ardent defender of the faith, and a consummate teacher of gospel doctrine.
Nephite society was challenged by several significant rebellious groups, including the Zoramites, the Mulekites, and followers of Nehor. Alma, as the first chief judge in a new political system, was under significant pressure to keep the church together and administer fair political judgment. In time, he resigned his political post and turned all his energies to teaching the people the true doctrine of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps because of his own youthful errors, Alma was very clear in teaching his sons right doctrine. This instruction forms some of the best explanations in the Book of Mormon on topics such as the Creation, the Fall, Christ’s Atonement, personal conversion, repentance, the error of immoral behavior, judgment, and resurrection.
Living with the Prophet
After the angel called young Alma to repentance, he sought forgiveness for his serious wrongdoings. In the midst of his anguish, he remembered what his father had taught him about Jesus Christ and His Atonement for our sins. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t wait until disaster had struck before we remembered what our parents and others had taught us? Resolve to spend some time during the next couple of weeks to write down some of the most significant lessons that your mother, father, or other important figure in your life taught you about our Savior.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 1, s.v. “Alma2.”
Book of Mormon, the books of Mosiah and Alma.
Book of Mormon, Reader’s Edition, ed. Grant Hardy.