An account of Alma and the people of the Lord, who were driven into the wilderness by the people of King Noah.
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.
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, ye 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.
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.
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 their 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.
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 begun to possess the land of Amulon, and had begun 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.
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.
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 in 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.
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 task-masters 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 he 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.
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 can not 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.
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.
Now it came to pass that Alma and his people in the night time, gathered their flocks together, and also of their grain; yea, even all the night time 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 task-masters 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 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.
And now the Lord said unto Alma, Haste thee and get thou and this people out of this land, for the Lamanites have awakened 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 unto 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.
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 the descendants of Nephi, as there were of the people of Zarahemla, who was a descendant of Mulok, 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 all be 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.
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.
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 not 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 mayest 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.
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.