Thirty eight verses. Let’s see what we can get out of these and try to remember to use substitution as we go, instead of at the end. I’m going to be Alma!
In the beginning of this chapter, Alma gets word that things are not going right as far as worship and belief for the Zoramites. The scriptures read that the way that the Zoramites are worshiping caused him great sorrow. If I use substitution in verse three, it might read like this: “For it was the cause of great sorrow to Samantha to know of iniquity among her (Samantha’s) people; therefore her (Samantha) heart was exceedingly sorrowful because of the separation of the Zoramites from the Nephites.” Have you ever felt great sorrow? I know that I have had sorrow in my life, but I don’t know that I could describe any moments in my life that I was exceedingly sorrowful. I imagine this being very difficult.
The Zoramites lived in a land called Antionum. This land wasn’t too far off from an area in which many Lamanites lived, and due to the separation that the Zoramites had from the proper church, Alma fretted that the Zoramites may come into contact with the Lamanites and come to war against the Nephites. In verse five, the scriptures read this… and this is a gospel principle which we should all be utilizing in our daily lives…. “as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just-yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword or anything else, which had happened unto them – therefore Alma (using substitution (Samantha)) thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.” The word of God is more powerful than the sword or anything else that can or will happen to us. Keep that little morsel tucked in your pocket… the word of God is more powerful than anything that we know.
Alma (Samantha) takes his (her) friends Ammon, Aaron, and Omner, Amulek, Zeezrom, along with his (her) sons Siblon and Corianton down to visit the Zoramites to try to reach them with the word of God. Verse eight reminds us that the Zoramites had previously heard the word of God, so that what they were practicing right now, they had learned previously was incorrect. It is better for a soul to die having not ever known the word of God than it is for him to have heard the word of God and turn away from it. When Slma (Samantha) and his (her) group arrive in Antionum, they find the Zoramites worshiping in a very strange way. They climb up on a stand and recite a prayer out loud one at a time, each and every Zoramite says the exact same prayer and in this prayer, they offer thanks to God for being a chosen people and openly denounce the practices taught by the prophets. Once every Zoramite had the opportunity to get up on the stand and utter the same exact prayer, they parted ways and didn’t speak of God again for the remainder of the week until they gathered again the following Sabbath day. Verse 24-25 read: “Now when Alma (Samantha) saw this his (her) heart grieved; for he (she) saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people; yea, he (she) saw that their hearts were set upon gold, and upon silver, and upon all matter of fine goods. Yea, and he (she) also saw that their hearts were lifted up unto great boasting, in their pride.” Have you ever had your heart grieve over the choices of another, a stranger?
And then Alma (Samantha) offers up an incredible prayer to Heavenly Father on behalf of the Zoramites. Please, read verses 26-35 for his utterance and know that his prayer is fantastic. Alma refers to Heavenly Father many times, he is very clear in his prayer who he is addressing, what he is feeling, who he needs help for, who is doing what, he states what exactly what he is in need of and those that are with him that he knows by name, he uses their names in the prayer. If there is any prayers, aside from prayers that Christ himself offered during his tenure on this earth, this is the best example I can find in scripture of how we can address our Heavenly Father in prayer.
This chapter closes with Alma and his brethren parting ways to spread the word of God among the Zoramites and Heavenly Father ensured that they need not worry about where they would find food or drink and that God would care for them through this time. Heavenly Father provided because of the faith of Alma. Faith, so little and so big.
I leave this with you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.