Alma - Chapter 28 Critique


Setting: The Lamanites attack the Nephites resulting in the largest battle America has ever seen up to 76 BCE!


Verse 1: And now it came to pass that after the people of Ammon were established in the land of Jershon, and a church also established in the land of Jershon, and the armies of the Nephites were set round about the land of Jershon, yea, in all the borders round about the land of Zarahemla; behold the armies of the Lamanites had followed their brethren into the wilderness.

Note: The Nephites and Lamanites are fictional peoples.

Many Indian tribes lived in what is now Venezuela before European settlers arrived. The chief tribes belonged to two groups-the Carib and the Arawak. The Carib Indians lived in the eastern part of Venezuela, and the Arawak Indians lived in the west. Both groups lived by farming, hunting, fishing, and gathering wild plants. 2004 World Book Encyclopedia.


Verses 2-3: And thus there was a tremendous battle; yea, even such an one as never had been known among all the people in the land from the time Lehi left Jerusalem; yea, and tens of thousands of the Lamanites were slain and scattered abroad. Yea, and also there was a tremendous slaughter among the people of Nephi; nevertheless, the Lamanites were driven and scattered, and the people of Nephi returned again to their land.

Note: Most American Indians lived in small groups. No large battle occurred in 76 BCE.

For the most part, the Indians of the Americas lived in small groups and shared in making important decisions. Some Indians, including the Aztec in Mexico and the Inca in Peru, developed complicated systems of government. But most tribes did not because they had no need for such systems. 2004 World Book Encyclopedia.


Verses 4-5: And now this was a time that there was a great mourning and lamentation heard throughout all the land, among all the people of Nephi— Yea, the cry of widows mourning for their husbands, and also of fathers mourning for their sons, and the daughter for the brother, yea, the brother for the father; and thus the cry of mourning was heard among all of them, mourning for their kindred who had been slain.

Note: Most American Indians lived in small groups. No large battle occurred in 76 BCE.

Wars occurred from time to time among the tribes of the Americas. But not all tribes took part in warfare. Many tribes opposed fighting, and others were so small that they did not have enough warriors to fight a war. 2004 World Book Encyclopedia.


Verses 6-7: And now surely this was a sorrowful day; yea, a time of solemnity, and a time of much fasting and prayer. And thus endeth the fifteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi;

Note: Judges were not a known form of leadership among American Indians.

Forms of tribal leadership varied. Tribes might have one or more leaders, often referred to as chiefs. In some tribes, one chief might be in charge of the tribe during peacetime. Another would lead the tribe in war. In some tribes, a person had to belong to a certain family, band, or clan to become a chief. 2004 World Book Encyclopedia.


Verse 8: And this is the account of Ammon and his brethren, their journeyings in the land of Nephi, their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their incomprehensible joy, and the reception and safety of the brethren in the land of Jershon. And now may the Lord, the Redeemer of all men, bless their souls forever.

Note: Never forget that you are redeemed by the shed blood of Jesus Christ for your sins.

Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.


Verses 9-10: And this is the account of the wars and contentions among the Nephites, and also the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites; and the fifteenth year of the reign of the judges is ended. And from the first year to the fifteenth has brought to pass the destruction of many thousand lives; yea, it has brought to pass an awful scene of bloodshed.

Note: Sidney Rigdon did not understand how American Indians settled disputes.

Warfare was sometimes the only way of settling disputes between tribes. A council, made up of the chiefs of tribes that had joined together, settled many arguments between tribes. But warfare might result if the council could not settle a dispute. 2004 World Book Encyclopedia.


Verse 11: And the bodies of many thousands are laid low in the earth, while the bodies of many thousands are moldering in heaps upon the face of the earth; yea, and many thousands are mourning for the loss of their kindred, because they have reason to fear, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are consigned to a state of endless wo.

Note: Modern Mormons do not believe in "a state of endless wo."

The real problem here is that it seems unjust to consign to a place of torment those of a terrestrial spirit or, more particularly, those who are of a celestial nature but who have not yet had the opportunity to hear and accept the gospel. Should such be consigned to a place of suffering? To so suppose obviously does not accord with the justice of God. The concern is resolved in a more complete understanding of the nature of the spirit world. It is not eternal burnings. Such language is simply figurative. Certainly some will be in a state of eternal torment, but not everyone will be. Hell is simply the nation of departed spirits. Its cities have their ghettoes but also their pleasant suburbs. Kindred spirits by nature gather together. Where honorable men and women have gathered, honor prevails. Where people of peace, virtue, and goodness choose to assemble, there such attributes will also be found. Others unlike them would be unwelcome and would seek society among those of like spirit. The scriptures assure us that our works will follow us after death. Men and women of goodness here will be of the same nature there and enjoy the fruits of their labors even as they await the day when they will be taught the gospel.

(Joseph Fielding McConkie, Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel Questions [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 108 - 109.)


Verse 12: While many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness.

Note: Christians are not focused on circumstantial happiness.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


Verse 13: And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression, and the power of the devil, which comes by the cunning plans which he hath devised to ensnare the hearts of men.

Note: Everyone is responsible for their own actions regardless of temptations.

1 Corinthians 10:13-14 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

Note: Have you idolized Joseph Smith the false prophet?


Verse 14: And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life.

Note: Has your sorrow led to repentance of sins and salvation?

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Note: Sadly, Sidney Rigdon was focused on the world of his day.