Alma 4: Alma Gives Up the Judgment Seat

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 99–100

The Lord promised the Nephites many times that if they would keep the commandments they would prosper in the land (for example, see Mosiah 1:7). In Alma 2–3 you read how the faithful Nephites were saved from the Amlicite-Lamanite threat by calling upon the Lord for strength. The Lord blessed them and they were delivered.In Alma 4, there is no external enemy, no wars or contentions, but in a very real way the situation was more desperate than when the Lamanites were invading. What was the source of that danger? President George Q. Cannon, who was a counselor in the First Presidency, taught: “We are to be tried in all things, and sooner or later we must be tested by prosperity and plenty. Many people who remained faithful Latter-day Saints while they were poor may be unable to stand when they are rich. Riches [have] a very corrupting effect upon the human heart, and it requires a very pure people to be as honest, virtuous, humble and upright when surrounded by luxury and wealth as when they are in poor and destitute circumstances” (Gospel Truth, ed. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. [1957, 1974], 2:319).As you study Alma 4, look for how President Cannon’s statement applies to those Nephites, and to us!

Understanding the Scriptures

Alma 4

Afflicted (v. 2)Troubled, tormented
Grieved (v. 7)Felt sad, full of sorrow
Malice (v. 9)Meanness, hatred
Abasing (v. 13)Humbling
Succoring (v. 13)Helping, supporting, nourishing

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study Alma 4.

Activity A iconCompare Two Time Periods

There are interesting similarities and important differences between the descriptions of the Church in Alma 1 and Alma 4. In the second year of the reign of the judges, the Church and its members prospered (see Alma 1:31), while just six years later the Church “began to fail in its progress” (Alma 4:9–10).

  1. 1.

    Draw a chart in your notebook similar to the one shown here. Study the verses listed for each column and describe how each of the topics relate to the Church during each time period. For example, how prosperous were the members and what effect did that prosperity have on them? (see Alma 1:29–31; 4:6–8).

    Alma 1:25–31

    Alma 4:6–12


    Equality and charity




  2. 2.

    Compare the two lists and summarize the reasons the Church began to fail given in Alma 4.

  3. 3.

    Think about your own life in those same areas. What are some ways you could increase your level of righteousness and thus help the Church progress?