In this chapter, the rising generation who were children when King Benjamin gave his address begin to be a problem because of their unbelief and dissension. I find myself a little confused by this. Sure, we all know people who have grown up more wild than their active, church-going parents, but this sounds like it was really widespread. And the author makes it sound like it was directly related to the fact that these kids were too young to understand that address. I'm guessing that King Benjamin's speech and the resulting spiritual renewal that followed was a really big deal, as in, people still talked about it for years afterwards. Could it be that the younger generation basically felt left out? I am totally grasping at straws here, but I am just intrigued at the difference between these youth and their parents. We find out in the next chapter that the sons of Mosiah and Alma the Younger were included in this group.
So the priests of the church take the issue to Alma, the high priest. He is very disturbed, and decides to take the issue to the king. Here, he learns a lesson--as the leader of the church, people's spiritual welfare is his concern, not King Mosiah's. I think it's interesting that King Benjamin was spiritual and temporal leader, but that his son decided to split that office. It makes sense, because it would be really hard to run both the church and the kingdom. And we know that King Mosiah had a seerstone that he used to interpret the Jaredite plates, so it wasn't as if he lacked in righteousness. He just chose to put the church in the hands of Alma, another righteous prophet.
So Alma has the problem back in his lap. He prays hard for guidance. The Lord answers him and blesses him for his obedience. He also tells Alma that those who are repentant will be accepted back into the church, but those who are still rebellious will have their names taken from the records. This makes sense to us now, but I think to Alma, it didn't seem right for his fellow citizens to not be apart of the church. Their whole society was based on principles of the gospel. But the Lord understands the principle of agency better than we do and instructed Alma to forgive the repentant and judge those who were wicked.
Alma labors diligently after this and the church moves forward. It is also mentioned that they are greatly persecuted by those not of the church. It's such a shame that people who decide to leave the Church today always are its worst enemies afterwards. Satan really tries to turn us against the church because he knows he can turn the resultant bitterness into a tool against the Church. I hope that he won't ever turn me into such an evil tool! I love the Church and the Gospel and I feel so blessed to be a member. And even though I may not have had the same spiritual experiences as some of my ancestors, I am determined to not be like this generation of Nephites, and instead to be a righteous member of the Church.