Captain Moroni has been one of my hero’s ever since I was young. As a young man he took control over Nephite armies at a very tumultuous time in their history, and he championed freedom and righteousness. Of this truly incredible man, Mormon writes,
“Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men“ (Alma 48:17).
That’s quite something! And Captain Moroni was not one of a kind, either. Mormon continues,
Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God” (Alma 48:18).
For those of you familiar with Alma and the sons of Mosiah, and their valiance later in their lives, this is not hard to imagine. But were they always like that? Earlier in The Book of Mormon, Mormon tells us,
“Now the sons of Mosiah were numbered among the unbelievers; and also one of the sons of Alma was numbered among them, he being called Alma, after his father; nevertheless, he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man. And he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities.
“And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them“ (Mormon 27:8-9).
That does not sound like my hero, Captain Moroni. What happened to cause such a great change in Alma and the sons of Mosiah?
Lucky for us, Mormon included Alma’s testimony of his conversion. Alma says,
“And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
“Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
“And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
That was the start of Alma’s change. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we too can change. We may be the vilest of sinners, but remember, so too was Alma. And by the end, had all men been like Alma, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever.