Alma 1–29

a brief theological introduction


“. . . that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.”

Alma is an idolatrous man—until an angel’s rebuke leads to repentance and two decades of righteous service in realms both political and religious. But Alma’s past haunts him. He abdicates political power in order to focus more fully on his ministry. When war against Nephite dissenters shatters the community, he laments.

In this brief theological introduction to the first twenty-nine chapters of the book of Alma, literary scholar Kylie Nielson Turley considers how Alma’s profound transformation from anti-Christ to high priest of the church of God can deepen our understanding of Christ’s mercy. What if God forgives and forgets but humans do not? Does following God ensure a less painful life? Is it faithless to mourn, question, or cry out when beset by sin, violence, or death?

Turley foregrounds Alma as a man who sinned grievously and who was grievously sinned against, a man who found hope and healing in the darkest abyss, a man whose words offer hope and healing to a burdened world.

"I loved this book and will never read or think about Alma the same again. I want to re-read the Book of Alma with my heart and mind opened by Turley's insights."

Conor Hilton

The Arch-Hive

“This series has not only helped me to feel connected to the scriptures again but has helped me to really see the people in the scriptures.”

About the Author

Kylie Nielson Turley

Kylie Nielson Turley has taught writing, rhetoric, and literature classes since 1997 at Brigham Young University, where she emphasizes a literary approach to the Book of Mormon in her Literature of the LDS People course. She has published articles on Alma, LDS “home literature” fiction and poetry, and Utah and LDS women’s history. She is also the author of numerous personal essays.

Table of Contents

  • Series Introduction
  • PART I

    His Course Is One Eternal Round
  • Numbered Among the Unbelievers
  • This We Know, That He Was a Righteous Man

    Even As I Have Spoken
  • The Cry of Mourning Was Heard
  • O That I Were an Angel
  • Conclusion
  • Backmatter

    Further Reading
  • Endnotes
  • Index
  • Colophon
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Publication Information

  • Subject: Book of Mormon
  • Publication Month: November
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: English,
  • ISBN 13: 978-0-8425-0024-1
  • Page Count: 164
  • Binding: Paperback, eBook
  • Price: $ 9.95
  • Imprint: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

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The views expressed here and in Maxwell Institute publications are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118)