Alma and his people are safe in Zarahemla right? Wrong. Let me explain.

Do you remember how King Noah was trying to be good by himself without God? Do you remember how Abinadi tried to teach King Noah how to be good with God? Well, if you remember all that, then you probably remember that Noah didn’t listen. Only Alma listened. And ever since that time, Alma tried to be good. He tried to trust in Jesus. But there was a problem. Alma had friends and children who had known and seen Alma before Abinidi came. They had seen all the bad things Alma taught and did. 

And so while Alma was trying to do good things and teach about Jesus, some people felt he was a hypocrite. 

Hypocrite, a definition

A hypocrite is what we would all be without Jesus. Like Alma, we’d try to be good. We’d say to our family and friends, “I’m going to be nice, and fair, and clean, and honest. Why don’t you join me? We will be nice, fair, clean, and honest together.” But without a doubt, we’d mess up. We’d slip, or lie, or cheat, or say something mean. That would make us a hypocrite. Because we are saying one thing and doing another. 

That’s why a lot of people didn’t listen to Alma. They said, “Alma, you are a hypocrite. We saw all the bad things you did before. And now you are telling us to be good. How does that make any sense? Even Alma’s own son thought this. And so Alma felt very sad. 

He felt sad because he felt responsible. And he felt sad and responsible because he is a parent. And all parents feel like this sometimes. That’s part of parenthood. 

Alma thought, “this is my fault. How am I going to judge my own son who is following my own bad example?” And so Alma didn’t know what to do. He thought maybe he was a hypocrite. Maybe he wasn’t good. Maybe he was still bad. Because the bad things he had done were still impacting people like his son in a bad way. 

He asked King Mosiah what to do. And King Mosiah didn’t know. Because guess what, even King Mosiah’s kids were doing bad things. And so Alma asked God. And God told Alma that there is only one bad thing that makes someone bad. And that’s ignoring Jesus. If you or anyone else does something bad, all they need to do is turn to Jesus with open arms so that he can hold you and change you. And that is exactly what Jesus will do. He will make you good. 

And so, God explained, the only thing that makes people bad is not letting Jesus make you good. “Alma,” God said. “You are not bad. You are good. Forgive yourself. And forgive your son. You did bad things in the past. But I can redeem the past. Because of me, you will not be a hypocrite.” 

Alma learned that the past could not be undone but it could be transformed. And Jesus could transform it, right now, in the present. And that’s what Jesus did. He sent an angel to Alma’s son. The angel was so loud and so bright, like lightning and thunder, that it scared Alma’s son. But it worked. It got Alma’s son’s attention. And Alma’s son turned to Jesus and became good, just like his father.

And Alma understood something. He now understood what it meant to be bad. He was not bad. But he also understood something about being good. In the Bible it says good people have beautiful feet. That had never made any sense to him. It probably doesn’t make any sense to you. It hadn’t made any sense to Noah or his priests. No one seemed to know what it meant. But now Alma understood.

Beautiful feet, a definition

Some people paint their toenails so that their feet are easier to look at. But there is only so much you can do because feet are not particularly beautiful. Yet, feet are very good and useful. They move you from one place to another. They are your base and your balance. Imagine living without feet! So while feet have a tendency towards ugliness, that is exactly what makes them like Jesus. Jesus was not beautiful. He was not handsome. People did not like Jesus because he had a nice hair cut or cool clothes. They like Jesus because he had beautiful feet. Which is just another way of saying, people liked Jesus because he made them better. He moved them forward. He transformed the past. He made them good.  

So to have beautiful feet is to be like Jesus, It is to help people be good. And that’s what Alma was like. And that’s what his son was like. And his son’s name was also Alma.

All artwork by Lauren Blair.

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