“But there was one among them whose name was Alma, he also being a descendant of Nephi. And he was a young man, and he believed the words which Abinadi had spoken, for he knew concerning the iniquity which Abinadi had testified against them; therefore he began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Abinadi, but suffer that he might depart in peace.”
We are told very little about Alma and why he but none of the other priests believed Abinadi. But what we are told is illustrative.
First, Alma was a descendant of Nephi. This of course implies that others from among the priests were not so. This suggests intermarriage between those of Nephi and other people in the land. And this intermarrying likely led their descendants to forget the teachings of their ancestors. This again illustrates how even in this short span of a generation the knowledge of God can be quickly lost.
Second, Alma was a young man. He wasn’t so set in his ways that he was unwilling to listen and change. I don’t think it is coiXhncidence that Alma was young. I saw on my mission that it was often the youth who were most open to listen. They had not yet come to reject ideas because of cultural norms. Older people had grown into a complacency regarding their beliefs. We should all try to remain young at heart and be open to new truth from God.
Third, Alma believed. He didn’t shut out the word of God. He listened and didn’t allow emotions of anger to shut out the seed of truth.
Fourth, Alma was aware of the iniquities of his people. So Abinadi’s words resonated with him as a true reflection of reality. He had not bought into cultural assumptions in favor of alcohol and sexual debauchery. This might have come as a result of his heritage and the teachings of his parents. Or it might have come through the light of Christ and his intuitive conscience. Either way, Abinadi’s words were quickly discerned to be true.
Finally, Alma was willing to act on what he felt to be true. Even though he had only a fledgling testimony of the truth, he did not stay silent. He didn’t allow fear or pressure stop him from speaking out. He followed his instinct or the spirit and pled for mercy. And as he was cast out, his experiences further solidified his growing faith.