There was among King Noah’s wicked priests, one whose name was Alma. He was a young man, and he believed the words which Abinadi had spoken; therefore he began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Abinadi.
But the king was more wroth, and caused that Alma should be cast out from among them, and sent his servants after him that they might slay him. But he fled from before them and hid himself that they found him not.
And now, Alma went about privately among the people, and began to teach the words of Abinadi. And many did believe his words. And as many as did believe him did go forth to a place which was called Mormon.
Now, there was in Mormon a fountain of pure water, and Alma resorted thither, there being near the water a thicket of small trees, where he did hide himself from the searches of the king. And as many as believed him went thither to hear his words. And he did preach unto them repentance, redemption, and faith in the Lord.
And Alma took Helam, and went and stood forth in the water, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God. And both Alma and Helam were buried in the water; and they came forth out of the water rejoicing.
And again, Alma took another, and went forth into the water, and baptized him according to the first, only he did not bury himself again in the water.
And after this manner he did baptize everyone that went forth to the place of Mormon. Yea, and they were filled with the grace of God. And they were called the Church of God, or the Church of Christ, from that time forward. And whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to His church.
Abridged from the Book of Mosiah
In the words of the artist:
The scene in King Noah’s court leads directly to the next picture, ALMA BAPTIZES IN THE WATERS OF MORMON. For it was one of Noah’s priests, one called Alma, who was so impressed with the words of Abinadi that, with repentance, he in turn became a mighty spiritual leader, drawing unto himself an attitude hungering to hear his words and to be baptized in the waters of Mormon.
Rather than a picture of Alma preaching, the artist has chosen to paint the lovely seen of baptism. Both Alma and his followers were in great danger. We see in the foreground armed guards, alert to any threat from the soldiers of King Noah. Yet even with its danger, it is a scene of transcendent tranquility. Friberg here sought to drench the whole scene, from one corner of the canvas to the other, in the divine spiritual beauty of the scene. While the physical facts are there, the more important is the invisible part, the part more felt than seen, that portion that we hold within our hearts.
In painting this picture, the artist’s deepest inspiration sprang from the eloquent words of Mosiah: “Yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their redeemer.” Arnold Friberg
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