In the early days of his full-time ministry, Alma went to the land of Melek, where he taught with great success, baptizing many. (Alma 8:5.) He then went to Ammonihah where he preached without success.
"Satan had gained a great stronghold among the people of the city," said Elder Robert E. Harbertson, then of the Seventy, in an October 1984 general conference address."Despite the prayers and labors of Alma, the people of Ammonihah hardened their hearts and would not believe anything he taught them. They even reviled him, spit upon him, and cast him out of their city."
After Alma left Ammonihah, an angel of the Lord told him to return and preach to the people again and tell them the Lord would destroy them if they did not repent.
"I wonder what [Alma's] feelings were at that moment, knowing and feeling so strongly the experience he had just endured with these people," Elder Harbertson said. "He had been reviled, and physically thrown out of the city, and I'm sure his life had been threatened. And now he was being told to return once again to these people.
"Alma's reaction to this command is most interesting. The scriptures say this: `Now it came to pass that after Alma had received his message from the angel of the Lord he returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah.' (Alma 8:18.)
"Isn't that interesting, brothers and sisters? It says, `He returned speedily.' Maybe his earlier experience with the angel caused him not to tarry or question, but to react immediately. But I believe he was motivated by love for the Lord and his desire to be obedient. Alma's reaction and attitude to this request [have] been of great strength to me as I strive to serve the Lord."
Elder Harbertson referred to the scriptures that tell of the meeting of Alma and Amulek, and Amulek's invitation to his home.
"I am strengthened and guided in how I should live and react to the opportunities the Lord gives me to serve. Amulek had much; he was comfortable and well-to-do, had a good wife and children, had a good position in the community, and yet he responded without hesitation to the call to serve."