Shut up and Be Content
He begins this chapter by wishing he had greater power to spread the gospel:
O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
...But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.Alma's motives seem pure. He just wants to be able to bring more people to Christ. He wants to preach repentance and keep his people from suffering in sin. How is such a wish sinful?
I remember reading this verse as a miserable, confused seminary student who had plenty of wishes for how life could be better. The closing statement is a slap in the face to anyone who feels any level of dissatisfaction.
Problems? Be content with your lot in life. It's sinful to wish for something better.
What a horrible thing to teach people.
Blameless but Still Cursed
In verse 5, Alma tries to illustrate the fairness of God's judgments:
Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men; he that knoweth not good from evil is blameless;So how, exactly, does Alma (or God, for that matter) justify someone being considered blameless yet still being considered eligible for a curse?
Every child born to Lamanite parents carries the curse of their dark skin. Because of the wickedness of their ancestors, God felt it necessary to mark the Lamanites so that his righteous Nephites would know not to intermarry with them. But a newborn Lamanite doesn't know right from wrong. He should be blameless. And he shouldn't have any kind of curse that speaks to the transgressions of his progenitors. Because if someone is truly blameless, he should receive no punishment.