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"The Angel of the Lord Appeared unto Them," Mosiah 27:8-17

Mosiah 27:8-17

These verses contain the account of an angel that came to stop Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah on their course of destruction against the Church. The main question that I have as I read these verses is: what about this scenario merited the intervention of an angel? Angels are not the usual form of communication from heaven.

There are several reasons that I feel angelic intervention was merited in this instance. Verses 8 through 10 explain how they were rebelling against the church in secret. Given the family dynamics, that both parents of Alma and the son of Mosiah were the heads of the church and the state, it gave them all the more power to destroy what their fathers were trying to build and protect. 

Verse 14 offers another reason when the angel explains that Alma, the elder, had been praying for his son that he might "be brought to the knowledge of the truth." It wasn't just Alma that had been praying for this though, and just because Alma was his father. The angel starts the verse by explaining that the Lord had his people, and also of his servant Alma, who was also his father.

It seems to me as I read these verses that the purpose of the angelic visit was first as a protection to the church. The people of the church and the leaders of the Church had prayed for help from heaven. And God, who has both power and authority to do so, chose to send an angel to convince them of the error of their ways. Wickedness so gross, with such a direct and close impact on the church of God, from time to time does merit heavenly intervention.