The angel who appeared to Alma the Younger gave him a specific instruction:
Now I say unto thee: Go, and remember the captivity of thy fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi; and remember how great things he has done for them; for they were in bondage, and he has delivered them.
Why was it important for Alma to remember the captivity his parents had experienced? Because very shortly, Alma would realize that he was also in captivity. As he would subsequently testify:
My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God.
The turning point in his journey, as he would later explain to his son Helaman, was when he realized that he had a Savior who could deliver him from spiritual bondage:
I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
Remembering the captivity of our fathers became a theme for Alma during his ministry:
- He asked the members of the church in Zarahemla: “Have you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers?” (Alma 5:6).
- He counseled his son Helaman to “do as I have done, in remembering the captivity of our fathers, for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them, except it was the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Alma 36:2).
- After his joyful reunion with his friends, the sons of Mosiah, following their fourteen-year mission to the Lamanites, Alma again emphasized this principle:
I have always remembered the captivity of my fathers; and that same God who delivered them out of the hands of the Egyptians did deliver them out of bondage.
Yea, and that same God did establish his church among them; yea, and that same God hath called me by a holy calling, to preach the word unto this people, and hath given me much success, in the which my joy is full.
Elder Dale G. Renlund explained how this concept helped Alma exercise faith in Jesus Christ:
Alma understood that by remembering deliverance from bondage and support during “trials and troubles of every kind,” we come to know God and the surety of His promises.
(“Consider the Goodness and Greatness of God,” General Conference, April 2020)
Today, I will remember “the captivity of [my] fathers.” I will remember how the Lord has blessed my parents and other people who have been examples to me. I will remember that if He could deliver them from challenges which they were unable to overcome on their own, then He can also help me overcome the challenges I face.