Alma 9:30-32 — LeGrand Baker — persecuting a prophet seems easier than repenting
30 And now, my beloved brethren, for ye are my brethren, and ye ought to be beloved, and ye ought to bring forth works which are meet for repentance, seeing that your hearts have been grossly hardened against the word of God, and seeing that ye are a lost and a fallen people.
31 Now it came to pass that when I, Alma, had spoken these words, behold, the people were wroth with me because I said unto them that they were a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people.
32 And also because I said unto them that they were a lost and a fallen people they were angry with me, and sought to lay their hands upon me, that they might cast me into prison.
This story is so typical of the actions of apostates of every age.
To one who knows the truth, but is not living the truth he knows, true prophets can be very obnoxious, and even their presence can be extremely disconcerting. True prophets do not speak in neutral, wishy-washy terms like false prophets do. Many people are willing to pay a lot of money to be able to believe an eloquent, smiling preacher who can speak convincingly to the subject: “The mercy of God will enable you get into heaven if you do your best, so you don’t actually need to repent.”
The people who pay those salaries, and the people who receive them, don’t like true prophets who teach: “You actually need to repent and love your neighbor as your self, or you won’t qualify to be where God is.”
Paying a preacher to say what one wants to hear is a whole lot easier and often much cheaper than repenting, but that doesn’t make a true prophets any the less obnoxious to an apostate. For some reason, one who has known the truth and apostatized cannot simply ignore the prophet and get on with life. Such a person is in a tight bind. Ether he has to repent or else he must prove the prophet isn’t telling the truth after all. The easiest way to prove a true prophet is really a false prophet is to show that he does not have the physical power to defend himself. Consequently, such people make it a point to persecute, imprison, or kill the prophets. It is as though such people see defeating—even killing—the prophet is the most efficient way for one to be assured of getting into heaven. The Saviour understood that, and warned the Twelve,
1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:1-3)
So what Alma writes about his antagonists is entirely consistent with apostates’s attitudes and actions in every age.