Helaman 10:16 – LeGrand Baker – Nephi’s escape
16 But behold, the power of God was with him, and they could not take him to cast him into prison, for he was taken by the Spirit and conveyed away out of the midst of them.
Mormon’s account of this event is very brief. For we who live when such magic happens all the time on TV, it is easy for us to immagine that Alma was somehow swooped away of the euilivent of some sort of magic carpet. However, God doesn’t work that way.
There are two other examples of this same sort of experience. From these, we may learn that Alma’s experience was miraculous, but not quite like a magic carpet.
The best example is when the Savior was speaking to the people in Nazareth. He read them some prophecies about himself, and they refused to believe.
28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way (Luke 4:28-30).
The second example is from the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Apostates from Kirtland, Ohio, formed a mob and threatened the lives of Joseph and his faithful friends. When the faithful fled Kirtland and headed for Far West, Missouri, the mob followed them. This is what happened:
The weather was extremely cold, we were obliged to secrete ourselves in our wagons, sometimes, to elude the grasp of our pursuers, who continued their pursuit of us more than two hundred miles from Kirtland, armed with pistols and guns, seeking our lives. They frequently crossed our track, twice they were in the houses where we stopped, once we tarried all night in the same house with them, with only a partition between us and them; and heard their oaths and imprecations, and threats concerning us, if they could catch us; and late in the evening they came in to our room and examined us, but decided we were not the men. At other times we passed them in the streets, and gazed upon them, and they on us, but they knew us not. One Lyons was one of our pursuers.
(Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951], 3: 2 – 3.)
I suppose that Nephi’s experience was much like that.