Alma 31:1 - 31:5
Alma 31:1 Now it came to pass that after the end of Korihor, Alma having received tidings that the Zoramites were perverting the ways of the Lord, and that Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to bow down to dumb idols, his heart again began to sicken because of the iniquity of the people.
After hearing of the death of Korihor among the Zoramites, Alma began to wonder who these people were. Reports were coming in that Zoram, their leader, was teaching them to bow down to dumb idols. Alma was sickened by these reports and could not help but marveled just how easily the people could be corrupted by evil men.
Alma 31:2 For it was the cause of great sorrow to Alma to know of iniquity among his people; therefore his heart was exceedingly sorrowful because of the separation of the Zoramites from the Nephites.
Alma was very depress at this news and because the Zoramites had separated themselves from the influence of the Nephites.
Alma 31:3 Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites.
The Zoramites had settled an area called Antionum. It was east of Zarahemla and on the seashore just below the land of Jershon. What was unnerving was that this land was bordered the wilderness to the south which was full of Lamanites.
Alma 31:4 Now the Nephites greatly feared that the Zoramites would enter into a correspondence with the Lamanites, and that it would be the means of great loss on the part of the Nephites.
The Nephites were afraid that if the Zoramites wanted to ally themselves with the Lamanites, that would weaken their southern border with the Lamanites. The Nephites needed defenders in that area not possible sympathizers to the Lamanites.
Alma 31:5 And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.
Alma knew that preaching the word of God was far more powerful than trying to influence people with warfare. Threatening with a sword did not create followers only people waiting to rebel when the time was right. However, if a people were converted and changed their minds so to be followers, it required no treats to keep people in line. So Alma thought he would try preaching the word of God to the Zoramites.
The reason for war is to get people to come to your way of thinking. You are hoping that as the loss of life and property amounts, that people will quit resisting you. Alma wants the people to change but he will do it with persuasion using the word of God.