Alma 36:16 - 36:20
Alma 36: 16 And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.
Alma was in this comatose state for three days and three nights where he was continually being pricked by his guilty conscience.
Feelings of guilt is not a pleasant experience and to have that be without letup for three days and nights must have been almost life threatening.
Alma 36: 17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
After the third day of being racked with so much guilt, he was subconsciously trying to find a way to end this pain of soul. He now began to remember what he had heard his father Alma talking about the coming of the Messiah and how He would atonement for the sins of the world.
He was certainly taught about how Christ would take upon him the sins of the world for those who would repent of their sins. It was now evident to Alma Jr. that this was his only way to escape this raging torment he was now going through. He went through this torment so to humble him enough that he would come to repentance. It is evident that no one repents until they want too. Until then, we can only be patient and hope some event other than our example will motivate them to do so. In Alma Jr’s case, it took an angel threating his life and the three days of torment to get him to repent. Alma Jr. must have been a real hard case to require this much to get him to repent.
Alma 36: 18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, 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.
Alma, now desperate for relief, cries out for Jesus to have mercy on him because he is so racked with guilt of conscious and is desperate for relief from the extreme pain of both mind and spirit.
Alma 36: 19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
Immediately as Alma call out for relief from Jesus, his pain disappeared. He no longer was racked with the pain of conscious and had complete relief in both his mind and body.
Alma 36: 20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
What Alma felt now was the joy of a person who knew his sins were forgiven which was just as intense as the pain he experienced of a damned soul.