Alma 35:11 - 35:15
Alma 35: 11 And thus the Zoramites and the Lamanites began to make preparations for war against the people of Ammon, and also against the Nephites.
The Zoramites were now in cahoots with the Lamanites and were making war preparations to make good on their desire to run the dissident Zoramites out of the land of Jershon where they had been allowed to settle by the Ammonites.
Alma 35: 12 And thus ended the seventeenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
This was the state of affairs among the Nephites at the end of the 17th year of the reign of the judges.
Alma 35: 13 And the people of Ammon departed out of the land of Jershon, and came over into the land of Melek, and gave place in the land of Jershon for the armies of the Nephites, that they might contend with the armies of the Lamanites and the armies of the Zoramites; and thus commenced a war betwixt the Lamanites and the Nephites, in the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges; and an account shall be given of their wars hereafter.
Knowing the Ammonites were going to be in grave danger if they stayed in the land of Jershon, left in mass and went over to the land of Melek. They vacated the land of Jershon so that a Nephite army could be stationed there to stop the Lamanites if they should invade Nephite territory. So in the 18th year, war began between the Nephites and the Lamanites.
Alma 35: 14 And Alma, and Ammon, and their brethren, and also the two sons of Alma returned to the land of Zarahemla, after having been instruments in the hands of God of bringing many of the Zoramites to repentance; and as many as were brought to repentance were driven out of their land; but they have lands for their inheritance in the land of Jershon, and they have taken up arms to defend themselves, and their wives, and children, and their lands.
After the successful missionary efforts among the Zoramites, Alma and his companions returned to Zarahemla. They had been able to bring the gospel to the Zoramites and many had repented of their sins and now were living in the land of Jershon. They were be joined by more Nephites to create an army to stand between the lands of the Lamanites and the Nephites.
Alma 35: 15 Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them; and having been to declare the word, or sent to declare the word, among all the people in every city; and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.
All these conditions were the result of the iniquity of the people. The word was preached to them by various means either directly or by letter. However, there was contention among the people and they were beginning to rebel against the word of God considering it infringing on their life style because of the strictness of the gospel as they saw it. For this Alma was exceedingly sad in his heart.
Alma 36: 16 Therefore, he caused that his sons should be gathered together, that he might give unto them every one his charge, separately, concerning the things pertaining unto righteousness. And we have an account of his commandments, which he gave unto them according to his own record.
Because of the deteriorating condition of the Nephites, Alma gathers his three sons to give them some admonitions about what they should do to combat the problems Alma sees soon to come upon the people. These are the words that Mormon found in Alma’s own record.