"And it came to pass that as many as did believe [Alma] did go forth to a place which was called Mormon, having received its name from the king, being in the borders of the land having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts." (Mosiah 18:4.)
While the specific number of individuals who followed Alma is not given, they are known to have numbered between 200 and 450. Mosiah 18:16 states there were "about two hundred and four souls" who were baptized in the waters of Mormon. The group had grown to "four hundred and fifty souls" (Mosiah 18:35.) by the time the Lord warned Alma that King Noah was stirring up the people to rebellion against him and that an army had been sent to destroy Alma and his people.In addition to trying to assure the physical safety of his people, Alma also endeavored to bring them spiritual safety.
President Ezra Taft Benson, in an April 1987 general conference address, said:
"May our message be like Alma instructed the teachers of his day. `He commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.' (Mosiah 18:19.)
"Alma further instructs us, `Trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.' (Mosiah 23:14.)
"Therefore, Alma consecrated all the priests and all the teachers, `and none were consecrated except they were just men. Therefore they did watch over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness.' " (Mosiah 23:17-18.)