Though the Lord delivered both the people of Limhi (Mosiah 20-22) and the people of Alma (Mosiah 23-24) from bondage, the situations contrast in that the people of Limhi were delivered only after they had tried three times to free themselves and then turned to the Lord. The people of Alma, on the other hand, turned completely to Him and were blessed more quickly and abundantly as a result.
This suggests a formula for deliverance from physical or spiritual bondage that was crystallized by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, then of the Seventy, in an October 1993 general conference sermon. He spoke of the troubles of the present age.
"There is an increasing feeling that time is out of joint, that no one seems wise enough or strong enough to set it right," he observed.
"Furthermore, many of the social and political medicines of our day regularly miss the mark, so those would-be physicians stand by the bedside of 'feverish and delirious humanity outwitted, discredited, dumbfounded . . . not knowing in which direction to seek deliverance' (Charles Edward Jefferson, The Character of Jesus, Salt Lake City: Parliament Publishers, 1968, p. 17).
"If I may be so bold this morning, may I suggest 'direction for deliverance'? In words of one syllable, we need to turn to God. We need to reaffirm our faith, and we need to reassert our hope. Where necessary we need to repent, and certainly we need to pray. It is the absence of spiritual fidelity that has led us to moral disarray in the twilight of the twentieth century. We have sown the wind of religious skepticism, and we are reaping the whirlwind of existential despair.
"Without religious faith, without recognizing the reality and necessity of spiritual life, the world makes no sense, and a nonsense world is a place of horror. Only if the world has meaning at a spiritual level is it possible for human beings to keep going, to keep trying. As Hamlet so wisely implored, so should we: 'Angels and ministers of grace defend us!' (act 1, scene 4, line 39).
"My testimony today is of the angels and ministers of grace who will always defend us if, as the prophet Alma commanded us, we 'take care of . . . sacred things,' we 'look to God and live' (Alma 37:47). More prayer and humility, more faith and forgiveness, more repentance and revelation and reinforcement from heaven these are where we seek remedy and deliverance for 'feverish and delirious humanity.' "