So, take a look at this. In the church we often talk about the righteous being blessed, which is true, but then that also leads to the problematic idea that if someone is down-and-out it must be their fault. I think I found that same pattern happening in the book of Alma, chapters 3 and 4:
Alma 3:19 Now I would that ye should see that they brought upon themselves the curse; and even so doth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation.
He is talking about curses but the logic could still be misapplied (especially if we take it completely out of context and work to try to apply it to our modern situation). Did they do the same?
Alma 4:3: And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty.
Again, this is true and we’re glad they thought this way and repented. But, the question persists: could this be misapplied?
Alma 4:6: “the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches”
Alma 4:8 “For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure.”
Alma 4:12 “Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted.”
Because, perhaps, they thought it was their own fault that they didn’t believe or that they were poor.
And this sparks his ministry among the people, beginning in chapter 5 in Zarahemla (in fact, see Alma 5:53-55).