After finishing with Limhi’s record, Mosiah reads (or causes to be read) Alma’s account. Since our version of these records is abridged, reading the original records aloud may have taken longer than it takes us to read the corresponding versions in the Book of Mormon. Nevertheless, it is not surprising either that the entire account was read or that the people willingly stayed to listen to it. No mention is made of how long it took to finish the reading, but it would not be surprising if the event took place over at least two days, perhaps with the first day devoted to Limhi and the second to Alma.
Skousen sees the ending of this verse as problematic: “This passage presents a difficult reading. Alma and his brethren were probably born in the land of Nephi, not in the land of Zarahemla.” His solution to the difficult reading is to suggest that there is a missing line which would have clarified the passage. I see a simpler solution. Verses 5 and 6 appear so directly parallel that they must be intentionally parallel. The similarities between the two groups are being highlighted at the expense of more literally historical information. I believe Mormon saw the parallels as much more important than the clarification of origins. Rather than understand the two groups as identified only by their current leader, Mormon saw them as the remnant of the original Zeniff colony. It was this greater view of the people that allowed him to say that they had left Zarahemla and returned.