This interchange is a great example of human nature. Neither Mosiah nor Alma wanted to judge the transgressors. There had been peace among both Mosiah‘s people and Alma’s little band up until this point. Now, with a new problem to face, neither leader wanted to take responsibility for the unsavory task of punishing the transgressors. Besides, if Alma had been working so hard to convert souls to the church, he was certainly in no hurry to excommunicate anyone! This is the uncomfortable responsibility which is placed upon one acting as a judge in Israel. Only those who have acted in this calling can fully understand the weight of the mantle.
Appropriately, the spirit of Alma was again troubled. Mosiah was the king and he was the high priest—making the ultimate responsibility his. He did the only thing he could do, he inquired of the Lord. This is a great model for all of those called as a judge in Israel.
“It is a fearsome and awesome responsibility to stand as a judge of the people. You must be their judge in some instances as to worthiness to hold membership in the Church, worthiness to enter the house of the Lord, worthiness to be baptized, worthiness to receive the priesthood, worthiness to teach and to serve as officers in the organizations.” (Church News, Sep. 9, 1995)
Boyd K. Packer
"Bishop, those who come to you are children of God. Counsel them in the Lord’s own way. Teach them to ponder it in their minds, then to pray over their problems.
"Remember that soothing, calming effect of reading the scriptures. Next time you are where they are read, notice how things settle down. Sense the feeling of peace and security that comes.
"Now, from the Book of Mormon, this closing thought: The prophet Alma faced a weightier problem than you, bishop, will likely see in your ministry. Like you, he felt uncertain; and he went to Mosiah. Mosiah wisely turned the problem back to him, saying:
’Behold, I judge them not; therefore I deliver them into thy hands to be judged.
And now the spirit of Alma was again troubled; and he went and inquired of the Lord what he should do concerning this matter, for he feared that he should do wrong in the sight of God.
And it came to pass that after he had poured out his whole soul to God, the voice of the Lord came to him.’ (Mosiah 26:12-14.)
“That voice will speak to you, bishop. That is your privilege. I bear witness of that, for I know that He lives. May God bless you, bishop, the inspired judge in Israel, and those who come to you, as you counsel them in the Lord’s own way.” (That All May Be Edified, pp. 96-7)