The rebirth experience was described following the speech of King Benjamin (see Alma 5). Even though Alma, son of Alma, says all mankind must be born again of God (Mosiah 27:25; see also Alma 5:49), since all physical births are uniquely different, rebirths may also be individually unique. However, there are certain fundamental likenesses in both births. Thus we will follow the description of Alma, son of Alma, being born again. He first says that the born again one must be changed from their carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness (v. 25). This is the “mighty change in us or in our hearts” spoken of by King Benjamin (Mosiah 5:2). The change is a complete turnaround of our desires and our actions. Alma, son of Alma, had farther to turn than most people. Therefore, his rebirth was unusual.
The second point of Alma, son of Alma, is that the born again person is redeemed of God, becoming his son and daughter (Mosiah 27:25). King Benjamin said his subjects were “the children of Christ, his sons and daughters” having been “spiritually begotten of him” (Mosiah 5:7). Being “new creatures,” Alma, son of Alma, says, was required to “inherit the kingdom of God” (Mosiah 27:26). The closest parallel to King Benjamin’s description is the reborn person having “great views of that which is to come” (Mosiah 5:3). The Savior included both Alma, son of Alma, and King Benjamin’s description in defining the born again person.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. [John 3:3–5]
Alma, son of Alma, speaks of his repenting nigh unto death and being snatched out of an everlasting burning and eternal torment (Mosiah 27:28–29). King Benjamin spoke of being “willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his work, and to be obedient to his commandments,” that “we may not bring upon ourselves a never ending torment” (Mosiah 5:5). Alma probably suffered severely because of the seriousness of his past sins. However, there is a difference between everlasting, eternal punishment, and never-ending torment. In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord revealed the differences to the Prophet Joseph Smith:
6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.
8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.
9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment. [D&C 19:6–12]