Notwithstanding the harassment that was heaped upon Church members, a law of the Church, which was strictly enforced, prohibited any member from retaliation, or, speaking of persecution, from rendering like for like. This law also went further than that; it restrained brethren from pursuing brethren in a manner that would inflict injury, or to cause them to suffer for any belief which they held. Freedom of belief was a prized possession of every Nephite, and was often claimed by them.
Although many of the believers in Christ received grave persecution at the hands of the dissenters, they bore it without returning evil, but others, more inclined to personal combat, gave insult and blow for blow.
That "the hearts of many were hardened" was a great sorrow to Alma, who was President of the Church, and their refusal to be guided by his counsel added to his trials. In rejecting him as their leader, they served on him a direct notice of their withdrawal from communion within the Church. Nevertheless, those who remained true to God's holy laws showed their patience and firmness under affliction by faithfully performing whatsoever the Lord required of them.