Redaction: With no way to confirm what Mormon’s source text said, it is not clear whether Mormon is quoting Alma’s reasoning (as recorded on the large plates) or deducing that reasoning. It seems likely, however, that Alma left an explanation for his action, which Mormon is here passing on.
Text: This passage ends the chapter in the 1830 edition. It also ends a literary unit in which Mormon acted more as an editor than a copyist. This division between Chapters 4 and 5, therefore, separates abridgment from quotation. Mormon has explained the conditions leading to Alma’s quest to save the church. In the next, much longer section, Mormon primarily copies from his source material.