Many Latter-day Saints will soon be discussing Alma 36 in the Book of Mormon in Gospel Doctrine classes (or some might have already done so). I’m disappointed that most LDS folks don’t seem to have any idea that Alma 36 may well be the best known example of an ancient Semitic form of poetry known as chiasmus. In fact, many Latter-day Saints still haven’t even heard of chiasmus. OK, neither had Joseph Smith, but he had a good excuse: it was virtually unknown in his day, and certainly not understood enough for even a scholar to have fabricated the powerful and intricate chiasmus we see in Alma 36. But today, there is just no excuse for not appreciating this poetical form that permeates the Book of Mormon, at least among the early writers who were most heavily influenced by ancient Jewish literary forms.
If your instructors don’t mention it, I encourage you to raise your hand and give a quick explanation of what’s going on. It’s easy to help people see some basics by comparing the first couple of verses to the last couple, and then identify the symmetry around the pivot point when Alma turns his heart to Christ. Alma 36 is such a powerful witness of Christ!