I am a global learner, which means I look for the bigger meaning, and when I study the scriptures I look for connections between chapters to see themes and patterns. This produces insight for my life and often answers questions that linger in my head. I find such connections between Alma 28-42.
At the end of chapter 28 I hear the editor Mormon make a strong statement.
"And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression."
I hear much about inequality due to education, monetary status, and race but our society ignores the idea that sin and transgression might lead to the inability to lay hold on blessings much greater than education, wealth or status.
Chapters 30 and 31 tell of an anti-christ who seeks to destroy faith in Jesus Christ and of the Zoromites who set themselves apart with pride and also deny a possibility of a savior. These teachings cause a group of poor souls to wonder how they can possibly even worship since they are outcasts in their community.
Enter the planting a seed story. The seed is not just a hope in being acceptable, it is a seed that leads to faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the great equalizer. His power brings strength to the faithful and repentance to wayward one. When Alma grieves over his people's iniquities he is inspired to start with his own seed, his sons. I feel that his sons benefit from their father's counsel and become strong enough to go forward in faith. They grow and become able to serve. The answer is always the atonement and I marvel at how many ways and how many times this doctrine changes the course of families and even nations.