The books in the Book of Mormon that came from the small plates of Nephi (1 Nephi–Omni) were not abridged by Mormon. He placed those plates, without any changes, with his abridgment of the large plates. Beginning with the book of Mosiah, we are reading Mormon’s abridgment of the large plates of Nephi.
The book of Mosiah is named for the king and prophet Mosiah who was the son of King Benjamin and the grandson of King Mosiah I, whom you read about in the book of Omni (see Omni 1:12).
In Mosiah you will read about great heroes, such as King Benjamin, King Mosiah II, Abinadi, and Alma the Elder. You will also find accounts of great villains, such as King Noah and Amulon. Most importantly, you will find the gospel of Jesus Christ explained in great sermons and illustrated in fascinating stories.
The book of Mosiah begins about 130 B.C. and ends about 91 B.C. It is not, however, one continuous story. In his abridgment, Mormon wove together the accounts of three related groups of Nephites:
The Nephites who followed Zeniff back to the land of Nephi (Mosiah 9–22)
Alma the Elder and his group of converts (Mosiah 23–24)
The following chart illustrates the portion of the Book of Mormon account covered by the book of Mosiah (see “Book of Mormon Chronology Chart,” p. 204, for more details).
Have you ever considered what your life would be like without the Bible and the Book of Mormon? What would you know about the purpose of this earth life and what you can expect after death? Just as the Book of Mormon is a sure witness to us that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, the plates of Nephi and the plates of brass were witnesses to the Nephites that the Lord really did lead their ancestors from the land of Jerusalem.
As you read Mosiah 1–5, keep in mind that the Lord’s teachings were not given to call a wicked people to repentance. These Nephites were obedient to the commandments and faithful to their covenants, which is why King Benjamin wanted to give them a new name (see Mosiah 1:11). Look for what that new name was and how you can receive the same blessing.
Do activities A and B as you study Mosiah 1.
Suppose you were Mosiah II, the son of King Benjamin. Study Mosiah 1:1–8, and then write a journal entry in your notebook that summarizes the counsel your father gave you in those verses. Be sure to include at least two important principles he taught you about the scriptures.
Review Mosiah 1:11–18 and write at least three quiz questions: one from verses 11–12, one from verses 13–15, and one from verses 16–18. Be sure to include the answers.
|© 1967 Bill L. Hill|
As King Benjamin approached the end of his life, he desired to speak to his people about the gospel and announce their new king. King Benjamin’s speech begins in Mosiah 2 and continues through chapters 3 and 4. This powerful sermon can help us understand the gospel. Remember that this sermon was not given to unfaithful members, but to people living in peace. King Benjamin’s people were faithful members who were ready to take the next step in their progression toward being spiritually reborn (see Mosiah 1:11; 5:7). As you study King Benjamin’s sermon, notice the reasons he gives for striving to become “a saint through the atonement of Christ” (Mosiah 3:19).
Mosiah 2:16–17—Why Does God Require Us to Serve One Another?
President Marion G. Romney, who was a member of the First Presidency, taught:
“Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.
“Knowing that service is what gives our Father in Heaven fulfillment, and knowing that we want to be where He is and as He is, why must we be commanded to serve one another? Oh, for the glorious day when these things all come naturally because of the purity of our hearts. In that day there will be no need for a commandment because we will have experienced for ourselves that we are truly happy only when we are engaged in unselfish service (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 135; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 93).
Mosiah 2:20–24—Why Did King Benjamin Say We Are “Unprofitable Servants”?
King Benjamin gave two reasons why we are unprofitable. First, everything we have and are is possible only because of God’s gift of life for all of His children (see Mosiah 2:23). We are in debt to Him for our very lives. Second, even when we are obedient, “he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him” (v. 24). The most important of those blessings is, of course, the gift of the Atonement. The price Jesus Christ paid to redeem us from sin and death is infinite, a price we never can repay. We should not, however, think that God compares all He has done for us with what we do for Him. He loves us and is delighted with our every effort to serve and obey.
Mosiah 2:27–28—What Does It Mean to “Rid My Garments of Your Blood”?
In ancient Israel, it was common for a community to build a tower on which a watchman was placed to warn the people of approaching danger. If the watchman failed to give warning when an enemy came, he would have been responsible for the lives lost in the attack, or in Old Testament language, their “blood” would be on the watchman’s hands and clothing. King Benjamin understood that his calling as prophet and king was like that of a watchman on a tower (see Ezekiel 33:1–9). If he failed to teach and testify faithfully and warn the people to repent, their “blood” (spiritually speaking) would be on his clothing (see also Jacob 1:18–19).
Do activities A–C as you study Mosiah 2.
Review Mosiah 2:9–16 and write a description of the kind of leader King Benjamin was, including all the qualities you find in those verses.
Why would you like to live in a place governed by such a king?
King Benjamin explained that when we serve other people we are really serving God.
Why do you think the Lord requires us to serve one another? (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 2:16–17 for additional help).
Describe a time when you offered selfless service and tell how you felt about it.
King Benjamin’s sermon is filled with important doctrines that should be given careful thought. Study Mosiah 2:18–41 and answer any three of the following questions:
Whose words does Mosiah 2:18 remind you of (see Luke 22:24–26)? What does that teach you about righteous leaders?
Read Mosiah 2:20–24. In what ways are we “unprofitable servants”? How do you think God feels about us even though we are “unprofitable”?
Read Mosiah 2:25 and Helaman 12:4–13. In what ways might we be considered less than the dust of the earth?
Review Mosiah 2:27–28. Why did King Benjamin want to speak to his people one last time? What must we do to make sure our garments are not stained with the blood of our fellowmen? (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 2:27–28 for additional help).
What does it mean to come out in “open rebellion against God”? (see vv. 36–37). Describe at least two situations in which a member of the Church your age might be in “open rebellion” and perhaps not realize it.
In verses 38–41, King Benjamin spoke of an “awful situation” and a “happy state.” What does each phrase mean? Who will be in each condition?
Mosiah 3 is a continuation of King Benjamin’s marvelous sermon to his people. Over 100 years before the birth of Christ, an angel appeared to King Benjamin and told him of the coming of the Savior in remarkable detail. Look for the explanation telling how the Savior is able to help us return to our Heavenly Father. After reading this chapter you will have a better understanding of what Christ did for all of us.
|© 1967 Bill L. Hill|
Mosiah 3:15—“Types, and Shadows”
Types and shadows are symbols that teach and testify of great truths. The law of Moses contained many symbols that taught and testified about the future life and ministry of the Savior. For example, the firstborn, unblemished male sheep that were offered as sacrifices were symbols (types) and reminders (shadows) of the future atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God (see Alma 25:15).
Mosiah 3:19—What Is the “Natural Man” That We Must Put Off?
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained:
“First of all, the natural man is an ‘enemy to God.’ (Mosiah 3:19.) This means that such individuals would (whether fully understanding the implications of their own resistance or not) oppose the ultimate purpose of God for mankind, which is, as we know, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.’ (Moses 1:39.) Given our eternal interests, the natural man therefore is not our friend either, even if, at times, we seem quite at home with him. . . .
“Instead of becoming a saint, being childlike and willing to submit to our eternal Father, the natural man is rebellious and insists on walking in his own way. He is childish instead of childlike.
“The natural man also stubbornly seeks for happiness in iniquity—an incredibly naive notion about the nature of happiness and the universe. . . .
“Thus it is that the natural man, in attempting to live ‘without God in the world’ and in catering slavishly to his natural instincts, is actually living ‘contrary to the nature of happiness.’ (Alma 41:11.)” (Notwithstanding My Weakness , 71–72).
Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Mosiah 3.
King Benjamin was taught by an angel about the coming of Jesus Christ.
As you read Mosiah 3:1–8, list five important facts about Christ.
Look at the footnotes for each fact you chose and write an explanation of what each one tells about Him.
If the Atonement of Jesus Christ did not pay for our sins, we could not be saved. In Mosiah 3:11–18, King Benjamin identified three groups of people for whom the blood of Christ “atoneth.” Search those verses and describe those three kinds of people. What did King Benjamin say we must do to receive the salvation that comes “through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (v. 18)?
To help you understand the importance of putting off the natural man and becoming a Saint, answer the following questions as you study Mosiah 3:19:
What is the “natural man,” and why is he an enemy to God? (see 1 Corinthians 2:12–14; Alma 41:11; “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 3:19).
How does the Holy Spirit “entice” us?
What role does the Atonement of Jesus Christ play in helping you become a Saint? (see Mosiah 5:2; 27:25–26).
Mosiah 3:19 encourages us to put off the “natural man” and become “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.” In Mosiah 4 you will read how King Benjamin’s people succeeded in doing that. The king then told them how to avoid losing that great blessing they had received. Look for the ways King Benjamin said being truly converted changes a person.
Mosiah 4 concludes King Benjamin’s address to his people that began in Mosiah 2. Be aware that Mormon included some of King Benjamin’s follow-up teachings in Mosiah 5.
Do activity A or B and activity C or D as you study Mosiah 4.
A remarkable change came upon the people as a result of applying King Benjamin’s teachings to their lives.
Read Mosiah 4:1–3 and answer the questions in the following chart in your notebook.
How is what happened to these people an example of what King Benjamin said they should do in Mosiah 3:19?
How is this similar to what Lehi saw in his dream? (see 1 Nephi 8:10–12).
King Benjamin wanted his people to understand how to be saved in the kingdom of God. As shown in Mosiah 4:1–3, they experienced what it was like to receive a remission of their sins as a result of their faith.
In verses 4–10, King Benjamin explained further what is required for salvation. Study these verses and, in your notebook, make one list of the truths he said we should understand (see vv. 5–7) and another list of the principles he said we must first “believe” and then “do” to receive salvation (see vv. 8–10).
Even after we have been forgiven and made clean, it is not always easy to stay clean. Study verses 11–12 and list what King Benjamin said we must do to “retain a remission of [our] sins.”
In verses 12–16, King Benjamin listed the blessings that will be ours “if” we do what is taught in verse 11. Note that “retaining a remission of our sins” is just one of the blessings of obedience. List the blessings he mentioned and then choose two of them and explain why they would be desirable to you.
The accompanying picture illustrates King Benjamin’s thoughts about those who refuse to give to the poor. Read Mosiah 4:17–25 and, in your notebook, finish the statements with what a person in each situation might say. What did King Benjamin say should be their attitudes instead?
|I won’t impart because . . .||I can’t impart because . . .|
In your notebook, make a sketch or drawing with a slogan or illustration that expresses the idea King Benjamin taught in Mosiah 4:30.
Explain why you think it is important to “watch” our thoughts, words, and deeds.
Mosiah 5 contains a record of King Benjamin’s counsel to his people after his sermon found in Mosiah 2–4. Remember that his sermon was given to inspire and motivate a good and obedient people to a higher level of righteousness and true conversion (see the introduction to Mosiah 1 in this study guide, p. 73). Look for the counsel of King Benjamin that helped the people change and for the greater blessing they received as a result of that change.
Mosiah 5:7—Why Are We Called Children of Christ?
Our Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits (see Hebrews 12:9). Our earthly fathers are the fathers of our physical, mortal bodies. In his great sermon, King Benjamin explained that because of His atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ is the father of our spiritual rebirth (see Mosiah 3:19; 5:7). The “mighty change” that came into the hearts of King Benjamin’s people is a powerful example of being “born again” (see Mosiah 4:2–3; 5:2; 27:24–26; John 3:5). President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that Christ “became a father to us because he gave us immortality or eternal life through his death and sacrifice upon the cross” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:178–79).
Mosiah 5:8–15—What Does It Mean to “Take upon You the Name of Christ”?
Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “Through baptism we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and promise to do the things that He would do, including obeying God’s commandments. In return, the Lord promises to send His spirit to guide, strengthen, and comfort us [see 2 Nephi 31:13; Mosiah 18:8–10]. Perhaps most importantly, He also promises to forgive us of our sins for which we truly repent [see 2 Nephi 31:17]. In a very literal way, those who go down into the waters of baptism have their sins washed away. They emerge from the baptismal font as sin-free and clean as the day they were born” (Our Search For Happiness , 90).
Taking upon us the name of Christ is not a one-time event. President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “Some wonder if they were baptized too soon. If only they could be baptized now and have a clean start. But that is not necessary! Through the ordinance of the sacrament, you renew the covenants made at baptism. When you meet all of the conditions of repentance, however difficult, you may be forgiven and your transgressions will trouble your mind no more” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 10; or Ensign, May 1997, 10).
Notice how different the gospel is from the ideas of the world. It seems to be a common concern of many people to find out “who they are.” King Benjamin emphasized that a more important question would be “whose you are.” To take upon ourselves the name of Christ means to belong to Him by covenant. When our time on earth is through, we will either be “called by the name of Christ” (Mosiah 5:9) and belong to Him (see v. 15), or we shall be “called by some other name” and belong not to Christ but to Satan (v. 10; see Alma 5:38–39).
Do activity A as you study Mosiah 5.
Mosiah 5 illustrates some important steps we all must take in coming to Christ.
Draw a diagram similar to the following in your notebook and fill in the boxes with the answers to the questions. (You will need to draw your boxes larger.)
Write a modern example of how becoming a son or daughter of Christ spiritually would affect a person’s day-to-day actions.
After making a record of all those who made a covenant with Christ, King Benjamin appointed his son Mosiah (Mosiah II) to rule the kingdom. What do you think the new king would do first? You may be surprised at what Mosiah did. Mosiah 7 gives a preview of what happened to the Nephites who went back to the land of Nephi that we read about in Omni 1:27–30. You will read this story in greater detail in Mosiah 9–22.
Mosiah 7:1–6—Where Was the Land of Lehi-Nephi in Relationship to the Land of Zarahemla?
Sometime after King Mosiah I (the father of King Benjamin) arrived in Zarahemla, a group of people wanted to go back to the land of Nephi. The first group that went failed because of contention (see Omni 1:27–28). A second group, led by Zeniff, succeeded in establishing a settlement in the land of Lehi-Nephi (see Omni 1:29–30; Mosiah 7:9, 21). About 50 years later, King Mosiah II sent a group under the leadership of Ammon to find out what happened to Zeniff’s people (see Mosiah 7:1–6). For more information, see “Possible Book of Mormon Sites (in Relation to Each Other)” (p. 203).
Do activity A or B as you study Mosiah 6–7.
King Benjamin asked that a record be made of those people who made the covenant to follow Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 6:1). Today in the Church we also keep records. Every member of the Church has a record that shows family relationships and important dates. Just as the people of King Benjamin, your name has been recorded as one who made a covenant with Christ. List several important events that have and will occur in your life. For those events that have already occurred, also list the dates.
Suppose you lived at the time of Limhi and you had family members who were ill and unable to hear Limhi’s speech to his people. Study Mosiah 7:17–33, and then write a letter to your family, detailing the important principles Limhi taught. Be sure to explain the following:
Why they should “be comforted” (v. 18)
Why the Lamanites let the people return to the land of Lehi-Nephi
The real reason for the present troubles
What the people must do to be delivered
In Mosiah 7, King Limhi briefly explained what had happened to his people since the time that his grandfather, Zeniff, led that colony of Nephites from the land of Zarahemla back to the land of Lehi-Nephi. In Mosiah 8, Ammon explained to Limhi how ancient records can be translated and what the difference is between a prophet and a seer. Why did Limhi need that information? How does this chapter help increase your appreciation for Church leaders today?
Mosiah 8:16—“A Seer Is a Revelator and a Prophet Also”
From Ammon’s description in Mosiah 8:13–18, we learn that while a prophet and a seer both declare the word of God, a seer has means of receiving revelation from God not available to every prophet (see v. 13). He not only can see the future, but also the past and hidden things with divine clarity (see v. 17). A seer “sees” by the power of God that which cannot be seen with the natural eye (see Moses 6:35–36). Each time we sustain the leaders of the Church at a general conference, we recognize the First Presidency of the Church and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators.
Do any two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Mosiah 8.
Limhi told Ammon of a search party that was sent north to find Zarahemla. They did not find Zarahemla and discovered instead the land of the Jaredites (also called the Land Northward or Desolation).
In your notebook, draw a map like the one in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 7:1–6 and add a line for the route this search party might have taken (see also the map on p. 203).
Suppose you were the leader of that group. Study Mosiah 8:7–11 and write a message describing what you found there.
Study Mosiah 8:13–18 and describe the gifts King Mosiah had as a seer that made him more than a prophet (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 8:16 for additional help).
Review some of the recent messages we have received from our modern prophets, seers, and revelators (from conference addresses, Church magazine and Church News articles, or other sources you have available) and describe some of the truths and dangers that they “see” that most people in the world do not see.
Review Mosiah 8:13–18 and read about the Urim and Thummim in the Bible Dictionary (pp. 786–87). Write a brief summary of what those “interpreters” are used for and who uses them.
Remember, as you read Mosiah 9–24, that there are two and sometimes three separate groups of Nephites that were living in different parts of the land (see the accompanying illustration and the Book of Mormon Chronology Chart on p. 204).
Remember that Mosiah I was warned by the Lord to take the righteous who would follow him and “flee out of the land of Nephi” (Omni 1:12). He and his people discovered another group of people living in a land they called Zarahemla. He eventually became king over the combined group of Nephites and people of Zarahemla. Mosiah I was followed by his son, Benjamin, and grandson, Mosiah II.
Sometime after Mosiah I arrived in Zarahemla, Zeniff led a group of Nephites back to the land of Nephi (see Omni 1:27–30; Mosiah 7:21). There he established a colony among the Lamanites and became their king. Mosiah 9–22 is taken from the record of Zeniff. The account covers over 50 years and includes accounts of Zeniff’s successors: his son Noah and grandson Limhi. You will also read about Abinadi and Alma the Elder, two great prophets whose missions began and ended very differently.
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Mosiah 10:11–18—The Danger of False Traditions
The Lamanites taught their children an “eternal hatred” for the Nephites because of the false traditions they learned from their fathers (see Mosiah 10:13–17). Mosiah 10:11–18 illustrates the truth of the following revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “That wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers” (D&C 93:39).
Elder Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught how we can avoid losing the light of the gospel because of false traditions:
“Carefully study the scriptures and counsel of the prophets to understand how the Lord wants you to live. Then evaluate each part of your life and make any adjustments needed. Seek help from another you respect who has been able to set aside some deeply held convictions or traditions that are not in harmony with the Lord’s plan. When in doubt, ask yourself, ‘Is this what the Savior would want me to do?’ . . .
“I testify that you will remove barriers to happiness and find greater peace as you make your first allegiance your membership in the Church of Jesus Christ, and His teachings the foundation of your life. Where family or national traditions or customs conflict with the teachings of God, set them aside. Where traditions and customs are in harmony with His teachings, they should be cherished and followed to preserve your culture and heritage. There is one heritage that you need never change. It is that heritage that comes from your being a daughter or son of Father in Heaven. For happiness, control your life by that heritage” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 112, 114; or Ensign, May 1998, 86–87).
Do activity A or B as you study Mosiah 9–10.
The story in Mosiah 9 answers a very modern question: What is the benefit of having a living prophet available to us if we do not listen to what he says?
Review Omni 1:12–13 and explain who led the Nephites from the land of Nephi to Zarahemla and why.
Review Mosiah 9:1–3 and describe who led these groups of Nephites back to the land of Nephi and why.
Study Mosiah 9:4–19 and summarize what happened to the Nephites who went back to the land of Nephi.
What does their experience with the Lamanites teach you about why the Lord told them to leave originally?
Describe the change that occurred in these people from Mosiah 9:3 to Mosiah 9:17–19 and how that change saved them.
Zeniff’s people learned that important lesson, but they could have avoided war and saved many lives if they had just followed their prophet, Mosiah I, and stayed in the land of Zarahemla. Think about the counsel you have heard the living prophet give the Church recently. List three principles he has taught us to do and describe the problems you feel you could avoid if you follow his counsel.
Mosiah 10:11–18 lists a number of false traditions (beliefs) of the Lamanites, which were taught to their children and stirred up their hatred toward the Nephites.
For each of the following events, describe the false belief or interpretation of the Lamanites and then explain what really happened:
Crossing the sea
Arriving in the promised land (or land of their first inheritance)
Nephi and all of the faithful fleeing from Laman and Lemuel into the wilderness
Review the statement from Elder Scott in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 10:11–18. Explain what you must do to identify those customs or traditions from your culture or nation that are not in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What difference does it make when people have righteous leaders? Think about what happened to righteous King Benjamin’s people in Mosiah 1–5. What do you think happened to Zeniff’s people when wicked King Noah governed them? As you read Mosiah 11–12, notice again how much the attitude and actions of the leaders influence the lives of their people. Watch also for the effect Abinadi’s courageous testimony had on this people.
Mosiah 11:2—King Noah’s “Many Wives and Concubines”
At this time, the Lord had forbidden the practice of having more than one wife and the taking of concubines (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Jacob 2:23–30, p. 62).
Mosiah 12:31–32—“Doth Salvation Come by the Law of Moses?”
Abinadi asked King Noah’s wicked priests if salvation came “by the law of Moses” (Mosiah 12:31). They answered that a person could be saved by living the law of Moses. That answer, however, was only partly true. Abinadi gave a more complete answer in Mosiah 13:27–35.
Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Mosiah 11–12.
Find the following words in Mosiah 11:1–15, and then write a sentence for each word, explaining how the kingdom changed when Noah took power:
List some of the differences between King Noah and King Benjamin, whom you read about in Mosiah 1–2. Which one would you rather have as your leader? Why?
The Lord called Abinadi to warn King Noah and his people to repent or certain punishments would follow.
Search Mosiah 11:20–25 and find the phrases “except they repent” and “except this people repent.” List the four punishments Abinadi said would come upon the people if they did not repent.
What did King Noah and his people do when they heard Abinadi’s message? (see Mosiah 11:26–29).
In Mosiah 12 we read that after two years the Lord again sent Abinadi to prophesy to the people. Search Mosiah 12:1–7 for the words will and shall and list what Abinadi said would happen to those people.
How do the words will and shall make Abinadi’s second prophecy different from his first warning in Mosiah 11:20–25?
Read Mosiah 12:8 and explain what the Lord then told Abinadi would happen to the people this time “except they repent.”
In Mosiah 12:9–37, you read about Abinadi’s arrest and the beginning of his trial before King Noah and his priests.
Review verses 9–16 and explain what you think the real reason was for the anger the people felt against Abinadi. How might this apply to our time when some members might have trouble accepting counsel the prophet has given?
What reason did Abinadi give in Mosiah 12:27 for the priests not understanding the scriptures? Read also 1 Corinthians 2:11–14 and explain what those two scriptures teach about making the most of your scripture study.
When the Lord gives us an assignment, He also gives us the power to complete it (see 1 Nephi 3:7). Abinadi’s assignment was to call King Noah and his people to repentance. In Mosiah 13–14 you will read about the miraculous way the Lord helped Abinadi fulfill that assignment. As you read his bold testimony, imagine Abinadi teaching these things to powerful political leaders today. How do you feel they might treat him?
In Mosiah 14 we read that Abinadi quoted Isaiah 53, which describes the price Christ would pay for our sins and how unappreciative people would be for this gift. Why do you think Abinadi chose that chapter to quote to those wicked priests?
Mosiah 13:10—“A Type and a Shadow of Things Which Are to Come”
Types and shadows are symbols and reminders that teach and testify of greater truths (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 3:15, p. 75). Abinadi warned King Noah and his priests that whatever they chose to do to him would be a “type” or symbol of what would happen to them and to others. You will read about the fulfillment of this prophecy later in Mosiah 19 and Alma 25.
Mosiah 13:27–28—“Salvation Doth Not Come by the Law Alone”
In Mosiah 13:27–28, Abinadi corrected a false idea expressed by King Noah’s priests (see Mosiah 12:31–32). He taught that obedience to the law of Moses alone could not bring them salvation. They all had need of the Savior to atone (pay the price) for their sins or “they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, applied that same lesson to our day:
“Now let us suppose a modern case. Suppose we have the scriptures, the gospel, the priesthood, the Church, the ordinances, the organization, even the keys of the kingdom—everything that now is, down to the last jot and tittle—and yet there is no atonement of Christ. What then? Can we be saved? Will all our good works save us? Will we be rewarded for all our righteousness?
“Most assuredly we will not. We are not saved by works alone, no matter how good; we are saved because God sent his Son to shed his blood in Gethsemane and on Calvary that all through him might ransomed be. We are saved by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:20).
“To paraphrase Abinadi: ‘Salvation doth not come by the Church alone; and were it not for the atonement, given by the grace of God as a free gift, all men must unavoidably perish, and this notwithstanding the Church and all that appertains to it’” (Doctrines of the Restoration: Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, ed. Mark L. McConkie , 76).
Do activities A and C and activity B or D as you study Mosiah 13–14.
Imagine that you were a servant in King Noah’s court and were there when Abinadi was brought in to be judged. From what you learned in Mosiah 12:17–14:12, write in your notebook a letter to a friend, describing what happened. Be sure to include a summary of what Abinadi said and the prophecies he made. Describe also how the king and his priests responded and any unusual things that happened. Conclude with your impressions of the prophet Abinadi. This could be the outline for a future sacrament meeting talk.
In Mosiah 12:34–13:24, Abinadi recited for King Noah and his priests the Ten Commandments.
Find and mark each of the Ten Commandments in your scriptures (compare Exodus 20:3–17 for additional help).
Choose any three of the commandments and, for each one, write a paragraph describing how your neighborhood or community would change if everyone believed and lived that commandment.
Abinadi asked the wicked priests if a person could be saved by living the law of Moses (see Mosiah 12:31–32). They answered that a person could be saved by living that law. Abinadi then explained why that answer was not completely true (see Mosiah 12:33–13:26). He agreed that keeping God’s commandments, including the Ten Commandments Moses received, was necessary but not sufficient. Then he taught a very important lesson. Study Mosiah 13:27–35 and answer the following questions:
What did Abinadi say would happen with the law of Moses in the future?
What was the purpose of the law of Moses? (see vv. 29–30).
What was the Lord trying to teach them through the ordinances and sacrifices of the law of Moses? (see vv. 31–35).
Why was the law by itself not enough to save anyone? (see also Romans 3:20, 23; 2 Nephi 2:5–7).
How does Abinadi’s explanation of the place of the law of Moses also apply to the laws and ordinances of the gospel in our day? (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 13:27–28).
To support his teaching about the need for a Savior, Abinadi quoted some of the prophet Isaiah’s teachings about Jesus Christ.
Read Mosiah 14, and then copy the following sentences into your notebook. After each one, write the number of the verse in which that truth is found.
He died with the wicked even though He had done nothing wrong.
He suffered for our sins and His punishment brought us peace.
Most people rejected Him, which brought Him much sorrow.
He did not try to defend Himself or save His own life.
Jesus Christ is a righteous servant who, because of His Atonement, will save many people.
Have you had the opportunity to talk with someone from another Christian church about what God is like? Most other Christian churches teach the doctrine of the Trinity, which is that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three different manifestations or appearances of the same Being. When he saw the Father and the Son in the Sacred Grove, the Prophet Joseph Smith learned that the Godhead consists of three separate Personages (see Joseph Smith—History 1:15–20; D&C 130:22–23).
In Mosiah 15, Abinadi taught that Jesus is “the Father and the Son” and that “they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth” (vv. 2, 4). This may seem confusing at first, but when properly understood it reveals an essential truth about the Godhead, particularly Jesus Christ, that we sometimes overlook. Be careful not to miss that truth as you study Abinadi’s testimony.
Mosiah 15–16 concludes the teachings of Abinadi before King Noah and his wicked priests. Watch for his explanation of who will be saved by the Atonement of Jesus Christ and who will not be redeemed. At the end of these chapters you will better be able to explain what we can expect when all mankind will be resurrected.
Mosiah 15:1–7—How Is Christ Both the Father and the Son?
In 1916 the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a detailed statement on the Father and the Son (see “The Father and the Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and the Twelve,” in James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 12th ed. , pp. 465–73). The following are some examples of how they taught Jesus Christ is represented as the Father:
Mosiah 15:21—What Is the First Resurrection?
The “first resurrection” Abinadi referred to began with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. At that time many of those who died before Him, who were deserving of a celestial glory, were resurrected. When the Savior comes again He will usher in what is called the morning of the first resurrection, when others who have died and are deserving of a celestial glory will be resurrected (see D&C 88:96–98). The first resurrection will continue until the end of the Millennium. (See McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 640).
Do two activities from A–D and one activity from E–F as you study Mosiah 15–16.
Study Abinadi’s words in Mosiah 15:1–7 and explain how Jesus is both “the Father and the Son” (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 15:1–7 for additional help).
The following are phrases from Mosiah 15:8–9. Those verses explain how Jesus Christ frees us from sin and death. Consider each phrase and think of a question that could be answered by the phrase.
What Is the Question?
“Breaketh the bands of death”
“Make intercession for the children of men”
“Filled with compassion”
“Taken upon himself their iniquity”
“Satisfied the demands of justice”
Abinadi gave examples of those to whom Jesus Christ is a Father.
Study Mosiah 15:11–13 and list two groups of people that will be called the “seed” (meaning the children) of Jesus Christ.
Read verses 14–17 and describe another group that could be called the “seed” of Christ because they do the same things as those in the second group you listed.
In Mosiah 15:19–26, Abinadi described three groups of people who will come forth in the first resurrection to inherit eternal life.
Read those verses, looking for the key words believed, ignorance, and children. Write a sentence describing each of the three groups.
One of the blessings of having living prophets is that they can clarify doctrine. It may seem that Abinadi indicated that everyone who died without ever hearing the gospel will automatically receive eternal life, but that is not the case. The scripture footnote for verse 24 (note the superscript a next to the word salvation) gives Doctrine and Covenants 137:7 as a cross-reference. (For help with footnotes and cross-references, see the “Study Helps in the Latter-day Saint Editions of the Scriptures,” pp. 2–3.) Read Doctrine and Covenants 137:7–9 and explain how those verses clarify which of all the people who “died without a knowledge of the gospel” will inherit the celestial kingdom.
Read Mosiah 15:26–27 and describe those who will not come forth in the first resurrection.
Suppose you received the following letter from a friend you met on a trip last summer. Use the truths Abinadi taught in Mosiah 16 and write in your notebook an answer to your friend’s questions.
I have been thinking of our talk last summer. I felt different when you told me what you believed. As I thought about what you said concerning Jesus Christ, I was confused about one thing. You said you believed Jesus was your Savior. I don’t understand why we need to be saved or what we need to be saved from. If God created us, we must not be so bad. Also, I was impressed by the peace your beliefs seem to give you. You seem happier than I am. Why is that? What will happen if I don’t believe like you do and don’t do the things your Church teaches? I hope you have time to answer me because I would really like to know what you believe.
In Mosiah 16:6–9, Abinadi testified how death will be overcome for all mankind through the power of Jesus Christ. Finish the following sentences, using what you learn from those verses:
If Christ had not come, then . . .
If Christ had not overcome death, then . . .
Because of His Resurrection, . . .
Because Christ is the life and light of the world, then . . .
The truths Abinadi taught make a difference in my life because . . .
|© 1966 Ronald K. Crosby|
In Mosiah 12–16, Abinadi rebuked King Noah and his wicked priests and called them to repentance. As you might expect, the wicked king rejected the message and ordered that Abinadi be killed. But one of King Noah’s priests believed Abinadi’s message and repented. He even tried to save Abinadi. This man has an important role throughout the rest of the book of Mosiah. What kind of courage do you think it would take to stand up to the king and fellow priests and defend a man they are angry with and want to kill?
Mosiah 18:13—How Did Alma Get the Authority to Baptize?
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “We may conclude that Alma held the priesthood before he, with others, became disturbed with King Noah. Whether this is so or not makes no difference because in the Book of Mosiah it is stated definitely that he had authority [see Mosiah 18:13, 18]” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:203).
Mosiah 18:14–15—Can a Person Baptize Himself?
When Alma baptized Helam at the waters of Mormon, he put Helam under the water and he went under the water with him. With the next baptism, Alma only immersed that person and did not go under the water himself. President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “When Alma baptized himself with Helam that was not a case of Alma baptizing himself, but merely as a token [sign] to the Lord of his humility and full repentance” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:203).
Do activity A or B and one of the other activities (C–E) as you study Mosiah 17–18.
After listening to Abinadi, it took Noah and his priests three days to find an accusation against Abinadi and declare him “worthy of death” (see Mosiah 17:6–8).
Read Mosiah 17:6–8 and Limhi’s previous explanation in Mosiah 7:26–28. What was their accusation against Abinadi?
Why do you think Noah and his priests were so angry because of that “crime”?
Mosiah 17:9–20 records the last testimony and prophecy of Abinadi. Study those verses, and then write an account of the event as if you had been there as a reporter for a newspaper. Be sure to explain what Abinadi added in this prophecy to what he had already prophesied about King Noah in Mosiah 12:3.
Before inviting the people to accept baptism, Alma explained to them some of the promises that are made with that covenant.
In your notebook, make a chart like the one shown here. As you study Mosiah 18:8–10, use the words in parentheses to help you identify the requirement Alma mentioned, the promises we make, and the promises the Lord makes. Fill out the chart with the information you find. You may want to mark and number those promises in your scriptures.
|An Initial Requirement||What I Promise||What the Lord Promises|
|1. (desirous)||1. (burdens)||1. (redeemed)|
|2. (mourn)||2. (first)|
|3. (comfort)||3. (eternal)|
|4. (stand)||4. (Spirit)|
Select three of the promises that we make at baptism and give a modern example of what they mean in the Church today.
Mosiah 18:11–16 describes what happened and how the people felt as Alma baptized at the waters of Mormon. In your notebook, write a paragraph describing how you felt at your baptism. How have you seen the Lord’s promises fulfilled in your life? What do you appreciate about your baptism more now than you did then?
After Alma baptized the people, he needed to organize the Church in the wilderness to care for them. Mosiah 18:18–26 tells about the priests, or Church leaders, that he called.
Study those verses, and then write a description of the requirements for those Church leaders. (For example: “A Church leader is . . . and is willing to . . .”) How are those requirements like those for the calling of a bishop or branch president today?
Read Mosiah 18:21–30 and write another description of what was expected of the new members.
Why do you think those people were so happy?
Have you ever seen someone who was being tormented stand up to the tormentor? In Mosiah 19, you will read how Gideon stood up to wicked King Noah. You will also read how King Noah was saved from Gideon but not from Abinadi’s prophecy. As you read this chapter, notice also how Abinadi’s prophecy about the people was fulfilled.
Do one of the following activities (A–C) as you study Mosiah 19.
After you have read Mosiah 19, pick one scene from this story and sketch a simple drawing of it in your notebook. Include all of the important details for the part of the story you choose to draw. Next to your drawing explain what you drew and list the verses that you illustrated.
Review Abinadi’s prophecies about King Noah and his people in Mosiah 12:2–3. Then study Mosiah 19 and find and list verses that show that those two prophecies were fulfilled. You may want to write the reference for the prophecy in the margin of your scriptures next to the verses that show the fulfillment.
In your notebook, explain how each prophecy was fulfilled.
The fate of King Noah is described in Mosiah 19:18–24. Suppose you were a news reporter traveling with Gideon’s men and interviewed one of the men who went with King Noah. Write how you think he might respond to the following questions:
Why did you go with the king instead of staying with your family?
Why isn’t the king with you now?
What happened to him?
What happened to the priests?
Why are you coming back?
If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?
Most of the priests of King Noah were wicked men. In Mosiah 20 you will read how they continued in their wickedness even after King Noah was killed and they fled for their lives into the wilderness. As you read this chapter, notice the power Limhi’s people had when fighting for a righteous cause.
Do activity A or B as you study Mosiah 20.
You have already read several events involving Gideon. For example, he stood up to King Noah and sent men to find out what happened to the king and those who left their families and fled with him (see Mosiah 19). Study Mosiah 20 and answer the following questions:
What position did Gideon hold in King Limhi’s government?
What did Gideon do to stop the Lamanites from attacking them again? (see Mosiah 20:14–24).
What did Gideon say was the cause of the affliction Limhi’s people were suffering?
What does this reveal about the kind of a man Gideon was?
From your reading of Mosiah 20, write five questions about important events or principles in that chapter. Be sure to include the answer and the verses where the answer is found after each question.
If you were in bondage to an enemy who used you as a beast of burden and made you carry heavy loads, what would you do to regain your freedom? Where would you turn for help? As you read Mosiah 21–22, look for what Limhi’s people did in that situation. Notice also how the prophecies of Abinadi continued to be fulfilled.
Mosiah 21:22–24—Two Stories Come Together Again
It is helpful to remember that Mosiah 1–8 is Mormon’s abridgment of the record of Mosiah and contains the story of the Nephites in Zarahemla until the reign of Mosiah II (see “Book of Mormon Chronology Chart,” p. 204). Mosiah 9–22 is taken from the record of Zeniff and tells the story of the Nephites who left Zarahemla at the time of Mosiah I and followed Zeniff back to the land of Lehi-Nephi.
In Mosiah 7–9 we read that Mosiah II sent an expedition, led by Ammon, to find out what happened to Zeniff’s colony, which had left Zarahemla over 50 years earlier. Ammon found Zeniff’s grandson, King Limhi, and his people in bondage to the Lamanites. In Mosiah 21, we read about the coming of Ammon and his men from Limhi’s point of view.
Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Mosiah 21–22.
Even though Abinadi had been killed long before, his prophecies continued to be fulfilled.
Compare Mosiah 12:1–8 to 21:1–3. Describe what happened to Limhi’s people that Abinadi had prophesied.
Compare Mosiah 11:23–25 to 21:13–15. Describe what else happened to Limhi’s people that was prophesied by Abinadi.
Just as the prophet Abinadi had prophesied, Limhi’s people were placed in bondage to the Lamanites. In your notebook, draw a table like the one pictured here:
Study the verses listed in the first column and, in that same column, describe briefly each attempt Limhi’s people made to escape from Lamanite bondage. Then, in the second column, describe the results of each attempt.
Review what Abinadi prophesied in Mosiah 11:23 and use that verse to explain the real reason that the first four escape attempts did not work.
Why do you think Ammon and his men from Zarahemla came only after Limhi’s people “did humble themselves” and “did cry mightily to God” (Mosiah 21:14)?
Who do you think inspired Gideon to think of the successful escape plan?
Think about the “bondage” that comes when a person gives in to the temptations of Satan. What do you see in the experience of Limhi’s people that could apply to our own efforts to escape the bondage of sin?
Study Mosiah 21:23–27 and Mosiah 8:7–9 and draw a map showing the possible route Limhi’s 43-man expedition took. Show the land they were looking for and the land they found instead. Use the illustration of Book of Mormon lands in this study guide (p. 203) for help.
With Limhi’s people safely back in Zarahemla, Mosiah 23–24 shifts from Limhi’s people to what happened to Alma and the believers who followed him. We read about their escape from the armies of King Noah in Mosiah 18. As you read these chapters, you will also find out what happened to Alma’s former companions—the wicked priests of King Noah. They continued to pursue their wicked ways. As you read, notice how the prophecies of Abinadi continued to be fulfilled.
Mosiah 23:21–24—Bondage for Alma’s People
Abinadi’s prophecy against King Noah and his people had two parts. When Abinadi warned them the first time, he told them they would suffer affliction and bondage if they did not repent (see Mosiah 11). When he warned them the second time, two years later, they still had not repented. In his second warning he told them that bondage and affliction would surely come upon them and, if they still did not repent, they would be destroyed (see Mosiah 12). Even though Alma and his people repented after Abinadi’s second warning, they did not repent soon enough to escape the prophesied bondage and affliction.
Do two of the following activities (A–D) as you study Mosiah 23–24.
The accompanying diagram is from a section of the “Book of Mormon Chronology Chart” (see p. 204). Draw or trace one like it in your notebook and, from your reading of Mosiah 1–24, write the following names and places in their proper places on the chart: Zeniff, Mosiah I, King Noah, Abinadi, King Benjamin, King Mosiah II, King Limhi, Alma the Elder, the land of Zarahemla, the land of Lehi-Nephi.
In Mosiah 23:16–24:4, several events occurred that may seem unusual. Study each of the questions below and explain why you think each event happened as it did:
Why do you believe the Lord allowed Alma and his people to be placed in bondage to the Lamanites when they had repented and were righteous? (Be sure to include what you learned from Mosiah 11:23; 12:1–2 in your answer; see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 23:21–24 for additional help.)
Why do you think the army of Lamanites (who had been chasing Limhi’s people) had mercy on Alma and his people?
Why do you think the daughters of the Lamanites pled with the Lamanites to have mercy on those wicked priests who had kidnapped them?
Why do you think Amulon and the other wicked priests were given positions of authority among the Lamanites?
Both Amulon and Alma had been priests in the court of King Noah, but they had taken very different paths since then.
Search Mosiah 23:6–20 and 24:8–12 and write a paragraph comparing the kind of person Alma had become with the kind of person that Amulon was.
What do these differences teach you about the effect a testimony of the gospel has on people? Why do you think the wicked get so angry with those who try to be good?
There are some interesting differences between the way Alma and his people were delivered from the Lamanites and the way Limhi and his people were delivered. From your study of Mosiah 21–24, answer the following questions:
What differences did you find concerning when each group decided to turn to the Lord in prayer for deliverance? (compare Mosiah 21:11–15 and 23:25–29; 24:9–12).
What differences did you find in the way the Lord helped each group with their burdens? (compare Mosiah 21:15–17 and 24:13–15).
What differences did you find in the Lord’s involvement in what happened to the Lamanite guards that allowed each group to get away? (compare Mosiah 22:3–11 and 24:16–19).
What differences did you find in the Lord’s involvement in what happened to the armies that were sent to recapture each group? (compare Mosiah 22:13–16 and 24:20–25).
In what ways are today’s trials and challenges similar to those Alma’s people faced?
What are some examples of ways hearts are hardened today?
The different groups of Nephites were finally safely back together in the land of Zarahemla. Suppose you had been a Nephite who stayed in Zarahemla the whole time. What might your thoughts have been after hearing the stories of Limhi’s people and Alma’s people? Notice what King Mosiah II and Alma did for the welfare of the people in Zarahemla.
Mosiah 25:1–4, 13—Who Was a Nephite?
The two main groups of people in the Book of Mormon were the Nephites and the Lamanites. Neither group, however, was made up of just one people. The Lamanites included not only the descendants of Laman, Lemuel, and those from Lehi’s group who stayed with them, but also wicked Nephites who later joined them. The Nephites included descendants of Nephi and those from Lehi’s group who followed him, as well as the people of Zarahemla (see Mosiah 25:13).
It may be easier to remember that, generally, the Nephites were those who followed the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Lamanites did not. There were more than twice as many of those called Lamanites as there were of the Nephites and the people of Zarahemla combined (see Mosiah 25:2–3).
Do activity A or B as you study Mosiah 25.
As the people listened to stories of what happened during and after the time of King Noah, they were “struck with wonder and amazement” (Mosiah 25:7). Read the following verses and describe what they heard and how they felt. Number 1 is given as an example.
Mosiah 25:8—They heard how Limhi’s people were delivered from Lamanite bondage. It filled them with great joy.
In Mosiah 25:1 we read that Mosiah called all of the people together. This gathering might be compared to the general conferences we hold regularly in the Church today. In your notebook, write an agenda or reporting form like the one shown here and fill it in from your study of the verses listed.
|Zarahemla Meeting Agenda|
Date: (see suggested dates for Mosiah 24:25)
Presiding: (see Mosiah 25:1)
Speaker #1: (see Mosiah 25:5)
Speaker #2: (see Mosiah 25:14)
After the Conference:
(Read Mosiah 25:18–23 and describe what took place in Zarahemla after this important conference.)
How can their experiences apply to our day?
According to Mosiah 25:24, what did the Lord do for these people?
Why do you think that it is important to know what the Lord did for them?
With all of the Nephites safely back in Zarahemla and free from the Lamanites, you might expect that life would be peaceful and problem-free. But that does not seem to be the way life is very often. Many of the adults among the Nephites had experienced firsthand the severe trials that come from wickedness and the joy that comes from gaining the Lord’s forgiveness and deliverance. Their children, however, had not had those same experiences and many rejected the teachings and testimonies of their parents. Are there young people today who struggle in that same way and rebel against their parents? As you read Mosiah 26, look for what the Lord identified as the cause of such rebellion and for where it leads.
Mosiah 26:5–12—The Laws of God and the Laws of Man
It is important to understand that there may be a difference between what is a sin and what is a crime. A crime is a violation of the laws of the land, while a sin is a violation of the laws of God. Often an act can be both, but some acts that are sins may not be against the laws of man. Alma sought the help of the king because of the wrongdoings of his people. King Mosiah realized that although many of the beliefs of these people were false and that some members of the Church had been deceived by the “flattering words” (Mosiah 26:6), they were not contrary to Nephite law. Alma then turned to the Lord to help him deal with the wrongdoings in the Church. See Doctrine and Covenants 134 for a modern revelation on this same subject.
Do any two of the following activities (A–D) as you study Mosiah 26.
It seems that in every generation there are young people of the “rising generation” (Mosiah 26:1) who reject the lessons their parents have learned and taught. Mosiah 26 describes such a situation in Zarahemla.
Study Mosiah 26:1–5, and then draw a diagram in your notebook similar to the one shown here. Replace the question mark (?) in the boxes with what led to, or caused, the problem listed in the scripture verses.
|[click for scalable version]|
Think of people you may know who will not try to understand the gospel, or those who refuse to join or be active in the Church. Write a paragraph explaining the similarities you see between the causes of their problems and the causes of those problems in Zarahemla.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 136:32–33 and explain what we can do to overcome these problems and their causes.
In Mosiah 26, Mormon described a difficult problem Alma faced as head of the Church. Official Declaration 2, at the end of the Doctrine and Covenants, describes a difficult problem President Spencer W. Kimball faced as President of the Church in our day.
Study Mosiah 26:1–12 and describe the problem Alma faced.
Read Official Declaration 2 and describe the problem President Kimball faced.
Read Mosiah 26:13–14 and list words or phrases that describe how Alma felt and what he had to do before the “word of the Lord came to him.”
Search Official Declaration 2 and list the words and phrases that describe what President Kimball and the First Presidency did before that revelation was given.
What do these lists teach you about the preparations for receiving revelation?
The word blessed is mentioned in each verse of Mosiah 26:15–19.
Search those verses and list who the Lord said is “blessed” in each verse and why they are blessed.
What covenant or promise did the Lord give Alma in Mosiah 26:20?
Read the information in the Bible Dictionary, “election” (pp. 662–63) and explain why you think Alma was given such a promise.
Alma sought the Lord and received a revelation on what to do about Church members who commit serious sin. As you read Mosiah 26:21–39, look for the answers to the following questions:
What does the Lord do for those who believe and are baptized? (see vv. 21–24).
What is the fate of those who refuse to repent and accept the gospel? (see vv. 25–28).
What is the Church to do when a member commits serious sin and thereafter repents? (see vv. 29–31).
What is the Church to do if the member is unwilling to repent? (see v. 32).
What does it mean to “not be numbered” among the people of the Lord? (see v. 36).
What effect did Alma’s actions have on the Church? (see vv. 37–39).
How do you think you would feel if you had put great effort into accomplishing something only to have someone come along and try to destroy what you were doing? Would it make any difference if the person who was trying to destroy your work was someone you loved? That is the situation that both the prophet Alma and King Mosiah faced. In Mosiah 27, you will read that those intent on destroying the work of these great men were their own sons! As you read, notice the faith of a noble father and the willingness of our Father in Heaven to reward great faith. The events of this chapter had a dramatic effect on those young men, as well as on the Nephites and Lamanites.
Mosiah 27:11–26—The Remarkable Conversion of Alma the Younger
The account of the conversion of Alma the Younger is a wonderful example of what the Atonement of Jesus Christ does for those who repent. To be “redeemed of the Lord” (Mosiah 27:24) implies being rescued, ransomed, or bought back from a situation of great debt (see vv. 27–29). To be “born of the Spirit,” “born again,” or “born of God” means to be changed from our earthly, fallen state “to a state of righteousness” becoming “new creatures” (vv. 25–26). We are no longer slaves to sin but desire instead to do good always (see Mosiah 5:2).
While the story of the conversion of Alma the Younger is impressive, President Ezra Taft Benson gave the following caution:
“We must be careful, as we seek to become more and more godlike, that we do not become discouraged and lose hope. Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible. The scriptures record remarkable accounts of men whose lives changed dramatically, in an instant, as it were: Alma the Younger, Paul on the road to Damascus, Enos praying far into the night, King Lamoni. Such astonishing examples of the power to change even those steeped in sin give confidence that the Atonement can reach even those deepest in despair.
“But we must be cautious as we discuss these remarkable examples. Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule. For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life. They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment. . . .
“We must not lose hope. Hope is an anchor to the souls of men. Satan would have us cast away that anchor. In this way he can bring discouragement and surrender. But we must not lose hope. The Lord is pleased with every effort, even the tiny, daily ones in which we strive to be more like Him. Though we may see that we have far to go on the road to perfection, we must not give up hope” (“A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 5).
Mosiah 27:29—How Long Does “Eternal Torment” Last?
While Alma the Younger was unconscious, he was “wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death” (Mosiah 27:28). His suffering was so intense that he described it as being “racked with eternal torment” (v. 29). The phrase “eternal torment” may be confusing, since we know from this chapter that he was unconscious just a little more than two days.
We must understand that the word eternal has a different meaning to the Lord than it does to the world. In a modern revelation, the Lord said:
“I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
“Eternal punishment is God’s punishment” (D&C 19:10–11).
Terms like “eternal torment” are more a description of the kind of torment (God’s torment) rather than the length of the suffering (see D&C 19:6–12). Remember also that this describes punishment for unrepented sins.
Do any two of the following activities (A–D) as you study Mosiah 27.
After reading Mosiah 27:1–7, read the following statements and indicate whether they are true or false. If you think a statement is false, rewrite it to make it true.
The Nephites in Zarahemla were all united as members of the Church.
The king passed a law that everyone had to respect the Church.
The poor members of the Church complained about being treated badly by the rich members.
The leaders of the Church were all volunteers who served without pay.
Because there were so many poor members, the Church struggled in poverty.
The visit of the angel had a powerful effect on Alma the Younger.
Study Mosiah 28:13–16 and, in your own words, rewrite what the angel said. Remember that the angel was being direct and spoke in a way that left Alma without an excuse.
What do you find in the verses that helps explain why the Lord sent the angel to Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah?
Think of a person in your ward, branch, stake, or district, or perhaps a relative, whose faith in God and obedience to the gospel you admire.
Interview that person and ask the following questions:
How did you gain a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Did your testimony come all at once or over a longer period of time?
How long did it take you to get to your present level of obedience and faithfulness?
Describe how his or her experience was similar to or different from the experience of Alma the Younger in Mosiah 27:23–32.
Read also the statement by President Ezra Taft Benson in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 27:11–26 and explain what you have learned about the process of becoming Christlike.
Review Mosiah 27:8–10, 32–37 and describe how Alma the Younger and the four sons of Mosiah changed as a result of their conversion experience.
How are these men an example of what Mosiah 27:25–26 teaches? What does this teach us about someone who is truly converted?
If you were very ill with a terrible disease that was killing thousands all around you and then were given the formula for a powerful medicine that completely cured you, what would you do with that formula? Would you keep it to yourself? Would you sell it? Would you give it away? In a way, that is similar to the situation of the four sons of Mosiah. As you read Mosiah 28, discover what the “disease” was and what they did with the cure they were given.
Mosiah 28:11–19—Where Do We Find the Information Mosiah Translated from These Plates of Gold?
The gold plates found by Limhi’s people tell the story of the Jaredites. Moroni later wrote an abridgment of that record, which is in the book of Ether (see Ether 1:1). See also “The Main Sources for the Book of Mormon” (p. 12).
Do activity A or B as you study Mosiah 28.
In Mosiah 28:1–5, Mormon explained how the four sons of Mosiah felt about serving a mission to the Lamanites.
Study those verses and note all of the reasons you can find that explain why they wanted to serve a mission.
Write a letter to king Mosiah as if you were Ammon or Aaron and explain where you want to go and why. Be sure to include the reasons you found in verses 1–5.
Which of those reasons do you feel might have been most important to those men? Why?
|More than anything else, the sons of Mosiah desired to serve a mission.|
When the sons of Mosiah asked to go on a mission to the Lamanites, King Mosiah was obliged to make some important decisions. Search Mosiah 28:5–20 for answers to the following questions:
What convinced Mosiah to let his sons go on a mission to their enemies the Lamanites? (see vv. 5–9).
What three promises did the Lord give Mosiah concerning his sons? (see v. 7).
What did the sons of Mosiah give up to go on their mission? (see v. 10).
What three sets of plates are mentioned in verse 11?
Which set of plates did Mosiah translate, and how was he able to translate them? (see vv. 11–13).
Where can you find the information Mosiah translated from the gold plates?
Who did Mosiah give the records to? What does that teach us about the Lord’s willingness to forgive?
None of King Mosiah’s sons were willing to serve as the next king. They chose to go on a mission to the Lamanites instead (see Mosiah 28:5–10). In Mosiah 29, you will read about the challenges their decision brought upon the Nephites and what King Mosiah decided to do. As you read this chapter, notice what Mosiah said was good and bad about a government ruled by a king. What other kind of government did he suggest, and what advantages and dangers did he see with it?
Do activities A and B as you study Mosiah 29.
The following are statements that favor having a king. Use the ideas from Mosiah 29:18–25 to correct any statement you think is false.
A king is only one man; his problems do not affect the people.
A king serves the will of the people.
Kings are bound by the law of the country.
The best governments are those with kings.
Mosiah 29:25–31 suggests several important principles. Following are key words and references from Mosiah 29. After reading the scripture, write a general principle that it suggests.
Common (v. 26)
Destruction (v. 27)
Unrighteous judgments (vv. 28–29)
Answered upon their own heads (v. 30)
Answered upon the heads of the kings (v. 31)