Mosiah 4-Alma 7…Have you?

Before we begin, these chapters are dense in doctrine and covers about 40 years. So, unless you want to read for hours and I, to type for days, I won’t be able to get it all in here. It’ll still be epic long, but I won’t be able to cover every point, just some that stood out to me the most. And abridgement of an abridgement.

We continue in the middle of King Benjamin’s address to his people. This would be like how General Conference is for us now (which is next weekend! YAY!)

After he had spoken what was given him by and Angel to speak, he looked at the people and they had awakened to see themselves as they really were and pleaded to be purified by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And they were! Because of  their “exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ” (Mosiah 4:3).  Musing: How often do we take a good, long look at ourselves and see us how we really are, then having enough faith to repent and change? Can we also be like the people of King Benjamin? What is holding us back from this change? Pride. Always pride. 

King Benjamin give us the perfect recipe of how to live so that we can retain a remission of our sins and live peaceably in Mosiah 4:6-30… go read it!

King Benjamin finishes talking to the people, then consecrates Mosiah, his son, to be the next king. He also appoints teachers and priests to teach the people.

King Mosiah is a righteous king, prophet, seer and revelator, like his father. He reigns in peace for 3 years and during that time, some of the people ask repeatedly for permission to send some to go find out what happened to the people who went back to the land of Lehi-Nephi about 80 years before. So he allows 16 of their men to go, Ammon being their leader.

For 40 days they wander in the wilderness, trying to find the land. Finally they do. Ammon and 2 others go  to meet the people, which in the outskirts of the city, happen upon their king Limhi who is a descendant of Zeniff, the leader of those who went to reclaim the land 80 years previous. King Limhi is a bit paranoid and has them arrested. Later, he bring Ammon before him to question him, thinking he was a Lamanite. Ammon sets King Limhi right telling who he is and where he came from. Limhi is overjoyed, releases the other 2 from prison, has the rest of Ammon’s group brought in to be fed and rested and then sets a proclamation around the land for them all to gather at the temple the next day.

Turns out that the people of Limhi are in bondage to the Lamanites. King Limhi thinks that God has sent Ammon to release them and set them free. But first, an account of what has happened for the last 80 years are given.

Zeniff was “over-zealous to inherit the land of his fathers” (Mosiah 7:21). When his people first comes back to the land the Lamaites had taken it over. So Zeniff talks to the Lamanite King and sign a treaty with him. The Lamanite king sees this as an opportunity to eventually enslave these Nephites. The King graciously kicks out his Lamanites who were in the land and gives it to Zeniff. 12 years later, these Nephites had grown in number, rebuilt buildings and was prospering. King Laman grew uneasy and so started some wars. The people were still keeping the commandments and still relied on the Lord and so were able to win the wars and keep the Lamanites away, though with much loss of men. Musings: we learn here that if you depend on your own strengths and go against those who follow the commandments and put their trust in the Lord, you’ll lose. This is a recurring theme in the Book of Mormon. War by war, we see how well the Nephites do when they choose to be obedient and trusting in God. 

Zeniff grows old through all this, confers his kingdom on one of his sons and dies. Unfortunately, his son, Noah, is wicked, lazy, immoral and taxes the people so he doesn’t have to work. Being that this is the Lord’s people, he only can stand it for so long and then will send something or someone to warn them. This time it is a prophet named Abinadi.

Abinadi comes into the city, warning them that “except this people repent, and turn unto the Lord their God, they shall be brought into bondage…” and the Lord “will be slow to hear their cries; yea and [he] will suffer them that they be smitten by their enemies” (Mosiah 11:24-25) Remember that warning. It happens. The people don’t really like that, especially the king and seeks to have Abinadi killed, but the Lord isn’t finished with Abinadi yet, so the Lord helps him escape.

2 years go by, the people are worse than before and the Lord commands Abinadi to go back and preach again. Musings: Right here this shows Abinadi’s full commitment to the Lord. He knows that if he goes back there they will have him killed, since that’s what they tried to do before and yet, he still goes. He loves the Lord that much. He goes back and lets them have it! He’s brought before Kink Noah and his High Priests.  They lamely try to trip him up with questions, confounding them with their own words. Then they actually ask him to explain 4 verses from Isaiah. Visualizing this, I can imagine Abinadi in a few different demeanors (sad, abashed and irritated. ), as he now explains the 10 commandments in the law of Moses, the meaning of those 4 verse to them and quotes the next chapter in Isaiah that they asked him about. He gives clear doctrine about the first Resurrection then prophesies and testifies about Jesus Christ.

During Abinadi’s teachings, there was one of the High Priests who listened and believed. His name was Alma. He vainly tried to save Abinadi, but was then was ordered to be killed too. He is able to escape, hiding in the wilderness outside of the city, Repents and then quietly goes among the people, teaching them what Abinadi said. Abinadi is put to death by fire, but tell king Noah that however he dies, king Noah will meet the same fate.

Alma is able to baptize hundreds of people until he’s discovered, warned by the lord and escapes with all the people who chose to follow Christ to another land.

Meanwhile, there’s an uprising against King Noah. But the Lamanites come just at this time and fight against them. The cowardly king flees, telling the people to also run away and leave their families behind. They don’t, king Noah’s son takes over and they are put into bondage by the Lamanites and pay half of all they make. Thus we come full circle back to Ammon. The people of Limhi are now able to receive the help of the Lord and through getting the Lamaite guards passed out drunk, they’re able to slip out of the city with all their property and livestock to make it back to the main body of Nephites in Zarahemla.

When the guards wake up and see that the city is empty, the king of the Lamanites sends a small army to try to tack down Limhi. They get lost and end up finding….Alma. Remember that warning that Abinadi said to king Noah’s people about bondage. It’s now Alma’s peoples turn for bondage. The Lamanites put them in bondage also and sets a former High Priest of king Noah to rule over the people of Alma. After much suffering through faith, patience and long-suffering in the Lord, the Lord instructs Alma to gather all their property and livestock and leave the city, causing a deep sleep to come over the Lamanite guards and slip out of the city. After 12 days they are also untied with the people of Zarahemla. Finally, the people of the Lord are in one body. Mosiah is king and Alma is the High Priest of the church.

For a short while, they had peace and all were of the Church of God. However, there were many that did not believe and would persecute those who did. One of them was the son of Alma, called Alma. The High Priests son was secretly going around the people with the Kings sons “seeking to destroy the church” (Mosiah 27:10) That only lasts so long and then an Angel of the Lord comes and talks to him and the sons of Mosiah. This causes him a serious change of heart. Musing: hmm….most unlike Laman and Lemuel. They saw and spoke with an angel too, but they didn’t have a change of heart. Not a big enough one anyway. hmmm….

Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah are repentant, humble and now trying to undo all the destruction they did to the people and the church. The sons of Mosiah decide they want to leave to go to the Lamanites to preach to them, they get permission and they go. Alma stays behind to preach to the Nephites. Mosiah gets old, and sets up Judges to rule the people instead of Kings. Alma the younger is the first king. Alma the elder and them Mosiah die.

Alma’s career as a judge and prophet spans 9 years. He then gives up being a judge to be a prophet only. In his first year of Judging, a man named Nehor introduces priestcrafts to the people. He’s put to death, but his teachings are spread to the point where another man, Amlici, decides to carry it on to the point of civil war over being made king. He’s defeated and the kingdom has peace for just 2 short years. The people prosper and iniquity seeps back in.

This is were I’ll wrap it up. We’re at the end of this journey now. Alma leaves the judgement seat to another and goes out to preach, prophesy and call the people to repentance. He asks if the people have been spiritually born of God. And so I’ll leave that with you. Have you also been spiritually born of God? Have you received His image in your countenances? Have you experienced a mighty change of heart?

Have you?

 

Jacob-Mosiah 3…Trifle Not

Picking up where we left off, Nephi has grown old and has given his brother, Jacob the small plates with the charge to write only the most precious truths on them for the benefit of their posterity and us reading them, helping to persuade all of us to come until Christ. Together with his brother Joseph, they spend the remainder of their days teaching the people of Nephi. “And it came to pass that Nephi died.” (Jacob 1:12)

Jacob wastes no time and gets to work, though not happy that he does because of the things that they are doing. “…O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls!” (Jacob 2:16) The people have become very rich from all the wealth the earth has to offer and has corrupted themselves in various ways, breaking the hearts of the tender among them. One is the riches themselves that they have set their hearts on and are neglecting the poor. Jacob lets them know that riches aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but you must fist seek for the Kingdom of God, then if you want riches seek them, but “for the intent to do good-to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and afflicted” (Jacob 2:19)

Another is purposefully misinterpreting the Brass plates (the Bible) and the stories of David and Solomon to mean that because they had wives and concubines, the Nephites can too. Not really. Jacob gives them a sound prophetic lashing against what they’re doing. One wife. One spouse. Anything more is adultery. Period. In fact, because of this, the Lamanites were more righteous than them. Clearly the Lord sees chastity as one of the most important commandments. Because the Lamanites chose to observe this one commandment, they were spared forever.

Jacob continues to minister and labor among the people and cant’t write even one-hundredth part of what he does and says. But with the limited space and time he has, he feels it important to include a chapter from the book of Zenos, who was a prophet from the Brass plates. It’s an allegory of the tame and wild olive trees, which is alluding to the history of the earth and the Lord’s dealings with it. Not going to expound on it as to do so would take pages!

Jacob is getting old and so gives the plates to his son, Enos and bids us adieu, “hoping that many of [his] brethren may read [his] words.” (Jacob 7:27)

Enos. Jarom. Omni. These next three books are all one chapter in length. We have always been told that the plates were small, and now it appears they are running out of room.

Enos is interesting. He doesn’t sound or write like his father and Uncle. He’s a bit more easygoing, I think. More laid back. Nephi was older and has been through more than any of us can imagine, when he wrote his portion in the plates. Jacob was born into adversity and it seems it never left him. He was a sober writer. Not given to much happiness, only his own deeply personal joy in his Savior.

Then we have his son Enos, who seems little like his father, at first. Enos goes out to hunt. We have no idea how old he is. We do know that his father taught him in the Nephite language, “and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”. (Enos 1:1). But apparently, while Enos was taught, he didn’t act and completely follow those nurturing and admonitions, nor did he read his scriptures. So while he was hunting, he starts to think about all the things his father had taught him. Another point is that we have no idea if his father is dead or alive at this point. So he’s thinking and what’s really happening is that he’s allowing the Spirit to touch him. I’m going to assume that his father is dead because among what he’s thinking about is eternal life. Losing a parent would cause one to think about such things. We also see that he’s spiritually starved for he says that his “soul hungered”  (Enos 1:4). So he kneels down and prays. But not any simple prayer, he “cried unto him in mighty supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did [he] cry unto him; yea and when the night came [he] did still raise my voice high that it reached to heavens.” (Enos 1:4). For an entire day,  Enos prayed continually. He hears a voice that tells him that he’s been forgiven and will be blessed.

This part is important: “And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.” Through the lessons hid father taught one thing we see he had an unshaken testimony of, that God can not lie, that he knew the perfect character of God. Wondering, though, he asks how could he be forgiven. His answer, faith. Faith in Jesus Christ who Enos had not seen or heard before, unlike his father and Uncle who had seen him.  Faith is always at the root of all doctrine. It is why it’s the first principle of the Gospel.

How often do we starve our souls? What’s the longest that we have ever prayed? How often do we allow the Spirit of the Lord to soften us and change us in such a way that it becomes impossible for us to live any longer without knowing that we are in the Lord’s favor?  Enos gives us a powerful example of how to pray.

The plates are now transferred on to Enos’ son, Jarom, which my husband and I named our son after. He doesn’t feel the need to say much in the way of doctrine, explaining that all had already been said by his predecessors. And while he says that the people and hard-hearted, deaf and blind as to the gospel, but despite that, they are a strong people who keeps the pure law of Moses, keeps the Sabbath day holy, does not profane, or blaspheme. Because of this, they are able to win the wars against their enemies, the Lamanites, despite the Lamanites being exceedingly more numerous than they. The language of Jarom is short and to the point, and he passes the plates on.

The last book in the Small Plates of Nephi is a series of short writings from 5 men. Son to son to brother to son to son. Omni, Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, and Amaleki. Omni admits to being wicked and so does his duty by writing in them and then gives them to his son. Amaron tells us in 4 verses that during his time the more wicked of the Nephites were destroyed for not keeping the commandments and that the righteous were spared from the Lamanites. He then gives the record to his brother. Why? No son? Hmm….

Chemish is the shortest author in the entire Book of Mormon with one single verse written. (Omni 1:9) At this point, we’re aware that the plates are running out of space to write but really? One verse? In this verse he tells us that he’s writing a few things int eh same book as his brother that he saw write his part in the book with his own hand. He tells us that Amaron didn’t write his part until the day he delivered the plates to Chemish. Why was that? Procrastinator perhaps? Waiting until the end of his life to sum it up? More likely. Reading along….why yes! In this one verse we learn that it is only until they are at the end of their life that they are to then write in the plates. That it is a commandment to witness their predecessor writing with his own hand the things they are inspired to write! How important is that instruction for us to know! All along we had been told that they were given commandments, but that was it. So then, how were they able to remember everything they were supposed to write in there? For those at least that had much to say. Did they keep their own personal journal?  Musings. Other than that, we know nothing of Chemish. Good, bad or otherwise. I hope to meet him someday in the Eternities. Please don’t skip over this man’s contribution. Though it is only one verse, it is still mighty.

From here, Abinadom takes over and tells us of the wars that happened and that like his great-grandfather thinks that all the revelations have been revealed and so there’s no more need to talk about the Gospel. The end.

Now, Amaleki speaks to us somewhat. Lots happened in his time. The Nephites are told through a man who would be king, Mosiah, to flee out of the land. So, as many as would go left and eventually came to a land called Zarahemla, but the land was not empty. Turns out there are a people there who was also brought out from Jerusalem about 20 years after Lehi. Unlike the Nephites, they have no written record and because of that, their language had become corrupted and they lost the full truth of the Law of Moses. They combine people, calling all Nephites and Mosiah becomes their king and prophet, teaching the people of Zarahemla the their language. They give him a large stone engraving that he’s able to translate through the Spirit. Amaleki gets old and since he had no children, is inspired to give the plates to Mosiah’s son, King Benjamin, who is a just man and becomes a prophet. But before he leaves, Amaleki bears his testimony of the Gospel. Something that hadn’t been done since Enos.

The small plates are done. First person, done. We now move into the rest of the Book of Mormon, where the book gets its name from as it was a man named Mormon, who was the second to the last of the righteous people of the Nephites, the narrative changing to the third person. He was called to abridge 600 years worth of writings into one single book. So to meld the two together, Mormon inserts his own tiny, one chapter book, explaining what’s going on simply titled, “Words of Mormon“. Mormon tells of the trouble that the holy and righteous King Benjamin had in laboring to bring peace to the land with the help of other prophets.

Moving to the last 3 chapters of what I was to read about. From here, we see the beginning of our modern day General Conference. King Benjamin is getting old and will confer the kingdom to his son, Mosiah. While he does this, he wants to give one final admonition to his people. All come with their tents to hear him. He build a tower, but there’s still too many people, so he has his words written down and circulated among the people. He starts by telling them that he didn’t call them to listen for them to not listen. He says, “…I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with my words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear and your hearts that ye may understand and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.” (Mosiah 2:9)

Some key points king Benjamin spoke of that I’ll list out before I wrap this up:

  • Keep the Commandments
  • Kings are no better than anyone else
  • Kings are servants
  • When we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are actually in the service of God.
  • No matter how hard we try to be perfect, we will always be unprofitable servants
  • We will be immediately bless if we keep his commandments
  • Contentions allow us to obey Satan. Beware of contention.
  • If we don’t repent in this life, we will not be able to endure standing before God
  • If we keep the commandments, we will be happy and blessed both temporally and spiritually.
  • And Angel spoke to him
  • Our natural selves are enemies to God.
  • We will not inherit Eternal Life without becoming as children and yield to the enticings of the Holy Ghost
  • We become saints through the Atonement of Christ.
  • We are to become: submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things.

Concluding musings for the week. The prophets don’t speak to us for us to only think that what they are saying are nice things and apply to others, but not to ourselves. Or that what they’re saying is too hard now, but eventually, some magical day we’ll get around to it. The word “trifle” used here is not referring to the dessert. Trifle means, “something that does not have much value or importance, and, something of little value, substance, or importance” (Merriam-Webster)

Knowing its full meaning, is this what we’re doing with the words of the Lord from his servants? I will say that I have viewed prophetic counsel in this way. Not that I would ever consciously think so, but my actions, or rather, inaction proves otherwise. How often do we really think about and then act on what we are taught from General Conference? Though we are not supposed to run faster than we have strength and we learn line upon line and precept upon precept, we are supposed to act and apply something that has been taught to us. If we are not daily striving to become more like Christ, than we are actually falling back. If we yield to out natural selves, we will never achieve the righteous state that we’ll need to be in to have Eternal Life, which is the greatest of all the blessings God can give us, which is the entire point of his existence. To bring us back to him.

Choose something. Choose just one thing that you will strive daily through concentrated, consistent action to become more like Christ. I promise, you will not regret it!