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?