4 Nephi-Ether…By Faith

We are coming to the close of this glorious book. These last few books are some of the saddest in human history, comparable only to the Flood and yet also have some wonderful doctrine and principles. Here we see the end of two separate nations who lived in overlapping times, though shared the same continent and knew nothing of each other. My heart aches for these people. The last few times I have read the Book of Mormon, when I start getting to the end, it always makes me sad. I wonder how they could be so stupid as to kill themselves off like this.

However, I realize that at least half of the latter nation did survive, but without any faith in God or correct knowledge of what really happened over the 600 years when a small family arrived from Jerusalem. This finishes up the record we have of people of Lehi. We also had the Mulekites intermingled with the Nephites, a people who were also brought over from Jerusalem 11 years after Lehi. They brought nor kept any record and were found by the Nephites who were in escape from the Lamanites sometime around 200 bc.

In this second the the last book in the Boo of Mormon, Ether, we learn of another family and friends who are guided over to this promised land and through time also kill themselves off, only this time, one remains. Just one, who then eventually finds the Mulekite people, and then dies 9 months later.

Thus we find in this record the history of 3 different groups of families who were brought over by the hand of the Lord to this chosen and special land. At some points in their history, there were millions. Combined histories, perhaps tens of millions throughout the hundreds of years they were here, and only hundreds of thousands survived, if that. Such a waste! Satan was laughing and loving seeing his handy work. All those souls brought to a point where redemption wasn’t possible anymore because of the hardness of their hearts.

So astonishingly sorrowful.

Ether, was a prophet though. And prophets will teach and prophesy. Moroni was the last of his people, the Nephites. Ether was the last of his people, the Jaredites. Moroni inserts the translated record of Ether into the final plates. I’m sure he found comfort in Ether’s teachings as they both were the same: prophets, last of their kind, unsure when the end of their lives would be as both were hunted by their enemies and the last to witness the end of a nation. They had one more common bond, something that all of us have or could have a bond with as well.

Inspired by Ether’s teachings, Moroni builds on the overall theme of this record, which is Faith and Hope.

“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith , maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:4)  “I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” (Ether 12:6) 

Moroni had faith. Ether had faith. All of the prophets who every lived has had faith. Everyone who has ever lived and who currently live who believe in Jesus Christ has or had faith. It is faith that makes this world livable and bearable. Faith and hope. That’s how we are able to read and learn about the horrors of this world and not be overcome with sorrow. Faith and hope.

President Henry B Eyring, of the First Presidency has said, “If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest of times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right through the guidance of the spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. We never need feel unloved or alone in the Lord’s service, because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and right to bear us up, and He always keeps His word. His love is unfailing.”

I testify to you that I have become a better, more righteous person through reading the Book of Mormon. I know that this book is the true word of God because I have prayed about it and by the feelings I get when I read it. Truly, as our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith has said, ” a man would get nearer to God by abiding its precepts than by any other book.” (Book of Mormon Introduction) I can testify of this. I have gotten nearer to our God from reading this book and abiding its precepts than any other. How and why? Because it is plain and easy to understand. Because I allow the Holy Spirit to work in me and give me the guidance that we all need.

I have faith. Not sufficient to move mountains, but faith enough to know that I owe everything to my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. I am blessed to have the fullness of the Gospel in my life and to have the opportunity to live with my Father in Heaven and Savior again.

But what about you? And what about the guy we pass in the grocery store? What about everyone else? That’s our job. It is our responsibility to give them the chance to know too so that they can have the choice to accept this redemptive message.

These things I leave, in the name of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Amen.

3 Nephi 18-30…Shall Ye Do

We pick up with Jesus discussing the scriptures. He has just repeated from Isaiah 54 and tells them that they, “…ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.” (3 Nephi 23:1) The language that he uses gives no doubt to what they and we need to do. He first says “Ought” and then to make it perfectly clear with no room for any other interpretation, he commands. And not only are we to read, but to “search diligently”. We will be held accountable for this.

As Jesus was the one who gave the doctrine to record, he repeats all the scriptures that they should have written down through all the generations. Repeats, not reads. (Musing: I will love to know what it’s like to be able to recall all that I need to when I need to. To have a perfect memory. Or at least all the good things!) He asks Nephi to bring him all the records that they have kept, reads them, and then points out some things that are missing to have them record. Then he explains in detail (aka expounds) everything that had been written in their records and commands them to go and teach all that he had just explained.

Our Savior doesn’t end there with the scriptures. Lehi left 600 years before and so there is quite a bit of more recent revelation that they don’t have. He wants them to have it all, and starts with Malachi. He repeats Malachi 3 and 4 and then explains it. Then goes on and expounds the entire history of the world to the end of the world. “…,even all things which should come upon the face of the earth,...” (3 Nephi 26:3). Every detail was expounded to these 12 extraordinary men.

Yet, we are not to receive these teachings. We have a teeny, tiny portion of what he told them because our faith is to be tried. If we can not abide and believe what’s given to us with these scriptures, why would we believe and abide the greater? Though like most, I would love to know what else was said, but as I am having a hard enough time doing the things that have been said so far, which to the Savior are considered “a lesser part” (3 Nephi 26:8), then how could I possibly be able to do the greater things? I’ll leave it alone.

Christ taught the people for 3 days. He healed and blessed them. He ministers to the children. Then he leaves and the Apostles get to work teaching and baptizing.

Then they it a slight snag. They are fasting and in “mighty prayer” because there’s some disputing going on as to what the Church should be called. While in prayer, Jesus appears and asks them what the problem is. They tell him and then ask, “why is it the people murmur and dispute because of this,… have they not read the scriptures?…therefore ye shall call the church in my name.” (3Nephi 27:4,5,7) He is quite clear. Call the church in his name because if it’s called by any other name then it’s not his church….

….IF it’s also built upon his Gospel, that is.

Not some of it, not most if it, but all of it. His church will also have the fullness of his Gospel, or it will not be his church. He will not know those who profess to be of a church and not do the fullness of it.

DO. His church is a church of doing, not just saying or thinking. We must DO.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must DO in my church’ for the works which ye have seen me DO that shall ye also DO’ for that which ye see me DO even that shall ye DO; Therefore, if ye DO these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” (3 Nephi 21-22, capitals added for emphasis)

6 times the Savior said DO in those 2 verses. I’m thinking it’s absolutely important if he feels the need to repeat one word 6 times.

The point of this life is to return to live with our Father in Heaven. In order to do this, we need to be able to be as clean and righteous as possible. Fortunately, he didn’t leave us to figure this out for ourselves, but sent his Son to guide us, be our example and take up our slack through the Atonement. So, we must become like him as much as we can.

Brother Clark said “Shakespeare said “to be or not to be.” That is actually a good question, but the Savior posed it in a way that is doctrinally much more profound. He says, “therefore what manner of men ought your to be? Verily I say unto, even as I am.” He invites us to take upon us his name and his nature.

To become as he is, we must do the things that he did, but the “be” and “do” to really be functional are inseparable. They’re independent doctrines that reinforce promote each other. The Savior often denounced those who did without being, calling them hypocrites. Conversely, to be without to do is void. Entering the waters of baptism is something that we do. The be that must proceed it is faith in Jesus Christ and a mighty change of heart.

Partaking of the sacrament is something we do, being worthy of partaking the sacrament is a weightier and much more important matter. I believe that one thing that every one of us needs to do is always have the idea that I “do to become.” If in all things we’re always thinking “do to become” then we’re including some of the Savior’s most important teachings from 3 Nephi here near the end of his ministry among the Nephites.”

He couldn’t have said it any better. We must do to become.

What do we or you need to work on to do so that we can become?

 

3 Nephi 1-17…Blessed are ye if….

“Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name-Hear ye him.” (3 Nephi 11:7)

There have been only a few times in recorded scripture where we get to hear the voice of our Heavenly Father speaking to the people. Very few. This was one of those times.

After hundreds of years. After wars and bloodshed. After prophecies and martyrdom, Jesus Christ is showing himself, his perfect, eternal and resurrected being to the remaining people of in the Americas.

In the decades preceding the arrival of Jesus, there was a period of the most constantly intense cycle of humility and then pride among the people in the land, Nephites and Lamanites. By the time of the Crucifixion on the other side of the world in Jerusalem, most of the people were wicked. Not just slightly bad, but wicked. Following after Satan and rejecting the truth of the Gospel that they had believed in merely years before.

When Christ was killed, there was 3 hours of darkness in Jerusalem. What was not known to the Tribe of Judah, was that the tribe of Joseph was receiving a serious weeding out. For those same 3 hours, entire cities were burned or buried under mountains or broken off and sunk in water. Some others were flattened by earthquakes, others leveled by tornadoes. The entire face of the land was forever changed. 16 cities in all were completely destroyed because of the wickedness of the people. There were none in those cities righteous enough to be saved. How incredibly sad. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions died in the course of 3 hours because of pride and willfully turning away from the Lord.

This was not all, after this for those righteous enough to survive, there was 3 days of darkness. Not just any darkness, but a “vapor” of darkness so thick that you couldn’t light any fires or see your hand in front of your face. Like one of Moses’ plagues. 3 entire days.  It was then that they wished that they had repented. All too late.

There is a voice heard among all the people, explaining why the cities were destroyed. They killed the prophets and the people of God. They were wicked. Secret combinations had destroyed the peace of the people and the government. The people who remained are told that they were “spared because they were more righteous than they” (3 Nephi 9:13)

The voice is Jesus Christ and all he wants to do is heal them. “…will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? …Behold mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.” (3 Nephi 13-14)

The darkness disperses. The people gather around the temple. Our Father in Heaven praises his Son and then the Son appears in the flesh to the people. His glorious, resurrected being. Jesus the Christ lives!

He asks them to come and feel his hands, feet and side to show them the marks that were left as a reminder of the sacrifice he gave for us, even his life.

And then he gets to work.

The namesake prophet whose book this is named after is among the crowd. This Nephi was a remarkable man. In the years before the appearance of Christ, he was stoned, raised his brother back to life, ceaselessly proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and was ministered to daily by angels to support him. And he was sitting in the crowd. Such humility! Christ calls him forward and ordains him an Apostle with 11 others. He then makes it crystal clear what his doctrine is so that there can be no doubt again. Then charges them to declare those words to this people.

Now, here, our Lord and Master turns to the crowd and begins afresh the Sermon on the Mount, only for the Nephites it’s the Sermon at the Temple, for that is where they are gathered. His sermon is also almost exactly like the Sermon he gave to the Jews years before. And when I say “almost” that means that a few words are different and a couple of verses are reversed, which makes more sense.

In the most basic sense, Jesus is telling us plainly what we need to do to be able to return to live with him again. Such as:

  • The beatitudes
  • to be the salt of the earth
  • to be a light
  • to not be angry
  • to not lust and have unclean thoughts
  • to turn the other cheek
  • the Golden Rule
  • to perform our alms in secret
  • to pray in secret
  • to forgive all
  • to lay up treasures in heaven
  • that we can not serve two masters
  • to not judge
  • to ask, knock and seek
  • to ponder

This was an extremely abbreviated description of what Christ says in 5 chapters, but I would be here for days expounding on them all. So for now, this will suffice and if you want to go and read it thoroughly, you can start reading from here.

Now, what do we do with all of this information?

In a talk given by Elder Mark E Petersen (April 1977 General Conference), he quotes some verses from these chapters and makes some exceptional insights. He says,

Why is the Lord so strict in requiring detailed obedience from us? It is because he expects us to become perfect as he is. The very object of our existence as children of God is to become like Him. But no unclean thing may enter his presence. Therefore we must perfect ourselves, beginning here in mortality, keeping in mind that we cannot achieve perfection through imperfect means.

That is why God is so strict. That is why he cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.

One of our great failings is that often we are slothful in complying with the commandments. With respect to this he said: “It is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

“But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.” (D&C 58:26, 29.)

The Prophet Abinadi gave us further understanding of this vital principle in these words: “The Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection.

“For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such;yea, neither can the Lord redeem such.” (Mosiah 15:26–27.)

But nevertheless the Lord invites all to come unto him on conditions of repentance, and says: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28–30.)

So what are we to do? We are to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” (3 Ne. 13:33.) We are to give our religion first priority in our lives,and then serve God with all our hearts and do unto others as we would be done by as we travel down the road to Jericho.

This was a long post, but I felt it would be a disservice to not give these chapters the respect they deserve.

All of us want to return to live with our Heavenly Father and Savior again. By following these chapters, we will be able to. The Lord was transparent with what is expected. There is no way around it. We can not rationalize anything. Anything less than our absolute best is required. We are to become perfected, like them.

But this won’t happen all at once or even all in this life. It comes line upon line and precept upon precept. Here a little and there a little. It comes when we strive to master ourselves daily through diligent, thoughtful and specific acting on a principle. Not someday or tomorrow or in a little while. Now. This moment. What can I do to change. To become.

For blessed are we IF….

What is your IF? What do you need to work on this moment?

Helaman 10-16…Led to Believe

We move now into the next book in the Book of Mormon, Helaman. This book is named after the grandson of Alma, whom the previous book was named after.

Alma has died long ago and conferred the records to his son, Helaman. Helaman dies and gives the plates to his brother, Shiblon. Shiblon gives the plates to his nephew, the son of Helaman, who was named after his father.

Helaman, unfortunately is the one to be the Chief Judge at the beginning of the end of the Nephites. As from the beginning of the Earth with Cain, Satan is able to get a hold of the hearts of the people through ways of secret plans, oaths and covenants. Helaman does his best and then dies, leaving the Judgement seat to his son, Nephi. After about 10 years, after many wars and prosperity, the Nephites are grossly wicked, while the Lamanites are good. In fact most of the Lamanites believe in Christ and are stalwart in their testimony of him, unlike the Nephites.

It has come to the point where the Lamanites are so good, that the Lord appoint one to be a prophet and preach to the Nephites. Samuel is his name. He goes to the biggest Nephite city, Zarahelma, to preach to them because the Lord told him to. Only, the people don’t like him at all and force him out. He’s still not done preaching and so he goes up on the wall that surrounds the city and talks to them there.

Samuel urges then to repent and come to the Lord. He reminds them that because the have hardened their hearts, the Sprit has gone from them and they are ripening for destruction. He gives them a pretty good verbal smackdown, not being shy about telling them how bad they are. But then goes on to tell them how they can overcome. He prophesies about the coming of Christ, giving a specific year when he will be born and what the earth will do during that time. He compares them to the Lamanites, telling them what they should be doing.

After he has said all he needs to, they try to kill him by throwing stones and firing arrows at him, but none of them hit him. None. He leaves to go back to the righteous Lamanites. There were many who believed Samuel, which Nephi baptizes and takes care of.

There was many wonderful, insightful things that Samuel said, but one stood out that I have been feeling myself….

Scriptures.

Samuel says about the reason the Lamanites are doing so well and are so righteous is because, “…as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth, and to know of the wicked and abominable traditions of their fathers, are are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written , which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them-”

Because of the scriptures, the Lamanites are able to look in a record and see the folly of their ancestors and also read the doctrine and principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which then lead them to have faith in the Lord, to repent and to have a change of heart.

Elder Jay E. Jensen, previously of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, gave a wonderful talk on the power we can receive from studying the Scriptures. Through his careful and loving studying of the scriptures, he was able to see what promises the Lord has in store for us if we will study the scriptures.

He lists 3 main categories of Promises: Power, Increase and Other. He gives Samuel as an example of Power in that, “Power to change the heart and disposition”. As we read from the scripture cited above, the scriptures can give the power to change hearts and then become righteous.  

Through taking this course and the one previous to this, I have been able to immerse myself in the scriptures and feel the change that is coming over me as a result. I can feel this power working in myself. I have come to truly love the scriptures and the time that I spend in them. I have come to see, from looking back on my life and then looking at the lives of others, why we may feel far away from the Lord, which is the result from not studying our scriptures.

As President Kimball said, “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.” (TheTeachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 135.)

While I feel that I had been doing well enough in my spirituality with my Savior and my God, now that I have been feasting on the word, I can see that really, I wasn’t as close as I thought I was. I am so much closer now than I ever have been. I relish in the time I spend in the scriptures and am often sad when I need to leave them to move on with my day.

I love them. Do you?

 

 

Alma 43-63…the war chapters

I have read the Book of Mormon several times and these 20 chapters have always been a little dull for me. Until some months ago anyway. I was guided to a talk by John Bytheway, given at the 2015 BYU Women’s Conference, which he was talking about the parable of the 10 virgins and having oil in our lamps. During his talk, he brings up those chapters and then gives and understanding of them. Suddenly they weren’t dull anymore because the spiritual nature and examples given in them were opened up to me. I got it, I understood.

So now, having forgotten that, I was excited to read these chapters to try to understand why they were put in there with so much detail. It was a 13 year war. It was also rich with symbolism, doctrine and principles.

There are many points that I loved and learned so much from, but the one that I observed the most was that through it all, they never stopped even though they were seriously outnumbered. It reminded me of the hymn, “Let Us All Press On”, “We will not retreat though our numbers may be few when compared with the opposite hist in view. But an unseen power will aid me and you in the glorious cause of truth.” This was the Nephites during the entire 13 years and this is what we have to endure today with the war that Satan has continued from his war in Heaven before the foundations of this world began.

I am generally a sensitive person to those who I am close to. Strangers don’t affect me much, but those I care about do. I have learned to put feelings aside, mostly so that I can have peace. If I get upset about every thing that is said or done carelessly, I would never have peace. The Chief Captain over all the Nephite armies was Moroni. He was one of the best men who ever lived, but he also had a bit of a temper. There was a time in the battles where more men were needed but weren’t being sent from the capital city. Moroni writes a scathing letter to the Chief Governor of the land. And when I mean scathing, it was awful. Turns out that the people in the capital were fighting among themselves and so the governor was dealing with his own mess and couldn’t send more men. In the letter from the governor to Moroni, he calls out Moroni on his criticism and says that it doesn’t matter. Pahoran, the governor chose not to be offended.

Elder Bednar and Apostle of the Lord has said in a General Conference address, “When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy,embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me.Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.” 

The greatest gift that God had given us in this life is the ability to choose. We choose when we are offended. We may be hurt or stung by the insensitive or careless words of another, but it it our choice to become offended by them. Everything we do in this life is a choice. And that includes how we respond to others. Think about it.

Alma 30-35…Faith is like a seed…

New class, a new perspective. Hello all! Or anyone who happens to read these. I’m back with my bi-weekly posts on the marvelous Book of Mormon. This time around, I’ll be coming at these posts a bit differently. I won’t be expounding on every point in every chapter, but it will be more of a focus on one or two points, with some general overviews on what’s happening int he overall story.

So, to begin on chapter 30, there was a man named Korihor who was turning the people away with false doctrine, claiming that there would be no Christ and there was no God. He wanted a sign that there was a God, and was struck mute. He was duped by a devil who claimed to be an angel. He ended up having to beg or food and was eventually killed by some not so great people in the land. Mormon states plainly those who choose to follow Satan with, “and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell” (Alma 30:60). Poor Korihor.

Musing: I’m supposing that somehow Alma heard about what happened to Korihor being trampled to death by those other people, the Zoramites because now we find him learning all about the Zormaites and decided to take a trek to them with others. So….perhaps this was the Lord’s way of leading Alma to the Zoramites…? 

Okay, I’m doing it again….it’s so hard to not talk about all these wonderful scriptures!!

Main points: Alma, Ammon, Aaron, Omner, Amulek, Zeezorom, Shiblon and Corianton all go to the land of the Zoramites. They find them extremely wicked. They pray once a week in their Synagogues on a high pulpit that only one can stand on, using a scripted prayer about how they are better than everyone else and that there is no Christ. Alma is very sad about this and then finds that the people in the synagogues have cast out their poor from coming inside the churches. They’re worried about what they’re going to do because they’ve deceived themselves into believing all this nonsense. Alma is happy that they are worried, because they are now humble enough to be teachable. He and Amulek teach.

What did they teach?

I had a camp out with my Young Women this past weekend. While we were sitting around the fire, one of them asked about a Faith value project for her Personal Progress Program. I wasn’t sure, so I looked up the suggestions on my phone from the book. As I was reading down the list, what just ‘happens’ to be on that list? Alma 32. Precisely what I had just studied during the week. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I knew the Lord wanted me to teach them all about this, not just this particular Young Woman.

I opened the scriptures on my phone and began to explain why faith was like a seed (I love having an entire library’s worth of books in the palm of my hands…AND…that I know how to use those books!). I wanted to help them understand these principles so that they could apply them in their lives. I wanted as President Packer said, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.” I want this so desperately for these sweet girls!!

So I began teaching what Alma taught to the Zoramites about faith. Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things but to hope in something we haven’t seen, but is true. To  experiment on the Lord’s words to act on a particle of faith, to desire to believe and let that desire work in them. I explained what those feelings were so that they could understand them. I taught that they need to find their own faith and let it grow. To read their scriptures and always keep the roots of their budding plants alive, even if they make wrong choices.

It was a wonderful discussion with the other leaders and mom’s bearing their testimonies about the subject and the girls answering questions they were asked. What started as a simple question about a project turned unto a doctrinal discussion about faith, prayer and becoming a better disciple.

You can read in detail about the rest of what Alma and Amulek thought… here.

I challenge you all to read it and study it. Let your faith grow. Have a desire to believe.

 

 

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?