1. King Benjamin’s people seek and receive a remission of their sins.
Mosiah 4:1 The angel of the Lord
‘According to John Welch, Jesus was personally known to many Book of Mormon prophets, for he appeared to several, including Lehi (1 Nephi 1:9), Nephi (2 Nephi 11:2), Jacob (2 Nephi 2:4; 11:3), Mormon (Mormon 1:15), the brother of Jared (Ether 3:14), and Moroni (Ether 12:39), as well as to the multitude in 3 Nephi. Others like Benjamin, Alma, Amulek, and Samuel the Lamanite saw “the angel of the Lord” (Mosiah 4:1; 27:11; Alma 10:7; Helaman 13:7), which may be a euphemism for seeing the Lord himself (for example, it is difficult to distinguish between “the angel of the Lord” and Jehovah in Genesis 16:7–11; 22:11-15; Exodus 3:2; and Judges 2:1–4). Thus, their teachings and testimonies about Jesus are based on firsthand knowledge and acquaintance.’ (Alan C Miner, Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon)
Mosiah 4:2 Carnal state
‘Since the fall, all men have become carnal, sensual and devilish by nature. (Moses 5:13; 6:49; Alma 42:10; Mosiah 16:1–4; D. & C. 20:20.) In this fallen state they are subject to the lusts, passions, and appetites of the flesh.
They are spiritually dead, having been cast out of the presence of the Lord; and thus ‘they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God.’ They are in a ‘carnal state’ (Alma 41:10–1); they are of the world. Carnality connotes worldliness, sensuality, and inclination to gratify the flesh.’ *Bruce R McConkie, Mormon Doctrine)
Mosiah 4:6 Prepared from the foundation of the world
“Peter testified that Christ was the ‘lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world’ (1 Peter 1:19-20). In the words of John the Revelator, Christ was the ‘Lamb slain from the foundation of the world’ (Revelation 13:8). Such expressions affirm that the plan of salvation was known and taught even before the creation of the earth (see D&C 132:8-11).” (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 76)
Mosiah 4:12, 26 Retain a remission of your sins
“Much emphasis was given by King Benjamin to retaining a remission of our sins (see Mosiah 4:26). We do not ponder that concept very much in the church. We ought to think of it a lot more. Retention clearly depends on the regularity of our repentance. In the church we worry, and should, over the retention of new members, but the retention of our remissions is cause for even deeper concern” (Neal A Maxwell, “King Benjamin’s Sermon: A Manual for Discipleship” ).
“Are we not all beggars?” Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjain says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.” (Jeffrey R Holland, Ensign, Nov. 2014, 41)
2. King Benjamin teaches his people how to live Christlike lives.
Mosiah 4:14-15 Teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness
“Scriptures direct parents to teach faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost [see Moroni 8:10]. Parents are to teach the plan of salvation [see Moses 6:58–62] and the importance of living in complete accord with the commandments of God [see Leviticus 10:11; Deuteronomy 6:7; Mosiah 4:14]. Otherwise, their children will surely suffer in ignorance of God’s redeeming and liberating law [see 2 Nephi 2:26]. Parents should also teach by example how to consecrate their lives—using their time, talents, tithing, and substance [see Mosiah 4:21–26; 18:27;Alma 1:27] to establish the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth [see JST, Matthew 6:38]. Living in that manner will literally bless their posterity” (Russell M Nelson, General Conference, Oct. 2001).
Mosiah 4:16 Administer of your substance
“We have always managed to give something to the poor, and refuse no one who asks for food. I believe this is the general sentiment and character of the Latter-day Saints. I think all the Mormon people are kindly disposed, and are generous toward the poor and unfortunate, and that there is not a Latter-day Saint under the sound of my voice or anywhere that would not divide his portion with his fellow creature in case of need….
“I have seen men go away from my door with good bread and butter in their hands (good enough for any king to eat, for my folks make good bread and good butter, as good as I ever ate on earth) and when out of the gate they have thrown it into the street. It was not food they wanted. They wanted money. For what? That they might go to some gambling [hall] or to some drinking saloon. Of course they are responsible for that. We can only judge by appearances and by the promptings of the good spirit within us; and it is better to give to a dozen that are unworthy than to turn away empty one worthy person.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, Pr/RS Manual, p. 194)
Mosiah 4:27 It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength
‘My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most. Let us be mindful of the foundational precepts our Heavenly Father has given to His children that will establish the basis of a rich and fruitful mortal life with promises of eternal happiness.’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, October 2010)
3. King Benjamin’s people experience a “mighty change” and covenant to do God’s will in all things.
Mosiah 5:2 A mighty change
“Once we receive a witness of the Spirit, our testimony is strengthened through study, prayer, and living the gospel. Our growing testimony brings us increased faith in Jesus Christ and His plan of happiness. We are motivated to repent and obey the commandments, which, with a mighty change of heart, leads to our conversion. And our conversion brings divine forgiveness, healing, joy, and the desire to bear our witness to others” (Robert D Hales, General Conference, Oct. 2003).
Moses 5:7 Children of Christ
“The Son of God has a perfect right to call us his children, spiritually begotten, and we have a perfect right to look on him as our father who spiritually begot us.
“Now if these critics would read carefully the Book of Mormon, they would find that when the Savior came and visited the Nephites, he told them that he had been sent by his Father. He knelt before them, and he prayed to his Father. He taught them to pray to his Father, but that did not lessen in the least our duty and responsibility of looking upon the Son of God as a father to us because he spiritually begot us.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Reports, Oct. 1962, p. 21)
Mosiah 5:8 The name of Christ
“What does it mean to receive the name of Christ?” We remember that when we take the sacrament, we signify not that we have fully taken the name, but that we are willing to take the name (see Moroni 4:3; D&C 20:77); compare Mosiah 5:5).
Elder Dallin Oaks emphasized the word willingness, pointing to a future consummation:
… in the inspired dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith asked the Lord for a blessing upon “thy people upon whom thy name shall be put in this house” (D&C 109:26).
… [B]y partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and to receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Savior when he chooses to confer them upon us. (Dallin H. Oaks, “Taking upon Us the Name of Jesus Christ,” Ensign (May 1985): 81, emphasis added)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie also wrote about the meaning of receiving the divine name: “God’s name is God. To have his name written on a person is to identify that person as a god. How can it be said more plainly? Those who gain eternal life become gods!” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 458) (M Catherine Thomas, Benjamin and the Mysteries of God)
Mosiah 5:12 Know the voice by which ye shall be called
“How are we to know the voice of the Good Shepherd from the voice of a stranger? Can any person answer this question? I can. It is very easy. To every philosopher upon the earth, I say, your eye can be deceived, so can mine; your ear can be deceived, so can mine; the touch of your hand can be deceived, so can mine; but the Spirit of God filling the creature with revelation and the light of eternity, cannot be mistaken-the revelation which comes from God is never mistaken. When an individual, filled with the Spirit of God, declares the truth of heaven, the sheep hear that, the Spirit of the Lord pierces their inmost souls and sinks deep into their hearts; by the testimony of the Holy Ghost light springs up within them, and they see and understand for themselves. This is the way the Gospel should be preached by every Elder in Israel, and by this power every hearer should hear; and if we would know the voice of the Good Shepherd, we must live so that the Spirit of the Lord can find its way to our hearts.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, ed. by John A. Widstoe, p. 431)