Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 19 – None Could Deliver Them but the Lord

1. Alma teaches the baptismal covenant and baptizes many people.

Mosiah 17:2, Mosiah 18:1 Alma

“The valiant, exemplary life and powerful teachings of Alma the Elder provide us with a wealth of spiritual insight. A careful study of his conversion and subsequent labors as both a spiritual and a temporal leader reveals a number of practical guidelines and concepts that, if applied in our own lives today, can help us live more wisely and productively and, thus, more joyfully.

“…As members of the Savior’s church we struggle with the challenges of living in ‘a world set on a course which we cannot follow’ (Boyd K. Packer, “The Father and the Family,” Ensign, May 1994, p. 21). While yet a young man, Alma lived and worked in the court of the wicked King Noah as one of the king’s appointed priests (see Mosiah 17:1-2). His life in an evil society presented Alma with many of the same temptations that afflict us today. His position of considerable authority in a corrupt government also confronted him with life-threatening conflicts once he embraced the gospel. Understanding how he turned his back on temptation, overcame sin, and stood fearlessly for righteousness can help us deal with our own challenges as we struggle to choose the right.” (Joseph B Wirthlin, Heroes from the Book of Mormon, pp. 79-80)

‘Abinadi infuriated wicked King Noah with his courageous testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. Eventually this great missionary offered the ultimate sacrifice for his witness and faith but not before his pure testimony touched one believing heart. Alma, one of King Noah’s priests, “repented of his sins … , [accepted Jesus as the Christ,] and went about privately among the people, and began to teach the words of Abinadi”  Mosiah 18:1 Many were converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ as a direct result of Abinadi’s powerfully borne testimony of the Savior, believed by one soul, Alma.’ (M Russell Ballard, General Conference, October 2004)

Mosiah 18:8 Bear one another’s burdens

‘I will illustrate four ways our burdens are lightened as we help each other.

1. The Savior said, “Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” Matthew 5:41 For example, we are asked to attend the temple regularly, as our individual circumstances allow. Attending the temple requires sacrifice of time and resources, especially for those who must travel a great distance. Nevertheless, this sacrifice could be considered part of the first mile.

We begin walking the second mile when we understand the words “find, take, teach,” when we search for and prepare the names of our ancestors for temple ordinances, when we help in indexing, when we serve as temple workers, and when we look for ways to help others have meaningful temple experiences.

While I was serving as an Area Seventy, one of the stakes in my coordinating council participated in a large temple excursion. The temple the members attended is small, and unfortunately there were several members who, despite making the long 12-hour journey, were not able to enter the temple because it had exceeded the daily capacity.

A few days after this trip, I visited this stake and asked the president if I could talk with some of the members who were unable to attend the temple that day. One of the brothers I visited told me: “Elder, do not worry. I was at the house of the Lord. I sat on a bench in the garden and pondered in my mind the ordinances. Then I was given the opportunity to enter, but instead I allowed another brother, who had come to the temple for the first time to be sealed to his wife, to take my place. They then had the opportunity to attend two sessions that day. The Lord knows me, and He has blessed me, and we are fine.”

2. Smile. This small action can help those who are overwhelmed or burdened. During the priesthood session of this past April general conference, I was seated on the stand as one of the five newly called General Authorities. We were sitting where the sisters of the auxiliary presidencies are now seated. I was feeling very nervous and overwhelmed with my new call.

When we were singing the intermediate hymn, I felt a strong impression that someone was watching me. I thought to myself: “There are more than 20,000 people in this building, and most of them are facing this way. Of course someone is watching you.”

While I continued singing, I again felt the strong impression that someone was watching me. I looked over to the row where the Twelve Apostles were sitting and saw that President Russell M. Nelson was turned all the way around in his seat, looking at where we were seated. I caught his eye, and he gave me a big smile. That smile brought peace to my overwhelmed heart.

After His Resurrection, Jesus Christ visited His other sheep. He called and ordained twelve disciples, and with that authority, they ministered to the people. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself stood among them. The Lord asked them to kneel and pray. I am not sure if the newly called and ordained twelve disciples were overwhelmed with their calling, but the scripture says, “It came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them. ” During the last general conference, a smile lightened my burdens in an immediate and extraordinary way.

3. Express feelings of compassion to others. If you are a priesthood holder, please use your power on behalf of the children of God, giving blessings to them. Express words of consolation and comfort to people who are suffering or experiencing afflictions.

4. The cornerstone of God’s plan is the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. At least once a week, we should meditate as President Joseph F. Smith did on “the great and wonderful love made manifest by the Father and the Son in the coming of the Redeemer into the world.”  Doctrine and Covenants 138:3 Inviting others to come to church and to worthily partake of the sacrament will allow more of Heavenly Father’s children to reflect on the Atonement. And if we are not worthy, we can repent. Remember that the Son of the Highest descended below all and took upon Him our offenses, sins, transgressions, sicknesses, pains, afflictions, and loneliness. The scripture teaches us that Christ “ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things.”  Doctrine and Covenants 88:6

It does not matter what our personal struggles are—whether they are disease or prolonged loneliness or suffering the temptations and tests of the adversary—the Good Shepherd is there. He calls us by name and says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Hugo Montoya, General Conference, October 2015)

Mosiah 18:10 As a witness before them that ye have entered into a covenant

“In the waters of baptism, we covenanted that we would keep these commandments; that we would serve the Lord; that we would keep this first and greatest of all commandments, and love the Lord our God; that we would keep the next great commandment, we would love our neighbor as ourselves; and with all the might that we have, with all the strength, with all our hearts, we would prove to him that we would ‘live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God;’ that we would be obedient and humble, diligent in his service, willing to obey, to hearken to the counsels of those who preside over us and do all things with an eye single to the glory of God.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, p. 238)

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Mosiah 18:16 204 souls

‘Alma similarly baptized “every one that went forth to the place of Mormon”—the 204 believers who had followed him out of Lehi-Nephi. Mormon gives few details about the history of this community, but when they depart for the land of Zarahemla, he records that they number “four hundred and fifty souls” (v. 35). While we do not know precisely how long they stayed in the land of Mormon, it would be unrealistic for the population to more than double through births only. There must have been some way to communicate to friends and loved ones in Lehi-Nephi and ongoing conversions as a result. Since the land of Mormon was uninhabited (the very reason that Alma and his people went there), these converts must have come from Lehi-Nephi.’  (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Cultural and Analytical Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 18:21 Contention

“My brethren and sisters, above all things, therefore, we should seek for this spirit of union and love.  It should be sought for in our councils, and we should not contend.  Now, suppose that I should take it into my head to say that a certain doctrine is true, and I contend for it, determined to have it so; does my contention make it true?  Suppose that I should contend from now until the Savior came that it is true, would my contention make it true?  Certainly not.  I cannot change a principle of truth.  Then why contend or dispute, or argue about it?…There can be no change wrought in doctrine and in truth by our contention.  But I will tell you where there is room for differences of opinion–in regard to the policy to be pursued.  There ought to be no contention, however.  God speaks against it.  We have no right to be a disputing, contentious people.  And whenever I dispute with my brother I am likely to grieve the Spirit of the Lord and darken my own mind.  Therefore, let us avoid contention, in our councils and in all our intercourse one with another.” (George Q Cannon, Collected Discourses 1886-1898, ed. by Brian Stuy, vol. 4, George Q. Cannon, Apr. 7, 1895)

2. King Noah betrays his people and suffers death by fire.

Mosiah 19:4 Gideon

“One of the most dissatisfied among the people was Gideon, an officer of the king’s army. There is no reason to suspect that he was a wicked man, although he held an office under King Noah. Later he proved that he possessed all the virtues of a good, pure, and wise man…We judge from the course he then pursued and the whole tenor of his after life that he had no hand in the martyrdom of Abinadi, or in Noah’s other crimes. When the minority of the people revolted, Gideon, being exceedingly angry, drew his sword and sought to kill the king…

“Gideon appears in his day to have been an officer of high standing in the Nephite forces and a man of much wisdom and intelligence. In the war that resulted from the seizure of a number of Lamanite maidens by the Priests of Noah, Gideon took a prominent part in bringing about a cessation of hostilities. It was he who suggested who the men really were that committed this vile act (Mosiah 20:17-22). In later years, when the people of Limhi escaped from the Lamanites and returned to Zarahemla under the guidance of Ammon, Gideon took a leading part, by his advice and example, in effecting their deliverance and directing that march (Mosiah 22:3-11). We next read of Gideon when he had become exceedingly old (Alma 1:7-9). He was still actively engaged in the service of the Lord. He was a teacher in the church, yet we cannot help thinking that, like many in these days, though acting as a teacher, he held a higher office in the priesthood. One day he met, in the streets of the city of Zarahemla, an apostate named Nehor, who had grown very popular and with his popularity, very conceited, headstrong and ambitious, he having built up a church composed of persons who accepted his pernicious doctrines. On this occasion Gideon plead with him to desist from his evil ways and strongly remonstrated against the course he was taking. Nehor, ill-used to such opposition, drew his sword and slew the aged teacher. For this crime he was arrested, tried, convicted and executed (B.C. 91). Gideon’s memory was held in great respect among the Nephites and one of their most important cities was named after him.” (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 220-5)

Mosiah 19:20 Death by fire

“Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein:  and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him (Proverbs 26:27).  God has promised to ‘recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man’ (D&C 1:10).  ‘I will visit upon you the evil of your doings’ (Jeremiah 23:2), he promised; ‘and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations’ (Ezekiel 7:3).  ‘It is a righteous thing with God,’ Paul wrote, ‘to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you’ (2 Thessalonians 1:6).  Kings and kingdoms, the great and the small, all are subject to the law of recompense by a just God who either in this life or the world to come balances all accounts (see Jeremiah 25:14; Jeremiah 50:29; Ezekiel 7:9).” (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 268)

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3. Limhi’s people are chastened and eventually delivered by the Lord.

Mosiah 20:17-22 Now when Gideon had heard these things

“Notice that he is being very realistic; these are the steps by which the problem is solved here. It’s a very touchy thing, but they solve the problem very sensibly on both sides-a thing people rarely do…Gideon is the last man you would expect to do this. But he had the experience of these things, and he knew. It’s the old commander that knows. The most passionate talks I’ve ever heard against war in the Army have been by generals, without any exception. They know what it is, and boy do they light in! There were some wonderful ones by Omar Bradley, Max Taylor, and others. Eisenhower said some pretty strong things too. ‘…therefore, let us put a stop to the shedding of so much blood,’ Gideon said, with his rush of excitement. This is the Gideon who chased the king up the tower with a sword, and all that sort of thing. He is the one who is making a plea to put an end to all this bloodshed, whatever they do.” (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Lecture 38, p. 138)

Mosiah 21:1-5 The afflictions of the Nephites were great

‘It was about this time that the Nephites learned what it meant to be subjected to all of the abuse and indignities of bondage as predicted by Abinadi.

The persecution and virtual slavery of the Nephites finally became so unbearable that they decided it would be worthwhile to wage war for their freedom.’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 21:15 The Lord was slow to hear their cry

“When we neglect this and other duties we do not have the same claim on the blessings of the Lord, and he has said if we are slow to hear him he may be slow to hear us in the hour of our trouble. (D. & C. 101:7-8.) The Lord was slow to hearken to the Nephites in their rebellion until they were humbled and so with the Israelites, and this happened repeatedly. We should profit by their example. In our praying we should seek to do the will of the Lord and not merely to reap some advantage or gratification which may not be the best for us. This is a very significant saying: ‘Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall he given unto you, that is expedient for you; and if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.’ (DC 88:63-65) Therefore we should not be too insistent, but should pray earnestly seeking light and to know the will of the Lord, with an unselfish spirit. Then, with this spirit, will our bodies be filled with light.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, p. 135)

Mosiah 22:14 Mosiah received them with joy

“It was with great joy that King Mosiah and the people of Zarahemla received their brethren from Lehi-Nephi. They had thought that Zeniff and their friends and relatives who had accompanied him to the old homes of their fathers had been slain. They had heard nothing from them, and presumed that all of them had been destroyed. Now that they had become united and once again could dwell in peace, ‘songs of delight filled each grateful heart.’ We may imagine the deep sense of thankfulness that arose from their lips as their leaders proclaimed the goodness of God in delivering them from Lamanite bondage. Another cause of rejoicing in Mosiah’s heart was that the people from Lehi-Nephi had preserved their records.” (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 240)

4. The Lord delivers Alma’s people from bondage.

Mosiah 23:7 It is not expedient that we should have a king

“In all ages when the people of God listened to the voice and counsel of apostles and prophets, they enjoyed the blessings growing out of human freedom, and the tyranny and oppression of kings and rulers was impossible. There never was a kingly power placed over ancient Israel except against the remonstrance of the prophets.” (Journal of Discourses, vol 23, Feb. 26, 1882, p. 233)

Mosiah 23:15 Contention

‘Intolerance seeds contention; tolerance supersedes contention. Tolerance is the key that opens the door to mutual understanding and love.’ *Russell M Nelson, General Conference, April 1994)

Mosiah 23:21 The Lord seeth fit to chasten his people

“Faith … includes faith in God’s developmental purposes, for ‘the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.’ (Mosiah 23:21.) Still, some of us have trouble when God’s tutoring is applied to us! We plead for exemption more than we do for sanctification.” (Ensign, May 1991, p. 90.)

Mosiah 23:27-29 He would deliver them

‘Alma promises the people that Yahweh will deliver them if they place their trust in him. The promise is immediately true because the Lamanites spare their lives (v. 29), even though they become a tributary people. The promise is fulfilled in a second sense when Alma and his people escape to Zarahemla, their deliverance complete. This is the story’s message. Yahweh will allow his people’s patience to be tried but will deliver them (vv. 21–24). For Mormon, this Lamanite domination is not a denial of the people’s righteousness or a punishment for unrighteousness, but a trial of that righteousness. These people have already committed to follow Yahweh and, from all we know of them, are faithful to that covenant.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

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Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 18 – God Himself Shall Redeem His People

1. Abinadi calls Noah and his priests to repentance, exhorts them to keep the commandments, and teaches of the Atonement.

Mosiah 12:6 The east wind

“The east wind is a destructive wind which originates in the east, the symbolic direction of Deity’s presence. Also called ‘the wind of the Lord’ (Hosea 13:15), it is ‘prepared’ by God (Jonah 4:8) for the purpose of destroying the ungodly and unrighteous. The Lord has stated, ‘If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction’ (Mosiah 7:31). Hence they are ‘smitten with the east wind’ (Mosiah 12:6; see also Job 27:21).” (Donald W. Parry, Joseph Fielding McConkie, A Guide to Scriptural Symbolism, p. 45)

Mosiah 12:8 They shall leave a record behind them

‘While general destruction is a typical prophecy of doom, this particular prophecy includes the unusual idea that a record will be made of their annihilation. In other words, Abinadi warns the people that they are not only are headed for destruction but will be used as an object lesson for future peoples. No wonder they were outraged (v. 9).’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentaries on the  Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 12:16 We have brought a man before thee

‘This scene shows an orderly society responding to disorder in an orderly way. While Mormon’s portrait of Noah’s people is highly unsympathetic, his censoriousness stems from his religious perspective. From their own perspective, they are not a disorderly and impulsive mob; they recognize proper authority and make formal complaints with which the law can deal. Despite Abinadi’s threats against the king and the society, he will not be executed without a trial.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Winess: Analytical and Cultural Commentaries on the  Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 12:20-24 How beautiful upon the mountains

‘One cannot help but wonder as to the motivation behind the question. Did the high priest actually desire understanding of the verses? [21-24] Or, rather, was he essentially saying: “I thought that the prophet Isaiah had said that blessed are those who declare good tidings and bring peaceful salutations. Why is your message so negative, so pessimistic, and why are you so prone to such gloomy prophecy?” Abinadi nevertheless treated the questioner with enough respect as to suggest a direct answer; the answer would, however, not be given at the moment (see Mosiah 15:11-18). ‘ (Robert L. Millet, A Symposium on the Book of Mormon [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1986], 98)

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Mosiah 12:25 Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people?

“Noah’s apostate priests had read the words of Isaiah but had not inquired of the Lord or searched for the proper meaning of the words handed down by their fathers. Like others who had failed to give ‘heed and diligence’ to the word of God, the ‘mysteries of God’ had been withheld from them (see Alma 12:9-10). Therefore, Abinadi had reason to answer them in a condemning manner: ‘Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people…'” (Carlos E Asay, The Seven M’s of Missionary Service, p. 135)

Mosiah 12:30-31 Doth salvation come through the law of Moses?

‘Abinadi uses the priests’ tactic of laying a verbal trap by asking if salvation comes through the law of Moses. This question goes to the crux of their apostasy. He knows that salvation comes only through the Messiah and also knows that this was the original religious understanding of these priests. However, like Sherem, they have altered the teachings, eliminating the Messiah as savior and privileging the law of Moses (Jacob 7:2).’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentaries on the  Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 13:3 God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time

‘All over the world, faithful Latter-day Saints are protected from the powers of the evil one and his servants until they have finished their missions in mortality. For some the mortal mission is brief, as with some valiant young men who have lost their lives in missionary service. But for most of us the mortal journey is long, and we continue our course with the protection of guardian angels.

During my life I have had many experiences of being guided in what I should do and in being protected from injury and also from evil. The Lord’s protecting care has shielded me from the evil acts of others and has also protected me from surrendering to my own worst impulses.’ (Dallin H Oakes, General Conference, October 1992)

Mosiah 13:11 The Ten Commandments

‘Some have mistakenly supposed that the Ten Commandments were a part of the law of Moses. In fact, they are a part of the higher law or the fulness of the gospel. This is illustrated by their reiteration to us as part of the restoration of all things (see D&C 59:5–12). The Ten Commandments were a part of the fulness of the gospel as first given to Moses on Sinai. Though the higher priesthood and its ordinances were taken from Israel because of her transgressions, when Moses returned to Sinai to receive what we know as the law of Moses the Ten Commandments were retained as a part of Israel’s covenant with God. ‘ [Robert Millet and Joseph McConkie, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2, p. 216]

Mosiah 13:28 Salvation doth not come by the law alone

“Men and women unquestionably have impressive powers and can bring to pass great things. But after all our obedience and good works, we cannot be saved from death or the effects of our individual sins without the grace extended by the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon makes this clear. It teaches that ‘salvation doth not come by the law alone’ (Mosiah 13:28). In other words, salvation does not come simply by keeping the commandments. ‘By the law no flesh is justified’ (2 Ne. 2:5). Even those who try to obey and serve God with all their heart, might, mind, and strength are ‘unprofitable servants’ (Mosiah 2:21). Man cannot earn his own salvation” (Dallin H Oaks, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Mar. 1994, 67).

Mosiah 13:29-31 The Law of Moses

‘In a sense the Law of Moses was given as a type of’spiritual busywork’ a system and pattern that would keep the people constantly involved; with everything pointing towards the coming Saviour and Redeemer.’ (Robert Millet, CES Symposium, August 1986)

2. Abinadi quotes Isaiah, testifies of the Atonement, and exhorts Noah’s priests to teach the people that redemption comes through Christ.

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Mosiah 14:2-12 The fulfillment of the words of Isaiah

Prophecy                                                                                          Fulfillment

(2) he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground (Lu 2:40) the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
(3) He is despised and rejected of men (Mark 6:2) Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James…And they were offended at him
(3) a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Lu 19:41-42) And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the thingswhich belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.
(4-5) he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…he was wounded for our transgressions (Lu 22:44) And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
(5) he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Jn 19:1-3) Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him with their hands.
(6) All we like sheep, have gone astray (Matt 26:31) All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

(Mark 14:46,50) And they laid their hands on him, and took him…And they all forsook him, and fled.

(7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth. (Lu 23:8-10) Herod…questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.

(Matt 27:13-14) Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

(8) who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living (Matt 27:24-26) Pilate…washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
(9) he made his grave with the wicked (Matt 27:38) Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
(9) and with the rich in his death (Matt 27:57-58) a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph…went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
(10) Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief (Matt 27:46) Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
(10) when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed (Mosiah 15:11-12) those who…believed that the Lord would redeem his people…are his seed…For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?
(11) He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. (DC 19:16-17) For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I ;
(12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong (Matt 26:64) Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Mosiah 15:10 He shall see his seed

‘The prophet Abinadi further states that “when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed”  (Mosiah 15:10) Abinadi then identifies the Savior’s seed as the prophets and those who follow them. For many years I thought of the Savior’s experience in the garden and on the cross as places where a large mass of sin was heaped upon Him. Through the words of Alma, Abinadi, Isaiah, and other prophets, however, my view has changed. Instead of an impersonal mass of sin, there was a long line of people, as Jesus felt “our infirmities” ( Heb. 4:15) “[bore] our griefs, … carried our sorrows … [and] was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:4-5) The Atonement was an intimate, personal experience in which Jesus came to know how to help each of us.’ (Melvin J Bateman, General Conference, October 2005)

Mosiah 15:10-13 I say unto you that they are his seed

“In these great scriptures from the Book of Mormon, we learn that those who are qualified by faith and repentance and compliance with the laws and ordinances of the gospel will have their sins borne by the Lord Jesus Christ. In spiritual and figurative terms they will become the sons and daughters of Christ, heirs to his kingdom. These are they who will be called by his name in the last day” (Dallin H Oaks in Conference Report, Apr. 1985).

Mosiah 15:24 Died in their ignorance

‘If a person never had the opportunity to know anything about the  plan of salvation, then surely he should not be held accountable for his deeds in the flesh on an equality with the man who knew the truth and refused to obey it. Thousands of these people who lived in this ignorance were devout and faithful to the doctrines which they had been taught. They cannot be held accountable for their actions which were done in faith and obedience to that which they devoutly believed and had been taught.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions)

3. Abinadi seals his testimony of the Savior with his life.

Mosiah 17:2 Alma

“One of the wicked priests of King Noah is a man named Alma, who is a descendant of Nephi. When first introduced in the Book of Mormon, Alma is a young man in the process of being converted by Abinadi. (Mosiah 17:2.) Much of the religious history of the Nephite nation for the next three hundred years is concerned with this man and his descendants. Alma not only begins a religious revival among his own people, but later he is given power by King Mosiah to establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla. (See Mosiah 25:19.)

“Still later we read that Alma’s son (also called Alma) succeeds his father as the religious leader of the people and also becomes the first chief judge over the Nephite nation. Other descendants of Alma the elder who become great religious leaders of the Nephites include his grandson (Helaman); great-grandson (Helaman, the son of Helaman); great-great-grandson (Nephi, the son of Helaman who is the son of Helaman); and great-great-great-grandson (Nephi the second, who is also the chief disciple of the resurrected Jesus Christ). Abinadi may have felt that he had failed as a missionary; so far as the record indicates, his only convert was Alma. However, as mentioned above, the missionary efforts of Abinadi affected the religious life of the Nephites for hundreds of years.” (Daniel Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p.187)

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Mosiah 17:5-12 The methods of the guilty

‘King Noah indicated that he was condemning Abinadi because Abinadi said that “God himself should come down among the children of men” (Mosiah 17:8). The real reason is shown in King Noah’s statement that he would spare Abinadi if he would recall all the words he had spoken against the king and his people (see v. 8).

One of the methods of the guilty is to destroy those who have exposed their guilt. Abinadi’s words condemned Noah and his people for their sinful ways, so Noah sought the life of Abinadi. Truly, as Nephi said, “The guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center” (1 Nephi 16:2).’ (Seminary Student Manual)

Mosiah 17:9-10 I will not recall the words which I have spoken

‘Abinadi refuses this option and declares that his death will testify against Noah (and his priests). In verse 9 Abinadi clearly declares that, while Noah’s men may have physically brought him to the court, he came intentionally and voluntarily. The result is to stress that he understood his mission to be his sermon before the priests which converted Alma and condemned the rest.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentaries on the  Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 17:20 Having sealed the truth of his words by his death

“I can imagine them dancing and cavorting about Abinadi, and hear them shouting, exulting, and gloating over what they were doing.  And during it all, Abinadi was pronouncing prophecies of God’s vengeance upon them- prophecies that were literally fulfilled.  The noise, the din, the stench would be awful!  Wickedness and righteousness, life and death, are real, and Abinadi’s martyrdom really did happen.  It was necessary that it happen so the righteous might be justified and the wicked might be condemned.  Sadly, we read that ‘Abinadi was [only] the first [among the Nephites] that suffered death by fire because of his belief in God’ (Alma 25:11).” (Robert J Matthews, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 103)

Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 17 – A Seer-Becometh a Great Benefit to His Fellow Beings

1. Ammon and his brethren find Limhi and his people. Ammon teaches Limhi of the importance of a seer.

Mosiah 7:11-13 Have come up out of the land of Zarahemla

‘Ammon did not know it but the king thought all of the people of Zarahemla were dead. He had sent an expedition north and thought they had found the ruins and the bones of the people of Zarahemla. But now here is Ammon saying he is from Zarahemla and they are not dead at all. What wonderful news!’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 7:19 Put your trust in God

“It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us, . . . if we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.” (Gordon B Hinckley, Church News, Oct. 4, 1997)

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Mosiah 7:29 Their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them

‘Limhi quotes Yahweh directly. The fact that he does not provide a reference shows that his people could identify the source. But this quotation does not appear in any of our scriptures. Logically, this “unknown” scripture may have been either the brass plates and the large plates of Nephi, which Mormon abridged. A somewhat similar concept appears in Job 4:7–8: “Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.” Righteousness provides access to Yahweh’s blessings; unrighteousness produces punishing results. Limhi’s quotation uses the term “stumbling block” where Job’s image is of “reaping.” This does not mean that the Lord places obstacles in our way, but rather that our own actions yield consequences that make life more difficult for us.’ (Brant Gardner,  Second Witness, Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 8:9 24 plates

“The twenty-four plates were called The Book of Ether after its author. (Ether 1:2) Their discovery was not an accident. For, when Ether had finished his record, ‘He hid them in a manner that the people of Limhi did find them.’ (Ether 15:33)” (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 283)

Mosiah 8:13 Interpreters

“The Hebrew words urim and thummim , both plural, mean lights and perfections. Presumably one of the stones is called Urim and the other Thummim. Ordinarily they are carried in a breastplate over the heart. (Ex. 28:30; Lev. 8:8)…President Joseph Fielding Smith, with reference to the seer stone and the Urim and Thummim, has written: ‘ We have been taught since the days of the Prophet that the Urim and Thummim were returned with the plates to the angel. We have no record of the Prophet having the Urim and Thummim after the organization of the Church.'” (Bruce R McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 818)

Mosiah 8:15-21 A seer and a prophet

‘In Mosiah 8:15–21, Ammon told of the great benefit that comes to men through having a seer among the people. Because a seer has the gift of seeing both the past and the future as well as revealing hidden things, he “becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings” (v. 18). Such hidden things might include impending judgments on a city, nation, or people; warnings about the consequences of sin; explanations of blessings for obedience; and definitions of important gospel principles. In an age of doubt, fear, and uncertainty such as we live in today, to have one who can “see” the course which leads us to peace and joy is a blessing to be treasured.’ (Seminary Manual)

2. The record of Zeniff recounts a brief history of Zeniff’s people.

Mosiah 9:1 All the language of the Nephites

‘Zeniff notes that he had been taught “in all the language of the Nephites” (Mosiah 9:1). Were there a number of languages involved in “all the language of the Nephites”? The reader should notice that the phrasing in Mosiah 9:1 is exactly like that used to describe the royal education of the three sons of King Benjamin (Mosiah, Helorum, and Helaman). Mosiah 1:2 says that ”he [Benjamin] caused that they should be taught in all the language of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding; and that they might know concerning the prophecies which had been spoken by the mouths of their fathers.“ What made Zeniff so special that he was allowed to learn these languages? Perhaps he was of royal birth, or perhaps Zeniff was referring to his scriptural and religious upbringing. Perhaps there were still previously converted ”Nephites“ from different cultural backgrounds in the land of Nephi who had chosen not to follow Mosiah1 when he fled to the land of Zarahemla.’ (Alan C Miner, Step by Step the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 9:10 King Laman

‘Evidently the Lamanites have used the same procedure as the Nephites did in their early history of naming their kings after their earliest leader. Jacob 1:11 mentions that the kings who succeeded Nephi were known as “second Nephi, third Nephi, and so forth, according to the reigns of the kings.” Thus it should not be too surprising to discover that the king of the Lamanites in approximately 178 B.C. was still known as “king Laman” (Mosiah 10:56), although the original leader after whom the king was named lived some four hundred years before. Also, later in the Book of Mormon we discover that the son who succeeded this king is also known as Laman.” (see Mosiah 24:3). ‘[Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 181]

Mosiah 10:12 The tradition of their fathers

“False traditions are the currency of devils and fill the treasure houses of hell.  With them the prince of darkness has purchased his own prophets, priests, and kings.  With them he has possessed nations and generations of people.  Of them Joseph Smith said: they are as ‘an iron yoke,’ ‘a strong band…… the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell’ (D&C 123:8).  As the Jews lost the revelation of Sinai in their traditions, making the commandments of none effect, so the traditions of Christianity supplanted that which was brought by the Messenger of the Covenant in the meridian of time, leaving Christian and Jew to wander alike in darkness (see Matthew 15:6; Malachi 3:1).” (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 198)

3. Abinadi warns the people, but they are blind to Noah’s wickedness.

Mosiah 11:1 Noah’s record

‘In Mosiah 11, the first person writing style of Zeniff’s account is now replaced with a clearly synoptic third person account. One might ask, Why did Mormon make this shift in editorial method and why did he make the change here? The answer is another subtle proof of the veracity of Mormon’s text.

To begin with, the original account of Noah is likely to have been long. As evidenced from Mormon’s report of Noah’s public building projects and his excess show of wealth, Noah was a self-absorbed man. Such a man would make sure his official record was impressive. Noah’s only problem, however, was that Mormon was apparently not impressed with such a prejudiced record. In fact, Mormon’s introduction to Noah begins unflatteringly, which is certain to be in contrast to the tone of Noah’s official record. But more importantly, Mormon shifts to telling us about Noah in a third-person synoptic style because Noah’s original records would not have revealed the real Noah. ‘ (Brant Gardner, “Book of Mormon Commentary)

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Mosiah 11:2 Walk after the desires of his own heart

‘The distance between constant self-pleasing and self-worship is shorter than we think. Stubborn selfishness is actually rebellion against God, because, warned Samuel, “stubbornness is as idolatry” (1Sam 15:23)’ (Neal A Maxwell, General Conference, October 1990)

Mosiah 11:6 Thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity

“Now the fact that they worked hard doesn’t sanctify their wealth or the uses of it. Remember, Jacob said, you have worked hard, and by your industry you have acquired great wealth. But it’s vile; you shouldn’t have it. The fact that you have worked for the stuff doesn’t mean that it is sanctified at all. Here the people were all for the program. He was a very popular king and put on a great show. ‘Thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.'” (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, lecture 33, p. 53)

Mosiah 11:6-7 They also became idolatrous

‘These verses are a clear expression of Mormon’s displeasure. It is his conclusion that the people labor to “support iniquity.” Tellingly, it was not only Noah and his court that were “in… idolatry,” but also the people. This issue is a critical one. Possibly Israel’s most distinctive characteristic was its firm stance against idols in a world filled of religious idols. An idol, in the thought of ancient Israel, is not simply a cultural artifact or an alternative (false) religion, but an alteration in the fabric of religious thought. In a word, Noah has changed religions and caused his people to also adopt a different religion. Not only has Noah overthrown his father’s political world, but also his religious world.

This factor explains the litany of transgressions Mormon records. These activities were not simply things the people decided to do, but rather a set of practices that came with the new religion/political order they had adopted.’ (Brant C Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 11:20 Abinadi

‘In Hebrew, ab means “father,” abi means “my father,” and nadi is “present with you,” so the name Abinadi may reflect his mission; it may mean something like “my father is present with you.” That is actually why they said they killed him–because he said God would come down and would be with man (see Mosiah 15:1–7). That was the charge of blasphemy they finally used to put him to death (Mosiah 17:8). ‘ [Todd Parker, “Abinadi: The Man and the Message (Part 1),” F.A.R.M.S., pp. 1-2]

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Mosiah 11:25 Sackcloth and ashes

“The use of sackcloth and ashes anciently was also a token of humility and penitence. When righteous persons used the covering of sackcloth and the sprinkling of ashes to aid them in attaining the spiritual strength to commune with Deity, their usage was always accompanied by fasting and prayer. Daniel, for instance, prefaced the record of one of his great petitions to the throne of grace with this explanation: ‘I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession.’ (Dan. 9:3-4; Isa. 58:5; 1 Kings 21:17-29.)” (Bruce R McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 659)

Mosiah 11:26 They were wroth with him

“It is interesting to note the reactions of wicked people to prophets of God. The Jews in Lehi’s day sought to take away his life. (See 1 Ne 1:19,20) The wicked people of Zarahemla sought to kill Samuel. (See Helaman 16.) And King Noah and his priests sought the life of Abinadi. What does the message of Nephi to his wicked brothers suggest is the reason for such behavior? ‘The guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.’ (1 Ne 16:2) This is why false prophets and corrupt priests so often flourish among the people. They salve the conscience, not only telling the people that there is no wickedness in their actions, but actually approving their acts as acceptable to God.” (Book of Mormon Student Manual, 1981, p. 191)