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)


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)


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]


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)


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