Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 20 – My Soul is Pained No More

1. Limhi’s and Alma’s people join Mosiah’s people in the land of Zarahemla.

‘At the end of Mosiah, the Nephite nation consisted of the Mulekites, the Nephites of Zarahemla, the people of Limhi, the people of Alma, and the children of the Amulonites (see Mosiah 25:12). These five groups became one group under the leadership of king Mosiah II, son of Benjamin. But there were not so many of the people of Nephi and of the people of Zarahemla as there were of the Lamanites; yea, they were not half so numerous (Mosiah 25:3).

The decision of Limhi and Alma and the Amulonites and the Mulekites to join the people of Mosiah is instructive. They had a desire, I suspect, to associate with people led by a prophet of God. They wanted the fellowship of disciples of Christ. The request of the people of Limhi for baptism shows their commitment to this concept.’ (Ted L Gibbons)

163D-Image Mosiah Before People

Mosiah 25:5 Did read and did cause to be read

‘The phrase “did read, and caused to be read” is significant. It suggests that large numbers of people were beyond the reach of Mosiah’s voice and that messengers had to be sent to read the information to outlying gatherings. Why did Mosiah read the accounts of Limhi and later of Alma? We struggle today with information overload, forgetting that the ancient world was typically bereft of both information and entertainment. Reading these records was not only an important means of communicating important information about the new neighbors but also a form of entertainment. The excuse to gather and to hear something new would have been a popular diversion from the daily tasks of survival.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 25:7-11 Reaction to the reading of the records

‘The people of Zarahemla responded in a variety of ways to these records. They were filled with wonder and amazement, rejoiced that their brethren were free, sorrowed for their slain brethren, gave thanks to God for delivering Alma’s people from bondage, and anguished over the sinful state of their Lamanite brethren.
Their responses demonstrated their charity because they felt such sorrow for their sinful brethren and such gratitude for God’s blessings.’ (Neumanninstitute.org)

Mosiah 25:17 Baptism

‘This verse is an important marker in the development of Nephite religion. As background, Limhi is the son of Noah, the son of Zeniff, a Nephite from the city of Nephi who came to Zarahemla with Mosiah1, then led his people back to the land of Nephi. Mormon views Zeniff as a “good” Nephite, which, for Mormon, means someone who follows Yahweh’s commandments. Although Noah apostatized, Limhi was apparently faithful. His people, despite a period of apostasy while Noah ruled, had been raised in the Nephite religion and had returned to it by the time they fled to Zarahemla. Thus, Nephites who had known of baptism since the time of Nephi1(and who had already requested it, Mosiah 21:33) are now being baptized.

According to a modern interpretation, they are being rebaptized after having fallen away. In their own context, however, Alma is introducing baptism with a new meaning. For Alma, baptism (for the first time) symbolizes a covenant rather than a cleansing. Rather than being only an individual action that effects the remission of sins on a personal level, Alma’s baptism also introduces the newly baptized person into a congregation. Ancient religion was part of the entire community. Alma’s baptism is a way of making a religious covenant distinct from the political covenant that binds them. Alma creates churches.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 25:22 They were all one church

“‘The Church is the same wherever you go!’ I grew up hearing this from returning vacationers and from missionaries reporting their missions.  And I understood what they meant.  They didn’t mean that the same hymns were sung elsewhere- though they were- or that everyone used the same lesson manuals, or that everyone thought the same.  They meant the gospel felt the same wherever they went. This resulted from the presence of the Holy Spirit, which is the universal way we recognize the things of God.  It’s the same when you learn something new or see something from a new slant, and suddenly it all makes sense.  You know it’s right, because it feels right and is consistent with other glimpses of truth that you’ve had.” (Book of Mormon Symposium Series, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 105)

2. Many Church members are led into sin by unbelievers.

Mosiah 26:1 Our rising generation

‘In these perilous times, as our youth are faced with this increased adversity, we can learn from others. In the armed forces, particularly in all the navies throughout the world, every seaman understands one phrase that is a clarion call for immediate help, no matter what he is doing or where he is on the ship. The call is “All hands on deck.” Many a battle at sea has been won or lost by the response to this call.

We—as members of the Church, leaders of youth, anxious fathers, and concerned grandfathers—all need to respond to the call for “all hands on deck” as it pertains to our youth and young single adults. We must all look for opportunities to bless the youth whether or not we are currently closely associated with them. We must continue to teach and fortify fathers and mothers in their divinely declared roles with their children in the home. We must ask ourselves constantly if that extra sporting event, that extra activity or errand outside of the home is more important than families being together at home.

Now is the time, brethren, when in every action we take, in every place we go, with every Latter-day Saint young person we meet, we need to have an increased awareness of the need for strengthening, nurturing, and being an influence for good in their lives.’ (Ronald A Rasband, General Conference, April 2006)

‘The challenge of conveying the testimonies of the fathers to the hearts of the children confronts every generation. But some generations seem to have handled it better than others. Many Nephites must have agonized when they saw their children make some of the same mistakes and suffer some of the same consequences as their parents.’ (Ted L Gibbons)

Mosiah 26:4-6 And they were a separate people

‘The rebellious youth started out as a comparatively small group, but contention and quarreling began developing inside the Church so that the rebellious youth used it as an excuse to greatly increase their numbers. Furthermore the rebels began recruiting others into their ranks and convincing them that the gospel with its strict rules of righteousness were really vain imaginations of their elders who just wanted to get power over them.’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 26:7-10 He caused that they should be brought before the king

‘As charges began to be brought against these rebels, the Church didn’t really know what to do with this dissident group. Alma knew he could preach, but could he punish? What action should be taken against these rebels who were literally tearing the Church apart? He finally decided to take the problem to the king. Perhaps it was a civil matter and the punishment for wrongdoing should be handled by the king.’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 26:29-30,32 Church discipline

‘The Lord told Alma to forgive the people who had sinned if they confessed and repented, but that those who refused to confess and repent should be excommunicated from the Church.
Confession is an important step in the process of repentance because we cannot feel godly sorrow, ask forgiveness, make restitution, or choose to live righteously if we refuse to admit our mistakes or evil choices.’ (Neumanninstitute.org)

Mosiah 26:31 Forgive one another your trespasses

“Remember that we must forgive even if our offender did not repent and ask forgiveness…Do we follow that commandment or do we sulk in our bitterness, waiting for our offender to learn of it and to kneel to us in remorse?…No bitterness of past frictions can be held in memory if we forgive with all our hearts.” (Spencer W Kimball, Conference Report, Oct. 1949)

Mosiah 27:1-3 Equality

‘We like to think that all men are created equal but whenever anybody is being persecuted and discriminated against because of race, religion or membership in a legitimate organization, the principle of equality is being violated. This was happening to a disgraceful extent among the people of Zarahemla. The king’s proclamation declared that this persecution, inhumanity and inequality must cease.’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

3. Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah are visited by an angel.

‘Among the youthful unbelievers tormenting the Nephites were the son of Alma and the sons of Mosiah. Alma gets special attention in the verses of Mosiah 27, although we may assume that he acted in almost every affair with the support of the King’s sons and a few others. Notice the descriptions of the wickedness of this man:

(27:8) very wicked

(27:8) an idolatrous man

(27:8) he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities

(27:9) he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church

(27:9) he was guilty of stealing away the hearts of the people

(27:9) he caused much dissension among the people

(27:9) he provided a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over [the people]

(27:10) he was going about to destroy the church of God

(27:10) he was seeking to lead astray the people of the Lord

(27:11) he was going about rebelling against God

(28:4) he and his companions were the very vilest of sinners(Alma 36:14) he had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction’ (Ted L Gibbons)

Mosiah 27:8 Alma the younger

“Imagine the influence he had on other young people. He was the son of the head of the Church, and his companions were the sons of the king. They were talented young men with the appeal to attract many followers. Imagine the pride in Alma’s heart as many followed him, doing ‘after the manner of his iniquities.’ Because of the power of his words and his ability to attract many, it would have been difficult for him to change the course he was pursuing to the course the Lord would expect, without a real earth-shaking event. Of course, the Lord had a major event in mind for him.” (L Tom Perry, Heroes From the Book of Mormon, p. 99)

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Mosiah 27:14 Also the prayers of his servant, Alma

‘The Book of Mormon reminds us that even the prophet Alma had to bear the burden of having a rebellious son. But Alma was blessed with covenant-keeping brothers and sisters in the gospel who were deeply converted unto the Lord and had learned what it meant to bear each other’s burdens. We are familiar with the verse in Mosiah that speaks of the great faith of Alma’s prayers in behalf of his son. But the record states that “the Lord … heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma.”’ (Linda K Burton, General Conference, October 2013)

Mosiah 27:19 Now the astonishment of Alma was so great that he became dumb

‘Alma2’s similarity to Saul/Paul is clear in the physical incapacity that resulted from the visitation (Acts 9:8). Contrary to Saul, however, Alma2 is completely debilitated. His companions are functional, able to carry him to assistance. Saul was only blind, but Alma2 was dumb and so weak that he was “carried helpless.” That he was “laid” before his father indicates that he was too weak even to sit.

This physical weakness apparently resulted from a spiritual struggle, which he recounts later. Perhaps he was so preoccupied with the internal that his body was unable to cope with the external. Whatever the cause, his condition clearly stemmed from his experience with the angel.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

Mosiah 27:24 I have repented of my sins

‘I have been asked the question, ‘Isn’t it depressing to have to review the sins and transgressions of people involved in such difficulties?’ It would be if I were looking for sins and transgressions. But I am working with people who are repenting. These are sons and daughters of God who have made mistakes—some of them very serious. But they are not sinners. They were sinners in the past but have learned through bitter experience the heartbreak that results from disobedience to God’s laws. Now they are no longer sinners. They are God’s repentant children who want to come back to Him and are striving to do so. They have made their mistakes and have paid for them. Now they seek understanding, love, and acceptance” ‘(in Conference Report, Oct. 1985).

Mosiah 27:25 All mankind …must be born again

“The experience of each individual who is really born again is similar to this experience of Alma and the sons of Mosiah, although it may not be so dramatic. The effect upon each person’s life is likewise similar. No person whose soul is illuminated by the burning Spirit of God can in this world of sin and dense darkness remain passive. He is driven by an irresistible urge to fit himself to be an active agent of God in furthering righteousness and in freeing the lives and minds of men from the bondage of sin.” (Marion G Romney, Conference Report, Oct. 1941, p. 89)

Mosiah 27:28 Wading through much tribulation

‘Unless we are careful, the apparent simplicity of this spiritual rebirth may confuse us. Alma, wicked as he was, did not have an interview with an angel, sleep for three days, and then announce his conversion. He said this of the experience his soul had while his body lay unmoving, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God (Mosiah 27:28, emphasis added). Does that sound easy?’ (Ted L Gibbons)

Mosiah 27:29 The marvelous light of God

‘Transgression brings pain and sorrow. But there is a way out of “the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity”.  If we will turn to the Lord and believe on His name, we can change. He will give us the power to change our lives, the power to put away bad thoughts and feelings from our hearts. We can be taken from “the darkest abyss” to “behold the marvelous light of God”. We can be forgiven. We can find peace.’ (James E Faust, General Conference, October 2007)

4. Alma and the sons of Mosiah dedicate themselves to preaching the gospel.

Mosiah 27:35 Striving to repair all the injuries

“After a man has repented, will his faith and repentance bring the forgiveness of sins through the atonement? Are these all the conditions required? No. You may confess your sins; but if you never make restitution to the persons you have wronged, your confession will be of no service.” (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 263)

Mosiah 28:1-3 They could not bear that any human soul should perish

‘My prayer is that you will have joy in your priesthood service throughout your life and forever. I pray that you will develop the bravery and love for Heavenly Father’s children that led the sons of Mosiah to plead for the chance to face death and danger to take the gospel to a hardened people. Their desire and their bravery came from feeling responsible for the eternal happiness of strangers in danger of eternal misery.’ (Henry B Eyring, General Conference, April 2009)

Mosiah 28:7 Two promises

‘Notice that this verse contains two promises. First, that if Mosiah would let his sons go among the Lamanites, they would convert many souls. Second, in spite of the extreme danger to which they would expose themselves, their lives would be spared and his sons would be delivered out of the hands of the Lamanites. With these two assurances, Mosiah moved forward.’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

 

 

 

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