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Crying with One Voice in King Benjamin’s Address (Mosiah 4-5)

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon Lesson 16:
“A Mighty Change” (Mosiah 4-6)




At two points within King Benjamin’s address, the people cried “with one voice” or, in other words, in unison. This is similar to the way the Lord’s prayer is often recited in some group worship settings, or the way the American Pledge of Allegiance. The first instance of this phenomenon comes in Mosiah 4:1-2,

1 And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
2 And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.

So when the people cry aloud with one voice in this case they petition the Lord for mercy. Some questions that we should ask ourselves are why they are speaking in unison, how they are speaking in unison? Let us consider these questions as we read a passage showing the same phenomenon in Mosiah 5,

2 And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.
3 And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite goodness of God, and the manifestations of his Spirit, have great views of that which is to come; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things.
4 And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceedingly great joy.
5 And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God.

So the reason why they are crying aloud in unison is to express their willingness or assent to enter into a covenant with God, so this is part of a covenant and likely an ordinance. Verse 6 immediately following, clarifies exactly how they knew what to say,

6 And now, these are the words which king Benjamin desired of them; and therefore he said unto them: Ye have spoken the words that I desired; and the covenant which ye have made is a righteous covenant.

So King Benjamin’s people knew what they should say at that point in what amounts to a covenant ceremony because King Benjamin had shared with them the words of the covenant in advance. All of this is for the purpose (as the later verses in chapter 5 make clear) of making a covenant with God that allows his people to undergo a profound change of heart and be united under a new name: the Children of Christ. Understood in this way, much of this chapter can be seen as clearly connected with temple worship as we have it today in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wherein we covenant our obedience to God and our faithfulness adherence to his commandments.

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