Mosiah 25:1-4 “King Mosiah Caused that All the People Should be Gathered Together”
The peoples of the Book of Mormon are characterized by complex details of origin, identification, and migration. In about 120 b.c., those residing in the land of Zarahemla under the leadership of King Mosiah II includes:
- The descendants of Mulek and his people, who in about 589 b.c. were led from Jerusalem by the hand of the Lord to the land of Zarahemla (see Omni 1:14-19; Mosiah 25:2; Helaman 6:10).
- The descendants of those who followed Nephi in leaving the land of first inheritance and establishing the land of Nephi; later being led to Zarahemla by Mosiah I (see 2 Nephi 5:1-9; Omni 1:12-14).
- The descendants of Zeniff and others who left Zarahemla and went to the land of Nephi. Two generations later they were led by Ammon back to Zarahemla (see Omni 1:27-30; Mosiah 7:1-23, 33; 9:1-7; 22:11-14).
- Alma and his followers, who escaped from King Noah in the land of Nephi, then escaped from Amulon and the other priests of Noah in the wilderness, then were led by the Lord to the land of Zarahemla (see Mosiah 18:34; 23:13; 24:8, 16-25).
In each case, the hand of the Lord was instrumental in guiding these people to Zarahemla, although some may not have recognized it. Today, we can consider how the Lord has guided us to people, places, and circumstances that were ultimately for our good.
Mosiah 25:5-10 “Mosiah Did Read, and Caused to Be Read”
In these verses we see again the importance of record-keeping among God’s people: King Mosiah taught his people the ways of righteousness and the ways of the Lord by sharing with them the records of Zeniff (verse 5) and of Alma (verses 6-8). This moved the people to “wonder and amazement” (verse 7), “exceedingly great joy” (verse 8), and even “many tears of sorrow” (verse 9). Additionally, the people of Zarahemla were made more aware of the “immediate goodness of God” and “they did raise their voices and give thanks to God” (verse 10).
These events can help us consider our use of the scriptures, and what our scripture study does for us. We can also consider the ways in which our living prophets use the scriptures to teach and testify to us, and how we may experience wonder, amazement, and great joy through the written word of God.
Mosiah 26:1-6 “They Did Not Believe the Tradition of Their Fathers”
We cannot know exactly what went wrong with “many of the rising generation” (verse 1) who chose not to follow the gospel path of their parents. But we can glean the following:
- They chose not to believe the tradition of their fathers (verse 1).
- They chose not to believe in the resurrection of the dead nor the coming of Christ (verse 2).
- They chose to refuse baptism and to live in a “carnal and sinful state” (verse 4).
- They chose to deceive others through flattery and “did cause them to commit many sins,” leading to “dissensions among the brethren” (verses 5-6).
At first glance one may conclude that they did not understand gospel truths, which is why they did not believe them. This could lead us to think that we can convince people of the truth if we can just explain it better. However, Mormon makes clear in verse 3 that it was the other way around: They chose not to believe the word of God, which led to their inability to understand it. Thus, a person must first plant the seed of faith, or else he/she will fail to understand and accept gospel truths (see verse 21; see also Alma 32:26-43; Matthew 13:9-13, 16). But there is hope, for part of the “good news” of the gospel is that people can—and often do—turn from hard hearts and misunderstanding minds toward faith, testimony, repentance, and conversion.
Mosiah 26:10-39 Alma’s Prayers and Answers
Alma was “troubled in his spirit” regarding the unbelievers, so he “inquired of the Lord what he should do” (verses 10, 13). He “poured out his whole soul to God” (verse 14) and before revealing His answer, the Lord told Alma six times that he was blessed for his faith and his labors (verses 15-19). Then we encounter one of the clearest scriptural examples of having one’s calling and election made sure: “Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life” (verse 20; see also John 14:16-23; 2 Peter 1:10; D&C 67:10; 88:68; 93:1; 132:49).
Then comes the Lord’s answer regarding the unbelievers, confirming that His hand is always extended to His children, holding open the way for them to repent and come unto Him: “If he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also…. And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses” (verses 29, 31). Note the three kinds of forgiveness expressed in these verses: Forgiveness from the church, forgiveness from the Lord, and forgiveness of each other. Alma then “did regulate all the affairs of the church; and they began again to have peace and to prosper exceedingly in the affairs of the church” (verse 37). Unfortunately, it did not last.
Mosiah 27:8-37 Alma and the Angel
Among the unbelievers were Alma (son of Alma) and the sons of King Mosiah (Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni). They were wicked men who used flattery to lead people of the church into iniquity, thus causing dissension among the people (verses 8-9). All this precipitated a visit from an angel, in answer to the prayers of Alma the Elder and others (verse 14). But the angel’s visit is not what caused them to repent and become converted (there are numerous scriptural examples of people being visited by angels, yet they do not repent). Rather, the angel told them that he had come to convince them of the power and authority of God and to command them to stop persecuting the church (verses 14-16; see also Alma 36:6). Their choice to undergo true repentance—illustrated by the experience of Alma the Younger—included the following components:
- Awareness of his sinful state: I was like to be cast off (verse 27).
- Grieving and suffering, with true contrition: Everlasting burning, gall of bitterness, bonds of iniquity, the darkest abyss, eternal torment (verses 28-29).
- A determination to change and allow the Lord to reform him: Wading through much tribulation; repenting nigh unto death (verse 28; Alma almost died from the intensity of his emotional trauma).
- Rebuilding his life in Christ: I have repented; I am born again; changed from a carnal and fallen state; being redeemed of God (verses 24-25).
- Endeavoring to make things right: Began from this time forward to teach the people; zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done (verses 32-33, 35).
These are not “steps” of repentance, because sincere repentance is not a list of things to “check off.” Instead, in these verses we are looking at someone’s repentance experience, learning more about how we may more fully come unto Christ. We also see that repentance is not a complete avoidance of pain, for it can be a truly painful experience (see verses 28-29; see also Mosiah 28:4). Yet, the Lord extends His forgiveness and removes the punishment for our sins; even promising not to remember them (see D&C 58:42).
Mosiah 28:1-7 “That They Might Impart the Word of God to Their Brethren”
The transformation of the sons of Mosiah was so complete that they besought their father that they might go to the land of Nephi to share the gospel with their “enemies,” the Lamanites (verses 1-4). The Lord told Mosiah, “Let them go up” and He promised three things: “many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites” (verse 7). This led to the wonderful accounts in the “missionary chapters,” Alma 17-29.
Reflect upon your experiences in sharing the gospel or any of its truths with others. How have those experiences made you feel—whether or not your efforts were accepted? Examine your desires and efforts in regard to imparting the word of God, and how you may grow in your capacity as an instrument in His hands.