Mosiah 20:1-24:25

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Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 20-24 (Verses 20:1-24:25)
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Relationship to Mosiah. The relationship of Chapters 20-24 to the rest of Mosiah is discussed at Mosiah.


Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 20-24 include:


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  • Mosiah 24: Implications for Baptismal Covenant and Relationship with God. The implications of these verses for our understanding of baptism and our relationship to God are profound. They suggest that when we are baptized, we enter into community with God and Christ. We become, in important ways, fellow citizens with the Father and Son of a divine community. This profound meaning is suggested by the explicit echoes in these verses of Mosiah 18:8-10 which describe the covenant we make when we are baptized. At baptism, we take upon ourselves the obligation “to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light … to mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death” (Mosiah 18:8-10).
These verses in chapter 24 suggest that the Father and Son are bound to us by the same baptismal covenant that binds us to one another. When they act to serve us, it is as fellow members of the covenant community we enter when we are baptized. In other words, in these verses the Lord chooses to characterize himself not as a distant sovereign who exists high above us but as a fellow citizen of the divine community who labors with us to bear the burdens of those who struggle.
Thus, in Mosiah 24:13, the Lord says “I will covenant with my people.” Then in verses 13 and 14, he makes it clear that his covenant is the same one we have made. He will “visit [his] people in their afflictions” and bear their burdens that they may be “made light.” He will mourn with them as they mourn, comfort them as they stand in need of comfort. He will enable them to “stand as witness for [God]” as they have covenanted to do at the Waters of Mormon. He will undertake the same obligations as other members of the covenant community that was formed at the Waters of Mormon. In short, he suggests in these verses that he and we have like natures and like moral obligations and he ask nothing of us at baptism that he is not doing himself.
One very important implication of Christ joining us as a kind of equal in this covenant community is that our obligation to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light, to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort extends not just to our fellow Church members but to Christ himself. We are obligated to mourn with him when he mourns and to comfort him when he stands in need of comfort. But how can we fulfill that obligation? D&C 18:11-13 and Luke 24:43 may answer this question.
D&C 18:15-16 (often cited to encourage missionary work) indicates that if we labor all our lives crying repentance and bring save it be one soul unto Christ, our joy with that one soul will be great in the kingdom of the father. Much less often cited are verses 11-13 which suggest that it is Christ who most profoundly experiences joy when a soul repents. Since it was he who paid the heavy price to enable the repentance of the soul that is saved, it would naturally be he who experiences the most joy when his suffering has the intended effect of saving a soul. Thus we can partly repay the debt we all owe the Savior by brining repentant souls to him, first our own, then those of others around us.
Of course, the moment when the Savior most stood in need of comfort was in Gethsemane. Luke reports that he pled with the father that the cup might pass from him and that an angel then appeared to strengthen and comfort him (Luke 24:42-43). We can be that angel. The only comfort the Savior could have received in that moment would be assurances that his sacrifice was not in vain, that the souls for whom he suffered would choose to receive the gift of salvation he there offered them. We can comfort the Savior to whom we owe everything by going to Gethsemane in imagination and spirit and there assuring him in his moment of agony that we gratefully receive his self-sacrifice, that with broken heart and contrite spirit we are born again in him, will repent of our sins and return to the father through the grace he there offers us.
Is this possible? Christ’s atonement was infinite. It was connected to every moment of time before or after in which a soul repents. As a divine being, the Savior was immersed in both time and eternity. So it may literally be true that knowledge of our acceptance of the offering might comfort him in that moment. But whether literal or not, both he and we can benefit if we take passage to Gethsemane and gratefully receive the redemption he offered us there.
See Alma 33:23 for a related echo of the baptismal covenant.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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  • Mosiah 23:14. Alma tells his people that they should trust no one to be their teacher or minister except that person be a man of God. Is this advice applicable to us today? How should we apply it? Is it applicable when we are learning about non-religous subjects? How about Gospel Doctrine and Relief Society/Priesthood teachers? Do we have a responsibility to evaluate whether our teachers in church are men or women of God--whether they walk in God's commandments?

Prompts for further study[edit]

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  • Mosiah 20:13: Why were they so kind to the Lamanite king after what he had just done? What can we learn from this?
  • Mosiah 21:33: Why would Ammon consider himself unworthy to baptize?
  • Mosiah 21:34: What is meant in verse 34 by "form themselves into a church"? It seems there was religious instruction and worship going on given that verse 31 tells us that the people had entered into a covenant with God. So what is that they aren't doing such that they consider themselves not having formed a church?
  • Mosiah 24:1-5: Since the BoM was written for our day, in what ways is the educational system created here by apostate Amulon reflected in the educational system adopted by the Americans? Is the editor trying to warn us of something?
  • Mosiah 24:4: I am curious about verse 4. Are there other verses in the Book of Mormon that talk to the Language of the Nephites as not being the same as the Lamanites? I am curious about this topic but I wonder if there just isn't enough info in the Book of Mormon about it to make the topic fruitfull. If that is true, it wouldn't be too surprising given that purposeful effort to concentrate on the religious history by Nephi originally and also by Mormon as he put stuff together.
  • Mosiah 24:8: Was Alma the Younger one of Alma's children persecuted by the children of Amulon?


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  • Mosiah 23:9-10. Anthony D. Perkins, "‘The Great and Wonderful Love’," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 76–78. Elder Perkins said: "If you imagine that your prior sins, character flaws, and poor decisions prevent you from receiving all of God's blessings, consider the experience of Alma the Elder... Alma's repentance was so complete and Christ's Atonement so infinite that Alma became a prophet and was promised eternal life (see Mosiah 26:20). As you do your best to be obedient and repentant, you too can receive a place in the celestial kingdom through the Atonement and grace of Jesus Christ."


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