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Relationship to Mosiah. The relationship of Chapters 25-29 to the rest of Mosiah is discussed at Mosiah.
Story. In the first section of the book of Mosiah, King Benjamin was an ideal prophet-king who exercised both political and religious power among his people. While his son king Mosiah II apparently did likewise, this is not emphasized in the story. The emphasis is instead on king Noah who exercised both political and religious power to the destruction of his people in the central section of the book. Here in the final section of the book, political and religious power are separated from each other, and we get a lesson in the spheres over which each should exercise power:
- Chapter 25: Separation of church and state. The people of king Limhi reunite with the people of Zarahemla to again become a single people. Mosiah II retains political power, but delivers governance of the church and religious power to Alma. Church and state are now separated for the first time in the story of the Nephites.
- Chapter 26: Internal church discipline. The church suffers from wickedness within its membership. Alma, the high priest, takes this matter to the king, who responds that this is a matter for internal church regulation, not political intervention. Alma then receives revelation that the church is to expel from its membership the wicked who will not repent.
- Chapter 27a: External persecution of the church. The church next suffers persecution from those outside its membership. Alma takes this matter to the king, and the king issues a decree that criminalizes persecution of the church.
- Chapter 27b: Preaching against the church. Finally, the church suffers when Alma the Younger and the sons of king Mosiah II preach against the church. The problem cannot be resolved simply by exercising religious power to expel them from membership in the church that they already actively oppose. And because the law protects freedom of conscience, political power cannot be exercised against them while they merely preach their beliefs. The matter is finally resolved through the prayers of the church and divine intervention when an angel appears and presents them with the choice to either cease or be destroyed. In the end, Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah II are converted and strengthen the church.
- Chapter 28-29: Democracy. The sons of king Mosiah II desire to extend their preaching from the Nephites to the Lamanites. King Mosiah II has already conferred upon Alma the governance of the church, but the impending absence of his sons still leaves him with two other succession issues. He confers custodianship of the records upon Alma. He then confers the kingdom upon the people at large by transitioning the Nephites to democracy.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 25-29 include:
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Church and state
The Book of Mormon emphasizes two social institutions, church and state.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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