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This page allows you to see all the commentary pages together for this Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine lesson. Click on the heading to go to a specific page. Click the edit links below to edit text on any pages.


Mosiah 25-29

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29

Subpages: Chapter 25 Chapter 26-27a Chapter 27b Chapter 28-29

Previous page: Chapters 20-24                      Next page: Chapter 25


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

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:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Church and state[edit]

The Book of Mormon emphasizes two social institutions, church and state.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 20-24                      Next page: Chapter 25


Mosiah 25:1-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 25
Previous page: Chapters 25-29                      Next page: Chapter 26-27a


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 25 to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 25 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:1-5: Mosiah's written message and Alma's oral message. Does anyone have any ideas of what to make of the contrast between Mosiah's written messages and Alma's oral messages? I have a couple of ideas, but I am not sure that they work. For what they are worth, here they are:
  • Mosiah is telling communal stories of exodus and redemption, while Alma calls for individual repentance and faith. The communal nature of Mosiah's narrative calls for the more lasting and public medium of writing, while the personal nature of Alma's narrative calls for the more intimate medium of speech. (Note this is problematic, because as we see in verse 17 conversion turns out to be a communal activity)
  • The writing of the communal narrative allows Mosiah to relate the Nephite story back to the story of Moses and the Children of Israel, which is a written story. The writing confirms the link. Alma's message of personal conversion through preaching, however, is something new, so reducing it to writing doesn't have the same effect of recapitulating scripture.
  • Mosiah's narrative is about memory and the past, while Alma's preaching is about action in the future. Writing is the medium of memory, while speech is the medium of future action.
  • A written narrative is fixed and subject to the control of the author, while an oral narrative is not fixed and has a life of its own. Mosiah's writing is about political control; while Alma's preaching is about spiritual life.
  • I'm not sure that any of these interpretations hold any water, but the contrast is striking to me. Thoughts? Reactions?
  • Mosiah 25:1. This story opens with an overtly political situation: "king Mosiah caused that all the people should be gathered together." The splits and rejoinings that have characterized the whole book of Mosiah are finally coming to their climax, as all the Nephites are together again, but now in a much more complicated political situation. The gathering is the first gathering of all the Nephites as such, since those who left for the land of Nephi left even before Benjamin's final speech. This gathering seems meant to echo Benjamin's speech in some ways, though it is clearly also intended to go beyond it. The political shifts that characterize especially Mosiah 29 find their official beginnings in this very assembly.
  • Mosiah 25:5. Beginning here and continuing through v. 6, King Mosiah begins reading the records of the various Nephite groups. The figure of Mosiah in this chapter seems to be paired with the figure of Alma. One is king and one is something like a priest or prophet. Interestingly, Alma also addresses the people beginning in v. 15 of the chapter, but in contrast to Mosiah he does not read but rather he is preaches (v. 15) and exhorts (v.16). There is some sense in which the "political" discourse of Mosiah is a written discourse, while the "religious" discourse of Alma is oral. However, the categories of political and religious must be treated with some skepticism for as we see in the following verses, Mosiah's "political" message is couched in terms of "religious" stories, and Alma's "religious" message has a "political" aspect to it, as in v. 17 where King Limhi is converted "and all his people were desirous that they might be baptized as well."
  • Mosiah 25:18-19. There is an interesting interplay of authority between these two verses. In verse 18, Alma's activity is explicitly compared to his actions at the Waters of Mormon. There his authority seems to have come from the power of the spirit descending upon him. (Although he was a priest of Noah, previously.) Note also that in this verse church is singular, and modified by God. In verse 19, the authority comes not from the spirit or some other explicitly divine source, but rather from the king and it is he that grants the power to ordain priests and teachers. Notice also that in this verse we have "churches" plural and they are unmodified by any other sobriquet. Part of what seems to be going on in these verses is the reconcilliation of the potentially competing authorities of Alma and Mosiah. One might read these verses as suggesting a kind of doctrine of two churches, one spiritual, indivisible, and ultimately responsible to God through his prophet, and the other, plural, earthly, and ultimately responsible to the community through its king.
  • Mosiah 25:20. This verses seems to begin reconciliation of the constrast created in verses 18 and 19. Note that the action taken by the king in verse 19 is explained in practical, logistical terms. The verses that follow (v.21-24), however, affirm the transcendent aspect of "the church of God" (v.21).
  • Mosiah 25:21-24. One way of reading these verses is to see them as the reconciliation of the tension between the singular "church of God" created by Alma in v. 18 and the plural "churches" authorized by King Mosiah in v. 19. In verse 20-21, Mosiah's action is explained in practical terms. Notice, however, that verse 21 ends with a reference not to the authority of Mosiah, but of Alma ("the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma"). Verse 22 affirms the unity of the churches in "all one church, yea even the church of God."

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:6: Alma previously in Zarahemla? I have a question about Mosiah 25:6. It suggests that Alma and his people had been in Zarahemla, but my reading of the Book of Mormon indicates that they were never there. Any ideas? A: If we look back at verse 5 we see that Mosiah read the "records of Zeniff" from the time he and his people left Zarahemla to the time they returned. Of course Zeniff himself never returned to Zarahemla. But his people do return when his grandson, Limhi, is leading the people. So clearly Zeniff didn't write this entire record, but, nevertheless, the record is called the records of Zeniff. What verse 6 says is that Mosiah also read another record. He calls this "the account of Alma and his brethren." And as I read this verse the account of Alma and his brethren does not begin at the point that Alma leaves Noah's people. For both groups the critical "beginning" it seems is the time that they leave Zarahemla. In both cases the record covers a longer period of time than the life of the person the account is named after. The statement does make sense if you read it as referring to the groups of people rather than the named individual.
  • Mosiah 25:19: How can a king decide who has authority over the Church? Mosiah 6:3 tells us that Benjamin "consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and a king over his poeple, and had given him all the charges concerning the kingdom, and also had appointed preists to teach the people...." This notion of divinely appointed kings with both spiritual and secular authority dates back to Old Testament times (I recently heard a radio interview with Bruce Feiler where he discussed God warning the ancient Israelites about the dangers of a king before David was chosen as king--it'd be interesting to learn more about that and tie in the discussion here).
Interestingly, we read in 2 Ne 10:11 that "this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles." And in v. 14, "For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words." Do these verses refer to latter-day Gentiles on the American continent? Ancient America also? When Jacob was reciting these words, wasn't there a king in the land then? How long after Jacob said these things were the judges established? Was there any connection?
  • Mosiah 25:22: What is the point of the remark that the bodies of believers were called churches? To me, the word 'church' suggests an interpersonal organization. I've heard many complaints about organized religion (and I've made complaints myself!). However, the alternative seems to be only a very weak notion of religion. It is the interaction with each other as believers and our joint interaction with God that makes religion meaningful and effectual. Some related x-refs include:
  • Rom 12:4ff "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
  • 1 Cor 12:12ff "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many."
The word 'body' has interesting usages in English. "Bodies of believers" (as in "the body of the senate"). "The body of Christ." Is it the same in Greek? Thinking about the church as a body provides a rich analogy suggesting how believers should interact with each other. Not just that we need to interact and get along, but that we each have our function (e.g. what service we do in the ward) and our place (e.g. deferring to Priesthood authority).
  • A: Yes, it looks like it's the same in Greek. See Strong's Concordance. (The word is soma, which is the root word of English words such as the second half of "psychosomatic.") I suspect, but don't know, that "body" came to have the expanded meaning because of New Testament influence.
  • A: It is interesting that as the word is used here there seems to be some ambiguity between calling the overarching organization the church and each congregation a church. Comparing that today it is like calling the church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a church and calling wards churches. It wouldn't be too strange to do this today but we don't normally call each ward a church--though we do call the building they meet in a church so it may amount to about the same thing. Verse 21 tells us that each church has their own priests and teachers. This suggests that each congregations has its own hierarchy of those with authority to lead and teach the church. This is also a characteristic that their churches share with our wards. I also think it is interesting to contrast the use of the word church here with Mosiah 21:34. There it says Limhi's people did not form themselves into a church. In that case it seems they are talking about a single overarching body--not congregatoins. But still it is relevant for understanding the word church here to understand why what the level of religious instruction they did have wasn't considered a church. Note that Mosiah 21:31 tells us that they had taken on themselves a covenant. For the whole people to have taken on themselves a covenant suggests that some form of religious instruction and discussions was going on among Limhi's people. Clearly then gathering together for religious instruction is not in enough itself for a church--as the word is used in the Book of Mormon. Mosiah 21:33 seems to connect the fact that they weren't baptized with the fact that they didn't form a church. I'd like to spend more time looking through the references to church in the Book of Mormon. My guess is that the meaning of a church means that there is a formal organization with its own leadership/teachers.

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:1-3: To which groups do “people of Nephi” and “people of Zarahemla” refer? Why is it important for us to know that the Nephites were a minority, a smaller group than the people of Zarahemla, and that the two groups together were much smaller than the Lamanites? What might account for those relative differences in size?
  • Mosiah 25:5-11: How do you account for the see-saw of emotions that we see here?
  • Mosiah 25:5-6: King Mosiah here reads to the people. Later in the chapter, Alma -- the priest and prophet -- preaches to and exhorts the same people. Why does Mosiah read while Alma's presentation is purely oral? Is there some connection here between Mosiah's status as a "political" leader and Alma's status as a "religious" leader?
  • Mosiah 25:15: It speaks here of "repentance and faith" but usually we reverse the order of those two words and say "faith and repentence." Why the unusual word order in this verse?
  • Mosiah 25:19: (See also Mosiah 26:8.) How can a king decide who has authority over the Church? What does your answer to that question tell us about Mosiah and Alma’s society?
  • Mosiah 25:22: otice also that "the church of God" is identified with the oral preaching of Alma in verse 15, rather than the written records of Mosiah earlier in the chapter. Why do you think this is?
  • Mosiah 25:23: What is the significance, if any, that there were seven churches in the land of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 25:23-24: In verse 23 those who join the church are desirous of taking on them the name of Christ, but in the next verse they are named the people of God. Is there any significance to these contrasting names?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 25-29                      Next page: Chapter 26-27a

Mosiah 25:6-10

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 25
Previous page: Chapters 25-29                      Next page: Chapter 26-27a


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 25 to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 25 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:1-5: Mosiah's written message and Alma's oral message. Does anyone have any ideas of what to make of the contrast between Mosiah's written messages and Alma's oral messages? I have a couple of ideas, but I am not sure that they work. For what they are worth, here they are:
  • Mosiah is telling communal stories of exodus and redemption, while Alma calls for individual repentance and faith. The communal nature of Mosiah's narrative calls for the more lasting and public medium of writing, while the personal nature of Alma's narrative calls for the more intimate medium of speech. (Note this is problematic, because as we see in verse 17 conversion turns out to be a communal activity)
  • The writing of the communal narrative allows Mosiah to relate the Nephite story back to the story of Moses and the Children of Israel, which is a written story. The writing confirms the link. Alma's message of personal conversion through preaching, however, is something new, so reducing it to writing doesn't have the same effect of recapitulating scripture.
  • Mosiah's narrative is about memory and the past, while Alma's preaching is about action in the future. Writing is the medium of memory, while speech is the medium of future action.
  • A written narrative is fixed and subject to the control of the author, while an oral narrative is not fixed and has a life of its own. Mosiah's writing is about political control; while Alma's preaching is about spiritual life.
  • I'm not sure that any of these interpretations hold any water, but the contrast is striking to me. Thoughts? Reactions?
  • Mosiah 25:1. This story opens with an overtly political situation: "king Mosiah caused that all the people should be gathered together." The splits and rejoinings that have characterized the whole book of Mosiah are finally coming to their climax, as all the Nephites are together again, but now in a much more complicated political situation. The gathering is the first gathering of all the Nephites as such, since those who left for the land of Nephi left even before Benjamin's final speech. This gathering seems meant to echo Benjamin's speech in some ways, though it is clearly also intended to go beyond it. The political shifts that characterize especially Mosiah 29 find their official beginnings in this very assembly.
  • Mosiah 25:5. Beginning here and continuing through v. 6, King Mosiah begins reading the records of the various Nephite groups. The figure of Mosiah in this chapter seems to be paired with the figure of Alma. One is king and one is something like a priest or prophet. Interestingly, Alma also addresses the people beginning in v. 15 of the chapter, but in contrast to Mosiah he does not read but rather he is preaches (v. 15) and exhorts (v.16). There is some sense in which the "political" discourse of Mosiah is a written discourse, while the "religious" discourse of Alma is oral. However, the categories of political and religious must be treated with some skepticism for as we see in the following verses, Mosiah's "political" message is couched in terms of "religious" stories, and Alma's "religious" message has a "political" aspect to it, as in v. 17 where King Limhi is converted "and all his people were desirous that they might be baptized as well."
  • Mosiah 25:18-19. There is an interesting interplay of authority between these two verses. In verse 18, Alma's activity is explicitly compared to his actions at the Waters of Mormon. There his authority seems to have come from the power of the spirit descending upon him. (Although he was a priest of Noah, previously.) Note also that in this verse church is singular, and modified by God. In verse 19, the authority comes not from the spirit or some other explicitly divine source, but rather from the king and it is he that grants the power to ordain priests and teachers. Notice also that in this verse we have "churches" plural and they are unmodified by any other sobriquet. Part of what seems to be going on in these verses is the reconcilliation of the potentially competing authorities of Alma and Mosiah. One might read these verses as suggesting a kind of doctrine of two churches, one spiritual, indivisible, and ultimately responsible to God through his prophet, and the other, plural, earthly, and ultimately responsible to the community through its king.
  • Mosiah 25:20. This verses seems to begin reconciliation of the constrast created in verses 18 and 19. Note that the action taken by the king in verse 19 is explained in practical, logistical terms. The verses that follow (v.21-24), however, affirm the transcendent aspect of "the church of God" (v.21).
  • Mosiah 25:21-24. One way of reading these verses is to see them as the reconciliation of the tension between the singular "church of God" created by Alma in v. 18 and the plural "churches" authorized by King Mosiah in v. 19. In verse 20-21, Mosiah's action is explained in practical terms. Notice, however, that verse 21 ends with a reference not to the authority of Mosiah, but of Alma ("the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma"). Verse 22 affirms the unity of the churches in "all one church, yea even the church of God."

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:6: Alma previously in Zarahemla? I have a question about Mosiah 25:6. It suggests that Alma and his people had been in Zarahemla, but my reading of the Book of Mormon indicates that they were never there. Any ideas? A: If we look back at verse 5 we see that Mosiah read the "records of Zeniff" from the time he and his people left Zarahemla to the time they returned. Of course Zeniff himself never returned to Zarahemla. But his people do return when his grandson, Limhi, is leading the people. So clearly Zeniff didn't write this entire record, but, nevertheless, the record is called the records of Zeniff. What verse 6 says is that Mosiah also read another record. He calls this "the account of Alma and his brethren." And as I read this verse the account of Alma and his brethren does not begin at the point that Alma leaves Noah's people. For both groups the critical "beginning" it seems is the time that they leave Zarahemla. In both cases the record covers a longer period of time than the life of the person the account is named after. The statement does make sense if you read it as referring to the groups of people rather than the named individual.
  • Mosiah 25:19: How can a king decide who has authority over the Church? Mosiah 6:3 tells us that Benjamin "consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and a king over his poeple, and had given him all the charges concerning the kingdom, and also had appointed preists to teach the people...." This notion of divinely appointed kings with both spiritual and secular authority dates back to Old Testament times (I recently heard a radio interview with Bruce Feiler where he discussed God warning the ancient Israelites about the dangers of a king before David was chosen as king--it'd be interesting to learn more about that and tie in the discussion here).
Interestingly, we read in 2 Ne 10:11 that "this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles." And in v. 14, "For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words." Do these verses refer to latter-day Gentiles on the American continent? Ancient America also? When Jacob was reciting these words, wasn't there a king in the land then? How long after Jacob said these things were the judges established? Was there any connection?
  • Mosiah 25:22: What is the point of the remark that the bodies of believers were called churches? To me, the word 'church' suggests an interpersonal organization. I've heard many complaints about organized religion (and I've made complaints myself!). However, the alternative seems to be only a very weak notion of religion. It is the interaction with each other as believers and our joint interaction with God that makes religion meaningful and effectual. Some related x-refs include:
  • Rom 12:4ff "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
  • 1 Cor 12:12ff "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many."
The word 'body' has interesting usages in English. "Bodies of believers" (as in "the body of the senate"). "The body of Christ." Is it the same in Greek? Thinking about the church as a body provides a rich analogy suggesting how believers should interact with each other. Not just that we need to interact and get along, but that we each have our function (e.g. what service we do in the ward) and our place (e.g. deferring to Priesthood authority).
  • A: Yes, it looks like it's the same in Greek. See Strong's Concordance. (The word is soma, which is the root word of English words such as the second half of "psychosomatic.") I suspect, but don't know, that "body" came to have the expanded meaning because of New Testament influence.
  • A: It is interesting that as the word is used here there seems to be some ambiguity between calling the overarching organization the church and each congregation a church. Comparing that today it is like calling the church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a church and calling wards churches. It wouldn't be too strange to do this today but we don't normally call each ward a church--though we do call the building they meet in a church so it may amount to about the same thing. Verse 21 tells us that each church has their own priests and teachers. This suggests that each congregations has its own hierarchy of those with authority to lead and teach the church. This is also a characteristic that their churches share with our wards. I also think it is interesting to contrast the use of the word church here with Mosiah 21:34. There it says Limhi's people did not form themselves into a church. In that case it seems they are talking about a single overarching body--not congregatoins. But still it is relevant for understanding the word church here to understand why what the level of religious instruction they did have wasn't considered a church. Note that Mosiah 21:31 tells us that they had taken on themselves a covenant. For the whole people to have taken on themselves a covenant suggests that some form of religious instruction and discussions was going on among Limhi's people. Clearly then gathering together for religious instruction is not in enough itself for a church--as the word is used in the Book of Mormon. Mosiah 21:33 seems to connect the fact that they weren't baptized with the fact that they didn't form a church. I'd like to spend more time looking through the references to church in the Book of Mormon. My guess is that the meaning of a church means that there is a formal organization with its own leadership/teachers.

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:1-3: To which groups do “people of Nephi” and “people of Zarahemla” refer? Why is it important for us to know that the Nephites were a minority, a smaller group than the people of Zarahemla, and that the two groups together were much smaller than the Lamanites? What might account for those relative differences in size?
  • Mosiah 25:5-11: How do you account for the see-saw of emotions that we see here?
  • Mosiah 25:5-6: King Mosiah here reads to the people. Later in the chapter, Alma -- the priest and prophet -- preaches to and exhorts the same people. Why does Mosiah read while Alma's presentation is purely oral? Is there some connection here between Mosiah's status as a "political" leader and Alma's status as a "religious" leader?
  • Mosiah 25:15: It speaks here of "repentance and faith" but usually we reverse the order of those two words and say "faith and repentence." Why the unusual word order in this verse?
  • Mosiah 25:19: (See also Mosiah 26:8.) How can a king decide who has authority over the Church? What does your answer to that question tell us about Mosiah and Alma’s society?
  • Mosiah 25:22: otice also that "the church of God" is identified with the oral preaching of Alma in verse 15, rather than the written records of Mosiah earlier in the chapter. Why do you think this is?
  • Mosiah 25:23: What is the significance, if any, that there were seven churches in the land of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 25:23-24: In verse 23 those who join the church are desirous of taking on them the name of Christ, but in the next verse they are named the people of God. Is there any significance to these contrasting names?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 25-29                      Next page: Chapter 26-27a

Mosiah 25:11-15

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 25
Previous page: Chapters 25-29                      Next page: Chapter 26-27a


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 25 to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 25 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:1-5: Mosiah's written message and Alma's oral message. Does anyone have any ideas of what to make of the contrast between Mosiah's written messages and Alma's oral messages? I have a couple of ideas, but I am not sure that they work. For what they are worth, here they are:
  • Mosiah is telling communal stories of exodus and redemption, while Alma calls for individual repentance and faith. The communal nature of Mosiah's narrative calls for the more lasting and public medium of writing, while the personal nature of Alma's narrative calls for the more intimate medium of speech. (Note this is problematic, because as we see in verse 17 conversion turns out to be a communal activity)
  • The writing of the communal narrative allows Mosiah to relate the Nephite story back to the story of Moses and the Children of Israel, which is a written story. The writing confirms the link. Alma's message of personal conversion through preaching, however, is something new, so reducing it to writing doesn't have the same effect of recapitulating scripture.
  • Mosiah's narrative is about memory and the past, while Alma's preaching is about action in the future. Writing is the medium of memory, while speech is the medium of future action.
  • A written narrative is fixed and subject to the control of the author, while an oral narrative is not fixed and has a life of its own. Mosiah's writing is about political control; while Alma's preaching is about spiritual life.
  • I'm not sure that any of these interpretations hold any water, but the contrast is striking to me. Thoughts? Reactions?
  • Mosiah 25:1. This story opens with an overtly political situation: "king Mosiah caused that all the people should be gathered together." The splits and rejoinings that have characterized the whole book of Mosiah are finally coming to their climax, as all the Nephites are together again, but now in a much more complicated political situation. The gathering is the first gathering of all the Nephites as such, since those who left for the land of Nephi left even before Benjamin's final speech. This gathering seems meant to echo Benjamin's speech in some ways, though it is clearly also intended to go beyond it. The political shifts that characterize especially Mosiah 29 find their official beginnings in this very assembly.
  • Mosiah 25:5. Beginning here and continuing through v. 6, King Mosiah begins reading the records of the various Nephite groups. The figure of Mosiah in this chapter seems to be paired with the figure of Alma. One is king and one is something like a priest or prophet. Interestingly, Alma also addresses the people beginning in v. 15 of the chapter, but in contrast to Mosiah he does not read but rather he is preaches (v. 15) and exhorts (v.16). There is some sense in which the "political" discourse of Mosiah is a written discourse, while the "religious" discourse of Alma is oral. However, the categories of political and religious must be treated with some skepticism for as we see in the following verses, Mosiah's "political" message is couched in terms of "religious" stories, and Alma's "religious" message has a "political" aspect to it, as in v. 17 where King Limhi is converted "and all his people were desirous that they might be baptized as well."
  • Mosiah 25:18-19. There is an interesting interplay of authority between these two verses. In verse 18, Alma's activity is explicitly compared to his actions at the Waters of Mormon. There his authority seems to have come from the power of the spirit descending upon him. (Although he was a priest of Noah, previously.) Note also that in this verse church is singular, and modified by God. In verse 19, the authority comes not from the spirit or some other explicitly divine source, but rather from the king and it is he that grants the power to ordain priests and teachers. Notice also that in this verse we have "churches" plural and they are unmodified by any other sobriquet. Part of what seems to be going on in these verses is the reconcilliation of the potentially competing authorities of Alma and Mosiah. One might read these verses as suggesting a kind of doctrine of two churches, one spiritual, indivisible, and ultimately responsible to God through his prophet, and the other, plural, earthly, and ultimately responsible to the community through its king.
  • Mosiah 25:20. This verses seems to begin reconciliation of the constrast created in verses 18 and 19. Note that the action taken by the king in verse 19 is explained in practical, logistical terms. The verses that follow (v.21-24), however, affirm the transcendent aspect of "the church of God" (v.21).
  • Mosiah 25:21-24. One way of reading these verses is to see them as the reconciliation of the tension between the singular "church of God" created by Alma in v. 18 and the plural "churches" authorized by King Mosiah in v. 19. In verse 20-21, Mosiah's action is explained in practical terms. Notice, however, that verse 21 ends with a reference not to the authority of Mosiah, but of Alma ("the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma"). Verse 22 affirms the unity of the churches in "all one church, yea even the church of God."

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:6: Alma previously in Zarahemla? I have a question about Mosiah 25:6. It suggests that Alma and his people had been in Zarahemla, but my reading of the Book of Mormon indicates that they were never there. Any ideas? A: If we look back at verse 5 we see that Mosiah read the "records of Zeniff" from the time he and his people left Zarahemla to the time they returned. Of course Zeniff himself never returned to Zarahemla. But his people do return when his grandson, Limhi, is leading the people. So clearly Zeniff didn't write this entire record, but, nevertheless, the record is called the records of Zeniff. What verse 6 says is that Mosiah also read another record. He calls this "the account of Alma and his brethren." And as I read this verse the account of Alma and his brethren does not begin at the point that Alma leaves Noah's people. For both groups the critical "beginning" it seems is the time that they leave Zarahemla. In both cases the record covers a longer period of time than the life of the person the account is named after. The statement does make sense if you read it as referring to the groups of people rather than the named individual.
  • Mosiah 25:19: How can a king decide who has authority over the Church? Mosiah 6:3 tells us that Benjamin "consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and a king over his poeple, and had given him all the charges concerning the kingdom, and also had appointed preists to teach the people...." This notion of divinely appointed kings with both spiritual and secular authority dates back to Old Testament times (I recently heard a radio interview with Bruce Feiler where he discussed God warning the ancient Israelites about the dangers of a king before David was chosen as king--it'd be interesting to learn more about that and tie in the discussion here).
Interestingly, we read in 2 Ne 10:11 that "this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles." And in v. 14, "For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words." Do these verses refer to latter-day Gentiles on the American continent? Ancient America also? When Jacob was reciting these words, wasn't there a king in the land then? How long after Jacob said these things were the judges established? Was there any connection?
  • Mosiah 25:22: What is the point of the remark that the bodies of believers were called churches? To me, the word 'church' suggests an interpersonal organization. I've heard many complaints about organized religion (and I've made complaints myself!). However, the alternative seems to be only a very weak notion of religion. It is the interaction with each other as believers and our joint interaction with God that makes religion meaningful and effectual. Some related x-refs include:
  • Rom 12:4ff "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
  • 1 Cor 12:12ff "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many."
The word 'body' has interesting usages in English. "Bodies of believers" (as in "the body of the senate"). "The body of Christ." Is it the same in Greek? Thinking about the church as a body provides a rich analogy suggesting how believers should interact with each other. Not just that we need to interact and get along, but that we each have our function (e.g. what service we do in the ward) and our place (e.g. deferring to Priesthood authority).
  • A: Yes, it looks like it's the same in Greek. See Strong's Concordance. (The word is soma, which is the root word of English words such as the second half of "psychosomatic.") I suspect, but don't know, that "body" came to have the expanded meaning because of New Testament influence.
  • A: It is interesting that as the word is used here there seems to be some ambiguity between calling the overarching organization the church and each congregation a church. Comparing that today it is like calling the church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a church and calling wards churches. It wouldn't be too strange to do this today but we don't normally call each ward a church--though we do call the building they meet in a church so it may amount to about the same thing. Verse 21 tells us that each church has their own priests and teachers. This suggests that each congregations has its own hierarchy of those with authority to lead and teach the church. This is also a characteristic that their churches share with our wards. I also think it is interesting to contrast the use of the word church here with Mosiah 21:34. There it says Limhi's people did not form themselves into a church. In that case it seems they are talking about a single overarching body--not congregatoins. But still it is relevant for understanding the word church here to understand why what the level of religious instruction they did have wasn't considered a church. Note that Mosiah 21:31 tells us that they had taken on themselves a covenant. For the whole people to have taken on themselves a covenant suggests that some form of religious instruction and discussions was going on among Limhi's people. Clearly then gathering together for religious instruction is not in enough itself for a church--as the word is used in the Book of Mormon. Mosiah 21:33 seems to connect the fact that they weren't baptized with the fact that they didn't form a church. I'd like to spend more time looking through the references to church in the Book of Mormon. My guess is that the meaning of a church means that there is a formal organization with its own leadership/teachers.

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:1-3: To which groups do “people of Nephi” and “people of Zarahemla” refer? Why is it important for us to know that the Nephites were a minority, a smaller group than the people of Zarahemla, and that the two groups together were much smaller than the Lamanites? What might account for those relative differences in size?
  • Mosiah 25:5-11: How do you account for the see-saw of emotions that we see here?
  • Mosiah 25:5-6: King Mosiah here reads to the people. Later in the chapter, Alma -- the priest and prophet -- preaches to and exhorts the same people. Why does Mosiah read while Alma's presentation is purely oral? Is there some connection here between Mosiah's status as a "political" leader and Alma's status as a "religious" leader?
  • Mosiah 25:15: It speaks here of "repentance and faith" but usually we reverse the order of those two words and say "faith and repentence." Why the unusual word order in this verse?
  • Mosiah 25:19: (See also Mosiah 26:8.) How can a king decide who has authority over the Church? What does your answer to that question tell us about Mosiah and Alma’s society?
  • Mosiah 25:22: otice also that "the church of God" is identified with the oral preaching of Alma in verse 15, rather than the written records of Mosiah earlier in the chapter. Why do you think this is?
  • Mosiah 25:23: What is the significance, if any, that there were seven churches in the land of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 25:23-24: In verse 23 those who join the church are desirous of taking on them the name of Christ, but in the next verse they are named the people of God. Is there any significance to these contrasting names?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 25-29                      Next page: Chapter 26-27a

Mosiah 25:16-20

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 25
Previous page: Chapters 25-29                      Next page: Chapter 26-27a


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 25 to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 25 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:1-5: Mosiah's written message and Alma's oral message. Does anyone have any ideas of what to make of the contrast between Mosiah's written messages and Alma's oral messages? I have a couple of ideas, but I am not sure that they work. For what they are worth, here they are:
  • Mosiah is telling communal stories of exodus and redemption, while Alma calls for individual repentance and faith. The communal nature of Mosiah's narrative calls for the more lasting and public medium of writing, while the personal nature of Alma's narrative calls for the more intimate medium of speech. (Note this is problematic, because as we see in verse 17 conversion turns out to be a communal activity)
  • The writing of the communal narrative allows Mosiah to relate the Nephite story back to the story of Moses and the Children of Israel, which is a written story. The writing confirms the link. Alma's message of personal conversion through preaching, however, is something new, so reducing it to writing doesn't have the same effect of recapitulating scripture.
  • Mosiah's narrative is about memory and the past, while Alma's preaching is about action in the future. Writing is the medium of memory, while speech is the medium of future action.
  • A written narrative is fixed and subject to the control of the author, while an oral narrative is not fixed and has a life of its own. Mosiah's writing is about political control; while Alma's preaching is about spiritual life.
  • I'm not sure that any of these interpretations hold any water, but the contrast is striking to me. Thoughts? Reactions?
  • Mosiah 25:1. This story opens with an overtly political situation: "king Mosiah caused that all the people should be gathered together." The splits and rejoinings that have characterized the whole book of Mosiah are finally coming to their climax, as all the Nephites are together again, but now in a much more complicated political situation. The gathering is the first gathering of all the Nephites as such, since those who left for the land of Nephi left even before Benjamin's final speech. This gathering seems meant to echo Benjamin's speech in some ways, though it is clearly also intended to go beyond it. The political shifts that characterize especially Mosiah 29 find their official beginnings in this very assembly.
  • Mosiah 25:5. Beginning here and continuing through v. 6, King Mosiah begins reading the records of the various Nephite groups. The figure of Mosiah in this chapter seems to be paired with the figure of Alma. One is king and one is something like a priest or prophet. Interestingly, Alma also addresses the people beginning in v. 15 of the chapter, but in contrast to Mosiah he does not read but rather he is preaches (v. 15) and exhorts (v.16). There is some sense in which the "political" discourse of Mosiah is a written discourse, while the "religious" discourse of Alma is oral. However, the categories of political and religious must be treated with some skepticism for as we see in the following verses, Mosiah's "political" message is couched in terms of "religious" stories, and Alma's "religious" message has a "political" aspect to it, as in v. 17 where King Limhi is converted "and all his people were desirous that they might be baptized as well."
  • Mosiah 25:18-19. There is an interesting interplay of authority between these two verses. In verse 18, Alma's activity is explicitly compared to his actions at the Waters of Mormon. There his authority seems to have come from the power of the spirit descending upon him. (Although he was a priest of Noah, previously.) Note also that in this verse church is singular, and modified by God. In verse 19, the authority comes not from the spirit or some other explicitly divine source, but rather from the king and it is he that grants the power to ordain priests and teachers. Notice also that in this verse we have "churches" plural and they are unmodified by any other sobriquet. Part of what seems to be going on in these verses is the reconcilliation of the potentially competing authorities of Alma and Mosiah. One might read these verses as suggesting a kind of doctrine of two churches, one spiritual, indivisible, and ultimately responsible to God through his prophet, and the other, plural, earthly, and ultimately responsible to the community through its king.
  • Mosiah 25:20. This verses seems to begin reconciliation of the constrast created in verses 18 and 19. Note that the action taken by the king in verse 19 is explained in practical, logistical terms. The verses that follow (v.21-24), however, affirm the transcendent aspect of "the church of God" (v.21).
  • Mosiah 25:21-24. One way of reading these verses is to see them as the reconciliation of the tension between the singular "church of God" created by Alma in v. 18 and the plural "churches" authorized by King Mosiah in v. 19. In verse 20-21, Mosiah's action is explained in practical terms. Notice, however, that verse 21 ends with a reference not to the authority of Mosiah, but of Alma ("the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma"). Verse 22 affirms the unity of the churches in "all one church, yea even the church of God."

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:6: Alma previously in Zarahemla? I have a question about Mosiah 25:6. It suggests that Alma and his people had been in Zarahemla, but my reading of the Book of Mormon indicates that they were never there. Any ideas? A: If we look back at verse 5 we see that Mosiah read the "records of Zeniff" from the time he and his people left Zarahemla to the time they returned. Of course Zeniff himself never returned to Zarahemla. But his people do return when his grandson, Limhi, is leading the people. So clearly Zeniff didn't write this entire record, but, nevertheless, the record is called the records of Zeniff. What verse 6 says is that Mosiah also read another record. He calls this "the account of Alma and his brethren." And as I read this verse the account of Alma and his brethren does not begin at the point that Alma leaves Noah's people. For both groups the critical "beginning" it seems is the time that they leave Zarahemla. In both cases the record covers a longer period of time than the life of the person the account is named after. The statement does make sense if you read it as referring to the groups of people rather than the named individual.
  • Mosiah 25:19: How can a king decide who has authority over the Church? Mosiah 6:3 tells us that Benjamin "consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and a king over his poeple, and had given him all the charges concerning the kingdom, and also had appointed preists to teach the people...." This notion of divinely appointed kings with both spiritual and secular authority dates back to Old Testament times (I recently heard a radio interview with Bruce Feiler where he discussed God warning the ancient Israelites about the dangers of a king before David was chosen as king--it'd be interesting to learn more about that and tie in the discussion here).
Interestingly, we read in 2 Ne 10:11 that "this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles." And in v. 14, "For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words." Do these verses refer to latter-day Gentiles on the American continent? Ancient America also? When Jacob was reciting these words, wasn't there a king in the land then? How long after Jacob said these things were the judges established? Was there any connection?
  • Mosiah 25:22: What is the point of the remark that the bodies of believers were called churches? To me, the word 'church' suggests an interpersonal organization. I've heard many complaints about organized religion (and I've made complaints myself!). However, the alternative seems to be only a very weak notion of religion. It is the interaction with each other as believers and our joint interaction with God that makes religion meaningful and effectual. Some related x-refs include:
  • Rom 12:4ff "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
  • 1 Cor 12:12ff "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many."
The word 'body' has interesting usages in English. "Bodies of believers" (as in "the body of the senate"). "The body of Christ." Is it the same in Greek? Thinking about the church as a body provides a rich analogy suggesting how believers should interact with each other. Not just that we need to interact and get along, but that we each have our function (e.g. what service we do in the ward) and our place (e.g. deferring to Priesthood authority).
  • A: Yes, it looks like it's the same in Greek. See Strong's Concordance. (The word is soma, which is the root word of English words such as the second half of "psychosomatic.") I suspect, but don't know, that "body" came to have the expanded meaning because of New Testament influence.
  • A: It is interesting that as the word is used here there seems to be some ambiguity between calling the overarching organization the church and each congregation a church. Comparing that today it is like calling the church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a church and calling wards churches. It wouldn't be too strange to do this today but we don't normally call each ward a church--though we do call the building they meet in a church so it may amount to about the same thing. Verse 21 tells us that each church has their own priests and teachers. This suggests that each congregations has its own hierarchy of those with authority to lead and teach the church. This is also a characteristic that their churches share with our wards. I also think it is interesting to contrast the use of the word church here with Mosiah 21:34. There it says Limhi's people did not form themselves into a church. In that case it seems they are talking about a single overarching body--not congregatoins. But still it is relevant for understanding the word church here to understand why what the level of religious instruction they did have wasn't considered a church. Note that Mosiah 21:31 tells us that they had taken on themselves a covenant. For the whole people to have taken on themselves a covenant suggests that some form of religious instruction and discussions was going on among Limhi's people. Clearly then gathering together for religious instruction is not in enough itself for a church--as the word is used in the Book of Mormon. Mosiah 21:33 seems to connect the fact that they weren't baptized with the fact that they didn't form a church. I'd like to spend more time looking through the references to church in the Book of Mormon. My guess is that the meaning of a church means that there is a formal organization with its own leadership/teachers.

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:1-3: To which groups do “people of Nephi” and “people of Zarahemla” refer? Why is it important for us to know that the Nephites were a minority, a smaller group than the people of Zarahemla, and that the two groups together were much smaller than the Lamanites? What might account for those relative differences in size?
  • Mosiah 25:5-11: How do you account for the see-saw of emotions that we see here?
  • Mosiah 25:5-6: King Mosiah here reads to the people. Later in the chapter, Alma -- the priest and prophet -- preaches to and exhorts the same people. Why does Mosiah read while Alma's presentation is purely oral? Is there some connection here between Mosiah's status as a "political" leader and Alma's status as a "religious" leader?
  • Mosiah 25:15: It speaks here of "repentance and faith" but usually we reverse the order of those two words and say "faith and repentence." Why the unusual word order in this verse?
  • Mosiah 25:19: (See also Mosiah 26:8.) How can a king decide who has authority over the Church? What does your answer to that question tell us about Mosiah and Alma’s society?
  • Mosiah 25:22: otice also that "the church of God" is identified with the oral preaching of Alma in verse 15, rather than the written records of Mosiah earlier in the chapter. Why do you think this is?
  • Mosiah 25:23: What is the significance, if any, that there were seven churches in the land of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 25:23-24: In verse 23 those who join the church are desirous of taking on them the name of Christ, but in the next verse they are named the people of God. Is there any significance to these contrasting names?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 25-29                      Next page: Chapter 26-27a

Mosiah 25:21-24

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This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 25 to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 25 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:1-5: Mosiah's written message and Alma's oral message. Does anyone have any ideas of what to make of the contrast between Mosiah's written messages and Alma's oral messages? I have a couple of ideas, but I am not sure that they work. For what they are worth, here they are:
  • Mosiah is telling communal stories of exodus and redemption, while Alma calls for individual repentance and faith. The communal nature of Mosiah's narrative calls for the more lasting and public medium of writing, while the personal nature of Alma's narrative calls for the more intimate medium of speech. (Note this is problematic, because as we see in verse 17 conversion turns out to be a communal activity)
  • The writing of the communal narrative allows Mosiah to relate the Nephite story back to the story of Moses and the Children of Israel, which is a written story. The writing confirms the link. Alma's message of personal conversion through preaching, however, is something new, so reducing it to writing doesn't have the same effect of recapitulating scripture.
  • Mosiah's narrative is about memory and the past, while Alma's preaching is about action in the future. Writing is the medium of memory, while speech is the medium of future action.
  • A written narrative is fixed and subject to the control of the author, while an oral narrative is not fixed and has a life of its own. Mosiah's writing is about political control; while Alma's preaching is about spiritual life.
  • I'm not sure that any of these interpretations hold any water, but the contrast is striking to me. Thoughts? Reactions?
  • Mosiah 25:1. This story opens with an overtly political situation: "king Mosiah caused that all the people should be gathered together." The splits and rejoinings that have characterized the whole book of Mosiah are finally coming to their climax, as all the Nephites are together again, but now in a much more complicated political situation. The gathering is the first gathering of all the Nephites as such, since those who left for the land of Nephi left even before Benjamin's final speech. This gathering seems meant to echo Benjamin's speech in some ways, though it is clearly also intended to go beyond it. The political shifts that characterize especially Mosiah 29 find their official beginnings in this very assembly.
  • Mosiah 25:5. Beginning here and continuing through v. 6, King Mosiah begins reading the records of the various Nephite groups. The figure of Mosiah in this chapter seems to be paired with the figure of Alma. One is king and one is something like a priest or prophet. Interestingly, Alma also addresses the people beginning in v. 15 of the chapter, but in contrast to Mosiah he does not read but rather he is preaches (v. 15) and exhorts (v.16). There is some sense in which the "political" discourse of Mosiah is a written discourse, while the "religious" discourse of Alma is oral. However, the categories of political and religious must be treated with some skepticism for as we see in the following verses, Mosiah's "political" message is couched in terms of "religious" stories, and Alma's "religious" message has a "political" aspect to it, as in v. 17 where King Limhi is converted "and all his people were desirous that they might be baptized as well."
  • Mosiah 25:18-19. There is an interesting interplay of authority between these two verses. In verse 18, Alma's activity is explicitly compared to his actions at the Waters of Mormon. There his authority seems to have come from the power of the spirit descending upon him. (Although he was a priest of Noah, previously.) Note also that in this verse church is singular, and modified by God. In verse 19, the authority comes not from the spirit or some other explicitly divine source, but rather from the king and it is he that grants the power to ordain priests and teachers. Notice also that in this verse we have "churches" plural and they are unmodified by any other sobriquet. Part of what seems to be going on in these verses is the reconcilliation of the potentially competing authorities of Alma and Mosiah. One might read these verses as suggesting a kind of doctrine of two churches, one spiritual, indivisible, and ultimately responsible to God through his prophet, and the other, plural, earthly, and ultimately responsible to the community through its king.
  • Mosiah 25:20. This verses seems to begin reconciliation of the constrast created in verses 18 and 19. Note that the action taken by the king in verse 19 is explained in practical, logistical terms. The verses that follow (v.21-24), however, affirm the transcendent aspect of "the church of God" (v.21).
  • Mosiah 25:21-24. One way of reading these verses is to see them as the reconciliation of the tension between the singular "church of God" created by Alma in v. 18 and the plural "churches" authorized by King Mosiah in v. 19. In verse 20-21, Mosiah's action is explained in practical terms. Notice, however, that verse 21 ends with a reference not to the authority of Mosiah, but of Alma ("the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma"). Verse 22 affirms the unity of the churches in "all one church, yea even the church of God."

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:6: Alma previously in Zarahemla? I have a question about Mosiah 25:6. It suggests that Alma and his people had been in Zarahemla, but my reading of the Book of Mormon indicates that they were never there. Any ideas? A: If we look back at verse 5 we see that Mosiah read the "records of Zeniff" from the time he and his people left Zarahemla to the time they returned. Of course Zeniff himself never returned to Zarahemla. But his people do return when his grandson, Limhi, is leading the people. So clearly Zeniff didn't write this entire record, but, nevertheless, the record is called the records of Zeniff. What verse 6 says is that Mosiah also read another record. He calls this "the account of Alma and his brethren." And as I read this verse the account of Alma and his brethren does not begin at the point that Alma leaves Noah's people. For both groups the critical "beginning" it seems is the time that they leave Zarahemla. In both cases the record covers a longer period of time than the life of the person the account is named after. The statement does make sense if you read it as referring to the groups of people rather than the named individual.
  • Mosiah 25:19: How can a king decide who has authority over the Church? Mosiah 6:3 tells us that Benjamin "consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and a king over his poeple, and had given him all the charges concerning the kingdom, and also had appointed preists to teach the people...." This notion of divinely appointed kings with both spiritual and secular authority dates back to Old Testament times (I recently heard a radio interview with Bruce Feiler where he discussed God warning the ancient Israelites about the dangers of a king before David was chosen as king--it'd be interesting to learn more about that and tie in the discussion here).
Interestingly, we read in 2 Ne 10:11 that "this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles." And in v. 14, "For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words." Do these verses refer to latter-day Gentiles on the American continent? Ancient America also? When Jacob was reciting these words, wasn't there a king in the land then? How long after Jacob said these things were the judges established? Was there any connection?
  • Mosiah 25:22: What is the point of the remark that the bodies of believers were called churches? To me, the word 'church' suggests an interpersonal organization. I've heard many complaints about organized religion (and I've made complaints myself!). However, the alternative seems to be only a very weak notion of religion. It is the interaction with each other as believers and our joint interaction with God that makes religion meaningful and effectual. Some related x-refs include:
  • Rom 12:4ff "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
  • 1 Cor 12:12ff "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many."
The word 'body' has interesting usages in English. "Bodies of believers" (as in "the body of the senate"). "The body of Christ." Is it the same in Greek? Thinking about the church as a body provides a rich analogy suggesting how believers should interact with each other. Not just that we need to interact and get along, but that we each have our function (e.g. what service we do in the ward) and our place (e.g. deferring to Priesthood authority).
  • A: Yes, it looks like it's the same in Greek. See Strong's Concordance. (The word is soma, which is the root word of English words such as the second half of "psychosomatic.") I suspect, but don't know, that "body" came to have the expanded meaning because of New Testament influence.
  • A: It is interesting that as the word is used here there seems to be some ambiguity between calling the overarching organization the church and each congregation a church. Comparing that today it is like calling the church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a church and calling wards churches. It wouldn't be too strange to do this today but we don't normally call each ward a church--though we do call the building they meet in a church so it may amount to about the same thing. Verse 21 tells us that each church has their own priests and teachers. This suggests that each congregations has its own hierarchy of those with authority to lead and teach the church. This is also a characteristic that their churches share with our wards. I also think it is interesting to contrast the use of the word church here with Mosiah 21:34. There it says Limhi's people did not form themselves into a church. In that case it seems they are talking about a single overarching body--not congregatoins. But still it is relevant for understanding the word church here to understand why what the level of religious instruction they did have wasn't considered a church. Note that Mosiah 21:31 tells us that they had taken on themselves a covenant. For the whole people to have taken on themselves a covenant suggests that some form of religious instruction and discussions was going on among Limhi's people. Clearly then gathering together for religious instruction is not in enough itself for a church--as the word is used in the Book of Mormon. Mosiah 21:33 seems to connect the fact that they weren't baptized with the fact that they didn't form a church. I'd like to spend more time looking through the references to church in the Book of Mormon. My guess is that the meaning of a church means that there is a formal organization with its own leadership/teachers.

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 25:1-3: To which groups do “people of Nephi” and “people of Zarahemla” refer? Why is it important for us to know that the Nephites were a minority, a smaller group than the people of Zarahemla, and that the two groups together were much smaller than the Lamanites? What might account for those relative differences in size?
  • Mosiah 25:5-11: How do you account for the see-saw of emotions that we see here?
  • Mosiah 25:5-6: King Mosiah here reads to the people. Later in the chapter, Alma -- the priest and prophet -- preaches to and exhorts the same people. Why does Mosiah read while Alma's presentation is purely oral? Is there some connection here between Mosiah's status as a "political" leader and Alma's status as a "religious" leader?
  • Mosiah 25:15: It speaks here of "repentance and faith" but usually we reverse the order of those two words and say "faith and repentence." Why the unusual word order in this verse?
  • Mosiah 25:19: (See also Mosiah 26:8.) How can a king decide who has authority over the Church? What does your answer to that question tell us about Mosiah and Alma’s society?
  • Mosiah 25:22: otice also that "the church of God" is identified with the oral preaching of Alma in verse 15, rather than the written records of Mosiah earlier in the chapter. Why do you think this is?
  • Mosiah 25:23: What is the significance, if any, that there were seven churches in the land of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 25:23-24: In verse 23 those who join the church are desirous of taking on them the name of Christ, but in the next verse they are named the people of God. Is there any significance to these contrasting names?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 25-29                      Next page: Chapter 26-27a

Mosiah 26:1-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 26-27a / Verses 26:1-27:7
Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 26-27a to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 26-27a include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:3: Belief and understanding. Notice in v.3 that in order to understand the scriptures we must believe.
  • Mosiah 26:1-5: Hardened hearts. In the King James Version of the Old Testament, heardened hearts can refer to either a) hearts that are made strong or firm, as in stiffening the will (Heb chazaq), or hearts that may be made heavy (Heb kabad--the same word used for honor or glory). In Joseph Smith's time, Webster's 1828 dictionary defines hardened, in part, as "made unfeeling; made obstinate; confirmed in error or vice."
  • Mosiah 26:6-10. While the Book of Mormon calls Mosiah a king, in current anthropological terminology, early Nephite kings such as Mosiah may have functioned more as a "Big Man" who rules more by power of personal influence than by the ability to marshal enforcement of laws or edicts. Besides a hesitancy to judge harshly, other evidence for this may be Mosiah and Benjamin's growing of their own food--something that doesn't usually happen in a more hierarchically organized chiefdom or kingdom. On the other hand, the position of king was inherited, and Noah (who came from that same tradition) was able to rule very harshly.
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Apparently, before this time, all of the Nephites (consisting of the people of Mosiah, people of Zarahemla, and Alma and Gideon's recent emigrants from the Land of Lehi-Nephi, had all lived in the land of Zarahemla. But now, apparently the people are spreading out into new cities and villages. This will place a huge burden on the leaders in Zarahemla who might want to maintain some sort of rulership over the separate cities, and along with the change of heart in the sons of Mosiah (also recounted in this chapter), and probably served as the death knoll for the Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah egalitarian leadership style and nascent dynastic chiefdom. Anthropologically, when rank village or city societies become so large that they extend across several cities or villages, they become stratified into castes or ranks, and leadership becomes more powerful under a centralized and hereditary complex chiefdom. So, in a real sense, this chapter is recounting how the small Nephite society is thrust into a new level of complex politics (and political instability) due to the building of new cities and the loss of the presumed Nephite royal heirs.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the rising generation be able to understand the words of king Benjamin? What was it about the words that were so difficult to understand?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why would their being little children when Benjamin gave his speech make it hard for them to understand his words later, when the speech could be read to them? Was there something about the context of the speech--the temple festival, perhaps--that the children couldn't get from the written account of his words?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the young people believe the tradition of their fathers? What other influences or belief systems were present to provide an alternative?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why is it so important for the young people to understand King Benjamin’s words? Is there something about that specific sermon that is essential to them?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Tradition. What does the word “tradition” mean? What tradition could their parents have given them that would have taught them what Benjamin meant? Can we teach our children the meaning of Benjamin’s sermon by our tradition? How?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people believe in the resurrection of the dead? Did they not believe in the resurrection at all, or was it something specific about Benjamin's teachings that didn't resonate with them?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people "believe concerning the coming of Christ"? What was it exactly about the Christ narrative that they didn't believe?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relation between unbelief and understanding the word of God? Does this passage imply that it is impossible to understand ("they could not") the word of God "because of...unbelief"?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What does it mean to have a hardened heart? What is the difference between simply not believing and having a heard heart?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relationship between unbelief and having a hardened heart?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What was it that led these people to eschew baptism?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What did it mean to "join the church" at this period of time?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What is this "separate" faith mentioned here? Are these the Nehors?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How does not being baptized or joining the church leave these people in a "carnal and sinful state"? What is the relationship between calling upon the Lord and remaining in a carnal and sinful state?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How is Christ "the Lord their God" if the people don't "call upon" Him?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If "not half" of the people "became more numerous", does that mean that they became a majority? Are we being told that most of the people now are not members of the Church?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If all of the people (accept the little children) had accepted king Benjamin's covenant, and Alma and Limhi's people had all joined the newly organized church, what happened to make perhaps a majority of the people dissent away from the church?
  • Mosiah 26:10-12: Why do Alma and Mosiah each seem to shirk from judging the people who have been brought before them?
  • Mosiah 26:17: What does it mean that Alma’s people shall be the Lord’s people? How does this tie in with King Benjamin’s sermon? Does it help explain why that sermon was so important? How is it important to us?
  • Mosiah 26:20: Three things occur in this verse: the Lord calls Alma his servant; the Lord covenants that Alma will have eternal life; and the Lord says that Alma will serve him. (This rhetorical pattern, a cousin of chiasmus, is called inclusion.) How are these things connected to one another? Why is the covenant “sandwiched” between the descriptions of Alma as a servant—what does the arrangement tell us? What is a covenant? (It is more than a contract or mutual promise.) What does this covenant mean? What does it mean to have eternal life?
  • Mosiah 26:29: Alma asked what to do about the transgressors in vv. 13-14. Not until v. 29 does he receive an answer. Before giving Alma the answer to his prayer, the Lord blesses Alma, reaffirms the covenant relation with him, and tells Alma about the Atonement and the final judgment. Why that long interlude between Alma’s question and the Lord’s answer?
  • Mosiah 26:31: This verse suggests that we are to take the word of the person who tells us that he or she has repented. Why?
  • Mosiah 27:1: Why are the priests called Mosiah's priests in this verse? Was there a separate priesthood for the court, or perhaps the temple, that operated separately from the Church organized by Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:2: What is the "land round about"? Is this the first indication of Mosiah ruling beyond the immediate environs of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What types of persecutions are being represented here?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What does there being no persecutions have to do with their being "an equality among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Who is giving this command "throughout all the churches? Does this come from Alma, the leader of the Church? Or is this a royal edict from Mosiah?
  • Mosiah 27:3: How can there be a command to be equal? What does it mean to be equal "among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Not only are the non-members forbidden to persecute the members, but the members are forbidden to persecute one another. How might members do that? How might we persecute each other today?
  • Mosiah 27:3: The members are told that there should be equality among all men. What does “equality: mean in this instance? In what or in what way are people supposed to be equal? Equality is grammatically parallel to the absence of persecution. Does that tell us something about what each means?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse explain at least some of what it means not to persecute and to be equal?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse tell us what led to persecutions and inequality--i.e. pride and haughtiness?
  • Mosiah 27:4: How does pride or haughtiness "disturb" peace? What does it mean to disturb peace?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Laboring for who? While the pronoun use is a little ambiguous here, is it possible to read this as stating that every person should labor "with his or her own hands for the support of their neighbor?" Or is this just saying that each person should support their own self?
  • Mosiah 27:4: If this verse is just stating that everyone should support themselves, what does this have to do with esteeming his neighbor as himself"
  • Mosiah 27:3-4: Litany of "thats." Is this just a list of commandments, or is there something else going on here? Are these somehow related to each other? Can each of these "thats" be read as leading somehow to the other--i.e. does persecution lead to inequality? Inequality lead too pride and haughtiness, which disturbs the peace, etc.?
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Why is it important that Mormon mentions the building of cities and villages?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b

Mosiah 26:6-10

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 26-27a / Verses 26:1-27:7
Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 26-27a to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 26-27a include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:3: Belief and understanding. Notice in v.3 that in order to understand the scriptures we must believe.
  • Mosiah 26:1-5: Hardened hearts. In the King James Version of the Old Testament, heardened hearts can refer to either a) hearts that are made strong or firm, as in stiffening the will (Heb chazaq), or hearts that may be made heavy (Heb kabad--the same word used for honor or glory). In Joseph Smith's time, Webster's 1828 dictionary defines hardened, in part, as "made unfeeling; made obstinate; confirmed in error or vice."
  • Mosiah 26:6-10. While the Book of Mormon calls Mosiah a king, in current anthropological terminology, early Nephite kings such as Mosiah may have functioned more as a "Big Man" who rules more by power of personal influence than by the ability to marshal enforcement of laws or edicts. Besides a hesitancy to judge harshly, other evidence for this may be Mosiah and Benjamin's growing of their own food--something that doesn't usually happen in a more hierarchically organized chiefdom or kingdom. On the other hand, the position of king was inherited, and Noah (who came from that same tradition) was able to rule very harshly.
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Apparently, before this time, all of the Nephites (consisting of the people of Mosiah, people of Zarahemla, and Alma and Gideon's recent emigrants from the Land of Lehi-Nephi, had all lived in the land of Zarahemla. But now, apparently the people are spreading out into new cities and villages. This will place a huge burden on the leaders in Zarahemla who might want to maintain some sort of rulership over the separate cities, and along with the change of heart in the sons of Mosiah (also recounted in this chapter), and probably served as the death knoll for the Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah egalitarian leadership style and nascent dynastic chiefdom. Anthropologically, when rank village or city societies become so large that they extend across several cities or villages, they become stratified into castes or ranks, and leadership becomes more powerful under a centralized and hereditary complex chiefdom. So, in a real sense, this chapter is recounting how the small Nephite society is thrust into a new level of complex politics (and political instability) due to the building of new cities and the loss of the presumed Nephite royal heirs.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the rising generation be able to understand the words of king Benjamin? What was it about the words that were so difficult to understand?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why would their being little children when Benjamin gave his speech make it hard for them to understand his words later, when the speech could be read to them? Was there something about the context of the speech--the temple festival, perhaps--that the children couldn't get from the written account of his words?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the young people believe the tradition of their fathers? What other influences or belief systems were present to provide an alternative?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why is it so important for the young people to understand King Benjamin’s words? Is there something about that specific sermon that is essential to them?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Tradition. What does the word “tradition” mean? What tradition could their parents have given them that would have taught them what Benjamin meant? Can we teach our children the meaning of Benjamin’s sermon by our tradition? How?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people believe in the resurrection of the dead? Did they not believe in the resurrection at all, or was it something specific about Benjamin's teachings that didn't resonate with them?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people "believe concerning the coming of Christ"? What was it exactly about the Christ narrative that they didn't believe?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relation between unbelief and understanding the word of God? Does this passage imply that it is impossible to understand ("they could not") the word of God "because of...unbelief"?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What does it mean to have a hardened heart? What is the difference between simply not believing and having a heard heart?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relationship between unbelief and having a hardened heart?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What was it that led these people to eschew baptism?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What did it mean to "join the church" at this period of time?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What is this "separate" faith mentioned here? Are these the Nehors?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How does not being baptized or joining the church leave these people in a "carnal and sinful state"? What is the relationship between calling upon the Lord and remaining in a carnal and sinful state?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How is Christ "the Lord their God" if the people don't "call upon" Him?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If "not half" of the people "became more numerous", does that mean that they became a majority? Are we being told that most of the people now are not members of the Church?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If all of the people (accept the little children) had accepted king Benjamin's covenant, and Alma and Limhi's people had all joined the newly organized church, what happened to make perhaps a majority of the people dissent away from the church?
  • Mosiah 26:10-12: Why do Alma and Mosiah each seem to shirk from judging the people who have been brought before them?
  • Mosiah 26:17: What does it mean that Alma’s people shall be the Lord’s people? How does this tie in with King Benjamin’s sermon? Does it help explain why that sermon was so important? How is it important to us?
  • Mosiah 26:20: Three things occur in this verse: the Lord calls Alma his servant; the Lord covenants that Alma will have eternal life; and the Lord says that Alma will serve him. (This rhetorical pattern, a cousin of chiasmus, is called inclusion.) How are these things connected to one another? Why is the covenant “sandwiched” between the descriptions of Alma as a servant—what does the arrangement tell us? What is a covenant? (It is more than a contract or mutual promise.) What does this covenant mean? What does it mean to have eternal life?
  • Mosiah 26:29: Alma asked what to do about the transgressors in vv. 13-14. Not until v. 29 does he receive an answer. Before giving Alma the answer to his prayer, the Lord blesses Alma, reaffirms the covenant relation with him, and tells Alma about the Atonement and the final judgment. Why that long interlude between Alma’s question and the Lord’s answer?
  • Mosiah 26:31: This verse suggests that we are to take the word of the person who tells us that he or she has repented. Why?
  • Mosiah 27:1: Why are the priests called Mosiah's priests in this verse? Was there a separate priesthood for the court, or perhaps the temple, that operated separately from the Church organized by Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:2: What is the "land round about"? Is this the first indication of Mosiah ruling beyond the immediate environs of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What types of persecutions are being represented here?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What does there being no persecutions have to do with their being "an equality among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Who is giving this command "throughout all the churches? Does this come from Alma, the leader of the Church? Or is this a royal edict from Mosiah?
  • Mosiah 27:3: How can there be a command to be equal? What does it mean to be equal "among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Not only are the non-members forbidden to persecute the members, but the members are forbidden to persecute one another. How might members do that? How might we persecute each other today?
  • Mosiah 27:3: The members are told that there should be equality among all men. What does “equality: mean in this instance? In what or in what way are people supposed to be equal? Equality is grammatically parallel to the absence of persecution. Does that tell us something about what each means?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse explain at least some of what it means not to persecute and to be equal?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse tell us what led to persecutions and inequality--i.e. pride and haughtiness?
  • Mosiah 27:4: How does pride or haughtiness "disturb" peace? What does it mean to disturb peace?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Laboring for who? While the pronoun use is a little ambiguous here, is it possible to read this as stating that every person should labor "with his or her own hands for the support of their neighbor?" Or is this just saying that each person should support their own self?
  • Mosiah 27:4: If this verse is just stating that everyone should support themselves, what does this have to do with esteeming his neighbor as himself"
  • Mosiah 27:3-4: Litany of "thats." Is this just a list of commandments, or is there something else going on here? Are these somehow related to each other? Can each of these "thats" be read as leading somehow to the other--i.e. does persecution lead to inequality? Inequality lead too pride and haughtiness, which disturbs the peace, etc.?
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Why is it important that Mormon mentions the building of cities and villages?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b

Mosiah 26:11-15

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 26-27a / Verses 26:1-27:7
Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 26-27a to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 26-27a include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:3: Belief and understanding. Notice in v.3 that in order to understand the scriptures we must believe.
  • Mosiah 26:1-5: Hardened hearts. In the King James Version of the Old Testament, heardened hearts can refer to either a) hearts that are made strong or firm, as in stiffening the will (Heb chazaq), or hearts that may be made heavy (Heb kabad--the same word used for honor or glory). In Joseph Smith's time, Webster's 1828 dictionary defines hardened, in part, as "made unfeeling; made obstinate; confirmed in error or vice."
  • Mosiah 26:6-10. While the Book of Mormon calls Mosiah a king, in current anthropological terminology, early Nephite kings such as Mosiah may have functioned more as a "Big Man" who rules more by power of personal influence than by the ability to marshal enforcement of laws or edicts. Besides a hesitancy to judge harshly, other evidence for this may be Mosiah and Benjamin's growing of their own food--something that doesn't usually happen in a more hierarchically organized chiefdom or kingdom. On the other hand, the position of king was inherited, and Noah (who came from that same tradition) was able to rule very harshly.
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Apparently, before this time, all of the Nephites (consisting of the people of Mosiah, people of Zarahemla, and Alma and Gideon's recent emigrants from the Land of Lehi-Nephi, had all lived in the land of Zarahemla. But now, apparently the people are spreading out into new cities and villages. This will place a huge burden on the leaders in Zarahemla who might want to maintain some sort of rulership over the separate cities, and along with the change of heart in the sons of Mosiah (also recounted in this chapter), and probably served as the death knoll for the Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah egalitarian leadership style and nascent dynastic chiefdom. Anthropologically, when rank village or city societies become so large that they extend across several cities or villages, they become stratified into castes or ranks, and leadership becomes more powerful under a centralized and hereditary complex chiefdom. So, in a real sense, this chapter is recounting how the small Nephite society is thrust into a new level of complex politics (and political instability) due to the building of new cities and the loss of the presumed Nephite royal heirs.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the rising generation be able to understand the words of king Benjamin? What was it about the words that were so difficult to understand?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why would their being little children when Benjamin gave his speech make it hard for them to understand his words later, when the speech could be read to them? Was there something about the context of the speech--the temple festival, perhaps--that the children couldn't get from the written account of his words?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the young people believe the tradition of their fathers? What other influences or belief systems were present to provide an alternative?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why is it so important for the young people to understand King Benjamin’s words? Is there something about that specific sermon that is essential to them?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Tradition. What does the word “tradition” mean? What tradition could their parents have given them that would have taught them what Benjamin meant? Can we teach our children the meaning of Benjamin’s sermon by our tradition? How?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people believe in the resurrection of the dead? Did they not believe in the resurrection at all, or was it something specific about Benjamin's teachings that didn't resonate with them?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people "believe concerning the coming of Christ"? What was it exactly about the Christ narrative that they didn't believe?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relation between unbelief and understanding the word of God? Does this passage imply that it is impossible to understand ("they could not") the word of God "because of...unbelief"?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What does it mean to have a hardened heart? What is the difference between simply not believing and having a heard heart?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relationship between unbelief and having a hardened heart?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What was it that led these people to eschew baptism?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What did it mean to "join the church" at this period of time?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What is this "separate" faith mentioned here? Are these the Nehors?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How does not being baptized or joining the church leave these people in a "carnal and sinful state"? What is the relationship between calling upon the Lord and remaining in a carnal and sinful state?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How is Christ "the Lord their God" if the people don't "call upon" Him?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If "not half" of the people "became more numerous", does that mean that they became a majority? Are we being told that most of the people now are not members of the Church?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If all of the people (accept the little children) had accepted king Benjamin's covenant, and Alma and Limhi's people had all joined the newly organized church, what happened to make perhaps a majority of the people dissent away from the church?
  • Mosiah 26:10-12: Why do Alma and Mosiah each seem to shirk from judging the people who have been brought before them?
  • Mosiah 26:17: What does it mean that Alma’s people shall be the Lord’s people? How does this tie in with King Benjamin’s sermon? Does it help explain why that sermon was so important? How is it important to us?
  • Mosiah 26:20: Three things occur in this verse: the Lord calls Alma his servant; the Lord covenants that Alma will have eternal life; and the Lord says that Alma will serve him. (This rhetorical pattern, a cousin of chiasmus, is called inclusion.) How are these things connected to one another? Why is the covenant “sandwiched” between the descriptions of Alma as a servant—what does the arrangement tell us? What is a covenant? (It is more than a contract or mutual promise.) What does this covenant mean? What does it mean to have eternal life?
  • Mosiah 26:29: Alma asked what to do about the transgressors in vv. 13-14. Not until v. 29 does he receive an answer. Before giving Alma the answer to his prayer, the Lord blesses Alma, reaffirms the covenant relation with him, and tells Alma about the Atonement and the final judgment. Why that long interlude between Alma’s question and the Lord’s answer?
  • Mosiah 26:31: This verse suggests that we are to take the word of the person who tells us that he or she has repented. Why?
  • Mosiah 27:1: Why are the priests called Mosiah's priests in this verse? Was there a separate priesthood for the court, or perhaps the temple, that operated separately from the Church organized by Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:2: What is the "land round about"? Is this the first indication of Mosiah ruling beyond the immediate environs of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What types of persecutions are being represented here?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What does there being no persecutions have to do with their being "an equality among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Who is giving this command "throughout all the churches? Does this come from Alma, the leader of the Church? Or is this a royal edict from Mosiah?
  • Mosiah 27:3: How can there be a command to be equal? What does it mean to be equal "among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Not only are the non-members forbidden to persecute the members, but the members are forbidden to persecute one another. How might members do that? How might we persecute each other today?
  • Mosiah 27:3: The members are told that there should be equality among all men. What does “equality: mean in this instance? In what or in what way are people supposed to be equal? Equality is grammatically parallel to the absence of persecution. Does that tell us something about what each means?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse explain at least some of what it means not to persecute and to be equal?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse tell us what led to persecutions and inequality--i.e. pride and haughtiness?
  • Mosiah 27:4: How does pride or haughtiness "disturb" peace? What does it mean to disturb peace?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Laboring for who? While the pronoun use is a little ambiguous here, is it possible to read this as stating that every person should labor "with his or her own hands for the support of their neighbor?" Or is this just saying that each person should support their own self?
  • Mosiah 27:4: If this verse is just stating that everyone should support themselves, what does this have to do with esteeming his neighbor as himself"
  • Mosiah 27:3-4: Litany of "thats." Is this just a list of commandments, or is there something else going on here? Are these somehow related to each other? Can each of these "thats" be read as leading somehow to the other--i.e. does persecution lead to inequality? Inequality lead too pride and haughtiness, which disturbs the peace, etc.?
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Why is it important that Mormon mentions the building of cities and villages?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b

Mosiah 26:16-20

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 26-27a / Verses 26:1-27:7
Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 26-27a to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 26-27a include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:3: Belief and understanding. Notice in v.3 that in order to understand the scriptures we must believe.
  • Mosiah 26:1-5: Hardened hearts. In the King James Version of the Old Testament, heardened hearts can refer to either a) hearts that are made strong or firm, as in stiffening the will (Heb chazaq), or hearts that may be made heavy (Heb kabad--the same word used for honor or glory). In Joseph Smith's time, Webster's 1828 dictionary defines hardened, in part, as "made unfeeling; made obstinate; confirmed in error or vice."
  • Mosiah 26:6-10. While the Book of Mormon calls Mosiah a king, in current anthropological terminology, early Nephite kings such as Mosiah may have functioned more as a "Big Man" who rules more by power of personal influence than by the ability to marshal enforcement of laws or edicts. Besides a hesitancy to judge harshly, other evidence for this may be Mosiah and Benjamin's growing of their own food--something that doesn't usually happen in a more hierarchically organized chiefdom or kingdom. On the other hand, the position of king was inherited, and Noah (who came from that same tradition) was able to rule very harshly.
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Apparently, before this time, all of the Nephites (consisting of the people of Mosiah, people of Zarahemla, and Alma and Gideon's recent emigrants from the Land of Lehi-Nephi, had all lived in the land of Zarahemla. But now, apparently the people are spreading out into new cities and villages. This will place a huge burden on the leaders in Zarahemla who might want to maintain some sort of rulership over the separate cities, and along with the change of heart in the sons of Mosiah (also recounted in this chapter), and probably served as the death knoll for the Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah egalitarian leadership style and nascent dynastic chiefdom. Anthropologically, when rank village or city societies become so large that they extend across several cities or villages, they become stratified into castes or ranks, and leadership becomes more powerful under a centralized and hereditary complex chiefdom. So, in a real sense, this chapter is recounting how the small Nephite society is thrust into a new level of complex politics (and political instability) due to the building of new cities and the loss of the presumed Nephite royal heirs.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the rising generation be able to understand the words of king Benjamin? What was it about the words that were so difficult to understand?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why would their being little children when Benjamin gave his speech make it hard for them to understand his words later, when the speech could be read to them? Was there something about the context of the speech--the temple festival, perhaps--that the children couldn't get from the written account of his words?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the young people believe the tradition of their fathers? What other influences or belief systems were present to provide an alternative?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why is it so important for the young people to understand King Benjamin’s words? Is there something about that specific sermon that is essential to them?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Tradition. What does the word “tradition” mean? What tradition could their parents have given them that would have taught them what Benjamin meant? Can we teach our children the meaning of Benjamin’s sermon by our tradition? How?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people believe in the resurrection of the dead? Did they not believe in the resurrection at all, or was it something specific about Benjamin's teachings that didn't resonate with them?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people "believe concerning the coming of Christ"? What was it exactly about the Christ narrative that they didn't believe?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relation between unbelief and understanding the word of God? Does this passage imply that it is impossible to understand ("they could not") the word of God "because of...unbelief"?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What does it mean to have a hardened heart? What is the difference between simply not believing and having a heard heart?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relationship between unbelief and having a hardened heart?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What was it that led these people to eschew baptism?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What did it mean to "join the church" at this period of time?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What is this "separate" faith mentioned here? Are these the Nehors?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How does not being baptized or joining the church leave these people in a "carnal and sinful state"? What is the relationship between calling upon the Lord and remaining in a carnal and sinful state?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How is Christ "the Lord their God" if the people don't "call upon" Him?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If "not half" of the people "became more numerous", does that mean that they became a majority? Are we being told that most of the people now are not members of the Church?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If all of the people (accept the little children) had accepted king Benjamin's covenant, and Alma and Limhi's people had all joined the newly organized church, what happened to make perhaps a majority of the people dissent away from the church?
  • Mosiah 26:10-12: Why do Alma and Mosiah each seem to shirk from judging the people who have been brought before them?
  • Mosiah 26:17: What does it mean that Alma’s people shall be the Lord’s people? How does this tie in with King Benjamin’s sermon? Does it help explain why that sermon was so important? How is it important to us?
  • Mosiah 26:20: Three things occur in this verse: the Lord calls Alma his servant; the Lord covenants that Alma will have eternal life; and the Lord says that Alma will serve him. (This rhetorical pattern, a cousin of chiasmus, is called inclusion.) How are these things connected to one another? Why is the covenant “sandwiched” between the descriptions of Alma as a servant—what does the arrangement tell us? What is a covenant? (It is more than a contract or mutual promise.) What does this covenant mean? What does it mean to have eternal life?
  • Mosiah 26:29: Alma asked what to do about the transgressors in vv. 13-14. Not until v. 29 does he receive an answer. Before giving Alma the answer to his prayer, the Lord blesses Alma, reaffirms the covenant relation with him, and tells Alma about the Atonement and the final judgment. Why that long interlude between Alma’s question and the Lord’s answer?
  • Mosiah 26:31: This verse suggests that we are to take the word of the person who tells us that he or she has repented. Why?
  • Mosiah 27:1: Why are the priests called Mosiah's priests in this verse? Was there a separate priesthood for the court, or perhaps the temple, that operated separately from the Church organized by Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:2: What is the "land round about"? Is this the first indication of Mosiah ruling beyond the immediate environs of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What types of persecutions are being represented here?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What does there being no persecutions have to do with their being "an equality among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Who is giving this command "throughout all the churches? Does this come from Alma, the leader of the Church? Or is this a royal edict from Mosiah?
  • Mosiah 27:3: How can there be a command to be equal? What does it mean to be equal "among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Not only are the non-members forbidden to persecute the members, but the members are forbidden to persecute one another. How might members do that? How might we persecute each other today?
  • Mosiah 27:3: The members are told that there should be equality among all men. What does “equality: mean in this instance? In what or in what way are people supposed to be equal? Equality is grammatically parallel to the absence of persecution. Does that tell us something about what each means?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse explain at least some of what it means not to persecute and to be equal?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse tell us what led to persecutions and inequality--i.e. pride and haughtiness?
  • Mosiah 27:4: How does pride or haughtiness "disturb" peace? What does it mean to disturb peace?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Laboring for who? While the pronoun use is a little ambiguous here, is it possible to read this as stating that every person should labor "with his or her own hands for the support of their neighbor?" Or is this just saying that each person should support their own self?
  • Mosiah 27:4: If this verse is just stating that everyone should support themselves, what does this have to do with esteeming his neighbor as himself"
  • Mosiah 27:3-4: Litany of "thats." Is this just a list of commandments, or is there something else going on here? Are these somehow related to each other? Can each of these "thats" be read as leading somehow to the other--i.e. does persecution lead to inequality? Inequality lead too pride and haughtiness, which disturbs the peace, etc.?
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Why is it important that Mormon mentions the building of cities and villages?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b

Mosiah 26:21-25

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 26-27a / Verses 26:1-27:7
Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 26-27a to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 26-27a include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:3: Belief and understanding. Notice in v.3 that in order to understand the scriptures we must believe.
  • Mosiah 26:1-5: Hardened hearts. In the King James Version of the Old Testament, heardened hearts can refer to either a) hearts that are made strong or firm, as in stiffening the will (Heb chazaq), or hearts that may be made heavy (Heb kabad--the same word used for honor or glory). In Joseph Smith's time, Webster's 1828 dictionary defines hardened, in part, as "made unfeeling; made obstinate; confirmed in error or vice."
  • Mosiah 26:6-10. While the Book of Mormon calls Mosiah a king, in current anthropological terminology, early Nephite kings such as Mosiah may have functioned more as a "Big Man" who rules more by power of personal influence than by the ability to marshal enforcement of laws or edicts. Besides a hesitancy to judge harshly, other evidence for this may be Mosiah and Benjamin's growing of their own food--something that doesn't usually happen in a more hierarchically organized chiefdom or kingdom. On the other hand, the position of king was inherited, and Noah (who came from that same tradition) was able to rule very harshly.
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Apparently, before this time, all of the Nephites (consisting of the people of Mosiah, people of Zarahemla, and Alma and Gideon's recent emigrants from the Land of Lehi-Nephi, had all lived in the land of Zarahemla. But now, apparently the people are spreading out into new cities and villages. This will place a huge burden on the leaders in Zarahemla who might want to maintain some sort of rulership over the separate cities, and along with the change of heart in the sons of Mosiah (also recounted in this chapter), and probably served as the death knoll for the Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah egalitarian leadership style and nascent dynastic chiefdom. Anthropologically, when rank village or city societies become so large that they extend across several cities or villages, they become stratified into castes or ranks, and leadership becomes more powerful under a centralized and hereditary complex chiefdom. So, in a real sense, this chapter is recounting how the small Nephite society is thrust into a new level of complex politics (and political instability) due to the building of new cities and the loss of the presumed Nephite royal heirs.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the rising generation be able to understand the words of king Benjamin? What was it about the words that were so difficult to understand?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why would their being little children when Benjamin gave his speech make it hard for them to understand his words later, when the speech could be read to them? Was there something about the context of the speech--the temple festival, perhaps--that the children couldn't get from the written account of his words?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the young people believe the tradition of their fathers? What other influences or belief systems were present to provide an alternative?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why is it so important for the young people to understand King Benjamin’s words? Is there something about that specific sermon that is essential to them?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Tradition. What does the word “tradition” mean? What tradition could their parents have given them that would have taught them what Benjamin meant? Can we teach our children the meaning of Benjamin’s sermon by our tradition? How?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people believe in the resurrection of the dead? Did they not believe in the resurrection at all, or was it something specific about Benjamin's teachings that didn't resonate with them?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people "believe concerning the coming of Christ"? What was it exactly about the Christ narrative that they didn't believe?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relation between unbelief and understanding the word of God? Does this passage imply that it is impossible to understand ("they could not") the word of God "because of...unbelief"?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What does it mean to have a hardened heart? What is the difference between simply not believing and having a heard heart?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relationship between unbelief and having a hardened heart?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What was it that led these people to eschew baptism?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What did it mean to "join the church" at this period of time?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What is this "separate" faith mentioned here? Are these the Nehors?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How does not being baptized or joining the church leave these people in a "carnal and sinful state"? What is the relationship between calling upon the Lord and remaining in a carnal and sinful state?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How is Christ "the Lord their God" if the people don't "call upon" Him?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If "not half" of the people "became more numerous", does that mean that they became a majority? Are we being told that most of the people now are not members of the Church?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If all of the people (accept the little children) had accepted king Benjamin's covenant, and Alma and Limhi's people had all joined the newly organized church, what happened to make perhaps a majority of the people dissent away from the church?
  • Mosiah 26:10-12: Why do Alma and Mosiah each seem to shirk from judging the people who have been brought before them?
  • Mosiah 26:17: What does it mean that Alma’s people shall be the Lord’s people? How does this tie in with King Benjamin’s sermon? Does it help explain why that sermon was so important? How is it important to us?
  • Mosiah 26:20: Three things occur in this verse: the Lord calls Alma his servant; the Lord covenants that Alma will have eternal life; and the Lord says that Alma will serve him. (This rhetorical pattern, a cousin of chiasmus, is called inclusion.) How are these things connected to one another? Why is the covenant “sandwiched” between the descriptions of Alma as a servant—what does the arrangement tell us? What is a covenant? (It is more than a contract or mutual promise.) What does this covenant mean? What does it mean to have eternal life?
  • Mosiah 26:29: Alma asked what to do about the transgressors in vv. 13-14. Not until v. 29 does he receive an answer. Before giving Alma the answer to his prayer, the Lord blesses Alma, reaffirms the covenant relation with him, and tells Alma about the Atonement and the final judgment. Why that long interlude between Alma’s question and the Lord’s answer?
  • Mosiah 26:31: This verse suggests that we are to take the word of the person who tells us that he or she has repented. Why?
  • Mosiah 27:1: Why are the priests called Mosiah's priests in this verse? Was there a separate priesthood for the court, or perhaps the temple, that operated separately from the Church organized by Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:2: What is the "land round about"? Is this the first indication of Mosiah ruling beyond the immediate environs of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What types of persecutions are being represented here?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What does there being no persecutions have to do with their being "an equality among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Who is giving this command "throughout all the churches? Does this come from Alma, the leader of the Church? Or is this a royal edict from Mosiah?
  • Mosiah 27:3: How can there be a command to be equal? What does it mean to be equal "among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Not only are the non-members forbidden to persecute the members, but the members are forbidden to persecute one another. How might members do that? How might we persecute each other today?
  • Mosiah 27:3: The members are told that there should be equality among all men. What does “equality: mean in this instance? In what or in what way are people supposed to be equal? Equality is grammatically parallel to the absence of persecution. Does that tell us something about what each means?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse explain at least some of what it means not to persecute and to be equal?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse tell us what led to persecutions and inequality--i.e. pride and haughtiness?
  • Mosiah 27:4: How does pride or haughtiness "disturb" peace? What does it mean to disturb peace?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Laboring for who? While the pronoun use is a little ambiguous here, is it possible to read this as stating that every person should labor "with his or her own hands for the support of their neighbor?" Or is this just saying that each person should support their own self?
  • Mosiah 27:4: If this verse is just stating that everyone should support themselves, what does this have to do with esteeming his neighbor as himself"
  • Mosiah 27:3-4: Litany of "thats." Is this just a list of commandments, or is there something else going on here? Are these somehow related to each other? Can each of these "thats" be read as leading somehow to the other--i.e. does persecution lead to inequality? Inequality lead too pride and haughtiness, which disturbs the peace, etc.?
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Why is it important that Mormon mentions the building of cities and villages?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b

Mosiah 26:26-30

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 26-27a / Verses 26:1-27:7
Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 26-27a to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 26-27a include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:3: Belief and understanding. Notice in v.3 that in order to understand the scriptures we must believe.
  • Mosiah 26:1-5: Hardened hearts. In the King James Version of the Old Testament, heardened hearts can refer to either a) hearts that are made strong or firm, as in stiffening the will (Heb chazaq), or hearts that may be made heavy (Heb kabad--the same word used for honor or glory). In Joseph Smith's time, Webster's 1828 dictionary defines hardened, in part, as "made unfeeling; made obstinate; confirmed in error or vice."
  • Mosiah 26:6-10. While the Book of Mormon calls Mosiah a king, in current anthropological terminology, early Nephite kings such as Mosiah may have functioned more as a "Big Man" who rules more by power of personal influence than by the ability to marshal enforcement of laws or edicts. Besides a hesitancy to judge harshly, other evidence for this may be Mosiah and Benjamin's growing of their own food--something that doesn't usually happen in a more hierarchically organized chiefdom or kingdom. On the other hand, the position of king was inherited, and Noah (who came from that same tradition) was able to rule very harshly.
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Apparently, before this time, all of the Nephites (consisting of the people of Mosiah, people of Zarahemla, and Alma and Gideon's recent emigrants from the Land of Lehi-Nephi, had all lived in the land of Zarahemla. But now, apparently the people are spreading out into new cities and villages. This will place a huge burden on the leaders in Zarahemla who might want to maintain some sort of rulership over the separate cities, and along with the change of heart in the sons of Mosiah (also recounted in this chapter), and probably served as the death knoll for the Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah egalitarian leadership style and nascent dynastic chiefdom. Anthropologically, when rank village or city societies become so large that they extend across several cities or villages, they become stratified into castes or ranks, and leadership becomes more powerful under a centralized and hereditary complex chiefdom. So, in a real sense, this chapter is recounting how the small Nephite society is thrust into a new level of complex politics (and political instability) due to the building of new cities and the loss of the presumed Nephite royal heirs.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the rising generation be able to understand the words of king Benjamin? What was it about the words that were so difficult to understand?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why would their being little children when Benjamin gave his speech make it hard for them to understand his words later, when the speech could be read to them? Was there something about the context of the speech--the temple festival, perhaps--that the children couldn't get from the written account of his words?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the young people believe the tradition of their fathers? What other influences or belief systems were present to provide an alternative?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why is it so important for the young people to understand King Benjamin’s words? Is there something about that specific sermon that is essential to them?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Tradition. What does the word “tradition” mean? What tradition could their parents have given them that would have taught them what Benjamin meant? Can we teach our children the meaning of Benjamin’s sermon by our tradition? How?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people believe in the resurrection of the dead? Did they not believe in the resurrection at all, or was it something specific about Benjamin's teachings that didn't resonate with them?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people "believe concerning the coming of Christ"? What was it exactly about the Christ narrative that they didn't believe?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relation between unbelief and understanding the word of God? Does this passage imply that it is impossible to understand ("they could not") the word of God "because of...unbelief"?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What does it mean to have a hardened heart? What is the difference between simply not believing and having a heard heart?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relationship between unbelief and having a hardened heart?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What was it that led these people to eschew baptism?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What did it mean to "join the church" at this period of time?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What is this "separate" faith mentioned here? Are these the Nehors?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How does not being baptized or joining the church leave these people in a "carnal and sinful state"? What is the relationship between calling upon the Lord and remaining in a carnal and sinful state?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How is Christ "the Lord their God" if the people don't "call upon" Him?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If "not half" of the people "became more numerous", does that mean that they became a majority? Are we being told that most of the people now are not members of the Church?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If all of the people (accept the little children) had accepted king Benjamin's covenant, and Alma and Limhi's people had all joined the newly organized church, what happened to make perhaps a majority of the people dissent away from the church?
  • Mosiah 26:10-12: Why do Alma and Mosiah each seem to shirk from judging the people who have been brought before them?
  • Mosiah 26:17: What does it mean that Alma’s people shall be the Lord’s people? How does this tie in with King Benjamin’s sermon? Does it help explain why that sermon was so important? How is it important to us?
  • Mosiah 26:20: Three things occur in this verse: the Lord calls Alma his servant; the Lord covenants that Alma will have eternal life; and the Lord says that Alma will serve him. (This rhetorical pattern, a cousin of chiasmus, is called inclusion.) How are these things connected to one another? Why is the covenant “sandwiched” between the descriptions of Alma as a servant—what does the arrangement tell us? What is a covenant? (It is more than a contract or mutual promise.) What does this covenant mean? What does it mean to have eternal life?
  • Mosiah 26:29: Alma asked what to do about the transgressors in vv. 13-14. Not until v. 29 does he receive an answer. Before giving Alma the answer to his prayer, the Lord blesses Alma, reaffirms the covenant relation with him, and tells Alma about the Atonement and the final judgment. Why that long interlude between Alma’s question and the Lord’s answer?
  • Mosiah 26:31: This verse suggests that we are to take the word of the person who tells us that he or she has repented. Why?
  • Mosiah 27:1: Why are the priests called Mosiah's priests in this verse? Was there a separate priesthood for the court, or perhaps the temple, that operated separately from the Church organized by Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:2: What is the "land round about"? Is this the first indication of Mosiah ruling beyond the immediate environs of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What types of persecutions are being represented here?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What does there being no persecutions have to do with their being "an equality among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Who is giving this command "throughout all the churches? Does this come from Alma, the leader of the Church? Or is this a royal edict from Mosiah?
  • Mosiah 27:3: How can there be a command to be equal? What does it mean to be equal "among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Not only are the non-members forbidden to persecute the members, but the members are forbidden to persecute one another. How might members do that? How might we persecute each other today?
  • Mosiah 27:3: The members are told that there should be equality among all men. What does “equality: mean in this instance? In what or in what way are people supposed to be equal? Equality is grammatically parallel to the absence of persecution. Does that tell us something about what each means?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse explain at least some of what it means not to persecute and to be equal?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse tell us what led to persecutions and inequality--i.e. pride and haughtiness?
  • Mosiah 27:4: How does pride or haughtiness "disturb" peace? What does it mean to disturb peace?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Laboring for who? While the pronoun use is a little ambiguous here, is it possible to read this as stating that every person should labor "with his or her own hands for the support of their neighbor?" Or is this just saying that each person should support their own self?
  • Mosiah 27:4: If this verse is just stating that everyone should support themselves, what does this have to do with esteeming his neighbor as himself"
  • Mosiah 27:3-4: Litany of "thats." Is this just a list of commandments, or is there something else going on here? Are these somehow related to each other? Can each of these "thats" be read as leading somehow to the other--i.e. does persecution lead to inequality? Inequality lead too pride and haughtiness, which disturbs the peace, etc.?
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Why is it important that Mormon mentions the building of cities and villages?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b

Mosiah 26:31-35

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 26-27a / Verses 26:1-27:7
Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 26-27a to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 26-27a include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:3: Belief and understanding. Notice in v.3 that in order to understand the scriptures we must believe.
  • Mosiah 26:1-5: Hardened hearts. In the King James Version of the Old Testament, heardened hearts can refer to either a) hearts that are made strong or firm, as in stiffening the will (Heb chazaq), or hearts that may be made heavy (Heb kabad--the same word used for honor or glory). In Joseph Smith's time, Webster's 1828 dictionary defines hardened, in part, as "made unfeeling; made obstinate; confirmed in error or vice."
  • Mosiah 26:6-10. While the Book of Mormon calls Mosiah a king, in current anthropological terminology, early Nephite kings such as Mosiah may have functioned more as a "Big Man" who rules more by power of personal influence than by the ability to marshal enforcement of laws or edicts. Besides a hesitancy to judge harshly, other evidence for this may be Mosiah and Benjamin's growing of their own food--something that doesn't usually happen in a more hierarchically organized chiefdom or kingdom. On the other hand, the position of king was inherited, and Noah (who came from that same tradition) was able to rule very harshly.
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Apparently, before this time, all of the Nephites (consisting of the people of Mosiah, people of Zarahemla, and Alma and Gideon's recent emigrants from the Land of Lehi-Nephi, had all lived in the land of Zarahemla. But now, apparently the people are spreading out into new cities and villages. This will place a huge burden on the leaders in Zarahemla who might want to maintain some sort of rulership over the separate cities, and along with the change of heart in the sons of Mosiah (also recounted in this chapter), and probably served as the death knoll for the Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah egalitarian leadership style and nascent dynastic chiefdom. Anthropologically, when rank village or city societies become so large that they extend across several cities or villages, they become stratified into castes or ranks, and leadership becomes more powerful under a centralized and hereditary complex chiefdom. So, in a real sense, this chapter is recounting how the small Nephite society is thrust into a new level of complex politics (and political instability) due to the building of new cities and the loss of the presumed Nephite royal heirs.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the rising generation be able to understand the words of king Benjamin? What was it about the words that were so difficult to understand?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why would their being little children when Benjamin gave his speech make it hard for them to understand his words later, when the speech could be read to them? Was there something about the context of the speech--the temple festival, perhaps--that the children couldn't get from the written account of his words?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the young people believe the tradition of their fathers? What other influences or belief systems were present to provide an alternative?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why is it so important for the young people to understand King Benjamin’s words? Is there something about that specific sermon that is essential to them?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Tradition. What does the word “tradition” mean? What tradition could their parents have given them that would have taught them what Benjamin meant? Can we teach our children the meaning of Benjamin’s sermon by our tradition? How?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people believe in the resurrection of the dead? Did they not believe in the resurrection at all, or was it something specific about Benjamin's teachings that didn't resonate with them?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people "believe concerning the coming of Christ"? What was it exactly about the Christ narrative that they didn't believe?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relation between unbelief and understanding the word of God? Does this passage imply that it is impossible to understand ("they could not") the word of God "because of...unbelief"?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What does it mean to have a hardened heart? What is the difference between simply not believing and having a heard heart?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relationship between unbelief and having a hardened heart?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What was it that led these people to eschew baptism?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What did it mean to "join the church" at this period of time?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What is this "separate" faith mentioned here? Are these the Nehors?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How does not being baptized or joining the church leave these people in a "carnal and sinful state"? What is the relationship between calling upon the Lord and remaining in a carnal and sinful state?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How is Christ "the Lord their God" if the people don't "call upon" Him?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If "not half" of the people "became more numerous", does that mean that they became a majority? Are we being told that most of the people now are not members of the Church?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If all of the people (accept the little children) had accepted king Benjamin's covenant, and Alma and Limhi's people had all joined the newly organized church, what happened to make perhaps a majority of the people dissent away from the church?
  • Mosiah 26:10-12: Why do Alma and Mosiah each seem to shirk from judging the people who have been brought before them?
  • Mosiah 26:17: What does it mean that Alma’s people shall be the Lord’s people? How does this tie in with King Benjamin’s sermon? Does it help explain why that sermon was so important? How is it important to us?
  • Mosiah 26:20: Three things occur in this verse: the Lord calls Alma his servant; the Lord covenants that Alma will have eternal life; and the Lord says that Alma will serve him. (This rhetorical pattern, a cousin of chiasmus, is called inclusion.) How are these things connected to one another? Why is the covenant “sandwiched” between the descriptions of Alma as a servant—what does the arrangement tell us? What is a covenant? (It is more than a contract or mutual promise.) What does this covenant mean? What does it mean to have eternal life?
  • Mosiah 26:29: Alma asked what to do about the transgressors in vv. 13-14. Not until v. 29 does he receive an answer. Before giving Alma the answer to his prayer, the Lord blesses Alma, reaffirms the covenant relation with him, and tells Alma about the Atonement and the final judgment. Why that long interlude between Alma’s question and the Lord’s answer?
  • Mosiah 26:31: This verse suggests that we are to take the word of the person who tells us that he or she has repented. Why?
  • Mosiah 27:1: Why are the priests called Mosiah's priests in this verse? Was there a separate priesthood for the court, or perhaps the temple, that operated separately from the Church organized by Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:2: What is the "land round about"? Is this the first indication of Mosiah ruling beyond the immediate environs of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What types of persecutions are being represented here?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What does there being no persecutions have to do with their being "an equality among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Who is giving this command "throughout all the churches? Does this come from Alma, the leader of the Church? Or is this a royal edict from Mosiah?
  • Mosiah 27:3: How can there be a command to be equal? What does it mean to be equal "among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Not only are the non-members forbidden to persecute the members, but the members are forbidden to persecute one another. How might members do that? How might we persecute each other today?
  • Mosiah 27:3: The members are told that there should be equality among all men. What does “equality: mean in this instance? In what or in what way are people supposed to be equal? Equality is grammatically parallel to the absence of persecution. Does that tell us something about what each means?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse explain at least some of what it means not to persecute and to be equal?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse tell us what led to persecutions and inequality--i.e. pride and haughtiness?
  • Mosiah 27:4: How does pride or haughtiness "disturb" peace? What does it mean to disturb peace?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Laboring for who? While the pronoun use is a little ambiguous here, is it possible to read this as stating that every person should labor "with his or her own hands for the support of their neighbor?" Or is this just saying that each person should support their own self?
  • Mosiah 27:4: If this verse is just stating that everyone should support themselves, what does this have to do with esteeming his neighbor as himself"
  • Mosiah 27:3-4: Litany of "thats." Is this just a list of commandments, or is there something else going on here? Are these somehow related to each other? Can each of these "thats" be read as leading somehow to the other--i.e. does persecution lead to inequality? Inequality lead too pride and haughtiness, which disturbs the peace, etc.?
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Why is it important that Mormon mentions the building of cities and villages?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b

Mosiah 26:36-39

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 26-27a / Verses 26:1-27:7
Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 26-27a to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 26-27a include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:3: Belief and understanding. Notice in v.3 that in order to understand the scriptures we must believe.
  • Mosiah 26:1-5: Hardened hearts. In the King James Version of the Old Testament, heardened hearts can refer to either a) hearts that are made strong or firm, as in stiffening the will (Heb chazaq), or hearts that may be made heavy (Heb kabad--the same word used for honor or glory). In Joseph Smith's time, Webster's 1828 dictionary defines hardened, in part, as "made unfeeling; made obstinate; confirmed in error or vice."
  • Mosiah 26:6-10. While the Book of Mormon calls Mosiah a king, in current anthropological terminology, early Nephite kings such as Mosiah may have functioned more as a "Big Man" who rules more by power of personal influence than by the ability to marshal enforcement of laws or edicts. Besides a hesitancy to judge harshly, other evidence for this may be Mosiah and Benjamin's growing of their own food--something that doesn't usually happen in a more hierarchically organized chiefdom or kingdom. On the other hand, the position of king was inherited, and Noah (who came from that same tradition) was able to rule very harshly.
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Apparently, before this time, all of the Nephites (consisting of the people of Mosiah, people of Zarahemla, and Alma and Gideon's recent emigrants from the Land of Lehi-Nephi, had all lived in the land of Zarahemla. But now, apparently the people are spreading out into new cities and villages. This will place a huge burden on the leaders in Zarahemla who might want to maintain some sort of rulership over the separate cities, and along with the change of heart in the sons of Mosiah (also recounted in this chapter), and probably served as the death knoll for the Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah egalitarian leadership style and nascent dynastic chiefdom. Anthropologically, when rank village or city societies become so large that they extend across several cities or villages, they become stratified into castes or ranks, and leadership becomes more powerful under a centralized and hereditary complex chiefdom. So, in a real sense, this chapter is recounting how the small Nephite society is thrust into a new level of complex politics (and political instability) due to the building of new cities and the loss of the presumed Nephite royal heirs.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the rising generation be able to understand the words of king Benjamin? What was it about the words that were so difficult to understand?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why would their being little children when Benjamin gave his speech make it hard for them to understand his words later, when the speech could be read to them? Was there something about the context of the speech--the temple festival, perhaps--that the children couldn't get from the written account of his words?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the young people believe the tradition of their fathers? What other influences or belief systems were present to provide an alternative?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why is it so important for the young people to understand King Benjamin’s words? Is there something about that specific sermon that is essential to them?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Tradition. What does the word “tradition” mean? What tradition could their parents have given them that would have taught them what Benjamin meant? Can we teach our children the meaning of Benjamin’s sermon by our tradition? How?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people believe in the resurrection of the dead? Did they not believe in the resurrection at all, or was it something specific about Benjamin's teachings that didn't resonate with them?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people "believe concerning the coming of Christ"? What was it exactly about the Christ narrative that they didn't believe?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relation between unbelief and understanding the word of God? Does this passage imply that it is impossible to understand ("they could not") the word of God "because of...unbelief"?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What does it mean to have a hardened heart? What is the difference between simply not believing and having a heard heart?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relationship between unbelief and having a hardened heart?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What was it that led these people to eschew baptism?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What did it mean to "join the church" at this period of time?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What is this "separate" faith mentioned here? Are these the Nehors?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How does not being baptized or joining the church leave these people in a "carnal and sinful state"? What is the relationship between calling upon the Lord and remaining in a carnal and sinful state?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How is Christ "the Lord their God" if the people don't "call upon" Him?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If "not half" of the people "became more numerous", does that mean that they became a majority? Are we being told that most of the people now are not members of the Church?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If all of the people (accept the little children) had accepted king Benjamin's covenant, and Alma and Limhi's people had all joined the newly organized church, what happened to make perhaps a majority of the people dissent away from the church?
  • Mosiah 26:10-12: Why do Alma and Mosiah each seem to shirk from judging the people who have been brought before them?
  • Mosiah 26:17: What does it mean that Alma’s people shall be the Lord’s people? How does this tie in with King Benjamin’s sermon? Does it help explain why that sermon was so important? How is it important to us?
  • Mosiah 26:20: Three things occur in this verse: the Lord calls Alma his servant; the Lord covenants that Alma will have eternal life; and the Lord says that Alma will serve him. (This rhetorical pattern, a cousin of chiasmus, is called inclusion.) How are these things connected to one another? Why is the covenant “sandwiched” between the descriptions of Alma as a servant—what does the arrangement tell us? What is a covenant? (It is more than a contract or mutual promise.) What does this covenant mean? What does it mean to have eternal life?
  • Mosiah 26:29: Alma asked what to do about the transgressors in vv. 13-14. Not until v. 29 does he receive an answer. Before giving Alma the answer to his prayer, the Lord blesses Alma, reaffirms the covenant relation with him, and tells Alma about the Atonement and the final judgment. Why that long interlude between Alma’s question and the Lord’s answer?
  • Mosiah 26:31: This verse suggests that we are to take the word of the person who tells us that he or she has repented. Why?
  • Mosiah 27:1: Why are the priests called Mosiah's priests in this verse? Was there a separate priesthood for the court, or perhaps the temple, that operated separately from the Church organized by Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:2: What is the "land round about"? Is this the first indication of Mosiah ruling beyond the immediate environs of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What types of persecutions are being represented here?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What does there being no persecutions have to do with their being "an equality among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Who is giving this command "throughout all the churches? Does this come from Alma, the leader of the Church? Or is this a royal edict from Mosiah?
  • Mosiah 27:3: How can there be a command to be equal? What does it mean to be equal "among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Not only are the non-members forbidden to persecute the members, but the members are forbidden to persecute one another. How might members do that? How might we persecute each other today?
  • Mosiah 27:3: The members are told that there should be equality among all men. What does “equality: mean in this instance? In what or in what way are people supposed to be equal? Equality is grammatically parallel to the absence of persecution. Does that tell us something about what each means?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse explain at least some of what it means not to persecute and to be equal?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse tell us what led to persecutions and inequality--i.e. pride and haughtiness?
  • Mosiah 27:4: How does pride or haughtiness "disturb" peace? What does it mean to disturb peace?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Laboring for who? While the pronoun use is a little ambiguous here, is it possible to read this as stating that every person should labor "with his or her own hands for the support of their neighbor?" Or is this just saying that each person should support their own self?
  • Mosiah 27:4: If this verse is just stating that everyone should support themselves, what does this have to do with esteeming his neighbor as himself"
  • Mosiah 27:3-4: Litany of "thats." Is this just a list of commandments, or is there something else going on here? Are these somehow related to each other? Can each of these "thats" be read as leading somehow to the other--i.e. does persecution lead to inequality? Inequality lead too pride and haughtiness, which disturbs the peace, etc.?
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Why is it important that Mormon mentions the building of cities and villages?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b

Mosiah 27:1-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 26-27a / Verses 26:1-27:7
Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 26-27a to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 26-27a include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:3: Belief and understanding. Notice in v.3 that in order to understand the scriptures we must believe.
  • Mosiah 26:1-5: Hardened hearts. In the King James Version of the Old Testament, heardened hearts can refer to either a) hearts that are made strong or firm, as in stiffening the will (Heb chazaq), or hearts that may be made heavy (Heb kabad--the same word used for honor or glory). In Joseph Smith's time, Webster's 1828 dictionary defines hardened, in part, as "made unfeeling; made obstinate; confirmed in error or vice."
  • Mosiah 26:6-10. While the Book of Mormon calls Mosiah a king, in current anthropological terminology, early Nephite kings such as Mosiah may have functioned more as a "Big Man" who rules more by power of personal influence than by the ability to marshal enforcement of laws or edicts. Besides a hesitancy to judge harshly, other evidence for this may be Mosiah and Benjamin's growing of their own food--something that doesn't usually happen in a more hierarchically organized chiefdom or kingdom. On the other hand, the position of king was inherited, and Noah (who came from that same tradition) was able to rule very harshly.
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Apparently, before this time, all of the Nephites (consisting of the people of Mosiah, people of Zarahemla, and Alma and Gideon's recent emigrants from the Land of Lehi-Nephi, had all lived in the land of Zarahemla. But now, apparently the people are spreading out into new cities and villages. This will place a huge burden on the leaders in Zarahemla who might want to maintain some sort of rulership over the separate cities, and along with the change of heart in the sons of Mosiah (also recounted in this chapter), and probably served as the death knoll for the Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah egalitarian leadership style and nascent dynastic chiefdom. Anthropologically, when rank village or city societies become so large that they extend across several cities or villages, they become stratified into castes or ranks, and leadership becomes more powerful under a centralized and hereditary complex chiefdom. So, in a real sense, this chapter is recounting how the small Nephite society is thrust into a new level of complex politics (and political instability) due to the building of new cities and the loss of the presumed Nephite royal heirs.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the rising generation be able to understand the words of king Benjamin? What was it about the words that were so difficult to understand?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why would their being little children when Benjamin gave his speech make it hard for them to understand his words later, when the speech could be read to them? Was there something about the context of the speech--the temple festival, perhaps--that the children couldn't get from the written account of his words?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why wouldn't the young people believe the tradition of their fathers? What other influences or belief systems were present to provide an alternative?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Why is it so important for the young people to understand King Benjamin’s words? Is there something about that specific sermon that is essential to them?
  • Mosiah 26:1: Tradition. What does the word “tradition” mean? What tradition could their parents have given them that would have taught them what Benjamin meant? Can we teach our children the meaning of Benjamin’s sermon by our tradition? How?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people believe in the resurrection of the dead? Did they not believe in the resurrection at all, or was it something specific about Benjamin's teachings that didn't resonate with them?
  • Mosiah 26:2: Why wouldn't the young people "believe concerning the coming of Christ"? What was it exactly about the Christ narrative that they didn't believe?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relation between unbelief and understanding the word of God? Does this passage imply that it is impossible to understand ("they could not") the word of God "because of...unbelief"?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What does it mean to have a hardened heart? What is the difference between simply not believing and having a heard heart?
  • Mosiah 26:3: What is the relationship between unbelief and having a hardened heart?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What was it that led these people to eschew baptism?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What did it mean to "join the church" at this period of time?
  • Mosiah 26:4: What is this "separate" faith mentioned here? Are these the Nehors?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How does not being baptized or joining the church leave these people in a "carnal and sinful state"? What is the relationship between calling upon the Lord and remaining in a carnal and sinful state?
  • Mosiah 26:4: How is Christ "the Lord their God" if the people don't "call upon" Him?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If "not half" of the people "became more numerous", does that mean that they became a majority? Are we being told that most of the people now are not members of the Church?
  • Mosiah 26:5: If all of the people (accept the little children) had accepted king Benjamin's covenant, and Alma and Limhi's people had all joined the newly organized church, what happened to make perhaps a majority of the people dissent away from the church?
  • Mosiah 26:10-12: Why do Alma and Mosiah each seem to shirk from judging the people who have been brought before them?
  • Mosiah 26:17: What does it mean that Alma’s people shall be the Lord’s people? How does this tie in with King Benjamin’s sermon? Does it help explain why that sermon was so important? How is it important to us?
  • Mosiah 26:20: Three things occur in this verse: the Lord calls Alma his servant; the Lord covenants that Alma will have eternal life; and the Lord says that Alma will serve him. (This rhetorical pattern, a cousin of chiasmus, is called inclusion.) How are these things connected to one another? Why is the covenant “sandwiched” between the descriptions of Alma as a servant—what does the arrangement tell us? What is a covenant? (It is more than a contract or mutual promise.) What does this covenant mean? What does it mean to have eternal life?
  • Mosiah 26:29: Alma asked what to do about the transgressors in vv. 13-14. Not until v. 29 does he receive an answer. Before giving Alma the answer to his prayer, the Lord blesses Alma, reaffirms the covenant relation with him, and tells Alma about the Atonement and the final judgment. Why that long interlude between Alma’s question and the Lord’s answer?
  • Mosiah 26:31: This verse suggests that we are to take the word of the person who tells us that he or she has repented. Why?
  • Mosiah 27:1: Why are the priests called Mosiah's priests in this verse? Was there a separate priesthood for the court, or perhaps the temple, that operated separately from the Church organized by Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:2: What is the "land round about"? Is this the first indication of Mosiah ruling beyond the immediate environs of Zarahemla?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What types of persecutions are being represented here?
  • Mosiah 27:3: What does there being no persecutions have to do with their being "an equality among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Who is giving this command "throughout all the churches? Does this come from Alma, the leader of the Church? Or is this a royal edict from Mosiah?
  • Mosiah 27:3: How can there be a command to be equal? What does it mean to be equal "among all men"?
  • Mosiah 27:3: Not only are the non-members forbidden to persecute the members, but the members are forbidden to persecute one another. How might members do that? How might we persecute each other today?
  • Mosiah 27:3: The members are told that there should be equality among all men. What does “equality: mean in this instance? In what or in what way are people supposed to be equal? Equality is grammatically parallel to the absence of persecution. Does that tell us something about what each means?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse explain at least some of what it means not to persecute and to be equal?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Does this verse tell us what led to persecutions and inequality--i.e. pride and haughtiness?
  • Mosiah 27:4: How does pride or haughtiness "disturb" peace? What does it mean to disturb peace?
  • Mosiah 27:4: Laboring for who? While the pronoun use is a little ambiguous here, is it possible to read this as stating that every person should labor "with his or her own hands for the support of their neighbor?" Or is this just saying that each person should support their own self?
  • Mosiah 27:4: If this verse is just stating that everyone should support themselves, what does this have to do with esteeming his neighbor as himself"
  • Mosiah 27:3-4: Litany of "thats." Is this just a list of commandments, or is there something else going on here? Are these somehow related to each other? Can each of these "thats" be read as leading somehow to the other--i.e. does persecution lead to inequality? Inequality lead too pride and haughtiness, which disturbs the peace, etc.?
  • Mosiah 27:6: Cities. Why is it important that Mormon mentions the building of cities and villages?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 25                      Next page: Chapter 27b

Mosiah 27:6-10

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 27b / Verses 27:8-37
Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 27b to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 27b include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:13. If the only thing that can overthrow the church is the transgression of the members, Alma has been on the right path for his purposes, persuading people to become sinners.
  • Mosiah 27:14. Whatever Alma the elder hopes Alma the younger will learn, he seems to learn it in this experience.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:8: This verse says that Alma was idolatrous. What does that mean? Does Mosiah 28:4 explain this remark? Notice that there is no description in the Book of Mormon of what we usually think of as idol-worship. Does that mean that the Nephites didn’t have a problem with idol-worship or just that it isn’t mentioned? Why might it not be mentioned?
  • Mosiah 27:8: Alma leads people away by flattery, something mentioned frequently in the Book of Mormon in this connection. What kind of flattery might he be using? How would flattery get people to follow him in sin? Where might we see such flattery in our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:10: Why do Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah do what they do secretly? Why does it say that the king had forbidden what they are doing? It is against the law to persecute the saints, but is it against the law to flatter people into unbelief? Or might there be some connection between flattery and persecution? What might that be?
  • Mosiah 27:11: What do we learn from being told that they were rebelling against God? What are the connotations of that word? What is the significance of the way the angel appears to them: “as it were in a cloud” and “as it were with a voice of thunder"? What are we to envision? Is any connection being made to other appearances of heavenly beings, either by comparison or by contrast?
  • Mosiah 27:13: The angel has appeared to all five of them. Why does he address only Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Alma the elder has prayed that his son might come to a knowledge of the truth. What does this mean? Surely his father has taught him. And we know from v. 11 that he was rebelling, but you can’t rebel against something if you don’t know what it is. What is it Alma the elder wants him to know that he doesn’t yet know?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Verse 14 tells us that because of the prayers of the people and the prayers of Alma (the elder),the angel has come to convince Alma the younger of the power and authority of God. There are many wayward children who are prayed over, why don't more angels appear to them to convince them of the power of God?
  • Alma the Younger and Paul: What are similarities and differences between Alma the Younger's experience here and Paul's experience on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-7).?
  • Why does this experience stick? Why does this experience make such a difference in Alma the Younger's life and in the lives of the sons of Mosiah? Compare Luke 16:31. Also compare Laman and Lemuel's experience seeing an angel.
  • Mosiah 27:16: Did the angel come to save Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah? Notice that the angel uses the type of Israel in captivity to Egypt and then freed by God’s power, and he applies that type to Alma the younger’s life: remember when you were in captivity and the great things that the Lord has done for you in freeing you from bondage. Why is that type so important for Alma the younger? In what ways it is important to our understanding of the Gospel? To our understanding of our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:19: How were the experiences of Alma the Younger and the Apostle Paul after their first heavenly visitations similar? See Acts 9:8-9.
  • Mosiah 27:21: Alma the elder uses his son as a testimony of God’s power. Notice that he calls people to see “what the Lord had done for his son.” What had the Lord done besides frighten him into unconsciousness? The angel commanded Alma the younger to stop destroying the church, even if he himself wanted to be destroyed. He said nothing to him or to the sons of Mosiah about being converted. How can his father be so confident that he will be saved?
  • Mosiah 27:23: Notice that “after two days and two nights” means the same as “on the third day.” What is the significance of rising on the third day? What does it mean to be of good comfort? What does the word “comfort” mean in this context?
  • Mosiah 27:23-24: What is the difference between Alma's experience before an angel and Laman’s and Lemuel’s experience before one? Why do we have such a dramatic difference between the results of the two?
  • Mosiah 27:24: What does it mean to repent? What does the word “redeemed” mean? What does it mean to be redeemed by the Lord? What does it mean to be born of the Spirit?
  • Mosiah 27:25: Notice that “born of God,” “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness,” “redeemed of God,” and “becoming his sons and daughters” are parallel. How does this compare to what King Benjamin taught about becoming sons and daughters of God (Mosiah 5:7—see also Rom 8:14.) What do the scriptures tell us it means to be a son or daughter of God? How is that related to the doctrine that we are the literal spiritual offspring of God? Why is the word “changed"— in the phrase “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness"—passive?
  • Mosiah 27:26: What does the word “creature” mean? (Look at the first five letters of the word to see its etymology.) What does it mean to become a new creature? Does being a new creature help explain the use of the passive voice (v. 25)?
  • Mosiah 27:28: What does it mean to repent “nigh unto death"? What does it mean to be snatched from an everlasting burning? (D&C 19:6-12 may be relevant here.)
  • Mosiah 27:29: What is gall? What is “the gall of bitterness"? What does it mean to be racked? What does he mean when he says “I am snatched"? Why does he put that in the present tense rather than the past?
  • Mosiah 27:29: What difference would explain why Alma the younger went through such a horrible experience and the sons of Mosiah don’t seem to have? Both he and they seem equally converted. Why would he have to experience such torment and not they?
  • Mosiah 27:35: They explained the prophecies and scriptures to all who would hear them. What might this say about their childhood training? Had they been taught in their youth? If so, why didn’t they understand the prophecies and scriptures before? What made the difference? (Mosiah 26:3 seems relevant here.)

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29

Mosiah 27:11-15

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 27b / Verses 27:8-37
Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 27b to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 27b include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:13. If the only thing that can overthrow the church is the transgression of the members, Alma has been on the right path for his purposes, persuading people to become sinners.
  • Mosiah 27:14. Whatever Alma the elder hopes Alma the younger will learn, he seems to learn it in this experience.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:8: This verse says that Alma was idolatrous. What does that mean? Does Mosiah 28:4 explain this remark? Notice that there is no description in the Book of Mormon of what we usually think of as idol-worship. Does that mean that the Nephites didn’t have a problem with idol-worship or just that it isn’t mentioned? Why might it not be mentioned?
  • Mosiah 27:8: Alma leads people away by flattery, something mentioned frequently in the Book of Mormon in this connection. What kind of flattery might he be using? How would flattery get people to follow him in sin? Where might we see such flattery in our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:10: Why do Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah do what they do secretly? Why does it say that the king had forbidden what they are doing? It is against the law to persecute the saints, but is it against the law to flatter people into unbelief? Or might there be some connection between flattery and persecution? What might that be?
  • Mosiah 27:11: What do we learn from being told that they were rebelling against God? What are the connotations of that word? What is the significance of the way the angel appears to them: “as it were in a cloud” and “as it were with a voice of thunder"? What are we to envision? Is any connection being made to other appearances of heavenly beings, either by comparison or by contrast?
  • Mosiah 27:13: The angel has appeared to all five of them. Why does he address only Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Alma the elder has prayed that his son might come to a knowledge of the truth. What does this mean? Surely his father has taught him. And we know from v. 11 that he was rebelling, but you can’t rebel against something if you don’t know what it is. What is it Alma the elder wants him to know that he doesn’t yet know?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Verse 14 tells us that because of the prayers of the people and the prayers of Alma (the elder),the angel has come to convince Alma the younger of the power and authority of God. There are many wayward children who are prayed over, why don't more angels appear to them to convince them of the power of God?
  • Alma the Younger and Paul: What are similarities and differences between Alma the Younger's experience here and Paul's experience on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-7).?
  • Why does this experience stick? Why does this experience make such a difference in Alma the Younger's life and in the lives of the sons of Mosiah? Compare Luke 16:31. Also compare Laman and Lemuel's experience seeing an angel.
  • Mosiah 27:16: Did the angel come to save Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah? Notice that the angel uses the type of Israel in captivity to Egypt and then freed by God’s power, and he applies that type to Alma the younger’s life: remember when you were in captivity and the great things that the Lord has done for you in freeing you from bondage. Why is that type so important for Alma the younger? In what ways it is important to our understanding of the Gospel? To our understanding of our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:19: How were the experiences of Alma the Younger and the Apostle Paul after their first heavenly visitations similar? See Acts 9:8-9.
  • Mosiah 27:21: Alma the elder uses his son as a testimony of God’s power. Notice that he calls people to see “what the Lord had done for his son.” What had the Lord done besides frighten him into unconsciousness? The angel commanded Alma the younger to stop destroying the church, even if he himself wanted to be destroyed. He said nothing to him or to the sons of Mosiah about being converted. How can his father be so confident that he will be saved?
  • Mosiah 27:23: Notice that “after two days and two nights” means the same as “on the third day.” What is the significance of rising on the third day? What does it mean to be of good comfort? What does the word “comfort” mean in this context?
  • Mosiah 27:23-24: What is the difference between Alma's experience before an angel and Laman’s and Lemuel’s experience before one? Why do we have such a dramatic difference between the results of the two?
  • Mosiah 27:24: What does it mean to repent? What does the word “redeemed” mean? What does it mean to be redeemed by the Lord? What does it mean to be born of the Spirit?
  • Mosiah 27:25: Notice that “born of God,” “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness,” “redeemed of God,” and “becoming his sons and daughters” are parallel. How does this compare to what King Benjamin taught about becoming sons and daughters of God (Mosiah 5:7—see also Rom 8:14.) What do the scriptures tell us it means to be a son or daughter of God? How is that related to the doctrine that we are the literal spiritual offspring of God? Why is the word “changed"— in the phrase “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness"—passive?
  • Mosiah 27:26: What does the word “creature” mean? (Look at the first five letters of the word to see its etymology.) What does it mean to become a new creature? Does being a new creature help explain the use of the passive voice (v. 25)?
  • Mosiah 27:28: What does it mean to repent “nigh unto death"? What does it mean to be snatched from an everlasting burning? (D&C 19:6-12 may be relevant here.)
  • Mosiah 27:29: What is gall? What is “the gall of bitterness"? What does it mean to be racked? What does he mean when he says “I am snatched"? Why does he put that in the present tense rather than the past?
  • Mosiah 27:29: What difference would explain why Alma the younger went through such a horrible experience and the sons of Mosiah don’t seem to have? Both he and they seem equally converted. Why would he have to experience such torment and not they?
  • Mosiah 27:35: They explained the prophecies and scriptures to all who would hear them. What might this say about their childhood training? Had they been taught in their youth? If so, why didn’t they understand the prophecies and scriptures before? What made the difference? (Mosiah 26:3 seems relevant here.)

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29

Mosiah 27:16-20

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 27b / Verses 27:8-37
Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 27b to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 27b include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:13. If the only thing that can overthrow the church is the transgression of the members, Alma has been on the right path for his purposes, persuading people to become sinners.
  • Mosiah 27:14. Whatever Alma the elder hopes Alma the younger will learn, he seems to learn it in this experience.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:8: This verse says that Alma was idolatrous. What does that mean? Does Mosiah 28:4 explain this remark? Notice that there is no description in the Book of Mormon of what we usually think of as idol-worship. Does that mean that the Nephites didn’t have a problem with idol-worship or just that it isn’t mentioned? Why might it not be mentioned?
  • Mosiah 27:8: Alma leads people away by flattery, something mentioned frequently in the Book of Mormon in this connection. What kind of flattery might he be using? How would flattery get people to follow him in sin? Where might we see such flattery in our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:10: Why do Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah do what they do secretly? Why does it say that the king had forbidden what they are doing? It is against the law to persecute the saints, but is it against the law to flatter people into unbelief? Or might there be some connection between flattery and persecution? What might that be?
  • Mosiah 27:11: What do we learn from being told that they were rebelling against God? What are the connotations of that word? What is the significance of the way the angel appears to them: “as it were in a cloud” and “as it were with a voice of thunder"? What are we to envision? Is any connection being made to other appearances of heavenly beings, either by comparison or by contrast?
  • Mosiah 27:13: The angel has appeared to all five of them. Why does he address only Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Alma the elder has prayed that his son might come to a knowledge of the truth. What does this mean? Surely his father has taught him. And we know from v. 11 that he was rebelling, but you can’t rebel against something if you don’t know what it is. What is it Alma the elder wants him to know that he doesn’t yet know?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Verse 14 tells us that because of the prayers of the people and the prayers of Alma (the elder),the angel has come to convince Alma the younger of the power and authority of God. There are many wayward children who are prayed over, why don't more angels appear to them to convince them of the power of God?
  • Alma the Younger and Paul: What are similarities and differences between Alma the Younger's experience here and Paul's experience on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-7).?
  • Why does this experience stick? Why does this experience make such a difference in Alma the Younger's life and in the lives of the sons of Mosiah? Compare Luke 16:31. Also compare Laman and Lemuel's experience seeing an angel.
  • Mosiah 27:16: Did the angel come to save Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah? Notice that the angel uses the type of Israel in captivity to Egypt and then freed by God’s power, and he applies that type to Alma the younger’s life: remember when you were in captivity and the great things that the Lord has done for you in freeing you from bondage. Why is that type so important for Alma the younger? In what ways it is important to our understanding of the Gospel? To our understanding of our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:19: How were the experiences of Alma the Younger and the Apostle Paul after their first heavenly visitations similar? See Acts 9:8-9.
  • Mosiah 27:21: Alma the elder uses his son as a testimony of God’s power. Notice that he calls people to see “what the Lord had done for his son.” What had the Lord done besides frighten him into unconsciousness? The angel commanded Alma the younger to stop destroying the church, even if he himself wanted to be destroyed. He said nothing to him or to the sons of Mosiah about being converted. How can his father be so confident that he will be saved?
  • Mosiah 27:23: Notice that “after two days and two nights” means the same as “on the third day.” What is the significance of rising on the third day? What does it mean to be of good comfort? What does the word “comfort” mean in this context?
  • Mosiah 27:23-24: What is the difference between Alma's experience before an angel and Laman’s and Lemuel’s experience before one? Why do we have such a dramatic difference between the results of the two?
  • Mosiah 27:24: What does it mean to repent? What does the word “redeemed” mean? What does it mean to be redeemed by the Lord? What does it mean to be born of the Spirit?
  • Mosiah 27:25: Notice that “born of God,” “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness,” “redeemed of God,” and “becoming his sons and daughters” are parallel. How does this compare to what King Benjamin taught about becoming sons and daughters of God (Mosiah 5:7—see also Rom 8:14.) What do the scriptures tell us it means to be a son or daughter of God? How is that related to the doctrine that we are the literal spiritual offspring of God? Why is the word “changed"— in the phrase “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness"—passive?
  • Mosiah 27:26: What does the word “creature” mean? (Look at the first five letters of the word to see its etymology.) What does it mean to become a new creature? Does being a new creature help explain the use of the passive voice (v. 25)?
  • Mosiah 27:28: What does it mean to repent “nigh unto death"? What does it mean to be snatched from an everlasting burning? (D&C 19:6-12 may be relevant here.)
  • Mosiah 27:29: What is gall? What is “the gall of bitterness"? What does it mean to be racked? What does he mean when he says “I am snatched"? Why does he put that in the present tense rather than the past?
  • Mosiah 27:29: What difference would explain why Alma the younger went through such a horrible experience and the sons of Mosiah don’t seem to have? Both he and they seem equally converted. Why would he have to experience such torment and not they?
  • Mosiah 27:35: They explained the prophecies and scriptures to all who would hear them. What might this say about their childhood training? Had they been taught in their youth? If so, why didn’t they understand the prophecies and scriptures before? What made the difference? (Mosiah 26:3 seems relevant here.)

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29

Mosiah 27:21-25

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 27b / Verses 27:8-37
Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 27b to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 27b include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:13. If the only thing that can overthrow the church is the transgression of the members, Alma has been on the right path for his purposes, persuading people to become sinners.
  • Mosiah 27:14. Whatever Alma the elder hopes Alma the younger will learn, he seems to learn it in this experience.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:8: This verse says that Alma was idolatrous. What does that mean? Does Mosiah 28:4 explain this remark? Notice that there is no description in the Book of Mormon of what we usually think of as idol-worship. Does that mean that the Nephites didn’t have a problem with idol-worship or just that it isn’t mentioned? Why might it not be mentioned?
  • Mosiah 27:8: Alma leads people away by flattery, something mentioned frequently in the Book of Mormon in this connection. What kind of flattery might he be using? How would flattery get people to follow him in sin? Where might we see such flattery in our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:10: Why do Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah do what they do secretly? Why does it say that the king had forbidden what they are doing? It is against the law to persecute the saints, but is it against the law to flatter people into unbelief? Or might there be some connection between flattery and persecution? What might that be?
  • Mosiah 27:11: What do we learn from being told that they were rebelling against God? What are the connotations of that word? What is the significance of the way the angel appears to them: “as it were in a cloud” and “as it were with a voice of thunder"? What are we to envision? Is any connection being made to other appearances of heavenly beings, either by comparison or by contrast?
  • Mosiah 27:13: The angel has appeared to all five of them. Why does he address only Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Alma the elder has prayed that his son might come to a knowledge of the truth. What does this mean? Surely his father has taught him. And we know from v. 11 that he was rebelling, but you can’t rebel against something if you don’t know what it is. What is it Alma the elder wants him to know that he doesn’t yet know?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Verse 14 tells us that because of the prayers of the people and the prayers of Alma (the elder),the angel has come to convince Alma the younger of the power and authority of God. There are many wayward children who are prayed over, why don't more angels appear to them to convince them of the power of God?
  • Alma the Younger and Paul: What are similarities and differences between Alma the Younger's experience here and Paul's experience on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-7).?
  • Why does this experience stick? Why does this experience make such a difference in Alma the Younger's life and in the lives of the sons of Mosiah? Compare Luke 16:31. Also compare Laman and Lemuel's experience seeing an angel.
  • Mosiah 27:16: Did the angel come to save Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah? Notice that the angel uses the type of Israel in captivity to Egypt and then freed by God’s power, and he applies that type to Alma the younger’s life: remember when you were in captivity and the great things that the Lord has done for you in freeing you from bondage. Why is that type so important for Alma the younger? In what ways it is important to our understanding of the Gospel? To our understanding of our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:19: How were the experiences of Alma the Younger and the Apostle Paul after their first heavenly visitations similar? See Acts 9:8-9.
  • Mosiah 27:21: Alma the elder uses his son as a testimony of God’s power. Notice that he calls people to see “what the Lord had done for his son.” What had the Lord done besides frighten him into unconsciousness? The angel commanded Alma the younger to stop destroying the church, even if he himself wanted to be destroyed. He said nothing to him or to the sons of Mosiah about being converted. How can his father be so confident that he will be saved?
  • Mosiah 27:23: Notice that “after two days and two nights” means the same as “on the third day.” What is the significance of rising on the third day? What does it mean to be of good comfort? What does the word “comfort” mean in this context?
  • Mosiah 27:23-24: What is the difference between Alma's experience before an angel and Laman’s and Lemuel’s experience before one? Why do we have such a dramatic difference between the results of the two?
  • Mosiah 27:24: What does it mean to repent? What does the word “redeemed” mean? What does it mean to be redeemed by the Lord? What does it mean to be born of the Spirit?
  • Mosiah 27:25: Notice that “born of God,” “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness,” “redeemed of God,” and “becoming his sons and daughters” are parallel. How does this compare to what King Benjamin taught about becoming sons and daughters of God (Mosiah 5:7—see also Rom 8:14.) What do the scriptures tell us it means to be a son or daughter of God? How is that related to the doctrine that we are the literal spiritual offspring of God? Why is the word “changed"— in the phrase “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness"—passive?
  • Mosiah 27:26: What does the word “creature” mean? (Look at the first five letters of the word to see its etymology.) What does it mean to become a new creature? Does being a new creature help explain the use of the passive voice (v. 25)?
  • Mosiah 27:28: What does it mean to repent “nigh unto death"? What does it mean to be snatched from an everlasting burning? (D&C 19:6-12 may be relevant here.)
  • Mosiah 27:29: What is gall? What is “the gall of bitterness"? What does it mean to be racked? What does he mean when he says “I am snatched"? Why does he put that in the present tense rather than the past?
  • Mosiah 27:29: What difference would explain why Alma the younger went through such a horrible experience and the sons of Mosiah don’t seem to have? Both he and they seem equally converted. Why would he have to experience such torment and not they?
  • Mosiah 27:35: They explained the prophecies and scriptures to all who would hear them. What might this say about their childhood training? Had they been taught in their youth? If so, why didn’t they understand the prophecies and scriptures before? What made the difference? (Mosiah 26:3 seems relevant here.)

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29

Mosiah 27:26-30

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 27b / Verses 27:8-37
Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 27b to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 27b include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:13. If the only thing that can overthrow the church is the transgression of the members, Alma has been on the right path for his purposes, persuading people to become sinners.
  • Mosiah 27:14. Whatever Alma the elder hopes Alma the younger will learn, he seems to learn it in this experience.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:8: This verse says that Alma was idolatrous. What does that mean? Does Mosiah 28:4 explain this remark? Notice that there is no description in the Book of Mormon of what we usually think of as idol-worship. Does that mean that the Nephites didn’t have a problem with idol-worship or just that it isn’t mentioned? Why might it not be mentioned?
  • Mosiah 27:8: Alma leads people away by flattery, something mentioned frequently in the Book of Mormon in this connection. What kind of flattery might he be using? How would flattery get people to follow him in sin? Where might we see such flattery in our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:10: Why do Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah do what they do secretly? Why does it say that the king had forbidden what they are doing? It is against the law to persecute the saints, but is it against the law to flatter people into unbelief? Or might there be some connection between flattery and persecution? What might that be?
  • Mosiah 27:11: What do we learn from being told that they were rebelling against God? What are the connotations of that word? What is the significance of the way the angel appears to them: “as it were in a cloud” and “as it were with a voice of thunder"? What are we to envision? Is any connection being made to other appearances of heavenly beings, either by comparison or by contrast?
  • Mosiah 27:13: The angel has appeared to all five of them. Why does he address only Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Alma the elder has prayed that his son might come to a knowledge of the truth. What does this mean? Surely his father has taught him. And we know from v. 11 that he was rebelling, but you can’t rebel against something if you don’t know what it is. What is it Alma the elder wants him to know that he doesn’t yet know?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Verse 14 tells us that because of the prayers of the people and the prayers of Alma (the elder),the angel has come to convince Alma the younger of the power and authority of God. There are many wayward children who are prayed over, why don't more angels appear to them to convince them of the power of God?
  • Alma the Younger and Paul: What are similarities and differences between Alma the Younger's experience here and Paul's experience on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-7).?
  • Why does this experience stick? Why does this experience make such a difference in Alma the Younger's life and in the lives of the sons of Mosiah? Compare Luke 16:31. Also compare Laman and Lemuel's experience seeing an angel.
  • Mosiah 27:16: Did the angel come to save Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah? Notice that the angel uses the type of Israel in captivity to Egypt and then freed by God’s power, and he applies that type to Alma the younger’s life: remember when you were in captivity and the great things that the Lord has done for you in freeing you from bondage. Why is that type so important for Alma the younger? In what ways it is important to our understanding of the Gospel? To our understanding of our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:19: How were the experiences of Alma the Younger and the Apostle Paul after their first heavenly visitations similar? See Acts 9:8-9.
  • Mosiah 27:21: Alma the elder uses his son as a testimony of God’s power. Notice that he calls people to see “what the Lord had done for his son.” What had the Lord done besides frighten him into unconsciousness? The angel commanded Alma the younger to stop destroying the church, even if he himself wanted to be destroyed. He said nothing to him or to the sons of Mosiah about being converted. How can his father be so confident that he will be saved?
  • Mosiah 27:23: Notice that “after two days and two nights” means the same as “on the third day.” What is the significance of rising on the third day? What does it mean to be of good comfort? What does the word “comfort” mean in this context?
  • Mosiah 27:23-24: What is the difference between Alma's experience before an angel and Laman’s and Lemuel’s experience before one? Why do we have such a dramatic difference between the results of the two?
  • Mosiah 27:24: What does it mean to repent? What does the word “redeemed” mean? What does it mean to be redeemed by the Lord? What does it mean to be born of the Spirit?
  • Mosiah 27:25: Notice that “born of God,” “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness,” “redeemed of God,” and “becoming his sons and daughters” are parallel. How does this compare to what King Benjamin taught about becoming sons and daughters of God (Mosiah 5:7—see also Rom 8:14.) What do the scriptures tell us it means to be a son or daughter of God? How is that related to the doctrine that we are the literal spiritual offspring of God? Why is the word “changed"— in the phrase “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness"—passive?
  • Mosiah 27:26: What does the word “creature” mean? (Look at the first five letters of the word to see its etymology.) What does it mean to become a new creature? Does being a new creature help explain the use of the passive voice (v. 25)?
  • Mosiah 27:28: What does it mean to repent “nigh unto death"? What does it mean to be snatched from an everlasting burning? (D&C 19:6-12 may be relevant here.)
  • Mosiah 27:29: What is gall? What is “the gall of bitterness"? What does it mean to be racked? What does he mean when he says “I am snatched"? Why does he put that in the present tense rather than the past?
  • Mosiah 27:29: What difference would explain why Alma the younger went through such a horrible experience and the sons of Mosiah don’t seem to have? Both he and they seem equally converted. Why would he have to experience such torment and not they?
  • Mosiah 27:35: They explained the prophecies and scriptures to all who would hear them. What might this say about their childhood training? Had they been taught in their youth? If so, why didn’t they understand the prophecies and scriptures before? What made the difference? (Mosiah 26:3 seems relevant here.)

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29

Mosiah 27:31-37

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 27b / Verses 27:8-37
Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 27b to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 27b include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:13. If the only thing that can overthrow the church is the transgression of the members, Alma has been on the right path for his purposes, persuading people to become sinners.
  • Mosiah 27:14. Whatever Alma the elder hopes Alma the younger will learn, he seems to learn it in this experience.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 27:8: This verse says that Alma was idolatrous. What does that mean? Does Mosiah 28:4 explain this remark? Notice that there is no description in the Book of Mormon of what we usually think of as idol-worship. Does that mean that the Nephites didn’t have a problem with idol-worship or just that it isn’t mentioned? Why might it not be mentioned?
  • Mosiah 27:8: Alma leads people away by flattery, something mentioned frequently in the Book of Mormon in this connection. What kind of flattery might he be using? How would flattery get people to follow him in sin? Where might we see such flattery in our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:10: Why do Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah do what they do secretly? Why does it say that the king had forbidden what they are doing? It is against the law to persecute the saints, but is it against the law to flatter people into unbelief? Or might there be some connection between flattery and persecution? What might that be?
  • Mosiah 27:11: What do we learn from being told that they were rebelling against God? What are the connotations of that word? What is the significance of the way the angel appears to them: “as it were in a cloud” and “as it were with a voice of thunder"? What are we to envision? Is any connection being made to other appearances of heavenly beings, either by comparison or by contrast?
  • Mosiah 27:13: The angel has appeared to all five of them. Why does he address only Alma?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Alma the elder has prayed that his son might come to a knowledge of the truth. What does this mean? Surely his father has taught him. And we know from v. 11 that he was rebelling, but you can’t rebel against something if you don’t know what it is. What is it Alma the elder wants him to know that he doesn’t yet know?
  • Mosiah 27:14: Verse 14 tells us that because of the prayers of the people and the prayers of Alma (the elder),the angel has come to convince Alma the younger of the power and authority of God. There are many wayward children who are prayed over, why don't more angels appear to them to convince them of the power of God?
  • Alma the Younger and Paul: What are similarities and differences between Alma the Younger's experience here and Paul's experience on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-7).?
  • Why does this experience stick? Why does this experience make such a difference in Alma the Younger's life and in the lives of the sons of Mosiah? Compare Luke 16:31. Also compare Laman and Lemuel's experience seeing an angel.
  • Mosiah 27:16: Did the angel come to save Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah? Notice that the angel uses the type of Israel in captivity to Egypt and then freed by God’s power, and he applies that type to Alma the younger’s life: remember when you were in captivity and the great things that the Lord has done for you in freeing you from bondage. Why is that type so important for Alma the younger? In what ways it is important to our understanding of the Gospel? To our understanding of our own lives?
  • Mosiah 27:19: How were the experiences of Alma the Younger and the Apostle Paul after their first heavenly visitations similar? See Acts 9:8-9.
  • Mosiah 27:21: Alma the elder uses his son as a testimony of God’s power. Notice that he calls people to see “what the Lord had done for his son.” What had the Lord done besides frighten him into unconsciousness? The angel commanded Alma the younger to stop destroying the church, even if he himself wanted to be destroyed. He said nothing to him or to the sons of Mosiah about being converted. How can his father be so confident that he will be saved?
  • Mosiah 27:23: Notice that “after two days and two nights” means the same as “on the third day.” What is the significance of rising on the third day? What does it mean to be of good comfort? What does the word “comfort” mean in this context?
  • Mosiah 27:23-24: What is the difference between Alma's experience before an angel and Laman’s and Lemuel’s experience before one? Why do we have such a dramatic difference between the results of the two?
  • Mosiah 27:24: What does it mean to repent? What does the word “redeemed” mean? What does it mean to be redeemed by the Lord? What does it mean to be born of the Spirit?
  • Mosiah 27:25: Notice that “born of God,” “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness,” “redeemed of God,” and “becoming his sons and daughters” are parallel. How does this compare to what King Benjamin taught about becoming sons and daughters of God (Mosiah 5:7—see also Rom 8:14.) What do the scriptures tell us it means to be a son or daughter of God? How is that related to the doctrine that we are the literal spiritual offspring of God? Why is the word “changed"— in the phrase “changed from their carnal state to a state of righteousness"—passive?
  • Mosiah 27:26: What does the word “creature” mean? (Look at the first five letters of the word to see its etymology.) What does it mean to become a new creature? Does being a new creature help explain the use of the passive voice (v. 25)?
  • Mosiah 27:28: What does it mean to repent “nigh unto death"? What does it mean to be snatched from an everlasting burning? (D&C 19:6-12 may be relevant here.)
  • Mosiah 27:29: What is gall? What is “the gall of bitterness"? What does it mean to be racked? What does he mean when he says “I am snatched"? Why does he put that in the present tense rather than the past?
  • Mosiah 27:29: What difference would explain why Alma the younger went through such a horrible experience and the sons of Mosiah don’t seem to have? Both he and they seem equally converted. Why would he have to experience such torment and not they?
  • Mosiah 27:35: They explained the prophecies and scriptures to all who would hear them. What might this say about their childhood training? Had they been taught in their youth? If so, why didn’t they understand the prophecies and scriptures before? What made the difference? (Mosiah 26:3 seems relevant here.)

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 26-27a                      Next page: Chapter 28-29

Mosiah 28:1-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 28-29
Previous page: Chapter 27b                      This is the last page for Mosiah


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 28-29 to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 28-29 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 28-29: Collapse of hereditary leadership. While the establishment of a "rule of the judges" is often interpreted to be a political advance for the Nephites, it can also be seen as the failure of Mosiah to maintain the stability of a heriditary ruling lineage. While the rule of the judges gave people a say in the management of the government, it also created a power vaccuum and political schisms that lasted over 100 years and eventually led to the collapse of Nephite civil society. For three generations (Mosiah, Benjamin, Mosiah), leadership of the combined Nephite/Zarahemlaite region had fallen to "kings" which, in modern anthropological terms, were probably more akin to "big men" or possibly "chiefs". These leaders seemed to rule a small group of people mostly through their own charisma, and we are told that they labored for their own support--ie, they probably didnt have a large court supported by taxes or conscripted labor. While these leaders had managed to keep leadership within the family for three generations, when the Sons of Mosiah left, this arrangement was no longer possible, and rather than turn leadership over to a possibly competing elite lineage (perhaps descendents of Zarahemla?), Mosiah alters the management of the government. It is difficult to reconstruct from the text how these "judges" differed from chiefs--though perhaps we should see these judges more as "chiefs". If so, what we may be seeing here at the end of Mosiah is the transition from a rank or big man based society, or perhaps a small stratified chiefdom, expanded to become a complex chiefdom with a main chief ("chief judge") ruling over regional chiefs ("judges"). Whatever the actual structure of the Nephite polity at this point, the collapse of the previously stable Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah lineage rulership, and transition to the new "rule of the judges" did not seem to go smoothly, as a series of dissenters would try to wrest control of the area from the judges for the next 100 years.
Good thoughts. I imagine that the Jaredite record, newly translated (though only available in a stripped-down edition, apparently) probably had some influence on these affairs. Did Mosiah's reading of the record give him some concerns about what kingship would quickly become if Nephite civilization grew any larger? Did the people's reading of the record have anything to do with the movements back toward kingship (Amlici, Amalickiah)? Did the sons of Mosiah and Alma form their secret combination with explicit reference to Jaredite practices? How much of these few chapters are dependent on one's careful understanding of Jaredite society? I don't tend to follow the Central America reading of BoM geography, but if one does, the influence of the Olmecs among both Mayan and the broader Mexican peoples may be incredibly suggestive on this point.
I generally consider that, as suggested, the influence of the Jaredite record on the transition to judges is important to note. Not only does the Jaredite record highlight the weaknesses of monarchy, but the establishment of the kingdom Ether 6:22-27 parallels Mosiah's experience with trying to pass the kingdom on to his sons. Mosiah 29:1-8 Of course the Bible also discourses on the folly of establishing kings. 1 Sam. 8:10-18 The Old Testament does not consider the shift from judges to kings to be a positive move. At the same time, a Republic is not exactly what the people had before. The judges were more of a semi-theocratic rule, though at the same time, they required popular support. The expressly Republican elements of Mosiah's shift are rather interesting and give greater cause to compare their society's struggles with ours than any other government in the scriptures. One element I find interesting is the rising influence and danger from corrupt lawyers and judges. The destruction of the wicked in the city of Ammonihah, where the lawyers seemed to be the antagonists, was apparently necessitated/provoked by their studying to overthrow the government. Alma 8:17 Of course, it's the secret combinations that eventually tear thing apart via their assassinations and intrigues.
I think it is important, as indicated, to remember that these judges are not modern democratically elected leaders as we might too easily consider them, but rather apparently elected presidents for life perhaps most similar to a modern African model. While we don't know very much about how lesser judges were appointed, there doesn't seem to be a regular election cycle involved here, only votes for new rulers upon the current ruler's death. It isn't also clear who got to vote, how the vote was taken, or what is meant by the "voice of the people". In anthropological terms, when a ruler requires the "voice of the people" to stay in power, it is usually considered that the leader does not have enough power to maintain rulership by the use of military force. In modern terms, we might consider such polities as a "weak state", but it might be that the Book of Mormon is describing something that doesn't even reach that level. While it seems like the "Chief Judge" had some level of authority over multiple cities, it isn't clear exactly what that level of authority actually consisted of. Are we talking about a loose confederation of affiliated cities? Whatever the political situation, we don't seem to be talking about a stable government for very long hear, as cities pass back and forth in allegiance to various political alliances over the course of the next 100 years. I'm not sure anyone has done justice yet to the complexity of the political landscape reported in the Book of Mormon. While most readers of the Book of Mormon probably don't give this all much thought, surely the Monarchy to Republic model of a good state (Nephites) contrasted with a despotic bad state (Lamanites) is a gross oversimplification.
I totally agree that far too little--and far too simplistic--attention has been paid to the political themes of the Book of Mormon. At one time, I wondered if it wasn't worth looking into writing a few articles or even a book on the subject. It certainly deserves some closer attention, and most especially in the Book of Mosiah. I'd like to see more work done here on it, that's for sure. Perhaps I'll have to get some things started (or return to some things I've started before).
Once upon a time I wrote a sociopolitical analysis of the Book of Mosiah for an anthropology class at BYU. Maybe its time to see if I still have that laying around somewhere. -- Joe, Rob, Sean
  • Mosiah 29:11-15. I think it must be remembered that Mosiah has just spent years interpreting the Jaredite record. He does not have actual experience with wicked kings possible unremarkable ones through the 200 year Nephite history to date and then Mosiah, Benjamin and then himself. His father and grandfather Mosiah were great reformers who left a wicked and hostile environment in the Land of Nephi to come to Zarahemla and teach that people and eventual rule over them. I don't think he wanted to see his people ever to settle back to the mediocrity and wickedness of previous generations. They needed to do there part as Iam sure they did as they homesteaded the new land. He also didn't want to fall into the generations of progressively wickeder kings as there were in Jaredite times. There was a pattern of:
  • people's law
  • small governable groups
  • lower judges and higher judges
  • law by the people
  • a vote
  • and representation for the offending party
  • with an assumption of innocence until proven guilty
This goes all the way back to Moses' time and was afforded to Nehor and Amlici
  • Mosiah 29:16: Kings in the Old Testament. Although kings are mentioned frequently in the Pentateuch, they are usually associated with Gentiles not associated with the Israel or the Abrahamic covenant. One possible exception to this is Melchezidek who is referred to as a king in Gen 14:18. Another exception is in Deut 17:15, 15 and Deut 28:36 where the first prophecies of a king (or kings) appear. In the Book of Judges, Abimelech (the son of Gideon, one of the judges) is made king in Judg 9:6, but this is a short-lived affair and it's not very clear there what exactly the difference was between a "king" and a "judge". It is not until the Israelites beg Samuel for a king in 1 Sam 8:5 which leads to the Saul being anointed king of Israel (see 1 Sam 9:16ff and 1 Sam 10:22-24). Both Moses and Samuel warned that Israel's kings would lead to problems (see esp. Deuteronomy chapters 17 and 28 and 1 Samuel chapters 8 and 12). The problems associated with these kings becomes especially transparent in 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. Around 920 BCE, the Israelite monarchy split into the Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam and the Kingdom of Judah under Rehoboam (see 1 Kgs 12). These kingdoms were eventually destroyed by the Assyrians (around 720 BCE, prophesied by Isaiah in Isa 7-12, among others; see also 2 Kgs 17:3-6) and Babylonians (around 590 BCE, prophesied by Isaiah in Isa 13-14; see also 2 Kgs 25:1-9).
  • Mosiah 29:25: The laws given by our fathers. "The laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord" The reference to the laws here is interesting in terms of how it finesses the issue of the law's origin. First, the law is linked to "the voice of the people" who choose judges in order to enforce the law. Second, the law is associated with "our fathers." Finally, the law is linked at some point in the distant past, apparently, with God, who gave it to our fathers. Notice the claims that are not made: the law is not authored by the people, the law is not derived by the legal exegesis of scripture, the law is not seen as being directly dictated by God. Rather, the law seems to be based on a tradition that is sanctified by some hazily defined divine origin.
The use of the word "correct" here is also suggestive. The Book of Mormon frequently speaks of "incorrect traditions" of the Lamanites, which seems to consist of a counter narrative of the Lehite exodus from Jerusalem, in which Nephi stole the right of government from his older brothers. (See,e.g., Mosiah 10:12, Alma 26:24, Alma 37:9) By calling the "laws of our fathers" "correct" Mosiah may be drawing an implicit contrast with the "incorrect traditions" of the Lamanites. If so, then the costrast of laws with tradition is interesting in that it seems to link the concept of law to a particular narrative. The primacy of narrative in Nephite legal discussions can be seen in other passages, particularlly Alma 30, the one place in the Book of Mormon where a legal rule is derived from a scriptural text. The text in question, however, is a narrative rather than a legislative passage from the Old Testament. (See Alma 30:7-8)
  • Mosiah 29:38: Nephite understanding of kingship. This verse offers a vital clue to how the Nephites understood kingship as a form of government. Under a king, it was apparently not the case that "every man" would "have an equal chance throughout all the land." What that seems to mean, according to the following phrase, is that "every man" was not responsible "to answer for his own sins." The role of the king was, in Nephite society, then, to represent in a single person the whole of the nation: if the kingdom was righteous, so was the king, and if the kingdom was wicked, so was the king (a sort of dialectic between king and kingdom seems implied, rather than a one-way causality). The king, and a unique embodiment of the whole people, carried all the sins of the people, as well as all of the glory: everything was on the head of the king. When Mosiah offers here to change the manner of government, the people become "exceedingly anxious" to answer for their own sins. Each person is given, ultimately, the opportunity to be a king and a priest over a limited domain (this seems, in the end, to be the point of King Benjamin's speech). The king carries the weight (burden/glory), and each is willing to carry his (or her?) own. (It might be noted that this understanding of the monarchy makes quite a gap between the spirit of the Book of Mormon and the American attitudes toward the Revolution.)
  • Relationship of personal responsibility to Davidic kingship. This is a topic I'm very interested, particularly as related to the Davidic Covenant. Avaraham Gileadi makes a big deal about this aspect of the Davidic Covenant, that it puts all the responsibility on the king (prefiguring Christ's atonement). I was skeptical about this idea at first, but am becoming a bit less skeptical. I'd like to study this out more. In particular, I'd like to know: (1) if the passage/parable in Judges can be tied to this in any way, (2) how (if?) the warnings about kings from Samuel fit into this, (3) how (if?) messianic prophecies in the OT address this notion of individual vs. communal responsibility (see also the discussion of communal agency in Joshua 2...).

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 28:3-4: Verse 4 says the feelings described in v. 3 are given by the Spirit of the Lord. Would the Spirit give anyone the same feelings? If so, might the absence of such feelings indicate an absence of the Spirit?)
  • Mosiah 28:3-4: Alma the younger had endured endless torment (Mosiah 27:29), but there is no indication that the sons of Mosiah had, even though they did suffer. What might give them the feelings described in verse 3?
  • Mosiah 28:18: Reading of a group of people who were destroyed might sober us or even make us sad, but it usually wouldn’t make us “mourn exceedingly.” Why do you think Mosiah’s people reacted in this way? What kind of knowledge did they get which caused them to rejoice?
  • Mosiah 29:7-9: Aaron has just been converted in a miraculous manner, and he is obviously serious about his conversion. His mission is evidence of that. Nevertheless, here we see Mosiah worried that being king might destroy him. Does he lack confidence in his son? If so, why? If not, how do you explain Mosiah’s remarks?
  • It may have been a hypothetical question on Mosiah's part although as you continue to read in Alma I find it interesting that Ammon is selected as the leader to the mission to the Lamanites and is the one to bless/anoint each missionary as they separate to their assignments. Either Aaron was extremely humble and let his brother lead or Aaron felt less qualified to lead. It is not the first time in the scriptures that the eldest has that issue but it is very commendable and different that Aaron allowed and encouraged his younger brother ie Hyrum and Joseph not Jacob and Esau and encouraged his father to form a new and better form of government.
  • Mosiah 29:12ff: What is necessary in order to have a king? Are the judges that Mosiah suggests as rulers the same or similar to the judges of ancient Israel, or is this a different system of government?
  • Mosiah 29:13: Mosiah tells us that the problem with kings is that sometimes they are unjust. How does having judges instead of kings ameliorate this problem? (Compare vv. 28-29.)
  • Mosiah 29:16: In the Old Testament the king is often understood as a shadow of the Messiah, one who typifies the Savior. Is he suggesting here that, because of our iniquity, that type and shadow doesn’t work?
  • Mosiah 29:16: How is a "king" different from any other type of ruler? If Mosiah is not trying to abolish rulership, what exactly is he trying to accomplish?
  • Mosiah 29:21: What is the definition an "iniquitous" king?
  • Mosiah 29:21: Are there Old Testament precedents for dethroning an iniquitous king, or is this something that comes from the Nephite's American experience?
  • Mosiah 29:21: How is the word contention used here? Does it just mean arguing, or is it something more? How does the use of the term here compare with the way it is used earlier in the Book of Mosiah and elsewhere in the Book of Mormon?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What is meant by "friends in iniquity"? Are these friends kept in iniquity because of the king, is the king brought to iniquity by his friends, or do they mutually reinforce each other?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What does keeping guards have to do with being an "iniquitous king"?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What is the role of tradition in governance? Why would it be iniquitous for a ruler to tear up the laws of those who have come before? Does the tradition have weight in and of itself, or is the problem here only when unrighteous kings break the laws established in righteousness?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What does it mean to trample under your feet the commandments of God? Does this just mean to break the commandments, or is there something more implied?
  • Mosiah 29:23: Mosiah here claims that an unrighteous king a) enacts laws, b) sends them forth, c) punishes those who violate his laws, including d) destroying them, and e) sending armies against them. Are these all prerogatives of a righteous king as well? Are these practices in and of themselves unrighteous, or just when they are used to sustain iniquitous laws or practices?
  • Mosiah 29:23: Can righteous kings send armies against his own people, or just against foreign enemies?
  • Mosiah 29:24: Why does Mosiah consider unrighteous rulership to be an "abomination"? What does abomination mean, and how is it different from any other type of unholy or impure practice?
  • Mosiah 29:25: Does this verse tell us that the judges were elected democratically, or does it mean something else? What evidence can you give for your conclusion?
  • Mosiah 29:25: Is the law referred to in this verse the Law of Moses or some other body of law?
  • Mosiah 29:26: Given the Nephite experience so far, the record they have of Israel before Lehi left, and what they have just read in the Book of Ether, how can Mosiah say this? All the evidence seems to indicate that it is quite common for the majority to desire what is wrong, doesn’t it?
  • Mosiah 29:26: What does it mean to "do your business by the voice of the people"? Is this actual democracy or something else?
  • Mosiah 29:27: Does this verse answer the question just asked about v. 26? How are we to understand these verses as they apply to us today?
  • Mosiah 29:27: What does it mean for God to "visit you with great destruction"?
  • Mosiah 29:28: What is meant here by judges? How are Nephite judges different from kings? How are these judges different from judges described in the Old Testament?
  • Mosiah 29:28: What does it mean to have a judge judged by a higher judge?
  • Mosiah 29:29: What are the difficulties and opportunities afforded by having lower judges judge higher judges "according to the voice of the people"?
  • Mosiah 29:29: How is this system of judges different from other modern judicial systems?
  • Mosiah 29:30: How can King Mosiah establish a democracy by fiat? Is this what he is really trying to do, or is something else going on here?
  • Mosiah 29:31: Israelites also had this belief, that the wickedness of the king caused the wickedness of the nation. It was the flip side of the belief that the king typified the Messiah. What bearing does this belief have on our understanding of government? Why might the ancient Israelites and King Mosiah have believed that a wicked king caused a wicked people?
  • Mosiah 29:31: We don’t usually believe that a wicked CEO in a company is necessarily a bad leader for the company. Why would a wicked national leader necessarily be a bad leader for the country? In other words, how do the two kinds of leadership differ, if they do?
  • Mosiah 29:32: To what inequality is Mosiah referring? What are the implications of there being an inequality of iniquities between rulers and their people?
  • Mosiah 29:33: Is Mosiah arguing that it is too difficult to be king, even for a righteous person, so no one should ask someone to be his or her king? Why would that argument be different for a king than for any other leader?
  • Mosiah 29:33: What exactly are the burdens of kingship that Mosiah is talking about here? Is it just the complaining of his people, or are we talking about some kind of divine kingship whereby the sins of the people are thought to fall upon the king, who is then required to expiate them? How might this relate to Ancient Mesoamerican concepts of divine kingship, whereby the king was required to ceremonially shed his own blood for his people?
  • Mosiah 29:34: What does it mean for each person to "bear his part"? His part of what?
  • Mosiah 29:38: Two things seem to have most impressed Mosiah’s people to give up their desire for a king: they wanted each person to have an equal chance and they wanted each person to answer for his or her own sins. What kinds of things has Mosiah been talking about that would have led them to the conclusion that each should have an equal chance at something or other? To what do you think they want each person to have an equal chance?
  • Mosiah 29:38: How is their desire to have each person answer for his or her own sins a response to Mosiah’s teaching? Why wouldn’t each person be responsible under a king? Is this, perhaps, reflection of the Israelite understanding of the king (see v. 31)?
  • Mosiah 29:38: Are Mosiah's actions here more about establishing democracy for democracy's sake, or for some other purpose?
  • Mosiah 29:39: What are the liberties that "had been granted unto" the people here?
  • Mosiah 29:41: What is meant here by throughout the land? Does this just refer to the Land of Zarahemla, or all of the cities and villages inhabited by the Nephites (v.44)?
  • Mosiah 29:41: How does this reorganization of the Nephite polity represent a true change between how the various cities and villages are governed in relation to each other?
  • Mosiah 29:42: Does this tell us that Alma held two offices or that the office of chief judge and that of high priest were the same, as for example in the United States the President and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Services aren’t two different offices? What is the relationship between the organization of the political and religious leadership in Nephite society at this time?
  • Mosiah 29:42: Alma judged righteously and there was peace throughout the land. Is that a cause and effect relation? If so, how so?
  • Mosiah 29:47: What does it mean for Alma to be the "founder" of their church?

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Mosiah 28:6-10

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 28-29
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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 28-29 to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 28-29 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 28-29: Collapse of hereditary leadership. While the establishment of a "rule of the judges" is often interpreted to be a political advance for the Nephites, it can also be seen as the failure of Mosiah to maintain the stability of a heriditary ruling lineage. While the rule of the judges gave people a say in the management of the government, it also created a power vaccuum and political schisms that lasted over 100 years and eventually led to the collapse of Nephite civil society. For three generations (Mosiah, Benjamin, Mosiah), leadership of the combined Nephite/Zarahemlaite region had fallen to "kings" which, in modern anthropological terms, were probably more akin to "big men" or possibly "chiefs". These leaders seemed to rule a small group of people mostly through their own charisma, and we are told that they labored for their own support--ie, they probably didnt have a large court supported by taxes or conscripted labor. While these leaders had managed to keep leadership within the family for three generations, when the Sons of Mosiah left, this arrangement was no longer possible, and rather than turn leadership over to a possibly competing elite lineage (perhaps descendents of Zarahemla?), Mosiah alters the management of the government. It is difficult to reconstruct from the text how these "judges" differed from chiefs--though perhaps we should see these judges more as "chiefs". If so, what we may be seeing here at the end of Mosiah is the transition from a rank or big man based society, or perhaps a small stratified chiefdom, expanded to become a complex chiefdom with a main chief ("chief judge") ruling over regional chiefs ("judges"). Whatever the actual structure of the Nephite polity at this point, the collapse of the previously stable Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah lineage rulership, and transition to the new "rule of the judges" did not seem to go smoothly, as a series of dissenters would try to wrest control of the area from the judges for the next 100 years.
Good thoughts. I imagine that the Jaredite record, newly translated (though only available in a stripped-down edition, apparently) probably had some influence on these affairs. Did Mosiah's reading of the record give him some concerns about what kingship would quickly become if Nephite civilization grew any larger? Did the people's reading of the record have anything to do with the movements back toward kingship (Amlici, Amalickiah)? Did the sons of Mosiah and Alma form their secret combination with explicit reference to Jaredite practices? How much of these few chapters are dependent on one's careful understanding of Jaredite society? I don't tend to follow the Central America reading of BoM geography, but if one does, the influence of the Olmecs among both Mayan and the broader Mexican peoples may be incredibly suggestive on this point.
I generally consider that, as suggested, the influence of the Jaredite record on the transition to judges is important to note. Not only does the Jaredite record highlight the weaknesses of monarchy, but the establishment of the kingdom Ether 6:22-27 parallels Mosiah's experience with trying to pass the kingdom on to his sons. Mosiah 29:1-8 Of course the Bible also discourses on the folly of establishing kings. 1 Sam. 8:10-18 The Old Testament does not consider the shift from judges to kings to be a positive move. At the same time, a Republic is not exactly what the people had before. The judges were more of a semi-theocratic rule, though at the same time, they required popular support. The expressly Republican elements of Mosiah's shift are rather interesting and give greater cause to compare their society's struggles with ours than any other government in the scriptures. One element I find interesting is the rising influence and danger from corrupt lawyers and judges. The destruction of the wicked in the city of Ammonihah, where the lawyers seemed to be the antagonists, was apparently necessitated/provoked by their studying to overthrow the government. Alma 8:17 Of course, it's the secret combinations that eventually tear thing apart via their assassinations and intrigues.
I think it is important, as indicated, to remember that these judges are not modern democratically elected leaders as we might too easily consider them, but rather apparently elected presidents for life perhaps most similar to a modern African model. While we don't know very much about how lesser judges were appointed, there doesn't seem to be a regular election cycle involved here, only votes for new rulers upon the current ruler's death. It isn't also clear who got to vote, how the vote was taken, or what is meant by the "voice of the people". In anthropological terms, when a ruler requires the "voice of the people" to stay in power, it is usually considered that the leader does not have enough power to maintain rulership by the use of military force. In modern terms, we might consider such polities as a "weak state", but it might be that the Book of Mormon is describing something that doesn't even reach that level. While it seems like the "Chief Judge" had some level of authority over multiple cities, it isn't clear exactly what that level of authority actually consisted of. Are we talking about a loose confederation of affiliated cities? Whatever the political situation, we don't seem to be talking about a stable government for very long hear, as cities pass back and forth in allegiance to various political alliances over the course of the next 100 years. I'm not sure anyone has done justice yet to the complexity of the political landscape reported in the Book of Mormon. While most readers of the Book of Mormon probably don't give this all much thought, surely the Monarchy to Republic model of a good state (Nephites) contrasted with a despotic bad state (Lamanites) is a gross oversimplification.
I totally agree that far too little--and far too simplistic--attention has been paid to the political themes of the Book of Mormon. At one time, I wondered if it wasn't worth looking into writing a few articles or even a book on the subject. It certainly deserves some closer attention, and most especially in the Book of Mosiah. I'd like to see more work done here on it, that's for sure. Perhaps I'll have to get some things started (or return to some things I've started before).
Once upon a time I wrote a sociopolitical analysis of the Book of Mosiah for an anthropology class at BYU. Maybe its time to see if I still have that laying around somewhere. -- Joe, Rob, Sean
  • Mosiah 29:11-15. I think it must be remembered that Mosiah has just spent years interpreting the Jaredite record. He does not have actual experience with wicked kings possible unremarkable ones through the 200 year Nephite history to date and then Mosiah, Benjamin and then himself. His father and grandfather Mosiah were great reformers who left a wicked and hostile environment in the Land of Nephi to come to Zarahemla and teach that people and eventual rule over them. I don't think he wanted to see his people ever to settle back to the mediocrity and wickedness of previous generations. They needed to do there part as Iam sure they did as they homesteaded the new land. He also didn't want to fall into the generations of progressively wickeder kings as there were in Jaredite times. There was a pattern of:
  • people's law
  • small governable groups
  • lower judges and higher judges
  • law by the people
  • a vote
  • and representation for the offending party
  • with an assumption of innocence until proven guilty
This goes all the way back to Moses' time and was afforded to Nehor and Amlici
  • Mosiah 29:16: Kings in the Old Testament. Although kings are mentioned frequently in the Pentateuch, they are usually associated with Gentiles not associated with the Israel or the Abrahamic covenant. One possible exception to this is Melchezidek who is referred to as a king in Gen 14:18. Another exception is in Deut 17:15, 15 and Deut 28:36 where the first prophecies of a king (or kings) appear. In the Book of Judges, Abimelech (the son of Gideon, one of the judges) is made king in Judg 9:6, but this is a short-lived affair and it's not very clear there what exactly the difference was between a "king" and a "judge". It is not until the Israelites beg Samuel for a king in 1 Sam 8:5 which leads to the Saul being anointed king of Israel (see 1 Sam 9:16ff and 1 Sam 10:22-24). Both Moses and Samuel warned that Israel's kings would lead to problems (see esp. Deuteronomy chapters 17 and 28 and 1 Samuel chapters 8 and 12). The problems associated with these kings becomes especially transparent in 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. Around 920 BCE, the Israelite monarchy split into the Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam and the Kingdom of Judah under Rehoboam (see 1 Kgs 12). These kingdoms were eventually destroyed by the Assyrians (around 720 BCE, prophesied by Isaiah in Isa 7-12, among others; see also 2 Kgs 17:3-6) and Babylonians (around 590 BCE, prophesied by Isaiah in Isa 13-14; see also 2 Kgs 25:1-9).
  • Mosiah 29:25: The laws given by our fathers. "The laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord" The reference to the laws here is interesting in terms of how it finesses the issue of the law's origin. First, the law is linked to "the voice of the people" who choose judges in order to enforce the law. Second, the law is associated with "our fathers." Finally, the law is linked at some point in the distant past, apparently, with God, who gave it to our fathers. Notice the claims that are not made: the law is not authored by the people, the law is not derived by the legal exegesis of scripture, the law is not seen as being directly dictated by God. Rather, the law seems to be based on a tradition that is sanctified by some hazily defined divine origin.
The use of the word "correct" here is also suggestive. The Book of Mormon frequently speaks of "incorrect traditions" of the Lamanites, which seems to consist of a counter narrative of the Lehite exodus from Jerusalem, in which Nephi stole the right of government from his older brothers. (See,e.g., Mosiah 10:12, Alma 26:24, Alma 37:9) By calling the "laws of our fathers" "correct" Mosiah may be drawing an implicit contrast with the "incorrect traditions" of the Lamanites. If so, then the costrast of laws with tradition is interesting in that it seems to link the concept of law to a particular narrative. The primacy of narrative in Nephite legal discussions can be seen in other passages, particularlly Alma 30, the one place in the Book of Mormon where a legal rule is derived from a scriptural text. The text in question, however, is a narrative rather than a legislative passage from the Old Testament. (See Alma 30:7-8)
  • Mosiah 29:38: Nephite understanding of kingship. This verse offers a vital clue to how the Nephites understood kingship as a form of government. Under a king, it was apparently not the case that "every man" would "have an equal chance throughout all the land." What that seems to mean, according to the following phrase, is that "every man" was not responsible "to answer for his own sins." The role of the king was, in Nephite society, then, to represent in a single person the whole of the nation: if the kingdom was righteous, so was the king, and if the kingdom was wicked, so was the king (a sort of dialectic between king and kingdom seems implied, rather than a one-way causality). The king, and a unique embodiment of the whole people, carried all the sins of the people, as well as all of the glory: everything was on the head of the king. When Mosiah offers here to change the manner of government, the people become "exceedingly anxious" to answer for their own sins. Each person is given, ultimately, the opportunity to be a king and a priest over a limited domain (this seems, in the end, to be the point of King Benjamin's speech). The king carries the weight (burden/glory), and each is willing to carry his (or her?) own. (It might be noted that this understanding of the monarchy makes quite a gap between the spirit of the Book of Mormon and the American attitudes toward the Revolution.)
  • Relationship of personal responsibility to Davidic kingship. This is a topic I'm very interested, particularly as related to the Davidic Covenant. Avaraham Gileadi makes a big deal about this aspect of the Davidic Covenant, that it puts all the responsibility on the king (prefiguring Christ's atonement). I was skeptical about this idea at first, but am becoming a bit less skeptical. I'd like to study this out more. In particular, I'd like to know: (1) if the passage/parable in Judges can be tied to this in any way, (2) how (if?) the warnings about kings from Samuel fit into this, (3) how (if?) messianic prophecies in the OT address this notion of individual vs. communal responsibility (see also the discussion of communal agency in Joshua 2...).

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 28:3-4: Verse 4 says the feelings described in v. 3 are given by the Spirit of the Lord. Would the Spirit give anyone the same feelings? If so, might the absence of such feelings indicate an absence of the Spirit?)
  • Mosiah 28:3-4: Alma the younger had endured endless torment (Mosiah 27:29), but there is no indication that the sons of Mosiah had, even though they did suffer. What might give them the feelings described in verse 3?
  • Mosiah 28:18: Reading of a group of people who were destroyed might sober us or even make us sad, but it usually wouldn’t make us “mourn exceedingly.” Why do you think Mosiah’s people reacted in this way? What kind of knowledge did they get which caused them to rejoice?
  • Mosiah 29:7-9: Aaron has just been converted in a miraculous manner, and he is obviously serious about his conversion. His mission is evidence of that. Nevertheless, here we see Mosiah worried that being king might destroy him. Does he lack confidence in his son? If so, why? If not, how do you explain Mosiah’s remarks?
  • It may have been a hypothetical question on Mosiah's part although as you continue to read in Alma I find it interesting that Ammon is selected as the leader to the mission to the Lamanites and is the one to bless/anoint each missionary as they separate to their assignments. Either Aaron was extremely humble and let his brother lead or Aaron felt less qualified to lead. It is not the first time in the scriptures that the eldest has that issue but it is very commendable and different that Aaron allowed and encouraged his younger brother ie Hyrum and Joseph not Jacob and Esau and encouraged his father to form a new and better form of government.
  • Mosiah 29:12ff: What is necessary in order to have a king? Are the judges that Mosiah suggests as rulers the same or similar to the judges of ancient Israel, or is this a different system of government?
  • Mosiah 29:13: Mosiah tells us that the problem with kings is that sometimes they are unjust. How does having judges instead of kings ameliorate this problem? (Compare vv. 28-29.)
  • Mosiah 29:16: In the Old Testament the king is often understood as a shadow of the Messiah, one who typifies the Savior. Is he suggesting here that, because of our iniquity, that type and shadow doesn’t work?
  • Mosiah 29:16: How is a "king" different from any other type of ruler? If Mosiah is not trying to abolish rulership, what exactly is he trying to accomplish?
  • Mosiah 29:21: What is the definition an "iniquitous" king?
  • Mosiah 29:21: Are there Old Testament precedents for dethroning an iniquitous king, or is this something that comes from the Nephite's American experience?
  • Mosiah 29:21: How is the word contention used here? Does it just mean arguing, or is it something more? How does the use of the term here compare with the way it is used earlier in the Book of Mosiah and elsewhere in the Book of Mormon?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What is meant by "friends in iniquity"? Are these friends kept in iniquity because of the king, is the king brought to iniquity by his friends, or do they mutually reinforce each other?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What does keeping guards have to do with being an "iniquitous king"?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What is the role of tradition in governance? Why would it be iniquitous for a ruler to tear up the laws of those who have come before? Does the tradition have weight in and of itself, or is the problem here only when unrighteous kings break the laws established in righteousness?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What does it mean to trample under your feet the commandments of God? Does this just mean to break the commandments, or is there something more implied?
  • Mosiah 29:23: Mosiah here claims that an unrighteous king a) enacts laws, b) sends them forth, c) punishes those who violate his laws, including d) destroying them, and e) sending armies against them. Are these all prerogatives of a righteous king as well? Are these practices in and of themselves unrighteous, or just when they are used to sustain iniquitous laws or practices?
  • Mosiah 29:23: Can righteous kings send armies against his own people, or just against foreign enemies?
  • Mosiah 29:24: Why does Mosiah consider unrighteous rulership to be an "abomination"? What does abomination mean, and how is it different from any other type of unholy or impure practice?
  • Mosiah 29:25: Does this verse tell us that the judges were elected democratically, or does it mean something else? What evidence can you give for your conclusion?
  • Mosiah 29:25: Is the law referred to in this verse the Law of Moses or some other body of law?
  • Mosiah 29:26: Given the Nephite experience so far, the record they have of Israel before Lehi left, and what they have just read in the Book of Ether, how can Mosiah say this? All the evidence seems to indicate that it is quite common for the majority to desire what is wrong, doesn’t it?
  • Mosiah 29:26: What does it mean to "do your business by the voice of the people"? Is this actual democracy or something else?
  • Mosiah 29:27: Does this verse answer the question just asked about v. 26? How are we to understand these verses as they apply to us today?
  • Mosiah 29:27: What does it mean for God to "visit you with great destruction"?
  • Mosiah 29:28: What is meant here by judges? How are Nephite judges different from kings? How are these judges different from judges described in the Old Testament?
  • Mosiah 29:28: What does it mean to have a judge judged by a higher judge?
  • Mosiah 29:29: What are the difficulties and opportunities afforded by having lower judges judge higher judges "according to the voice of the people"?
  • Mosiah 29:29: How is this system of judges different from other modern judicial systems?
  • Mosiah 29:30: How can King Mosiah establish a democracy by fiat? Is this what he is really trying to do, or is something else going on here?
  • Mosiah 29:31: Israelites also had this belief, that the wickedness of the king caused the wickedness of the nation. It was the flip side of the belief that the king typified the Messiah. What bearing does this belief have on our understanding of government? Why might the ancient Israelites and King Mosiah have believed that a wicked king caused a wicked people?
  • Mosiah 29:31: We don’t usually believe that a wicked CEO in a company is necessarily a bad leader for the company. Why would a wicked national leader necessarily be a bad leader for the country? In other words, how do the two kinds of leadership differ, if they do?
  • Mosiah 29:32: To what inequality is Mosiah referring? What are the implications of there being an inequality of iniquities between rulers and their people?
  • Mosiah 29:33: Is Mosiah arguing that it is too difficult to be king, even for a righteous person, so no one should ask someone to be his or her king? Why would that argument be different for a king than for any other leader?
  • Mosiah 29:33: What exactly are the burdens of kingship that Mosiah is talking about here? Is it just the complaining of his people, or are we talking about some kind of divine kingship whereby the sins of the people are thought to fall upon the king, who is then required to expiate them? How might this relate to Ancient Mesoamerican concepts of divine kingship, whereby the king was required to ceremonially shed his own blood for his people?
  • Mosiah 29:34: What does it mean for each person to "bear his part"? His part of what?
  • Mosiah 29:38: Two things seem to have most impressed Mosiah’s people to give up their desire for a king: they wanted each person to have an equal chance and they wanted each person to answer for his or her own sins. What kinds of things has Mosiah been talking about that would have led them to the conclusion that each should have an equal chance at something or other? To what do you think they want each person to have an equal chance?
  • Mosiah 29:38: How is their desire to have each person answer for his or her own sins a response to Mosiah’s teaching? Why wouldn’t each person be responsible under a king? Is this, perhaps, reflection of the Israelite understanding of the king (see v. 31)?
  • Mosiah 29:38: Are Mosiah's actions here more about establishing democracy for democracy's sake, or for some other purpose?
  • Mosiah 29:39: What are the liberties that "had been granted unto" the people here?
  • Mosiah 29:41: What is meant here by throughout the land? Does this just refer to the Land of Zarahemla, or all of the cities and villages inhabited by the Nephites (v.44)?
  • Mosiah 29:41: How does this reorganization of the Nephite polity represent a true change between how the various cities and villages are governed in relation to each other?
  • Mosiah 29:42: Does this tell us that Alma held two offices or that the office of chief judge and that of high priest were the same, as for example in the United States the President and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Services aren’t two different offices? What is the relationship between the organization of the political and religious leadership in Nephite society at this time?
  • Mosiah 29:42: Alma judged righteously and there was peace throughout the land. Is that a cause and effect relation? If so, how so?
  • Mosiah 29:47: What does it mean for Alma to be the "founder" of their church?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 27b                      This is the last page for Mosiah

Mosiah 28:11-15

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 28-29
Previous page: Chapter 27b                      This is the last page for Mosiah


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 28-29 to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 28-29 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 28-29: Collapse of hereditary leadership. While the establishment of a "rule of the judges" is often interpreted to be a political advance for the Nephites, it can also be seen as the failure of Mosiah to maintain the stability of a heriditary ruling lineage. While the rule of the judges gave people a say in the management of the government, it also created a power vaccuum and political schisms that lasted over 100 years and eventually led to the collapse of Nephite civil society. For three generations (Mosiah, Benjamin, Mosiah), leadership of the combined Nephite/Zarahemlaite region had fallen to "kings" which, in modern anthropological terms, were probably more akin to "big men" or possibly "chiefs". These leaders seemed to rule a small group of people mostly through their own charisma, and we are told that they labored for their own support--ie, they probably didnt have a large court supported by taxes or conscripted labor. While these leaders had managed to keep leadership within the family for three generations, when the Sons of Mosiah left, this arrangement was no longer possible, and rather than turn leadership over to a possibly competing elite lineage (perhaps descendents of Zarahemla?), Mosiah alters the management of the government. It is difficult to reconstruct from the text how these "judges" differed from chiefs--though perhaps we should see these judges more as "chiefs". If so, what we may be seeing here at the end of Mosiah is the transition from a rank or big man based society, or perhaps a small stratified chiefdom, expanded to become a complex chiefdom with a main chief ("chief judge") ruling over regional chiefs ("judges"). Whatever the actual structure of the Nephite polity at this point, the collapse of the previously stable Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah lineage rulership, and transition to the new "rule of the judges" did not seem to go smoothly, as a series of dissenters would try to wrest control of the area from the judges for the next 100 years.
Good thoughts. I imagine that the Jaredite record, newly translated (though only available in a stripped-down edition, apparently) probably had some influence on these affairs. Did Mosiah's reading of the record give him some concerns about what kingship would quickly become if Nephite civilization grew any larger? Did the people's reading of the record have anything to do with the movements back toward kingship (Amlici, Amalickiah)? Did the sons of Mosiah and Alma form their secret combination with explicit reference to Jaredite practices? How much of these few chapters are dependent on one's careful understanding of Jaredite society? I don't tend to follow the Central America reading of BoM geography, but if one does, the influence of the Olmecs among both Mayan and the broader Mexican peoples may be incredibly suggestive on this point.
I generally consider that, as suggested, the influence of the Jaredite record on the transition to judges is important to note. Not only does the Jaredite record highlight the weaknesses of monarchy, but the establishment of the kingdom Ether 6:22-27 parallels Mosiah's experience with trying to pass the kingdom on to his sons. Mosiah 29:1-8 Of course the Bible also discourses on the folly of establishing kings. 1 Sam. 8:10-18 The Old Testament does not consider the shift from judges to kings to be a positive move. At the same time, a Republic is not exactly what the people had before. The judges were more of a semi-theocratic rule, though at the same time, they required popular support. The expressly Republican elements of Mosiah's shift are rather interesting and give greater cause to compare their society's struggles with ours than any other government in the scriptures. One element I find interesting is the rising influence and danger from corrupt lawyers and judges. The destruction of the wicked in the city of Ammonihah, where the lawyers seemed to be the antagonists, was apparently necessitated/provoked by their studying to overthrow the government. Alma 8:17 Of course, it's the secret combinations that eventually tear thing apart via their assassinations and intrigues.
I think it is important, as indicated, to remember that these judges are not modern democratically elected leaders as we might too easily consider them, but rather apparently elected presidents for life perhaps most similar to a modern African model. While we don't know very much about how lesser judges were appointed, there doesn't seem to be a regular election cycle involved here, only votes for new rulers upon the current ruler's death. It isn't also clear who got to vote, how the vote was taken, or what is meant by the "voice of the people". In anthropological terms, when a ruler requires the "voice of the people" to stay in power, it is usually considered that the leader does not have enough power to maintain rulership by the use of military force. In modern terms, we might consider such polities as a "weak state", but it might be that the Book of Mormon is describing something that doesn't even reach that level. While it seems like the "Chief Judge" had some level of authority over multiple cities, it isn't clear exactly what that level of authority actually consisted of. Are we talking about a loose confederation of affiliated cities? Whatever the political situation, we don't seem to be talking about a stable government for very long hear, as cities pass back and forth in allegiance to various political alliances over the course of the next 100 years. I'm not sure anyone has done justice yet to the complexity of the political landscape reported in the Book of Mormon. While most readers of the Book of Mormon probably don't give this all much thought, surely the Monarchy to Republic model of a good state (Nephites) contrasted with a despotic bad state (Lamanites) is a gross oversimplification.
I totally agree that far too little--and far too simplistic--attention has been paid to the political themes of the Book of Mormon. At one time, I wondered if it wasn't worth looking into writing a few articles or even a book on the subject. It certainly deserves some closer attention, and most especially in the Book of Mosiah. I'd like to see more work done here on it, that's for sure. Perhaps I'll have to get some things started (or return to some things I've started before).
Once upon a time I wrote a sociopolitical analysis of the Book of Mosiah for an anthropology class at BYU. Maybe its time to see if I still have that laying around somewhere. -- Joe, Rob, Sean
  • Mosiah 29:11-15. I think it must be remembered that Mosiah has just spent years interpreting the Jaredite record. He does not have actual experience with wicked kings possible unremarkable ones through the 200 year Nephite history to date and then Mosiah, Benjamin and then himself. His father and grandfather Mosiah were great reformers who left a wicked and hostile environment in the Land of Nephi to come to Zarahemla and teach that people and eventual rule over them. I don't think he wanted to see his people ever to settle back to the mediocrity and wickedness of previous generations. They needed to do there part as Iam sure they did as they homesteaded the new land. He also didn't want to fall into the generations of progressively wickeder kings as there were in Jaredite times. There was a pattern of:
  • people's law
  • small governable groups
  • lower judges and higher judges
  • law by the people
  • a vote
  • and representation for the offending party
  • with an assumption of innocence until proven guilty
This goes all the way back to Moses' time and was afforded to Nehor and Amlici
  • Mosiah 29:16: Kings in the Old Testament. Although kings are mentioned frequently in the Pentateuch, they are usually associated with Gentiles not associated with the Israel or the Abrahamic covenant. One possible exception to this is Melchezidek who is referred to as a king in Gen 14:18. Another exception is in Deut 17:15, 15 and Deut 28:36 where the first prophecies of a king (or kings) appear. In the Book of Judges, Abimelech (the son of Gideon, one of the judges) is made king in Judg 9:6, but this is a short-lived affair and it's not very clear there what exactly the difference was between a "king" and a "judge". It is not until the Israelites beg Samuel for a king in 1 Sam 8:5 which leads to the Saul being anointed king of Israel (see 1 Sam 9:16ff and 1 Sam 10:22-24). Both Moses and Samuel warned that Israel's kings would lead to problems (see esp. Deuteronomy chapters 17 and 28 and 1 Samuel chapters 8 and 12). The problems associated with these kings becomes especially transparent in 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. Around 920 BCE, the Israelite monarchy split into the Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam and the Kingdom of Judah under Rehoboam (see 1 Kgs 12). These kingdoms were eventually destroyed by the Assyrians (around 720 BCE, prophesied by Isaiah in Isa 7-12, among others; see also 2 Kgs 17:3-6) and Babylonians (around 590 BCE, prophesied by Isaiah in Isa 13-14; see also 2 Kgs 25:1-9).
  • Mosiah 29:25: The laws given by our fathers. "The laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord" The reference to the laws here is interesting in terms of how it finesses the issue of the law's origin. First, the law is linked to "the voice of the people" who choose judges in order to enforce the law. Second, the law is associated with "our fathers." Finally, the law is linked at some point in the distant past, apparently, with God, who gave it to our fathers. Notice the claims that are not made: the law is not authored by the people, the law is not derived by the legal exegesis of scripture, the law is not seen as being directly dictated by God. Rather, the law seems to be based on a tradition that is sanctified by some hazily defined divine origin.
The use of the word "correct" here is also suggestive. The Book of Mormon frequently speaks of "incorrect traditions" of the Lamanites, which seems to consist of a counter narrative of the Lehite exodus from Jerusalem, in which Nephi stole the right of government from his older brothers. (See,e.g., Mosiah 10:12, Alma 26:24, Alma 37:9) By calling the "laws of our fathers" "correct" Mosiah may be drawing an implicit contrast with the "incorrect traditions" of the Lamanites. If so, then the costrast of laws with tradition is interesting in that it seems to link the concept of law to a particular narrative. The primacy of narrative in Nephite legal discussions can be seen in other passages, particularlly Alma 30, the one place in the Book of Mormon where a legal rule is derived from a scriptural text. The text in question, however, is a narrative rather than a legislative passage from the Old Testament. (See Alma 30:7-8)
  • Mosiah 29:38: Nephite understanding of kingship. This verse offers a vital clue to how the Nephites understood kingship as a form of government. Under a king, it was apparently not the case that "every man" would "have an equal chance throughout all the land." What that seems to mean, according to the following phrase, is that "every man" was not responsible "to answer for his own sins." The role of the king was, in Nephite society, then, to represent in a single person the whole of the nation: if the kingdom was righteous, so was the king, and if the kingdom was wicked, so was the king (a sort of dialectic between king and kingdom seems implied, rather than a one-way causality). The king, and a unique embodiment of the whole people, carried all the sins of the people, as well as all of the glory: everything was on the head of the king. When Mosiah offers here to change the manner of government, the people become "exceedingly anxious" to answer for their own sins. Each person is given, ultimately, the opportunity to be a king and a priest over a limited domain (this seems, in the end, to be the point of King Benjamin's speech). The king carries the weight (burden/glory), and each is willing to carry his (or her?) own. (It might be noted that this understanding of the monarchy makes quite a gap between the spirit of the Book of Mormon and the American attitudes toward the Revolution.)
  • Relationship of personal responsibility to Davidic kingship. This is a topic I'm very interested, particularly as related to the Davidic Covenant. Avaraham Gileadi makes a big deal about this aspect of the Davidic Covenant, that it puts all the responsibility on the king (prefiguring Christ's atonement). I was skeptical about this idea at first, but am becoming a bit less skeptical. I'd like to study this out more. In particular, I'd like to know: (1) if the passage/parable in Judges can be tied to this in any way, (2) how (if?) the warnings about kings from Samuel fit into this, (3) how (if?) messianic prophecies in the OT address this notion of individual vs. communal responsibility (see also the discussion of communal agency in Joshua 2...).

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  • Mosiah 28:3-4: Verse 4 says the feelings described in v. 3 are given by the Spirit of the Lord. Would the Spirit give anyone the same feelings? If so, might the absence of such feelings indicate an absence of the Spirit?)
  • Mosiah 28:3-4: Alma the younger had endured endless torment (Mosiah 27:29), but there is no indication that the sons of Mosiah had, even though they did suffer. What might give them the feelings described in verse 3?
  • Mosiah 28:18: Reading of a group of people who were destroyed might sober us or even make us sad, but it usually wouldn’t make us “mourn exceedingly.” Why do you think Mosiah’s people reacted in this way? What kind of knowledge did they get which caused them to rejoice?
  • Mosiah 29:7-9: Aaron has just been converted in a miraculous manner, and he is obviously serious about his conversion. His mission is evidence of that. Nevertheless, here we see Mosiah worried that being king might destroy him. Does he lack confidence in his son? If so, why? If not, how do you explain Mosiah’s remarks?
  • It may have been a hypothetical question on Mosiah's part although as you continue to read in Alma I find it interesting that Ammon is selected as the leader to the mission to the Lamanites and is the one to bless/anoint each missionary as they separate to their assignments. Either Aaron was extremely humble and let his brother lead or Aaron felt less qualified to lead. It is not the first time in the scriptures that the eldest has that issue but it is very commendable and different that Aaron allowed and encouraged his younger brother ie Hyrum and Joseph not Jacob and Esau and encouraged his father to form a new and better form of government.
  • Mosiah 29:12ff: What is necessary in order to have a king? Are the judges that Mosiah suggests as rulers the same or similar to the judges of ancient Israel, or is this a different system of government?
  • Mosiah 29:13: Mosiah tells us that the problem with kings is that sometimes they are unjust. How does having judges instead of kings ameliorate this problem? (Compare vv. 28-29.)
  • Mosiah 29:16: In the Old Testament the king is often understood as a shadow of the Messiah, one who typifies the Savior. Is he suggesting here that, because of our iniquity, that type and shadow doesn’t work?
  • Mosiah 29:16: How is a "king" different from any other type of ruler? If Mosiah is not trying to abolish rulership, what exactly is he trying to accomplish?
  • Mosiah 29:21: What is the definition an "iniquitous" king?
  • Mosiah 29:21: Are there Old Testament precedents for dethroning an iniquitous king, or is this something that comes from the Nephite's American experience?
  • Mosiah 29:21: How is the word contention used here? Does it just mean arguing, or is it something more? How does the use of the term here compare with the way it is used earlier in the Book of Mosiah and elsewhere in the Book of Mormon?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What is meant by "friends in iniquity"? Are these friends kept in iniquity because of the king, is the king brought to iniquity by his friends, or do they mutually reinforce each other?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What does keeping guards have to do with being an "iniquitous king"?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What is the role of tradition in governance? Why would it be iniquitous for a ruler to tear up the laws of those who have come before? Does the tradition have weight in and of itself, or is the problem here only when unrighteous kings break the laws established in righteousness?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What does it mean to trample under your feet the commandments of God? Does this just mean to break the commandments, or is there something more implied?
  • Mosiah 29:23: Mosiah here claims that an unrighteous king a) enacts laws, b) sends them forth, c) punishes those who violate his laws, including d) destroying them, and e) sending armies against them. Are these all prerogatives of a righteous king as well? Are these practices in and of themselves unrighteous, or just when they are used to sustain iniquitous laws or practices?
  • Mosiah 29:23: Can righteous kings send armies against his own people, or just against foreign enemies?
  • Mosiah 29:24: Why does Mosiah consider unrighteous rulership to be an "abomination"? What does abomination mean, and how is it different from any other type of unholy or impure practice?
  • Mosiah 29:25: Does this verse tell us that the judges were elected democratically, or does it mean something else? What evidence can you give for your conclusion?
  • Mosiah 29:25: Is the law referred to in this verse the Law of Moses or some other body of law?
  • Mosiah 29:26: Given the Nephite experience so far, the record they have of Israel before Lehi left, and what they have just read in the Book of Ether, how can Mosiah say this? All the evidence seems to indicate that it is quite common for the majority to desire what is wrong, doesn’t it?
  • Mosiah 29:26: What does it mean to "do your business by the voice of the people"? Is this actual democracy or something else?
  • Mosiah 29:27: Does this verse answer the question just asked about v. 26? How are we to understand these verses as they apply to us today?
  • Mosiah 29:27: What does it mean for God to "visit you with great destruction"?
  • Mosiah 29:28: What is meant here by judges? How are Nephite judges different from kings? How are these judges different from judges described in the Old Testament?
  • Mosiah 29:28: What does it mean to have a judge judged by a higher judge?
  • Mosiah 29:29: What are the difficulties and opportunities afforded by having lower judges judge higher judges "according to the voice of the people"?
  • Mosiah 29:29: How is this system of judges different from other modern judicial systems?
  • Mosiah 29:30: How can King Mosiah establish a democracy by fiat? Is this what he is really trying to do, or is something else going on here?
  • Mosiah 29:31: Israelites also had this belief, that the wickedness of the king caused the wickedness of the nation. It was the flip side of the belief that the king typified the Messiah. What bearing does this belief have on our understanding of government? Why might the ancient Israelites and King Mosiah have believed that a wicked king caused a wicked people?
  • Mosiah 29:31: We don’t usually believe that a wicked CEO in a company is necessarily a bad leader for the company. Why would a wicked national leader necessarily be a bad leader for the country? In other words, how do the two kinds of leadership differ, if they do?
  • Mosiah 29:32: To what inequality is Mosiah referring? What are the implications of there being an inequality of iniquities between rulers and their people?
  • Mosiah 29:33: Is Mosiah arguing that it is too difficult to be king, even for a righteous person, so no one should ask someone to be his or her king? Why would that argument be different for a king than for any other leader?
  • Mosiah 29:33: What exactly are the burdens of kingship that Mosiah is talking about here? Is it just the complaining of his people, or are we talking about some kind of divine kingship whereby the sins of the people are thought to fall upon the king, who is then required to expiate them? How might this relate to Ancient Mesoamerican concepts of divine kingship, whereby the king was required to ceremonially shed his own blood for his people?
  • Mosiah 29:34: What does it mean for each person to "bear his part"? His part of what?
  • Mosiah 29:38: Two things seem to have most impressed Mosiah’s people to give up their desire for a king: they wanted each person to have an equal chance and they wanted each person to answer for his or her own sins. What kinds of things has Mosiah been talking about that would have led them to the conclusion that each should have an equal chance at something or other? To what do you think they want each person to have an equal chance?
  • Mosiah 29:38: How is their desire to have each person answer for his or her own sins a response to Mosiah’s teaching? Why wouldn’t each person be responsible under a king? Is this, perhaps, reflection of the Israelite understanding of the king (see v. 31)?
  • Mosiah 29:38: Are Mosiah's actions here more about establishing democracy for democracy's sake, or for some other purpose?
  • Mosiah 29:39: What are the liberties that "had been granted unto" the people here?
  • Mosiah 29:41: What is meant here by throughout the land? Does this just refer to the Land of Zarahemla, or all of the cities and villages inhabited by the Nephites (v.44)?
  • Mosiah 29:41: How does this reorganization of the Nephite polity represent a true change between how the various cities and villages are governed in relation to each other?
  • Mosiah 29:42: Does this tell us that Alma held two offices or that the office of chief judge and that of high priest were the same, as for example in the United States the President and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Services aren’t two different offices? What is the relationship between the organization of the political and religious leadership in Nephite society at this time?
  • Mosiah 29:42: Alma judged righteously and there was peace throughout the land. Is that a cause and effect relation? If so, how so?
  • Mosiah 29:47: What does it mean for Alma to be the "founder" of their church?

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Mosiah 28:16-20

Home > The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 25-29 > Chapter 28-29
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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Chapters 25-29. The relationship of Chapter 28-29 to the rest of Chapters 25-29 is discussed at Mosiah 25-29.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 28-29 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 28-29: Collapse of hereditary leadership. While the establishment of a "rule of the judges" is often interpreted to be a political advance for the Nephites, it can also be seen as the failure of Mosiah to maintain the stability of a heriditary ruling lineage. While the rule of the judges gave people a say in the management of the government, it also created a power vaccuum and political schisms that lasted over 100 years and eventually led to the collapse of Nephite civil society. For three generations (Mosiah, Benjamin, Mosiah), leadership of the combined Nephite/Zarahemlaite region had fallen to "kings" which, in modern anthropological terms, were probably more akin to "big men" or possibly "chiefs". These leaders seemed to rule a small group of people mostly through their own charisma, and we are told that they labored for their own support--ie, they probably didnt have a large court supported by taxes or conscripted labor. While these leaders had managed to keep leadership within the family for three generations, when the Sons of Mosiah left, this arrangement was no longer possible, and rather than turn leadership over to a possibly competing elite lineage (perhaps descendents of Zarahemla?), Mosiah alters the management of the government. It is difficult to reconstruct from the text how these "judges" differed from chiefs--though perhaps we should see these judges more as "chiefs". If so, what we may be seeing here at the end of Mosiah is the transition from a rank or big man based society, or perhaps a small stratified chiefdom, expanded to become a complex chiefdom with a main chief ("chief judge") ruling over regional chiefs ("judges"). Whatever the actual structure of the Nephite polity at this point, the collapse of the previously stable Mosiah-Benjamin-Mosiah lineage rulership, and transition to the new "rule of the judges" did not seem to go smoothly, as a series of dissenters would try to wrest control of the area from the judges for the next 100 years.
Good thoughts. I imagine that the Jaredite record, newly translated (though only available in a stripped-down edition, apparently) probably had some influence on these affairs. Did Mosiah's reading of the record give him some concerns about what kingship would quickly become if Nephite civilization grew any larger? Did the people's reading of the record have anything to do with the movements back toward kingship (Amlici, Amalickiah)? Did the sons of Mosiah and Alma form their secret combination with explicit reference to Jaredite practices? How much of these few chapters are dependent on one's careful understanding of Jaredite society? I don't tend to follow the Central America reading of BoM geography, but if one does, the influence of the Olmecs among both Mayan and the broader Mexican peoples may be incredibly suggestive on this point.
I generally consider that, as suggested, the influence of the Jaredite record on the transition to judges is important to note. Not only does the Jaredite record highlight the weaknesses of monarchy, but the establishment of the kingdom Ether 6:22-27 parallels Mosiah's experience with trying to pass the kingdom on to his sons. Mosiah 29:1-8 Of course the Bible also discourses on the folly of establishing kings. 1 Sam. 8:10-18 The Old Testament does not consider the shift from judges to kings to be a positive move. At the same time, a Republic is not exactly what the people had before. The judges were more of a semi-theocratic rule, though at the same time, they required popular support. The expressly Republican elements of Mosiah's shift are rather interesting and give greater cause to compare their society's struggles with ours than any other government in the scriptures. One element I find interesting is the rising influence and danger from corrupt lawyers and judges. The destruction of the wicked in the city of Ammonihah, where the lawyers seemed to be the antagonists, was apparently necessitated/provoked by their studying to overthrow the government. Alma 8:17 Of course, it's the secret combinations that eventually tear thing apart via their assassinations and intrigues.
I think it is important, as indicated, to remember that these judges are not modern democratically elected leaders as we might too easily consider them, but rather apparently elected presidents for life perhaps most similar to a modern African model. While we don't know very much about how lesser judges were appointed, there doesn't seem to be a regular election cycle involved here, only votes for new rulers upon the current ruler's death. It isn't also clear who got to vote, how the vote was taken, or what is meant by the "voice of the people". In anthropological terms, when a ruler requires the "voice of the people" to stay in power, it is usually considered that the leader does not have enough power to maintain rulership by the use of military force. In modern terms, we might consider such polities as a "weak state", but it might be that the Book of Mormon is describing something that doesn't even reach that level. While it seems like the "Chief Judge" had some level of authority over multiple cities, it isn't clear exactly what that level of authority actually consisted of. Are we talking about a loose confederation of affiliated cities? Whatever the political situation, we don't seem to be talking about a stable government for very long hear, as cities pass back and forth in allegiance to various political alliances over the course of the next 100 years. I'm not sure anyone has done justice yet to the complexity of the political landscape reported in the Book of Mormon. While most readers of the Book of Mormon probably don't give this all much thought, surely the Monarchy to Republic model of a good state (Nephites) contrasted with a despotic bad state (Lamanites) is a gross oversimplification.
I totally agree that far too little--and far too simplistic--attention has been paid to the political themes of the Book of Mormon. At one time, I wondered if it wasn't worth looking into writing a few articles or even a book on the subject. It certainly deserves some closer attention, and most especially in the Book of Mosiah. I'd like to see more work done here on it, that's for sure. Perhaps I'll have to get some things started (or return to some things I've started before).
Once upon a time I wrote a sociopolitical analysis of the Book of Mosiah for an anthropology class at BYU. Maybe its time to see if I still have that laying around somewhere. -- Joe, Rob, Sean
  • Mosiah 29:11-15. I think it must be remembered that Mosiah has just spent years interpreting the Jaredite record. He does not have actual experience with wicked kings possible unremarkable ones through the 200 year Nephite history to date and then Mosiah, Benjamin and then himself. His father and grandfather Mosiah were great reformers who left a wicked and hostile environment in the Land of Nephi to come to Zarahemla and teach that people and eventual rule over them. I don't think he wanted to see his people ever to settle back to the mediocrity and wickedness of previous generations. They needed to do there part as Iam sure they did as they homesteaded the new land. He also didn't want to fall into the generations of progressively wickeder kings as there were in Jaredite times. There was a pattern of:
  • people's law
  • small governable groups
  • lower judges and higher judges
  • law by the people
  • a vote
  • and representation for the offending party
  • with an assumption of innocence until proven guilty
This goes all the way back to Moses' time and was afforded to Nehor and Amlici
  • Mosiah 29:16: Kings in the Old Testament. Although kings are mentioned frequently in the Pentateuch, they are usually associated with Gentiles not associated with the Israel or the Abrahamic covenant. One possible exception to this is Melchezidek who is referred to as a king in Gen 14:18. Another exception is in Deut 17:15, 15 and Deut 28:36 where the first prophecies of a king (or kings) appear. In the Book of Judges, Abimelech (the son of Gideon, one of the judges) is made king in Judg 9:6, but this is a short-lived affair and it's not very clear there what exactly the difference was between a "king" and a "judge". It is not until the Israelites beg Samuel for a king in 1 Sam 8:5 which leads to the Saul being anointed king of Israel (see 1 Sam 9:16ff and 1 Sam 10:22-24). Both Moses and Samuel warned that Israel's kings would lead to problems (see esp. Deuteronomy chapters 17 and 28 and 1 Samuel chapters 8 and 12). The problems associated with these kings becomes especially transparent in 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. Around 920 BCE, the Israelite monarchy split into the Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam and the Kingdom of Judah under Rehoboam (see 1 Kgs 12). These kingdoms were eventually destroyed by the Assyrians (around 720 BCE, prophesied by Isaiah in Isa 7-12, among others; see also 2 Kgs 17:3-6) and Babylonians (around 590 BCE, prophesied by Isaiah in Isa 13-14; see also 2 Kgs 25:1-9).
  • Mosiah 29:25: The laws given by our fathers. "The laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord" The reference to the laws here is interesting in terms of how it finesses the issue of the law's origin. First, the law is linked to "the voice of the people" who choose judges in order to enforce the law. Second, the law is associated with "our fathers." Finally, the law is linked at some point in the distant past, apparently, with God, who gave it to our fathers. Notice the claims that are not made: the law is not authored by the people, the law is not derived by the legal exegesis of scripture, the law is not seen as being directly dictated by God. Rather, the law seems to be based on a tradition that is sanctified by some hazily defined divine origin.
The use of the word "correct" here is also suggestive. The Book of Mormon frequently speaks of "incorrect traditions" of the Lamanites, which seems to consist of a counter narrative of the Lehite exodus from Jerusalem, in which Nephi stole the right of government from his older brothers. (See,e.g., Mosiah 10:12, Alma 26:24, Alma 37:9) By calling the "laws of our fathers" "correct" Mosiah may be drawing an implicit contrast with the "incorrect traditions" of the Lamanites. If so, then the costrast of laws with tradition is interesting in that it seems to link the concept of law to a particular narrative. The primacy of narrative in Nephite legal discussions can be seen in other passages, particularlly Alma 30, the one place in the Book of Mormon where a legal rule is derived from a scriptural text. The text in question, however, is a narrative rather than a legislative passage from the Old Testament. (See Alma 30:7-8)
  • Mosiah 29:38: Nephite understanding of kingship. This verse offers a vital clue to how the Nephites understood kingship as a form of government. Under a king, it was apparently not the case that "every man" would "have an equal chance throughout all the land." What that seems to mean, according to the following phrase, is that "every man" was not responsible "to answer for his own sins." The role of the king was, in Nephite society, then, to represent in a single person the whole of the nation: if the kingdom was righteous, so was the king, and if the kingdom was wicked, so was the king (a sort of dialectic between king and kingdom seems implied, rather than a one-way causality). The king, and a unique embodiment of the whole people, carried all the sins of the people, as well as all of the glory: everything was on the head of the king. When Mosiah offers here to change the manner of government, the people become "exceedingly anxious" to answer for their own sins. Each person is given, ultimately, the opportunity to be a king and a priest over a limited domain (this seems, in the end, to be the point of King Benjamin's speech). The king carries the weight (burden/glory), and each is willing to carry his (or her?) own. (It might be noted that this understanding of the monarchy makes quite a gap between the spirit of the Book of Mormon and the American attitudes toward the Revolution.)
  • Relationship of personal responsibility to Davidic kingship. This is a topic I'm very interested, particularly as related to the Davidic Covenant. Avaraham Gileadi makes a big deal about this aspect of the Davidic Covenant, that it puts all the responsibility on the king (prefiguring Christ's atonement). I was skeptical about this idea at first, but am becoming a bit less skeptical. I'd like to study this out more. In particular, I'd like to know: (1) if the passage/parable in Judges can be tied to this in any way, (2) how (if?) the warnings about kings from Samuel fit into this, (3) how (if?) messianic prophecies in the OT address this notion of individual vs. communal responsibility (see also the discussion of communal agency in Joshua 2...).

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Mosiah 28:3-4: Verse 4 says the feelings described in v. 3 are given by the Spirit of the Lord. Would the Spirit give anyone the same feelings? If so, might the absence of such feelings indicate an absence of the Spirit?)
  • Mosiah 28:3-4: Alma the younger had endured endless torment (Mosiah 27:29), but there is no indication that the sons of Mosiah had, even though they did suffer. What might give them the feelings described in verse 3?
  • Mosiah 28:18: Reading of a group of people who were destroyed might sober us or even make us sad, but it usually wouldn’t make us “mourn exceedingly.” Why do you think Mosiah’s people reacted in this way? What kind of knowledge did they get which caused them to rejoice?
  • Mosiah 29:7-9: Aaron has just been converted in a miraculous manner, and he is obviously serious about his conversion. His mission is evidence of that. Nevertheless, here we see Mosiah worried that being king might destroy him. Does he lack confidence in his son? If so, why? If not, how do you explain Mosiah’s remarks?
  • It may have been a hypothetical question on Mosiah's part although as you continue to read in Alma I find it interesting that Ammon is selected as the leader to the mission to the Lamanites and is the one to bless/anoint each missionary as they separate to their assignments. Either Aaron was extremely humble and let his brother lead or Aaron felt less qualified to lead. It is not the first time in the scriptures that the eldest has that issue but it is very commendable and different that Aaron allowed and encouraged his younger brother ie Hyrum and Joseph not Jacob and Esau and encouraged his father to form a new and better form of government.
  • Mosiah 29:12ff: What is necessary in order to have a king? Are the judges that Mosiah suggests as rulers the same or similar to the judges of ancient Israel, or is this a different system of government?
  • Mosiah 29:13: Mosiah tells us that the problem with kings is that sometimes they are unjust. How does having judges instead of kings ameliorate this problem? (Compare vv. 28-29.)
  • Mosiah 29:16: In the Old Testament the king is often understood as a shadow of the Messiah, one who typifies the Savior. Is he suggesting here that, because of our iniquity, that type and shadow doesn’t work?
  • Mosiah 29:16: How is a "king" different from any other type of ruler? If Mosiah is not trying to abolish rulership, what exactly is he trying to accomplish?
  • Mosiah 29:21: What is the definition an "iniquitous" king?
  • Mosiah 29:21: Are there Old Testament precedents for dethroning an iniquitous king, or is this something that comes from the Nephite's American experience?
  • Mosiah 29:21: How is the word contention used here? Does it just mean arguing, or is it something more? How does the use of the term here compare with the way it is used earlier in the Book of Mosiah and elsewhere in the Book of Mormon?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What is meant by "friends in iniquity"? Are these friends kept in iniquity because of the king, is the king brought to iniquity by his friends, or do they mutually reinforce each other?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What does keeping guards have to do with being an "iniquitous king"?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What is the role of tradition in governance? Why would it be iniquitous for a ruler to tear up the laws of those who have come before? Does the tradition have weight in and of itself, or is the problem here only when unrighteous kings break the laws established in righteousness?
  • Mosiah 29:22: What does it mean to trample under your feet the commandments of God? Does this just mean to break the commandments, or is there something more implied?
  • Mosiah 29:23: Mosiah here claims that an unrighteous king a) enacts laws, b) sends them forth, c) punishes those who violate his laws, including d) destroying them, and e) sending armies against them. Are these all prerogatives of a righteous king as well? Are these practices in and of themselves unrighteous, or just when they are used to sustain iniquitous laws or practices?
  • Mosiah 29:23: Can righteous kings send armies against his own people, or just against foreign enemies?
  • Mosiah 29:24: Why does Mosiah consider unrighteous rulership to be an "abomination"? What does abomination mean, and how is it different from any other type of unholy or impure practice?
  • Mosiah 29:25: Does this verse tell us that the judges were elected democratically, or does it mean something else? What evidence can you give for your conclusion?
  • Mosiah 29:25: Is the law referred to in this verse the Law of Moses or some other body of law?
  • Mosiah 29:26: Given the Nephite experience so far, the record they have of Israel before Lehi left, and what they have just read in the Book of Ether, how can Mosiah say this? All the evidence seems to indicate that it is quite common for the majority to desire what is wrong, doesn’t it?
  • Mosiah 29:26: What does it mean to "do your business by the voice of the people"? Is this actual democracy or something else?
  • Mosiah 29:27: Does this verse answer the question just asked about v. 26? How are we to understand these verses as they apply to us today?
  • Mosiah 29:27: What does it mean for God to "visit you with great destruction"?
  • Mosiah 29:28: What is meant here by judges? How are Nephite judges different from kings? How are these judges different from judges described in the Old Testament?
  • Mosiah 29:28: What does it mean to have a judge judged by a higher judge?
  • Mosiah 29:29: What are the difficulties and opportunities afforded by having lower judges judge higher judges "according to the voice of the people"?
  • Mosiah 29:29: How is this system of judges different from other modern judicial systems?
  • Mosiah 29:30: How can King Mosiah establish a democracy by fiat? Is this what he is really trying to do, or is something else going on here?
  • Mosiah 29:31: Israelites also had this belief, that the wickedness of the king caused the wickedness of the nation. It was the flip side of the belief that the king typified the Messiah. What bearing does this belief have on our understanding of government? Why might the ancient Israelites and King Mosiah have believed that a wicked king caused a wicked people?
  • Mosiah 29:31: We don’t usually believe that a wicked CEO in a company is necessarily a bad leader for the company. Why would a wicked national leader necessarily be a bad leader for the country? In other words, how do the two kinds of leadership differ, if they do?
  • Mosiah 29:32: To what inequality is Mosiah referring? What are the implications of there being an inequality of iniquities between rulers and their people?
  • Mosiah 29:33: Is Mosiah arguing that it is too difficult to be king, even for a righteous person, so no one should ask someone to be his or her king? Why would that argument be different for a king than for any other leader?
  • Mosiah 29:33: What exactly are the burdens of kingship that Mosiah is talking about here? Is it just the complaining of his people, or are we talking about some kind of divine kingship whereby the sins of the people are thought to fall upon the king, who is then required to expiate them? How might this relate to Ancient Mesoamerican concepts of divine kingship, whereby the king was required to ceremonially shed his own blood for his people?
  • Mosiah 29:34: What does it mean for each person to "bear his part"? His part of what?
  • Mosiah 29:38: Two things seem to have most impressed Mosiah’s people to give up their desire for a king: they wanted each person to have an equal chance and they wanted each person to answer for his or her own sins. What kinds of things has Mosiah been talking about that would have led them to the conclusion that each should have an equal chance at something or other? To what do you think they want each person to have an equal chance?
  • Mosiah 29:38: How is their desire to have each person answer for his or her own sins a response to Mosiah’s teaching? Why wouldn’t each person be responsible under a king? Is this, perhaps, reflection of the Israelite understanding of the king (see v. 31)?
  • Mosiah 29:38: Are Mosiah's actions here more about establishing democracy for democracy's sake, or for some other purpose?
  • Mosiah 29:39: What are the liberties that "had been granted unto" the people here?
  • Mosiah 29:41: What is meant here by throughout the land? Does this just refer to the Land of Zarahemla, or all of the cities and villages inhabited by the Nephites (v.44)?
  • Mosiah 29:41: How does this reorganization of the Nephite polity represent a true change between how the various cities and villages are governed in relation to each other?
  • Mosiah 29:42: Does this tell us that Alma held two offices or that the office of chief judge and that of high priest were the same, as for example in the United States the President and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Services aren’t two different offices? What is the relationship between the organization of the political and religious leadership in Nephite society at this time?
  • Mosiah 29:42: Alma judged righteously and there was peace throughout the land. Is that a cause and effect relation? If so, how so?
  • Mosiah 29:47: What does it mean for Alma to be the "founder" of their church?

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Alma 36

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 36-42 > Chapter 36
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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 36 to the rest of Chapters 36-42 is discussed at Chapters 36-42.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 36 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 35:15-16. These two verses, thought part of Chapter 35, begin the next major section of Alma 36-42 by introducing a new situation and characters that will remain throughout Chapters 36-42..
  • Alma 36. Capter 36 is a chiasmus that goes until the end of the chapter. In verse one, Alma says, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” This parallels verse thirty, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” The middle of the chiasmus is in verses 17 and 18.
  • Alma 36:1. Alma tells his son that by keeping the commandments he will prosper in the land. Note that in the last verse of the chapter, Alma repeats this promise--that he will prosper in the land if he keeps the commandments. Most of what happens between the first and last verse of this chapter is that Alma tells the story of his conversion. One way of reading this is that Alma uses the story of his own life as an example of how someone who keeps the commandments of God prospers in the land. This reading suggests that the phrase "prosper in the land" isn't strictly about having material blessings like lots of flocks, riches or posterity. Why? Because instead of talking about these material blessings, Alma tells his son how by following the Lord he received spiritual blessings, for example, the blessings of great joy (verses 20-21; 25) and the blessing of support through trials (verse 27).
  • Alma 36:8: A Literal Hebraism. Nibley points out in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Part 2, p. 361, that the seemingly illogical statement "If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God" is standard Semitic usage for communicating the intended meaning. Read literally in English, the statement says "If you stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed," but it is clear that the opposite meaning is actually intended, i.e. "If you don't stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed." But, Nibley says, in Hebrew, one says when warning a child, "Don't do that if you want to get spanked" rather than as in English "Don't do that unless you want to get spanked." So the construction is valid for Hebrew, not valid for English. Joseph was apparently very literal in his translation.
  • Alma 36:11-15: Being destroyed. While we don't know for sure about the teachings of the Nehors or other dissenters among the Nephites at this period, throughout Mesoamerica most people believed in the immortality of the human soul, so the thought of that soul being utterly destroyed would have been amazing and frightful. According to modern revelation, all people will be resurrected, though Brigham Young taught that those who become sons of perdition will eventually be destroyed and lose their identity as organized beings, with their eternal elements being recycled (Journal of Discourses 1:118). Perhaps Alma realizes at this point that he has had enough light and knowledge to become a son of perdition if he continues on his course of apostasy.
  • Alma 36:18. Alma makes his plea to Jesus Christ to be delivered from his suffering. We must make a similar plea for ourselves to Christ.
  • Alma 36:6-20. In verses 6-20 Alma tells the story how he was converted unto the church of Jesus Christ through an Angel. He described his feelings- horror, fear, amazement, torment, and finally joy that was as great as his pain. He shared this story with only Helaman. He wanted him to know, as he says in verse 21 that “…there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” Alma wanted Helaman to know that ever since that experience, he has spent his life serving and loving the Lord. He wanted to bring people to taste that sweet bitterness that he tasted during the conversion in his life. He wanted them to be born of God and be baptized into His church (verse 26). Alma wants Helaman to love the Lord just as much as he loves Him. He wanted him to follow in his footsteps and give his life in service to the Lord.
  • Alma 36:22: Methought I saw. Here Alma expresses uncertainty about what he saw, specifically borrowing his language of uncertainty from Lehi. This idea is developed in the discussion regarding certainty of interpretation at 1 Ne 11:9-11. Unlike Lehi and Nephi, Alma's vision occurred in the midst of repentance from great sin, and thus may not have felt that he was in a position to request clarification regarding what he saw.
  • Alma 36:27. Notice the parallelism found in this passage. "God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."
  • Alma 36:28-30. In verses 28-29 Alma cites examples of how the Lord has delivered His people in the past and exhorts them to retain [these things] in rememberance. In verse 30 he turns to the importance of keeping the commandments and how, if we do, we will not be cut off from the presence of the Lord. Alma's preaching to the people of Zarahemla in Alma 5 also called on the people to remember how the Lord had delivered their fathers from captivity. He then asks "And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?" Alma 5:6 Alma seems to be emphasizing the importance of retaining in rememberance that the Lord's deliverance is not only physical but also spiritual.

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:1: Why does Alma counsel his sons individually rather than together?
  • Alma 36:1: What does Alma mean by "prosper"? What does it mean to "prosper in the land"? What is so important about the land?
  • Alma 36:2: Why do we, like Helaman, sometimes need to be reminded of the miracles God has done to deliver his people in times past?
  • Alma 36:2: Often when we think of God delivering people from bondage, we think of Jehovah, Moses, and the Exodus. Why does Alma instead refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
  • Alma 36:3: Why do you think Alma bears this particular testimony to Helaman: “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day"? Why this rather than something else? What does it mean to be "lifted up at the last day"?
  • Alma 36:4: What kind of knowing is Alma talking about here? Wht does it mean to know "not of the carnal mind but of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: What does Alma mean by "born of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: Why does Alma get to know "by the mouth of his holy angel" whereas we mostly expect to just have faith on his words?
  • Alma 36:5: If Alma was visited "not of any worthiness of [himself]", why can't we also expect to be visited?
  • Alma 36:6: Why would Alma go into such great detail of how he was once a sinner that fought against the church of God?
  • Alma 36:6: How did Alma and the sons of Mosiah think "to destroy the church of God"? What were they really trying to do? How did they expect to accomplish it?
  • Alma 36:6: Why did an angel come to Alma when he was so wicked? Why doesn't God send an angel to stop all wicked people?
  • Alma 36:7: How is the voice of an angel like "the voice of thunder"?
  • Alma 36:7: Did the earth really tremble, or did they just go weak in the knees?
  • Alma 36:7: Why were they afraid of the angel? Is this a common response to being visited by an angel?
  • Alma 36:8: Why did the angel tell Alma to arise? Did he tell the others to arise as well, or just Alma?
  • Alma 36:8: What does it mean that Alma "beheld the angel"? How are angels perceived?
  • Alma 36:9: Why does Alma focus on this part of the message from the angel while speaking to his son?
  • Alma 36:9: Why would this message cause Alma to fall to the earth with fear and amazement?
  • Alma 36:9: We often think that fear is a negative thing, and that we shouldn't try to motivate people through fear. What is the role of fear in bringing people to God?
  • Alma 36:10: It says that Alma couldn't speak or move his limbs. Was he otherwise conscious? What state was Alma really in? How did this look to those who might have seen him?
  • Alma 36:10: Is there something important about the specific duration (three days and three nights) of Alma's experience?
  • Alma 36:11: Why did the thought of being destroyed strike Alma with "such great fear and amazement"? What does it mean to be "destroyed"? How does being destroyed translate into our current LDS thinking? What might being destroyed have meant in Alma's cultural context?
  • Alma 36:11: Alma distinctly misquotes what the angel actually said in verse 9. In nine it reads 'If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed,' but here Alma restates it as saying 'If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself.' Why? What is the difference in meaning here between these two phrases? Was Alms just not a very careful writer? Was the angel in fact saying that he would be destroyed once he stopped seeking the destruction of the church, but Alma misheard it? If so, what did the angel mean by that? How was Alma destroyed after his conversion?
  • Alma 36:12: Is there a connection between the fear of being destroyed and remembering sin?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to be "racked with eternal torment"?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to have your soul "harrowed up"?
  • Alma 36:13: Why could Alma remember all his sins in this moment?
  • Alma 36:14: Why do you think that Alma describes what he had done as murder? (Compare Alma 5:23 and Matt 10:28 — what does it mean to destroy both soul, i.e., spirit, and body in hell?)
  • Alma 36:14: How does how Alma the Younger feel imagining himself in the presence of God? How does this compare to how his father had asked the people to imagine feeling in that same situation Alma 5:15]?
  • Alma 36:15: Why would Alma want to "become extinct both soul and body"? What does he mean by "soul"?
  • Alma 36:16: What symbolism can we see in Alma being stricken for 3 days and 3 nights? How does this relate to other prophets' experiences?
  • Alma 36:16: What are "the pains of a damned soul"?
  • Alma 36:17: What does it mean to be "racked with torment"?
  • Alma 36:17: How can the memory of sins harrow up a soul?
  • Alma 36:17: Why is Jesus Christ referred to as "a" Son of God rather than "the" Son of God?
  • Alma 36:17: What does Alma mean by "atone for the sins of the world"?
  • Alma 36:18: Why does Alma pray to Jesus, rather than to God Almighty?
  • Alma 36:18: What does it mean to be "encircled about by the everlasting chains of death"?
  • Alma 36:19: Why does Alma’s cry in v. 18 bring the results in v. 19? How is this connected to King Benjamin’s teaching in Mosiah 4? Is it significant that Benjamin delivered that address to a people who were diligent in keeping the commandments but that it also seems to apply to someone like Alma who has openly rebelled against those commandments?
  • Alma 36:19: Since Alma is here telling us about the pains he experienced, what can he mean when he says “I could remember my pains no more"?
  • Alma 36:20: What really happened here? How can merely calling on Jesus make one forget their sins and be filled with joy? What state of mind did Alma have to be in before he could have this redemptive experience?
  • Alma 36:20: What is this "marvelous light" that Alma "did behold"? What does it mean to "behold" light?
  • Alma 36:20: Why might Alma have chosen to share his conversion story with his son Helaman? What did Alma want Helaman to learn from his past?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by "exquisite" pain or joy?
  • Alma 36:21: Why does Alma contrast pain and joy with the descriptors bitter and sweet?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by bitterness? If we feel bitterness, does that mean that we are still bound by sin?
  • Alma 36:22: How could Alma have seen God at this point? Three days earlier, he had been a vile sinner--and now he's having a greater spiritual experience than most members of the modern Church will probably ever have. How is that possible?
  • Alma 36:22: What are "concourses of angels"? Why are they "singing and praising their God"?
  • Alma 36:22: Alma had just said that he would rather be extinct than brought before God. Now here he is, longing to be there. What happened to cause this change?
  • Alma 36:23: Alma seems to have wanted to stay in the vision, but instead he is brought out of it. Why would that happen?
  • Alma 36:23: What does Alma mean by having "been born of God"? What would that experience be similar to in our own experience?
  • Alma 36:24: After his experience, Alma serves God without ceasing. What does that mean? How are we similar or different from Alma? Do we have to have a similar type of experience before we can really serve God?
  • Alma 36:24: Do we share this same motivation with Alma? Why or why not? Should we take his experience as somehow a measure by which we can gauge our own level of motivation?
  • Alma 36:24: What does it mean to "taste" exceeding joy?
  • Alma 36:24: What is the connection between the type of experience Alma has and being "filled with the Holy Ghost"?
  • Alma 36:25: Alma receives "exceedingly great joy." Is this a reward for his labors? Why would it be important for Alma to feel one way or the other about his labor? Is this joy a motivator? Is it in any way selfish? Should we be motivated by a desire to have that same kind of joy, or would that be a selfish motive?
  • Alma 36:26: How has the word "imparted unto" Alma brought many to "have been born of God"? How does the word do that?
  • Alma 36:26: What does it mean that many have "seen eye to eye as [Alma has] seen"? Does that mean they all saw the throne of God too, or just that they have been filled with joy?
  • Alma 36:26: How does Alma know that "the knowledge which [he has] is of God"?
  • Alma 36:27: How does the Lord deliver us in our daily trials?
  • Alma 36:27: What is the difference between being "supported under trails and troubles" and being delivered from them?
  • Alma 36:27: What does Alma mean by being "delivered"?
  • Alma 36:27: In what sense is the outcome of a trial more important than avoiding trials?
  • Alma 36:28: Is this verse parallel to v. 2? Why would Alma begin and end the account of his conversion by reminding Helaman of this scriptural type?
  • Alma 36:28: How does Alma know that he will be raised up at the last day?
  • Alma 36:28: What does it mean to "dwell...in glory"?
  • Alma 36:28: What is the importance of the testimony that Alma has of divine intervention in history?
  • Alma 36:29: How important is this concept of being delivered out of bondage?
  • Alma 36:29: Why does Alma always retain in remembrance the captivity of his ancestors? Why does he tell his son to always retain that remembrance as well?
  • Alma 36:29: Alma sees to identify somehow with those who have been captive and delivered in past ages. Are we to do the same? Is this different from seeing ourselves as co-workers in the kingdom with people from past dispensations?
  • Alma 36:30: How are verses 28-29 (and, therefore, also v. 3) a type for what Alma says in this verse?
  • Alma 36:30: Here Alma repeats the promise made in verse 1 but adds the warning "and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence." Why is this warning not included at the beginning of their discussion (in verse 1)?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:21. Marcus B. Nash, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 49–50. Elder Nash warns: "As to any evil and unclean thing..., do not even touch it! Disguised in such things is a hook that sets subtly and much more suddenly than you dare think—and it can be an excruciatingly painful process to extract the hook [see also vv. 12-16]... There may be some of you who have been involved with that which is evil or unclean. Take hope in the doctrinal and historical fact that Alma's faith in the Lord led him to repent, and as a direct result of his repentance he experienced such happiness through the power of the Atonement of Christ."
  • Alma 36:24. Anthony D. Perkins, "‘The Great and Wonderful Love’," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 76–78. Elder Perkins offers this advice: "One source of joy is service, for when you are busy helping others, you will have less capacity to agonize over your own shortcomings."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 36-42                      Next page: Chapter 37

Alma 36:1-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 36-42 > Chapter 36
Previous page: Chapters 36-42                      Next page: Chapter 37


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 36 to the rest of Chapters 36-42 is discussed at Chapters 36-42.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 36 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 35:15-16. These two verses, thought part of Chapter 35, begin the next major section of Alma 36-42 by introducing a new situation and characters that will remain throughout Chapters 36-42..
  • Alma 36. Capter 36 is a chiasmus that goes until the end of the chapter. In verse one, Alma says, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” This parallels verse thirty, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” The middle of the chiasmus is in verses 17 and 18.
  • Alma 36:1. Alma tells his son that by keeping the commandments he will prosper in the land. Note that in the last verse of the chapter, Alma repeats this promise--that he will prosper in the land if he keeps the commandments. Most of what happens between the first and last verse of this chapter is that Alma tells the story of his conversion. One way of reading this is that Alma uses the story of his own life as an example of how someone who keeps the commandments of God prospers in the land. This reading suggests that the phrase "prosper in the land" isn't strictly about having material blessings like lots of flocks, riches or posterity. Why? Because instead of talking about these material blessings, Alma tells his son how by following the Lord he received spiritual blessings, for example, the blessings of great joy (verses 20-21; 25) and the blessing of support through trials (verse 27).
  • Alma 36:8: A Literal Hebraism. Nibley points out in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Part 2, p. 361, that the seemingly illogical statement "If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God" is standard Semitic usage for communicating the intended meaning. Read literally in English, the statement says "If you stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed," but it is clear that the opposite meaning is actually intended, i.e. "If you don't stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed." But, Nibley says, in Hebrew, one says when warning a child, "Don't do that if you want to get spanked" rather than as in English "Don't do that unless you want to get spanked." So the construction is valid for Hebrew, not valid for English. Joseph was apparently very literal in his translation.
  • Alma 36:11-15: Being destroyed. While we don't know for sure about the teachings of the Nehors or other dissenters among the Nephites at this period, throughout Mesoamerica most people believed in the immortality of the human soul, so the thought of that soul being utterly destroyed would have been amazing and frightful. According to modern revelation, all people will be resurrected, though Brigham Young taught that those who become sons of perdition will eventually be destroyed and lose their identity as organized beings, with their eternal elements being recycled (Journal of Discourses 1:118). Perhaps Alma realizes at this point that he has had enough light and knowledge to become a son of perdition if he continues on his course of apostasy.
  • Alma 36:18. Alma makes his plea to Jesus Christ to be delivered from his suffering. We must make a similar plea for ourselves to Christ.
  • Alma 36:6-20. In verses 6-20 Alma tells the story how he was converted unto the church of Jesus Christ through an Angel. He described his feelings- horror, fear, amazement, torment, and finally joy that was as great as his pain. He shared this story with only Helaman. He wanted him to know, as he says in verse 21 that “…there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” Alma wanted Helaman to know that ever since that experience, he has spent his life serving and loving the Lord. He wanted to bring people to taste that sweet bitterness that he tasted during the conversion in his life. He wanted them to be born of God and be baptized into His church (verse 26). Alma wants Helaman to love the Lord just as much as he loves Him. He wanted him to follow in his footsteps and give his life in service to the Lord.
  • Alma 36:22: Methought I saw. Here Alma expresses uncertainty about what he saw, specifically borrowing his language of uncertainty from Lehi. This idea is developed in the discussion regarding certainty of interpretation at 1 Ne 11:9-11. Unlike Lehi and Nephi, Alma's vision occurred in the midst of repentance from great sin, and thus may not have felt that he was in a position to request clarification regarding what he saw.
  • Alma 36:27. Notice the parallelism found in this passage. "God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."
  • Alma 36:28-30. In verses 28-29 Alma cites examples of how the Lord has delivered His people in the past and exhorts them to retain [these things] in rememberance. In verse 30 he turns to the importance of keeping the commandments and how, if we do, we will not be cut off from the presence of the Lord. Alma's preaching to the people of Zarahemla in Alma 5 also called on the people to remember how the Lord had delivered their fathers from captivity. He then asks "And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?" Alma 5:6 Alma seems to be emphasizing the importance of retaining in rememberance that the Lord's deliverance is not only physical but also spiritual.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:1: Why does Alma counsel his sons individually rather than together?
  • Alma 36:1: What does Alma mean by "prosper"? What does it mean to "prosper in the land"? What is so important about the land?
  • Alma 36:2: Why do we, like Helaman, sometimes need to be reminded of the miracles God has done to deliver his people in times past?
  • Alma 36:2: Often when we think of God delivering people from bondage, we think of Jehovah, Moses, and the Exodus. Why does Alma instead refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
  • Alma 36:3: Why do you think Alma bears this particular testimony to Helaman: “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day"? Why this rather than something else? What does it mean to be "lifted up at the last day"?
  • Alma 36:4: What kind of knowing is Alma talking about here? Wht does it mean to know "not of the carnal mind but of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: What does Alma mean by "born of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: Why does Alma get to know "by the mouth of his holy angel" whereas we mostly expect to just have faith on his words?
  • Alma 36:5: If Alma was visited "not of any worthiness of [himself]", why can't we also expect to be visited?
  • Alma 36:6: Why would Alma go into such great detail of how he was once a sinner that fought against the church of God?
  • Alma 36:6: How did Alma and the sons of Mosiah think "to destroy the church of God"? What were they really trying to do? How did they expect to accomplish it?
  • Alma 36:6: Why did an angel come to Alma when he was so wicked? Why doesn't God send an angel to stop all wicked people?
  • Alma 36:7: How is the voice of an angel like "the voice of thunder"?
  • Alma 36:7: Did the earth really tremble, or did they just go weak in the knees?
  • Alma 36:7: Why were they afraid of the angel? Is this a common response to being visited by an angel?
  • Alma 36:8: Why did the angel tell Alma to arise? Did he tell the others to arise as well, or just Alma?
  • Alma 36:8: What does it mean that Alma "beheld the angel"? How are angels perceived?
  • Alma 36:9: Why does Alma focus on this part of the message from the angel while speaking to his son?
  • Alma 36:9: Why would this message cause Alma to fall to the earth with fear and amazement?
  • Alma 36:9: We often think that fear is a negative thing, and that we shouldn't try to motivate people through fear. What is the role of fear in bringing people to God?
  • Alma 36:10: It says that Alma couldn't speak or move his limbs. Was he otherwise conscious? What state was Alma really in? How did this look to those who might have seen him?
  • Alma 36:10: Is there something important about the specific duration (three days and three nights) of Alma's experience?
  • Alma 36:11: Why did the thought of being destroyed strike Alma with "such great fear and amazement"? What does it mean to be "destroyed"? How does being destroyed translate into our current LDS thinking? What might being destroyed have meant in Alma's cultural context?
  • Alma 36:11: Alma distinctly misquotes what the angel actually said in verse 9. In nine it reads 'If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed,' but here Alma restates it as saying 'If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself.' Why? What is the difference in meaning here between these two phrases? Was Alms just not a very careful writer? Was the angel in fact saying that he would be destroyed once he stopped seeking the destruction of the church, but Alma misheard it? If so, what did the angel mean by that? How was Alma destroyed after his conversion?
  • Alma 36:12: Is there a connection between the fear of being destroyed and remembering sin?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to be "racked with eternal torment"?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to have your soul "harrowed up"?
  • Alma 36:13: Why could Alma remember all his sins in this moment?
  • Alma 36:14: Why do you think that Alma describes what he had done as murder? (Compare Alma 5:23 and Matt 10:28 — what does it mean to destroy both soul, i.e., spirit, and body in hell?)
  • Alma 36:14: How does how Alma the Younger feel imagining himself in the presence of God? How does this compare to how his father had asked the people to imagine feeling in that same situation Alma 5:15]?
  • Alma 36:15: Why would Alma want to "become extinct both soul and body"? What does he mean by "soul"?
  • Alma 36:16: What symbolism can we see in Alma being stricken for 3 days and 3 nights? How does this relate to other prophets' experiences?
  • Alma 36:16: What are "the pains of a damned soul"?
  • Alma 36:17: What does it mean to be "racked with torment"?
  • Alma 36:17: How can the memory of sins harrow up a soul?
  • Alma 36:17: Why is Jesus Christ referred to as "a" Son of God rather than "the" Son of God?
  • Alma 36:17: What does Alma mean by "atone for the sins of the world"?
  • Alma 36:18: Why does Alma pray to Jesus, rather than to God Almighty?
  • Alma 36:18: What does it mean to be "encircled about by the everlasting chains of death"?
  • Alma 36:19: Why does Alma’s cry in v. 18 bring the results in v. 19? How is this connected to King Benjamin’s teaching in Mosiah 4? Is it significant that Benjamin delivered that address to a people who were diligent in keeping the commandments but that it also seems to apply to someone like Alma who has openly rebelled against those commandments?
  • Alma 36:19: Since Alma is here telling us about the pains he experienced, what can he mean when he says “I could remember my pains no more"?
  • Alma 36:20: What really happened here? How can merely calling on Jesus make one forget their sins and be filled with joy? What state of mind did Alma have to be in before he could have this redemptive experience?
  • Alma 36:20: What is this "marvelous light" that Alma "did behold"? What does it mean to "behold" light?
  • Alma 36:20: Why might Alma have chosen to share his conversion story with his son Helaman? What did Alma want Helaman to learn from his past?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by "exquisite" pain or joy?
  • Alma 36:21: Why does Alma contrast pain and joy with the descriptors bitter and sweet?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by bitterness? If we feel bitterness, does that mean that we are still bound by sin?
  • Alma 36:22: How could Alma have seen God at this point? Three days earlier, he had been a vile sinner--and now he's having a greater spiritual experience than most members of the modern Church will probably ever have. How is that possible?
  • Alma 36:22: What are "concourses of angels"? Why are they "singing and praising their God"?
  • Alma 36:22: Alma had just said that he would rather be extinct than brought before God. Now here he is, longing to be there. What happened to cause this change?
  • Alma 36:23: Alma seems to have wanted to stay in the vision, but instead he is brought out of it. Why would that happen?
  • Alma 36:23: What does Alma mean by having "been born of God"? What would that experience be similar to in our own experience?
  • Alma 36:24: After his experience, Alma serves God without ceasing. What does that mean? How are we similar or different from Alma? Do we have to have a similar type of experience before we can really serve God?
  • Alma 36:24: Do we share this same motivation with Alma? Why or why not? Should we take his experience as somehow a measure by which we can gauge our own level of motivation?
  • Alma 36:24: What does it mean to "taste" exceeding joy?
  • Alma 36:24: What is the connection between the type of experience Alma has and being "filled with the Holy Ghost"?
  • Alma 36:25: Alma receives "exceedingly great joy." Is this a reward for his labors? Why would it be important for Alma to feel one way or the other about his labor? Is this joy a motivator? Is it in any way selfish? Should we be motivated by a desire to have that same kind of joy, or would that be a selfish motive?
  • Alma 36:26: How has the word "imparted unto" Alma brought many to "have been born of God"? How does the word do that?
  • Alma 36:26: What does it mean that many have "seen eye to eye as [Alma has] seen"? Does that mean they all saw the throne of God too, or just that they have been filled with joy?
  • Alma 36:26: How does Alma know that "the knowledge which [he has] is of God"?
  • Alma 36:27: How does the Lord deliver us in our daily trials?
  • Alma 36:27: What is the difference between being "supported under trails and troubles" and being delivered from them?
  • Alma 36:27: What does Alma mean by being "delivered"?
  • Alma 36:27: In what sense is the outcome of a trial more important than avoiding trials?
  • Alma 36:28: Is this verse parallel to v. 2? Why would Alma begin and end the account of his conversion by reminding Helaman of this scriptural type?
  • Alma 36:28: How does Alma know that he will be raised up at the last day?
  • Alma 36:28: What does it mean to "dwell...in glory"?
  • Alma 36:28: What is the importance of the testimony that Alma has of divine intervention in history?
  • Alma 36:29: How important is this concept of being delivered out of bondage?
  • Alma 36:29: Why does Alma always retain in remembrance the captivity of his ancestors? Why does he tell his son to always retain that remembrance as well?
  • Alma 36:29: Alma sees to identify somehow with those who have been captive and delivered in past ages. Are we to do the same? Is this different from seeing ourselves as co-workers in the kingdom with people from past dispensations?
  • Alma 36:30: How are verses 28-29 (and, therefore, also v. 3) a type for what Alma says in this verse?
  • Alma 36:30: Here Alma repeats the promise made in verse 1 but adds the warning "and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence." Why is this warning not included at the beginning of their discussion (in verse 1)?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:21. Marcus B. Nash, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 49–50. Elder Nash warns: "As to any evil and unclean thing..., do not even touch it! Disguised in such things is a hook that sets subtly and much more suddenly than you dare think—and it can be an excruciatingly painful process to extract the hook [see also vv. 12-16]... There may be some of you who have been involved with that which is evil or unclean. Take hope in the doctrinal and historical fact that Alma's faith in the Lord led him to repent, and as a direct result of his repentance he experienced such happiness through the power of the Atonement of Christ."
  • Alma 36:24. Anthony D. Perkins, "‘The Great and Wonderful Love’," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 76–78. Elder Perkins offers this advice: "One source of joy is service, for when you are busy helping others, you will have less capacity to agonize over your own shortcomings."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 36-42                      Next page: Chapter 37

Alma 36:6-10

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 36-42 > Chapter 36
Previous page: Chapters 36-42                      Next page: Chapter 37


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 36 to the rest of Chapters 36-42 is discussed at Chapters 36-42.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 36 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 35:15-16. These two verses, thought part of Chapter 35, begin the next major section of Alma 36-42 by introducing a new situation and characters that will remain throughout Chapters 36-42..
  • Alma 36. Capter 36 is a chiasmus that goes until the end of the chapter. In verse one, Alma says, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” This parallels verse thirty, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” The middle of the chiasmus is in verses 17 and 18.
  • Alma 36:1. Alma tells his son that by keeping the commandments he will prosper in the land. Note that in the last verse of the chapter, Alma repeats this promise--that he will prosper in the land if he keeps the commandments. Most of what happens between the first and last verse of this chapter is that Alma tells the story of his conversion. One way of reading this is that Alma uses the story of his own life as an example of how someone who keeps the commandments of God prospers in the land. This reading suggests that the phrase "prosper in the land" isn't strictly about having material blessings like lots of flocks, riches or posterity. Why? Because instead of talking about these material blessings, Alma tells his son how by following the Lord he received spiritual blessings, for example, the blessings of great joy (verses 20-21; 25) and the blessing of support through trials (verse 27).
  • Alma 36:8: A Literal Hebraism. Nibley points out in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Part 2, p. 361, that the seemingly illogical statement "If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God" is standard Semitic usage for communicating the intended meaning. Read literally in English, the statement says "If you stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed," but it is clear that the opposite meaning is actually intended, i.e. "If you don't stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed." But, Nibley says, in Hebrew, one says when warning a child, "Don't do that if you want to get spanked" rather than as in English "Don't do that unless you want to get spanked." So the construction is valid for Hebrew, not valid for English. Joseph was apparently very literal in his translation.
  • Alma 36:11-15: Being destroyed. While we don't know for sure about the teachings of the Nehors or other dissenters among the Nephites at this period, throughout Mesoamerica most people believed in the immortality of the human soul, so the thought of that soul being utterly destroyed would have been amazing and frightful. According to modern revelation, all people will be resurrected, though Brigham Young taught that those who become sons of perdition will eventually be destroyed and lose their identity as organized beings, with their eternal elements being recycled (Journal of Discourses 1:118). Perhaps Alma realizes at this point that he has had enough light and knowledge to become a son of perdition if he continues on his course of apostasy.
  • Alma 36:18. Alma makes his plea to Jesus Christ to be delivered from his suffering. We must make a similar plea for ourselves to Christ.
  • Alma 36:6-20. In verses 6-20 Alma tells the story how he was converted unto the church of Jesus Christ through an Angel. He described his feelings- horror, fear, amazement, torment, and finally joy that was as great as his pain. He shared this story with only Helaman. He wanted him to know, as he says in verse 21 that “…there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” Alma wanted Helaman to know that ever since that experience, he has spent his life serving and loving the Lord. He wanted to bring people to taste that sweet bitterness that he tasted during the conversion in his life. He wanted them to be born of God and be baptized into His church (verse 26). Alma wants Helaman to love the Lord just as much as he loves Him. He wanted him to follow in his footsteps and give his life in service to the Lord.
  • Alma 36:22: Methought I saw. Here Alma expresses uncertainty about what he saw, specifically borrowing his language of uncertainty from Lehi. This idea is developed in the discussion regarding certainty of interpretation at 1 Ne 11:9-11. Unlike Lehi and Nephi, Alma's vision occurred in the midst of repentance from great sin, and thus may not have felt that he was in a position to request clarification regarding what he saw.
  • Alma 36:27. Notice the parallelism found in this passage. "God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."
  • Alma 36:28-30. In verses 28-29 Alma cites examples of how the Lord has delivered His people in the past and exhorts them to retain [these things] in rememberance. In verse 30 he turns to the importance of keeping the commandments and how, if we do, we will not be cut off from the presence of the Lord. Alma's preaching to the people of Zarahemla in Alma 5 also called on the people to remember how the Lord had delivered their fathers from captivity. He then asks "And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?" Alma 5:6 Alma seems to be emphasizing the importance of retaining in rememberance that the Lord's deliverance is not only physical but also spiritual.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:1: Why does Alma counsel his sons individually rather than together?
  • Alma 36:1: What does Alma mean by "prosper"? What does it mean to "prosper in the land"? What is so important about the land?
  • Alma 36:2: Why do we, like Helaman, sometimes need to be reminded of the miracles God has done to deliver his people in times past?
  • Alma 36:2: Often when we think of God delivering people from bondage, we think of Jehovah, Moses, and the Exodus. Why does Alma instead refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
  • Alma 36:3: Why do you think Alma bears this particular testimony to Helaman: “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day"? Why this rather than something else? What does it mean to be "lifted up at the last day"?
  • Alma 36:4: What kind of knowing is Alma talking about here? Wht does it mean to know "not of the carnal mind but of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: What does Alma mean by "born of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: Why does Alma get to know "by the mouth of his holy angel" whereas we mostly expect to just have faith on his words?
  • Alma 36:5: If Alma was visited "not of any worthiness of [himself]", why can't we also expect to be visited?
  • Alma 36:6: Why would Alma go into such great detail of how he was once a sinner that fought against the church of God?
  • Alma 36:6: How did Alma and the sons of Mosiah think "to destroy the church of God"? What were they really trying to do? How did they expect to accomplish it?
  • Alma 36:6: Why did an angel come to Alma when he was so wicked? Why doesn't God send an angel to stop all wicked people?
  • Alma 36:7: How is the voice of an angel like "the voice of thunder"?
  • Alma 36:7: Did the earth really tremble, or did they just go weak in the knees?
  • Alma 36:7: Why were they afraid of the angel? Is this a common response to being visited by an angel?
  • Alma 36:8: Why did the angel tell Alma to arise? Did he tell the others to arise as well, or just Alma?
  • Alma 36:8: What does it mean that Alma "beheld the angel"? How are angels perceived?
  • Alma 36:9: Why does Alma focus on this part of the message from the angel while speaking to his son?
  • Alma 36:9: Why would this message cause Alma to fall to the earth with fear and amazement?
  • Alma 36:9: We often think that fear is a negative thing, and that we shouldn't try to motivate people through fear. What is the role of fear in bringing people to God?
  • Alma 36:10: It says that Alma couldn't speak or move his limbs. Was he otherwise conscious? What state was Alma really in? How did this look to those who might have seen him?
  • Alma 36:10: Is there something important about the specific duration (three days and three nights) of Alma's experience?
  • Alma 36:11: Why did the thought of being destroyed strike Alma with "such great fear and amazement"? What does it mean to be "destroyed"? How does being destroyed translate into our current LDS thinking? What might being destroyed have meant in Alma's cultural context?
  • Alma 36:11: Alma distinctly misquotes what the angel actually said in verse 9. In nine it reads 'If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed,' but here Alma restates it as saying 'If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself.' Why? What is the difference in meaning here between these two phrases? Was Alms just not a very careful writer? Was the angel in fact saying that he would be destroyed once he stopped seeking the destruction of the church, but Alma misheard it? If so, what did the angel mean by that? How was Alma destroyed after his conversion?
  • Alma 36:12: Is there a connection between the fear of being destroyed and remembering sin?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to be "racked with eternal torment"?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to have your soul "harrowed up"?
  • Alma 36:13: Why could Alma remember all his sins in this moment?
  • Alma 36:14: Why do you think that Alma describes what he had done as murder? (Compare Alma 5:23 and Matt 10:28 — what does it mean to destroy both soul, i.e., spirit, and body in hell?)
  • Alma 36:14: How does how Alma the Younger feel imagining himself in the presence of God? How does this compare to how his father had asked the people to imagine feeling in that same situation Alma 5:15]?
  • Alma 36:15: Why would Alma want to "become extinct both soul and body"? What does he mean by "soul"?
  • Alma 36:16: What symbolism can we see in Alma being stricken for 3 days and 3 nights? How does this relate to other prophets' experiences?
  • Alma 36:16: What are "the pains of a damned soul"?
  • Alma 36:17: What does it mean to be "racked with torment"?
  • Alma 36:17: How can the memory of sins harrow up a soul?
  • Alma 36:17: Why is Jesus Christ referred to as "a" Son of God rather than "the" Son of God?
  • Alma 36:17: What does Alma mean by "atone for the sins of the world"?
  • Alma 36:18: Why does Alma pray to Jesus, rather than to God Almighty?
  • Alma 36:18: What does it mean to be "encircled about by the everlasting chains of death"?
  • Alma 36:19: Why does Alma’s cry in v. 18 bring the results in v. 19? How is this connected to King Benjamin’s teaching in Mosiah 4? Is it significant that Benjamin delivered that address to a people who were diligent in keeping the commandments but that it also seems to apply to someone like Alma who has openly rebelled against those commandments?
  • Alma 36:19: Since Alma is here telling us about the pains he experienced, what can he mean when he says “I could remember my pains no more"?
  • Alma 36:20: What really happened here? How can merely calling on Jesus make one forget their sins and be filled with joy? What state of mind did Alma have to be in before he could have this redemptive experience?
  • Alma 36:20: What is this "marvelous light" that Alma "did behold"? What does it mean to "behold" light?
  • Alma 36:20: Why might Alma have chosen to share his conversion story with his son Helaman? What did Alma want Helaman to learn from his past?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by "exquisite" pain or joy?
  • Alma 36:21: Why does Alma contrast pain and joy with the descriptors bitter and sweet?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by bitterness? If we feel bitterness, does that mean that we are still bound by sin?
  • Alma 36:22: How could Alma have seen God at this point? Three days earlier, he had been a vile sinner--and now he's having a greater spiritual experience than most members of the modern Church will probably ever have. How is that possible?
  • Alma 36:22: What are "concourses of angels"? Why are they "singing and praising their God"?
  • Alma 36:22: Alma had just said that he would rather be extinct than brought before God. Now here he is, longing to be there. What happened to cause this change?
  • Alma 36:23: Alma seems to have wanted to stay in the vision, but instead he is brought out of it. Why would that happen?
  • Alma 36:23: What does Alma mean by having "been born of God"? What would that experience be similar to in our own experience?
  • Alma 36:24: After his experience, Alma serves God without ceasing. What does that mean? How are we similar or different from Alma? Do we have to have a similar type of experience before we can really serve God?
  • Alma 36:24: Do we share this same motivation with Alma? Why or why not? Should we take his experience as somehow a measure by which we can gauge our own level of motivation?
  • Alma 36:24: What does it mean to "taste" exceeding joy?
  • Alma 36:24: What is the connection between the type of experience Alma has and being "filled with the Holy Ghost"?
  • Alma 36:25: Alma receives "exceedingly great joy." Is this a reward for his labors? Why would it be important for Alma to feel one way or the other about his labor? Is this joy a motivator? Is it in any way selfish? Should we be motivated by a desire to have that same kind of joy, or would that be a selfish motive?
  • Alma 36:26: How has the word "imparted unto" Alma brought many to "have been born of God"? How does the word do that?
  • Alma 36:26: What does it mean that many have "seen eye to eye as [Alma has] seen"? Does that mean they all saw the throne of God too, or just that they have been filled with joy?
  • Alma 36:26: How does Alma know that "the knowledge which [he has] is of God"?
  • Alma 36:27: How does the Lord deliver us in our daily trials?
  • Alma 36:27: What is the difference between being "supported under trails and troubles" and being delivered from them?
  • Alma 36:27: What does Alma mean by being "delivered"?
  • Alma 36:27: In what sense is the outcome of a trial more important than avoiding trials?
  • Alma 36:28: Is this verse parallel to v. 2? Why would Alma begin and end the account of his conversion by reminding Helaman of this scriptural type?
  • Alma 36:28: How does Alma know that he will be raised up at the last day?
  • Alma 36:28: What does it mean to "dwell...in glory"?
  • Alma 36:28: What is the importance of the testimony that Alma has of divine intervention in history?
  • Alma 36:29: How important is this concept of being delivered out of bondage?
  • Alma 36:29: Why does Alma always retain in remembrance the captivity of his ancestors? Why does he tell his son to always retain that remembrance as well?
  • Alma 36:29: Alma sees to identify somehow with those who have been captive and delivered in past ages. Are we to do the same? Is this different from seeing ourselves as co-workers in the kingdom with people from past dispensations?
  • Alma 36:30: How are verses 28-29 (and, therefore, also v. 3) a type for what Alma says in this verse?
  • Alma 36:30: Here Alma repeats the promise made in verse 1 but adds the warning "and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence." Why is this warning not included at the beginning of their discussion (in verse 1)?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:21. Marcus B. Nash, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 49–50. Elder Nash warns: "As to any evil and unclean thing..., do not even touch it! Disguised in such things is a hook that sets subtly and much more suddenly than you dare think—and it can be an excruciatingly painful process to extract the hook [see also vv. 12-16]... There may be some of you who have been involved with that which is evil or unclean. Take hope in the doctrinal and historical fact that Alma's faith in the Lord led him to repent, and as a direct result of his repentance he experienced such happiness through the power of the Atonement of Christ."
  • Alma 36:24. Anthony D. Perkins, "‘The Great and Wonderful Love’," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 76–78. Elder Perkins offers this advice: "One source of joy is service, for when you are busy helping others, you will have less capacity to agonize over your own shortcomings."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 36-42                      Next page: Chapter 37

Alma 36:11-15

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 36-42 > Chapter 36
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This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 36 to the rest of Chapters 36-42 is discussed at Chapters 36-42.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 36 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 35:15-16. These two verses, thought part of Chapter 35, begin the next major section of Alma 36-42 by introducing a new situation and characters that will remain throughout Chapters 36-42..
  • Alma 36. Capter 36 is a chiasmus that goes until the end of the chapter. In verse one, Alma says, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” This parallels verse thirty, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” The middle of the chiasmus is in verses 17 and 18.
  • Alma 36:1. Alma tells his son that by keeping the commandments he will prosper in the land. Note that in the last verse of the chapter, Alma repeats this promise--that he will prosper in the land if he keeps the commandments. Most of what happens between the first and last verse of this chapter is that Alma tells the story of his conversion. One way of reading this is that Alma uses the story of his own life as an example of how someone who keeps the commandments of God prospers in the land. This reading suggests that the phrase "prosper in the land" isn't strictly about having material blessings like lots of flocks, riches or posterity. Why? Because instead of talking about these material blessings, Alma tells his son how by following the Lord he received spiritual blessings, for example, the blessings of great joy (verses 20-21; 25) and the blessing of support through trials (verse 27).
  • Alma 36:8: A Literal Hebraism. Nibley points out in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Part 2, p. 361, that the seemingly illogical statement "If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God" is standard Semitic usage for communicating the intended meaning. Read literally in English, the statement says "If you stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed," but it is clear that the opposite meaning is actually intended, i.e. "If you don't stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed." But, Nibley says, in Hebrew, one says when warning a child, "Don't do that if you want to get spanked" rather than as in English "Don't do that unless you want to get spanked." So the construction is valid for Hebrew, not valid for English. Joseph was apparently very literal in his translation.
  • Alma 36:11-15: Being destroyed. While we don't know for sure about the teachings of the Nehors or other dissenters among the Nephites at this period, throughout Mesoamerica most people believed in the immortality of the human soul, so the thought of that soul being utterly destroyed would have been amazing and frightful. According to modern revelation, all people will be resurrected, though Brigham Young taught that those who become sons of perdition will eventually be destroyed and lose their identity as organized beings, with their eternal elements being recycled (Journal of Discourses 1:118). Perhaps Alma realizes at this point that he has had enough light and knowledge to become a son of perdition if he continues on his course of apostasy.
  • Alma 36:18. Alma makes his plea to Jesus Christ to be delivered from his suffering. We must make a similar plea for ourselves to Christ.
  • Alma 36:6-20. In verses 6-20 Alma tells the story how he was converted unto the church of Jesus Christ through an Angel. He described his feelings- horror, fear, amazement, torment, and finally joy that was as great as his pain. He shared this story with only Helaman. He wanted him to know, as he says in verse 21 that “…there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” Alma wanted Helaman to know that ever since that experience, he has spent his life serving and loving the Lord. He wanted to bring people to taste that sweet bitterness that he tasted during the conversion in his life. He wanted them to be born of God and be baptized into His church (verse 26). Alma wants Helaman to love the Lord just as much as he loves Him. He wanted him to follow in his footsteps and give his life in service to the Lord.
  • Alma 36:22: Methought I saw. Here Alma expresses uncertainty about what he saw, specifically borrowing his language of uncertainty from Lehi. This idea is developed in the discussion regarding certainty of interpretation at 1 Ne 11:9-11. Unlike Lehi and Nephi, Alma's vision occurred in the midst of repentance from great sin, and thus may not have felt that he was in a position to request clarification regarding what he saw.
  • Alma 36:27. Notice the parallelism found in this passage. "God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."
  • Alma 36:28-30. In verses 28-29 Alma cites examples of how the Lord has delivered His people in the past and exhorts them to retain [these things] in rememberance. In verse 30 he turns to the importance of keeping the commandments and how, if we do, we will not be cut off from the presence of the Lord. Alma's preaching to the people of Zarahemla in Alma 5 also called on the people to remember how the Lord had delivered their fathers from captivity. He then asks "And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?" Alma 5:6 Alma seems to be emphasizing the importance of retaining in rememberance that the Lord's deliverance is not only physical but also spiritual.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:1: Why does Alma counsel his sons individually rather than together?
  • Alma 36:1: What does Alma mean by "prosper"? What does it mean to "prosper in the land"? What is so important about the land?
  • Alma 36:2: Why do we, like Helaman, sometimes need to be reminded of the miracles God has done to deliver his people in times past?
  • Alma 36:2: Often when we think of God delivering people from bondage, we think of Jehovah, Moses, and the Exodus. Why does Alma instead refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
  • Alma 36:3: Why do you think Alma bears this particular testimony to Helaman: “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day"? Why this rather than something else? What does it mean to be "lifted up at the last day"?
  • Alma 36:4: What kind of knowing is Alma talking about here? Wht does it mean to know "not of the carnal mind but of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: What does Alma mean by "born of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: Why does Alma get to know "by the mouth of his holy angel" whereas we mostly expect to just have faith on his words?
  • Alma 36:5: If Alma was visited "not of any worthiness of [himself]", why can't we also expect to be visited?
  • Alma 36:6: Why would Alma go into such great detail of how he was once a sinner that fought against the church of God?
  • Alma 36:6: How did Alma and the sons of Mosiah think "to destroy the church of God"? What were they really trying to do? How did they expect to accomplish it?
  • Alma 36:6: Why did an angel come to Alma when he was so wicked? Why doesn't God send an angel to stop all wicked people?
  • Alma 36:7: How is the voice of an angel like "the voice of thunder"?
  • Alma 36:7: Did the earth really tremble, or did they just go weak in the knees?
  • Alma 36:7: Why were they afraid of the angel? Is this a common response to being visited by an angel?
  • Alma 36:8: Why did the angel tell Alma to arise? Did he tell the others to arise as well, or just Alma?
  • Alma 36:8: What does it mean that Alma "beheld the angel"? How are angels perceived?
  • Alma 36:9: Why does Alma focus on this part of the message from the angel while speaking to his son?
  • Alma 36:9: Why would this message cause Alma to fall to the earth with fear and amazement?
  • Alma 36:9: We often think that fear is a negative thing, and that we shouldn't try to motivate people through fear. What is the role of fear in bringing people to God?
  • Alma 36:10: It says that Alma couldn't speak or move his limbs. Was he otherwise conscious? What state was Alma really in? How did this look to those who might have seen him?
  • Alma 36:10: Is there something important about the specific duration (three days and three nights) of Alma's experience?
  • Alma 36:11: Why did the thought of being destroyed strike Alma with "such great fear and amazement"? What does it mean to be "destroyed"? How does being destroyed translate into our current LDS thinking? What might being destroyed have meant in Alma's cultural context?
  • Alma 36:11: Alma distinctly misquotes what the angel actually said in verse 9. In nine it reads 'If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed,' but here Alma restates it as saying 'If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself.' Why? What is the difference in meaning here between these two phrases? Was Alms just not a very careful writer? Was the angel in fact saying that he would be destroyed once he stopped seeking the destruction of the church, but Alma misheard it? If so, what did the angel mean by that? How was Alma destroyed after his conversion?
  • Alma 36:12: Is there a connection between the fear of being destroyed and remembering sin?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to be "racked with eternal torment"?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to have your soul "harrowed up"?
  • Alma 36:13: Why could Alma remember all his sins in this moment?
  • Alma 36:14: Why do you think that Alma describes what he had done as murder? (Compare Alma 5:23 and Matt 10:28 — what does it mean to destroy both soul, i.e., spirit, and body in hell?)
  • Alma 36:14: How does how Alma the Younger feel imagining himself in the presence of God? How does this compare to how his father had asked the people to imagine feeling in that same situation Alma 5:15]?
  • Alma 36:15: Why would Alma want to "become extinct both soul and body"? What does he mean by "soul"?
  • Alma 36:16: What symbolism can we see in Alma being stricken for 3 days and 3 nights? How does this relate to other prophets' experiences?
  • Alma 36:16: What are "the pains of a damned soul"?
  • Alma 36:17: What does it mean to be "racked with torment"?
  • Alma 36:17: How can the memory of sins harrow up a soul?
  • Alma 36:17: Why is Jesus Christ referred to as "a" Son of God rather than "the" Son of God?
  • Alma 36:17: What does Alma mean by "atone for the sins of the world"?
  • Alma 36:18: Why does Alma pray to Jesus, rather than to God Almighty?
  • Alma 36:18: What does it mean to be "encircled about by the everlasting chains of death"?
  • Alma 36:19: Why does Alma’s cry in v. 18 bring the results in v. 19? How is this connected to King Benjamin’s teaching in Mosiah 4? Is it significant that Benjamin delivered that address to a people who were diligent in keeping the commandments but that it also seems to apply to someone like Alma who has openly rebelled against those commandments?
  • Alma 36:19: Since Alma is here telling us about the pains he experienced, what can he mean when he says “I could remember my pains no more"?
  • Alma 36:20: What really happened here? How can merely calling on Jesus make one forget their sins and be filled with joy? What state of mind did Alma have to be in before he could have this redemptive experience?
  • Alma 36:20: What is this "marvelous light" that Alma "did behold"? What does it mean to "behold" light?
  • Alma 36:20: Why might Alma have chosen to share his conversion story with his son Helaman? What did Alma want Helaman to learn from his past?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by "exquisite" pain or joy?
  • Alma 36:21: Why does Alma contrast pain and joy with the descriptors bitter and sweet?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by bitterness? If we feel bitterness, does that mean that we are still bound by sin?
  • Alma 36:22: How could Alma have seen God at this point? Three days earlier, he had been a vile sinner--and now he's having a greater spiritual experience than most members of the modern Church will probably ever have. How is that possible?
  • Alma 36:22: What are "concourses of angels"? Why are they "singing and praising their God"?
  • Alma 36:22: Alma had just said that he would rather be extinct than brought before God. Now here he is, longing to be there. What happened to cause this change?
  • Alma 36:23: Alma seems to have wanted to stay in the vision, but instead he is brought out of it. Why would that happen?
  • Alma 36:23: What does Alma mean by having "been born of God"? What would that experience be similar to in our own experience?
  • Alma 36:24: After his experience, Alma serves God without ceasing. What does that mean? How are we similar or different from Alma? Do we have to have a similar type of experience before we can really serve God?
  • Alma 36:24: Do we share this same motivation with Alma? Why or why not? Should we take his experience as somehow a measure by which we can gauge our own level of motivation?
  • Alma 36:24: What does it mean to "taste" exceeding joy?
  • Alma 36:24: What is the connection between the type of experience Alma has and being "filled with the Holy Ghost"?
  • Alma 36:25: Alma receives "exceedingly great joy." Is this a reward for his labors? Why would it be important for Alma to feel one way or the other about his labor? Is this joy a motivator? Is it in any way selfish? Should we be motivated by a desire to have that same kind of joy, or would that be a selfish motive?
  • Alma 36:26: How has the word "imparted unto" Alma brought many to "have been born of God"? How does the word do that?
  • Alma 36:26: What does it mean that many have "seen eye to eye as [Alma has] seen"? Does that mean they all saw the throne of God too, or just that they have been filled with joy?
  • Alma 36:26: How does Alma know that "the knowledge which [he has] is of God"?
  • Alma 36:27: How does the Lord deliver us in our daily trials?
  • Alma 36:27: What is the difference between being "supported under trails and troubles" and being delivered from them?
  • Alma 36:27: What does Alma mean by being "delivered"?
  • Alma 36:27: In what sense is the outcome of a trial more important than avoiding trials?
  • Alma 36:28: Is this verse parallel to v. 2? Why would Alma begin and end the account of his conversion by reminding Helaman of this scriptural type?
  • Alma 36:28: How does Alma know that he will be raised up at the last day?
  • Alma 36:28: What does it mean to "dwell...in glory"?
  • Alma 36:28: What is the importance of the testimony that Alma has of divine intervention in history?
  • Alma 36:29: How important is this concept of being delivered out of bondage?
  • Alma 36:29: Why does Alma always retain in remembrance the captivity of his ancestors? Why does he tell his son to always retain that remembrance as well?
  • Alma 36:29: Alma sees to identify somehow with those who have been captive and delivered in past ages. Are we to do the same? Is this different from seeing ourselves as co-workers in the kingdom with people from past dispensations?
  • Alma 36:30: How are verses 28-29 (and, therefore, also v. 3) a type for what Alma says in this verse?
  • Alma 36:30: Here Alma repeats the promise made in verse 1 but adds the warning "and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence." Why is this warning not included at the beginning of their discussion (in verse 1)?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:21. Marcus B. Nash, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 49–50. Elder Nash warns: "As to any evil and unclean thing..., do not even touch it! Disguised in such things is a hook that sets subtly and much more suddenly than you dare think—and it can be an excruciatingly painful process to extract the hook [see also vv. 12-16]... There may be some of you who have been involved with that which is evil or unclean. Take hope in the doctrinal and historical fact that Alma's faith in the Lord led him to repent, and as a direct result of his repentance he experienced such happiness through the power of the Atonement of Christ."
  • Alma 36:24. Anthony D. Perkins, "‘The Great and Wonderful Love’," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 76–78. Elder Perkins offers this advice: "One source of joy is service, for when you are busy helping others, you will have less capacity to agonize over your own shortcomings."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 36-42                      Next page: Chapter 37

Alma 36:16-20

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 36-42 > Chapter 36
Previous page: Chapters 36-42                      Next page: Chapter 37


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 36 to the rest of Chapters 36-42 is discussed at Chapters 36-42.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 36 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 35:15-16. These two verses, thought part of Chapter 35, begin the next major section of Alma 36-42 by introducing a new situation and characters that will remain throughout Chapters 36-42..
  • Alma 36. Capter 36 is a chiasmus that goes until the end of the chapter. In verse one, Alma says, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” This parallels verse thirty, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” The middle of the chiasmus is in verses 17 and 18.
  • Alma 36:1. Alma tells his son that by keeping the commandments he will prosper in the land. Note that in the last verse of the chapter, Alma repeats this promise--that he will prosper in the land if he keeps the commandments. Most of what happens between the first and last verse of this chapter is that Alma tells the story of his conversion. One way of reading this is that Alma uses the story of his own life as an example of how someone who keeps the commandments of God prospers in the land. This reading suggests that the phrase "prosper in the land" isn't strictly about having material blessings like lots of flocks, riches or posterity. Why? Because instead of talking about these material blessings, Alma tells his son how by following the Lord he received spiritual blessings, for example, the blessings of great joy (verses 20-21; 25) and the blessing of support through trials (verse 27).
  • Alma 36:8: A Literal Hebraism. Nibley points out in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Part 2, p. 361, that the seemingly illogical statement "If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God" is standard Semitic usage for communicating the intended meaning. Read literally in English, the statement says "If you stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed," but it is clear that the opposite meaning is actually intended, i.e. "If you don't stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed." But, Nibley says, in Hebrew, one says when warning a child, "Don't do that if you want to get spanked" rather than as in English "Don't do that unless you want to get spanked." So the construction is valid for Hebrew, not valid for English. Joseph was apparently very literal in his translation.
  • Alma 36:11-15: Being destroyed. While we don't know for sure about the teachings of the Nehors or other dissenters among the Nephites at this period, throughout Mesoamerica most people believed in the immortality of the human soul, so the thought of that soul being utterly destroyed would have been amazing and frightful. According to modern revelation, all people will be resurrected, though Brigham Young taught that those who become sons of perdition will eventually be destroyed and lose their identity as organized beings, with their eternal elements being recycled (Journal of Discourses 1:118). Perhaps Alma realizes at this point that he has had enough light and knowledge to become a son of perdition if he continues on his course of apostasy.
  • Alma 36:18. Alma makes his plea to Jesus Christ to be delivered from his suffering. We must make a similar plea for ourselves to Christ.
  • Alma 36:6-20. In verses 6-20 Alma tells the story how he was converted unto the church of Jesus Christ through an Angel. He described his feelings- horror, fear, amazement, torment, and finally joy that was as great as his pain. He shared this story with only Helaman. He wanted him to know, as he says in verse 21 that “…there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” Alma wanted Helaman to know that ever since that experience, he has spent his life serving and loving the Lord. He wanted to bring people to taste that sweet bitterness that he tasted during the conversion in his life. He wanted them to be born of God and be baptized into His church (verse 26). Alma wants Helaman to love the Lord just as much as he loves Him. He wanted him to follow in his footsteps and give his life in service to the Lord.
  • Alma 36:22: Methought I saw. Here Alma expresses uncertainty about what he saw, specifically borrowing his language of uncertainty from Lehi. This idea is developed in the discussion regarding certainty of interpretation at 1 Ne 11:9-11. Unlike Lehi and Nephi, Alma's vision occurred in the midst of repentance from great sin, and thus may not have felt that he was in a position to request clarification regarding what he saw.
  • Alma 36:27. Notice the parallelism found in this passage. "God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."
  • Alma 36:28-30. In verses 28-29 Alma cites examples of how the Lord has delivered His people in the past and exhorts them to retain [these things] in rememberance. In verse 30 he turns to the importance of keeping the commandments and how, if we do, we will not be cut off from the presence of the Lord. Alma's preaching to the people of Zarahemla in Alma 5 also called on the people to remember how the Lord had delivered their fathers from captivity. He then asks "And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?" Alma 5:6 Alma seems to be emphasizing the importance of retaining in rememberance that the Lord's deliverance is not only physical but also spiritual.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:1: Why does Alma counsel his sons individually rather than together?
  • Alma 36:1: What does Alma mean by "prosper"? What does it mean to "prosper in the land"? What is so important about the land?
  • Alma 36:2: Why do we, like Helaman, sometimes need to be reminded of the miracles God has done to deliver his people in times past?
  • Alma 36:2: Often when we think of God delivering people from bondage, we think of Jehovah, Moses, and the Exodus. Why does Alma instead refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
  • Alma 36:3: Why do you think Alma bears this particular testimony to Helaman: “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day"? Why this rather than something else? What does it mean to be "lifted up at the last day"?
  • Alma 36:4: What kind of knowing is Alma talking about here? Wht does it mean to know "not of the carnal mind but of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: What does Alma mean by "born of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: Why does Alma get to know "by the mouth of his holy angel" whereas we mostly expect to just have faith on his words?
  • Alma 36:5: If Alma was visited "not of any worthiness of [himself]", why can't we also expect to be visited?
  • Alma 36:6: Why would Alma go into such great detail of how he was once a sinner that fought against the church of God?
  • Alma 36:6: How did Alma and the sons of Mosiah think "to destroy the church of God"? What were they really trying to do? How did they expect to accomplish it?
  • Alma 36:6: Why did an angel come to Alma when he was so wicked? Why doesn't God send an angel to stop all wicked people?
  • Alma 36:7: How is the voice of an angel like "the voice of thunder"?
  • Alma 36:7: Did the earth really tremble, or did they just go weak in the knees?
  • Alma 36:7: Why were they afraid of the angel? Is this a common response to being visited by an angel?
  • Alma 36:8: Why did the angel tell Alma to arise? Did he tell the others to arise as well, or just Alma?
  • Alma 36:8: What does it mean that Alma "beheld the angel"? How are angels perceived?
  • Alma 36:9: Why does Alma focus on this part of the message from the angel while speaking to his son?
  • Alma 36:9: Why would this message cause Alma to fall to the earth with fear and amazement?
  • Alma 36:9: We often think that fear is a negative thing, and that we shouldn't try to motivate people through fear. What is the role of fear in bringing people to God?
  • Alma 36:10: It says that Alma couldn't speak or move his limbs. Was he otherwise conscious? What state was Alma really in? How did this look to those who might have seen him?
  • Alma 36:10: Is there something important about the specific duration (three days and three nights) of Alma's experience?
  • Alma 36:11: Why did the thought of being destroyed strike Alma with "such great fear and amazement"? What does it mean to be "destroyed"? How does being destroyed translate into our current LDS thinking? What might being destroyed have meant in Alma's cultural context?
  • Alma 36:11: Alma distinctly misquotes what the angel actually said in verse 9. In nine it reads 'If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed,' but here Alma restates it as saying 'If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself.' Why? What is the difference in meaning here between these two phrases? Was Alms just not a very careful writer? Was the angel in fact saying that he would be destroyed once he stopped seeking the destruction of the church, but Alma misheard it? If so, what did the angel mean by that? How was Alma destroyed after his conversion?
  • Alma 36:12: Is there a connection between the fear of being destroyed and remembering sin?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to be "racked with eternal torment"?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to have your soul "harrowed up"?
  • Alma 36:13: Why could Alma remember all his sins in this moment?
  • Alma 36:14: Why do you think that Alma describes what he had done as murder? (Compare Alma 5:23 and Matt 10:28 — what does it mean to destroy both soul, i.e., spirit, and body in hell?)
  • Alma 36:14: How does how Alma the Younger feel imagining himself in the presence of God? How does this compare to how his father had asked the people to imagine feeling in that same situation Alma 5:15]?
  • Alma 36:15: Why would Alma want to "become extinct both soul and body"? What does he mean by "soul"?
  • Alma 36:16: What symbolism can we see in Alma being stricken for 3 days and 3 nights? How does this relate to other prophets' experiences?
  • Alma 36:16: What are "the pains of a damned soul"?
  • Alma 36:17: What does it mean to be "racked with torment"?
  • Alma 36:17: How can the memory of sins harrow up a soul?
  • Alma 36:17: Why is Jesus Christ referred to as "a" Son of God rather than "the" Son of God?
  • Alma 36:17: What does Alma mean by "atone for the sins of the world"?
  • Alma 36:18: Why does Alma pray to Jesus, rather than to God Almighty?
  • Alma 36:18: What does it mean to be "encircled about by the everlasting chains of death"?
  • Alma 36:19: Why does Alma’s cry in v. 18 bring the results in v. 19? How is this connected to King Benjamin’s teaching in Mosiah 4? Is it significant that Benjamin delivered that address to a people who were diligent in keeping the commandments but that it also seems to apply to someone like Alma who has openly rebelled against those commandments?
  • Alma 36:19: Since Alma is here telling us about the pains he experienced, what can he mean when he says “I could remember my pains no more"?
  • Alma 36:20: What really happened here? How can merely calling on Jesus make one forget their sins and be filled with joy? What state of mind did Alma have to be in before he could have this redemptive experience?
  • Alma 36:20: What is this "marvelous light" that Alma "did behold"? What does it mean to "behold" light?
  • Alma 36:20: Why might Alma have chosen to share his conversion story with his son Helaman? What did Alma want Helaman to learn from his past?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by "exquisite" pain or joy?
  • Alma 36:21: Why does Alma contrast pain and joy with the descriptors bitter and sweet?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by bitterness? If we feel bitterness, does that mean that we are still bound by sin?
  • Alma 36:22: How could Alma have seen God at this point? Three days earlier, he had been a vile sinner--and now he's having a greater spiritual experience than most members of the modern Church will probably ever have. How is that possible?
  • Alma 36:22: What are "concourses of angels"? Why are they "singing and praising their God"?
  • Alma 36:22: Alma had just said that he would rather be extinct than brought before God. Now here he is, longing to be there. What happened to cause this change?
  • Alma 36:23: Alma seems to have wanted to stay in the vision, but instead he is brought out of it. Why would that happen?
  • Alma 36:23: What does Alma mean by having "been born of God"? What would that experience be similar to in our own experience?
  • Alma 36:24: After his experience, Alma serves God without ceasing. What does that mean? How are we similar or different from Alma? Do we have to have a similar type of experience before we can really serve God?
  • Alma 36:24: Do we share this same motivation with Alma? Why or why not? Should we take his experience as somehow a measure by which we can gauge our own level of motivation?
  • Alma 36:24: What does it mean to "taste" exceeding joy?
  • Alma 36:24: What is the connection between the type of experience Alma has and being "filled with the Holy Ghost"?
  • Alma 36:25: Alma receives "exceedingly great joy." Is this a reward for his labors? Why would it be important for Alma to feel one way or the other about his labor? Is this joy a motivator? Is it in any way selfish? Should we be motivated by a desire to have that same kind of joy, or would that be a selfish motive?
  • Alma 36:26: How has the word "imparted unto" Alma brought many to "have been born of God"? How does the word do that?
  • Alma 36:26: What does it mean that many have "seen eye to eye as [Alma has] seen"? Does that mean they all saw the throne of God too, or just that they have been filled with joy?
  • Alma 36:26: How does Alma know that "the knowledge which [he has] is of God"?
  • Alma 36:27: How does the Lord deliver us in our daily trials?
  • Alma 36:27: What is the difference between being "supported under trails and troubles" and being delivered from them?
  • Alma 36:27: What does Alma mean by being "delivered"?
  • Alma 36:27: In what sense is the outcome of a trial more important than avoiding trials?
  • Alma 36:28: Is this verse parallel to v. 2? Why would Alma begin and end the account of his conversion by reminding Helaman of this scriptural type?
  • Alma 36:28: How does Alma know that he will be raised up at the last day?
  • Alma 36:28: What does it mean to "dwell...in glory"?
  • Alma 36:28: What is the importance of the testimony that Alma has of divine intervention in history?
  • Alma 36:29: How important is this concept of being delivered out of bondage?
  • Alma 36:29: Why does Alma always retain in remembrance the captivity of his ancestors? Why does he tell his son to always retain that remembrance as well?
  • Alma 36:29: Alma sees to identify somehow with those who have been captive and delivered in past ages. Are we to do the same? Is this different from seeing ourselves as co-workers in the kingdom with people from past dispensations?
  • Alma 36:30: How are verses 28-29 (and, therefore, also v. 3) a type for what Alma says in this verse?
  • Alma 36:30: Here Alma repeats the promise made in verse 1 but adds the warning "and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence." Why is this warning not included at the beginning of their discussion (in verse 1)?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:21. Marcus B. Nash, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 49–50. Elder Nash warns: "As to any evil and unclean thing..., do not even touch it! Disguised in such things is a hook that sets subtly and much more suddenly than you dare think—and it can be an excruciatingly painful process to extract the hook [see also vv. 12-16]... There may be some of you who have been involved with that which is evil or unclean. Take hope in the doctrinal and historical fact that Alma's faith in the Lord led him to repent, and as a direct result of his repentance he experienced such happiness through the power of the Atonement of Christ."
  • Alma 36:24. Anthony D. Perkins, "‘The Great and Wonderful Love’," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 76–78. Elder Perkins offers this advice: "One source of joy is service, for when you are busy helping others, you will have less capacity to agonize over your own shortcomings."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 36 to the rest of Chapters 36-42 is discussed at Chapters 36-42.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 36 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 35:15-16. These two verses, thought part of Chapter 35, begin the next major section of Alma 36-42 by introducing a new situation and characters that will remain throughout Chapters 36-42..
  • Alma 36. Capter 36 is a chiasmus that goes until the end of the chapter. In verse one, Alma says, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” This parallels verse thirty, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” The middle of the chiasmus is in verses 17 and 18.
  • Alma 36:1. Alma tells his son that by keeping the commandments he will prosper in the land. Note that in the last verse of the chapter, Alma repeats this promise--that he will prosper in the land if he keeps the commandments. Most of what happens between the first and last verse of this chapter is that Alma tells the story of his conversion. One way of reading this is that Alma uses the story of his own life as an example of how someone who keeps the commandments of God prospers in the land. This reading suggests that the phrase "prosper in the land" isn't strictly about having material blessings like lots of flocks, riches or posterity. Why? Because instead of talking about these material blessings, Alma tells his son how by following the Lord he received spiritual blessings, for example, the blessings of great joy (verses 20-21; 25) and the blessing of support through trials (verse 27).
  • Alma 36:8: A Literal Hebraism. Nibley points out in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Part 2, p. 361, that the seemingly illogical statement "If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God" is standard Semitic usage for communicating the intended meaning. Read literally in English, the statement says "If you stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed," but it is clear that the opposite meaning is actually intended, i.e. "If you don't stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed." But, Nibley says, in Hebrew, one says when warning a child, "Don't do that if you want to get spanked" rather than as in English "Don't do that unless you want to get spanked." So the construction is valid for Hebrew, not valid for English. Joseph was apparently very literal in his translation.
  • Alma 36:11-15: Being destroyed. While we don't know for sure about the teachings of the Nehors or other dissenters among the Nephites at this period, throughout Mesoamerica most people believed in the immortality of the human soul, so the thought of that soul being utterly destroyed would have been amazing and frightful. According to modern revelation, all people will be resurrected, though Brigham Young taught that those who become sons of perdition will eventually be destroyed and lose their identity as organized beings, with their eternal elements being recycled (Journal of Discourses 1:118). Perhaps Alma realizes at this point that he has had enough light and knowledge to become a son of perdition if he continues on his course of apostasy.
  • Alma 36:18. Alma makes his plea to Jesus Christ to be delivered from his suffering. We must make a similar plea for ourselves to Christ.
  • Alma 36:6-20. In verses 6-20 Alma tells the story how he was converted unto the church of Jesus Christ through an Angel. He described his feelings- horror, fear, amazement, torment, and finally joy that was as great as his pain. He shared this story with only Helaman. He wanted him to know, as he says in verse 21 that “…there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” Alma wanted Helaman to know that ever since that experience, he has spent his life serving and loving the Lord. He wanted to bring people to taste that sweet bitterness that he tasted during the conversion in his life. He wanted them to be born of God and be baptized into His church (verse 26). Alma wants Helaman to love the Lord just as much as he loves Him. He wanted him to follow in his footsteps and give his life in service to the Lord.
  • Alma 36:22: Methought I saw. Here Alma expresses uncertainty about what he saw, specifically borrowing his language of uncertainty from Lehi. This idea is developed in the discussion regarding certainty of interpretation at 1 Ne 11:9-11. Unlike Lehi and Nephi, Alma's vision occurred in the midst of repentance from great sin, and thus may not have felt that he was in a position to request clarification regarding what he saw.
  • Alma 36:27. Notice the parallelism found in this passage. "God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."
  • Alma 36:28-30. In verses 28-29 Alma cites examples of how the Lord has delivered His people in the past and exhorts them to retain [these things] in rememberance. In verse 30 he turns to the importance of keeping the commandments and how, if we do, we will not be cut off from the presence of the Lord. Alma's preaching to the people of Zarahemla in Alma 5 also called on the people to remember how the Lord had delivered their fathers from captivity. He then asks "And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?" Alma 5:6 Alma seems to be emphasizing the importance of retaining in rememberance that the Lord's deliverance is not only physical but also spiritual.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:1: Why does Alma counsel his sons individually rather than together?
  • Alma 36:1: What does Alma mean by "prosper"? What does it mean to "prosper in the land"? What is so important about the land?
  • Alma 36:2: Why do we, like Helaman, sometimes need to be reminded of the miracles God has done to deliver his people in times past?
  • Alma 36:2: Often when we think of God delivering people from bondage, we think of Jehovah, Moses, and the Exodus. Why does Alma instead refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
  • Alma 36:3: Why do you think Alma bears this particular testimony to Helaman: “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day"? Why this rather than something else? What does it mean to be "lifted up at the last day"?
  • Alma 36:4: What kind of knowing is Alma talking about here? Wht does it mean to know "not of the carnal mind but of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: What does Alma mean by "born of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: Why does Alma get to know "by the mouth of his holy angel" whereas we mostly expect to just have faith on his words?
  • Alma 36:5: If Alma was visited "not of any worthiness of [himself]", why can't we also expect to be visited?
  • Alma 36:6: Why would Alma go into such great detail of how he was once a sinner that fought against the church of God?
  • Alma 36:6: How did Alma and the sons of Mosiah think "to destroy the church of God"? What were they really trying to do? How did they expect to accomplish it?
  • Alma 36:6: Why did an angel come to Alma when he was so wicked? Why doesn't God send an angel to stop all wicked people?
  • Alma 36:7: How is the voice of an angel like "the voice of thunder"?
  • Alma 36:7: Did the earth really tremble, or did they just go weak in the knees?
  • Alma 36:7: Why were they afraid of the angel? Is this a common response to being visited by an angel?
  • Alma 36:8: Why did the angel tell Alma to arise? Did he tell the others to arise as well, or just Alma?
  • Alma 36:8: What does it mean that Alma "beheld the angel"? How are angels perceived?
  • Alma 36:9: Why does Alma focus on this part of the message from the angel while speaking to his son?
  • Alma 36:9: Why would this message cause Alma to fall to the earth with fear and amazement?
  • Alma 36:9: We often think that fear is a negative thing, and that we shouldn't try to motivate people through fear. What is the role of fear in bringing people to God?
  • Alma 36:10: It says that Alma couldn't speak or move his limbs. Was he otherwise conscious? What state was Alma really in? How did this look to those who might have seen him?
  • Alma 36:10: Is there something important about the specific duration (three days and three nights) of Alma's experience?
  • Alma 36:11: Why did the thought of being destroyed strike Alma with "such great fear and amazement"? What does it mean to be "destroyed"? How does being destroyed translate into our current LDS thinking? What might being destroyed have meant in Alma's cultural context?
  • Alma 36:11: Alma distinctly misquotes what the angel actually said in verse 9. In nine it reads 'If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed,' but here Alma restates it as saying 'If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself.' Why? What is the difference in meaning here between these two phrases? Was Alms just not a very careful writer? Was the angel in fact saying that he would be destroyed once he stopped seeking the destruction of the church, but Alma misheard it? If so, what did the angel mean by that? How was Alma destroyed after his conversion?
  • Alma 36:12: Is there a connection between the fear of being destroyed and remembering sin?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to be "racked with eternal torment"?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to have your soul "harrowed up"?
  • Alma 36:13: Why could Alma remember all his sins in this moment?
  • Alma 36:14: Why do you think that Alma describes what he had done as murder? (Compare Alma 5:23 and Matt 10:28 — what does it mean to destroy both soul, i.e., spirit, and body in hell?)
  • Alma 36:14: How does how Alma the Younger feel imagining himself in the presence of God? How does this compare to how his father had asked the people to imagine feeling in that same situation Alma 5:15]?
  • Alma 36:15: Why would Alma want to "become extinct both soul and body"? What does he mean by "soul"?
  • Alma 36:16: What symbolism can we see in Alma being stricken for 3 days and 3 nights? How does this relate to other prophets' experiences?
  • Alma 36:16: What are "the pains of a damned soul"?
  • Alma 36:17: What does it mean to be "racked with torment"?
  • Alma 36:17: How can the memory of sins harrow up a soul?
  • Alma 36:17: Why is Jesus Christ referred to as "a" Son of God rather than "the" Son of God?
  • Alma 36:17: What does Alma mean by "atone for the sins of the world"?
  • Alma 36:18: Why does Alma pray to Jesus, rather than to God Almighty?
  • Alma 36:18: What does it mean to be "encircled about by the everlasting chains of death"?
  • Alma 36:19: Why does Alma’s cry in v. 18 bring the results in v. 19? How is this connected to King Benjamin’s teaching in Mosiah 4? Is it significant that Benjamin delivered that address to a people who were diligent in keeping the commandments but that it also seems to apply to someone like Alma who has openly rebelled against those commandments?
  • Alma 36:19: Since Alma is here telling us about the pains he experienced, what can he mean when he says “I could remember my pains no more"?
  • Alma 36:20: What really happened here? How can merely calling on Jesus make one forget their sins and be filled with joy? What state of mind did Alma have to be in before he could have this redemptive experience?
  • Alma 36:20: What is this "marvelous light" that Alma "did behold"? What does it mean to "behold" light?
  • Alma 36:20: Why might Alma have chosen to share his conversion story with his son Helaman? What did Alma want Helaman to learn from his past?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by "exquisite" pain or joy?
  • Alma 36:21: Why does Alma contrast pain and joy with the descriptors bitter and sweet?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by bitterness? If we feel bitterness, does that mean that we are still bound by sin?
  • Alma 36:22: How could Alma have seen God at this point? Three days earlier, he had been a vile sinner--and now he's having a greater spiritual experience than most members of the modern Church will probably ever have. How is that possible?
  • Alma 36:22: What are "concourses of angels"? Why are they "singing and praising their God"?
  • Alma 36:22: Alma had just said that he would rather be extinct than brought before God. Now here he is, longing to be there. What happened to cause this change?
  • Alma 36:23: Alma seems to have wanted to stay in the vision, but instead he is brought out of it. Why would that happen?
  • Alma 36:23: What does Alma mean by having "been born of God"? What would that experience be similar to in our own experience?
  • Alma 36:24: After his experience, Alma serves God without ceasing. What does that mean? How are we similar or different from Alma? Do we have to have a similar type of experience before we can really serve God?
  • Alma 36:24: Do we share this same motivation with Alma? Why or why not? Should we take his experience as somehow a measure by which we can gauge our own level of motivation?
  • Alma 36:24: What does it mean to "taste" exceeding joy?
  • Alma 36:24: What is the connection between the type of experience Alma has and being "filled with the Holy Ghost"?
  • Alma 36:25: Alma receives "exceedingly great joy." Is this a reward for his labors? Why would it be important for Alma to feel one way or the other about his labor? Is this joy a motivator? Is it in any way selfish? Should we be motivated by a desire to have that same kind of joy, or would that be a selfish motive?
  • Alma 36:26: How has the word "imparted unto" Alma brought many to "have been born of God"? How does the word do that?
  • Alma 36:26: What does it mean that many have "seen eye to eye as [Alma has] seen"? Does that mean they all saw the throne of God too, or just that they have been filled with joy?
  • Alma 36:26: How does Alma know that "the knowledge which [he has] is of God"?
  • Alma 36:27: How does the Lord deliver us in our daily trials?
  • Alma 36:27: What is the difference between being "supported under trails and troubles" and being delivered from them?
  • Alma 36:27: What does Alma mean by being "delivered"?
  • Alma 36:27: In what sense is the outcome of a trial more important than avoiding trials?
  • Alma 36:28: Is this verse parallel to v. 2? Why would Alma begin and end the account of his conversion by reminding Helaman of this scriptural type?
  • Alma 36:28: How does Alma know that he will be raised up at the last day?
  • Alma 36:28: What does it mean to "dwell...in glory"?
  • Alma 36:28: What is the importance of the testimony that Alma has of divine intervention in history?
  • Alma 36:29: How important is this concept of being delivered out of bondage?
  • Alma 36:29: Why does Alma always retain in remembrance the captivity of his ancestors? Why does he tell his son to always retain that remembrance as well?
  • Alma 36:29: Alma sees to identify somehow with those who have been captive and delivered in past ages. Are we to do the same? Is this different from seeing ourselves as co-workers in the kingdom with people from past dispensations?
  • Alma 36:30: How are verses 28-29 (and, therefore, also v. 3) a type for what Alma says in this verse?
  • Alma 36:30: Here Alma repeats the promise made in verse 1 but adds the warning "and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence." Why is this warning not included at the beginning of their discussion (in verse 1)?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:21. Marcus B. Nash, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 49–50. Elder Nash warns: "As to any evil and unclean thing..., do not even touch it! Disguised in such things is a hook that sets subtly and much more suddenly than you dare think—and it can be an excruciatingly painful process to extract the hook [see also vv. 12-16]... There may be some of you who have been involved with that which is evil or unclean. Take hope in the doctrinal and historical fact that Alma's faith in the Lord led him to repent, and as a direct result of his repentance he experienced such happiness through the power of the Atonement of Christ."
  • Alma 36:24. Anthony D. Perkins, "‘The Great and Wonderful Love’," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 76–78. Elder Perkins offers this advice: "One source of joy is service, for when you are busy helping others, you will have less capacity to agonize over your own shortcomings."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Alma 36:26-30

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Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapter 36 to the rest of Chapters 36-42 is discussed at Chapters 36-42.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 36 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 35:15-16. These two verses, thought part of Chapter 35, begin the next major section of Alma 36-42 by introducing a new situation and characters that will remain throughout Chapters 36-42..
  • Alma 36. Capter 36 is a chiasmus that goes until the end of the chapter. In verse one, Alma says, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” This parallels verse thirty, “…inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.” The middle of the chiasmus is in verses 17 and 18.
  • Alma 36:1. Alma tells his son that by keeping the commandments he will prosper in the land. Note that in the last verse of the chapter, Alma repeats this promise--that he will prosper in the land if he keeps the commandments. Most of what happens between the first and last verse of this chapter is that Alma tells the story of his conversion. One way of reading this is that Alma uses the story of his own life as an example of how someone who keeps the commandments of God prospers in the land. This reading suggests that the phrase "prosper in the land" isn't strictly about having material blessings like lots of flocks, riches or posterity. Why? Because instead of talking about these material blessings, Alma tells his son how by following the Lord he received spiritual blessings, for example, the blessings of great joy (verses 20-21; 25) and the blessing of support through trials (verse 27).
  • Alma 36:8: A Literal Hebraism. Nibley points out in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Part 2, p. 361, that the seemingly illogical statement "If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God" is standard Semitic usage for communicating the intended meaning. Read literally in English, the statement says "If you stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed," but it is clear that the opposite meaning is actually intended, i.e. "If you don't stop destroying the church of God, you will be destroyed." But, Nibley says, in Hebrew, one says when warning a child, "Don't do that if you want to get spanked" rather than as in English "Don't do that unless you want to get spanked." So the construction is valid for Hebrew, not valid for English. Joseph was apparently very literal in his translation.
  • Alma 36:11-15: Being destroyed. While we don't know for sure about the teachings of the Nehors or other dissenters among the Nephites at this period, throughout Mesoamerica most people believed in the immortality of the human soul, so the thought of that soul being utterly destroyed would have been amazing and frightful. According to modern revelation, all people will be resurrected, though Brigham Young taught that those who become sons of perdition will eventually be destroyed and lose their identity as organized beings, with their eternal elements being recycled (Journal of Discourses 1:118). Perhaps Alma realizes at this point that he has had enough light and knowledge to become a son of perdition if he continues on his course of apostasy.
  • Alma 36:18. Alma makes his plea to Jesus Christ to be delivered from his suffering. We must make a similar plea for ourselves to Christ.
  • Alma 36:6-20. In verses 6-20 Alma tells the story how he was converted unto the church of Jesus Christ through an Angel. He described his feelings- horror, fear, amazement, torment, and finally joy that was as great as his pain. He shared this story with only Helaman. He wanted him to know, as he says in verse 21 that “…there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” Alma wanted Helaman to know that ever since that experience, he has spent his life serving and loving the Lord. He wanted to bring people to taste that sweet bitterness that he tasted during the conversion in his life. He wanted them to be born of God and be baptized into His church (verse 26). Alma wants Helaman to love the Lord just as much as he loves Him. He wanted him to follow in his footsteps and give his life in service to the Lord.
  • Alma 36:22: Methought I saw. Here Alma expresses uncertainty about what he saw, specifically borrowing his language of uncertainty from Lehi. This idea is developed in the discussion regarding certainty of interpretation at 1 Ne 11:9-11. Unlike Lehi and Nephi, Alma's vision occurred in the midst of repentance from great sin, and thus may not have felt that he was in a position to request clarification regarding what he saw.
  • Alma 36:27. Notice the parallelism found in this passage. "God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."
  • Alma 36:28-30. In verses 28-29 Alma cites examples of how the Lord has delivered His people in the past and exhorts them to retain [these things] in rememberance. In verse 30 he turns to the importance of keeping the commandments and how, if we do, we will not be cut off from the presence of the Lord. Alma's preaching to the people of Zarahemla in Alma 5 also called on the people to remember how the Lord had delivered their fathers from captivity. He then asks "And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?" Alma 5:6 Alma seems to be emphasizing the importance of retaining in rememberance that the Lord's deliverance is not only physical but also spiritual.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:1: Why does Alma counsel his sons individually rather than together?
  • Alma 36:1: What does Alma mean by "prosper"? What does it mean to "prosper in the land"? What is so important about the land?
  • Alma 36:2: Why do we, like Helaman, sometimes need to be reminded of the miracles God has done to deliver his people in times past?
  • Alma 36:2: Often when we think of God delivering people from bondage, we think of Jehovah, Moses, and the Exodus. Why does Alma instead refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
  • Alma 36:3: Why do you think Alma bears this particular testimony to Helaman: “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day"? Why this rather than something else? What does it mean to be "lifted up at the last day"?
  • Alma 36:4: What kind of knowing is Alma talking about here? Wht does it mean to know "not of the carnal mind but of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: What does Alma mean by "born of God"?
  • Alma 36:5: Why does Alma get to know "by the mouth of his holy angel" whereas we mostly expect to just have faith on his words?
  • Alma 36:5: If Alma was visited "not of any worthiness of [himself]", why can't we also expect to be visited?
  • Alma 36:6: Why would Alma go into such great detail of how he was once a sinner that fought against the church of God?
  • Alma 36:6: How did Alma and the sons of Mosiah think "to destroy the church of God"? What were they really trying to do? How did they expect to accomplish it?
  • Alma 36:6: Why did an angel come to Alma when he was so wicked? Why doesn't God send an angel to stop all wicked people?
  • Alma 36:7: How is the voice of an angel like "the voice of thunder"?
  • Alma 36:7: Did the earth really tremble, or did they just go weak in the knees?
  • Alma 36:7: Why were they afraid of the angel? Is this a common response to being visited by an angel?
  • Alma 36:8: Why did the angel tell Alma to arise? Did he tell the others to arise as well, or just Alma?
  • Alma 36:8: What does it mean that Alma "beheld the angel"? How are angels perceived?
  • Alma 36:9: Why does Alma focus on this part of the message from the angel while speaking to his son?
  • Alma 36:9: Why would this message cause Alma to fall to the earth with fear and amazement?
  • Alma 36:9: We often think that fear is a negative thing, and that we shouldn't try to motivate people through fear. What is the role of fear in bringing people to God?
  • Alma 36:10: It says that Alma couldn't speak or move his limbs. Was he otherwise conscious? What state was Alma really in? How did this look to those who might have seen him?
  • Alma 36:10: Is there something important about the specific duration (three days and three nights) of Alma's experience?
  • Alma 36:11: Why did the thought of being destroyed strike Alma with "such great fear and amazement"? What does it mean to be "destroyed"? How does being destroyed translate into our current LDS thinking? What might being destroyed have meant in Alma's cultural context?
  • Alma 36:11: Alma distinctly misquotes what the angel actually said in verse 9. In nine it reads 'If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed,' but here Alma restates it as saying 'If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself.' Why? What is the difference in meaning here between these two phrases? Was Alms just not a very careful writer? Was the angel in fact saying that he would be destroyed once he stopped seeking the destruction of the church, but Alma misheard it? If so, what did the angel mean by that? How was Alma destroyed after his conversion?
  • Alma 36:12: Is there a connection between the fear of being destroyed and remembering sin?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to be "racked with eternal torment"?
  • Alma 36:12: What does it mean to have your soul "harrowed up"?
  • Alma 36:13: Why could Alma remember all his sins in this moment?
  • Alma 36:14: Why do you think that Alma describes what he had done as murder? (Compare Alma 5:23 and Matt 10:28 — what does it mean to destroy both soul, i.e., spirit, and body in hell?)
  • Alma 36:14: How does how Alma the Younger feel imagining himself in the presence of God? How does this compare to how his father had asked the people to imagine feeling in that same situation Alma 5:15]?
  • Alma 36:15: Why would Alma want to "become extinct both soul and body"? What does he mean by "soul"?
  • Alma 36:16: What symbolism can we see in Alma being stricken for 3 days and 3 nights? How does this relate to other prophets' experiences?
  • Alma 36:16: What are "the pains of a damned soul"?
  • Alma 36:17: What does it mean to be "racked with torment"?
  • Alma 36:17: How can the memory of sins harrow up a soul?
  • Alma 36:17: Why is Jesus Christ referred to as "a" Son of God rather than "the" Son of God?
  • Alma 36:17: What does Alma mean by "atone for the sins of the world"?
  • Alma 36:18: Why does Alma pray to Jesus, rather than to God Almighty?
  • Alma 36:18: What does it mean to be "encircled about by the everlasting chains of death"?
  • Alma 36:19: Why does Alma’s cry in v. 18 bring the results in v. 19? How is this connected to King Benjamin’s teaching in Mosiah 4? Is it significant that Benjamin delivered that address to a people who were diligent in keeping the commandments but that it also seems to apply to someone like Alma who has openly rebelled against those commandments?
  • Alma 36:19: Since Alma is here telling us about the pains he experienced, what can he mean when he says “I could remember my pains no more"?
  • Alma 36:20: What really happened here? How can merely calling on Jesus make one forget their sins and be filled with joy? What state of mind did Alma have to be in before he could have this redemptive experience?
  • Alma 36:20: What is this "marvelous light" that Alma "did behold"? What does it mean to "behold" light?
  • Alma 36:20: Why might Alma have chosen to share his conversion story with his son Helaman? What did Alma want Helaman to learn from his past?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by "exquisite" pain or joy?
  • Alma 36:21: Why does Alma contrast pain and joy with the descriptors bitter and sweet?
  • Alma 36:21: What does Alma mean by bitterness? If we feel bitterness, does that mean that we are still bound by sin?
  • Alma 36:22: How could Alma have seen God at this point? Three days earlier, he had been a vile sinner--and now he's having a greater spiritual experience than most members of the modern Church will probably ever have. How is that possible?
  • Alma 36:22: What are "concourses of angels"? Why are they "singing and praising their God"?
  • Alma 36:22: Alma had just said that he would rather be extinct than brought before God. Now here he is, longing to be there. What happened to cause this change?
  • Alma 36:23: Alma seems to have wanted to stay in the vision, but instead he is brought out of it. Why would that happen?
  • Alma 36:23: What does Alma mean by having "been born of God"? What would that experience be similar to in our own experience?
  • Alma 36:24: After his experience, Alma serves God without ceasing. What does that mean? How are we similar or different from Alma? Do we have to have a similar type of experience before we can really serve God?
  • Alma 36:24: Do we share this same motivation with Alma? Why or why not? Should we take his experience as somehow a measure by which we can gauge our own level of motivation?
  • Alma 36:24: What does it mean to "taste" exceeding joy?
  • Alma 36:24: What is the connection between the type of experience Alma has and being "filled with the Holy Ghost"?
  • Alma 36:25: Alma receives "exceedingly great joy." Is this a reward for his labors? Why would it be important for Alma to feel one way or the other about his labor? Is this joy a motivator? Is it in any way selfish? Should we be motivated by a desire to have that same kind of joy, or would that be a selfish motive?
  • Alma 36:26: How has the word "imparted unto" Alma brought many to "have been born of God"? How does the word do that?
  • Alma 36:26: What does it mean that many have "seen eye to eye as [Alma has] seen"? Does that mean they all saw the throne of God too, or just that they have been filled with joy?
  • Alma 36:26: How does Alma know that "the knowledge which [he has] is of God"?
  • Alma 36:27: How does the Lord deliver us in our daily trials?
  • Alma 36:27: What is the difference between being "supported under trails and troubles" and being delivered from them?
  • Alma 36:27: What does Alma mean by being "delivered"?
  • Alma 36:27: In what sense is the outcome of a trial more important than avoiding trials?
  • Alma 36:28: Is this verse parallel to v. 2? Why would Alma begin and end the account of his conversion by reminding Helaman of this scriptural type?
  • Alma 36:28: How does Alma know that he will be raised up at the last day?
  • Alma 36:28: What does it mean to "dwell...in glory"?
  • Alma 36:28: What is the importance of the testimony that Alma has of divine intervention in history?
  • Alma 36:29: How important is this concept of being delivered out of bondage?
  • Alma 36:29: Why does Alma always retain in remembrance the captivity of his ancestors? Why does he tell his son to always retain that remembrance as well?
  • Alma 36:29: Alma sees to identify somehow with those who have been captive and delivered in past ages. Are we to do the same? Is this different from seeing ourselves as co-workers in the kingdom with people from past dispensations?
  • Alma 36:30: How are verses 28-29 (and, therefore, also v. 3) a type for what Alma says in this verse?
  • Alma 36:30: Here Alma repeats the promise made in verse 1 but adds the warning "and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence." Why is this warning not included at the beginning of their discussion (in verse 1)?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 36:21. Marcus B. Nash, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 49–50. Elder Nash warns: "As to any evil and unclean thing..., do not even touch it! Disguised in such things is a hook that sets subtly and much more suddenly than you dare think—and it can be an excruciatingly painful process to extract the hook [see also vv. 12-16]... There may be some of you who have been involved with that which is evil or unclean. Take hope in the doctrinal and historical fact that Alma's faith in the Lord led him to repent, and as a direct result of his repentance he experienced such happiness through the power of the Atonement of Christ."
  • Alma 36:24. Anthony D. Perkins, "‘The Great and Wonderful Love’," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 76–78. Elder Perkins offers this advice: "One source of joy is service, for when you are busy helping others, you will have less capacity to agonize over your own shortcomings."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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