A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon/Mosiah II
MOSIAH II. The third king of the Nephites in the land of Zarahemla, where he was born B. C. 154; he was consecrated king by his father, Benjamin, B, C. 125, and died in Zarahemla, B. C. 91, aged 63 years. He came to the throne under most happy circumstances; he had the full confidence of his subjects, who were a righteous, God-fearing people; the Lamanites were at peace with the Nephites, and internal development and prosperity characterized the condition of his kingdom. Individually he proved to be one of the greatest and best of kings; his whole energies were devoted to the good of his people, who loved him with an intensity of affection scarcely equaled in the annals of any race. In the fourth year of his reign the expedition under Ammon started, which resulted in the return to Zarahemla of nearly all the living descendants of the company that left under Zeniff to reoccupy the land of Lehi Nephi. The leader of one of these companies was Alma, the elder, whom Mosiah called to take charge of the church in Zarahemla. Soon after the arrival of these fugitives from the land of Nephi, Mosiah gathered all the people together, and had them made acquainted with the vicissitudes and sorrows through which the new comers had passed since their fathers left Zarahemla. Also taking advantage of the presence of so many of his subjects, he addressed them on such matters as he deemed necessary and desirable. At his request, Alma also taught them. When assembled in large bodies Alma went from one multitude to another, preaching repentance and faith in the Lord; afterwards, by Mosiah's direction, he went through the land, organizing and establishing churches and ordaining priests and teachers over every church. Thus were seven churches established at this time in the land of Zarahemla.
In the course of years, many of the rising generation gave no heed to the word of God. These were mostly such as were too young to enter into covenant with the Lord at the time that Benjamin anointed Mosiah to be his successor. Not only did they themselves reject the doctrines of the atonement, the resurrection and other gospel principles, but they led away many who were members of the Church, and sorely persecuted those who remained faithful to God and His laws. Encouraged by the fact that four of Mosiah's sons, and one of Alma's, were leaders in this crusade, they paid no attention to the national law which guaranteed freedom of conscience to all men alike. By Divine interposition, through a holy angel, these young men were turned from the error of their way, and afterwards became strong pillars in the Church, and messengers of salvation to both Nephite and Lamanite. For the four sons of Mosiah (named Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni), not content with their zealous labors among their countrymen, proposed to go and labor among the Lamanites. The good king, like many of his subjects, did not favorably regard this proposal, he feared for the lives of his sons; but having inquired of the Lord and received assurances of Heavenly protection, he gladly let them go.
Mosiah now felt that it was time that the question of the succession to the throne should be settled. In his magnanimity he sent among the people to learn whom they would have for their king. The people chose his son Aaron, but Aaron would not accept the royal power, his heart was set upon the conversion of his fellow-men to the knowledge of the gospel. This refusal troubled the mind of Mosiah; he apprehended difficulties if Aaron at some future time should change his mind and demand his rights. Mosiah therefore issued another address in which he proposed to retain the kingdom during the remainder of his life, after which the Nephites should be governed by judges elected by themselves. In other respects, also, Mosiah consented to newly arrange the affairs of the people; and, if we may so express it, to codify the laws. This code became the constitution of the nation under the rule of the Judges, which limited the powers of the officials and guaranteed the rights of the people. This compilation was acknowledged by the people, whereupon the historian remarks, "Therefore they were obliged to abide by the laws which he had made," and from that time they became supreme throughout the nation. It is stated in another place that this change was made by the direct command of Jehovah. But besides being a king, Mosiah was also a seer. The gift of interpreting strange tongues and languages was his. By this gift he translated from the twenty-four plates of gold, found by the people of king Limhi, the record of the Jaredites. No wonder that a man possessed of such gifts, so just and merciful in the administration of the law, so perfect in his private life, should be esteemed more than any man by his subjects, and that they waxed strong in their love towards him. As a king, he was a father to them, but as a prophet, seer and revelator, he was the source from whence Divine wisdom flowed unto them.
His sons having started on their mission to the Lamanites (B. C. 91), Mosiah gave the sacred plates and the associate holy things into the care of the younger Alma, and the same year passed away to the rest of the just.