Book of Mormon (Plain English Version)/Mosiah
King Benjamin teaches his sons... (compare Mosiah, chapter 1)
This peace among all the people in the land of Zarahemla lasted for the rest of King Benjamin's days. He had three sons, Mosiah, Helorum and Helaman, and taught them the writing language of their forefathers --modified Egyptian.
He did this so they would become men of understanding, knowing the prophecies the Lord had given their forefathers (engraved on Nephi's plates).
Benjamin also taught his sons concerning the records engraved on the brass plates, saying,
"My sons, I want you to remember that if it were not for these plates which contain records and commandments, we would now be in ignorance, not knowing the mysteries of God. It would have been impossible for our forefather, Lehi, to have remembered all these things, and to have taught them to his children without these plates.
Lehi had been taught in the Egyptian language. This is why he could read the brass plates and teach them to his children. They in turn taught their children Egyptian, fulfilling God's commandments, even down to this present time.
My sons, if it were not for these brass plates that have been preserved by the hand of God, our forefathers would have faltered in unbelief. We would be like the Lamanites, who know nothing about God's commandments and mysteries. They don't believe these things because they are misguided by their forefathers' false traditions. Remember this, for these records are true.
And these plates Nephi made, which contain our forefathers' words from the time they left Jerusalem until now, are also true. Remember to search them diligently so you may profit from them.
I want you to keep God's commandments so you will prosper in the land, according to the promises He made to our forefathers."
King Benjamin taught many more things to his sons not written here.
As he grew old and realized he would soon die, he felt it necessary to confer the kingdom upon one of his sons. And so he called for Mosiah, named after his grandfather, and said to him,
"My son, I want you to make a proclamation throughout all the land of Zarahemla. Tell the people to assemble tomorrow, when I will proclaim that you are now a king and ruler over this people, whom the Lord our God has given us.
Tomorrow I will also give this people a name to distinguish them from all the people the Lord God has brought out of Jerusalem. I will do this because they have been diligently keeping the Lord's commandments. It will always be their name unless they become sinful.
For if this people, who are now highly favored of the Lord, become wicked and adulterous, the Lord will deliver them to the Lamanites by taking away their strength and protection.
Then He will no longer save them by His matchless and marvelous power as He saved our forefathers. If the Lord had not extended His arm to save our forefathers, they would have fallen victim to the Lamanites, who hated them."
After King Benjamin said this to his son, he put him in charge of the kingdom.
He also gave Mosiah the brass plates, Nephi's plates, Laban's sword and the Liahona--the ball with spindles, made by the Lord, which had led Lehi and his people through the wilderness when they diligently obeyed the Lord.
When anyone in Lehi's group had been unfaithful, the whole group did not progress in their journey. They were driven back and suffered hunger and pain. They felt God's displeasure in order to remind them of their duty to Him.
Mosiah did as he was asked and made a proclamation to all the people in the land of Zarahemla to go up to the temple to hear his father speak.
King Benjamin speaks to his people... (compare Mosiah, chapter 2)
The next day all the people went up to the temple to hear King Benjamin.
The Nephites had become very numerous, even too numerous to count. They brought the firstborn of their flocks as sacrifices and burnt offerings according to the law of Moses. They gave thanks to the Lord their God, who had brought their forefathers out of Jerusalem and delivered them from their enemies.
They were also grateful for the just men who had been appointed to be their teachers, and for Benjamin, a just man, who had been appointed as their king. These just men had established peace in the land of Zarahemla and had taught the people to keep God's commandments, that they might rejoice and be filled with love toward God and all mankind.
Each family--a man with his wife, sons, daughters and grandchildren, from the oldest down to the youngest, set up separate tents around the temple. Their tent doors faced the temple so they could stay in their tents and still hear King Benjamin.
The multitude was so large that all the people could not fit inside the temple walls. So King Benjamin had a tower made.
When he spoke from this tower many more people could hear him.
But as he started to speak, not everyone could hear, so King Benjamin had his words written and sent among those who were too far to hear.
And these are his words:
"My brothers and sisters, I have not commanded you to come here to make light of what I will tell you, but to open you hearts and minds, so that God's mysteries may be unfolded to your view.
I have not commanded you to come here to fear me, or to make you think I am more than a mortal. Like everyone else, I too, am sometimes weak in body and mind.
But I've been chosen by you and consecrated by my father Mosiah, and I've been allowed to be your ruler and king. I've been saved by the Lord's matchless power to serve you with all the might, mind and strength that He gives me.
I've spent my life in your service, not seeking gold, silver or any kind of riches from you. I have not allowed slavery or confinement in dungeons. I have not allowed murder, plunder, stealing or adultery.
I have not condoned any kind of wickedness, but I have taught you to keep all the Lord's commandments. I've even labored with my own hands to serve you so you would not be burdened with taxes. You, yourselves, know all these things.
I do not say these things to boast or to accuse you. I say these things so that you will know that I can answer to God with a clear conscience today.
Saying I've spent my days in your service doesn't mean I'm boasting, for I've only been serving God.
You will be wise when you learn that serving your brothers and sisters is serving your God.
If I, your king, work with my own hands to serve you, then shouldn't you do the same for one another?
And if I, your earthly king (who serves God by serving you), deserve thanks, then how much more should you thank your Heavenly King!
If you gave God all the thanks and praise that you could, for creating and protecting you, and for giving you reason to rejoice and live in peace, it would not be enough.
He lends you breath to live, to move about, to do as you wish, supporting you from moment to moment.
If you served Him with all your souls forever, you could never do enough to profit Him. Yet all He requires of you is to keep His commandments. He has promised you that if you keep His commandments, you will prosper in the land. And you see that He has blessed you.
But since He created you, giving you your life, you are still in debt to Him. He does not require payment for your life, but only for you to keep His commandments. When you do this, He immediately pays you with blessings.
Since you still owe Him for your life no matter what you do, how can you boast?
Can you, yourselves, say you are great? No, you are no greater than the dust of the earth, for it was the Creator's dust from which you were created.
Even I, whom you call your king, am no better than you, for I, too, am made from dust. You see that I am old, and am about to give up this mortal body to its mother earth.
I have asked you to gather here so that I might be found blameless, so that your blood will not come upon me when I stand before God to be judged for the things I have done for you--things that I have been commanded to do.
I do this to rid my robes of your blood before I die--that I might die in peace and my immortal spirit join the choirs above in singing praises to a just God.
I also need to tell you that I can no longer be your teacher nor your king. For even now, my whole body shakes while I attempt to speak to you. But the Lord supports me, and He has commanded me to tell you that my son Mosiah is now your king and ruler.
Now, my brothers and sisters, continue to keep the Lord's commandments that my father, Mosiah, and I have given to you.
Because you have been keeping these commandments, you have prospered, and have been protected from your enemies.
If you continue to keep God's commandments that will be given to you by my son Mosiah, you will continue to prosper in the land, and your enemies will never have power over you.
But beware of contentions among you, oh my people, which arise when you obey the evil spirit. There is a curse pronounced upon those who obey that spirit.
If you have a knowledge of God's laws and transgress them, choosing to obey the evil spirit, and then die in your sins, your souls will not progress (will be damned).
All of you, except your little children, have been taught these things. You know that after you have given your Heavenly Father all the service and substance He requires, you will still owe Him, never being able to fully repay.
You have also been taught from the brass plates, which contain the ancient prophecies of the holy prophets down until the time our forefather, Lehi, left Jerusalem.
You also know everything that has been spoken by our forefathers, who said what the Lord commanded them to say. This is why their words are just and true.
After having been taught all these things and knowing that they are true, if you go against them, you withdraw yourselves from the Lord's Spirit. Then you will no longer have Him as a guide to keep you on the paths of wisdom, which lead you to blessings, prosperity and safety.
If you go against what you know is true, then you are in open rebellion against God, obeying the evil spirit. You become an enemy to all righteousness. In this condition, the Lord cannot help you because He cannot send His Holy Spirit to live in unholy temples.
If you do not repent, but choose to remain an enemy to God until you die, then the demands of divine justice will suddenly awaken your immortal soul to a clear awareness of your own guilt. This will cause you to shrink from the Lord's presence and will fill your heart with guilt, pain and anguish, like an unquenchable fire with flames that go up forever and ever. Mercy has no claim on such a person. His final doom, or judgment, is to endure this never-ending torment.
I have spoken plainly so that you may all understand, both old and young alike. Wake up and remember the awful situation of those who have fallen into transgression.
But more than this, I want you to consider the blessed and happy state of those who keep God's commandments. They are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual. If they are faithful to the end of their lives, they will be received into heaven to live with God in a state of never-ending happiness. Oh remember, remember that these things are true because the Lord God has spoken them."
King Benjamin quotes an angel... (compare Mosiah, chapter 3)
Listen carefully, brothers and sisters, because I have things to tell you of the future. An angel from God told me these things, saying,
I awoke and saw him standing before me. He said,
"Listen, because I have come to give you news of great joy, for the Lord has heard your prayers and has judged you to be righteous. You will rejoice with your people when you give them this news.
In not many years the Lord Omnipotent, who reigns for all eternity, will come down from heaven with power among His people. He will live in a mortal body, performing mighty miracles--healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, the deaf to hear, and curing all types of diseases. He will cast out the evil spirits that live in people's hearts.
He will suffer temptations, pain, hunger, thirst and fatigue that would certainly kill an ordinary man. His suffering and anguish for the sins of His people will be so great, He will sweat blood from all His pores. He will be called Jesus Christ--the Son of God--the Father of Heaven and Earth--the Creator of all things from the beginning.
His mother will be called Mary. He will come to save His own--those who have faith in Him. But after doing all this for His chosen people, they will treat Him like an ordinary man, and say, 'He is possessed by a devil.' Then they will whip and crucify Him.
After three days, He will rise from the dead and stand to judge the world. He will do all this to qualify to make perfect judgment upon all people. His blood will even atone for those who sin in ignorance--those who die not knowing God's will for them.
But there is great cursing upon those who do know God's will and rebel against it, for among such, only those who repent and rely upon the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved.
The Lord God has sent His holy prophets to give this news to all the people of the world. Those who believe in Christ and change their ways will be forgiven of their sins, and they may rejoice as though Christ had already come.
Because the Lord's covenant people--the house of Israel--were stubborn, He gave them a lower law--the law of Moses. He showed them many signs, wonders, types and shadows of His coming. Their holy prophets also spoke of His coming.
But the children of Israel still hardened their hearts and did not understand that the law of Moses was given to prepare them to accept the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.
It is impossible for little children to sin. Even if they could sin, the law of Moses could not save them. Because Adam and Eve fell from God's presence, all their children are in an imperfect state. This is why Christ's blood will atone even for their little children.
It is important to know there is no other name or way that can save anyone other than Christ, the Lord Omnipotent, for His judgments are just.
Infants who die are saved in His kingdom because they are innocent. But those who know God's laws and refuse to humble themselves as children damn their own souls, for they do not believe their salvation has always been through the atoning blood of Christ, who is Lord over all things.
Because of the fall of Adam and Eve, all of their descendants are born into a fallen, natural state. As mortals, with natural desires to serve themselves, they are enemies to God forever. But if they allow the Holy Spirit to guide them, rejecting their natural desires, then they become saints through the atonement of Christ the Lord.
They become as submissive, meek, humble, patient and as full of love as children. They again become willing to learn all the lessons that the Lord sees fit to teach them, as if they were again children."
photo from Book of Mormon Movie
Standing before me, the angel concluded,
"In the last days, all people throughout the world will know of the Savior. When that time comes, only little children, and those who have become like them through repentance and faith in the Lord God Omnipotent, will be found innocent.
When you have given your people the knowledge that the Lord your God commanded you to give them, they will only become innocent in His sight if they have repented, with faith in their Savior."
I, Benjamin, have said everything that the Lord God commanded me to say.
The Lord said these words will stand as a bright testimony against this people on judgment day, when all will be judged according to the good or evil that they have done. If they have done evil, they will see their own guilt and sins, which will cause them to cower in the Lord's presence. They will be in a state of misery and endless torment from which they cannot return, having already damned their own souls.
Mercy will never claim them, for they will receive God's justice as Adam and Eve received it (through the fall) for eating of the forbidden fruit. Their torment will be like a lake of fire and burning sulfur, with unquenchable flames and smoke that will go up forever.
This is what the Lord commanded me to say. Amen.
The Spirit fills the people with joy... (compare Mosiah, chapter 4)
After King Benjamin finished quoting the angel, he saw the multitude bowing upon the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them. They had realized that in their carnal state they were lower than the dust of the earth.
They all shouted with one voice, "Oh have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ to us, so that our sins may be forgiven--that our hearts may be purified. We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven, the earth and all things, and who will come down among His people."
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins and a peace of conscience, because of their great faith in Jesus Christ, of whom King Benjamin had spoken.
Then King Benjamin said to the multitude, "My friends, brothers and sisters, my family and my people. Listen and understand the rest of my words. The knowledge of the goodness of God has made you realize your nothingness in your fallen state.
You now know the goodness of God, His matchless power, wisdom, patience and His long-suffering toward all people. You know that the atonement, planned from the beginning of the world, brings salvation to those who trust in the Lord and diligently keep His commandments throughout their lives.
This salvation is offered to Adam and Eve's descendants until the end of the world. This salvation, and the conditions for it, come only through Christ.
Believe in God, that He created all things in heaven and earth.
Believe that He has all wisdom and power.
Believe that we cannot comprehend everything the Lord comprehends.
Believe that you must leave your sinful ways and not go back to them.
Humble yourselves before God, sincerely asking the Lord to forgive you.
And if you believe these things, see that you do them.
I repeat, now that you know the glory of God (or His goodness, having tasted of His love, having been forgiven, and having received His great joy), I want you to remember His greatness and your own nothingness.
Remember His goodness and patience, humbling yourselves as much as you can, praying to the Lord daily with faith in Christ, who will come.
If you do this, you will
1) always rejoice and be filled with God's love.
2) always retain a remission of your sins.
3) grow in the knowledge of justice and truth (the glory of your Creator).
4) live in peace and deal justly with one another because you will lose your desire to hurt anyone.
5) not let your children go hungry or be ill-clothed.
6) teach your children to obey God's laws, that they may not serve the devil by fighting and arguing with one another.
The devil is the master of sin, an enemy to all righteousness. He is the evil spirit, of whom our forefathers wrote.
Teach your children to...
1) walk in the ways of truth.
2) take God seriously.
3) love and server one another.
Help those who need your help, and give your substance to those who need it. Do not turn away those who ask for your help, saying,
'This foolish man has brought on his own misery. I will not relieve his misery by giving him food or money. He deserves to suffer for his own mistakes.'
(compare Matthew 8:20, 25:40)
Anyone who does this has great need to repent. Otherwise, he or she will spiritually perish forever, having no place in God's kingdom.
For we're all beggars! We all depend upon the same Being, even God, for everything we have....food, clothing and all our prosperity.
Today you've been calling on His name, begging for a remission of your sins. And have you begged in vain? No, for God has poured out His Spirit upon you, and you could not even speak because your hearts were filled with so much joy.
God, the one on whom you depend for your lives, and for everything you have and are, gives you what you ask for, if you ask in faith for what is right, believing you will receive it. So how much more should you give your substance to those who are in need!
If you judge and condemn those who ask you for substance just to survive, then you will be condemned for holding it back. For what you think is yours is really God's, including your life.
Yet while under this condemnation, do you ask God's forgiveness or change your ways? If not, you are cursed, for your substance will perish with you.
I am speaking to those who are rich in the things of the world.
And the poor who turn away the needy should say,
'I cannot help you because I have nothing to give, but if I had something, I would give it to you.'
If you who are poor feel this way in your hearts, then you are guiltless. Otherwise, you are condemned for not being willing in your hearts to give up things that you do not even have.
In order to be forgiven of your sins each day, to walk guiltless before God, give your substance to the poor. Having more, the rich must give more. Having less, the poor will give less. Yet everyone must feed the hungry, clothe the ill-clothed, and visit and relieve the sick according to their wants, both spiritual and temporal.
To obtain eternal life, it is necessary to do these things. But you must do them in wisdom and order, for you are not required to give more than you are able.
Whoever borrows something from his neighbor and does not return it when he says he will commits sin, and he may also prompt his neighbor to sin by becoming angry with him.
I cannot tell you all the ways you can sin because there are too many. But this much I can tell you.......if you do not watch yourselves--your actions, words, and even your thoughts, and keep God's commandments, having faith in the coming of our Lord until the end of your lives, then you must perish spiritually.
So remember these things, and do not perish."
From faith to knowledge and covenants... (compare Mosiah, chapter 5)
After saying these things to his people, King Benjamin sent messengers among them to ask if they believed his words.
All the people looked up at King Benjamin and shouted with one voice, "Yes, we believe everything you have told us. We know it is the truth because the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent has brought about a mighty change in our hearts.
We no longer have any desire to do evil, but only to do good continually. We have seen what is coming through the infinite goodness of God and the manifestations of His Spirit.
If necessary, we could prophesy of all things.
Because we first had faith in what you our king told us, we are now overjoyed to have a great knowledge of it ourselves!
We are willing to make a covenant with our God to do His will, and to be obedient to His commandments in all things for the rest of our lives!
We do not want to bring a never ending torment upon ourselves and experience God's wrath, as the angel described."
King Benjamin responded to the multitude,
"This is what I wanted to hear. The covenant you have made is a righteous covenant. Because of the change made in your hearts through faith in His name, and because of the covenant you have made, you will be called The Children of Christ, for today you have been spiritually born of Him, and have become His sons and daughters.
Only as Children of Christ can you be made free, for no other name could free you and save your souls from hell.
Remember that all who have entered into this covenant with God should be obedient to Him for the rest of their lives. Those who do this will be found at the right hand of God, where Christ is.
Those who are righteous will know their name, for they will be called The Children of Christ.
Those who do not take the name of Christ upon themselves must be called by another name, and will find themselves on the left hand of God.
Children of Christ is the name I said I would give to you--a name that will never be forgotten in your hearts unless you sin.
Remember always to keep this name written in your hearts so you will not be found on the left hand of God, so you will recognize His voice and know the name by which He will call you.
For how can you know someone that you have not served, who is a stranger to you, far from the thoughts and intentions of your heart?
Does a shepherd keep his neighbor's goat? No. He will not even allow it to feed among his sheep. He'll drive it out, away from his flock. Your fate will be like the goat's if you don't recognize your Shepherd's voice, if you're not one of His sheep.
Be strong and immovable, always doing good works. If you do this, then Christ the Lord God Omnipotent will seal you His. Then you will be brought to heaven--to everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, power, justice and mercy of Him who created all things in heaven and earth, who is God above all. Amen."
Mosiah is made king... (compare Mosiah, chapter 6)
After speaking, King Benjamin felt that it was necessary to write down the names of all those who had entered into a covenant with God to keep His commandments. Everyone in the multitude, except their little children, had entered into the covenant and had taken the name of Christ upon themselves.
Then King Benjamin consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and king over his people, giving him charge of everything concerning the kingdom.
Benjamin appointed priests to teach the commandments of God to the people, and to help them always remember the oath they had made. Then he dismissed the multitude and they all returned to their homes with their families.
In the year 124 BC, at age thirty, Mosiah began to reign in his father's place. About 476 years had passed since Lehi had left Jerusalem.
King Benjamin lived three more years and then died in 121 BC.
King Mosiah walked in the ways of the Lord, observing His judgments, statutes and commandments. He told his people to farm the earth. Like his father, he himself farmed so that he would not be a burden to his people.
Sixteen men search for their brethren... (compare Mosiah, chapter 7)
After three years of peace, King Mosiah wanted to know about his people (Zeniff and his followers) who had gone to live in the city of Lehi-Nephi, for none of Mosiah's people had heard from them since they had left the land of Zarahemla 56 years prior, in 174 BC (20 years before Mosiah was born).
Mosiah's people constantly bothered him, asking permission to send out a search party. King Mosiah finally allowed sixteen of their strong men to go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi to learn of their brethren.
The next day the search party set off. They were led by Ammon, a strong, mighty man, and a descendant of Zarahemla. He and his men didn't know the way to the land of Lehi-Nephi, so they wandered in the wilderness forty days.
Finally, they camped on a hill, from where to the south they saw the land of Shilom. From their camp, Ammon took three of his brethren, Amaleki, Helem and Hem, and went down into the land of Nephi. Outside the city walls, they approached the king of the people in the land of Nephi and the city of Shilom.
The king's guard quickly surrounded and captured them, and they were thrown into prison. After spending two days in prison, they were brought before the king and untied. They stood before him and were commanded to answer his questions.
The king said, "I am Limhi, son of Noah. My grandfather, Zeniff, led people up out of the land of Zarahemla to inherit this land, which was once the land of our forefathers. After arriving here, the people he had led voted him king.
Now why were you bold enough to come near the city walls when I was outside the gate with my guards? I could have had my guards kill you, but I wanted to ask why you were so bold. You are permitted to speak."
Ammon bowed himself before the king, and upon rising he said, "Oh king, I am very thankful before God that I am yet alive and am permitted to speak. I will speak with boldness, for I'm sure that if you had known me, you would not have had me bound.
I am Ammon, a descendant of Zarahemla. I have come from the city of Zarahemla to find out what happened to our brethren, whom your grandfather, Zeniff, brought out of our land."
When Limhi heard this he was very happy and said, "Now I know for sure that my brethren in the land of Zarahemla are yet alive! Now I will rejoice, and tomorrow I will cause my people to also rejoice! For we're in bondage to the Lamanites, paying a high tax, a hardship to pay.
And now our fellow Nephites will deliver us from this Lamanite bondage, and we will be their slaves if they wish. For it's better to be slaves to Nephites than pay tribute to the Lamanite king."
After saying this, King Limhi commanded his guards to free Ammon and his brethren, who then went to the hill north of Shilom to bring the rest of their men into the city, to eat, drink and rest from their long, hard journey.
The next day, King Limhi sent a proclamation among all his people, to assemble at the temple to hear him speak.
After they had gathered, Limhi said, "Oh my people, lift up your heads and be comforted, for soon we will no longer be controlled by our enemies, in spite of all our futile resistance. I believe we may yet be effective in our struggle.
Lift up your heads, rejoice, and put your trust in that God who is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--the same God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, to walk through the Red Sea on dry ground--He who fed them with manna in the wilderness, and did many more things for them.
Trust that same God who brought our fathers out of Jerusalem, who has kept and preserved His people even until now. We know it's because of our sinfulness that He brought us into bondage.
You're all witnesses today that my grandfather, Zeniff (who was made king over this people), being over-zealous to inherit the land of his forefathers, was deceived by the cunning and craftiness of King Laman. He entered into a treaty with Zeniff, giving him possession of part of the land--the city of Lehi-Nephi, the city of Shilom and surrounding area.
King Laman did this to bring Zeniff and his people into bondage. Even now we must pay a fifty percent annual tribute to King Laman of all our grain, increase of flocks and herds, and of everything we own, or else he will kill us. Isn't this a terrible tax? Isn't our affliction great? What great reason we have to mourn!
Yes, we do have great reason to mourn, for many of our brethren have died in vain, all because of sinfulness. For if this people had not been so sinful, the Lord would not have allowed this great evil to come upon them. But they would not listen to Him. Instead, they fought among themselves and killed one another.
Before that war, they killed Abinadi, a prophet of the Lord. He was a chosen man of God, who told them of their great wickedness. He prophesied of many things, and of the coming of Christ. He told them that Christ was God, the Father of all things, and that He would come down among His people to take upon Himself a body of flesh and blood in the image of man, who was created in God's image.
Because Abinadi said these things, they killed him. They also did many other things to bring God's wrath down upon them. This is why we're sorely afflicted and in bondage. For the Lord has said,
'I will not protect my people when they transgress. I will keep them from prospering, and everything they do will become a stumbling block before them. If my people plant filthiness, then they will harvest its chaff in the whirlwind--the east wind, which will affect them like poison, bringing immediate destruction.'
Now this promise of the Lord is fulfilled, and you are stricken and afflicted. But if you will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, trusting and serving Him with all diligence of mind, then He will deliver you out of bondage according to His own will and pleasure."
King Limhi presents plates to Ammon... (compare Mosiah, chapter 8)
King Limhi said many other things to his people not written in this book, telling them all of their fellow Nephites living in Zarahemla.
Then Limhi had Ammon tell them everything that had happened in Zarahemla, from the time Zeniff had left until Ammon and his fifteen companions went out to search for them.
Ammon also repeated and explained King Benjamin's last speech to King Limhi's people so they would know and understand Benjamin's prophecies of Christ.
After all this, King Limhi dismissed the multitude and they returned to their homes.
Then Limhi brought a set of plates to Ammon which contained the record of his people from the time his grandfather, Zeniff, left the land of Zarahemla.
When Ammon finished reading this record, Limhi asked him if he could interpret languages. Ammon told him that he could not.
Limhi then explained to Ammon, "Being grieved over the afflictions of my people, I sent out forty-three men into the wilderness to find the land of Zarahemla, to ask their fellow Nephites to deliver us out of bondage. These men became lost in the wilderness for many days.
They never found the land of Zarahemla, and returned home, having traveled through a land of many lakes and rivers. They discovered a land covered with the bones of people and animals, and with the ruins of all types of buildings. The land had once been populated with as many people as the hosts of Israel.
To prove their findings, my men brought back twenty-four plates of pure gold, filled with engravings. They also brought large breastplates in perfect condition, made of brass and copper, and rusty swords with the handles rusted away.
No one in this land is able to interpret the language engraved on the plates. This is why I asked if you could translate. If not, perhaps you know someone who can translate.
I want these records to be translated into our language, for maybe they will tell us about any of the survivors of those who were destroyed, and from where these plates came. Or maybe the plates will tell us about the very people who were destroyed. I am very curious to know how they were destroyed."
Ammon replied, "I know of a man who can translate ancient records by simply looking at them through what are called interpreters. This is a gift from God. No man can look into them unless commanded to, or else he would look for what he should not, and perish. Whoever is commanded to look into them is called a seer, or one who sees.
The man who has this high gift from God is King Mosiah, king of the people of Zarahemla."
Limhi said, "A seer must be greater than a prophet!"
Ammon explained, "A seer is both a revelator and a prophet. No man can have a greater gift from God unless he possesses God's power, which no man can. But a man can be given great power from God.
A seer can know the past and the future. Through a seer, all things are revealed, secret things are shown, and hidden things come to light. God has provided this method for a man, through faith, to work mighty miracles and become a great benefit to his fellow beings."
King Limhi was overjoyed at hearing this news. He thanked God by saying, "No doubt a great mystery is contained within these plates. These interpreters must have been prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to all people.
Oh how marvelous are the works of the Lord. How long He suffers with His people. How blind and dense people are in their understanding, for they will not seek to be governed by wisdom. They are like a wild flock running from the shepherd, and once scattered, are chased and eaten by wild animals."
A 52 year history of Zeniff...
12 years of peace in land of Nephi 18 years warring with Lamanites 22 years of peace
(compare Mosiah, chapter 9)
Now I, Mormon, will transcribe some of Zeniff's own writings (chapters 9-10):
I, Zeniff, was taught both of the Nephite languages (Hebrew for speaking and reformed Egyptian for engraving). I also knew of our forefather, Nephi, and of the land that he and his people had settled.
I was sent out to spy on the Lamanites who had taken over the land of Nephi--to see how our army could destroy them. But when I saw the good things they were doing, I did not want them to die.
I returned to our camp, requesting of our leader to make a treaty with the Lamanites. But our leader, a strict and bloodthirsty man, ordered our men to kill me. I was spared because many disagreed with our leader, and a battle broke out between fellow Nephites.
Father fought against father and brother against brother. Only fifty of us survived the battle, and we returned to Zarahemla to tell the sad tale to the wives and children of those who had been killed.
And yet I, being over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers, gathered many who also wanted to regain the land of our forefathers.
We started out again on our journey into the wilderness. We suffered with hunger and fatigue because we were slow to remember the Lord our God.
After many days of wandering, we camped in the place where our brethren had killed one another, near the land of Nephi.
Then I went into the city with four of my men. We went to ask the Lamanite king if I might go in with my people and possess the land in peace.
Laman, the king, covenanted with me that I could possess the land of Lehi-Nephi and the land of Shilom. He even commanded his people to leave the land so that my people could take possession of it.
After coming into the land, we began to construct buildings and to repair the city walls of Lehi-Nephi and Shilom.
We farmed the land and raised corn, wheat, barley and other crops. We also planted all types of fruit from seeds, and began to multiply and prosper in the land.
But from the beginning, King Laman was being crafty, planning to bring my people into bondage. This is why he gave us the lands so easily.
Twelve years after our arrival, King Laman started getting restless, seeing how we were growing stronger by the day. He knew that if he didn't take us over soon and bring us into bondage, it would be too late.
The Lamanites were lazy and idolatrous. They wanted to bring us into bondage so they could feast upon our flocks while we did all the work. This is why King Laman stirred up his people to fight with mine, and we began to have wars in the land.
After eighteen years of warring, during the thirteenth year of my reign, in the southern part of Shilom, my people were watering and feeding their flocks and working their lands. All at once a very large Lamanite army attacked them and began to kill them in their fields, taking their flocks and corn.
My people ran from the army. Those who were not overtaken ran to the city of Nephi, calling upon me for protection! I armed them with bows and arrows, swords, scimitars, clubs, slings and with all the weapons we could invent. Then I went out with my people to battle the Lamanites.
Note: a scimitar is a sword with a short, curved one-edged blade.
We went with the strength of the Lord against them, for we all cried mightily to Him to deliver us from our enemies, remembering how our forefathers had been delivered.
God heard our cries and answered our prayers. We went forth in His might against the Lamanites, and in one day and night we killed 3,043 of them and drove the rest out of our land. I, myself, with my own hands, helped bury them.
And to our great sorrow, 279 of our brethren had been killed (yet an 11 to 1 kill rate).
Nephites rely on God for strength... (compare Mosiah, chapter 10)
After this war, we established our kingdom again in peace. I told my people to make every kind of weapon to be used if the Lamanites attacked us again. I set guards around the land to watch for Lamanites and to protect my people and my flocks, and we continued to live in the land of our forefathers for an additional twenty-two years.
Our men continued to farm the land, raising all types of grain and fruit, and our women spun all types of cloth and fine linen. We peacefully prospered in the land during those twenty-two years.
Then King Laman died, and his son began to reign in his stead. He encouraged his people to rebel against my people and to prepare for war.
I had sent my spies around the land of Shemlon to find out what the Lamanites were doing. My spies saw a very large Lamanite army coming into northern Shilom, armed with bows and arrows, swords, scimitars, stones and slings. They had shaved their heads and wore nothing more than a leather loincloth.
Knowing their plans, we hid our women and children in the wilderness. All of our young and old men who were able-bodied were armed and placed in ranks according to their age. Then we fought the Lamanites.
Even I, Zeniff, in my old age (most likely around 75 years old) fought. We went to battle strengthened by the Lord.
The Lamanites were ignorant of the Lord and of His strength. They depended on their own strength, being strong as to the strength of men, and they were wild, ferocious and blood-thirsty
They believed in the false traditions of their forefathers, Laman and Lemuel, who had taught their children that Lehi's sins had caused him and his family to be thrown out of Jerusalem, that they had been treated badly by Nephi in the wilderness and while crossing the ocean.
Laman and Lemuel had also taught their children that they were wronged after arriving in the land of their first inheritance.
The truth was that Nephi was favored by the Lord, who heard and answered his prayers because he had been more faithful in keeping the Lord's commandments. This is also why Nephi had been Laman and Lemuel's leader during their wilderness journey.
Laman and Lemuel had hated Nephi because they had not understood how the Lord deals with His people.
They were angry with Nephi because they hardened their hearts against the Lord while crossing the ocean. They still hated Nephi upon arriving in the promised land, saying he had taken the leadership of the people away from them, and they had planned to kill him.
They hated Nephi because the Lord had told him to take the brass plates and to go into the wilderness. Because he did this, they said Nephi had robbed them.
Laman and Lemuel taught their children this eternal hatred toward Nephi and his followers. They taught their children to murder, rob and plunder the Nephites, and to do everything in their power to destroy them.
This is why King Laman deceived me with his cunning, lying craftiness and fair promises. All he wanted was to bring my people into this land so he could destroy them. And we have suffered for many years in this land.
I, Zeniff, told all these things to my people to motivate them to fight with their might while putting their trust in the Lord.
Then we fought the Lamanites face to face. We drove them out of our land again, killing too many of them to count.
Then we returned to our land, and my people tended their flocks and raised food again.
Since I was growing old, I conferred the kingdom upon one of my sons, Noah. This is all that I will engrave. May the Lord bless my people. Amen.
Zeniff's son Noah is corrupt, Abinadi cries repentance... (compare Mosiah, chapter 11)
Now I, Mormon, will continue to write about Zeniff's people while referring to the records of King Benjamin and his son Mosiah (chapters 11-22).
King Noah did not follow the ways of his father, Zeniff. Rather than keep God's commandments, Noah followed the desires of his own heart. He had many wives and mistresses. He also allowed his people to commit adultery and other sins that were offensive to the Lord.
He imposed a 20% tax on everything the people owned and acquired. This meant that his people had to give him 20% of all their gold, silver, copper, brass, iron, cattle, sheep and grain.
Noah did this to support himself, his priests, and all their wives and mistresses. He completely changed the way the kingdom was run, replacing all the humble priests his father had consecrated with new, proud ones.
Noah and his priests were supported in their laziness, materialism and immorality by Noah's high taxes, which the people worked hard to pay.
Soon the people had also become materialistic, being deceived by the vain and flattering words of their king and his priests.
King Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings, finely decorated with wood and precious metals. Noah had a spacious palace built with a throne in the middle of it. This palace was lavishly decorated with precious metals and woodwork.
Noah also hired fine craftsman to decorate the inside of the temple with wood, copper and brass. The seats for the high priests, trimmed with pure gold, were placed above the other seats. A pulpit was built for them to lean on and to rest their arms while they spoke vain and lying words to the people.
King Noah had a very high tower built next to the temple, upon which he could overlook all the surrounding lands, including his land of Shilom and the Lamanite land of Shemlon.
With the tax money, Noah ordered many buildings to be built in Shilom and a great tower to be built on a hill north of Shilom. That hill had once been a hiding place for the Nephites' forefathers when fleeing from their lands.
Note: "fleeing the land of Nephi" (Omni 1:12-13).
Noah loved his riches, and he spent his time in riotous living with his wives and mistresses. His priests also spent their time with prostitutes.
Noah told his people to plant vineyards and to build wine-presses in order to make lots of wine. He and his people soon became drunkards.
Then small groups of Lamanites began to attack his people, killing them in their fields. King Noah responded by posting guards around the land, but he did not post enough, so the Lamanites killed them and stole the people's flocks.
This is how the Lamanites, in their hatred, began to destroy the Nephites under King Noah's reign.
After these attacks, King Noah sent out his armies, who drove the Lamanites back and then returned, boasting of their victory. They were very proud, boasting in their own strength, saying that fifty of them could fight thousands of Lamanites. They delighted in war because of their wicked king and his priests.
Then a man named Abinadi went among the people and began to prophesy,
"The Lord has commanded me to tell you that you are cursed, for He has seen your great sins, wickedness and immorality.
Unless you repent, He will visit you in His anger.
Unless you repent, and turn to the Lord your God, He will deliver you into the hands of your enemies, who will afflict you and bring you into bondage. Then you will know that the Lord is your God, that He demands loyalty, and that He punishes the sins of His people.
Unless you repent and turn to the Lord, you will be brought into bondage, and no one but the Lord the Almighty God will be able to deliver you.
Then when you cry to the Lord, He will be slow to hear you, and He will allow your enemies to keep afflicting you.
And then unless you repent in the depths of humility, crying mightily to the Lord your God, He will not hear your prayers, nor will He deliver you."
After Abinadi said this to the people, they became angry with him and tried to kill him, but the Lord delivered him out of their hands. When King Noah heard what Abinadi had said, he was very angry and said,
"Who does Abinadi think he is, judging my people? And who is the Lord, saying He will afflict my people? Guards, bring Abinadi to me. He is trying to stir up my people to fight among themselves. For doing this, he will die!"
Because the people had been blinded to the truth, they would not listen to Abinadi. They were determined to find him and see that he was killed, but he was nowhere to be found.
King Noah also hardened his heart against the Lord's word and did not repent of his evil deeds.
Abinadi's warnings are rejected... (compare Mosiah, chapter 12)
Two years later, Abinadi came among them again, this time in disguise, saying,
"The Lord commanded me,
'Abinadi, go and prophesy to my people, for they have hardened their hearts against my words. They have not repented of their evil doings, so I will visit them in my fierce anger.'
This generation is cursed, for the Lord said to me,
'Stretch forth your hand and prophesy:
Thus saith the Lord, this generation will be brought into bondage because of their sins. They will be slapped in the face, driven by their enemies and killed.
Vultures, dogs and wild animals will eat their carcasses. King Noah's life will be as worthless as an old coat that is burned in a furnace. And at that time, he will know that I am the Lord. Then I will afflict my people with drought, famine and pestilence, and they will suffer.
I will allow burdens to be placed upon their backs, and they will be driven like dumb mules. I will send hail and the east wind to afflict them. Insects will eat their grain, and I will afflict them with a great pestilence.
I will do all this because of their great sinfulness. If they do not repent after all this, I will completely destroy them off the face of the earth.
But they will leave their record, which I will preserve for future nations that will possess their lands. By reading their record, these future nations will be given a vivid warning not to repeat their sins.'"
This is how Abinadi prophesied against the people, and they became angry with him again. They tied him, carried him to King Noah and said,
"This man has prophesied evil about your people, saying, 'God will destroy all of you'. He has prophesied about you, saying, 'King Noah's life will be as worthless as an old coat that is burned.'
He said your burned body will be like a dry stalk of corn that is trampled by people and animals--that your ashes will be like ripe thistle blossoms blowing in the wind across the land. He pretends the Lord has said these things to him, and that all this will come upon you, oh King, unless you repent.
And now, oh King, what great evil have you done, and what great sins have your people committed to deserve this man's judgment and God's condemnation?
This man has lied about you and has prophesied in vain. We know how strong we are. We will not come into bondage or be captured by our enemies. You have prospered in the land and will continue to prosper. Here is the man. We deliver him into your hands to do whatever you wish with him."
King Noah had Abinadi put into prison and then called his priests together to counsel with him. The priests told King Noah that they wanted to question Abinadi, so the king had him brought before them. The priests began to question Abinadi in order to accuse him of some crime.
But to their astonishment, Abinadi answered their questions boldly and confounded them. Then one of the priests asked,
"What do these written words mean, that have been taught by our forefathers?
'How beautiful will be the sight of him among the nations--he who will bring good news, announcing peace and salvation, who will say to Zion, "Your God reigns."
Your watchmen will sing aloud together, for they will be equal when the Lord establishes Zion.
Break forth in joy, singing together, you who are in the war-ravished places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted His people and has redeemed you.
He has shown His great power as all the nations watched, and throughout the earth, all will yet see the salvation of our God.'"
"How can you call yourselves priests? You pretend to teach this people, and pretend to understand the spirit of prophecy--yet you ask me what that means? If you do understand these things, you certainly do not teach them.
Because of this, you have distorted the Lord's ways and are cursed! In your hearts you have not desired understanding. This is why you are not wise. So, what do you teach this people?"
The priests replied, "We teach the law of Moses."
Abinadi responded, "If you teach the law of Moses, then why don't you keep it? Why do you set your hearts upon riches? Why do you commit adultery with prostitutes, causing this people to also commit sin?
This is why the Lord has sent me to prophesy a great evil against this people. Don't you know that I speak the truth? Yes, you do know, and you should be trembling before God.
Soon you will be stricken for your sinfulness, for you have said that you teach the law of Moses, but you know nothing about it. Does salvation come by the law of Moses? What do you say?"
They answered that salvation did come by the law of Moses.
Then Abinadi said, "I know you will be saved if you keep the commandments that the Lord gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai, saying,
'I am the Lord thy God who has brought you out of bondage in Egypt. Do not worship any God but me. Do not create images for worship that look like anything in heaven or on earth.'"
Abinadi then asked, "Have you obeyed these commandments and taught this people to also obey them? No, you have not."
Abinadi questions the priests... (compare Mosiah, chapter 13)
Upon hearing this, Noah said to his priests, "Why do you keep this crazy man around? Take him away and kill him!"
The priests stepped forward to take hold of Abinadi, but he boldly said to them, "Do not touch me! God will strike you if you do, for I have not yet delivered the Lord's message to you nor explained Isaiah's words as you asked me to. Until I do this, God will not allow me to be killed. For I must fulfill the commandments that God has given me.
Noah, because I told you the truth, speaking God's words, you are angry with me and say that I am crazy."
Because the Lord's Spirit was upon Abinadi, no one dared touch him. His face shone very brightly, the way Moses' face shone while he spoke with the Lord on Mt. Sinai.
With God's power and authority, Abinadi continued, "Now that you realize you do not have the power to kill me, I will finish my message.
I know my words cut you to the center of your hearts, for they testify of your sins. My words fill you with wonder, amazement, and anger!
After I deliver my message to you, it will not matter where I go, as long as my soul is saved. But whatever you do with me will be a type and shadow of the future.
Now I will read the rest of God's commandments. I see that they are not written in your hearts because you have studied and taught sin for most of your lives. The Lord said,
1. Do not create images for your worship that look like anything in heaven, on earth, or in the water.
2. Do not worship them, for I the Lord thy God demand loyalty. My judgments will come against those who hate me, even until their third and fourth generations. But I will show mercy to thousands of the descendants of those who love me and keep my commandments.
3. Do not take the Lord's name in vain, because He will not consider those who do that to be guiltless.
4. Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy. Do all your work in six days, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, do not do any work--not you, your son, daughter, servants, cattle, nor your guests. The Lord made heaven, earth, the sea and everything in them in six days. Then the Lord blessed the seventh day--the Sabbath, making it holy.
5. Honor your father and mother. If you do this, the Lord your God will give you a long life upon the land of your inheritance.
6. Do not kill.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not lie about your neighbor.
10. Do not covet your neighbor's spouse, nor anything that belongs to your neighbor."
After saying this, Abinadi asked Noah's priests, "Have you taught the people to keep these commandments? No, you have not, for if you had, the Lord would not have sent me to prophesy evil about this people.
You have said that salvation comes by the law of Moses. I tell you that it is necessary to keep the law of Moses for now, but in the future it will not be.
Salvation does not come by the law of Moses alone, for if the atonement were not made by God Himself for the sins of His people, they would all die spiritually--even after keeping the law of Moses!
It was necessary for the Lord to give the children of Israel a very strict law because they were stubborn, quick to sin, and slow to remember the Lord their God. If this strict, daily law of performances and ordinances had not been given to them, they would not have remembered God and their duty to Him. All of their performances and ordinances were types of things to come.
But did the children of Israel understand the law? No. Most of them did not understand it because of their pride, which kept them from realizing that they could only be saved through God's redemption. Moses prophesied to them about the coming of the Messiah, and that God would redeem His people.
All of the prophets since the world began have said the same. They have all said that God Himself would come down among His people, take the form of a man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth, and that He would be oppressed and afflicted, and then bring to pass the resurrection of the dead."
Abinadi quotes Isaiah... (compare Mosiah, chapter 14)
"Even Isaiah said,
'Who has had faith in my revelations, which faith allows the Lord to show His power--to reveal His arm on their behalf? For Jesus Christ will grow up before the Father like a tender plant, like a root coming out from dry ground.
He will look like any other man, so the people will not accept Him as their Savior. He will be despised and rejected, and will become a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief.
The people will turn away from Him, considering Him to be of little worth.
Surely He will bear the grief and sorrow for our sins, but the people will think it is God who is smiting and afflicting Him. He will be wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our sins, chastised for our peace, and whipped that we might be healed.
All of us are like sheep that have gone astray. Because we have gone our own way, the Lord will take all our sins upon Himself. Oppressed and afflicted, He will not speak, but will be silent, like a lamb brought to the slaughter.
He will not be put in prison nor receive a fair trial. And after He is dead, having been killed for my people's sins, who will be called His children?
He will be buried among the wicked and the rich, even though He will do no evil nor speak deceitfully to anyone. The Savior will be bruised and will grieve.
The Father will offer His Son, who will live again to see His children. For the Father will witness and be satisfied with the travail of His Son's soul.
By His knowledge, the Savior will justify many, for He will bear the sins of His people. Because the Son will pour out His soul and be killed, and will make an intercession for our sins, the Father will give Him an inheritance among the great. And in turn, the Son will give an inheritance to His children.'
Note: Concerning this inheritance, see D&C 84:37-38.
Abinadi explains Isaiah... (compare Mosiah, chapter 15)
I want you to know that God Himself will come down among His people to redeem them.
Because He will have a mortal body, He will be called the Son of God.Because He will do the Father's will in the flesh, He will be called the Father.
And again, because He will be conceived by the power of God, He will be called the Father. And because He will be partly mortal, He will be called the Son.
And this is how the Father and His Son are one God, the very Eternal Father of Heaven and Earth.
As the Son in the flesh submits to the Holy Spirit, His desires become the desires of the Father, and the Savior will not give in to temptation.
He will allow Himself to be mocked, scourged, thrown out and disowned by His people.
After suffering all this, and after working many mighty miracles among His people, He will be led, as Isaiah said, 'Like a lamb to the slaughter, to be crucified and slain,' giving up His will to the will of His Father.
This is how God will break the bands of death and gain victory over it. He will give the Son the power to intercede on our behalf--to plead our cause through His mercy.
The Savior will be able to do this because He will take the sins of all people upon Himself, redeeming them and satisfying the demands of justice. He will break the bands of death and go into heaven with mercy and compassion toward all people, standing between them and justice.
And who will be called His children? After offering His body and spirit for sin, He will see His children, whom He has spiritually borne. And who do you think His children will be?
Note: The Children of Christ (Mosiah 5:7, 26:18, 24).
They will be those who believe the holy prophets, who prophesy that the Lord will come to redeem His people. They will be those who look forward to Him for a remission of their sins, patiently waiting to inherit God's kingdom.
For Christ will bear the sins of His people and die for them to redeem them from their transgressions. These people are called The Children of Christ.
All the holy prophets who have spoken of Christ since the world began are also His children, for they have published peace, bringing good news of salvation to Zion, saying, 'Your God reigns!'
The sight of them will be beautiful among the nations. Those who continue to publish peace will also be beautiful to see among the nations!
And again, those who publish peace from now until all eternity will be beautiful among the nations! But this is not all. For how beautiful it will be to see the Lord among the nations, who will redeem His people, granting them salvation, and bringing good news as the founder of their peace.
Without the redemption of Christ, which was planned from the beginning of the world, everyone would die and never rise again. But the bands of death will be broken, and the Son will reign with power over the dead, bringing to pass their resurrection!
The first to be resurrected will be the righteous who lived before Christ. The first resurrection will also include the prophets and all who have believed and kept God's commandments. They will be raised to live with their Redeemer and have eternal life through Christ's redemption.
Those who die in ignorance of Christ, who have not had salvation preached to them, will also be redeemed by the Lord and be a part of the first resurrection--have eternal life. And little children who die also have eternal life.
But you priests should be trembling before God, for since the world began the Lord has never redeemed those who have willfully rebelled against Him and died in their sins--those who knew His commandments but would not keep them.
Such people will have no part in the first resurrection. This is why you should tremble. For salvation cannot come to you in your condition. The Lord cannot deny Himself by redeeming men such as you when justice has its rightful claim.
In the last days, the Lord's salvation will be declared to every nation, tribe and people, in all languages. The Lord's watchmen--His righteous servants--will sing aloud together, for they will be one when the Lord again brings Zion.
Then it will be declared (Abinadi quoting Isaiah again),
'You in the war-ravished places of Jerusalem, break forth into joy, singing together, for the Lord has comforted and redeemed you. All have seen the Lord show His great power, and now the people from all parts of the earth will yet see His salvation!'
Abinadi tells the fate of the wicked... (compare Mosiah, chapter 16)
Then Abinadi stretched out his hand and said,
"The time will come when all the people of the earth, in every nation, tribe, and of every language, will witness the Lord's salvation. They will understand the truth together, and confess before God that His judgments are just.
After this, the wicked will be cast out to their own place. They will have good reason to moan, cry, wail and clench their teeth, for they will not be redeemed, having ignored the Lord's voice.
After they die, the wicked will still be carnal and devilish, and the devil will still have power over them.
After the devil decieved Adam and Eve, they fell into this lower world. This is why their descendants are carnal, sensual and devilish when without God's Spirit. And in this fallen state, we would all be lost forever if God did not redeem us.
But all those who choose to remain in their fallen state, to be controlled by their own carnal nature, going the way of sin and rebellion against God, will remain in the devil's power. For them it will be as if no redemption had ever been made, for like the devil, they will be God's enemies.
If Christ does not come to earth, there will not be any redemption from sin. If Christ does not rise from the dead, breaking the bands of death and gaining a victory over the grave, there will not be a resurrection.
But there will be a redemption and a resurrection! The grave will not have the final victory because Christ will come. He is the light and life of the world, putting an end to darkness and death forever.
Because of Christ, all mortals will be resurrected and then brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged by Him according to their good or evil works. If their works were good, they will be resurrected to endless life and happiness. If their works were evil, they will be resurrected to endless damnation, which is to become one of the devil's subjects.
The damned will have lived on earth according to their own carnal wills and desires--having never prayed to the Lord while His arms of mercy were extended to them--having never repented after being warned of their sins.
You priests should now tremble and repent of your sins, remembering that you can only be saved in and through Christ.
If you teach the law of Moses, then teach it's a symbol of things to come. Teach that redemption comes through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father of our salvation. Amen."
Alma defends Abinadi... (compare Mosiah, chapter 17)
When Abinadi had finished speaking, the king commanded the priests to take him away and kill him. But one of Noah's young priests, Alma, a descendant of Nephi, believed Abinadi's testimony of their sinfulness.
Alma pled with King Noah not to be angry with Abinadi, but to let him go in peace. This just made Noah more furious. He had Alma thrown out and sent his servants after him to kill him. But Alma escaped and hid.
During the next several days while in hiding, Alma wrote down everything Abinadi had said.
After throwing out Alma, King Noah told his guards to surround Abinadi, to tie him and throw him in prison.
After three days, and after counseling with his priests, King Noah called for Abinadi and said to him, "We have found you guilty of a crime punishable by death, for you have said God Himself will come down among the people. If you do not recall all your evil words about me and my people, you will be put to death!"
Abinadi responded, "I will not recall my words, for they are true. I have allowed you to capture me so you will know for sure my words are true. If necessary, I will die, but regardless of what happens to me, my words will stand as a testimony against you.
If you do kill me, you will shed innocent blood, and this will also stand as a testimony against you at the last day."
These words were so powerful to King Noah that he became afraid of God's judgments and was about to let Abinadi go.
But the priests objected, accusing Abinadi by exclaiming, "He has reviled the king!" Then Noah became angry again and delivered Abinadi to the priests.
The priests took Abinadi, tied him, and burned him with dried wood. When the flames began to scorch him, Abinadi cried out, "Your children will burn others who believe in the salvation of the Lord their God. And you will be afflicted with all types of diseases because of your sinfulness.
You will be killed and scattered like a wild flock driven by wolves. Your children will be hunted and captured by your enemies, and finally suffer, as I do, the pains of death by fire. God will execute vengeance upon those who destroy His people. Oh God, receive my soul."
Note: Abinadi's prophecies of the priests' descendants being hunted and killed by fire was fulfilled. (see Alma 25:3-8).
After saying this, Abinadi fell, having suffered death by fire. He was murdered because he would not deny God's commandments, and he sealed the truth of his words by his death.
Alma teaches outside the city... (compare Mosiah, chapter 18)
Alma, who had repented of his sins, went secretly among the people, teaching Abinadi's words.
Many believed as he taught of the resurrection and redemption that would come through the power, suffering and death of Christ, who would be resurrected, and then go up into heaven.
Alma taught in private so King Noah would not discover him.
The people who believed Alma met in a place called Mormon, named by King Noah. This was a place outside the city where many wild animals came during certain times of the year.
In this place, Alma lived near a pure spring. During the day he hid in a small thicket of trees near the spring while the king's men searched for him. The believers came to this place to hear Alma speak.
After many days, all the believers, now a large group, had come to hear him. Alma preached repentance, redemption and faith in the Lord. He said,
"Here are the waters of Mormon. And here you have come to enter the fold of God. You desire to be called His people and are willing to bear one another's burdens, making them light.
You are willing to mourn with those who mourn, comfort those who need comfort, and stand as witnesses of God at all times, in all things, and in all places for the rest of your lives. You desire this so you may be redeemed by God and rise in the first resurrection to eternal life.
Since this is the desire of your hearts, do you have anything against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before Him that you have entered a covenant to serve Him and keep His commandments, that He may pour out His Spirit upon you even more?"
When the people heard this, they clapped their hands for joy, exclaiming, "This is the desire of our hearts!"
Then Alma went into the water with Helam, one of the first believers, and cried, "Oh Lord, pour out Thy Spirit upon Thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart."
After saying this, the Lord's Spirit came upon Alma. He said, "Helam, having authority from the Almighty God, I baptize you as a testimony that you have entered a covenant to serve Him for the rest of your life.
May the Lord's Spirit be poured out upon you, and may God grant you eternal life through the redemption of Christ, whom He has prepared from the foundation of the world."
After saying this, both Alma and Helam went under the water. They arose and came out of the water rejoicing and filled with the Spirit. Then Alma baptized another man, but this time he did not go under the water himself. In the same way, Alma baptized everyone who had come, about 204 of them, and they were all filled with the grace of God.
From then on they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ. All who were baptized by the power and authority of God were added to His church.
Then Alma, having authority from God, ordained one priest for every fifty people in the church, to teach them of God's kingdom.
Alma commanded the priests to teach only what he had taught--things that the holy prophets had spoken--repentance and faith in the Lord who would redeem His people.
Alma also commanded them not to argue, but to have one faith and one baptism, with their hearts knit together in unity and love for one another.
By preaching this way, Alma's people were taught, and they became the children of God. Alma commanded them to keep the Sabbath day holy and to give thanks to the Lord their God each day. He also commanded the priests to work to support themselves.
One day a week was set apart for the people to gather and worship the Lord their God and to be taught. They also met at other times during the week whenever possible.
The priests did not depend on the people for their support. As compensation for their service they received God's grace, which made them strong in the Spirit, and which gave them a knowledge of God, enabling them to teach with power and authority from Him.
Alma commanded everyone in the church to give of their substance according to what they had. If some had more, they were to give more, while the poor were to give less, and all were to give to those with nothing. They were taught to give by their own free will and good desires toward God.
They gave to the needy priests, who spent much of their time building the church, and also to anyone needing food or clothing. Alma said it was a commandment of God to give to one another, both temporally and spiritually, according to the needs and wants among them.
All this happened in the forest near the waters of Mormon, a beautiful place to those who there found their Redeemer. And how blessed they are, for they will sing His praise forever.
These things were done on the borders outside the land so that King Noah would not know of them. But the king had discovered this movement and sent out his servants to spy on the people. On the day Alma's people were gathered to be taught, they were discovered by the spies.
Upon hearing his servants' report, the king claimed that Alma was stirring up the people to rebel against him, and he sent out his army to destroy them. Alma and the Lord's people (about 450 of them, including 204 newly baptized) were informed that the king's army was coming, so they took their tents and families and escaped into the wilderness.
Noah's power collapses... (compare Mosiah, chapter 19)
The king's army returned, having searched for the Lord's people in vain. Noah's army was small, and the rest of his people began to be divided among themselves.
The minority were those who threatened the king. Among them was Gideon, a strong man who hated the king. He drew his sword and vowed in his anger he would kill King Noah.
Gideon fought with Noah, and when Noah realized he could not beat Gideon, he ran and climbed to the top of his tower near the temple.
Note: Contrary to King Noah's depiction as an obese man, as illustrated in Arnold Frieberg's well-known painting, Noah was most likely in fairly good physical condition. He was able to first engage Gideon and then run from him and climb to the top of his tower without being overtaken. Then moments later he climbed down his tower and ran ahead of his people into the wilderness.
Gideon chased Noah and was about to climb the tower to kill him, when from atop the tower, King Noah looked toward the land of Shemlon and saw a Lamanite army approaching.
He cried out in the anguish of his soul, "Gideon, spare me, for the Lamanites are coming to kill my people!"
King Noah was more concerned for his own life than for his people's, but Gideon spared him anyway.
Noah commanded his people to run from the Lamanites. Then he ran ahead of them into the wilderness.
As the Lamanites began to catch up with Noah's people and kill them, Noah commanded the men to leave their families behind and run with him. Many fathers disobeyed the king, preferring to die with their families rather than leave them behind. The rest of the fathers ran with Noah.
Note: A few years later in Zarahemla, the abandoned Nephite children of these fathers who ran with Noah disowned their fathers' names and named themselves "Nephi--the children of Nephi." (Mosiah 25:13).
The fathers who stayed with their wives and children had their fair daughters stand and plead with the Lamanites to not kill them. The Lamanites had compassion on the people, being charmed by their beautiful women. But the Lamanites still captured them and forced them to return to the land of Nephi. They allowed them to keep their lands on two conditions.
1. They had to bring King Noah to them.
2. They had to pay an annual 50% tribute to the Lamanite king ...half of everything they owned, and half of what they would produce each year.
Among Noah's captured sons was Limhi. He didn't want his father to die, but being a just man himself, he knew his father had been sinful.
Gideon sent spies into the wilderness to find the king and his followers. They found the men who had run away with the king, but not the king and his priests.
The men who had gone with the king had sworn in their hearts that they would return to the land of Nephi, and that if their wives, children and the men who had stayed behind had been killed, they would seek revenge, even if they had to die in the process.
Noah had commanded them not to return, but they had heard enough and put him to death by fire. They would have also killed his priests, but they escaped.
Just as they were about to return to the land of Nephi, they met Gideon's spies, who told them that their wives and children had been spared, and that the Lamanites had let them keep their land if they would pay a 50% tribute.
The men told Gideon's spies they had killed Noah, and that his priests had escaped into the wilderness.
After a peace ceremony with Gideon's men, they returned to the land of Nephi. They rejoiced because their wives and children had been spared, and they told Gideon they had killed the king.
Then the Lamanite king made an oath that his people would not kill them.
Because Limhi was the king's son, the kingdom conferred upon him by the people. He made an oath to the Lamanite king that his people would pay the tribute. Then Limhi began to establish his people's kingdom in peace.
The Lamanite king set guards around their land to keep Limhi's people from escaping into the wilderness. These guards were supported out of the Nephite tribute.
King Limhi had peace in his kingdom for two years because the Lamanites were pacified by the tribute and did not hurt them.
Noah's priests create a war... (compare Mosiah, chapter 20) Now there was a place in Shemlon where the Lamanites' daughters gathered to sing, dance and make themselves merry. One day, a small number of them had gathered to sing and dance.
King Noah's priests had been hiding in the wilderness, too ashamed and afraid for their lives to return to their wives and children in the city of Nephi.
While wandering in the wilderness, they had discovered the Lamanites' daughters and secretly watched them. When only twenty-four of them had gathered to dance, they came out of their hiding places and carried them off.
When the Lamanites found out their daughters were missing, they were angry with Limhi's people, thinking they had taken them. In his anger, the Lamanite king led his army to the land of Nephi to destroy Limhi's people.
From the top of his tower, Limhi saw them coming. He gathered his people, and they hid in the fields and forests, waiting for the Lamanites. When they came near, Limhi's people attacked the Lamanites and began to kill them.
The battle became fierce as the Nephites fought like lions for their prey. Though they were outnumbered by more than two to one, Limhi's people drove the Lamanites before them. They fought like dragons for their own lives, and for their wives and children.
After the battle, they found the Lamanite king among the fallen, but he was not dead. His army had run away so fast, they had left him wounded on the ground.
Limhi's men bandaged his wounds, brought him before Limhi, and said, "Here is the Lamanite king, wounded and abandoned by his army. Now let us kill him!"
Limhi responded, "Do not kill him. Bring him closer, so I may see him." Limhi then asked the bound Lamanite king, "Why did you come to war against my people? My people have not broken the oath that I made to you, so why have you broken the oath that you made to them?"
The king replied, "I broke the oath and came to war against your people because they have carried away my people's daughters."
Limhi had heard nothing about this matter, so he said, "I will search among my people, and whoever has done this will die."
When Gideon, now the king's captain, heard this, he said to King Limhi, "Please do not search this people or put the blame on them. Remember your father's priests, whom we searched for to destroy?
It must be those priests, still in the wilderness, who have stolen the Lamanites' daughters! Tell this to the Lamanite king so that he will pacify his people toward us, for the Lamanites are now preparing to attack us, and we cannot continue to withstand them with our small numbers.
Unless the king pacifies them, their great army will kill us all! The Lord's words, spoken by Abinadi, are beginning to be fulfilled because we did not listen to him and repent. Let us pacify the king and keep our oath with him, for it is better to be in bondage than to die. Let us do this and put a stop to the shedding of so much blood."
Limhi took Gideon's advice and told the king about his father's priests who had run away into the wilderness, and who must have stolen their daughters.
The Lamanite king was pacified toward Limhi's people and said, "Let us go out and meet my people unarmed. I swear to you with an oath that my people will not kill your people."
Then unarmed, Limhi's people followed the Lamanite king and went out to meet the Lamanites. Upon meeting them, the Lamanite king bowed himself down before them and pled in behalf of Limhi's people.
Upon seeing the unarmed Nephites, the Lamanites had compassion on them and were pacified. Then they returned with their king to their own land in peace. Limhi and his people returned to their city of Nephi and began to live in peace.
The bondage of Limhi's people... (compare Mosiah, chapter 21)
After many days, the Lamanites became angry with the Nephites again and surrounded their borders. The Lamanites did not dare kill the Nephites because of their king's oath to Limhi, but they exercised all the authority they could against them as cruel taskmasters. They slapped their faces, made them do hard labor, and drove them like dumb mules.
The Lord allowed this as a fulfillment of His word. The Nephites' suffering became great, and there was no way they could escape, for they were surrounded. Limhi's people began to complain to him, and they asked to fight the Lamanites.
Because Limhi was constantly harassed by their complaining, he allowed them to do as they wished. Then they put on their armor and went out against the Lamanites to drive them out of their land. But the Lamanites beat them, drove them back, and killed many of them.
After this, there was great mourning and lamentation among Limhi's people. They mourned for their lost husbands, fathers and brothers. There were a great number of widows in the land, who cried mightily every day because of their fear of the Lamanites.
All their crying made the rest of Limhi's men very angry with the Lamanites. So they went out again to battle, but they were again driven back, suffering another great loss. Then the men went out a third time, suffering still more losses.
Those who survived returned to the city of Nephi.
Finally, they humbled themselves, even to the dust, and they accepted their yoke of bondage, allowing themselves to be beaten, driven and burdened by their enemies. They humbled themselves to the depths of humility, crying mightily to God all day long to deliver them from their afflictions.
And the Lord was slow to hear their cries because of their sins. But He did hear them, and He began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites to make their burdens easier. However, the Lord did not see fit to deliver them from bondage immediately.
Little by little, Limhi's people began to prosper in the land by raising more grain, flocks and herds, and they no longer suffered from hunger.
Because there were many more women than men, King Limhi commanded the men to give food to the widows and their children to prevent them from starving.
Limhi's people stayed in groups as much as possible in order to protect their grain and flocks. They feared the Lamanites, and King Limhi would not dare go outside the city walls without his guards. He told his people to constantly watch for those priests who were in the wilderness, who had stolen the Lamanites' daughters and had caused the great destruction among his people.
Limhi and his people wanted to see those priests punished. Furthermore, those priests had come into the city of Nephi by night and had stolen grain and precious things.
It was after this time, when Limhi's people had quit fighting the Lamanites, that Ammon and his 15 men came into the land. When King Limhi saw them outside the city walls, he thought they were Noah's priests.
That's why Ammon and his men were tied and thrown into prison. And if they had been Noah's priests, Limhi would have had them killed. When Limhi learned they were not Noah's priests, but fellow Nephites who had come from Zarahemla, he was very joyful.
Before Ammon's arrival, King Limhi had sent forty-three men to search for the land of Zarahemla, but they could not find it, and they became lost in the wilderness.
Limhi's men did find a land that had been very populated, covered with dry bones. They thought they had found Zarahemla and had returned a few days before Ammon's expedition had arrived. Limhi's men had brought a record, engraved on twenty-four gold plates, that they had found in the land covered with bones.
Limhi was filled with joy again when Ammon told him that Mosiah had a gift from God to interpret such engravings. Even though Ammon also rejoiced, he and his brethren were filled with sorrow because so many of their fellow Nephites had been killed.
They were sorry to hear that King Noah and his priests had caused the people to commit so many sins against God. They mourned for the death of Abinadi and were sad that Alma and his people, who had formed a church of God, were no longer among them.
Ammon and his brethren mourned because they did not know where Alma and his people had gone. Alma's people would have gladly joined Limhi's, for they had made a covenant to serve God and keep His commandments.
Since Ammon had arrived, King Limhi and many of his people also made this covenant with God. They wanted to be baptized, but no one in the land had the authority from God to baptize. Ammon did not want to do the baptizing because he considered himself unworthy.
So at that time no church was formed, but the people waited upon the Spirit of the Lord. They wanted to become a church, like Alma's people, who had escaped into the wilderness. They wanted to be baptized as a witness and testimony that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts, but they had to wait. An account of their baptism will be given later.
Limhi's people escape to Zarahemla... (compare Mosiah, chapter 22)
Ammon, his fifteen men, and King Limhi and his people devoted all their thoughts and energy toward finding a way to deliver themselves out of bondage. After consulting with the people, Ammon and King Limhi called a meeting with everyone to decide on how to deliver themselves.
They concluded that since there were too many Lamanites to fight, the only way to deliver themselves out of bondage would be to take their women, children, flocks, herds and tents, and escape into the wilderness.
Gideon said to the king, "Oh king, you have listened to my counsel many times as we have fought the Lamanites. If my advice has been useful to you in the past, listen to me now, and I will be your servant to deliver this people out of bondage."
King Limhi listened as Gideon explained his strategy for escape: "The Lamanites who guard the pass through the back wall of the city are drunk at night. So let us send a proclamation among all this people to drive their flocks and herds through that back pass and into the wilderness during the night.
I will go according to your command and pay the last tribute of wine to the Lamanites, and they will all get drunk. Then we will go through the secret pass on the left of their camp while they sleep. By going around the land of Shilom, we will escape into the wilderness with our women, children, flocks and herds."
The king accepted Gideon's plan. He had his people gather their flocks, and then sent the regular tribute of wine to the Lamanites. He also sent more wine as a present to them. Happy to have the extra wine, they drank it freely and all became very drunk. As the Lamanites fell asleep drunk, King Limhi's people, led by Ammon and his fifteen men, departed that night into the wilderness with their flocks and herds.
They went around the land of Shilom into the wilderness, bending their course toward the land of Zarahemla. They took all the gold, silver, precious things and provisions that they could carry.
After traveling many days, they finally arrived in the land of Zarahemla. There they were accepted, and joined Mosiah's people as his subjects. With joy, Mosiah received them and the records that their men had found.
Meanwhile, the Lamanites had awakened to find Limhi and his people gone, and had sent an army into the wilderness to capture them. But after two days, the Lamanites not only lost Limhi's trail, but also became lost themselves in the wilderness.
Alma warns against having a king... (compare Mosiah, chapter 23)
Now, back to Alma. He had left the place called Mormon with his people after being warned by the Lord that Noah's army was coming after them. The Lord gave them the endurance to outmarch King Noah's army, which could not catch them.
They continued their exodus for eight days in the wilderness. Then Alma and his people came to a very beautiful and pleasant land, a land of pure water. They settled in this beautiful land, and worked very hard to farm it and construct buildings.
The people asked Alma to be their king because they loved him. But Alma said, "It is not necessary for us to have a king, for the Lord has said,
'You will not put one man above another or allow one man to put himself above you.'
If it were possible for kings to always be just men, then it would be well for you to have a king. But remember the sinfulness of King Noah and his priests.
I myself was caught in that snare, doing many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me sore repentance.
But after I had experienced great suffering, the Lord heard my cries and answered my prayers. He has made me an instrument in His hands to bring many of you to a knowledge of the truth. But I do not glory in this, for I am not worthy to glory in myself.
You were oppressed by King Noah, in bondage to him and his priests. Because of them, you were brought into sin.
And now that you have been delivered by God's power out of that condition, I want you to hold onto this liberty and remain free, trusting no man to be your king.
Also, trust no one to be your teacher or minister unless he is of God--walking in His ways and keeping His commandments."
Alma taught everyone to love their neighbors as themselves, and never to fight or argue with one another. He was their high priest, being the founder of their church.
No one received the authority to preach or teach unless it was given to him from God through Alma, who consecrated all the priests and teachers, and only just men were consecrated.
The priests and teachers watched over their people, and nourished them with things having to do with righteousness.
Alma and his people began to prosper greatly in the land, which they called Helam (named after the first man Alma baptized). As they populated and prospered in the land, they built the city of Helam.
Still, the Lord saw fit to chastise His people in Helam, and He truly tested their patience and faith.
But we will see that all who put their trust in the Lord are supported by Him, for the people of Helam were given trials and blessings by the Lord.
I, Mormon, will show you that they were brought into bondage, and no one but the Lord their God, even the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, could deliver them. And He did deliver them, showing His mighty power, after which they rejoiced greatly.
As Alma's people were farming the land of Helam near their city, a Lamanite army came into their borders. Terrified by the army, Alma's people ran from their fields and into the city.
Alma told them not to be afraid, but to remember that their God would deliver them. They calmed down and asked the Lord to soften the hearts of the Lamanites so they would spare them.
And the Lord softened the hearts of the Lamanites as Alma and his people went out and surrendered to them. Then the Lamanites took possession of the land of Helam.
This Lamanite army, which had followed King Limhi's people, had been lost in the wilderness for many days after losing the trail. But they had found those priests of King Noah in a place they had called Amulon.
The priests had settled down with the Lamanite daughters they had stolen, and had begun to raise crops.
The leader of the priests was Amulon. He pled with the Lamanites, and also sent out his men's wives, the Lamanites' daughters, to plead with their people not to kill their husbands. Because of their wives, the Lamanites had compassion on Amulon and his men, and did not kill them.
Then Amulon and his men joined the Lamanites. The Lamanites were looking for the way back to the land of Nephi when they found Alma and his people in the land of Helam.
Now the Lamanites promised to spare Alma and his people and give them their liberty if they would show them how to get back to the land of Nephi.
But after Alma had shown them the way back to Nephi, the Lamanites did not keep their promise. Before returning to the land of Nephi, they set guards around the land of Helam to watch Alma and his people.
The rest of the Lamanite army went back to the land of Nephi. Soon after that, part of the Lamanite army returned to Helam, bringing the guards' wives and children.
Amulon becomes a trial to Alma... (compare Mosiah, chapter 24)
After the Lamanites had taken over all these lands, the Lamanite king appointed kings within them. Amulon gained favor in the eyes of the Lamanite king, who appointed him and his men to be teachers over the Lamanites in the lands of Shemlon, Shilom and Amulon.
In addition to being a teacher, Amulon was made king and ruler over Alma's people in Helam. However, Amulon was not allowed do anything against the Lamanite king's will.
The Lamanite king, Laman, was named after his father, and he ruled over many people. Because King Laman had appointed Amulon and his men to be teachers in every Lamanite land, the Nephite language began to be taught among all the Lamanites.
The Lamanites were friendly with one another, but they knew nothing about God. Amulon and his men did not enlighten them by teaching them of the Lord, or about the law of Moses, or Abinadi's words. They only taught them how to keep records and write letters.
With this new writing skill, the Lamanites started a trading system among their cities. They grew richer and began to be cunning and wise as to the wisdom of the world. They delighted in all types of wickedness and plunder, except among their relatives.
Meanwhile, Amulon began to use authority over Alma and his people in the city of Helam. He persecuted Alma's people and encouraged his children to persecute their children.
Having been one of King Noah's priests, Amulon knew Alma. He remembered that Alma had believed Abinadi and had been thrown out.
Amulon was angry with Alma because he was subject to King Laman himself. In his anger, Amulon exercised authority over Alma's people and put taskmasters over them. Alma's people became so afflicted that they cried mightily to God.
Then Amulon ordered them to stop their cries. He put guards over them with orders to kill anyone found calling upon God. So Alma and his people stopped raising their voices to the Lord their God, but they still poured their hearts out to Him, and God knew the thoughts of their hearts.
Then the Lord's voice came to Alma's people in their afflictions,
"Lift up your heads and be comforted, for I remember the covenant you made with me. I will covenant with you, my people, and deliver you out of bondage.
I will also ease the burdens on your shoulders so you will not feel them in your bondage. I will do this so that you may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, knowing without a doubt that I, the Lord God, visit my people in their trials."
Then the burdens on Alma and his brethren were made light. The Lord strengthened them to bear their burdens easily, and with patience they cheerfully submitted to His will.
Their faith and patience was so great that the Lord's voice came to them again, and said,
"Be comforted, for tomorrow I will deliver you out of bondage."
And the Lord said to Alma
"You will lead this people, and I will go with you and deliver them out of bondage."
All that night, Alma and his people gathered their flocks and grain. And in the morning the Lord caused a deep sleep to come over the Lamanite taskmasters.
Then Alma and his people departed into the wilderness. After traveling all day, they pitched their tents in a valley. They called it the valley of Alma because he had led them there.
In that valley, they poured out their thanks to God for being merciful to them, for easing their burdens, and for delivering them out of bondage.
They knew that no one but the Lord their God could have delivered them. And every man, woman and child that could speak lifted up their voice in praises to their God.
Then the Lord said to Alma,
"Hurry and get this people out of this land, for the Lamanites have awakened and are pursuing you. I will stop them in this valley."
Then Alma and his people left the valley and continued their journey. After twelve days in the wilderness, they arrived in the land of Zarahemla, and King Mosiah received them with joy.
All the Nephites reunite in Zarahemla... (compare Mosiah, chapter 25)
After Alma's people arrived in Zarahemla, King Mosiah called a meeting of all the people, most of which were descendants of Mulek. Although many, the Nephites and the descendants of Mulek combined still were not even half the number of Lamanites.
The Nephites and the descendants of Mulek assembled into two groups to hear the readings from the records that had been kept.
Mosiah first had Zeniff's record read (the record kept by Zeniff and his grandson, Limhi).
Then Alma's account was read, beginning from his own conversion, and ending when he and his people arrived in Zarahemla.
Mosiah's people who had stayed in Zarahemla were completely amazed after hearing these accounts. They didn't know what to think.
Seeing those who had been delivered out of bondage filled them with joy, yet thinking about their fellow Nephites who had been killed brought them to tears.
But when they realized the immediate goodness of God, and how He delivered Alma and his people out of Lamanite bondage, they raised their voices and gave thanks to Him.
And when they thought about their brethren, the Lamanites, and of their sinful and polluted state, they were filled with pain and anguish for the welfare of their souls.
The children of Amulon and those other wicked priests--the children who had been abandoned when their fathers had run away with King Noah, had been so unhappy with the conduct of their fathers that they rejected their fathers' names and called themselves the children of Nephi.
Note: These children should not be mistaken for Amulon and his priests' second set of children, borne by the stolen Lamanite daughters. The second set did not escape to Zarahemla with Alma. They were taught to hate Alma's people and their children. Abinadi prophesied that they would cause others to suffer death by fire and then be scattered, hunted and killed.
Now all the people in Zarahemla, even the descendants of Mulek, were called Nephites, because beginning with Mosiah's grandfather, Mosiah, the kingdom had been conferred only upon a descendant of Nephi.
When Mosiah finished speaking, he asked Alma to speak.
The people divided into large groups, and Alma spoke to each group, preaching repentance and faith in the Lord. Alma called upon Limhi's people, and upon all who had been delivered out of bondage, to remember that it was the Lord who had delivered them.
After Alma had taught the people many things, Limhi and all his people wanted to be baptized, so Alma went into the water and baptized them by immersion. Those whom he baptized now belonged to the church of God.
Then King Mosiah allowed Alma to establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla, giving him permission to ordain priests and teachers over each church.
There were too many people to be governed by one teacher, nor could they all hear the word of God in one assembly, so they gathered into different groups called churches. Every church had priests who taught according to Alma's words.
Even though there were many churches, they were all one church--the church of God, and nothing but repentance and faith in God was preached in all the churches.
There were seven church groups in the land of Zarahemla, and all who wanted to take upon themselves the name of Christ, or of God, joined the church of God.
They were all called the people of God, and the Lord poured out His Spirit upon them, and they were blessed and prospered in the land.
A new generation of unbelievers... (compare Mosiah, chapter 26)
As time passed, many of the rising generation did not believe their fathers' righteous traditions. At the time that their parents had experienced a mighty change of heart under King Benjamin's reign, they were too young to understand. They did not believe what had been said about the resurrection of the dead or about the coming of Christ.
Because of their unbelief, they could not understand God's word and their hearts became hardened. Because of their lack of faith, they refused to be baptized or to join the church. They remained in their carnal, sinful state, for they would not call upon the Lord their God.
During Mosiah's reign, the unbelievers were not half as numerous as God's people, but because of dissension among church members, the unbelievers soon became more numerous.
The unbelievers deceived many church members with flattery and caused them to commit many sins.
It soon became necessary to correct those people in the church who committed sin, and so they were brought before the priests by the teachers. The priests in turn brought them before Alma, the high priest.
King Mosiah had given Alma authority over the church. Alma did not know of these people's sins, but there were many witnesses against them. This kind of thing had never happened before in the church, and Alma's spirit was troubled.
He did not feel comfortable judging the accused, and so he brought them before King Mosiah.
Alma then said to the king, "Here are many who have been accused by their brethren, having been caught in various sins. The accused are not sorry, so we brought them here for you to judge." King Mosiah replied, "I will not judge them. I prefer that you judge them, Alma."
Now Alma's spirit was even more troubled. He went and asked the Lord what to do, for he was afraid of doing something wrong in the sight of God. After pouring out his whole soul to God, the Lord's voice said to him,
"You are blessed, Alma, and those baptized in the waters of Mormon are also blessed. You are blessed because of your great faith, having heard only the words of my servant Abinadi.
And those who were baptized are blessed because of their great faith in your words alone. You are also blessed because you have established a church among my people.
This people, who are willing to bear my name, are blessed, for in my name they will be called, and they are mine.
And because you have asked me about the transgressors, you are blessed. You are my servant, and I covenant with you that you will have eternal life.
You will serve me, going forth in my name, gathering my sheep. Those who hear my voice will be my sheep. You will receive them into the church, and I will receive them also.
For this is my church, and I will freely forgive those whom you receive--those who will believe in my name and be baptized unto repentance. I take the sins of the world upon myself, having created those who sin.
And I will give a place at my right hand to those who believe in me throughout their lives. They are called by my name (Children of Christ). If they know me, at the sound of the first trumpet they will be resurrected and have a place eternally at my right hand.
When the second trumpet sounds, those who never knew me will be resurrected and stand before me. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God--their Redeemer, and that they did not desire redemption.
Then I will tell them I never knew them, and they will go into an everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
This is why I tell you not to receive (baptize) those who refuse to hear my voice into my church, for I will not receive them at the last day.
Now go and judge all who transgress against me, according to the sins they have committed. If they confess their sins before you, and before me, and repent in the sincerity of their hearts, forgive them, and I will also forgive them.
And as often as my people repent I will forgive their trespasses against me. You will also forgive one another, because anyone who will not forgive his neighbor when his neighbor says he has repented brings himself under condemnation.
Note: Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. --- D&C 64:9.
Now go, and those who refuse to repent of their sins will not be numbered among my people. Observe this law from this time forward."
Upon hearing these words, Alma wrote them down so he could judge the people of the church according to God's commandments. Then he judged those who had been found committing sin according to the word of the Lord.
Those who repented of their sins and confessed them were numbered among the people of the church. Those who would not confess and repent of their sins were not numbered among the people of the church.
Alma regulated all the affairs of the church, and the Nephites began to again have peace. The church prospered as the people walked in obedience before God, and they received and baptized many.
Alma and the other priests and teachers were diligent in teaching God's word to the people of the church. They suffered all types of afflictions at the hands of all who did not belong to God's church.
Those who committed sins were counseled with God's word, and they were all commanded by God to always pray and give thanks to Him in all things.
Unbelievers persecute the believers... (compare Mosiah, chapter 27)
But the persecution of the people of the church by the unbelievers became so great that the church members began to lose faith and began to complain to their leaders. Their leaders complained to Alma, who laid the case before King Mosiah.
After Mosiah consulted with his priests, he sent a proclamation throughout the land, stating that unbelievers could not persecute those who belonged to God's church.
There was also a strict command throughout all the churches that there would be no persecutions among them. They were told to treat all people equally.
No pride or haughtiness was to disturb their peace, and everyone was to love his neighbor as himself, working with his own hands for his support.
The priests and teachers were also commanded to work with their own hands for their own support, unless they were sick or in great need. By doing this, the Nephites enjoyed God's grace.
Peace was restored, and the people became very numerous, spreading out over the land in all directions, building large cities and villages. As the Lord visited and prospered them, they became a numerous and wealthy people.
However, King Mosiah's own sons were among the unbelievers. One of Alma's sons, Alma, was also an unbeliever. He became a very wicked and idolatrous man. He was a man of many words, and he used much flattery to lead many people after his sinful ways.
Alma's son became a great obstacle to the growth of God's church, for he led away people's hearts and caused many to leave the church, giving God's enemy a chance to exercise power over them.
One day, Alma's son Alma and Mosiah's sons were secretly going about to destroy God's church--to lead the Lord's people astray, contrary to the commandments of God and of the king.
As they were going about, an angel of the Lord appeared to them. The angel came down as if in a cloud, and he spoke with a voice of thunder, causing the earth to shake beneath them.
Alma and Mosiah's sons were so astonished that they fell down and did not hear what the angel was saying.
But the angel cried out again,
"Alma, arise and face me! Why do you persecute God's church? The Lord has said,
'This is my church, and I will establish it. Nothing will overthrow it except the transgression of my people.'
The Lord has heard the prayers of His people, including His servant, Alma, your father, who has prayed with great faith that you would come to know the truth.
I have come to convince you of God's power and authority so the prayers of His servants will be answered according to their faith.
And now, can you deny God's power? For does not my voice shake the earth? Can you not see me before you? And I am sent from God!
Now I say to you, remember the captivity of your fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi. Remember the great things God did for them, for they were in bondage, and He delivered them.
Now go your way, Alma, and stop trying to destroy the church...that the prayers for the salvation of your soul may be answered, in spite of your rebellion."
After saying this to Alma, the angel left. Alma and Mosiah's sons were so astonished they fell down again. They had seen an angel of the Lord with their own eyes! His voice had been like thunder, shaking the earth!
They knew nothing but God's power could have caused the earth to quake as if it were about to split open. And Alma was too astonished to speak. He became so weak he could not speak or even move his hands. He was so helpless that Mosiah's sons carried him to his father, Alma, and told him everything that had happened.
Upon hearing this, Alma's father rejoiced, knowing it had been done by God's power. Alma had a large crowd come see what the Lord had done for his son, and also for Mosiah's sons.
Alma's father then called priests together, to fast, and to pray to the Lord, asking Him to restore Alma's speech and strength--that the eyes of the people would be opened to see and know of God's goodness and glory.
After the priests had fasted and prayed for two days and nights, Alma stood up and began to speak, telling them to be comforted. He said,
"I have repented of my sins, and I have been redeemed by the Lord. I have been born of His Spirit! The Lord said to me,
'Do not wonder that all people in all nations must be born of God again. They must be changed from their carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness--being redeemed by God--becoming His sons and daughters. All must become new creatures, and unless they do this, they cannot inherit God's kingdom.'
Unless we change, we must be cast off from God's presence.
I know this because I was about to be cast off. But after suffering greatly while unconscious, repenting while close to death, the Lord in His mercy has seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am now born of God!
My soul has been redeemed from bitter pain and compulsive sin. I was in the darkest pit, but now I behold God's marvelous light. While my soul was being racked with eternal torment, I was snatched away and my soul is now free from pain!
I had rejected my Redeemer, denying our forefathers' words, but now I know our Redeemer will show Himself to all, so that all may look forward to His coming.
I know He remembers each person He has created, for at the last day, every person will be resurrected and then stand before Him to be judged. We will all kneel and confess that He is God.
Those who rejected God in the world will confess that their judgment of an everlasting punishment is just. They will quake, tremble and cower when He sees them in all their wickedness."
From that day forward, Alma and Mosiah's sons began to teach the people as they traveled throughout the land, telling of what they had seen and heard. They preached God's word in much tribulation, for they were greatly persecuted and even beaten by the unbelievers.
But in spite of their suffering, they patiently consoled the church, confirming their faith and encouraging them with great patience to keep God's commandments.
Mosiah's four sons, who taught with Alma, were Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni. They traveled throughout the land of Zarahemla among all the people of King Mosiah. They zealously did everything they could to repair the damage they had done to the church. They constantly confessed their sins and declared everything they had seen. They explained the prophecies and the scriptures to all who wanted to hear.
By doing these things, they were instruments in God's hands, bringing many to know of their Redeemer. And how blessed they are for publishing peace and good news, for declaring to the people that the Lord reigns!
Alma and Mosiah's sons preach... (compare Mosiah, chapter 28)
After King Mosiah's four sons had preached in the land of Zarahemla, they returned to their father. After selecting some men, they asked their father if they and those whom they had selected could go to the land of Nephi to preach God's word to the Lamanites.
They were hoping to bring the knowledge of the Lord to the Lamanites--to convince them of their false traditions and to end their hatred towards the Nephites.
Mosiah's sons explained to their father,
"If the Lamanites knew the truth, they would rejoice in the Lord their God. They would become friendly with the Nephites, and there would be no more fighting in all the land that the Lord has given us."
Mosiah's sons wanted salvation to be declared to everyone, for even the thought of any soul enduring endless torment made them tremble. This is how the Spirit of the Lord worked in them, for they had been the worst sinners of all.
The Lord had spared them because of His infinite mercy. But they still suffered great anguish of soul because of their sins, fearing they would be cast off forever. They begged their father over a period of many days for permission to go to the land of Nephi.
King Mosiah finally asked the Lord if he should let his sons go among the Lamanites to preach the word. The Lord said to Mosiah,
"Give them permission to go and preach, for many will believe them and gain eternal life. I will deliver your sons out of the hands of the Lamanites."
Mosiah granted his sons permission to go and preach to the Lamanites, and so they did.
I, Mormon, will give an account of Mosiah's sons later.
After his sons had departed, King Mosiah had no one to confer the kingdom upon, for none of his sons would accept it. So he gathered the brass plates, Nephi's large and small plates, the sacred things to be preserved according to God's commandments (Liahona, Laban's sword, and the interpreters), and his translation from the twenty-four pure gold plates that Limhi had brought to him.
Mosiah had translated the plates because his people were very anxious to know about those people whose bones were scattered over the land. He had translated the twenty-four plates using two stones fastened to two rims of a bow.
These interpreters were prepared from the beginning of the world, and had been handed down from generation to generation for the purpose of interpreting languages. They had been preserved by the Lord so that He could reveal the sins of His people to all those who would possess this land.
And whoever has these interpreters is called a seer (one who sees), like those of ancient times.
Mosiah's translation of the twenty-four plates gave an account that began from the creation of Adam and Eve. It continued through the time when the people at Babel built a great tower--when the Lord confused their language and scattered them over all the earth.
The account continued up until the time when the people who had migrated to this continent from Babel had completely annihilated one another.
The record of this great destruction filled Mosiah's people with sorrow, but it also gave them much knowledge, for which they were thankful. The record of these people will be written later.
Note: Although Mormon said he would write this record later, he was killed before he could do it. Therefore his son Moroni wrote the record of the destruction of "these people" (Ether 13-15:22).
It is very important for all people to know the details of this destruction.
After King Mosiah translated the twenty-four plates, he took the brass plates, all the records and sacred things, and conferred them upon Alma's son, Alma.
Then Mosiah commanded Alma to preserve everything, and also to keep his own record of the people, handing everything down from one generation to another, just as they had been handed down from the time Lehi had left Jerusalem.
Alma is given charge of the plates... (compare Mosiah, chapter 29)
After doing this, Mosiah sent messengers among all his people to ask who they wanted to be their next king. The people wanted Mosiah's son, Aaron, to be their king and ruler. Since Aaron had gone to the land of Nephi, the kingdom could not be conferred upon him. Besides, he and his brothers had already refused the kingdom.
So King Mosiah sent a written message to his people which said,
"My brethren (for I think of you as brethren), I call upon you to consider something other than having a king. Aaron, to whom the kingdom rightly belongs, has declined to take it upon himself.
Now if someone else is appointed in his stead, I am afraid that some of you would argue about it. And who knows whether or not my son, to whom the kingdom rightly belongs, would angrily return to split this people--some for him, and others against him. This would cause great bloodshed among you, for it would be against the ways of the Lord, and many souls would be lost.
So let us be wise and consider something else, for we have no right to destroy my son or anyone else who may be appointed in his place. If my son turned back to his pride and vanity, recalling what he had said, and claimed his right to the kingdom, then he and all this people would commit many sins. Let us look ahead and do what will keep the peace of this people.
I will be your king the rest of my life, but let us now appoint judges to take my place when I die, to judge this people according to our law. Together we will create a new way to govern, appointing wise men to judge this people according to God's commandments.
Isn't it better to allow God, rather than men, to rule over and judge us? For God's judgments are always just, but man's are not.
Now, if it were possible for you to always have just men to be your kings--men who would establish God's laws and judge this people according to His commandments, like my father, King Benjamin, then it would be good to always have kings to rule over you.
I have taught God's commandments to you as well as I possibly could in order to establish peace throughout the land, and to put an end to wars, stealing, plunder, murder and all types of sins. I have punished those who have sinned according to the law given to us by our forefathers.
Because not all leaders are just, it is not necessary for you to have a king, for one wicked king can be the cause of great sinfulness and destruction.
Always remember King Noah and his wicked people, and the great destruction and bondage that resulted from their sinfulness. If their all-wise Creator had not intervened after they had sincerely repented, they would still be in bondage today!
He delivered them because they humbled themselves before Him. Because they cried mightily to Him, He delivered them out of bondage. In all cases, this is how the Lord works with His power among His children. He always extends His arm of mercy to those who put their trust in Him.
You cannot dethrone an evil king without much bloodshed, for evil kings put their sinful friends in power and surround themselves with guards. They tear up the righteous laws of those who have reigned before them and trample God's commandments.
Evil kings invent their own corrupt laws and then kill those who disobey them by sending armies to put down rebellions.
Unrighteous kings corrupt the righteous principles of governing.
It is not good for such sinfulness to come upon you. So choose judges by your vote, that you may be judged according to the correct laws the Lord gave our forefathers.
It is more common for the minority, not the majority, to want what is wrong. So make it your law to always do your business by majority vote.
If the time comes when the majority of the people choose sinfulness, that is when God's judgments will come upon them. That is when He will visit them with great destruction, as He has done before in this land.
If one of your judges does not judge you according to the law, then have him brought to a higher judge.
If your higher judge does not judge righteously, then have a small number of your lower judges meet together and judge the higher judge, according to the voice of the people.
I command you to do these things in the fear of the Lord. I command you to have no king, for from now on, you will have to answer to judges for your own sins.
Until now, the sins of many people have been caused by the wickedness of their kings, who have had to answer for the sins of their people. This inequality should end in this land, especially among you, my people.
This land should be a land of liberty, where all people enjoy their rights and privileges equally, as long as the Lord sees fit for our descendants to remain upon it."
King Mosiah wrote many other things to his people, explaining the burden upon the soul of a righteous king on behalf of his people--of having to bear their lack of faith, their complaints and their sins. Mosiah told them it should not have to be this way, but that the burden should be upon each individual.
Mosiah explained all the disadvantages of laboring under an unrighteous king. He told his people that sins under an unrighteous king, such as wars, stealing, plunder, sexual immorality, and too many others to mention, are expressly repugnant to God's commandments.
After King Mosiah sent his written word to the people, they were all convinced that what he had written was true. They gave up their desire to have a king and became very eager to have equality throughout the land.
Mosiah's people also expressed a willingness to answer for their own sins. They gathered into groups throughout the land to vote for their judges, according to the law that had been given, and they rejoiced in their God given liberty.
They loved Mosiah very much, and they esteemed him more than any other man. They did not see him as a corrupt, greedy tyrant, for he had not taxed them, nor had he delighted in war. He had established peace in the land, granting liberty to all.
The people appointed judges, according to the law, throughout all the land. Alma's son, Alma, was appointed as the first chief judge. He was also the high priest, for his father had conferred that office upon him, giving him charge of all church affairs.
Like his father, Alma walked in the ways of the Lord, keeping His commandments. He judged righteously during a period of continual peace throughout the land.
This was the beginning of the reign of the judges among the Nephites throughout the land of Zarahemla.
At the age of 82, Alma's father, Alma, the founder of their church, died, having lived to fulfill God's commandments.
In 91 BC, at age 63, Mosiah died, having reigned thirty-three years. He was the last of the Nephite kings who had reigned for more than 450 years.