BOOK OF MORMON - LESSON 21
Mosiah 29; Alma 1-4
"Alma . . . Did Judge Righteous Judgments"
A study of this lesson should help us understand the righteous principles
of government and avoid priestcraft and pride.
Mosiah teaches principles of good government.
Alma the Younger serves a chief judge and combats priestcraft.
Amlici seeks to be king but is rejected by the voice of the people.
The challenge of being vigilant and persistent in our spirituality.
For several years I had an active fitness program that consisted primarily
of running, but also included bicycling.
To reinstitute that program would be a challenge.
Rebuilding aerobic capacity.
Strengthening and toning muscles.
Dealing with a few extra pounds.
It would have been much easier to have stayed with the program.
If we become lax in our spiritual life, we lose spiritual muscles and pickup
the increased weight of the carnal world.
When we try to regain our spirituality, like running, it is not always
easy to tone our spiritual muscles and shed the pounds of the carnal world.
WHAT IS THE KEY?
"And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians
As Paul stated, we must persist.
As with a successful fitness program, we must be persistent, regular, and
sincere in our efforts to succeed spiritually.
Paul: "...let us lay aside every weight, and the
sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race
that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Mosiah sent out among the people to find out their will concerning his
Mosiah sent a written proclamation to his people:
The people desired Mosiah's son Aaron to be the new king.
Aaron was out of the land and did not wish to become king.
"...neither were any of the sons of Mosiah willing
to take upon them the kingdom" (v3).
The people relinquished their desire for a king and assembled to vote for
WHAT COUNSEL DID MOSIAH GIVE THE PEOPLE ABOUT HAVING KINGS?
The problems with monarchy:
If Mosiah were to appoint another there might be contentions.
Aaron may return and wish to claim the throne and draw away part of the
people causing wars and contentions.
Mosiah asks: "How much iniquity doth one wicked
king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!"
He refers to King Noah and his wicked reign.
This wickedness led to the bondage of the people.
Mosiah said that you cannot dethrone an iniquitous king except through
much contention and shedding of blood.
He has his friends in iniquity.
He tears up the laws of the righteous who have reigned before him.
"Therefore, if it were possible that you could
have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and
judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have
men for your kings who would do even as my father Benjamin did for this
people--I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would
be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you"
Mosiah said that he would serve as king for the remainder of his days.
He suggested the election of judges by the people to govern the affairs
of the land.
WHAT QUALITIES DID MOSIAH SAY THESE JUDGES SHOULD HAVE?
"...we will appoint wise men to be judges, that
will judge this people according to the commandments of God"
D&C 98:10: "Wherefore, honest men and
wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye
should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh
WHY ARE THESE QUALITIES IMPORTANT IN LEADERS TODAY?
READ MOSIAH 29:26-27.
WHAT DID MOSIAH SAY WOULD HAPPEN IF THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE CHOSE WICKEDNESS?
UNDERSTANDING THIS PRINCIPLE, WHAT ARE SOME WAYS WE CAN HELP OTHERS UNDERSTAND
AND CHOOSE RIGHTEOUSNESS?
Special interest groups: the "lesser part of the people".
President J. Reuben Clark: "I have a complete
confidence in the aggregate wisdom of the...people if they are given and
made to understand the facts. The wisdom of the mass is always greater
than the wisdom of the individual or of the group. The few may be
more subtle, more agile-minded, more resourceful; they may for a time push
to the front and scamper ahead in the march; they may on occasion and for
a time entice us down the wrong highway at the crossroads. But the
great slow-moving, deliberate-thinking mass plods along over the years
down the Divinely appointed way. Led astray, they slowly, cumberously
swing back to the right road, no matter what the toil or the sacrifice
may be, and when they start the return, they crush whatever lies in their
path. So has humanity come up through the ages." (Prophets,
Principles, and National Survival, p110)
A thought: Isn't it interesting that we study the Book of Mormon
each four years, the years in which we elect the president of the United
States, as well as many senators, governors, and other representatives.
Alma the younger was elected the first chief judge.
In the last chapter of Mosiah a new form of government was established
among the Nephites.
During the 1st year of the reign of the judges a "man
who was large, and was noted for his much strength" (v2) began
preaching false doctrines among the Nephites.
Alma was appointed chief judge by the voice of the people.
In this chapter we find the first recorded challenge to the new form of
Nehor encounters Gideon (the same who sought to slay wicked King
WHO WAS THIS?
READ ALMA 1:3-6.
WHAT FALSE DOCTRINES DID NEHOR TEACH?
He taught contrary to the Church.
That the priests and teachers should become popular.
These priests and teachers should be supported by the hand of the
All men would be saved and receive eternal life.
WHY WAS NEHOR WAS ABLE TO DECEIVE SOME OF THE NEPHITES?
He flattered them.
He said that all men should receive eternal life.
The inference is that one need make the effort to live a righteous life
and will be saved in spite of one's lifestyle - whether good or bad.
HOW HAVE PEOPLE IN OUR DAY BEEN SIMILARLY DECEIVED?
ARE THERE DECEPTIVE DOCTRINES BEING TAUGHT BY SOME WITHIN THE CHURCH?
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "Because a man
has great schooling, is educated according to the ideas of the world, is
not sufficient reason why he should be called to take charge of a class
in any of the organizations or priesthood quorums within the Church.
Now, if he has scholastic ability and training, and along with it has faith
in the principles of the gospel and in the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and of the Prophet Joseph Smith, all well and good. But if he is
filled with all kinds of philosophy and notions and cannot accept the doctrines
of the standard works of the Church, we do not want him, whether it is
in our auxiliaries or the priesthood, or in our seminaries or institutes,
that are given for the teaching of religious principles and to instill
faith in the hearts of our young people....
"It makes no difference
who the teacher is, if he teaches false doctrine, if he teaches that which
has been condemned by the Lord, that is contrary to what is written in
the revelations given to the Church, then he should not teach."
(Conference Report, October 1954, pp21-22)
The influence of Nehor continues.
Gideon, a Nephite patriot, contended with Nehor and admonished him with
"the words of God".
ARE WE WILLING TO STAND UP AGAINST POPULAR TEACHERS, TEACHING FALSE DOCTRINE,
AND ADMONISH, AS GIDEON, WITH "THE WORDS OF GOD"?
WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN GIDEON AND NEHOR?
Nehor drew his sword and began to smite Gideon. Because of Gideon's
advanced age he was unable to defend himself physically and was slain by
Nehor was arrested and taken before Alma to be judged.
Alma 1:11-14: "And it came to pass that he stood
before Alma and pleaded for himself with much boldness.
"But Alma said unto him:
Behold, this is the first time that priestcraft has been introduced among
this people. And behold, thou art not only guilty of priestcraft,
but hast endeavored to enforce it by the sword; and were priestcraft to
be enforced among this people it would prove their entire destruction.
"And thou hast shed the
blood of a righteous man, yea, a man who has done much good among this
people; and were we to spare thee his blood would come upon us for vengeance.
"Therefore thou art condemned
to die, according to the law which has been given us by Mosiah, our last
king; and it has been acknowledged by this people; therefore this people
must abide by the law."
Nehor was taken to the top of the hill Manti and suffered an "ignominious
This seems to indicate that capital punishment is necessary for serious
crimes, particularly when murder is involved.
First Presidency declaration issued in 1889: "We
solemnly make the following declarations, the Church's position on capital
"That this Church views the
shedding of human blood with the utmost abhorrence. That we regard
the killing of human beings, except in conformity with the civil law, as
a capital crime, which should be punished by shedding the blood of the
criminal, after a public trial before a legally constituted court of the
"The revelations of God to
this Church make death the penalty for capital crime, and require that
offenders against life and property shall be delivered up to and tried
by the laws of the land." (Messages of the First Presidency, 3:184-185)
There arose a period of persecution of members of the church. Even
some of the members participated in that persecution.
"Nevertheless, this did not put an end to the
spreading of priestcraft through the land; for there were many who loved
the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines;
and this they did for the sake of riches and honor" (v16).
WHY DOES THE DESIRE FOR THE RICHES AND HONORS OF THE WORLD HAVE SUCH A
HOW SHOULD WE CHANNEL THIS DESIRE?
"Nevertheless, they durst not lie, if it were
known, for fear of the law, for liars were punished; therefore they pretended
to preach according to their belief; and now the law could have no power
on any man for his belief" (v17).
An interesting law - punishment for lying.
HOW MANY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CONSTITUTION TODAY BY PRACTICING EVIL PRACTICES
BECAUSE IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTED?
HOW DID THE RIGHTEOUS MEMBERS DEAL WITH THIS?
READ ALMA 1:25-28.
Steadfast & immovable in keeping the commandments (v25).
Bore with patience the persecution heaped upon them (v25).
They gave of their substance to those in need (v27).
Did not wear costly apparel, yet neat and comely (v27).
The events of this chapter serves as a somber warning.
Amlici came among the people.
There was a campaign.
He was cunning and a wise man as to wisdom of the world.
He was of the order of Nehor.
He drew away many people after him and the gained much power.
So much power that they endeavored to establish Amlici to be king over
His intent, once he obtained the kingship was to destroy the church and
its rights and privileges.
DID AMLICI AND HIS KING GROUP GIVE UP THEIR CRUSADE AND GO AWAY?
"And it came to pass that the people assembled
themselves together throughout all the land, every man according to his
mind, whether it were for or against Amlici, in separate bodies, having
much dispute and wonderful contentions one with another" (v5).
"And thus they did assemble themselves together
to cast in their voices concerning the matter; and they were laid before
the judges" (v6).
Amlici lost and was not made king over the people.
This caused much joy among those who opposed Amlici.
This seems to be a nation of two peoples.
"...Amlici did stir up those who were in his favor
to anger against those who were not in his favor" (v8).
This group appointed Amlici to be their king.
He caused his followers to take up arms against the rest of the Nephites.
Those who desire to do good and have built their lives upon correct principles.
Those who, from appearances, seem to have a good cause, but are seeking
to deprive us of our liberty.
Many of us are concerned about upcoming elections and what they may hold
for the future. Even if the election turns the way we wish, will
those groups with unrighteous agendas away?
The story of Amlici says "no". It is a solemn warning. We need
to be ever vigilant about our liberty and the way in which we live our
Alma 2:28: "Nevertheless, the Nephites being strengthened
by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver
them out of the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their
cries, and did strengthen them, and the Lamanites and the Amlicites did
fall before them."
There is much wickedness in the world today. If affects:
WHAT WICKED TEACHINGS AND PRACTICES DO WE SEE IN THE WORLD TODAY?
Peace in the world.
Physically caring for those in need.
It is tearing at the fabric of our nation.
The spiritual lives of the people of the world, including the members of
DOES ANY OF THIS AFFECT THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH?
Corrupt political leadership.
Advancing the concept of abortion as the a "choice".
Disregard for the fact that the choice was made at the time of conception.
Failing to take responsibility for one's actions.
A few years ago we witnessed the tragic rioting in Los Angeles. The
blame did was not assessed to those who simply disobeyed the law.
It was excused because of the Rodney King verdict and the failure of the
government to assist the inner city.
Living with a person of the opposite sex outside of marriage.
The advancement of the gay/lesbian lifestyle.
The media: TV, movies, music persistently teach incorrect values, including
all of the above.
The criticism of the teaching of correct values by the media/journalists.
Consider what happened to Dan Quayle when he spoke about the importance
of complete families.
On the flip side, the media practically overlooks the adultery of high
Pride of the world.
WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO ALL OF THIS?
ARE THESE INFLUENCES BECOMING AN INCREASING PROBLEM WITHIN THE CHURCH?
AS WE LIKEN THIS SCRIPTURE UNTO OURSELVES, HOW MIGHT
WE APPROACH THE WICKEDNESS WE SEE IN THE WORLD AROUND US?
Consider the 4th chapter of Alma.
As this chapter begins, the Nephites had suffered a period of war which
had humbled them.
They entered a period of peace and were beginning to again prosper.
READ ALMA 4:6-10. The wickedness of the people.
Consider Alma's observations: "And it came to
pass in the commencement of the ninth year, Alma saw the wickedness of
the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead
those who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus
bringing on the destruction of the people.
"Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some
lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their
backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those
who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted" (v11-12).
In the midst of this wickedness Nephihah was appointed chief judge.
READ ALMA 4:18-19.
Alma's way of dealing with the wickedness he saw around him: "seeing
no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure
testimony against them."
Prepare ourselves and our children for missions.
Be member missionaries. Strive to be the leaven
in the loaf.
Rearrange our priorities, as did Alma, to make the
sharing of the gospel of prime importance.
We have in our possession the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is the stuff of eternity. We can affect the world around us
by "bearing down in pure testimony" by work and by deed.
Do we get so caught up in our daily pursuits, that
we do not give this admonition to be missionaries the effort is deserves?
When I ponder these thoughts, I am left feeling somewhat
guilty for not doing all that I should.
What if every active member of the Church took their
member missionary duties as serious as the Lord would have us? Would
it make a difference?
Gospel Doctrine Class
Nature Gone Wild
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