31 July 2011

"When I Saw that Which Was Good," Mosiah 9:1-2

Mosiah 9:1-2

I find this chapter very interesting for several reasons. Zeniff became leader of a people that returned to the land of Lehi-Nephi. We learn however from the first account given of this group over in Omni 1:27-29 that Zeniff wasn't the first leader of this group, but that it was a stiff-necked individual that caused them to fight amongst themselves. With both references in context, it appears that their purpose in going back up to the land of Nephi-Lehi was so that they could possess the land. One leader sought to do it contentiously. He was destroyed. The next (Zeniff) sought an agreement or treaty with Lamanites. Neither worked in the end, but the latter did give them a season of peace and prosperity.

So as a spy, Zeniff was part of an army that was commanded to destroy the Lamanites. When he saw that which was good among them, he had no desire to destroy them. However, his leader commanded that Zeniff should also be killed for his opinion. A great battle resulted amongst the army itself and many consequently died. Those that remained returned to their own land to relate what had happened to the families of the others that had died.

It impresses me that Zeniff felt such a desire to protect that which was good among the Lamanites. It is easy to feel ill feelings against those that we don't know. It becomes much harder when we know and see the actual situation of others and the majority of people are really not bad. Many are in the same situation of life just working to stay ahead. It seems to me that much more character is required to extend mercy, instead of passing judgment. We see through out history that many groups have been condemned by others only because of their race or nationality, or even worse, a colored past by those who had gone before.

Seeing that Zeniff took the merciful side, causes me to be notably more sympathetic for what come afterwards.

27 July 2011

"A Seer... Revelator and Prophet," Mosiah 8

Mosiah 8

It is interesting that Ammon was called upon to relate to the people of Limhi all that had happened in the Zarahemla. Not only that, but he was also able to declare unto them the words of king Benjamin. This reminded me of a recent visit where we were talking about prophets and how it is that we have a living prophet today. The natural question that followed was, "What has the prophet said today?" It was my responsibility to relate from memory the most recent words of the prophet. Do I really recognize the great blessing that it is to have a prophet among the people of the Church?

After the meeting with the people of Limhi, the chapter goes on to relate a discussion between the king and Ammon. Limhi asks him if he is able to translate some records that his people had obtained. Why did Limhi ask Ammon if he could translate? Perhaps it was because of the power of the words that had been delivered to his people concerning the history of Zarahelma and the words of king Benjamin. My own experiences have shown that the Spirit can manifest itself quite strongly for the benefit of the hearers. Perhaps when Limhi felt the Spirit of the Lord while he was listening to Ammon, he supposed Ammon to be a prophet.

There is a sense of enthusiasm on both sides when Ammon answers the king's questions and king Limhi understands them. I suppose that part of that enthusiasm that the king is feeling is because now he better understands the cause for the suffering of his people. To understand the great gift that the king of Zarahemla possessed, the king also understood what was lost when his grandfather (Zeniff)  left Zarahemla to reclaim the land of Nephi. To have a prophet and access to his teachings is a great blessing from God. When he left Zarahemla for the land of Nephi, Zeniff lost access to a prophet. I suppose that it is for this reason that Zeniff declares at the end of the chapter, "How blind and impenetrable are the understandings of the children of men; for they will not seek wisdom, neither do they desire that she should rule over them!" (verse 20)

14 July 2011

"Put Your Trust in God," Mosiah 7:14-33

Mosiah 7:14-33

There have been just a few thoughts regarding bondage and spiritual slavery as I've reviewed these verses in English. It seems that in many cases spiritual bondage as a result of sin precedes physical bondage or limitation in one form or another. Other times, physical limitations or disabilities are not the direct result of sin, but to teach us the difference between the physical and the spiritual. Indeed, the physical can be severely handicapped, while the spiritual side of our beings is allowed to grow and flourish.

The essence of a vibrant spirit is one that has complete trust in God and is completely, unconditionally filled with the love of God and love of our fellow man. This can be misunderstood as naivety or plain foolishness by our mortal capacities. But make no mistake, one who can freely forgive and love without condition is free from a host of spiritual limitations.

In theses verses, king Limhi counsels his people to prepare to leave the land of Nephi. The difference in his counsel, and I believe this is why this account is found in the Book of Mormon, is that he advises them to put their trust in God. (vs. 17,33)

It gives me pause to reflect upon the ways in which I can put my trust in God. A few mornings back, I offered up two prayers. The first was a prayer of panic because of the serious situation in which I found myself at the moment. The second prayer was a display of trust in the peace and will of the Lord. The second was an expression of profound faith like that of Nephi, that the Lord will never give us a commandment that is more than we can handle.

It is curious the way in which the Lord  works to gather his children. Those whom king Limhi was addressing in these verses were those who chose not to follow Alma. They are the remnants who stayed in the land of Nephi. They were not those who demonstrated the great faith that would have been required to follow Alma into the wilderness. These are they that stayed behind. Thus we see that at different times and in distinct ways, the Lord has prepared a way for all to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

First, the Lord sent one of his prophet among the people. They killed him. Then, the Lord prepared another prophet who left from among them with all those that would believe. The finally, for the rest the Lord sent his servants to gather the rest.

Indeed, the Lord does love all his children.

02 July 2011

"If Ye Had Known Me," Mosiah 7:6-13

Mosiah 7:6-13

These verses relate how Ammon and his brethren were taken and imprisoned. I am impressed by the attitude of Ammon in these circumstances.  In verse 13, he says that if the king had known Ammon and his brethren, he would not have permitted that they suffered in prison. This is the Spirit of peace and it avoids contention. Ammon was possessor of this Spirit.