31 July 2012

"Stand Fast in This Liberty," Mosiah 23:1-18

Mosiah 23:1-18

The broader quote used in the title states: "... ye should stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free..." (vs. 13) and is used in context of a discussion on why they should not choose to have a King to rule over them. I find this very interesting however, and extremely applicable to the conditions of the United States. Though the question here is never about what type of government we should establish. That has already been given to us, and will hopefully never become an issue of debate, that is, what type of government we should have.

However, that we are introduced to practices and philosophies and entertainments that would cause us to compromise our freedoms, has become a frequent occurrence in our society. Hence, the admonition to not give up our freedoms by standing fast in this liberty that God has given us seems particularly relevant today.

This actually sends me back to the beginning of the month and some strong impressions I had about how we as a people have compromised our liberty through our entertainments. Surely, if we would elevate the ways in which we chose to entertain ourselves, we would also qualify as a nation for a providential blessing of peace and freedom.

Alma explains well to his people why they should not desire any form of monarch over the people. The experiences of King Noah were all too recent in his memory, having had a front row seat, and even having been caught in these snares of the king's indolence.

There is one other thing that impresses me about these verses, and that is Alma's effectiveness in separating himself from the blessings and power of God. Alma recognizes that though he had been the means of bring many of them to the knowledge of the truth,  he was "unworthy to glory of myself." (vs. 11)

20 July 2012

"They Pursued Their Journey," Mosiah 22:10-16

Mosiah 22:10-16

I was just reviewing the tags I had placed on the last post. I find it extremely intriguing that we can talk about integrity of character, service, and strategy all in the same breath. There are many stories along these lines then that have not yet been explored.

Again a couple of interesting points of observation in these simple passages.
  1. Once the people of Limhi set out on their course, the scriptures say "they pursued their journey." (vs. 12) Though they were many days on this exodus from the land that they had labored diligently to establish, they pushed forward fixed on the course of their freedom. 
  2. Upon arrival in the land of Zarahemla, the people of Limhi became subjects to King Mosiah. (vs. 13) This is particularly notable because Limhi's role and position as monarch of his people is dissolved. Truly, Limhi's great concern was for his people, not for his power.

19 July 2012

"The King Hearkened unto the Words of Gideon," Mosiah 22:1-9

Mosiah 22:1-9

In this passage, the people of Limhi are gathered to devise a plan for their escape from the Lamanites. They have at this point concluded that the only way to remedy their bondage from the Lamanites was to "depart into the wilderness". (vs. 2)

There are simple subtleties in these verses that stand out to me in this reading. First, Gideon, upon soliciting the king's attention, presents himself as servant to the king. Gideon at this point, had developed a plan for the deliverance of their people, how long he had had this option in mind we do not know, but what does seem certain is his confidence in the plan.

In this reading I also paid closer attention to the actual directions that Gideon outlined to the king. It appears to have been a very indirect route, perhaps the least obvious of all possible, which would cause them to travel around the land of Shilom. (vs. 8)

The most intriguing part of this chapter however is Gideon's ability to be an effective servant because of his righteousness.    He was a servant who had been faithful before and had continued faithful even at this present time. This was the source of his character and integrity, attributes of worthiness that made his suggestions and service to the king effective.

08 July 2012

"That the Word of the Lord Might Be Fulfilled," Mosiah 21

Mosiah 21
(See also Mosiah 12:1-8, blog post)

This chapter now deals with the bitter realities of Abinadi's prophecies being fulfilled. After outlining some of the difficult events which the people of Limhi were now encountering, verse 4 explains, "Yea, all this was done that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled." (A quick review of what the prophecy of Abinadi entailed can be found back in chapter 12 as noted above.)

There is an observation made in the blog post for chapter 12 that also describes what is happening in this chapter.
...To have a hardened heart is essentially to have withdrawn from the presence and the Spirit of the Lord.We cut off the lifeline of Life, our relationship to the Divine, and attempt to take salvation into our own hands, which is hopelessly impossible.
As this current chapter (21) attests to, the way in which we so often attempt to take salvation into our own hands is by brute force or violence. It is human nature to think that we can some how fight our way out of our oppression. This can be deadly and dangerously life-altering, especially when applied to family relationships. There is only one way in which challenges in life can be dealt with peaceably and that is primarily facilitated through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Eventually though, because the people of Limhi chose to "humble themselves even in the depths of humility" (vs. 14), the Lord did answer their prayers. Several things happened that may have been not perceivable to the undiscerning.
  • The hearts of the  Lamanites where softened that their burdens became easier. 
  • They began to prosper by degrees in their flocks and fields, thus subsiding their hunger. 
  • King Limhi intervened on behalf of the widows in the land, making assignments to able men to provide for them. 
  • Disturbances between the Lamanites and the people of Limhi eventually ceased all together. 
  • Finally, Ammon and his fellows arrive in the land to the great joy of King Limhi. 
At the end of this chapter, it is observed that the net result of all that the people of Limhi had suffered had caused them to be prepared to make covenants with God. They were desirous now to be baptized, but there was now nobody with authority to do so.

Verse 34 says that there was no church for them to join, "waiting upon the Spirit of the Lord." The wording strikes me as curious. Perhaps this is evidence that they had now learned the value of patience in the Lord's timing.