A unique milestone in the history of the Nephite nation is addressed in an epistle to the people from King Mosiah, for they were desirous to continue under the leadership of a king. King Mosiah, though being the third king from King Mosiah (his grandfather, see Omni 1:12-13) to lead the people under righteousness, presents the people with an alternative form of government.
An interesting side thought is the reason for this change. The rightful heir to the throne, Aaron -- the son of Mosiah, has rejected the throne because of his desires to serve as a missionary. The decision to reject the throne was a radical decision based on righteous motives. The blessing that resulted to the benefit of the people was of greater good than anything that he could have done for the kingdom as king. Missionary work blesses both those directly and indirectly involved in it.
In verse 11, after presenting an interesting yet not entirely improbable scenario of rebellion, Mosiah proposes that a new form of government be adopted by the people -- a system of judges. The standard proposed for judgment is the commandments of God.
As I consider it, and this often seems elusive to those who talk about it, what king Mosiah is doing here is establishing peace. Think of it. An entire nation about to about to radically change the organization and structure of its goverment's affairs without conflict or contention. It is done by logical persuasion coupled with righteous motivation. It is in the labors of writing and the efforts of spelling out in detail the scopes and parameters of such action. It is in the orderly communication of anticipated events and possible outcomes that bring peace. Verse 14 touches lightly upon this point.
Now Mosiah goes on to rehearse in some detail the difficulties of being subjected to a wicked king. He uses the example of King Noah as a reference. This logical reminder was surely not too distant in the minds of the people, especially those who had been directly impacted by his reign. It would have been the only example within the living Nephite history of the time that would resonate deeply with the people.
In verse 25, king Mosiah introduces a form of democracy into the government of the people, suggesting that the people might choose judges to govern the people. This rule of the people is predicated upon the general assumption that the majority of the people will choose that which is right, and that it will be the lesser part of the people who will choose that which is wrong. This is a relevant reminder for our time. Democracy only works when the society is based upon moral principle.
Mosiah sees this as a suitable solution, noting that when the time comes that the voice of the people does not choose that which is right, then God will execute judgment upon them. Or in other words, if this form of government fails, God will then step in to judge the people with destruction upon the land. (see verse 27)
In the final verses that discuss king Mosiah's letter to his people, it explains that ultimate objective in the reformation of the government was to create an environment for individual equality and personal liberty. Verse 32, explains that :
this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people; but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike...These well thought out and inspired arguments to persuade the people to change the affairs of their government were well received. Equality and liberty become the desires of the people.