Monday, March 05, 2007

Mosiah 1

The Importance of Scripture

Just like Nephi of old, Benjamin’s sons were “taught in all the language of [their] fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding” (v. 2). Once they were taught the language, they could then better understand the prophecies that were contained in all the records that the kings and prophets preserved. Benjamin goes on to explain the importance of the records. I imagine that Benjamin was thinking of the people of Zarahemla when he taught his sons the importance of keeping records. He says in verse 3 that if it weren’t for the records, they would all be suffering in ignorance and that they would not know the mysteries of God.

Another blessing of having the scriptures is to have the commandments “always before our eyes” (v. 5) so that we remember the commandments and keep them. Of course to have the commandments "always before our eyes" we must open the scriptures and read them always.

Then in verse 7, he reminds his sons to not only search the scriptures, but to search them diligently. In various settings at work and other areas, I sometimes hear older generations complain about the lack of curiosity among the younger generations. Sometimes we are so caught up in finishing the task at hand, that we forget to delve. It is in the searching and the lifting up the stones and "inspecting" that we gain the knowledge found in the scriptures. Too many times we superficially glaze over verses and we are not curious or curious enough. We ought to take time to search, to study, to delve and understand the scriptures at a deeper level.

I can’t think of what my life would be like without the scriptures! I agree completely with Benjamin, that I would be lost without them. Our great nation was founded on Christian principles because our Fathers believed in God and read the Bible. This nation would not be great if it had not been for the Bible.

Fathers Teach Their Children

King Benjamin is one of many examples in the Book of Mormon of a father striving to teach his children. Lehi taught his sons. Two of them chose not to listen (if an angel of God could not change their attitudes, then Lehi is not to blame). Nephi taught his children and Jacob taught his children. Mosiah obviously taught King Benjamin and now Benjamin is teaching his sons. We later find out that Mosiah's sons are among the unbelievers, but this did not stop Mosiah from doing his duty … he continued to pray for them and they eventually turn their course (unlike Laman and Lemuel, the sons of Mosiah react differently when confronted by an angel of the Lord.) Alma teaches his son too, but his son rebelled along with the sons of Mosiah. But he too was convinced of his wrong-doings. He in turn teaches his sons and we get to read the personal account of Alma the Younger teaching both his faithful and wayward sons. In turn we read of Helaman teaching his sons Nephi and Lehi who become very powerful prophets. Nephi in turn teaches his son Nephi. Lastly we read of Mormon and Moroni and we read of the intimate, personal teachings Mormon gives his son via epistles. The Book of Mormon is rich with examples of fathers teaching their children. has a quote by Elder Maxwell with regards to fathers teaching their children. In this quote he contrasts Benjamin teaching his sons to Eli who did not restrain his sons (see 1 Sam 3:13). He says, "With no desire to be judgmental whatsoever, one ponders those comparative implications" ("King Benjamin's Sermon: A Manual for Discipleship").

The Doctrine and Covenants remove all doubt about the responsibility of parents teaching their children the gospel (read D&C 68:25; D&C 93:40-50).

The Promise

Again, in verse 7, the promise is given – that if the Nephites kept the commandments of God, they would prosper in the land, but if they did not, then they would suffer the consequences of God.

The Liahona

Lastly, Benjamin gave Mosiah charge of all the plates, and possessions of Nephi. He gave him the sword of Laban, the plates of Nephi and the Liahona. Benjamin goes on to comment on the Liahona. He said that Lehi and his family prospered in their journey when they kept the commandments of God. When they were faithful, the Liahona would direct them to where they should go. The Liahona also contained writings and teachings on it from time to time that taught Lehi and his family important principles. But, if they were unfaithful, they did not progress in their journey. They “incurred the displeasure of God” and lost their way. Only when they humbled themselves and were faithful again did the director work for them.

In Alma 37:38-47, Alma gives a marvelous discourse on the Liahona, comparing it to the words of Christ. Lehi and his family had to have faith that the spindles would work and show them the way. If they had faith, the spindles would work. If they lacked faith, the spindles would not work and they were delayed in their journey and suffer hardships. So too it is with us and the words of Christ. If we have faith and believe Christ, we will progress in our spiritual journey home to our Father in Heaven. But if we lack faith and are not diligent in keeping the commandments, our journey is delayed and we experience setbacks.

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