Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, March 15

“Book of Mormon: A Leader’s Golden Standard” by grego

Book of Mormon: A Leader’s Golden Standard

grego
(c) 2010

Reading the Book of Mormon, I was impressed by a wonderful standard all leaders could use to measure themselves by. It is found in Mosiah 29:40:

Mosiah 49:40 And they did wax strong in love towards Mosiah; yea, they did esteem him more than any other man; for they did not look upon him as a tyrant who was seeking for gain, yea, for that lucre which doth corrupt the soul; for he had not exacted riches of them, neither had he delighted in the shedding of blood; but he had established peace in the land, and *he had granted unto his people that they should be delivered from all manner of bondage*; therefore they did esteem him, yea, exceedingly, beyond measure.

A great leader seeks to liberate his people from bondage, not put them under it. They seek to make the people as free as possible, as independent as possible, as rich as possible, as long-lived as possible, as equal as possible.

As King Mosiah does those things, his people “esteem [respected and held highly] him, yea, exceedingly, beyond measure”. Pretty nice returns for a ruler…

2010, January 27

“Book of Mormon: Was King Mosiah King over the Nephites Previous to Being King over the Nephites and Mulekites?” by grego

Book of Mormon: Was King Mosiah King over the Nephites Previous to Being King over the Nephites and Mulekites?

grego
(c) 2010

I just noticed today, that the Book of Mormon does not say that Mosiah had been king over the Nephites before being appointed king over the Nephites and Mulekites. Here’s the introduction to Mosiah:

Omni 1:12 Behold, I am Amaleki, the son of Abinadom. Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla; for behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness—
13 And it came to pass that he did according as the Lord had commanded him. And they departed out of the land into the wilderness, as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord; and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla.
14 And they discovered a people, who were called the people of Zarahemla. Now, there was great rejoicing among the people of Zarahemla; and also Zarahemla did rejoice exceedingly, because the Lord had sent the people of Mosiah with the plates of brass which contained the record of the Jews.
15 Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.
16 And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth.
17 And at the time that Mosiah discovered them, they had become exceedingly numerous. Nevertheless, they had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time; and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them.
18 But it came to pass that Mosiah caused that they should be taught in his language. And it came to pass that after they were taught in the language of Mosiah, Zarahemla gave a genealogy of his fathers, according to his memory; and they are written, but not in these plates.
19 And it came to pass that the people of Zarahemla, and of Mosiah, did unite together; and Mosiah was appointed to be their king.
20 And it came to pass in the days of Mosiah, there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God.

Note there is nothing there that says Mosiah was king of the Nephites previous to that appointment over the united groups.

So why had I assumed that?

I guess there were a few things:

1. it seemed weird for me for Mosiah to become king over two peoples if he hadn’t first been a king over one;

2. Mosiah had brought “the plates of brass which contained the record of the Jews” (v. 14).

3. Mosiah had brought the plates of the Nephite kings:
Words of Mormon 1:10 Wherefore, it came to pass that after Amaleki had delivered up these plates into the hands of *king Benjamin, he took them and put them with the other plates, which contained records which had been handed down by the kings, from generation to generation until the days of king Benjamin*.

4. Mosiah had brought the sword of Laban:
Words of Mormon 1:13 And it came to pass also that the armies of the Lamanites came down out of the land of Nephi, to battle against his people. But behold, king Benjamin gathered together his armies, and he did stand against them; and he did fight with the strength of his own arm, with the *sword of Laban*.

So had Mosiah been king over the Nephites, before being warned by the Lord and leading out a righteous remnant? The text doesn’t say, I don’t know; very likely, though. :)

UPDATE: So why had I wondered about this in the first place? Mainly because of this verse:
Jacob 1:11 Wherefore, the people were desirous to retain in remembrance his name. And whoso should reign in his stead were called by the people, second Nephi, third Nephi, and so forth, according to the reigns of the kings; and thus they were called by the people, let them be of whatever name they would.

Then suddenly we have the name “Mosiah”. Did that tradition change sometime between the 544BC (of Jacob 1) to 279~130BC (when Mosiah? If so, ok, no problem. If not, then that would make it likely that Mosiah was not a proper Nephite king.

2008, June 30

Book of Mormon: Ammon or Aaron–Who Was Older?

Book of Mormon: Ammon or Aaron–Who Was Older?

In Mosiah 27:34, we learn that king Mosiah has four sons, and it names Ammon first, then Aaron. So, it seems that Ammon is the firstborn, and Aaron is the second. This way of giving birth order happens at other times: with Lehi’s sons, with Alma the Younger’s sons, and with Helaman’s sons, for example. However, there are a few things that make me wonder if Ammon really was the firstborn, or at least conclude that there’s more to the story than what is written.

Many people point to Ammon’s being the leader of the missionary group (Alma 17:18 ) as extra evidence of his being the firstborn; but this is a church calling, not something that has to do with age or birth order. In addition, being called the people of Ammon has to do with religious things, too, as does being high priest over them (Alma 30:20).

I see three hints that Aaron might be older:
1. while Ammon preaches to the lesser king/ prince Lamoni, it is left to Aaron to preach to the king of all the Lamanites; is that the Nephite prince teaches the Lamanite prince, and the rightful Nephite king teaches the king?
2. when the Lamanite king wants a new name for his converted people, he consults chiefly with Aaron (Alma 23:16; 17-18). Perhaps choosing a new name is more of a political decision than a religious one; consulting with the heir king and getting his approval is more appropriate. Also, the two verses afterwards, are political matters.
3. the people ask that Aaron be king, and king Mosiah says it’s Aaron’s right to be king (Mosiah 29:1-3, 6). When king Mosiah speaks about potential future problems with the right to rule the kingdom, including the possible return and oath dismissal by those who had a past right to rule as king, he speaks about Aaron–never Ammon.

So, why would Aaron have the right to rule if Ammon were the firstborn?

Was Aaron really older than Ammon, but played a less prominent role in the spiritual aspect in the Book of Mormon? Or maybe Ammon swore he would never be king. (But if that had been the case, wouldn’t king Mosiah also have spoken about that in Mosiah 29?) Could Ammon have done something much earlier to lose his right to rule, to lose his right of the firstborn–something that Aaron hadn’t done? (But weren’t they all in it together?) Was a mistake made in the writing? Was the name placing in Mosiah 27:34 done for some other reason? I don’t know.

At least, I think it would be much better to say they are brothers, than to say that Ammon is definitely older than Aaron.

Any other insights, scriptures?

[EDIT, July 7, 2017:  This topic came to my thoughts much more because of the Chinese translations of the Book of Mormon, where “older brother” is used for Ammon, and “younger brother” is used for Aaron.]
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2008, June 2

Book of Mormon: King Mosiah and Kings to Judges

I think that the study on kings by King Mosiah is brilliant. As recorded in Mosiah 29, it is short, concise, and dense. I’ll write later about that.

But what I want to talk about is the situation that king Mosiah had and how he dealt with it.

King Mosiah wanted to pass the kingdom on down to his sons. That was his plan; that had been his plan. I don’t think he had ever considered that they wouldn’t want it. But they didn’t want to be king; none would accept.

This caused King Mosiah to be blocked; stuck; up the creek without a paddle. It seemed like a really bad thing. This is *not* what King Mosiah wanted. But, he got to it. Instead of plowing ahead with an easy answer that wasn’t good, or just taking a step back, he really pulled back and took a look at the course of things. Fortunately, God had prepared his mind for this situation, through many experiences. I imagine these are some of the things King Mosiah considered:

*He had the history of the Nephites, kings and priests on the plates of Nephi.
*He knew about Lamanites and kings and wars.
*His grandfather, King Mosiah1, had melded his people with the Mulekites/ people of Zarahemla, and become the king (Omni 1:19). While it doesn’t explicitly say it, I assume that Zarahemla was king at the time (Omni 1:18, 19). Perhaps King Mosiah2 saw where they were and what they had been through, and maybe potential future problems about ruling/ kings.
*He had two Jaredite records–the smaller one from his grandfather interpreted (Omni 1:20-22), and the 24 plates found by the people of King Limhi (Mosiah 8:9, 28:11). I assume King Mosiah had the words of the brother of Jared about not having kings (Ether 6:23), and most likely two accounts of king after king all the way down to King Coriantumr and the Jaredite destruction.
*He had the story of King Noah and the problems he and his priests had caused, brought by King Limhi and his people.
*He had the words of Alma refusing to be king and a reason or two why (Mosiah 23:6-14); yet Alma was just the Church, not a “nation” including nonbelievers; and at that time there was a big problem with the nonbelievers who remained Nephites (Mosiah 26, 27). In fact, four of his sons were nonbelievers for quite a while, and I think he saw how easy it was for one generation to turn.
So these groups–Mulekites, Limhites, Almaites–with kings (real or basically), united with the Nephites at Zarahemla…

Any answers anywhere?
*King Mosiah had the brass plates, and so I imagine, the records of judges and kings/ Samuel/ Saul.
*He had the prophecies about the land, the land being a land of liberty, people serving God or being destroyed when they were ripe, what that meant, a history of this promise being fulfilled by God.

So, he put it all together and presented their problem and potential future problems, his solution, the reasons for changing, and more about his solution, etc. By commands, I believe it to be clear that this was inspiration/ revelation.

So, what do we do when things don’t go as planned, especially with something major? How do we make our decisions? Where do we look for answers? Do we consider that maybe God has, through time and our experiences, prepared us for new things? Do we remember that we can and are supposed to turn to the scriptures, His word, and Him for direction, help, and confirmation? Do we consider the possibility that Plan B, which we never wanted because we were very happy and content with Plan A, might be 10x better than Plan A ever thought of being? Can we stop, step back, and ponder? Can we look for better ways–maybe not just on the surface, but deeper? Do we have the ability to “let go” of Plan A so that we are free for Plan B? Are we courageous enough to follow the path we see we’re supposed to take? Are we courageous enough to be dependent on the Lord and ourselves, and independent of others’ contrary opinions and harpings? Do we think it out, explain ourselves well, and burn our bridges when they need to be burned? Are we willing to give up something like our descendants being king, in order for something better for everyone? Do we see our solutions through to an end?

King Mosiah’s sons refuse, he remains king until death, and then the system of judges–already in place and judges elected (at least some)–and the laws–already in place–take effect. A smooth transition from kings to judges.

And Alma, the first chief judge and the high priest of the church, had such a great opportunity to be king; yet he set a wonderful example for the people and the following rulers. Perhaps the people saw a need for a great leader who was not only a good man, but had been the son of a man who had already spoken against having kings and displayed passing up the opportunity when he had been asked earlier to be king.


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