Sunday, January 31, 2010

A tribute to Mosiah

We live in a day and time in which there are wars, rumors of wars, disasters in diverse places, and wickedness all around us. My patriarchal blessing tells me that I will live in a time such as this, and that as I stand in holy places, that I will be kept safe. It is easy to see, as I look about my world, that the forces of good and evil, corruption and incorruption, greed and charity, pride and obedience, are raging on every hand. In a time such as this, we have need of good leaders, men and women who are led by the Lord, and who are not afraid to stand up for His laws and His wisdom.

I am inspired as I read Mosiah, and learn of him, that there are always good men, whether they are kings, prophets or bishops, who will listen to the enticings of the Lord, and lead us in His ways.

King Mosiah was a righteous king. In Mosiah 29:13 and 14 it says,
13 Therefore, aif it were possible that you could have bjust men to be your kings, who would establish the claws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do even as my father dBenjamin did for this people—I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you.
14 And even I myself have labored with all the power and faculties which I have possessed, to teach you the commandments of God, and to establish peace throughout the land, that there should be no wars nor contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity;
In teaching his people the commandments, and setting the example for his subjects, Mosiah had given them a chance to see the best in earthly governance. He had labored with them, he had worshiped with them. Mosiah had judged his people righteously, and he had allowed all of his sons, after their own powerful conversions, to leave his kingdom to teach the Lamanites who were the sworn enemies of Mosiah's people. He truly followed the Lord, and loved Him, and in so doing he taught his people to love the Lord as well.

Even more importantly for all of the posterity of the Nephites, he taught them why a king is not expedient for the Lord's people. He explained how much wickedness a wicked king can cause among his people. (For a detailed explanation read Mosiah 29:20-24.) He urged his people to instead choose judges, and a system of direct government that would allow the people to remove corrupt judges. His arguments were persuasive to his people, and they elected Alma the Younger, a righteous man, as their first chief judge.

More importantly, Mosiah explained the burdens of kings, and how unfair it is to the king to be responsible for all of the iniquities of his subjects. He explained the trials and troubles of a king, "all the travails of soul for their people, and also all the murmurings of the people to their king;" and he then invited then to take responsibility for their own actions. He was persuasive, and in verse 38 we read,
38 Therefore they relinquished their desires for a king, and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal achance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins.

In teaching his people how to be accountable for their own actions, and giving them the chance to govern themselves, he allowed them to become more profitable servants unto the Lord. That left them with a great responsibility, as is explained in verses 26 and 27,
26 Now it is not common that the avoice of the people desireth anything bcontrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the cpeople to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.
27 And aif the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.
He left them to be able to choose for themselves, and able to know that they had the choice to stand in holy places. His explanations, and trust in his people allowed it to be said in verse 47, "And this ended the reign of the kings over the people of Nephi." It did not mean that wicked men would never again try to rule the Nephites. It did mean that Mosiah had given all of the Nephites the agency to choose their leaders, and the direction of their government.

We have been learning about the Fall and the Atonement in Sunday School. If we understand that the Fall was necessary for us to be able to have choices, to be able to experience joy and pain, to be able to have experiences that are required for us to return to Heavenly Father, then we understand how precious it is to be able to choose. King Mosiah did not just give his people the gift of a new kind of government, he gave them the gift of being accountable, and having the blessings and challenges that come from the choices that we make, both individually and as a country.

I am grateful for Mosiah, and for what he taught not only his own people, in his day, but what he taught me, and will continue to teach me and my posterity in the years to come. Thank you Mosiah, a thousand times over.

No comments: