Book of Mormon
Indebted to Your Heavenly Father”
King Benjamin teaches his sons and has Mosiah call the people together.
King Benjamin teaches the people their indebtedness to God.
King Benjamin repeats an angel's prophecies about Jesus Christ and His
A study of this lesson will increase our understanding of our indebtedness to
God and encourage us to "[put] off the natural man … through the atonement of
Christ the Lord" (Mosiah
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 15 Handout (PDF)
Introduction To Mosiah.
In our Book of Mormon lessons thus far, we have been studying the small plates of Nephi.
With the Book of Mosiah we begin studying Mormon's abridgment of the large
plates of Nephi.
In just a few pages we have jumped several hundred years, from the time
of Jacob to the beginning of the Book of Mosiah.
The Book of Mosiah begins in about 130 B.C.
As Mormon stated in his insert, Words of Mormon, "I
cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people"
(v5). We have even less than the Cliff Notes of Nephite history up
to this time.
WHAT IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES DID KING BENJAMIN TEACH HIS SONS (AND US) ABOUT
Take a few moments to review
Knowing the scriptures (and the prophecies contained therein) was so important
that Benjamin had his sons taught in the "language of his fathers" in order
to read them (v2).
Without the scriptures (plates of brass) they would be ignorant of the
mysteries of God (the principles of salvation and righteousness) (v3).
The scriptures are a tool for helping us to remember the things of God
and aid us in passing them on to our posterity (v4).
Without the scriptures which contain the "mysteries" and "commandments"
we would dwindle in unbelief (v5).
Search the scriptures "diligently." Those who do so will profit. Those who keep the commandments contained therein will prosper "in the land"
HOW HAVE THE SCRIPTURES HELPED YOU REMEMBER, OBEY, AND TEACH THE THINGS
This is a good question. We often talk about the importance of the
scriptures, but are they really making a difference in our lives? What are some examples?
Consider these questions: Where would you be today if the scriptures
had not influenced your life? What would happen to you if the
scriptures and their influence were suddenly removed from your life?
Even having grown up active in the Church, attending seminary, and serving
a mission, there is no question that without the continuing power of the
scriptures, in particular the Book of Mormon, I would not be an active
member today. I have had challenges in my life that have tested my
faith. Without the power of the scriptures and my testimony in them,
I believe my faith would have wavered. My testimony of these incredible
writings has pulled me through those times when I might have turned a different
President Ezra Taft Benson speaking of the Book of Mormon said that, "It
fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies,
and doctrines of the devil in our day" (CR, Apr
Brother Stephen R. Covey: "What food is
to the body, prayerful scripture study is to the spirit. We physically
die without food, and we spiritually die without the Spirit and word of
God." (The Divine Center, p188)
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT PARENTS TEACH THEIR CHILDREN FROM THE SCRIPTURES?
Like the Lamanites or Mulekites, without a knowledge of the scriptures
they would dwindle in unbelief.
As it says on the title page of the Book of Mormon, a primary purpose of
the scriptures (particularly the Book of Mormon) is to convince us that
"Jesus is the Christ." The scriptures bring us to Christ and teach
us to follow in his path
As President Benson stated above, they fortify the humble followers of
Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil
in our day. We take the time to have our children inoculated against
deadly diseases. Children that study and are taught the scriptures
on a regular basis are being inoculated against the deadly temptations
President Marion G. Romney: "I feel certain that
if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully
and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of
that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration
for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children
will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity--the pure love
of Christ--will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace,
joy, and happiness." (CR, Apr. 1980)
WHAT EFFECTIVE WAYS HAVE YOU FOUND FOR HELPING CHILDREN DEVELOP A LOVE
FOR THE SCRIPTURES AND A DESIRE TO SEARCH THEM?
(Some of these suggestions are found in Brother Covey's book, The Divine
Learn to ask good questions.
Questions serve as catalysts when meditating, pondering, and discussing
They spark interesting meanings and applications.
They can link the ideal with the real, the eternal with the present.
Ask, then ponder.
One of the most useful questions: "What useful principle can I learn from
these doings of the Lord?"
Correlate with the Church curriculum.
Develop a list of favorite family stories and passages for future reference
Memorize a scripture a month.
Have scripture chases.
Read a scripture before family prayer or at dinner.
Leadership & Service
We read in Mosiah 2 that the Nephites gathered together in large numbers to hear a
great and final address by their beloved king, Benjamin.
We can sense the burden which Benjamin feels: "I
at this time have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together, that
I might be found blameless, and that your blood should not come upon me,
when I shall stand to be judged of God of the things whereof he hath commanded
me concerning you" (v27).
Benjamin felt that he must make one more plea to
the people to take up the cause of righteousness.
As we read, look for the leadership qualities displayed by King Benjamin.
WHAT IMPRESSES YOU ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP QUALITIES OF KING BENJAMIN?
Benjamin states, "I have not commanded you
to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that
you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your
hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God
may be unfolded to your view" (v9).
Benjamin has not called these people together to massage his own ego, but
to teach truth to this people whom he loves. He is not a politician,
but a statesman and man of God.
Humility: He lets the people know that he is one of them, not to
be feared (v11-12).
He is a champion of obedience to God and freedom (v13).
Integrity and industry: He provided for himself through his own labor in
order to free the people of the onerous burden of taxation.
Consider these words of the Lord: "We have
learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost
all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they
will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion." (D&C
King Benjamin was not this kind of leader. He was a rare political
and religious leader.
MOSIAH 2:16-19. Service to others is service
HOW MIGHT GIVING HEED TO KING BENJAMIN'S TEACHINGS ABOUT SERVICE AFFECT
OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER PEOPLE?
Consider King Benjamin: His service to the people gained their love and
respect. As a consequence many came to Benjamin's farewell address
and their lives were changed for eternity.
HOW HAS GIVING SERVICE BEEN A BLESSING IN YOUR LIFE?
It helps us maintain a proper view and perspective of life. By doing
so, we are blessed with the Spirit.
Robert L. Millet: "Service sanctifies both giver
and receiver. Those who involve themselves in the work of the Master receive the
approbation of the Master. Peter taught that charity prevents a multitude of
sins (JST, 1 Pet. 4:8). James likewise wrote that 'he which converteth the
sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a
multitude of [his own] sins' (James 5:20; compare D&C 84:61). Indeed, it is
through searching out (being sensitive to) and seeing to the needs of the
poor—both temporally and spiritually—that disciples of Christ are able to
maintain their spiritual standing before their Maker, to retain a remission of
sins from day to day (Mosiah 4:11-12, 26)." (An Eye
Single to the Glory of God, p27)
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "It seems to me that he
[the Savior] is saying to each of us that unless we lose ourselves in the
service of others our lives are largely lived to no real purpose. . . . He who
lives only unto himself withers and dies, while he who forgets himself in the
service of others grows and blossoms in this life and in eternity."
("Forget Yourself," in Speeches of the Year, 1977, p43)
A high school senior shared this story: "I wasn't
active in the Church as a child. However, when I was in the ninth grade, the
teachers quorum had a service project of painting the outside of an older
couple's home. They invited me to participate, so I spent the entire day with
those guys. It was great. I also felt some feelings that I had never felt
before, particularly when Brother and Sister Whitney told us how much they
appreciated what we did for them. That day was the turning point for me, and I
have been active ever since." (quoted in Are My Children Going to
Make It? Real Help for Teaching the Gospel in the Home, p116)
"I say unto you that if ye
should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving
you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and
do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment
to another--I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet
ye would be unprofitable servants." (Mosiah 2:21)
DO KING BENJAMIN'S WORDS MAKE YOU FEEL MORE EAGER OR RELUCTANT TO SERVE? WHY?
- Consider these verses: "And now, in the first place, he hath created
you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. And secondly, he doth require that ye should
do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless
you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto
him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye
to boast?" (Mosiah 2:23-24)
Contention, Commandments, & The Natural Man
ACCORDING TO KING BENJAMIN, WHY IS CONTENTION SUCH A TERRIBLE EVIL?
When we give into contention, we are obeying the evil spirit. When
we give into that spirit, we are opening ourselves up to additional temptation.
To "list to obey the spirit of the evil one" is to actively and knowingly
rebel against that which is just and true.
WHAT CAUSES CONTENTION?
HOW CAN WE HELP MINIMIZE CONTENTION IN OUR HOMES, WARDS, & COMMUNITIES?
"And it came to pass that there
was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell
in the hearts of the people." (4 Nephi 1:15)
President Harold B. Lee told this story: "The
old story, presumably authentic, is told that during the Civil War when
the fortunes of the Union armies, under the command of General Ulysses
S. Grant, were going badly, some concerned ministers called on President
Abraham Lincoln at the White House and forcefully urged the dismissal of
Grant. To these men Lincoln is alleged to have said: 'Gentlemen, General
Grant has under his command all that we hold dear in this nation. Instead
of criticism, you too should get down on your knees and pray God that He
would see this nation through to victory'." (Ye Are the Light
of the World, p184)
MOSIAH 2:36-39. Those who turn from the truth
will be lost.
WHAT DID KING BENJAMIN SAY WOULD HAPPEN TO PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO OBEY THE
COMMANDMENTS AFTER HAVING BEEN TAUGHT THE TRUTH?
They withdraw from the Spirit and lose the benefits of guidance and wisdom.
Such a person is in open rebellion against God and an enemy to all righteousness.
If one dies in this attitude, "the demands of
divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own
guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and
doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an
unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever"
"For behold, I, God, have suffered
these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I." (D&C
Benjamin pleads with the people to live righteously.
"O, all ye old men, and also ye
young men, and you little children who can understand my words, for I have
spoken plainly unto you that ye might understand, I pray that ye should
awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen
into transgression. And moreover, I would
desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those
that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in
all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful
to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with
God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that
these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it." (Mosiah
The Natural Man.
MOSIAH 3:19. The natural man is an enemy to God.
WHAT IS THE NATURAL MAN?
President Kimball says that the natural man rejects "God's call to
repentance." (Miracle of Forgiveness, p136)
"But the natural man receiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "After
the fall of Adam, man became carnal, sensual, and devilish by nature; he
became fallen man.... All accountable persons on earth inherit this
fallen state, this probationary state, this state in which worldly things
seem desirable to the carnal nature. Being in this state, 'the natural
man is an enemy to God,' until he conforms to the great plan of redemption
and is born again to righteousness. (Mosiah 3:19.) Thus all mankind would
remain lost and fallen forever were it not for the atonement of our Lord.
(Alma 42:4-14.)" (Mormon Doctrine, pp267-268)
HOW MIGHT WE OCCASIONALLY BE ENEMIES TO GOD?
HOW CAN WE PUT OFF THE NATURAL MAN?
Yield to "the enticings of the Holy Spirit."
As Benjamin states we need to "becometh
a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child,
submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all
things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit
to his father" (v19).
- If there is time, consider viewing the video:
Becoming Children of Christ.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on King Benjamin and his teachings. What
have you learned from his example? What principles from his teachings can you
make part of your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
An Eye Single to the Glory of God: Reflections on the Cost of Discipleship by
Robert L. Millet.
Are My Children Going to Make It? Real Help for Teaching the Gospel in the Home
by R. Wayne Boss and Leslee S. Boss.
BYU Speeches of the Year.
Conference Reports (CR).
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
The Divine Center by Stephen R. Covey.
The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
15 February 2016