Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Sunday, May 10, 2020

We Have Entered into a Covenant with Him



Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org
Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog

When considering to be baptized and become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are taught that in doing so we make promises and commit ourselves to sacred covenants with the Lord. After baptism we continue to make more promises and covenants as we partake of sacrament each week, attend the temple for ordinances and participate in callings and service.

Making a promise with God, as we find in our scripture study, is a serious decision and one we should not take lightly. For when we are knowingly rebellious against Him, our burden can become quite heavy. However, in taking upon ourselves the commitment to be baptized and enter into a covenant with Him, life can be much different, and we can find not only lightened burdens, but also hope, peace and comfort; as did the peoples of the Book of Mormon.

Do you remember what it was like for you, when you felt that spirit and knew what you were being taught was true? Did you accept it willingly at first or did it take a few lessons for you to get the message?  Do you remember that feeling you had when you finally made the commitment to be baptized and covenant with the Lord? For me, it was the most important decision of my life, and I remember like yesterday the feeling from spirit that was so strong it was palpable.  For Alma and King Limhi and the people who chose to follow them in Mosiah 18–24, I think, felt much the same way as we have, as they were willing to sacrifice all, to covenant and follow Jesus Christ. 

However, during our study, we will see that not all troubles and tribulations are taken away when making the choice to be baptized and make covenants with the Lord.  But rather than look for complete relief, let us look for how, when we commit to Him, the Lord provides redemption from the difficulties of mortality by strengthening us and assisting us in our troubles.


History and Background Mosiah 18–24
After Alma was converted through the preaching of Abinadi, he began to teach the people who were willing to listen to him. He and his new followers escaped to a place called Mormon, where they received the ordinance of baptism and became unified in their faith. They settled peacefully in a land they called Helam, but they were taken captive by Amulon, a former priest of King Noah who had joined the Lamanites. Just before this, the people who remained in the land of Lehi-Nephi, who were now led by King Noah’s righteous son Limhi, were also placed in bondage by the Lamanites. Both groups came to know that “none could deliver them but the Lord their God”

The people who followed Alma into the wilderness humbled themselves by believing the word of God, repenting, and accepting the covenant of baptism. Even so, they fell captive to the Lamanites for a length of time.  Alma’s people and Limhi’s people both experienced bondage and oppression, and both groups experienced the blessing of being set free by the hand of the Lord. 


Chapter Summaries
Mosiah 18–24


Mosiah 18. Alma teaches the baptismal covenant, baptizes a group of people, and establishes the Church among the people.

Mosiah 19. King Noah betrays his people and suffers death by fire. Noah’s son Limhi becomes king.

Mosiah 20–22. Limhi’s people are brought into bondage by the Lamanites. After trying to deliver themselves from bondage, they repent and turn to the Lord. The Lord eventually delivers them from bondage.

Mosiah 23–24. Alma’s people are taken captive by the Lamanites. Amulon, who had been one of Noah’s priests, rules over them. They turn to the Lord, and He makes their burdens light and delivers them from bondage.

Chapter Details
We receive the Spirit of the Lord and the promise of eternal life through our baptismal covenants Mosiah 18:1–16
Walking uprightly includes obeying God and serving others  Mosiah 18:17–30
God is merciful and able to deliver us from bondage Mosiah 19–24
God tries our patience and faith  Mosiah 23–24


Part 1:  Mosiah 18:1–16  Baptism includes a covenant to serve God and stand as a witness of Him

Imagine that a friend has decided to be baptized and confirmed. She asks what she can do to be spiritually prepared. What advice would you give?
 
Alma, one of King Noah’s priests, believed the teachings of Abinadi. He fled from Noah’s servants and hid in the wilderness, where he wrote “all the words which Abinadi had spoken” Mosiah 17:2–4. He then repented of his sins and began to teach the words of Abinadi. The people who believed Alma went to hear him teach in a place called Mormon.  As Alma’s followers prepared to be baptized, Alma taught them that coming “into the fold of God” required making a covenant to follow God and care for His children.

1 And now, it came to pass that Alma, who had fled from the servants of king Noah, repented of his sins and iniquities, and went about privately among the people, and began to teach the words of Abinadi—
2 Yea, concerning that which was to come, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and the redemption of the people, which was to be brought to pass through the power, and sufferings, and death of Christ, and his resurrection and ascension into heaven.
3 And as many as would hear his word he did teach. And he taught them privately, that it might not come to the knowledge of the king. And many did believe his words.
4 And it came to pass that as many as did believe him did go forth to a place which was called Mormon, having received its name from the king, being in the borders of the land having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts.
5 Now, there was in Mormon a fountain of pure water, and Alma resorted thither, there being near the water a thicket of small trees, where he did hide himself in the daytime from the searches of the king.
6 And it came to pass that as many as believed him went thither to hear his words.
7 And it came to pass after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord.
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.
12 And now it came to pass that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.
13 And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world.
14 And after Alma had said these words, both Alma and Helam were buried in the water; and they arose and came forth out of the water rejoicing, being filled with the Spirit.
15And again, Alma took another, and went forth a second time into the water, and baptized him according to the first, only he did not bury himself again in the water.
16 And after this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon; and they were in number about two hundred and four souls; yea, and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God.

What did Alma teach at “the place of Mormon”?  Mosiah 18:7.
7 And it came to pass after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord.

What did the people desire after Alma taught them? Mosiah 18:8
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

What does it mean to “come into the fold of God, and … be called his people”?  Mosiah 18:16–17 Hebrews 8:10; Alma 5:60
16 And after this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon; and they were in number about two hundred and four souls; yea, and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God.
17 And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church.

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

60 And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles summarized the expectations that come to those who accept baptism:  “Alma began baptizing all who wished to make a covenant with Christ. He asked that they ‘serve [God] and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly’ upon them. These new disciples would also demonstrate their faith by:
 “Coming into the fold of God.
“Being called his people.
“Bearing one another’s burdens.
“Mourning with those that mourn.
“Comforting those who stand in need of comfort.
“Standing as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places.
“Entering into a covenant to serve God and keep his commandments.
“This declaration by Alma at the Waters of Mormon still stands as the most complete scriptural statement on record as to what the newly baptized commit to do and be
(Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 106).

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described the blessings of accepting the covenants of baptism: “I have noted throughout my life that when people come to fully understand the blessings and the power of their baptismal covenant, whether as new converts or as lifelong members of the Church, great joy comes into their lives and they approach their duties in the kingdom with contagious enthusiasm” (“Alma the Elder: A Role Model for Today,” in Heroes from the Book of Mormon [1995], 84).

What were the people willing to do as members of “the fold of God”? Mosiah 18:8–9  
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life 

“Bear one another’s burdens” 
How can we “bear one another’s burdens”?  
How does bearing one another’s burdens make those burdens light? 
How have you been blessed as others have helped bear your burdens? 

“Mourn with those that mourn” 
Why is it helpful to “mourn with those that mourn”? 

“Comfort those that stand in need of comfort” 
How can we appropriately offer comfort to others? 

“Stand as witnesses of God” 
What does it mean “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places”? (Mosiah 18:9

 Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declared that our baptismal covenants require righteousness no matter how difficult the circumstances: “When we covenant in the waters of baptism to ‘stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places,’ we’re not talking solely about fast and testimony meetings. It may not always be easy, convenient, or politically correct to stand for truth and right, but it is always the right thing to do—always” (Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 51; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 37).

After Alma preached to the people, what did he invite them to do? Mosiah 18:10.  He invited them to be baptized and enter into a covenant with the Lord.
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

What is a covenant? A serious promise.  President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “A covenant is a contract and an agreement between at least two parties. In the case of gospel covenants, the parties are the Lord in heaven and men on earth. Men agree to keep the commandments and the Lord promises to reward them accordingly”  (Conference Report, Oct. 1970, 91; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1970, 26).

How can we explain and understand the baptismal covenant?  Mosiah 18:8–13
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.
12 And now it came to pass that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.
13 And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world.

 President Marion G. Romney said, “I know of no better explanation of the baptismal covenant” Mosiah 18:8–13( Conference Report, Oct. 1975, 109; or Ensign, Nov. 1975, 73). 

Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, as Relief Society general president, explained how Heavenly Father tutors us as we make and keep covenants: “Covenants—or binding promises between us and Heavenly Father—are essential for our eternal progression. Step-by-step, He tutors us to become like Him by enlisting us in His work. At baptism we covenant to love Him with all our hearts and love our sisters and brothers as ourselves. In the temple we further covenant to be obedient, selfless, faithful, honorable, charitable. We covenant to make sacrifices and consecrate all that we have. Forged through priesthood authority, our kept covenants bring blessings to fill our cups to overflowing. How often do you reflect that your covenants reach beyond mortality and connect you to the Divine? Making covenants is the expression of a willing heart; keeping covenants, the expression of a faithful heart” (“With Holiness of Heart,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 103).

How did the people respond to Alma’s invitation to be baptized? Mosiah 18:11
11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.

What can we do to help others receive this great joy?  Think of people with whom we can share the gospel.

According to Mosiah 18:8–13, what do we covenant to do when we are baptized?  Moroni 6:2–3; D&C 20:37.
2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.

37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

What does the Lord promise to do when we are baptized and keep our baptismal covenant? Mosiah 18:10, 12–13 2 Nephi 31:17.
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

12 And now it came to pass that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.
13 And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world.

17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

How would you summarize the blessings we receive by making and keeping the covenant of baptism?  We receive the Spirit of the Lord and the promise of eternal life by making and keeping the covenant of baptism.

I am willing to …

God promises …

Help bear others’ burdens, that they may be light Mosiah 18:8

That I will be redeemed of God  Mosiah 18:9

Mourn with those who mourn Mosiah 18:9

That I will be part of the First Resurrection Mosiah 18:9

Comfort those who stand in need of comfort Mosiah 18:9

That I will receive eternal life Mosiah 18:9

Stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places Mosiah 18:9

He will pour out His Spirit upon me Mosiah 18:10

Serve God and keep His commandments Mosiah 18:10

Have you or someone you know been strengthened by someone else fulfilling the baptismal covenant described in Mosiah 18:8–10? For example, when has someone comforted you or helped you bear your burdens?

How have these experiences inspired you to keep your covenant?



Part 2: Mosiah 18:17–31 God’s people are United

All those who were baptized became members of the Church of Christ. Alma ordained priests and instructed them to teach only the things he had taught and the words of the prophets and to labor for their own support. He also gave additional instructions concerning how the people should keep the covenant they had made and describes the commandments Alma gave his people to help them become united as members of Christ’s Church.

17 And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church.
18 And it came to pass that Alma, having authority from God, ordained priests; even one priest to every fifty of their number did he ordain to preach unto them, and to teach them concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
19 And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.
20 Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.
21 And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.
22 And thus he commanded them to preach. And thus they became the children of God.
23 And he commanded them that they should observe the sabbath day, and keep it holy, and also every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God.
24 And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support.
25 And there was one day in every week that was set apart that they should gather themselves together to teach the people, and to worship the Lord their God, and also, as often as it was in their power, to assemble themselves together.
26 And the priests were not to depend upon the people for their support; but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the Spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God.
27 And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given.
28 And thus they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul.
29 And this he said unto them, having been commanded of God; and they did walk uprightly before God, imparting to one another both temporally and spiritually according to their needs and their wants.
30 And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever.
31 And these things were done in the borders of the land, that they might not come to the knowledge of the king.


What Commandments do you find in these verses?

Many people in the world today feel that a church is not needed. Why do we need a church? Mosiah 18:17–31 

Elder D. Todd Christofferson said: “I realize that there are those who consider themselves religious or spiritual and yet reject participation in a church or even the need for such an institution. Religious practice is for them purely personal. Yet the Church is the creation of Him in whom our spirituality is centered—Jesus Christ. It is worth pausing to consider why He chooses to use a church, His Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to carry out His and His Father’s work.”

Elder Christofferson then shared reasons the Lord has organized a Church:  
“To preach the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and administer the ordinances of salvation—in other words, to bring people to Christ.”
“To create a community of Saints that will sustain one another in the ‘strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life’ [2 Nephi 31:18]. … Joined in faith, we teach and edify one another and strive to approach the full measure of discipleship.”
To “offer a weekly gathering of respite and renewal, a time and place to leave the world behind—the Sabbath.”
“To achieve needful things that cannot be accomplished by individuals or smaller groups [including] dealing with poverty, … [taking] the gospel to all the world … [building and operating] temples, houses of the Lord, where vital ordinances and covenants may be administered.”
To make available priesthood keys, with which “the Church’s priesthood officers preserve the purity of the Savior’s doctrine and the integrity of His saving ordinances, … help prepare those who wish to receive them, judge the qualification and worthiness of those who apply, and then perform them … [and] identify both truth and falsehood.”(Why the Church,” Ensign Nov. 2015, 108–11)

How would you respond to a friend who doesn’t believe an organized church is necessary?

While we would like to think that everyone feels welcome at church, unfortunately, not everyone does. What do we learn from the people of Alma in Mosiah 18:17–31 that can help us create a place where all feel that they belong?


Part 3: Mosiah 21–24 The Lord can make our burdens light
These chapters contain the accounts of two groups of people who were in captivity to Lamanite forces and were ultimately delivered by the Lord. In Mosiah 21–22, we read of Limhi and his people, who became captive as a result of their iniquities. Their physical captivity mirrored the spiritual captivity they experienced because of their sins. The account of the second group, in Mosiah 23–24tells of Alma’s people, who experienced captivity and affliction even after they had repented and were baptized. Both accounts teach important truths about the Lord’s power to deliver us from sin and afflictions.
 
Why were Limhi’s people brought into bondage? Mosiah 7:25–32; 20:21. They had rejected Abinadi’s teachings and his warnings about the consequences of their sinfulness.

What were Limhi and his people experiencing; how did they felt about it?  Mosiah 21:2–6
2 And it came to pass that after many days the Lamanites began again to be stirred up in anger against the Nephites, and they began to come into the borders of the land round about.
3 Now they durst not slay them, because of the oath which their king had made unto Limhi; but they would smite them on their cheeks, and exercise authority over them; and began to put heavy burdens upon their backs, and drive them as they would a dumb ass—
4 Yea, all this was done that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled.
5 And now the afflictions of the Nephites were great, and there was no way that they could deliver themselves out of their hands, for the Lamanites had surrounded them on every side.
6 And it came to pass that the people began to murmur with the king because of their afflictions; and they began to be desirous to go against them to battle. And they did afflict the king sorely with their complaints; therefore he granted unto them that they should do according to their desires.

What details in Mosiah 21:6 suggest that the people had not yet humbled themselves and turned to the Lord?
6 And it came to pass that the people began to murmur with the king because of their afflictions; and they began to be desirous to go against them to battle. And they did afflict the king sorely with their complaints; therefore he granted unto them that they should do according to their desires.

What solution did Limhi’s people propose to find relief from their afflictions?  Lean on themselves and go to battle without the Lord, the felt they could do it on their own.

After failing three times to defeat the Lamanites in battle, what did Limhi’s people finally do?  Mosiah 21:13–14 
13 And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage, submitting themselves to be smitten, and to be driven to and fro, and burdened, according to the desires of their enemies.
14 And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions.

After failing the third time to fight their way out of bondage, Limhi’s colony finally turned to God in humility and prayer and sought deliverance by His hand. Their experiences compelled them to seek the Lord and not to put their trust in the arm of the flesh.  President Ezra Taft Benson taught that humility strengthens our dependence upon the Lord: “Humility, of course, is not a sign of weakness. Humility does not mean timidity. A person can be humble, powerful, and courageous. The Prophet Joseph is a good example. Humility is an acknowledged recognition of our dependence on a higher power” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 369).

Why was the Lord slow to respond to their cries? Mosiah 21:15 D&C 101:1–9
15 And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage.

1 Thanks be to thy name, O Lord God of Israel, who keepest covenant and showest mercy unto thy servants who walk uprightly before thee, with all their hearts—
2 Thou who hast commanded thy servants to build a house to thy name in this place [Kirtland].
3 And now thou beholdest, O Lord, that thy servants have done according to thy commandment.
4 And now we ask thee, Holy Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of thy bosom, in whose name alone salvation can be administered to the children of men, we ask thee, O Lord, to accept of this house, the workmanship of the hands of us, thy servants, which thou didst command us to build.
5 For thou knowest that we have done this work through great tribulation; and out of our poverty we have given of our substance to build a house to thy name, that the Son of Man might have a place to manifest himself to his people.
6 And as thou hast said in a revelation, given to us, calling us thy friends, saying—Call your solemn assembly, as I have commanded you;
7 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith;
8 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
9 That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord, that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord, that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High

Even if we stop committing a particular sin, why can we not fully deliver ourselves from our sins?  Although we may have stopped committing a particular sin, the law of justice requires that we receive the consequences for that sin. Because the Savior took the consequences of our sins upon Himself during His Atonement, it is only through Him that we can be fully delivered from our sins and receive God’s forgiveness. Therefore, to be forgiven we must exercise faith in Jesus Christ and fully repent, which requires more than forsaking our sins.

Although the Lord did not deliver them immediately, what did He do for them?  Mosiah 21:15–16   Ammon and his brethren arrived in the land of Lehi-Nephi. After covenanting to serve the Lord, Limhi’s people escaped from Lamanite bondage, and Ammon led them to Zarahemla.

What did Limhi’s people do to be delivered?   Turned to the Lord, repented of their sins, and put forth the effort the Lord required of them.

Even though many people in Limhi’s colony brought their distress upon themselves, the Lord was merciful and answered their prayers. The Prophet Joseph Smith described the Lord’s mercy in response to the sorrow the Prophet felt as a result of his mistakes: “I have called to mind all the past moments of my life, and am left to mourn and shed tears of sorrow for my folly in suffering the adversary of my soul to have so much power over me as he has had in times past. But God is merciful and has forgiven my sins, and I rejoice that he sendeth forth the Comforter unto as many as believe and humbleth themselves before him” (The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, comp. Dean C. Jessee [1984], 238; punctuation, spelling, and capitalization standardized)

In Mosiah 23-24 we see the difference between the way the Lord blessed Limhi’s people, who attempted three times to deliver themselves before they turned to Him, and the way He blessed Alma’s people, who had turned to Him completely. When Alma and his people were in the place of Mormon, King Noah “sent his army to destroy them”  The Lord warned Alma’s people and strengthened them so they could escape.  

How was this different from the experience of Limhi’s people? 

How did Alma respond when the people asked him to be king? Mosiah 23:6–7 
6 And the people were desirous that Alma should be their king, for he was beloved by his people.
7 But he said unto them: Behold, it is not expedient that we should have a king; for thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another; therefore I say unto you it is not expedient that ye should have a king.

How had Alma learned the danger of “one man thinking]himself above another”? Mosiah 23:8–14
8 Nevertheless, if it were possible that ye could always have just men to be your kings it would be well for you to have a king.
9 But remember the iniquity of king Noah and his priests; and I myself was caught in a snare, and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me sore repentance;
10 Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth.
11 Nevertheless, in this I do not glory, for I am unworthy to glory of myself.
12 And now I say unto you, ye have been oppressed by king Noah, and have been in bondage to him and his priests, and have been brought into iniquity by them; therefore ye were bound with the bands of iniquity.
13 And now as ye have been delivered by the power of God out of these bonds; yea, even out of the hands of king Noah and his people, and also from the bonds of iniquity, even so I desire that ye should stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and that ye trust no man to be a king over you.
14 And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.

 What can we learn from Alma and his people to help us avoid this error?  Mosiah 23:15
15 Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them.

Under Alma’s leadership, his people lived righteously and prospered; nevertheless, the Lord allowed them to be brought into bondage under Amulon, who had been one of King Noah’s priests Mosiah 23:23–39

How did the bondage of Alma’s people fulfill prophecies made by Abinadi? 

In what ways can our poor choices bring lingering consequences even after we have been forgiven of our sins?

Elder Marvin J. Ashton said: “Our freedom to choose our course of conduct does not provide personal freedom from the consequences of our performances. God’s love for us is constant and will not diminish, but he cannot rescue us from the painful results that are caused by wrong choices” (Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 24; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 20).

Although the Lord could not prevent Alma’s people from suffering the consequences of their past sins, He comforted and strengthened them in their afflictions. 
He delivered them from bondage.  Even though the people who followed Alma had repented and been faithful, the Lord allowed them to be temporarily oppressed by the Lamanites in fulfillment of Abinadi’s prophecy and as a trial of their patience and faith.  Referring to the bondage of Alma’s people, Mormon said, “The Lord seeth fit to chasten his people” Mosiah 23:21

Why does the Lord chasten His people? Mosiah 23:21; D&C 95:1–2.
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you—
2 Wherefore, ye must needs be chastened and stand rebuked before my face;

How should we respond when the Lord chastens us? Mosiah 23:22.
22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.
 
Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that everything we experience teaches us valuable lessons: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven” (cited in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 98)

What did Alma’s people do when Amulon threatened to kill them if they prayed? Mosiah 24:10–12.
10 And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God.
11 And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death.

 How did the Lord answer their silent prayers?  Mosiah 24:13–16.
13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.

 How did this help them “stand as witnesses” for the Lord, as they had covenanted in the waters of Mormon? Mosiah 24:14.


Why are our burdens easier to bear when we “submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord”? Mosiah 24:15  If we are entirely dependent upon God, then He can take our limitations and our weaknesses and magnify them into strengths useful for His divine purposes. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged us to cheerfully rely on the Lord when we face the challenges of mortality:

“Problems or trials in our lives need to be viewed in the perspective of scriptural doctrine. Otherwise they can easily overtake our vision, absorb our energy, and deprive us of the joy and beauty the Lord intends us to receive here on earth. Some people are like rocks thrown into a sea of problems. They are drowned by them. Be a cork. When submerged in a problem, fight to be free to bob up to serve again with happiness. …

“The Lord is intent on your personal growth and development. That progress is accelerated when you willingly allow Him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter, whether initially it be to your individual liking or not. When you trust in the Lord, when you are willing to let your heart and your mind be centered in His will, when you ask to be led by the Spirit to do His will, you are assured of the greatest happiness along the way and the most fulfilling attainment from this mortal experience. If you question everything you are asked to do, or dig in your heels at every unpleasant challenge, you make it harder for the Lord to bless you [see 1 Nephi 3:7]” (Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 32–33; or Ensign, May 1996, 24–25)


When, like Alma’s people, have you experienced the fulfillment of God’s promise that He would ease your burdens and visit you in your afflictions? 

Pondering ways the Lord helps you carry your burdens; are there passages from Mosiah 21–24 that inspire you to turn to the Lord during adversity?

Why did the Lord bless Alma’s people while they were in bondage more quickly and abundantly than He blessed Limhi’s people? Compare Mosiah 21:5–15 with Mosiah 23:26–27; 24:10–16.
5 And now the afflictions of the Nephites were great, and there was no way that they could deliver themselves out of their hands, for the Lamanites had surrounded them on every side.
6 And it came to pass that the people began to murmur with the king because of their afflictions; and they began to be desirous to go against them to battle. And they did afflict the king sorely with their complaints; therefore he granted unto them that they should do according to their desires.
7 And they gathered themselves together again, and put on their armor, and went forth against the Lamanites to drive them out of their land.
8 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did beat them, and drove them back, and slew many of them.
9 And now there was a great mourning and lamentation among the people of Limhi, the widow mourning for her husband, the son and the daughter mourning for their father, and the brothers for their brethren.
10 Now there were a great many widows in the land, and they did cry mightily from day to day, for a great fear of the Lamanites had come upon them.
11 And it came to pass that their continual cries did stir up the remainder of the people of Limhi to anger against the Lamanites; and they went again to battle, but they were driven back again, suffering much loss.
12 Yea, they went again even the third time, and suffered in the like manner; and those that were not slain returned again to the city of Nephi.
13 And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage, submitting themselves to be smitten, and to be driven to and fro, and burdened, according to the desires of their enemies.
14 And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions.
15 And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage.

26 Now it came to pass that the brethren of Alma fled from their fields, and gathered themselves together in the city of Helam; and they were much frightened because of the appearance of the Lamanites.
27 But Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but that they should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them.

10 And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God.
11 And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death.
12 And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.
13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.

 

When the prophet Abinadi first went to the wicked people of King Noah, he told them that if they did not repent they would come under bondage.  When the Lord commanded Abinadi to return to them two years later, they still had not repented.  Therefore, according to the word of the Lord, all of them would inevitably come under bondage. Furthermore, the second time Abinadi preached to them, the Lord’s warning to the people of King Noah was even stronger. In addition to being brought into bondage, many would be slain. Others would experience famine and pestilence, and if they still refused to repent, they would be destroyed.

After Abinadi’s second visit, there was a division among the people. Alma believed Abinadi, and a group of people listened to Alma, repented, and became righteous. However, the majority of the people, under the leadership of King Noah and then his son Limhi, did not repent until much later. Although both groups eventually came under bondage because they refused to repent after the first warning of the Lord, consider the following differences between what happened to Alma’s group, who voluntarily repented, and Limhi’s group, who were compelled to repent.  

Limhi’s people were forced to remember the Lord during their Lamanite bondage. Alma’s people willingly repented after Abinadi’s second warning. Consequently, the suffering of Limhi’s group was greater and more prolonged. Some years later, Alma the Younger explained a principle that helps us understand the different results experienced by these two groups: Some “are compelled to be humble … for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance” Alma 32:13, and “blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble”

Time Period

People of Limhi

People of Alma

Abinadi’s second visit

Noah’s people rejected and killed Abinadi (Mosiah 17).

They continued in their wickedness.

Alma believed Abinadi (Mosiah 17:2–4).

Alma was forced to flee.

Aftermath of Abinadi’s second visit

Noah-Limhi’s people continued in wickedness (Mosiah 19:2–20).

They were divided (verse 2).

They were contentious (verse 3).

They were attacked by the Lamanites (verses 6–7).

King Noah was killed by his own people (verse 20).

The people were brought into Lamanite bondage and had to pay a 50 percent tribute to the Lamanites (verse 15).

A small group believed Alma (Mosiah 18:3–21).

They traveled to hear Alma preach (verse 4).

They were taught to repent and have faith (verse 7).

They covenanted with God (verses 8–11).

They escaped the efforts of King Noah to destroy them (verses 33–34).

Two years from the time of Abinadi’s death (Mosiah 19:29)

Limhi’s people endured bondage (Mosiah 19:22–20:22).

They endured bondage and 50 percent tribute (19:22).

The Lamanites attacked (20:7).

They fought back (20:8–11).

They accepted bondage (20:22).

Alma’s people prospered (Mosiah 23:2–5).

The Lord strengthened them (verse 2).

They built a city (verse 5).

A period of time following the first two years (Mosiah 19:29)

Conditions of bondage intensified (Mosiah 21:3–6).

The Lamanites smote them on the cheeks and exercised authority over them (verse 3).

The Lamanites gave Limhi’s people heavy burdens and drove them like animals (verse 3).

The people murmured because of their trials (verse 6).

Limhi’s people went to war three times to deliver themselves and were defeated each time. Many were killed and there was much sorrow (verses 7–12).

Alma’s people continued in peace and prosperity (Mosiah 23:19–20).

They lived in righteousness (verses 14–15).

They prospered exceedingly (verses 19–20).

Continued period after the first two years

Limhi’s people repented and turned to the Lord (Mosiah 21:7–14, 25–26).

They were compelled to be humble (verses 13–14).

They accepted their bondage and abuse (verse 13).

They cried mightily to the Lord (verse 14).

They sent men to find help in Zarahemla (verses 25–26).

Alma’s people continued in peace and prosperity.

Continued after the first two years

The Lord eventually delivered them from Lamanite bondage (Mosiah 21:15–22:16).

The Lord was slow to hear them, but He softened the hearts of their enemies, who eased their burdens (21:15).

They were not delivered at first (21:15).

They prospered by degrees (21:16).

They helped others (21:17).

They covenanted to serve God (21:31).

They gave wine to the Lamanite guards, who then fell asleep (22:7, 10).

They escaped (22:11).

Alma’s people continued in peace and prosperity.

c. 120–121 B.C. (Mosiah 22; 24, chapter summary)

Limhi’s people arrived in the land of Zarahemla (Mosiah 22:13).

A Lamanite army pursued Limhi’s people (verses 15–16).

Alma’s people experienced bondage and delivery from the Lord (Mosiah 23–24).

The Lamanite army sent after Limhi’s people discovered Alma’s people in the land of Helam (Mosiah 23:25).

Alma’s people were taken into bondage (Mosiah 24:8–10).

They remained faithful and endured patiently (verses 10–16).

The Lord eased their burdens and strengthened them (verses 14–15).

The Lord delivered them out of bondage and into the land of Zarahemla (verse 20).



 How does this comparison apply in our lives? 

How does the Lord’s promise to Alma’s people in Mosiah 24:14 relate to the covenant we make with the Lord at baptism? Mosiah 18:8–10
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?


Point to Ponder:  Reflect upon the baptismal covenants recorded in Mosiah 18:8–10. What can you do this week to live your covenants more fully?


Conclusion 
In light of the blessings the Lord has promised to us, it should not be difficult to keep our covenant to “serve him and keep his commandments” when we receive the ordinance of baptism and continue in repentance, faith in Jesus Christ, humility, and obedience, we are delivered from the bondage of sin and are on the path to eternal life. Let us look for ways the Lord provides redemption from the difficulties of mortality by strengthening us and assisting us in our troubles. By comparing and contrasting the circumstances of the two peoples we can learn principles to help us deal with our challenges and remember that we are a unified people, people of God and we have His promises to assit and even rescue us.  

Resources
Book of Mormon Student Manual
Ensign
Conference Reports
Doctrine and Covenants
Christ and the New Covenant
Faith Precedes the Miracle
Personal Writings of Joseph Smith
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson 




The Fall of Adam and Eve

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