"A Seer...Becometh a Great Benefit to His Fellow Beings"
Lesson 17 - Mosiah 7-11
In order to understand the Lord’s dealings with His people in the book of Mosiah, it is helpful to understand the events described in 2 Nephi 5, the book of Omni, and Mosiah 7 and Mosiah 9.
After Lehi’s death, the Lord commanded the followers of Nephi to separate from the followers of Laman. The Nephites settled in a land that they called the land of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:5-8). The land was later also known as "the land of Lehi-Nephi" (Mosiah 7:1).
About 400 years later the Nephites were led by a king named Mosiah. The Lord commanded Mosiah to flee from the land of Nephi with "as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord." Mosiah and his people discovered a group of people called the people of Zarahemla. The two groups of people united and called themselves Nephites. Mosiah was appointed to be their king (Omni 1:12-19.)
A group of Nephites left the land of Zarahemla to regain part of the land of Nephi (Omni 1:27). They obtained land there under the leadership of a man named Zeniff, who became their king (Mosiah 9:1-7).
About 79 years later King Mosiah II, the grandson of the first King Mosiah, "was desirous to know concerning the people who went to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi." He permitted a man named Ammon to lead an expedition for this purpose (note: this Ammon was not the son of Mosiah who later preached the gospel among the Lamanites). Ammon and his brethren found King Limhi and his people. Limhi was Zeniff’s grandson (Mosiah 7:1-11).
Ammon and his brethren found Limhi and his people. Ammon taught Limhi of the importance of a seer.
Mosiah 7:8-11 Limhi took Ammon and his companions captive so that he could question them.
Mosiah 7:12-15 Limhi rejoiced when he learned that Ammon was from Zarahemla and one of his Nephite brethren. Note: Later in the lesson we will review how Limhi’s people were brought into bondage.
Mosiah 7:17-20, 29-33 Limhi shared a message with his people after talking with Ammon--telling them that they were in bondage as just punishment for their iniquities, but that there was hope of God's blessings if they would repent. This reveals Limhi’s qualities as a leader in that he spoke honestly to his people and told them what they must do to improve their lives.
Mosiah 8:7 Limhi told Ammon that he once sent 43 people to search for their brethren in Zarahemla.
Mosiah 8:8-11; see also Ether 1:1-2 Instead of finding their brethren, this group found the remains of the Jaredite civilization. The Jaredites had settled there centuries before the Nephites arrived.
Mosiah 8:11-12 Regarding the 24 gold plates of the Jaredites, Limhi asked if Ammon could translate the engravings or if he knew someone who could. Limhi thought it be helpful for Limhi’s people to "know the cause of [the] destruction" of the Jaredites. If they knew why the civilization was destroyed, they could prevent that from happening to them.
Mosiah 8:13-14 Ammon responded to Limhi’s request, saying that Mosiah, the king in Zarahemla, was a seer who could translate the records.
Mosiah 8:16 Other titles Ammon associated with the title of seer were revelator and prophet. Today, we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Mosiah 8:13, 17-18 The roles of a seer include translator of ancient records, revealor of hidden or secret things from the past or things that may occur in the future, and a miracle worker. To see how latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators fulfill these roles, see Elder Packer's quotation below--it can help explain how latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators have been "a great benefit" to you.
Elder Boyd K. Packer said: "The scriptures speak of prophets as ‘watch[men] upon the tower’ who see ‘the enemy while he [is] yet afar off’ and who have ‘beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye...[for] a seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people.’
[Many years ago] the Brethren warned us of the disintegration of the family and told us to prepare. ... The weekly family home evening was introduced by the First Presidency. ... Parents are provided with excellent materials for teaching their children, with a promise that the faithful will be blessed. While the doctrines and revealed organization remain unchanged, all agencies of the Church have been reshaped in their relationship to one another and to the home. The entire curriculum of the Church was overhauled...based on scriptures. ...And years were spent preparing new editions of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. We can only imagine where we would be if we were just now reacting to [the] terrible redefinition of the family. But that is not the case. We are not casting frantically about, trying to decide what to do. We know what to do and what to teach. ...The course we follow is not of our own making. The plan of salvation, the great plan of happiness, was revealed to us, and the prophets and Apostles continue to receive revelation as the Church and its members stand in need of more" (Ensign, May 1994, 20).
The record of Zeniff recounts a brief history of Zeniff’s people.
Chapters 9-22 of the book of Mosiah contain a history of the people who left Zarahemla to return to the land of Nephi. The history begins with the account of Zeniff, Limhi’s grandfather.
Mosiah 9:1 Zeniff was a member of a group of Nephites who wanted to regain from the Lamanites some of the land of Nephi.
Mosiah 10:11-17 The Lamanites’ attitude toward the Nephites was negative and they were "wroth" because they felt that Laman and Lemuel, their ancestors, had been "wronged by their brethren." Because of this, they taught their children to hate the Nephites. The traditions of the past sometimes stir people up to hatred. Such traditions are perpetuated by those who are ignorant and believe the lies passed on to them, those who try to cover past sins or mistakes by blaming others, and those who try to gain a worldly advantage by perpetuating false teachings that allow them to gain power and influence.
Mosiah 9:1 We can learn from Zeniff about overcoming feelings of hatred. Zeniff was sent as a spy to determine how to destroy the Lamanites. However, when he saw "that which was good" among the Lamanites, he no longer wanted to destroy them. We too should look for the good in others and try to help them. Think about what you can do to honestly see the good in others rather than concentrating on their faults.
Mosiah 7:21-22; Mosiah 9:3 The mistakes Zeniff made in his efforts to "inherit the land of [his] fathers" were being over-zealous, falling for the deceptions of King Laman, and being slow to remember God.
Mosiah 9:3-12; Mosiah 10:18 As results of Zeniff’s over-zealousness, the Lamanites took his people into bondage, caused the Nephites to work hard to support the Lamanites' laziness, and caused suffering among Zeniff's people.
The dangers of being overzealous, even in a good cause, include becoming susceptible to deceit and hearing only what you want to hear, and losing your objectivity when looking at a situation. Ponder how you can be zealous in the Lord’s work without being overzealous.
Mosiah 9:3 In their determination to obtain a part of the land of Nephi, Zeniff and his people "were slow to remember the Lord [their] God".
Mosiah 9:13-17 A deadly attack by the Lamanites finally led them to turn to the Lord.
Mosiah 9:18; Mosiah 10:19-21 They were blessed when they remembered the Lord and prayed for deliverance. Their prayers were answered and they defeated the enemy in battle.
As members of the Church, we have made a covenant to "always remember" the Lord (D&C 20:77, 79). Ponder some things you can do that can help you keep this covenant.
Abinadi warned the people, but they were blind to Noah’s wickedness.
Mosiah 11:1 One of his sons, Noah, became king after Zeniff.
Mosiah 11:1-19 Noah was the kind of ruler who "[walked] after the desires of his own heart" and "changed the affairs of the kingdom", leading his people in immorality and whoredoms; creating wasteful government and high taxes to support Noah's sinful lifestyle; installing corrupt priests and worshipping idols; building lavish palaces and spacious buildings; glorying in worldly riches and riotous living; creating vineyards to satisfy his penchant for drunkness; and neglecting to provide for appropriate defense from their enemies.
Mosiah 11:2, 5-7 Noah's influence on the lives of his people caused them to sin. The people and Noah share the responsibility for their sinfulness because they all made the wrong choices and failed to follow the Lord's commandments.
Mosiah 11:20 The Lord sent the prophet Abinadi to call Noah and his people to repentance.
Mosiah 11:20-25 The Lord gave warnings of divine judgment, delivered then into the hands of their enemies and bondage, and warned that He would not easily respond to their cries of sorrow in bondage through his prophet, Abinadi.
Mosiah 11:26-28; see also Mosiah 12:13-15 Noah and his people responded to Abinadi’s warnings with anger and death threats against Abinadi and with self-deception and lies to each other, denying their sins.
Mosiah 11:7, 29 The people were angry with Abinadi and not with Noah, who had taxed them and caused them to support him in his iniquity, because they worshipped idols, had lost their true religion and moral principles, were blinded by their acceptance of Satan's practices, and they hardened their hearts against God and the truth.
Mosiah 8:16-18; D&C 1:38; D&C 84:36-38 Some people today reject servants of the Lord, like Abinadi, in favor of people like Noah because of the hardness of their hearts and their desire to find happiness in sin. It is important to recognize and follow prophets of God if we wish to have God bless our mortal lives and grant us entry into his kingdom after death.
Follow the counsel of righteous leaders, particularly those whom the Lord has called as prophets, seers, and revelators.