"None Could Deliver Them but the Lord"
Lesson 19 - Mosiah 18-24
Think about some of the most beautiful places you have ever seen and determine what makes those places so beautiful for you. What made the waters of Mormon beautiful for Alma’s people? Read Mosiah 18:30. In this lesson we will review a covenant that Alma’s people made at "the place of Mormon."
Alma taught the baptismal covenant and baptized many people.
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" (Mosiah 18:1-3). The people who believed Alma went to hear him teach in a place called Mormon (Mosiah 18:4-6).
Mosiah 18:7 At "the place of Mormon" Alma taught repentance, redemption, and faith on the Lord.
Mosiah 18:8 The people desired to come into the fold of God, be called his people, and to be one with the other saints after Alma taught them.
Mosiah 18:16-17; see also Hebrews 8:10; Alma 5:60 To "come into the fold of God, and ...be called his people" means to join the Church, make a covenant with God, and become one of Christ's followers.
Mosiah 18:8-9 As members of "the fold of God" the people were willing to covenant to do the following:
a. "Bear one another’s burdens" (Mosiah 18:8). We "bear one another’s burdens" by performing service for other members as we carry out our quorum and auxillary callings, especially in the roles of home and visiting teachers. Bearing one another’s burdens makes those burdens light not only because tasks are shared, but also because of the Spirit that comforts and strengthens all who help one another. Ponder how you have been blessed as others have helped bear your burdens over the years.
b. "Mourn with those that mourn" (Mosiah 18:9). It is helpful to "mourn with those that mourn" to overcome feelings of despair and loneliness that often accompany grief and mourning. Emotional support for those who mourn allows them to share their feelings and lets them talk through the difficult times.
c. "Comfort those that stand in need of comfort" (Mosiah 18:9). We can appropriately offer comfort to others if we seek the Spirit and follow its guidance.
d. "Stand as witnesses of God" (Mosiah 18:9). "To stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places" is to live a Christlike life, set a consistent example of a faithful saint, and to appropriately bear testimony in both word and deed to one's family and associates wherever we may be.
Mosiah 18:10 After Alma preached to the people, he invited them to be baptized and enter into a covenant with the Lord.
What is a covenant? 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" (Improvement Era, Dec. 1970, 26).
Referring to Mosiah 18:8-13, President Marion G. Romney said, "I know of no better explanation of the baptismal covenant" (Ensign, Nov. 1975, 73).
According to Mosiah 18:8-13, when we are baptized, we covenant to enter the fold of God, be his people, bear one another's burdens, mourn with those that mourn, comfort others, stand as a witness of God, merit eternal life, serve God and keep his commandments, and be worthy of the companionship of the Spirit. (See also Moroni 6:2-3; D&C 20:37.)
Mosiah 18:10, 12-13; see also 2 Nephi 31:17 When we are baptized and keep our baptismal covenant, the Lord promises to pour out his Spirit upon us and give us eternal life when we endure to the end in righteousness.
Mosiah 18:11 The people responded to Alma’s invitation to be baptized with rejoicing.
Consider carefully what you can do to help others receive this great joy.
Mosiah 18:21 After the people were baptized, Alma commanded them to have "their hearts knit together in unity and in love" and avoid all contention.
Mosiah 18:19-21 We can follow this command at home and in our ward or branch by staying worthy and listening to the Holy Ghost as our companion and guide.
King Noah betrayed his people and suffered death by fire.
Mosiah 19:2-3 Some of King Noah’s people began to turn against him.
Mosiah 19:4-6 One of those people, Gideon, was about to kill Noah when Noah saw an army of Lamanites advancing toward them.
Mosiah 19:7 When he saw the advancing Lamanites, King Noah asked that his life be spared for the sake of his people.
Mosiah 19:8 Of course, Noah was most concerned about himself.
People today who, like Noah, try to lead us away from the Lord and His prophets are typically motivated by selfish interests for worldly fame and/or fortune.
Mosiah 12:3 Abinadi had prophesied that King Noah’s death would be by fire.
Mosiah 19:18-20 This prophecy was literally fulfilled as his men put the king to death by fire.
As shown in Mosiah 11:29, the people who eventually valued Noah’s life "as a garment in a hot furnace" had at one time been blind to his wickedness.
Limhi’s people were chastened and eventually delivered by the Lord.
Mosiah 20-22 contains the account of Ammon and his brethren finding Limhi’s people, as discussed in lesson 17. After Noah was killed, his son Limhi became king. Limhi made an oath that he and his people would pay one-half of all they possessed to the king of the Lamanites in exchange for a promise that the Lamanites would not slay them (see Mosiah 19:25-26).
Mosiah 20:7-10 After two years of peace, the Lamanites waged war against Limhi’s people.
Mosiah 20:1-6 The Lamanites sought to destroy Limhi’s people because they mistakenly thought Limhi's people had kidnapped their 24 missing daughters.
Mosiah 20:17-26 When the Lamanites learned that they had misjudged Limhi’s people, they returned to their own land in peace. However, "after many days the Lamanites began again to be stirred up in anger against the Nephites" (Mosiah 21:2).
Mosiah 21:3 Rather than break their king’s oath that they would not kill Limhi's people, the Lamanites physically abused and burdened them.
Compare Mosiah 21:3-5, Mosiah 21:14-15 with Mosiah 11:20-25 and Mosiah 12:2, 4-5. Here we see how literally the bondage of Limhi’s people fulfilled prophecies made by Abinadi.
Mosiah 7:25-32; Mosiah 20:21 Limhi’s people were brought into bondage because they had rejected Abinadi’s teachings and his warnings about the consequences of their sinfulness.
It is important to remember that sin brings consequences so that we do not have to endure punishment that could be avoided by making righteous choices.
Mosiah 21:13-14 After failing three times to defeat the Lamanites in battle, Limhi’s people finally repented and sought God's help in fervent prayer.
Mosiah 21:15; see also D&C 101:1-9 The Lord was slow to respond to their cries. He had warned them that such would be the case because they had been slow to hearken to his counsel.
Mosiah 21:15-16 Although the Lord did not deliver them immediately, He did soften the hearts of the Lamanites to ease the burdens and then He blessed them with abundant crops and flocks so that they were not hungry.
As shown here, the Lord sometimes permits us to "prosper by degrees" to be reminded that conditions improve in our lives as we are faithful on a daily basis in living up to our covenants.
Mosiah 22:3-12 Limhi’s people escaped from the Lamanites by paying tribute in wine and then fleeing into the wilderness when the Lamanite guards fell into a drunken sleep.
Mosiah 22:13-14 They were received with joy by the people in Zarahemla.
The Lord delivered Alma’s people from bondage.
As we review selected verses from Mosiah 23-24, look for 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.
Mosiah 18:33 When Alma and his people were in the place of Mormon, King Noah "sent his army to destroy them".
Mosiah 18:34-35; Mosiah 23:1-5 The Lord warned Alma’s people and strengthened them so they could escape.
Mosiah 19:6 This was different from the experience of Limhi’s people. The first time the Lamanites attacked these people, when Noah was still their king, the people received no warning.
Mosiah 23:6-7 When the people asked Alma to be king, he declined and counseled them against establishing a monarchy.
Mosiah 23:8-14 Alma had learned the danger of "one man think[ing] himself above another" through his experience as one of King Noah's priests.
Mosiah 23:15 We learn from Alma and his people to avoid the error of one person being elevated above another by loving one another as equals and avoiding contention by serving one another.
Mosiah 23:15-20; Mosiah 23:23-29 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 12:2, 4-5 The bondage of Alma’s people fulfilled prophecies made by Abinadi. Even after we have been forgiven of our sins, our poor choices can bring lingering consequences as taught by Elder Ashton.
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" (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. The rest of this lesson discusses how He delivered them from bondage.
Mosiah 23:21 Referring to the bondage of Alma’s people, Mormon said, "The Lord seeth fit to chasten his people".
Mosiah 23:21; D&C 95:1-2 The Lord chastens His people to try their patience and their faith.
Mosiah 23:22 We should respond with enduring faith when the Lord chastens us.
Mosiah 24:10-12 When Amulon threatened to kill them if they prayed, Alma's people kept a prayer in their hearts.
Mosiah 24:13-16 The Lord answered their silent prayers by strengthening them so that their burdens felt lighter.
Mosiah 24:14 This helped them "stand as witnesses" for the Lord, as they had covenanted in the waters of Mormon because they could attest to the fact that the Lord was with them and His power was exercised in their behalf.
Mosiah 24:15 Our burdens are easier to bear when we "submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord" and use those challenging times as reminders to be humble.
Ponder ways in which the Lord has strengthened you to help you "bear up [your] burdens with ease" and how this has helped you stand as a witness of God.
Mosiah 21:5-15 with Mosiah 23:26-27; Mosiah 24:10-16 Use these verses to compare how and why the Lord blessed Alma’s people while they were in bondage more quickly and abundantly than He blessed Limhi’s people.
Mosiah 23:12 Before the Lord delivered them, both Alma’s people and Limhi’s people were in bondage to wicked rulers. Alma observed that in the days of King Noah, the people had also been "bound with the bands of iniquity".
Mosiah 7:33; Mosiah 21:14; Mosiah 23:23; Mosiah 29:18-20 ; see also D&C 84:49-51 Iniquity, or sin, is a kind of bondage. We learn from Limhi’s people and Alma’s people about receiving deliverance from the bondage of sin and find that only the Lord can deliver us from the bondage of sin. We must turn to Him through repentance, faith, humility, and enduring obedience.
Briefly review the Lord’s promises in the baptismal covenant in Mosiah 18:10, 13. 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" (Mosiah 18:10). 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 (2 Nephi 31:17-20). Today, as we leave this class, we should renew our determination to honor our baptismal covenants and trust in the Lord.
"Both Alma and Helam were buried in the water" (Mosiah 18:14)
Alma had the authority to baptize. Alma did not baptize himself when he baptized Helam.
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught, "Alma was baptized and held the priesthood before the coming of Abinadi, but he became involved with other priests under the reign of the wicked King Noah, and when he baptized Helam, he felt he needed a cleansing himself so he buried himself in the water as a token of full repentance" (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954-56], 2:336-37).
Serving the Lord humbly
Before Alma began baptizing the people, he prayed, "O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart" (Mosiah 18:12). We will be blessed as we approach our service to the Lord in this spirit, seeking to do all that we do in the name of Christ.