Studying the Book of Mormon Part 5
The Rise and Death of King Mosiah
Instead of listing a verse from the text we have a question for the Mormon people to ponder.
Why would the Israelites choose to write in their enemies’ tongue and not use Hebrew?
One of the main problems in the Book of Mormon is how the repeated phrase of the “language of my fathers” is used and the reminder for the next generation that if it weren’t for the writings on the plates they wouldn’t have known God. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism (pg. 1006) says it was the tradition of the Nephites to keep diligent records, but what do the records say? These mysterious records are mentioned quite frequently, yet there are no absolutes regarding their context or location.
Being a history buff prompts me with a desire to dig into what was going on socially, economically, militarily and spiritually with the people group I am studying. The stories in the Book of Mormon leave my heart sad with the continual need of wanting something more. Something’s always missing.
For instance I can go to libraries, encyclopedias, newspapers, living witnesses or military museums to further my studies about WW2. Or I can go to Josephus’, Suetonius’ or Pliny’s writings to retrieve information about the socio-economic conditions in ancient Israel.
Can we do this with the Book of Mormon? No. The Mormon Church is the only resource outside of the Book of Mormon itself to which we can turn for information. That’s not exactly an independent resource now, is it?
Surprisingly, I’ve had Mormons tell me the Nephites weren’t a tribe of Israel, but followed the laws of their fathers in the “land of Jerusalem”. I find this interesting because I grew up believing the Nephites were originally from one of the “lost ten tribes” of Israel or that they’re from the tribe of Ephraim – sigh – that’s a story for another time…if these guys weren’t Jewish what were they? What laws were they following and to which god were they sacrificing to?
The language of the fathers in the Nephite community supposedly spoke “Reformed Egyptian”. To date no reputable Egyptologist has acknowledged such a language.
This is the scenario we encounter as we begin reading the story of Mosiah. King Benjamin was delivering words of warning to his sons Mosiah, Helaman and Helorum. King Benjamin writes that because he had been taught in the language of the Egyptians, he could read and understand what the plates said. Oddly enough, the Book of Mormon never expounds on what the plates said.
And again, with a heavy emphasis for his sons to obey what was written on the plates, he called for everyone to gather around for the next day he was going to crown Mosiah king over the land. Now it would be Mosiah’s turn to tell everyone he had read the plates and remind people to obey the teachings on the plates.
I believe Mosiah 2:21, 24-25 gives us valuable insight as to how the Mormon god looks upon his people. They in turn have no clue who the real God is and how much He loves them.
“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. 24 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? 25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.”
Sadly, the Mormon teachings don’t promote this theology. Brigham Young taught that he believed the story in the Bible about the beginning of man was a baby story created for childish minds. (Journal of Discourses 2:6-7)
King Benjamin also told the people in 2:39 that if they die before they repent then they would live in a “never-ending torment”. What about baptisms for the dead? Further on in chapter three, the king tells his subjects about an angel that appeared to him. This angel told him how God would come to earth in a tabernacle of clay and be called Jesus Christ and his mother would be called Mary. The problem with this scenario? It’s 124 BC.
This isn’t the first, nor is it the last story in the Book of Mormon that tells of an event which rivals the same kind of scenario in the Bible. The Bible “merely” tells of a prophecy Isaiah gave to the people in Isaiah 7:14 which is a glorious foretelling of what God would do seven hundred years in the future. King Benjamin has an angelic being appear to him and gives him exact names of people involved, in addition to the Biblical information. Shockingly, the Mormon people buy into this with no questions asked (Mosiah 3:8).
We are always praying the Mormon people will stop and think about these things in addition to holding Joseph Smith to his word. Smith emphatically claimed there was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon (Times and Seasons, vol. 4 (November 1842-November 1843): pg. 194). We found at least twenty Greek and Latin words just in Mosiah chapter three alone. I wrote an article on this subject and found there are more than 7,000 Greek and/or Latin words in the Book of Mormon. http://www.lifeafter.org/greeklatin
Mosiah 3:17-19 is one of the most confusing set of verses in the Book of Mormon. I’m convinced this is one of the ways Satan keeps a blindfold over the spiritual life of the Mormon people. In verse seventeen Benjamin says there will be no other name given whereby salvation can come other than “Christ”. Never mind that Christ isn’t a name but a title, the following verses go on to say the natural man is an enemy to God and will continue to be an enemy unless you respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s unpack this section. The LDS Church emphatically teaches all other churches but their own are the whores of Babylon (1 Nephi 14:10) – there is no salvation outside of Mormonism. (Ensign, July 1973, pg. 108) If that’s true, their claim above is a lie. (We’ll also forego the argument that he’s plagiarizing Luke in Acts 4:12 some two hundred years before it was written.)
The next problem is the claim that the natural man is an enemy to God. How can they be an enemy to God if they don’t believe sin is automatically transmitted to mankind when they’re born? (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 1052 & 2nd Article of Faith) One more thing – how can you respond to promptings of the Holy Spirit if He hasn’t been given to mankind yet? See John chapters 14-17.
In chapter five King Benjamin tells the people because of their faith they are now spiritually begotten sons and daughters of Christ. (vs. 5-7) Ask your Mormon friend/loved one if we’re begotten of God or begotten of Christ. Be sure you have a good verse to back up the truth when you share it with them.
In chapter nine we are reminded how the Lamanites are lazy, filthy, blood thirsty people always wanting a fight and looking for things to steal from the Nephites. In chapter ten we’re told of another continual peace in the land, but then King Laman died and all bets were apparently off.
In chapter twelve Abinadi is captured and taken before the king where he summarily begins quoting Isaiah 53 (vs. 21) and the Nephites confess to Abinadi they know the Law of Moses, but don’t obey it.
Chapter eleven reveals to us that King Zeniff “conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons…who did not walk in the ways of his father”. King Noah caused a myriad of problems for the Nephites and people of Zarahemla throughout the years.
When we get to Mosiah chapters thirteen, fifteen and sixteen we see again how the Book of Mormon claims that Christ is the Eternal Father. My question for these claims is why does the text keeps saying this? If the LDS Church does not believe in the Trinity why does it say this? If they believe they are three separate gods, then they must admit they are polytheists.
In chapter seventeen the story of Alma fleeing for his very life comes into play and we’re told the righteous prophet Abinadi died in the fire King Noah’s priests had prepared for him. King Noah was the father of Limhi and son of Zeniff who died off sometime earlier – the text is not clear when or how Zeniff died.
Chapter eighteen opens up with Alma still on the run and secretly teaching the Nephites about the coming of Christ as he institutes the very first church. Interestingly enough, he was baptizing people and we’ve gone backwards in time by about twenty years. It’s now 147 BC. In chapter nineteen we find Gideon climbing a tower to kill King Noah, but backs out when the king falsely claims he’s worried for his people. Gideon’s men finally caught up to King Noah and burned him alive. (19:20)
Two chapters later we see that the Lamanites were cruel task masters to the Nephites and would “smite them on their cheeks” to keep them in line (21:3). With no other viable info on that subject I have to wonder why it’s there at all. Verse four tells us these things were done “so the word of the Lord might be fulfilled”. What did God say and why did he say it?
By the end of chapter twenty one the people of Limhi were at war with the Lamanites. In 21:33 we’re told Limhi and “many of his people were desirous to be baptized”, but no one had authority to do such a thing and Ammon refused because he considered himself to be unworthy.
Because of the fervent prayers of others, Ammon had a conversion experience much like the Apostle Paul did in Acts chapter nine – the problem here is that it’s about 165 years before Paul and still 120+ years before Jesus was even born. I find it interesting this Ammon fellow would have the same humble attributes our beloved Paul had in addition to having an eerily similar experience…could that really have happened in 122 BC?
In chapter twenty two the people of Limhi escaped into the wilderness “and joined Mosiah’s people and became his subjects”. (22:13)
In chapter twenty three Alma refuses to be the king and instead taught the people they should love their neighbors as they love themselves. Isn’t this Shema, the two greatest commandments that Jesus spoke of in Mark 12:29 when He quoted from Deuteronomy 6:4? (Also notice the BoM doesn’t offer any scripture from Torah to refer the readers to.) This took place in 145 BC and within a few more verses into chapter twenty four, the righteous people were being threatened with death if they were found praying.
By chapter twenty five the Mulekites of Zarahemla became Nephites. The two clans joined forces because there weren’t very many Nephites and the people of Zarahemla who originally came from Mulek outnumbered them. These two groups combined didn’t make up half of the number of Lamanites. When King Mosiah explained to the people of Zarahemla the great affliction the Nephites had gone through at the hand of the Lamanites their hearts were troubled. (25:9) It was at this time King Mosiah instructed Alma to institute another church. By now it was 120 BC.
Not a lot of time passed by before many of the church members fell into apostasy and King Mosiah handed the judgment of those who were sinning into the hands of Alma. (26:12)
After a little confusion of whose side the sons of Mosiah and Alma the younger should be on, they finally came to their senses and supposedly dedicated their life to God. They preached that mankind must be born again to be saved and by the end of the chapter was publishing good tidings of the Redeemer to all the people. It was 92 BC.
Chapter twenty seven begins by telling us none of the sons of Mosiah want to take over the kingdom, instead they have chosen to go and preach salvation by grace to their “brothers”, the Lamanites.
In light of this new situation, King Mosiah took the plates of brass and the plates of gold and translated by the “power of the two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow”, the records of their fathers. (28:13) After he translated the plates and shared his information with the people he announced in chapter twenty nine because no one was available to take over the kingdom he would be their king till he died. After that time a panel of judges would watch over the people, the first of which was Alma the younger. When Mosiah was 63 years old he died, as did “Alma the elder, the founder of their church”.
I’m not sure what spiritual comfort any of these stories could bring to the Mormon people. I realize they think highly of Ammon and Abinadi, but when I read their hero stories I can’t help but wonder why it doesn’t make them think of the true life heroes in the New Testament.