As King Benjamin approached the end of his life, he desired to deliver one last sermon to his people. His sermon, recorded in Mosiah 2–5, is the subject of this lesson and lessons 53–55. At the beginning of the sermon, he told of his ministry among the people, emphasizing that we serve God when we serve others. He also testified of the happy state of those who keep God’s commandments.
Suggestions for Teaching
Note: The following summary may be helpful if you choose to give an overview of King Benjamin’s discourse at the beginning of this lesson.
Toward the end of his life, King Benjamin addressed the people of his kingdom near the temple in Zarahemla. He gave an accounting of his service to the people and his clear conscience before God, and he presented his son Mosiah as the people’s new king. In this final discourse, which is found in Mosiah 2–5, King Benjamin shared messages on several subjects, including the importance of service to others, our eternal indebtedness to our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry and Atonement, the need to put off the natural man, believing in God for salvation, imparting substance for the relief of the poor, retaining a remission of sins, and becoming sons and daughters of Christ through faith and consistent good works. Of special note, Mosiah 3 contains a message that King Benjamin received from an angel.
Families gather and prepare to receive King Benjamin’s words
Write the following questions across the top of the board: Who? Where? What? Why?
Ask students to search Mosiah 2:1–6 silently, looking for details that will answer the questions on the board. After they have read, invite several students to record on the board as many details as they can under each question. (You may need to explain that the people prepared to receive King Benjamin’s words by offering sacrifices associated with the law of Moses. In making these sacrifices, the people expressed gratitude to God and dedicated themselves to Him.)
Invite students to read Mosiah 2:9 silently, looking for words and phrases that indicate what King Benjamin wanted the people to do as they listened to his words.
From the words and phrases you have found, how do you think King Benjamin felt about his message?
According to the last part of Mosiah 2:9, what did King Benjamin believe would happen if the people opened their ears and their hearts to his message?
What do you think it means to open our ears and hearts to those who are called to teach?
Encourage students to keep King Benjamin’s invitation in mind as they study his message and as they listen to the words of latter-day prophets.
King Benjamin teaches about the importance of serving God and each other and about our eternal indebtedness to God
Show students the picture King Benjamin Addresses His People (62298; Gospel Art Book , no. 74). Remind students that King Benjamin had called his people together to declare that his son Mosiah would take his place as king and to give them a “name, that thereby they may be distinguished above all the people which the Lord God hath brought out of the land of Jerusalem” (see Mosiah 1:9–12).
Read Mosiah 2:10–15 aloud to the class. Ask students to identify phrases that show King Benjamin’s concern about serving the people, not about his own status or recognition. Invite them to raise their hands whenever they hear one of these phrases. When they raise their hands, stop reading and ask them to explain what they have identified and what it reveals about King Benjamin.
As part of this discussion, share the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter:
“Don’t be overly concerned with status. … It is important to be appreciated. But our focus should be on righteousness, not recognition; on service, not status” (“To the Women of the Church,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 96).
Invite students to read Mosiah 2:16–17 silently and identify what King Benjamin wanted his people to learn. Help them see that when we serve others, we serve God. Write this statement on the board. Point out that Mosiah 2:17 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to encourage students to mark this passage in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily.
Invite students to think of times when they have served other people.
When you gave this service to others, how were you also serving God?
When have other people blessed your life through service? When they served you, how did they also serve God?
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 2:18–24, 34.
Why would King Benjamin refer to himself and his people as “unprofitable servants”? (You may need to explain that people make a profit when they receive more than they give. We are unprofitable servants to our Heavenly Father because the value of the blessings He gives us will always greatly exceed the value of the service He receives from us.)
What blessings have you received for which you feel indebted to God?
Why is it important to realize that we are “eternally indebted” to God? (Answers may include that when we realize that we are indebted to God, our gratitude increases, we desire to keep the commandments, and we want to serve others more.)
Explain that in Mosiah 2:34, the word render means to give or submit. Invite students to reflect on how they might “render to [Heavenly Father] all that [they] have and are.” Testify that when we keep God’s commandments and seek to give sincere service, He blesses us.
King Benjamin exhorts his people to be obedient to God
Write BEWARE on the board. Ask students to tell about times when they have seen a sign that used this word or communicated this idea. Point out that such warnings can protect us or save our lives.
Invite students to read Mosiah 2:32–33, 36–38 silently, looking for what King Benjamin told his people to beware of. You may need to explain that in Mosiah 2:33, the word wo refers to sorrow and misery.
What warnings did King Benjamin give his people?
How might we know if we are beginning to follow the wrong spirit? Why is it important to recognize this early?
According to Mosiah 2:38, what consequences come to those who die in their sins?
You may want to emphasize the teaching in Mosiah 2:36 that an individual, through his or her own behavior, can withdraw from the Spirit of the Lord. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles commented on the importance of recognizing when we may be withdrawing from the Spirit:
“We should … endeavor to discern when we ‘withdraw [ourselves] from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in [us] to guide [us] in wisdom’s paths that [we] may be blessed, prospered, and preserved’ (Mosiah 2:36). …
“… If something we think, see, hear, or do distances us from the Holy Ghost, then we should stop thinking, seeing, hearing, or doing that thing. If that which is intended to entertain, for example, alienates us from the Holy Spirit, then certainly that type of entertainment is not for us. Because the Spirit cannot abide that which is vulgar, crude, or immodest, then clearly such things are not for us. Because we estrange the Spirit of the Lord when we engage in activities we know we should shun, then such things definitely are not for us” (“That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 30).
What did Elder Bednar say would distance us from the Holy Ghost?
How can we know when we have distanced ourselves from the Holy Ghost?
Write REMEMBER and CONSIDER on the board next to BEWARE.
Invite a student to read Mosiah 2:40–41 aloud. Ask the class to identify what King Benjamin wanted his people to consider and what he wanted them to remember. As students respond, you might emphasize King Benjamin’s teaching by writing the following truth on the board: If we keep the commandments, we will be blessed temporally and spiritually.
When have you witnessed or experienced the happiness that comes from being obedient to the Lord’s commandments?
Testify of the truthfulness of the things students have discussed today. Conclude by encouraging students to set specific goals to be more obedient in an area that is difficult for them or to seek to improve in an area named in Personal Progress (for young women) or Duty to God (for young men).
Scripture Mastery—Mosiah 2:17
Invite students to read Mosiah 2:17, Matthew 22:36–40, and Matthew 25:40. The passages in Matthew help expound the doctrine, unlock understanding, and clarify the meaning of Mosiah 2:17. You may want to encourage students to make a scripture chain by writing Matthew 22:36–40 next to Mosiah 2:17, Matthew 25:40 next to Matthew 22:36–40, and Mosiah 2:17 next to Matthew 25:40.
Ask a few students to tell about times when they have felt that they were serving God by serving other people.
Invite students to serve someone before the next seminary class. Suggest that they prepare to share their experiences with this assignment (but make sure they understand that they do not need to feel obligated to share experiences that are too personal or private).
You might also challenge students to memorize Mosiah 2:17 before the next time you meet as a class.
Testify that when we sincerely serve others, we serve the Lord.
Note: Because of the nature and length of this lesson, you may want to use this activity on another day, when you have extra time.
Commentary and Background Information
Mosiah 2:33, 38–39. “Everlasting punishment,” “unquenchable fire,” and “never-ending torment”
In a warning about the consequences of rebelling against God, King Benjamin used the phrases “everlasting punishment” (Mosiah 2:33), “unquenchable fire” (Mosiah 2:38), and “never-ending torment” (Mosiah 2:39). To gain a better understanding of these terms, see the Lord’s words in Doctrine and Covenants 19:6–12.